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?

Bill Moyers/Democracy School/Precautionary Principle

There is a direct correlation between this headline of the article you <a href="The headline says there has been a big win on the subject of regulating fracking”>forwarded to me, (click link or see below) and the interesting backup links, and the basic concept that has been developed by the founder of the democracy school that Donna spoke to us about last week.
http://www.alternet.org/newsandviews/article/732513/big_win_against_fracking%3A_vote_canceled_for_new_fracking_regulations_in_the_delaware_river_basin/#paragraph5

The headline says there has been a big win on the subject of regulating fracking

The work of the attorney, his name is Linzey and I have collected some of his spoken words for us — his work is based on he idea that speaking about “regulations” automatically assumes that the corposystem has the right to use our social properties or community rights — the air, and our water. and our land that we need to grow our food, as well as our freedoms. When we begin by talking about “regulating” the corposystem’s rights, we are already assuming that they have those rights. This is a basic flaw in our politics in Washington, also, as I see it. Then they just keep squeezing the regulations and fudging the numbers until they get what they want.

Linzey’s Democracy School is not in Washington, but is very successful in some local situations. Democracy School says the corposystem does not own our communal rights in the first place and there are ways we can respond that are not based upon their ownership. He is not talking about same-old same-old, and that’s why Donna brought that particular training program to our attention. We have NOT heard about that approach, and it has been very successful across the country in small communities such as ours (small I say not counting the University). This is a very creative and very new approach to resolving our problems.

The basic premise of the Democracy School is that we the people have the right to decide what is done with those things that we as a community need for our survival, air, water, land, soil and food. We have the right to get together and choose sustainable answers for their use. Mr. Linzey and his colleagues have developed some new legal responses to issues such as fracking and destruction of renewable resources. That’s what Democracy School is about. I’d love for us to get together and watch the short videos. This is not a movie – it’s a lecture given by Mr. Linzey at Bioneers that outlines the evolution of his legal thinking in response to problems with factory farming coming into farming communities and taking over the air, water, etc.

A parallel effort by another attorney — also a lecture given at Bioneers several years back — is on the subject of the Precautionary Principle. This one needs no new legal thinking. It is well understood internationally and only needs to be applied, and there are practical applications worked up for applying it. This country formerly required by law the precautionary approach to new medications, for example. It’s only common sense that we shouldn’t set out to widely apply any action that we don’t know what the outcome will be. Common sense. I hear people say we don’t really know if there is global warming so we should go ahead and do whatever we want until after we find out that there is, and then we can stop if we want to. Nonsensical thinking. Nobody can take back what has already been done. For every action there is a reaction. We don’t want to do that kind of experiment. Common sense.

Good grief I am expounding again. I just woke up in Houston after listening to Bill Moyers. Maybe we should get a copy of his talk too. He weaves the story well, but it’s the same story that many of us are trying to weave, and it’s not his elegant use of words that makes it important. We’re at the verge of losing our country to the corposystem, and it is the duty of every person to learn about the facts and participate, or over we go. Maybe we will be over the cliff anyhow, but surely we will be if we just sit back and watch it happen.

Mr. Moyers does not appear to understand the biological components of the problem, but it’s not necessary to know everything in order to respond to a problem. He’s right; I’m right. And so is Linzey. We can’t fix anything unless we take back what is ours and then apply his knowledge of politics and our well studied knowledge of biology and Linzey’s creative understand of the law and, and. First we take back our communal rights, and then we learn to use them sustainably for the communities of life. Of course — that’s easy to say, the problem is to know WHAT TO DO. As everyone keeps wondering, and rightly so.

What we do is get together and SHARE OUR EXPERTISE and stop trying everyone to do what is right for individuals or for themselves, and forget that what we are losing now is the common welfare, the communities without which we don’t HAVE individual rights — earth, air, soil, water and our freedoms that are NOT individual. Our freedoms have grown up as benefits from the community to its members, and they must be protected as level two (community) rights — not that anyone can do whatever we want to do, but that we have a right to our earth, air, soil and water and our communal freedoms, but only if we use them to benefit the FUTURE (that means sustainably).