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?

Bare Bones Biology 138 – Happiness

Good Morning. It’s 2013. What is your function in Life?

Joseph Campbell says that Life is: “a wonderful, wonderful game, and the hero is the one who can participate in it decently, in the way of nature.”

Lately, more people seem to believe that our function in this enterprise is to be happy; especially the corposystem wants you to believe that your value as a human person is to buy stuff, and that will make you happy. H.H. The Dalai Lama (Pursuing Happiness, October 17, 2010, Emory University) has said: “When I say happiness I mean deep satisfaction.”

120908-Dogs-ASC_0561SsSomehow, I don’t think all these varied opinions compute. I think our biological role may very well express itself in our feeling of deep satisfaction, and our deep satisfaction may be found in human interactions with each other and with our environments. That is, in family, in human communities, and in biological communities as I defined them in previous posts. I think our deep satisfaction is best found in the knowledge that we are doing a good job of fulfilling our obligations to community and to Life itself.

Deep satisfaction is not the same thing as fun, and it is not found at the corner bar, the TV or computer games. Our primary role in Life is not spirituality or sexuality or religion or politics or winning anything or becoming a star. If it is true that deep satisfaction for individual humans is gained by participating in life decently, in the way of nature, then we really do have the obligation to ourselves to learn about what nature requires for Life and what the other members of our communities require for their satisfaction.

A human community is any group of humans that shares Life within a biological community. The successful human community teaches its young the skills needed to survive in the biological community. Not the corposystem. The corposystem is a temporary aberration. The biological community is the actual source of our Life: our food, air, water and shelter.

In that context, my “American Dream” was to help grow a human community that can sustainably meet the physical and emotional needs of the people indefinitely into the future.

120804-Nukes-ASC_8932LSsIf you share this dream, then heroism is not enough; we must also understand the needs of nature and how they differ from our own. Heroism and happiness and compassion and love and spirituality are good, but they cannot accomplish the goal of sustainability if they impose themselves upon, or stand aloof from, the needs of nature.

Religion is good, but only if it aligns itself with The Creation. Technology is sometimes good, but only if we take charge to ensure that its use will serve the long-term survival needs of the biological community.

No matter what your expertise or your “passion” it cannot achieve your goals unless you are willing to share it with others in the community and avail yourself of what they have to offer toward the common root goal. That really is the primary function of good human community.

As far as I know there is only one way for us to work together to grow a human community that can sustainably meet the physical and emotional needs of the people indefinitely into the future, and that is to first proclaim that as our common goal. Stop beating around the Bush and throwing up arrogant proclamations and accusations and lies to get what we individually want. Instead, proclaim the goal, and challenge everyone in the community of like and unlike mind to evaluate themselves according to their own responsibility toward fulfilling the common goal.

Nothing is stopping us except corposystem greed and our failure to respond to it heroically, in the way of nature.

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
http://barebonesbiology.com/bare-bones-biology-138-happiness

Recommended References:
Bare Bones Biology Ecology Energy Handbook
Go to the right side of the page under Chapters and download your free no strings PDF.
Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth, with Bill Moyers. http://www.jcf.org
H. H. The Dalai Lama (Pursuing Happiness, October 17, 2010, Emory University) Or go to Krista Tippett, On Being.
biological communities https://factfictionfancy.wordpress.com/2012/10/24
human communities https://factfictionfancy.wordpress.com/2012/10/07.

Definitions:
Biological Community – all the species of organisms in a given area, and the environment they have created there.
Human Community – all the people in a given area
Life. Life is characterized by the ability to change in response to its environment.

Tags: Responsibility, 2013, Life, whole earth ecosystem, corposystem, happiness, human_community, biological_community

Bare Bones Biology 136 – Corposystem Community

Last week we overviewed the relationship between the corposystem and the whole earth ecosystem. The earth ecosystem is the unique unit of life that consists of the sum of all the other units of life on earth and the climate they generate. The ecosystem uses light energy to make food energy (Bare Bones Ecology Energy Handbook*). It then uses the food energy to do the work of staying alive – that is, it keeps all the earth organisms alive by making food for them. Then it recycles the products of life, that we think of as waste products; but the ecosystem puts the products together with more energy from the sun to make more life. The ecological miracle of life is that it is sustainable, as long as the products are recycled and there is light energy from the sun.

Earth Systems Final2 copyThe corposystem is the modern corpo-political culture. It uses the food energy from the ecosystem to feed the humans who do the work of making money. That work includes withholding from both the human community and the biological community any services that are not profitable. In other words the corposystem retains the money and also, for the most part does not recycle its products.

The problem the corposystem is now facing is that money (despite the clever misuse of the term by some authors) money is not energy. No matter how many clever games we use to make more of it – money cannot grow food energy to feed the humans who do the work of the corposystem. Only the process of photosynthesis can energize life on earth, and we can’t do photosynthesis. Even if we could, we would just unbalance a different node of the web of Life.

It is people working and living that drives the corposystem. It is the resources from the ecosystem (food energy and other resources) that feed the work of humans, and it is the work of humans that drives the corposystem cycle. Not money. Money is a product we play with.

This is good because it means, whenever we take a mind to, we humans can stop the insanity of competing with the ecosystem. We can change our culture to one that collaborates with the work of the ecosystem and so is more sustainable. Whenever we decide to, we can use the work of our hands, minds and bodies to support the cycles of life that actually do feed the welfare of the whole of Life itself. To do this, we need to understand how the corposystem generates a human culture of fear, anger, hatred, greed and dominance, in spite of our normal human need for the kind of a compassionate community that I have described in earlier blogs in this series (beginning with Bare Bones Biology 092).

HeroVictimVillain copyThe cycle of human roles that drives the work of the corposystem is shown within the corposystem cycle in the diagram on my blog. The culture diagram is my perception of our modern American culture: It can be a guide to ourselves, and a hope for the future if we can understand what we are doing to ourselves.

First let’s remember that a cycle is not me or you as individuals. A cycle is more like a set of job titles, or life-styles. I claim that our modern American corposystem culture limits us to three available over-all life styles: Victim life style: Villain life style: Good Guy-Hero life style. Some individuals choose to become very good at one or other of those life styles, but we aren’t specifically stuck. If you are raised with all the life skills of a Victim you can choose, and if you work very hard to figure out what keeps you in that life style, you can change to another lifestyle. But in our culture you will not be recognized, understood or rewarded if you try to choose any lifestyle that is too far apart from the available three. This is really difficult to explain, so I have placed a personal example on my blog directly below the transcript of this podcast. (https://factfictionfancy.wordpress.com/2012/12/11/a-heads-up/).

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 http://traffic.libsyn.com/fff/Bare_Bones_Biology_136_-_Corposystem_CommunityF.mp3

Recommended References:

Bare Bones Biology Ecology Energy Handbook
Go to the right side of the page under Chapters and download your free no strings PDF.
Bare Bones Biology 135 – https://factfictionfancy.wordpress.com/2012/12/05/
A Heads Up – https://factfictionfancy.wordpress.com/2012/12/11/a-heads-up/

Question for Discussion

Most people who read this blog are aware of the concept of Yin and Yang. For every earthly action or event, there is the possibility of both a “good” and a “bad” result. If we are really paying attention to the results of our actions, we can observe that this is true in our human experience. Why do you think this is true?

Try this for an Idea

Watch your actions for a whole day. You will be happy with some things you do and not happy with other things you do. Why is this? Is it because of peer pressure or because of some negative or positive responses of other people? Or is it because you have really considered the right or wrong of your actions? Ask yourself, why are they right and why are they wrong?

Definitions:
Whole Earth Ecosystem = All the species of organisms on earth and the environment that they generate to live in.
Corposystem = The modern American corpo-political system including its international entanglements.

Bare Bones Biology 132 – Community Environments

Joseph Campbell said: “The ancient myths and rites were a means to put the mind into accord with the body, and the way of life into accord with the way nature dictates.”

Homo sapiens
, that’s us, we are a social, communal species. We aren’t the only social species. There are many, and each is different, because they are each genetically adapted to a particular environment or niche in the biological community.

The biggest difference between humans and other social species is our brain. Humans have a marvelous brain that brings us at least four qualities, or aptitudes, that are important to human survival and welfare. We use all four, and the better we use them to help fulfill the biological needs of the living earth ecosystem, to “bring our lives into accord with the way nature dictates” — the more likely we are to survive as a species, and the more fulfilled we are likely to be as individuals.

The first and most basic function of our nervous system is to control our autonomic (automatic) life processes. Breathing, eating, nursing and so on. These activities generally can proceed without our conscious attention because they are genetically programmed to respond to the environment.

Second, the human brain generates our emotions. Our emotions are very important, because they are at the heart of our social communities. Emotionality is also a genetic characteristic, coded by our genes. We know this, basically, because all human societies have the similar emotions. We can’t change the fact that we have emotions, because that portion of our human-ness is encoded in our genes. We can’t even describe all the genes that control our emotional reactions and interconnections, because there are too many genes acting in too many different combinations. Believe me; I have some experience with genetic engineering. Or – better yet – don’t believe me. Study it for yourself. The point here is, if we want to grow better human communities, trying to change our genes would be a worse idea than frontal lobotomy. It won’t work; therefore we should spend our energy on something that will work. We need to learn how to use what we’ve got. Fortunately, the third and fourth qualities of the human brain are eager to learn to do just that.

The third important quality of the human brain is its ability to learn, and that brain is absolutely obsessed with learning. It does not need to be taught or told to learn; it never stops learning. Whatever is out there in the environment, that’s what the brain is learning, and squeezing into its world view, integrating the new information with its emotions, which is one good reason to not watch television.

Babies, of course, mostly learn to use emotions to benefit themselves, but as soon as they are old enough they tag around after whatever moves and copy whatever it is doing. This enormous capacity for learning molds the child to the normal behaviors of his environment. If he is growing up in a stable, sustainable community, then he will grow behaviors that mold his use of his emotions so that they contribute to the welfare and stability of that community. The problems arise if the community is not stable or sustainable.

The fourth important quality of the human brain is our intellect. Intellect is a very human and elegant tool for figuring out what went wrong if problems do arise. It’s a miracle, really, our human logic that can recognize and interact with the universal law of cause and effect to solve novel problems. And human creativity that can generate novel solutions to the problems. And human communication that can share our learning throughout our communities and through the generations, in the form of myths, religions, rituals, works of art, textbooks, literature, and even Facebook.

At this point in human history, we need mostly to educate our intellectual brain, and the first thing we need to understand — we are not God. We do not understand the infinite meaning of life, nor can we control it. Our need to control, our ego, our desire to grow life in our image, whether the image be evil or even if it is a good image – that is the source and cause of most of our disasters.

Lynn Lamoreux

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


Question for Discussion
: What is a community? What is your community?

Suggested Action
: Purchase a $20 copy of the movie Economics of Happiness, or borrow a copy from the Peach Clubhouse. Find a couple of friends who have not seen the film. Invite them to dinner, a viewing of the film, and discuss the question above. Better yet, go to The Economics of Happiness second annual convention in March — in Australia!! And/or, join The Economics of Happiness networking hub http://www.theeconomicsofhappiness.org/

Recommended References:
Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth. PBS. http://www.jcf.org/new/index.php?categoryid=83&p9999_action=details&p9999_wid=765

Bare Bones Biology Ecology Handbook – https://factfictionfancy.wordpress.com/
On the right side of the page click on the link under “Chapters” to download the PDF.

Thanks to the Red Wasp Film Festival for use of the Photos by Lynn.

Bare Bones Biology 130 – Community IV

I believe a human community is a group of people who interact with each other in emotional and social ways very much like the organisms of a biological community interact among themselves in biological ways. The function of biological communities is to promote the welfare of Life Itself – the whole living ecosystem that is the earth. The valid function of human communities is also to serve Life — so that Life may provide for us the earth, air, energy and water that we require to maintain our human communities. The question is: How do we build a human community that nourishes the biological community. It’s a hard question.

Life sustains itself by maintaining the balance of the cycles of life. Plants and other green organisms collect energy that can be distributed, throughout the whole body of the living earth, in the form of food. By digesting the food, all organisms use the food energy to do the work of staying alive, and at the same time breaking apart the food so that the materials recycle to continually revitalize our air, water and soil. These processes are necessary to life, and Life is sustainable only when these processes remain in balance with each other.

To remain balanced, as I just said, the system requires energy. Energy cannot be recycled. The system also requires materials that can be recycled. Molecules and atoms are constantly recycled in all living things. Because energy cannot be recycled, the whole system requires a constant input of energy (ref. Bare Bones Ecology Energy Handbook). We must keep eating to stay alive, therefore the plants must keep on making food all the time, and they do if there is enough light reaching the plants.

The second major requirement for Life is to recycle the materials of life in the form of atoms and molecules that make up our air, water and earth. The millions of different jobs that are necessary for this recycling are done by millions of different species of organisms, all interacting within the entire system so that the tissues are broken down into molecules and the molecules into smaller molecules and atoms that are released and then recycled.

It is green organisms that make food energy for the entire system. Different species of green organisms live in different niches of the environment. For example, cactus plants only can live in certain kinds of desert niches. The more different kinds of plants there are, the more niches they can fill, and the more food the earth can produce. This is also true of the other kinds of organisms that do other jobs in the cycle of life. The more different kinds of organisms there are, doing all the processes that are required to stay alive, the more likely it is that Life on earth can sustain itself — the climate, the soil, the food.

In the world today, and especially in America, our community structures are not organized to serve Life, so much as to serve the corposystem. The corposystem is the complex of interacting corporate and political organizations that harvests the materials from the ecosystem and sells them to us. The corposystem uses us to do this work, and so it feeds us and trains us to grow the corposystem; and so we design our communities to serve the corposystem, rather than the ecosystem.

The explicit goal of the corposystem is to make money, not to nurture Life — and the way to make money is to grow the system so it can sell more things. The corposystem grows by taking away and selling to us the food and materials that are required by the millions of species that do nourish Life.

So by now the corposystem has destroyed a huge number of species, thus changing the balance of air, water, soil and food, energy and materials – thereby causing climate change. So many things we do not understand, but we do know that we cannot build sustainable communities by nourishing the corposystem to the detriment of the ecosystem.

This blog is an expanded version of Bare Bones Biology radio program that is playing
this week on KEOS Radio, 98.1 FM, Bryan, Texas. The podcast can be downloaded at

LynnLamoreux@Yahoo.com

Recommended References:
https://factfictionfancy.wordpress.com
On right side of page look under “chapter” and download the pdf
https://factfictionfancy.wordpress.com/2012/10/07/bare-bones-bio…-127-community/
https://factfictionfancy.wordpress.com/2012/10/14/bare-bones-bio…28-¬-community/
https://factfictionfancy.wordpress.com/2012/10/24/

Categories: Bare Bones Biology Transcripts, Community