Bare Bones Biology 315 – Canaries and Snake Oil

This is the end of the Bare Bones Biology mini-series on canaries. For now, that is. We will come back as events arise. Only it reminds me this time of year, as the seasons turn and the tourists and snake oil salesmen pour into our clean little villages and turn the sky from azure to an off-white skim milk hue. Canaries, of course, refers to “canaries in the coal mines” of earlier days (you can look it up on the web; I only have 600 words here).


And so as we canaries are forced to flee the villages into the ever-diminishing safe places of our land, the snake oil salesmen converge, with silver-tongue fairy tales such as “My asphalt is environmentally friendly,” and if challenged are likely as not to fall back on Jesus. I have read the Bible (old and new) and am quite sure that Jesus said nothing at all about asphalt, but He did have some things to say about money. I recommend you read it.
160423-canyon-ASC_4039RLSs copy
But that’s not what I want to say today. I want to say, for the canaries of our world who are more sensitive to health hazards, or more aware of the causes of them, if you are a true canary, then your problems are not your body. They are your sensitive awareness of your body that in better times, olden times, some of which I can actually remember, would have made you a leader.

In a culture where money is reverenced over health, and dominance over leadership, you and I will just naturally be inclined to believe the snake oil, because our culture doesn’t tell us the real story. We can (and some do) spend all our lives trying to find our answers in “fixing” this or that about ourselves, our homes, our towns, when the cause of the problem is, literally, the “fixes.”

AND YET THE FACTS ARE AVAILABLE ON THE INTERNET from organizations that have actually tested these ingredients. That’s why producers do not want to label their products. They don’t want us to know.


Please, canaries, never believe a sales pitch until you go to an authoritative web site (not another sales pitch) and get the real facts.


Your doctor cannot “cure” a problem that is not a part of your body; your psychological counselor cannot cure a problem that is not in your mind. Make sure, of course, that’s the first thing you should check. And if that’s not it, look for the cause elsewhere.   Buying stuff cannot cure a problem if the stuff you buy makes you sicker than you were before you bought it. And while we blame our own bodies and minds, we are only shoveling money, into the pockets of the snake oil salesmen. And so we experiment over and over, in the belief that something is wrong with Us, when the cause is in fact the growth and pollution of the places in which we live.


We could be using it to clean up the environment that really is sick. We could, for example:


1 – Remove the perfume and candles from public places; they are as bad as cigarettes or worse;
160428-BrazosCliffs-ASC_4068RLSs copy2 – Lose the cleaning products that you don’t need that simply turn your clothing and your home into environmental hazards for you and your children;

3 – And as for the asphalt and any other thing that sounds too good to be true – ask for a genuine government-approved fact sheet, listing all ingredients, and look up each ingredient on a reputable web site. It happens I did this for a report last year and I have a few words left here so I’ll quote one sentence from that report.

“Asphalt processing and asphalt roofing manufacturing facilities are major sources of hazardous air pollutants such as formaldehyde, hexane, phenol, polycyclic organic matter, and toluene. Exposure to these air toxics may cause cancer, central nervous system problems, liver damage, respiratory problems and skin irritation.” [EPA, The United States of American Environmental Protection Agency].

The air you breathe and the water you drink are at least as important to your health as the food you eat, and the ingredients that we put into the air and water deserve at least as much responsible reporting.

This is Bare Bones Biology, a production of Https://

A copy of this podcast can be downloaded at:


Bare Bones Biology 310 – Conclusion

160423-canyon-ASC_4053RLSs copy

“My raw throat is closing, my heart racing, and my head fuzzy from the fumes emanating from my dear friend. She knows I’m very sensitive to chemicals.

“I stopped wearing perfume a long time ago after I found out that it makes some people sick,” she says.

“What do I say?

“What I’m thinking is this:

The fragrance in your laundry products is just as toxic as any perfume you would spray on. In fact it can be even more problematic because there is no way to control the amount of fragrance that ends up on your clothes and it is very difficult to ever get it to wash out. All of your clothes and linens are now drenched in it, so there is no way for you to decide to be “fragrance free” for a day so you can come visit me without making me ill. The companies that sell laundry products have been progressively ramping up the amounts of fragrance in their products because they know that it is not how well the product works that sells it, but how it smells. As a result, the products we have now are far more toxic and irritating than they were in the past. But this has gone practically unnoticed by people like you because you have become so accustomed to living in a cloud of chemical fumes that your sense of smell has become dulled. So you can’t tell that at this very moment your clothes are outgassing enormous amounts of the sick-making fragrance that you think you are not wearing. And now I’m sick.

“What I say is: “Oh well, everything makes me sick now. Don’t worry about it.”

Because I love my friend.”



Why do people behave like this?

I mean how could a best friend ignore the reality that tortures her best friend?

Is it possible that most of the people in our culture who are competent and truly sensitive to others do not listen to their reality because they have been given the placebo of a happy world view that makes sense but is not true — and they lack the courage to face the grief and anger they would feel if they were to open their eyes to the reality and recognize the lie. Or recognize the higher truth that their culture has abandoned them – rather used them to dominate and destroy their best friends in the name of profits. And then twisted the knife by applauding their heroism. “Not using perfume.” Indeed. I do not believe a person can walk around within a cloud of stench and not know it – but I see it every day.

Let’s face it.

160423-Canyon-ASC_4060RLSs copy This is not just a little problem among friends; it’s a way of life in our social system today.

The most obvious behaviors of our social system can be described as “Growth by Domination for Gain.” Most of our heroes, in their efforts to change that abusive system we have created – what they are actually doing in their efforts to change the system — IS growth by domination for personal gain. It is not possible to change growth by domination for gain by attacking it with more growth my domination for gain.

One plus one equals TWO, NOT ZERO.

BUT of course it is a lot more fun being a celebrated hero than trying to understand the commandments of Reality, and trying to reconcile ourselves with the broken promises left to us by our parents’ broken dreams.


It’s happening every day. But words can’t change facts.

This is Bare Bones Biology, a production of

A copy of this podcast can be downloaded at:


Bare Bones Biology 186 – Freedom

130902-SimpleLife-ASC_5799RLSsMy 2013 was akin to an out-of-body experience with an equivocal ending, neither moving forward to a born-again future nor trudging back in defeat to the septic valley that spit me out.

The quest began the year before, when I finally followed my own advice and faced up to a couple of unpleasant realities, one of which I have known most of my life, I am chemically sensitive, and getting older does not make it better. But I carry on trying to prove to myself that it isn’t so. On the “special problems,” portion of the questionnaire, I always answer “none,” and end up trying to meditate in a cloud of incense; or trying to enjoy a party, or a job, or a lecture or rally, while engulfed in perfume or cigarette smoke, or breathing the air in an airplane, or an elevator, or in Houston, or Northern France, or Southern California.

I tried again in 2012 to prove that it isn’t so. And again I failed. So of course in 2013, I set out once again to disprove the reality and discovered, alas, that I am still me. Such is the weakness of woman. Finally, now, I am very sadly moving myself to a place where I don’t have to feel sick unless I really am sick.

It doesn’t help, trying to discuss chemical sensitivity with physicians or friends or colleagues, because they don’t want to believe it either. We all would much rather attribute the symptoms to stress or some kind of mental pathology. We want to see a straight line relationship between some chemical and me puking in the bathroom, or wiping my bloody nose, or – but I won’t bore you with individual symptoms because the symptoms of chemical sensitivities can be extraordinarily subtle at the lower levels of expression, possibly because it IS stress, the stress of toxic compounds coursing through one’s system. You probably have experienced some yourself and don’t know it: the dreadful draggies; food cravings I have well documented at least for my own body.

130902-Property-ASC_5848RLSThe cause of chemical sensitivities, according to one theory, is that our livers remove toxic chemicals from our blood stream; and some livers, mine for example, do not do a good job of it.

If this theory is correct, it explains, in part, the variability of symptoms, because the many unattural toxins that the liver has been unable to break down for excretion, will instead be carried throughout the body by the blood, and the resulting symptoms will tend to be generalized, diverse, cumulative and easy to blame on the victim rather than on the air she is trying to breath; and – ☺ – for the most part they go away when she removes herself from the source, unless the damage is permanent;but — ☹ — I have been able to find only one location with joyfully clean air.

On the up side, in this one place, after about 6 weeks of breathing clean air in the canyon, I did indeed feel born again. Like when I first moved to Maine; like when I first moved to Texas to escape the toxins of NYC. But because it is very cold there in the winter, and the place is off the grid and not always accessible, it’s not a good winter home.

Therefore Bitsy and I left the lovely valley of good health before we could be snowed in, and spent the rest of 2013 driving around the West, first to southern California and then north, up the coast to the middle of Oregon, and then across the mountains and high plains back to the formerly lovely Texas valley that contains my “permanent” home that is now a focal point of Tar Sands pipelines, Gulf Oil disasters, GMO crops with their heavy loads of fertilizer and plant poisons, coal fired power plants, thousands of oil wells and, more recently, fracking. When we returned “home” in December, the symptoms also returned and progressed.

So, we will be out of here ASAP, healthier but much the sadder for it, and will look for winter quarters with access to electricity and internet, for next year, near our clean-air canyon. There we will relax, enjoy doing one thing at a time, and submit to the God of Life, if not to Man and not to the corposystem.

Wishing the same for your year,


“It is with the coming of man that a vast hole seems to open in nature, a vast black whirlpool spinning faster and faster, consuming flesh, stones, soil, minerals, sucking down the lightning, wrenching power from the atom, until the ancient sounds of nature are drowned out in the cacophony of something which is no longer nature, something instead which is loose and knocking at the world’s heart, something demonic and no longer planned – escaped it may be – spewed out of nature, contending in a final giant’s game against its master.” Loren Eiseley, The Firmament of Time (1960)
“I am now fully aware of what multiple chemical sensitivity, or MCS, is and how it is affecting my life and the lives of my children. I wish with all my heart that I had known 20 years ago so that I could have prevented some of the harm that has come to myself and my family. But how could I have? MCS is a hidden disorder. It is a much maligned and misunderstood disorder. To understand it, one must understand the whole evil underpinnings of our greedy commercial system. Who wants to think about that? Who wants to acknowledge that our entire way of living is toxic, built on lies and greed? That’s a real downer, right?” Quote from blog, Sound as a Crystal

081213-CanyonAnd how many of you who are reading this just don’t feel very good and you don’t even know what it feels like to feel good? So you can’t compare, and you believe it’s something wrong with yourself because nearly the entire medical community – both chemical and “naturopathic” says it is, but all you really need is real air to breath.

Read also: Poisoning our Children, Surviving in a toxic world. By Nancy Sokol Green, The Noble Press Inc.

This is Bare Bones Biology, a production of and KEOS radio, 89.1 FM, in Bryan, Texas. For a podcast of this week’s program go to or click on the link below.

The Power and the Glory – The American Dream — up and down, ying and yang – all in one day, while Bitsy visits friends.

The pasture was silvery with frost under the early morning moon as I stopped to roll a fresh bale of Texas coastal hay out of my little white car to feed the horses. By the time I get to Austin, I thought, most of the little bits of hay will brush off my hair and slacks. Austin knows from nothing anyhow. A 20-mile perimeter around the town has fallen under the concrete, friends are gone and the air is worse than anything I ever met in Southern California. And off I went.

First my face turned red. It always does that when the air is filled with toxins. Next thing, my ears started to ring and then hurt and and then pop, and then they wouldn’t pop. And then we added a new symptom of the chemical smog. As we entered what I’m thinking of as the “cloud of evil,” it looked like ordinary dust, but I could feel my brain disconnecting communication from my eyes. Like — I could see what to do but had to try very hard to actually do it. Driving. In traffic. Rush hour.

I was contemplating what this might do to the developing brains of the millions of babies who are raised up breathing such toxins, when we drove out of the cloud of evil and arrived almost immediately at a new ramp someone created in formerly empty space, and with approximately half a second to choose I had to decide right or left, guided by a sign that listed two places I never heard of before, and shunted us off north, instead of south (now wouldn’t you think they could have mentioned that on the sign?) and spit us out into about ten lanes of rush hour traffic.

So it took about an hour to get turned around, figure out how to get on 35 headed south, and (I really DO KNOW WHERE I AM GOING if they would stop changing it) taking the correct off-ramp, drive up MLK to the top of the hill, pull to the right around the new (brand name omitted) Conference Center.

130131-IHHouston-asc_2237SsThere was a parking lot right in front of my face, I pulled in just as another pulled out and went over to figure out how to pay $10 for 24 hours, which is not a bad price in Austin, put the ticket on the dash and ran into the building, arriving exactly on time for the Adobe Lightroom course, given by, which I need because I signed up for a more advance course at Santa Fe Photographic, pre-requisite that I be comfortable with Photoshop and Lightroom. I have used every version of Lightroom, pre-publication, but gave up every time trying to make it seem useful. So this is my treat to myself. Plus they added a brush that changes things.

The course was excellent, but the room was a festival of toxic fumes emanating from about 400 or 500 people (perfume and whatnot) as well as the chemicals the hotel puts into the air in an attempt to separate your sense of smell from your brain so you won’t know you are surrounded by that festival of toxic fumes. So I was standing up in back, trying to get a breath of clean air. (The air was MUCH fresher in the smoking area.) No point complaining; I knew what to expect and was not surprised. But here’s the thing, this instructor sitting clear across the ballroom, apparently noticed me standing there and called someone to unobtrusively ask me if I didn’t have a seat. I said yes, explained, and the hotel A/C came on in a few minutes so I was able to return to my seat in the back row, where I got what I came for. Excellent instruction from Mr. Kos-low-ski.

There seems to be no food at the new (brand name omitted) Conference Center for someone on a half-hour break. They have two gourmet eateries, where I got an excellent cup of coffee, found a bag of peanuts, but as 5 pm approached after 5 hours of instruction, I was EXHAUSTED. Sometimes I forget I am an OLD PERSON. So I asked the (brand name omitted) Conference Center how much it would cost me to just crash there overnight before heading home. $250. As I said, Austin knows from nothing.

130131-IHHouston-asc_2245LsSo a friendly co-student gave me a little map of how to get out of Austin the other way, and I went out to my car, which did not start. Another friendly co-student jumped the car, he knew what he was doing and did it well, and off I drove feeling guilty because he was still trying to put HIS car back together, and got lost again in rush hour traffic by getting into the wrong lane and then assuming that Riverside is on the north side of the river, which it is not. I think I was on Cesar Chavez. The road was clearly familiar, though I couldn’t remember why, and was much more friendly than 35, so I kept on going, ended up crossing the river almost in front of the Austin Hostelling International (, stopped and went in and had the best night’s sleep in the cleanest air in the cleanest facility in Austin unless I miss my guess. Nothing toxic except the air itself. And so then I drove home, the sky becoming bluer as I approached the Brazos Valley, my ears beginning to un-swell, my eyes and brain back to normal.

And then just as my little white car reached the Brazos river, a bright yellow airplane swooped low overhead, completing its turn before going back to spraying some kind of poison over the spring crops that will eventually end up on your breakfast table.

Moral: If you are going to Austin, take a plane, rent a car and stay at the International Hostelling. It’s at a pretty spot on the river, only a few miles from the airport, is very clean, and the people know up from down.

Moral #2: If you want to travel anyplace else in Texas, there is a bus company offering a promotion. $1 to anyplace. Nice big bus with internet access. That’s what my roommate was doing. But I was VERY VERY TIRED and missed the name of the bus company.

Moral #3: There are lot’s and lots of nice people, even in Austin.

Moral #4: When your hunger finally talks you into stopping at McDonalds for a burger – and they WON’T SERVE YOU A BURGER, and you walk out laughing hysterically because the world has flipped upside down, and when the employees don’t get the joke – you know it’s all over.

Moral #5: When you are staying at the hostel and they serve pancakes – eat.

Recommended Reading
Poisoning our Children. Nancy Sokol Green

Bare Bones Biology 125 – Adaptation

We all know that we cannot reduce pollution of our biosphere without reducing human growth on earth. Any more than a bathtub could contain an infinite number of marbles. The more we grow – the more we unbalance the healthy relationships between ourselves and the rest of the biosphere. The earth biosphere cannot change how it balances its parts (see Bare Bones Ecology Energy Handbook – ) in order to stay alive. It’s parts are energy and matter – just like our parts and all of life. Earth, air, energy and water. The big LIFE balances its parts very much like our parts balance, and all of life balances its parts. (See the Bare Bones Biology series on climate change that begins with Bare Bones Biology 092, on the website
We are not God. We cannot adapt the facts of life to suit ourselves. What we can change is our behaviors, and that would be enough if we would adapt our behaviors to suit ourselves to the facts of life. Instead of trying so hard to adapt the facts of life to suit ourselves.

The corposystem propaganda is once again trying to confuse us about how life works. This time they are claiming that we can adapt to the changes in the biosystem. Or – and I just found a real book authored by a famous reporter that has the title “earth” and is not at all about the earth. (If you want to hear about a book that DOES address reality, check out Eaarth by Bill McKibben.

This new “earth” book is not about the earth – not at all. It’s about people. This is really odd, given that people can’t make earth alive – it is the earth that keeps us alive. People wouldn’t be here at all if it were not for the whole earth ecosystem. And the way the Biosphere stays living is to keep all its parts balanced, and the way it does that is by the functions of all the millions of species that live on the earth.

The living earth must, like all living things, keep its parts balanced in order to stay alive. Just like ourselves, the earth can change how it does some things, but it cannot change what it must do. What it must do to stay alive is balance the earth and air and water – all the elements that recycle, for example oxygen and carbon – and the energy that it gets from food.

We cannot adapt our biology, because it is genetically programmed, and so is the biology of the entire earth ecosystem. Genetically programmed. Well-adapted species, such as the grasses in the photograph (right here in the back yard in New Mexico), fit every part of their life cycle to the conditions around them. This grass grows in a circle, in the dry, easily eroded environment. The grass roots and the little dam of its growth style help to nurture the soil by preventing erosion and also by capturing water when it does rain, and by retaining the little rabbit turds that will nourish the plant, as the plant nourishes the rabbits that eat the grasses. This is very much how our relationship with the biosphere MUST be if we want to be a well-adapted species. Living sustainably healthy lives. All these behaviors are genetically programmed. Any other kind of grass could not adapt to the same functions as this species of grass, and if the climate changes too much where it lives, the grass will die. Nor can humans adapt to changes in our environment outside of our physiological limits.

If you want to hear of another situation, check out the story of some of the “keystone species” such as the sea otters, or mountain lions, how they fit into the biosphere (, This describes real biological adaptation. It requires that all the species in the area nurture each other. That is the whole point of an ecosystem. And it takes hundreds or thousands of years for all the genomes of all the species to gradually evolve into a connected whole ecosystem.

With the exception of organic farmers, humans are making almost no effort to fit into the ecosphere, and I wonder if the organic farmers realize they are destroying the smaller local ecosystems that had evolved in place, in their desire to make a “better” ecosystem that serves primarily humans and not the whole of life itself. Without asking why better and for whom. (I once asked an economist turned organic farmer; he got very angry with me.) The idea seems to be that we should change the ecosphere — not fit into it so that we can be sustainably healthy. I think organic farming is probably a good thing, but I also believe we are not doing it for the welfare of the whole, but only for ourselves, and – again – we are not God who created the whole, and we may not know what is better – especially if we don’t even bother to ask the question.

Bottom line is that we cannot change the basic laws of nature. What we could do is the real meaning of adaptation; that is, change our behaviors so that we can fit helpfully inside the biosphere.

We live on earth only so long as we obey the laws of nature; we can change our behaviors, but we cannot change our physiology – we can’t change how our heart beats and what things poison our cells, or how our bodies use the breath of life to stay alive. Neither can we change how the biosphere stays alive by balancing the air, water, fire and earth within its living self. Most people know this.

Most people do want to move toward a more compassionate and sustainable relationship within the biosystem. Even so, I have been to meetings of many groups, from organic farmers to community organizers to politicians to religious or spiritual groups, all of whom know these things are true, and they care very much about the biosphere and our humanity within the biosphere, and they are trying to organize a new set of relationships that will bring a better balance between the biosphere and human needs.

What I have not recently heard talked about in this sort of meeting, whether it be organic farmers or community organizers or religious/spiritual organizations (and I have been looking hard among groups who claim to be concerned about the health of the biosphere) – what I have not heard is any effort to understand and honor what makes the biosphere sustainable. Nothing about the welfare of the biosphere itself. For its own good health. All we talk about lately is how can we force our will upon the earth ecosystem with our human technologies.

The answer to these ideas is that we are wasting a lot of time trying to do impossible things. We cannot force our will upon the ecosphere. We are not God, who created the heavens and the earth and breathed life into them.

What we can do is learn to understand what the earth ecosystem needs to be healthy, and change our behaviors to give the earth ecosystem what it needs. What does the ecosystem need to stay healthy? Minimally it needs us to re-balance our populations so that we are not consuming more of earth air fire and water than the ecosystem can provide — nor producing more toxic effluents than the ecosystem can tolerate — so that we are not unbalancing the cycles of air, water, healthy earth and food energy that make up the healthy earth ecosystem.

Frankly, I am not interested in any opinions about technologies as a cure, because that route is so chancey and the real solution is so simple. (Simple to understand, not easy to do, but we DO understand it, and it is not impossible; changing what the biosphere requires to be healthy IS impossible. Difficult is easier than impossible, so why are we holding back the solution to the problem?) Simple to understand. Our technologies have unbalanced our nest until we have more people than the earth can feed sustainably. The cure (also simple to understand) is to reduce the overpopulation as quickly and as compassionately as we possibly can to a level that the earth ecosystem can support without changing its climate to the point where humans can no longer live here.

So long as we refuse to use the technologies we already have, in combination with education about how the biosphere functions to stay healthy, we will continue to decline in all parts of our societies. So long as we continue to try to change the world to suit ourselves, and we refuse to change our behaviors to suit the world — we can not take the big step to evolve (adapt) our behaviors into more compassionate, sustainable and rewarding societies. Because starving people cannot learn to be compassionate or peaceful.

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

    Recommended References

Bare Bones Biology Energy Handbook
– freely downloadable, no strings

Click to access pages_std-portrait-barebonesecology100627-finalfinalprinter.pdf

(First blog in this series)
(Second blog in this series)
(Third blog in this series)
Bare Bones Biology Climate Change Series is BBB-092 through BBB-100.,,

Who Cares?

This action occurred right here in River City (Texas) about 90 miles from my homeland. Did you see it in the news? I think Texans did not, so why not just pass this on to as many people as you know.

The Los Alamos action was I think disappointing to the people who worked so hard on it but I was greatly impressed. Obviously the goal of the corposystem media is to prevent these people from trying again by making them believe their efforts are to no avail, and as Americans we tend to believe that if we don’t win (or if we can’t be a hero) we didn’t make a difference. I think we should try to do something (like maybe a half-hour national program, like maybe discussing these issues with people at the morning dominoes table in the spirit of “what can we do,” and not in the spirit of “aint it awful.”) that points out these scattered events are happening all over the united states, brings them together, and makes some common points.

We are being separated from them by a wall of propaganda that tries to make us believe that our shopping malls are an ongoing way of life, and that we can’t talk about the issues of real importance — even for the children!!! In fact the world of our modern American media is a fake fairytale that will crash down on our children’s children (crash slowly or fast, who knows, but we could be trying to prevent it with greater awareness). Even if we don’t believe we can win and even if we can’t be a hero.

Who says winning is the point. I run across so many people who won’t try unless they are sure they can win, and of course — they don’t. The real heroes are those who are trying in spite of the fact that the media prevent them from either winning or being heroes. The worse it gets, the more we will need these people. The future grows out of every behavior we do – every day – win or lose or invisible. Or as one Buddhist said: “It’s not about me, but what I do or don’t do does make a difference.”

Peach Clubhouse Flashletter

1- Letter from the Benicia arm of our Peach Clubhouse.
2- And then stay tuned below the letter and commentary is my answer to Ellen’s question about technical reports that claim “safe levels.” Of course you know EVERYTHING can be harmful if it upsets the balance of your body or of the ecosystem. What is safe?

Howdy readers: As life proceeds, I find that I cannot make a Peach Clubhouse Newsletter every month and do justice to the background information that is the core of the Peach Clubhouse Newsletter. So I have switched to every other month. Next is due first of July or thereafter. However, there are times when it seems important to publish some short bit of news, and today is one of those times, so see below.

I want also to say that nobody is required to live a lifestyle of “fixing” things. In fact, there are strong arguments for just loving life, as one person said “right down to the last molecule” — and not fixing. Most of the modern human ills arise from human fixing. All that is required of us in life is to appreciate what we have been given, which is – life – and not to cause harm or suffering, if we can avoid it. However, if you are not a fixer, please do not be an excuser or a blamer because it interferes with the work of those who are trying to help, and some people just can’t stop trying to help.

If you are a fixer PLEASE be very careful of what you fix and whom you believe in this modern world. Most people mean well, but we must remember that it is what we do that makes up our collective future, not our intention. That’s why we are responsible to act on good information and consider the long-term results of what we do. I would say that the good intentions of many or most fixers are now being manipulated by our culture into harmful channels of behavior.

James Hansen is not. He is one of our entirely credible witnesses on the subject of climate change. This I know. President Obama, I believe, is doing as well as can be expected in the clutches of the corposystem, and better than most, but he does make excuses. Blaming Canada for our plan to build a pipeline to Texas is one of the worst excuses I have ever heard. High-school level. No. Actually grammar school. Well, you who have children and grandchildren know better than I.


1 – Global Warming is not a Prediction (Also it is not a theory).

TO: Loved Ones All,
You’ve heard my concerns before about what we humans are doing to the Earth ecosystem.
Here I go again.
This recent article by James Hansen is plain and simple.
I think he is a credible witness, and we can well afford to pay attention to what he says.
FROM: Larry, Dad, Poppy, Grandpa, etc.

May 9, 2012
Game Over for the Climate
GLOBAL warming isn’t a prediction. It is happening. That is why I was so troubled to read a recent interview with President Obama in Rolling Stone in which he said that Canada would exploit the oil in its vast tar sands reserves “regardless of what we do.”

If Canada proceeds, and we do nothing, it will be game over for the climate.

Canada’s tar sands, deposits of sand saturated with bitumen, contain twice the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by global oil use in our entire history. If we were to fully exploit this new oil source, and continue to burn our conventional oil, gas and coal supplies, concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere eventually would reach levels higher than in the Pliocene era, more than 2.5 million years ago, when sea level was at least 50 feet higher than it is now. That level of heat-trapping gases would assure that the disintegration of the ice sheets would accelerate out of control. Sea levels would rise and destroy coastal cities. Global temperatures would become intolerable. Twenty to 50 percent of the planet’s species would be driven to extinction. Civilization would be at risk.

That is the long-term outlook. But near-term, things will be bad enough. Over the next several decades, the Western United States and the semi-arid region from North Dakota to Texas will develop semi-permanent drought, with rain, when it does come, occurring in extreme events with heavy flooding. Economic losses would be incalculable. More and more of the Midwest would be a dust bowl. California’s Central Valley could no longer be irrigated. Food prices would rise to unprecedented levels.

If this sounds apocalyptic, it is. This is why we need to reduce emissions dramatically. President Obama has the power not only to deny tar sands oil additional access to Gulf Coast refining, which Canada desires in part for export markets, but also to encourage economic incentives to leave tar sands and other dirty fuels in the ground.

The global warming signal is now louder than the noise of random weather, as I predicted would happen by now in the journal Science in 1981. Extremely hot summers have increased noticeably. We can say with high confidence that the recent heat waves in Texas and Russia, and the one in Europe in 2003, which killed tens of thousands, were not natural events – they were caused by human-induced climate change.

We have known since the 1800s that carbon dioxide traps heat in the atmosphere. The right amount keeps the climate conducive to human life. But add too much, as we are doing now, and temperatures will inevitably rise too high. This is not the result of natural variability, as some argue. The earth is currently in the part of its long-term orbit cycle where temperatures would normally be cooling. But they are rising – and it’s because we are forcing them higher with fossil fuel emissions.

The concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has risen from 280 parts per million to 393 p.p.m. over the last 150 years. The tar sands contain enough carbon – 240 gigatons – to add 120 p.p.m. Tar shale, a close cousin of tar sands found mainly in the United States, contains at least an additional 300 gigatons of carbon. If we turn to these dirtiest of fuels, instead of finding ways to phase out our addiction to fossil fuels, there is no hope of keeping carbon concentrations below 500 p.p.m. – a level that would, as earth’s history shows, leave our children a climate system that is out of their control.

We need to start reducing emissions significantly, not create new ways to increase them. We should impose a gradually rising carbon fee, collected from fossil fuel companies, then distribute 100 percent of the collections to all Americans on a per-capita basis every month. The government would not get a penny. This market-based approach would stimulate innovation, jobs and economic growth, avoid enlarging government or having it pick winners or losers. Most Americans, except the heaviest energy users, would get more back than they paid in increased prices. Not only that, the reduction in oil use resulting from the carbon price would be nearly six times as great as the oil supply from the proposed pipeline from Canada, rendering the pipeline superfluous, according to economic models driven by a slowly rising carbon price.

But instead of placing a rising fee on carbon emissions to make fossil fuels pay their true costs, leveling the energy playing field, the world’s governments are forcing the public to subsidize fossil fuels with hundreds of billions of dollars per year. This encourages a frantic stampede to extract every fossil fuel through mountaintop removal, longwall mining, hydraulic fracturing, tar sands and tar shale extraction, and deep ocean and Arctic drilling.

President Obama speaks of a “planet in peril,” but he does not provide the leadership needed to change the world’s course. Our leaders must speak candidly to the public – which yearns for open, honest discussion – explaining that our continued technological leadership and economic well-being demand a reasoned change of our energy course. History has shown that the American public can rise to the challenge, but leadership is essential.

The science of the situation is clear – it’s time for the politics to follow. This is a plan that can unify conservatives and liberals, environmentalists and business. Every major national science academy in the world has reported that global warming is real, caused mostly by humans, and requires urgent action. The cost of acting goes far higher the longer we wait – we can’t wait any longer to avoid the worst and be judged immoral by coming generations.
James Hansen directs the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies and is the author of “Storms of My Grandchildren.”


2 – From Janis and Ellen
The question was how to evaluate technical reports that claim levels of exposure are safe. Here is my answer. Most of these difficult questions come from believing false premises. The false premise of the entire corposystem is that growth is good. Not true – balance is good. The primary false premise of most technical evaluations is that nothing else is happening except what they are measuring. If they say, for example, that the level of carbon dioxide, or gas emissions, or pollution of our waters is “safe” – well, the short answer is they don’t know. Why they don’t know? They are assuming that nothing else is going on in the same space (let’s say the Brazos Valley), and the fact is that everything is going on at the same time in the ecosystem. The second false assumption is that they do not give a time frame. If you do this for a week it is OK? If you do it for a year, does the exposure go away or does it stay until it is no longer a safe level? No it does not go away. Everything that happens in the ecosystem stays in the ecosystem.

This, my dear friends, has already happened both in the Brazos Valley and in the world. There is no longer ANY safe level of adding foreign chemicals to our environment. If there were, I would not have been forced out of my home. And do not be confused by the term “natural,” that the corposystem applies to unsafe chemicals. Natural means, really, anything that exists on earth. When I say foreign, I refer to substances that were manipulated by humans and therefore have the potential (whether or not we understand it) to unbalance the ecosystem that has evolved as a healthy life form. Just as these fracking chemicals added to your water might not kill you, just as the sick air might not kill the children, that does not mean we are healthy. I am still taking antihistamines from time to time to counteract the symptoms – not of any illness, but of pollution. I never saw asthma among my childhood playmates. You see the cycle. The corposystem does something they may honestly believe is helpful; a) first destroying the earth to get energy; b) this reduces the available clean water and food; c) and then we treat the human symptoms that result from the destruction and claim there are technologies to deal with food production. We fixers must be very careful not to “fix” in that way, without at the same time reducing the root cause of the cycle. There is no debate about how much is safe. If you want to be healthy do not expose yourself to ANY foreign substances (and of course many natural substances are poisonous as well). The third false assumption that I find in every level of human endeavor, even sometimes in basic science (and always of course in technology) is that we humans know how to fix (anything). We do not, and what I see from this article below is the obvious result of acting as though we do by making assumptions based in human data without regard to the fact that we do NOT know what is going on underground and we have made no effort to find out before messing up the reality.

At the root of this spiral of suffering is overpopulation of humans on this earth. This too, is a fact, not an opinion or a hypothesis. To deny this fact does not solve the problem, even as we compassionately try to treat the symptoms. The earth cannot grow. That is the relevant fact.

The challenge we face is to fix our overpopulation problem without causing more suffering piled on top of all the other causes of suffering. Nothing goes away in the ecosystem. To fix any problem we must recognize and deal with the cause, or the symptoms will simply pile higher and deeper. If you are not a fixer, do not moan and groan and blame – appreciate what you have been given. If you are a fixer do not moan and groan and blame – but do not make it worse by treating the symptoms while ignoring the root cause. It is not possible for humans to “fix” the ecosystem. It was already incredible before we arrived. What we CAN do is to let the ecosystem fix itself by not behaving in ways that unbalance it.

Below is one of the references from Janis that generated the above teaching.
Check for a summary of publications being collected at

New Study Predicts Frack Fluids Can Migrate to Aquifers Within Years
Published on Wednesday, May 2, 2012 by ProPublica

by Abrahm Lustgarten, ProPublica

A new study has raised fresh concerns about the safety of gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale, concluding that fracking chemicals injected into the ground could migrate toward drinking water supplies far more quickly than experts have previously predicted.

More than 5,000 wells were drilled in the Marcellus between mid-2009 and mid-2010, according to the study, which was published in the journal Ground Water two weeks ago. Operators inject up to 4 million gallons of fluid, under more than 10,000 pounds of pressure, to drill and frack each well.

Scientists have theorized that impermeable layers of rock would keep the fluid, which contains benzene and other dangerous chemicals, safely locked nearly a mile below water supplies. This view of the earth’s underground geology is a cornerstone of the industry’s argument that fracking poses minimal threats to the environment. But the study, using computer modeling, concluded that natural faults and fractures in the Marcellus, exacerbated by the effects of fracking itself, could allow chemicals to reach the surface in as little as “just a few years.”

“Simply put, [the rock layers] are not impermeable,” said the study’s author, Tom Myers, an independent hydrogeologist whose clients include the federal government and environmental groups. (of course they are not impermeable, and there are things living down there – anyone should know that before assuming otherwise – LL) “The Marcellus shale is being fracked into a very high permeability,” he said. “Fluids could move from most any injection process.”

The research for the study was paid for by Catskill Mountainkeeper and the Park Foundation, two upstate New York organizations that have opposed gas drilling and fracking in the Marcellus.
Much of the debate about the environmental risks of gas drilling has centered on the risk that spills could pollute surface water or that structural failures would cause wells to leak. Though some scientists believed it was possible for fracking to contaminate underground water supplies, those risks have been considered secondary. The study in Ground Water is the first peer-reviewed research evaluating this possibility. The study did not use sampling or case histories to assess contamination risks. Rather, it used software and computer modeling to predict how fracking fluids would move over time. The simulations sought to account for the natural fractures and faults in the underground rock formations and the effects of fracking.

The models predict that fracking will dramatically speed up the movement of chemicals injected into the ground. Fluids traveled distances within 100 years that would take tens of thousands of years under natural conditions. And when the models factored in the Marcellus’ natural faults and fractures, fluids could move 10 times as fast as that.
Where man-made fractures intersect with natural faults, or break out of the Marcellus layer into the stone layer above it, the study found, “contaminants could reach the surface areas in tens of years, or less.” The study also concluded that the force that fracking exerts does not immediately let up when the process ends. It can take nearly a year to ease. As a result, chemicals left underground are still being pushed away from the drill site long after drilling is finished. It can take five or six years before the natural balance of pressure in the underground system is fully restored, the study found.

Myers’ research focused exclusively on the Marcellus, but he said his findings may have broader relevance. Many regions where oil and gas is being drilled have more permeable underground environments than the one he analyzed, he said.

“One would have to say that the possible travel times for a similar thing in Arkansas or Northeast Texas is probably faster than what I’ve come up with,” Myers said.

Ground Water is the journal of the National Ground Water Association, a non-profit group that represents scientists, engineers and businesses in the groundwater industry. Several scientists called Myers’ approach unsophisticated and said that the assumptions he used for his models didn’t reflect what they knew about the geology of the Marcellus Shale. If fluids could flow as quickly as Myers asserts, said Terry Engelder, a professor of geosciences at Penn State University who has been a proponent of shale development, fracking wouldn’t be necessary to open up the gas deposits.

“This would be a huge fracture porosity,” Engelder said. “So I read this and I say, ‘Golly, does this guy really understand anything about what these shales look like?’ The concern then arises from using a model rather than observations.”

Myers likened the shale to a cracked window, saying that samples showing it didn’t contain fractures were small in size and were akin to only examining an intact section of glass, while a broader, scaled out view would capture the faults and fractures that could leak. Both scientists agreed that direct evidence of fluid migration is needed, but little sampling has been done to analyze where fracking fluids go after being injected underground. Myers says monitoring systems could be installed around gas well sites to measure for changes in water quality, a measure required for some gold mines, for example. Until that happens, Myers said, theoretical modeling has to substitute for hard data.
“We were trying to use the basic concepts of groundwater and hydrology and geology and say can this happen?” he said. “And that had basically never been done.” © 2012 ProPublica

Comment by Glenn, regarding his method for fixing (Oh, oops, words are important the definition of carbon fixation would be in this case to get the carbon dioxide out of the air and converted into proteins in the bodies of living things) excess carbon and other compounds in the living earth: “I am very encouraged. It’s not just what we are emitting or will emit, but what has already been emitted that is already damaging and will escalate due to warming that is built-in, unless a lot of atmospheric carbon finds a new home as life in and on the earth.” Because the carbon cycle is well understood, this kind of work it can reasonably be expected to be helpful; this is NOT similar to the fracking technology which any biologist could reasonably expect to be harmful, and nobody should do because the relevant information is unknown.


My search for a smog-free environment-

It aint Santa Fe, that is already apparent, although I am not actually sick from pollution here, and that is a huge relief. But I don’t expect it will get better over the next ten years.

If you thought Texans were polite, I told you already about the lady who moved her car so Bitsy could park in the shade. Yesterday a woman pulled out a little too far on a difficult corner, so I stopped to wait for her to get organized, then we both moved into the traffic stream and when I came alongside she rolled down her window and apologized. There are all kinds of environment, but the one that makes us sick is the one tells us to move on as soon as our lease is up. Where should I try next?

Bare Bones Biology 075 – Your Local Independent Radio Station

Your local independent all-volunteer radio station is KEOS, 89.1FM. But you already know that, since you are listening to one of the volunteers. And I bet you think I’m going to ask for money, but no, that was your idea. I only have four and a half minutes to say something useful for our future on this earth. But it’s a good idea, giving money, because the local stations are more important than most people know, and this is tough times.

Most people believe that your local independent radio station is mostly for fun, or for practice or listening to a great variety of music, but not so much as a source of reliable factual information. But you know, just for living every day and especially for building a better future, we need an enormous amount of reliable, fact-based information, and a lot of that information is being washed out of the corposystem media and replaced by their self-serving propaganda. Your local independent radio station has a number of programs that can give you different points of view and reliable facts about some the most important decisions you will be making in the coming years.

Of these programs, my favorites are “Sprouts” that airs at 6:30 on Sunday morning, and Alternative Radio on Monday at 7 pm. Bioneers radio airs practical biology on Saturday at 3 pm, and today I’ll give you an excerpt from Sierra Club Radio that you can listen to on Sunday mornings right before Sprouts. In addition to current news, Sierra Club Radio often airs helpful hints for green living. Each of these programs offers downloads at their web sites.

In this short excerpt, Bruce Niles is interviewed by Orley Cotell on the subject of Sierra Club’s campaign to clean up smog caused by coal burning power plants. The full podcast is linked in my blog transcript.

This little clip is part of an explanation of what the Sierra club plans to do with a pretty huge grant they recently received to clean up smog caused by coal fired power plants all across the United States. It begins with Orley Cotell asking the questions.

OC-“I’m curious if you can tell us what part coal-fired power plants play in creating smog, and how bad of a problem is it?”

BN-“Smog is a very serious problem in most every part of this country. There is an estimated 100 million Americans who live in cities and towns across this country where on many days of the year it is unsafe to breath, and so for example here in Washington in the month of July every single day was either a code yellow, orange or red. In the middle of summer it was unsafe to be outside in Washington DC. Coal plants are the largest contributor to that problem of ozone or smog pollution. So as we push to clean up power plants in the remaining fleet we should take a huge bite out of smog pollution and help to eliminate this huge smog problem that is literally afflicting 100 million Americans.”

OC- “I know that asthma in many cases can be exacerbated by smog or by coal pollution. How bad of a problem is that and what role can EPA play in cleaning it up?”

BN- “An asthma doctor described the impact of smog pollution this way. If you can imagine sunburn on your lungs, which is what happens when ozone or smog, which is very acid gets deep down in your lungs and literally sears your lungs. So when someone who already has lung problems, such as someone with asthma, smog can actually send them into asthma attacks and they can end up with pretty serious medical problems. Smog is the number one trigger for asthma attacks.”

Bare Bones Biology 075 – Sierra Club
KEOS Radio, 29.1 FM
Audio available at