Bare Bones Biology 142 – Community/Mediation

An excellent study of different sorts of communities was recently published by Jared Diamond, The World Until Yesterday, Viking Press. Diamond discussed different types of social organizations under various headings, including “peace and war.”

130106-TarSands-asc_1675LSs copyAdministering disputes, justice and peace is, of course, an essential community function. The power of community is based on the efforts of people acting together to accomplish the common goal. To do that, we must not prey upon each other, and we must find the most effective ways to administer justice and, if necessary, control individual behaviors that harm the community.

Our American rule of law seems to be based in a sort of dichotomous debate model, right or wrong, win or lose, power and weakness, and — let’s face it – it’s not working very well. There are several weaknesses in this model. Most obvious is that the basic power is administered via fear, rather than compassion, justice or fairness. Winning, that is beating up on other people, or fighting over anything, does not increase trust among the members of the community, and then the community tends to use compassion unwisely.

We delight in rescuing victims, but to rescue victims it’s necessary to generate victims in the first place. In our culture and in our media and our education system, we do not hear glory tales about preventing victimization. Lately there has been a move to prevent bullying, but of course we aren’t really serious about that. Our whole corposystem model is based in rewarding the biggest bully. Schoolchildren aren’t going to believe that it is not; and I don’t see anyone changing the model. Nor do I see anyone out there shouting the praises of the people who do prevent victims. For example, the gory evening TV programs, last time I looked, all were based in the glory of the gore. But there are people in our culture who are working hard to do just that – prevent victims – and they are using various methods that relate to various sorts of problems.

122212-Solstice-_2s copyProbably you have heard of the restorative justice model of conflict resolution. There are links on my blog. Last summer, when I was in Silver City, I had the good fortune to discuss the restorative justice model of conflict resolution with a leading practicioner, Stepháne Luchini:

“I’ve always been interested in peacemaking and social justice, and even now I’ve moved into criminal justice, as a mediator in the field of restorative justice. But my larger interest is in community and the work with restorative justice is based on dialogue. How can we bring people together who might be in pain where there’s been harm, where there’s anger, and how can we bring people together where they can feel safe where there’s hope of something changing, a transformation, and how can I as a facilitator help guide people through a dialogue process in rocky territory where it’s difficult and we want to avoid conflict and harm, and transform somehow our experience in the past that has been hurtful or where we have hurt someone, to a new experience – transform the relationships we have had between us and them, the good person and the bad person, into something where we recognize the real essence of who we are as human beings, that we all have a need for being safe, we all have a need for being cared for and recognized. That’s what I’ve enjoyed doing for the last decade now, the restorative justice work, because I see, after a couple hour meeting between victims and offenders how something can so dramatically change where there is healing where people who have hurt each other can now hug each other.”

Lynn Lamoreux
Photos by Lynn

This blog is an expanded version of Bare Bones Biology radio program that will play
next week on KEOS Radio, 98.1 FM, Bryan, Texas. Bare Bones Biology is a completely
nonprofit project. The podcast can be downloaded at:


Recommended References:

Diamond, Jared. The World Until Yesterday, what can we learn from traditional societies? Viking Press, 2012
http://www.restorativejustice.org/
http://www.luchinimediationservices.com/restorative-justice1.html

The Power and The Glory

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Bare Bones Biology 141 – Dead Species Walking

We humans cannot succeed so long as we believe the Power-and-Glory is us.  Or that the corposystem is the Power-and-Glory.  That is the bottom-line reason I now concede that we are a dead species walking.  Even the kindest and best intended people I know believe that the Power-and-Glory lies within humanity, rather than beyond our ability to express or understand.*

Men-smallSo instead of honoring LIFE, we devise more and more intricate ways to imagine one so-called solution or another that – if a person just sits down and considers the result of these short-term fixes – clearly  there is no way to use them without causing further damage by further unbalancing LIFE, the whole earth ecosystem.

The bottom line cure is obvious, but the process of saving ourselves would be somewhat unpleasant and would not contribute to the ego-based culture of the corposystem that is our God. The people who might be interested in doing anything humble, rather than “heroic” — those who really want what they say they want — the common good, I guess – they are vanishingly rare in this culture.

My memoir describes my search for an organization working for the welfare of LIFE on earth that will not make things (meaning LIFE) worse (rather than better balanced). I found a lot of groups, none of which seem to envision a viable solution, even though the solution is laid out plain across the land.

I can’t cause the blind to see; I can’t even cause the blind to see me, much less help them to envision the real Power-and-Glory that always has and always would have provided us a life system within which to argue about whatever silly thing we want to argue about. It would have done this forever, in human terms — if we were not so committed fight against the LIFE system that keeps LIFE alive. Why fight? I guess, so we can “win.” Win what? We have been given everything we need.

At least I tried to serve the Power-and-Glory rather than the human ego, individual or communal. And I certainly WILL not contribute my own energy to the devastation. I will not use “sinful” methods to promote myself or to get what I want. I define “sinful” as anything that promotes an unbalance of human or ecosystem health by preying on human weakness (ego for example, or fear or anger, or even compassion, which is the current craze), or by preying on ecosystem largesse to the harm of the ecosystem (for example by wrapping every little bit of food in plastic, with zippers yet, or any one of a million other sinful behaviors that we enjoy nearly every minute of every day.)

And I will NOT use the sinful methods of the corposystem to fight against the sins of the corposystem. Corposystem style of promotion for example. Because it simply strengthens the corposystem in its war against the ecosystem.

Zoria and mesmallAnd of course time never stops, and every generation is yet more powerful – and more ignorant of the nature of power; and people continue to plan as though we have forever to wise up.

We don’t. Probably it’s time for the living earth to start over again to find a sustainable balance of living creatures that are less eager to destroy themselves and everything they touch.

And if that is the root truth or root reality, starting over again I mean, with a different set of interacting species, who am I to proclaim my higher wisdom. If “sin” is that which destroys LIFE — then of course, starting over is necessary. Rebalancing, in response to imbalance, is an immutable part of the reality of LIFE at any level. The highest level, the Power-and-Glory, must also rebalance when LIFE itself is threatened. Even if that leaves us a dead-species-walking.

Lynn Lamoreux
Photos by Lynn

This blog is an expanded version of Bare Bones Biology radio program that will play
next week on KEOS Radio, 98.1 FM, Bryan, Texas. Bare Bones Biology is a completely
nonprofit project. The podcast can be downloaded at:

* Heinrich Zimmer quoted by Joseph Campbell with Bill Moyers in The Power of Myth, video:  “The best things can’t be told because they transcend thought.  The second best are misunderstood, because they are the thoughts that are supposed to refer to that which can’t be thought about, and one gets stuck with the thoughts.  The third things are what we talk about.”  And I will add we are talking about things that we know are not true as though they were, because we like what we are thinking better than we like to think about something that could actually save us.  So that can’t even be third best; it must be somewhere way down the list.

http://youtu.be/bsd1IT7ySfE

Bare Bones Biology 140 – Coming Home

This post will be entirely pictures tomorrow when I finish it. Except for the audio.

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Bob and Diane Announce End to Hunger Strike on 45th day

(I did not take these pictures and can’t find a credit.)

These people are incredibly heroic to choose nonviolence over America’s other methods, but of course we wouldn’t need to be doing these things if my generation had not let the human population grow to be more than what the earth can support, AND included corporations as voting members of the human population. (My opinion, we might have done some other dumb thing). But the reality is what it is and the below is copied from Tar Sands Blockade website. If you want to help without trying to FIND the tar sands people in action, you could participate with thousands of others in DC in the 350.org demonstration in February. I’m not sure my old bones are up to it — not the protest, but figuring out where to go and how to get there in DC. I remember there’s a very nice train to that mall, and they do have a YMCA, but other than that it’s all rather foggy, and probably cold. But I bet you could do it if you would put your mind to it. Just remember, Lame Duck Presidents are much more likely to do what they know is right when they are supported in their choices.

http://www.tarsandsblockade.org/
http://www.350.org

January 15, 2013

dianeAfter an incredible 46 days, Bob Lindsey Jr. and Diane Wilson have announced the end of their hunger strike targeting Valero and its role in promoting projects like Keystone XL. The following is a powerful statement from Bob and Diane that explores the motivations behind their long fast as well as their plans for lifelong resistance to all forms of tar sands exploitation.

On November 29th, 2012 in protest of Valero’s involvement with the KXL pipeline we locked our necks to industrial trucks just outside the Valero refinery. We were arrested and immediately began a hunger strike in solidarity with the struggling people of the community of Manchester. We demanded that Valero not only cease all business with TransCanada but vacate the Manchester neighborhood that they have exploited for decades.

In Houston’s toxic East End, home to the largest petro-chemical complexes in North America, marginalized communities of color are forced to breathe poisoned air. The small Latin@ community of Manchester is the most polluted neighborhood in Texas and Valero is responsible for most of the pollution. Instead of working to reduce emissions, Valero plans to bring tar sands to Texas through the KXL, further denigrating the air, water, and environmental quality of local communities. Children here are exposed to 8 different cancer causing toxins at all times, homes are encapsulated by huge industrial storage tanks and the Valero refinery billows poison on top of the community’s only park. What is happening in Manchester is a living case of environmental racism and classism.

We stand in opposition to TransCanada and their Keystone XL Pipeline as well as all corporations and entities that profit from the direct suffering of others. After 46 days on hunger strike our bodies are weak and our health has rapidly declined. We knew that our demands were lofty and that we would not destroy our enemies with one fell swoop. By putting ourselves at risk of death we intended to expose that Valero, TransCanada and all other industries who promote the practice of profits over people do not care whether we live or die. The people of Manchester already know this. The people of East Texas already know this. The indigenous peoples of the Athabasca region already know this. We hope that you too now know this. Direct Action is the only way to stop Valero, TransCanada and all other corporations that commit unconscionable acts of greed.

Tar sands are being mined along the Athabasca River in Canada, in the heart of the boreal forest and one of the worlds most significant wetlands, just 70 miles away from North America’s largest freshwater river basin, a critical habitat for many species. Not only does this threaten delicate ecosystems but the homes and ancestral land, cultural heritage, and way of life of indigenous communities. The mining of carcinogenic bitumen is powered by gas obtained from hydraulic fracturing, a practice which can NOT be done safely and must be stopped at all costs. This is NOT a debate. We recognize that elected officials have failed to protect people, animals, and the earth from tar sands exploitation, which is the most ecologically destructive project on the planet. These officials have been supportive of the extraction industry carrying out these egregious acts, and they are responsible for this system of exploitation.

We stand in solidarity with the Unist’ot’en Camp, the Idle No More movement and Chief Theresa Spence who is now on the 36th day of a hunger strike. They have become catalysts for resistance to the destruction of the earth and struggle against the colonization of it’s inhabitants, a battle that indigenous communities have fought for over 500 years on this continent. We call out to all sentient beings to decolonize immediately.

bobWe also send a special message of solidarity and appreciation to our dear personal friend, Start Loving. Start began hunger striking 11 days ago in support of us and in solidarity with Chief Theresa Spence.

Tar Sands Blockaders have been engaged in an ongoing series of aerial blockades in East Texas to physically stop the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline. TransCanada has terrorized the lives and homes of families all along the pipeline route with complete disregard for natural habitats and wildlife. They have hired local police as armed thugs to torture blockaders and their allies and used their corporate dollars and fancy lawyers to intimidate and muscle ordinary folks, including farmers struggling to survive in a world of factory farming and genetically modified crops.

We are ending our hunger strike so that we may continue on in lifelong resistance and opposition to the most essential struggle we face as human beings, the struggle to protect what is left of our ravaged earth. Through systems of mutual aid and solidarity we will move forward to create an environment in which resistance can be cultivated and direct action becomes the natural and immediate reaction of all people in the face of exploitation and oppression. We stand in solidarity with the Tar Sands Blockade who have reminded us all that we must have immediacy in our actions and fight ceaselessly for the earth, it’s creatures and all of our fellow human beings. We will never surrender. In the strength of unity we will fight on.

In Solidarity,

Diane Wilson, lifelong Texan, grandmother, 4th generation shrimper and co-founder of Code Pink, The Texas Jail Project, Texas Injured Workers, and the Injured Workers National Network

Bob Lindsey, 5th generation Texan, US Navy Veteran and the San Antonio Bay Waterkeeper

http://www.tarsandsblockade.org/

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What Obama Test, this is Your test.

Obama’s test

From Lynn Lamoreux
Obama can do nothing without real physical, knowledgeable, wise, nonviolent front-line Support

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From May Boeve, 350.org

Friends,

I think this is going to be the year we start to turn the climate crisis around.

Everywhere I look, good people are working harder than ever to build a better, safer, more sustainable world. From Canada to India to Texas, people are demanding that better world.

The first battle of 2013 is right around the corner, when President Obama makes his decision about the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. That’s why we’re working with the Sierra Club, the Hip Hop Caucus and folks from across the movement to host a giant action in Washington DC on Presidents Day weekend to send a message that this is the issue that will define his presidency.

You’re one of the 10,000 people who have already signed up to be there. That’s pretty good, but we want to make this the largest climate rally in history.

We’ll need to top 20,000 if we want to make an impression. Can you share the good news about the action with your social networks and get your friends to join you?

Also, details are falling in to place for the action. We will be starting at Noon in downtown DC (we don’t yet know the exact location, we’re waiting on some permits to finish clearing).

Also, we’ve worked out several arrangements for housing and transportation.

You can find or offer a carpool to D.C. by joining the Forward on Climate group at Ridebuzz.org, and you can find or offer personal housing in the D.C. area at a similar CouchSurfing.org group. If you are bringing a large group, you may also find the Washington Peace Center’s website helpful for finding housing. We will continue to post more details as they become available, including info on renting buses.

If the President intends to take us forward into a clean energy future — rather than let us slide into climate chaos like what we only just began to glimpse in 2012 — then Keystone XL will be the first and simplest test of how serious he is.

TarSandsHoustonASC_1758President Obama alone has the power to reject the pipeline — but we have the power to force him to make the right decision. That means a big action on the 17th. Can you share the news about the 10,000 signups with your social networks?

This is our year. This is our future. Let’s demand a better one.

Onward,

May

in case you thought we weren’t really there or it really wasn’t all that cold

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Photo by Dylan Hollingsworth
Photographer/Storyteller
http://dylanhollingsworth.com

More Opportunities to “Do Something.”

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Dear friends,

The trial of the LANL 6 yesterday was an amazing and profound, as well as sobering, occasion.

More than 70 supporters and friends turned out to accompany the 6 and their legal team of Jeff Haas and Lisa Krooth, into the court and to witness proceedings. Court officials said they had never seen such a large audience for a trial, and indeed the court could only contain 53 people in the audience at any one time. Thank you to all of you who gave your time to be present yesterday. We know that it meant a huge amount to each of the 6 who were on trial.

The 6 were charged on three counts:
1. Trespass
2. Obstructing movement
3. Refusing to obey a police officer

To all charges the 6 plead not guilty. Their defense team showed very clearly that none of the 6 were warned that they were trespassing and all believed that they were on a public street. They argued that they had been ineffective in obstructing traffic, and indeed that the real obstructions to traffic were caused by the huge presence of police and private security personnel. But they all acknowledged that they had heard the request to move out of the street and had chosen to stand their ground. The 6 and their legal team spoke eloquently and passionately about why they had committed no crime, and indeed why they were following a much higher legal requirement in acting as they did. They spoke at length about:

The immoral nature of nuclear weapons production
The national and international laws, including the Non-Proliferation Treaty, that makes the production of nuclear weapons illegal. In summing up, Jeff Haas referred to Article 6 of the US Constitution that makes such treaties, once signed, national law. He also referred to the Nürnberg Charter, which came out of the Nürnberg war crimes trials, that requires citizens, on humanitarian and legal grounds, to take action to stop crimes against peace and crimes against humanity
Their belief that the most critical national and global security issue we face is climate change, and that the billions of taxpayer dollars spent on the production of nuclear weapons at LANL could and should be spent addressing climate change
The “necessity defense” – their legal and moral imperative to warn people, especially employees of LANL, who are apparently unaware of the dangers of nuclear weapons and low-level radiation
The fact that LANL stands on land stolen from indigenous people, which was reportedly promised to be returned after WWII
The economic injustice and resource misuse of the work of LANL
The illegality and immorality of the ongoing militarization and war-mongering of the USA

Unhappily, the judge was unmoved by these arguments. He found all 6 not guilty of trespass, but convicted them on the counts of obstructing movement and refusing to obey a police officer. The prosecution did not call for jail time, and so the judge fined each of the 6 $100 on each count, plus court costs, and put them on probation for one year, with a condition that they not be arrested in Los Alamos County during that year.

While the fines are significantly less than those that could have been imposed, the one-year probation is excessive in a case like this. However, all of the LANL 6 stand in solidity and are refusing to pay the fines, on the grounds that they have committed no crime and indeed were working to prevent much greater crimes. They now have 15 days in which to decide whether to appeal the court’s decision, or to try an alternative route. If they do not pay the fines within 30 days, they face jail time.

We will keep you updated on the progress and decisions the LANL 6 and their defense team make over the next few days and weeks.

In the meantime, we are already starting to organize for 2013, including of course events and protests in July and August – July 16th being Trinity Day, August 6th Hiroshima Day, and August 9th Nagasaki Day.

Thank you for all that you do to help make our society more peaceful and sustainable.

In peace,
Michelle Victoria and Thomas Jaggers

Bare Bones Biology 139 – TarSandsBlockade.org

Bitsy is always up for anything, y’all know that, and so this weekend we bundled up for the weather and headed for training camp in the Piney Woods of Texas.

130107-Bitsy-asc_1658SsBare Bones Biology is ready to stop talking theory and begin to observe community development in practice, including the Occupy model, as well as the basics of community so well documented by Helena Norberg-Hodge and Rob Hopkins, Richard Heinberg and the Post Carbon Institute, community radio, for example see, and individuals and small groups of people who are working to change our toxic corposystem environment. For example, Chris Martenson’s Crash Course and the annual conference in Los Alamos of Nuke Free Now, with Father John Dear‘s Sackcloth and Ashes protest and many, many anonymous others.

The fatal flaws in trying to grow sustainable communities – the biggest ones I see – are: 1) trying to work within a failed system that is blocking ethical and rational discussion; and 2) trying to change the biological environment that has functioned for millenia to provide food, water, air and shelter for all the life of earth.

130108-TarSands-asc_1887SsThe most important questions seem to be: 1) How can we change the system without reinforcing the system? And, 2) can we make changes that relieve rather than intensify our environmental crisis. Over the decades, I have seen mostly knee-jerk approaches to change. The result is that the good work of one generation is lost or thrown out or forgotten by the next generation that is focusing on different problems. This approach looks like change but it is NOT CHANGE. That is why good education, stressing the mistakes and successes of the past, the difference between facts and opinions, and the fact-based needs of our biological community, are essential to sustainable human community.

130108-TarSands-asc_1772LSsWe need real change, or we will just bounce back and forth from one extreme to the other making the same mistakes our grandparents made and fighting over everything. If we continue in this mode, without understanding the hard facts of our biological reality, the result will be fatal no matter how compassionate and honorable we try to be. And the corposystem isn’t trying logical, compassionate discussion; this rules out most of the honorable methods of change-building. So that’s why Bitsy and I, spent the night in the back seat of our little car, surrounded by a colorful tent camp, learning about community development on the ground.

I was just scraping the ice off the INSIDE of the windshield when, at an unexpectedly early hour, I realized that all the cars were lining up in the dark, ready to go. Go? Go where? Nobody knew. But eventually, maps were passed out and the caravan headed south. You can learn about all the activities at http://TarSandsBlockade.org, with video and commentary as the actions happened and as they continue to happen daily.

130108-TarSands-asc_2020LSsThe Occupy movement has interested me because it seems to represent real democracy, similar to others that have been popping up around the world. I also know what happens when you try to use negative force to squash a real and/or factual truth, and I’ve been waiting for it to happen ever since Occupy was violently squashed last year.

130108-TarSands-asc_2064LSsTo me this weekend looked a lot like the beginning of the new. I hope so, because: 1) I know that “change” within the old model is not going to happen, for reasons discussed in previous blogs; 2) this seems to be real change, and it is nonviolent; and 3) it is based in solid biological concerns.

We elders watched in agonized awe over the past decade or so, as our youth pandered the American Dream for which we worked, in exchange for an iPod and a pretty construct of television lies. What I saw in this action was real adult responsibility. Responsibility to the future and a dream of sustainability, using a new set of technological and political tools. And then we were asked to also take part of the responsibility for the planning and goal setting for that future. The first time I encountered this type of political behavior was with Amnesty International USA.* I was well impressed.

So this morning, home again after an exhausting two days, what we saw on the Tar Sands Blockade web site was not only what we did, but what a lot of people did at the same time in a lot of places around the countries. The action that I photographed was indeed a rolling portion of a set of “rolling actions.” And the Tar Sands Blockade promises more.

130108-TarSands-asc_2093SLsI still say the next thing that we must do if we want to survive on this earth (and this is advice from a PhD basic biologist) is to learn the facts and talk among ourselves about the issues. We won’t find the facts on mainstream TV (or, unfortunately, on public TV). The issue is survival with a sustainable, reasonably rewarding life-style). For facts you could start with the Bare Bones Ecology Energy Handbook that is downloadable, completely free no strings, on the right side of this blog under Chapters. Next you should understand the material in Christ Marsterson’s Crash Course. I’ve been recommending this course of action for 13 years. But, you continue to say, what can we DO?

Right, if you can’t get “them” to discuss the issues. As a PhD basic biologist, I will tell you clearly there may not be much time to stop “them” from destroying life, that is, food, water air climate and shelter. If they only want to talk about money, then right now I know of no better action than http://www.TarSandsBlockade. But there are other approaches to the problem that I will discuss in future.

Lynn Lamoreux
Photos by Lynn

This blog is an expanded version of Bare Bones Biology radio program that will play
next week on KEOS Radio, 98.1 FM, Bryan, Texas. Bare Bones Biology is a completely
nonprofit project. The podcast can be downloaded at

*That experience is discussed in a chapter of my upcoming book “Outside the Circle.”

Recommended References:
Rob Hopkins, The Transition Handbook, http://www.amazon.com/Transition-Handbook-Dependency-Resilience-Guides/dp/1900322188
Post Carbon Reader, http://www.postcarbon.org
Helena Norberg-Hodge, movie, http://www.theeconomicsofhappiness.org
Chris Martenson: video Crash Course. Available on the web http://www.peakprosperity.com/crashcourse
Father John Dear, A Persistent Peace – http://www.amazon.com/Persistent-Peace-Struggle-Nonviolent-World/dp/0829427201
Bare Bones Biology 137 – Human Hubris. https://factfictionfancy.wordpress.com/2012/12/19
William deBuys, A Great Aridness, http://www.williamdebuys.com/a_great_aridness_110931.htm

Question for Discussion: What is the technical meaning of democracy? The American political system does not fit that definition; the constant use of the term seems to be one of those television lies. Is it really a TV construct, or is it a reality? If it’s not a reality, then why do we keep talking about democracy all the time, and what kind of political environment do we want to grow for our grandchildren? Leave it to George? Participatory? If the latter, what kind of participation do we want to develop?