Remember Anjali Appadurai at COP17. Well Severn Suzuki predates her 20 years at Rio giving the same impassioned message.
Who will be next? And still they let the addicted continue ….
Posts Tagged ‘Anjali’
Last year I wrote about Thailand’s floods, a blogentry that has been updated. This week I spoke with someone who follows what the Thailand government has been doing in response to the floods.
Rather insensitively I described the floods last September as a “glitch”. My heart still goes out to the bereaving families but I still consider it a glitch in comparison to what the 1% are doing to the world through war and the global economy. Since those floods there has been COP17 in which the wonderful Anjali “Get It Done” Appudarai spoke – her speech being the only useful thing to come out of the conference. Why was nothing done at the conference? Because the 1% had befuddled the arena by using the Heartland Institute and others to create “climate change denial”.
So what has the Thai government done? Bear in mind that the tax burden is much less here. I was told there is a proposal to build a needed canal from Chao Praya through the Suvarnabhumi marshlands through the Bangna Highway down to the Gulf of Thailand, maybe taking 5 years. What are they doing immediately? Well business is concerned about flood damage to the factories. So the government has given business money to build walls to protect their factories. So what is the plan for where the water goes when it is blocked from a route through factories? It is diverted, where? The roads and the homes of the people. So the factories stay open without workers and no means of transportation. Farcical.
And how is business expressing its gratitude? By relocating factories to Myanmar and Vietnam.
It is a farcical plan, and I can hear Farang voices bemoaning stupid Thais. I suppose next the Thais will say there is no climate change, now that would be stupid – to say there is no climate change. Nobody would be that stupid!!!
No matter what idiocy emerges from Bangkok, it cannot compare with the idiocy of the climate deniers!!
In one of the updates I complimented the foresight of my jangwat for building three canals. Whilst this is sensible I began to discuss the raising water levels of the main river through my town. The river flows from Cambodian mountains, and on both sides of the border has been deforestation. About 60km away up the river there has been gem mining – rubies. As a result there has been much silt built up as the river took away the soil. The river has become more shallow as a result of this soil from the mines, and the level is rising. So quite sensibly there is dredging planned. Dredging? Afraid not. The river will rise, there are three canals but no necessary dredging. I withdraw the compliment.
Until Songkran mid-April is the hot season. Songkran is famous for the throwing of water, a practice few mind because of the rising temperatures of the hot season. There was a storm Friday for most of the afternoon. Last month it rained daily for a week or so, this is rainy season weather. Climate change puts an end to seasons so what will happen to the food? I did ask and got a worrying answer but have forgotten – I will add it later.
Climate change denial makes you want to be angry, but the actions of the addicted are not worthy of anger. Perhaps the actions of the aware who do nothing do merit my anger, what do you think?
Here is an article concerning the Wall Street Journal’s efforts to deny climate change.
In this article from Truthout it describes the results of the COP17 talks as “an agreement to try to agree”. Is this a worthwhile resolution in this time of climate crisis? As Anjali Appudarai said they did not “get it done”. Quite simply they didn’t want to get it done, and it is important to understand why they didn’t want to get it done.
In this article by Naomi Klein we begin to see why there is no desire to get it done. Capitalism cannot continue to make its profits, and work towards climate change. Whilst there are many levels to the reasons why capitalism cannot continue it boils down to the notion that resources are finite and capitalism always needs to expand its profits. Recognising that resources are finite requires an ideological understanding that we have to live within the limits that nature gives us, and we have to use resources sustainably. This is fundamentally contrary to capitalism, and how the corporatocracy makes its profits. If they want to profit they create more money and more wars, at the same time the destruction of the environment does not matter to them – except in its ensuing limitation of profits.
Naomi begins her discussion on this by pointing out the absurdity of climate change “deniers”. Originally climate denial was not fashionable even on the right, because the corporatocracy believed they could profit from green capitalism – I too had hoped this. But now capitalism has decided that they cannot profit from climate, they have instructed their puppets to change tack and deny the existence of climate change, and they did all they could to prevent COP17 from making decisions.
What are the decisions that COP17 were looking to make? The small island states and Africa were saying that global warming is beginning to take affect now. These countries cannot wait until 2020 (or some other arbitrary date) for solutions to be implemented, they cannot wait until the majority of the US is suffering form climate change and their government needs to enact change in their own self-interest. Global warming is affecting these countries now. But it is not their emissions that are causing the problems, it is emissions from other countries such as the First World and China. These affected countries needed something to happen now, and it didn’t. They wanted COP17 to “get it done” but the West didn’t want to reduce their emissions so lessening their profits. And their brinkmanship doesn’t need to at the moment so let the rest of the world suffer – even though they were not the cause of the problem.
Then there was the desire to create a fund for reparation. Historically the US Canada and Europe have contributed the most to the climate damage, COP17 was asking that these countries pay for that damage. They of course didn’t want to accept responsibility. Not only this but they wanted to control this climate fund in much the same way they control the IMF and World Bank. The IMF and World Bank ostensibly loan money to struggling nations, but they apply conditions to these loans. This sounds reasonable until you start looking at the affects of these conditions. IMF and World Bank loans require the growing of cash crops that damage the environment, they require export to be a priority, and they require the sale of state assets – privatisation. All of these measures benefit the NATO countries. The third world resisted this for the climate fund so the West simply said we are not going to accept our historical responsibility for the climate problem. They are going to allow climate problems to decimate the countries so that the countries will be forced cap-in-hand to accept the conditionality imposed on them. This will lead to the loans being used to benefit the West whilst also taking debt repayments.
Here is how the Green Belt Movement describes the existing measures for green relief using carbon trading and carbon offsets. I don’t understand fully what is happening but there does seem a number of clear issues. To comply with financing regulations requires far too much of a financial outlay for grass roots organisations. Secondly regulations do not draw a distinction between indigenous trees that would promote ecological sustainability and fast-growing trees established as monocultures. Both of these drawbacks which for some might sound like nit-picking gear the carbon offset and carbon-trading regulations for the benefit of the profits of transnationals rather than for the benefit of the communities and the environment. This typical of 1% exploitation concerning the environment. Unleaded petrol was lauded for years in the UK as environmentally sound, but it was only introduced when the petrol companies could profit from it and tax breaks were introduced. Again detractors would argue that I am nit-picking because unleaded petrol was introduced, shouldn’t I be grateful? Of course I am grateful but why wasn’t it introduced earlier? Is the only way the world is going to work towards climate change when business can profit. Quite obviously that is the truth, and that is the path top environmental destruction. Capitalism and climate change cannot be partners as discussed above and in Naomi Klein’s article. Let’s say it like it is, and begin to address that problem. Transnationals get in the way of climate change, and transnationals have installed puppet givernements in the West – as is the message of the 1%. By facing this reality we can begin to alter the democratic dialogue and possibly there will emerge politicians who genuinely seek change – as opposed to Obama, Wall Street’s lobbyist general. Whilst the majority of climate-aware people hope that seeking partnership with business will produce results, transnationals will continue to manipulate that partnership thus enabling exploitation of ecology emissions such as the carbin offset and trading as described by the Wangari Maathai & the GBM. Patching and compromise are misused and are not producing results, the situation is only worsening. COP17 is a cop-out, it is compromise and patching and that’s why Anjali’s Appudarai calls to “get it done” are falling on deaf ears. Far too many of the people who are delegates at this conference are making a comfortable living pretending to have an impact when in reality their compromise is being used by the 1% as a means of appeasement and control. When I look back at teaching and think of all the effort I put in to fight the prevailing paradigm, and then evaluate the results my life amounts to little. This is a reality climate apologists need to come to terms with now, confronting the puppets of the 1% in governments needs to be more than just Anjakli’s prerogative of eloquent and vehement youth. It also needs to be more than just youth saying it, so that 1% media cannot dismiss such truth as a youthful phase to be “grown out of” or the blinkers of left-wing extremism. When recent carbon figures show an increase of 5.9 % and “according to the New York Times it represented “almost certainly the largest absolute jump in any year since the Industrial Revolution””, COP17 is no different from the previous 16 and the process is relatively meaningless giving the appearance of doing something that mainstream media can pretend to report on as activity. Isn’t it time to withdraw from this cover-up?
Isn’t it time that intelligent people withdraw from a rat-race? Corporate life are making increased demands on the time of their employees. They become sucked into a race to be executives acceding to demands for more and more commitment to the office above and beyond their commitment to family. But not only this the demands turn these aspirees into complicit minions of the 1%. These minions show the same dispassionate exploitation of humanity that is shown by the CEO, and for what? A marginal increase in salary and a huge increase in hours and personal commitment. Is this right livelihood? We cannot choose everything that we do but if all people minimise the negative impact of our labour then gradually the exploitation of humanity and environment will lessen. This is part of the dual job strategy I have discussed here and here. There is a need to work for income to live whilst at the same time providing a survival fallback platform. Commitment to the transnational can never benefit humanity, commitment to the school rather than education, commitment to the hospital rather than healing, make these our human priorities in the workplace. Education is not the corporate paradigm, healing is not servitude to the profits of Big Pharma and the cancer industry. And of course commitment to the hierarchy of a transnational benefits the 1% mostly, the compromised a little, and detracts greatly from humanity and the environment. When we begin to delineate in the workplace we begin to control change, but we do so at a cost to ourselves. We lose out on salary and career as others who compromise do the required dirty work, but the more such people who “collaborate” are seen in such a light the more there is the possibility of change. As with trade unionists we risk dismissal as the 1% recruit from the reserve army. But with integrity we have the personal tools to be able to cope. Recognising the possibility of financial hardship as a result of our integrity allows us to make plans, adjust our lifestyles and live sustainably, this living beyond the control of the 1%. In the 60s I grew up with this notion of integrity versus collaboration – seling out, sadly soon after the 60s the majority did in fact sell out leading to the wholasale collaboration of Thatcher’s children. We now need to fight for a return to such integrity. It is no point saying that the other ha sthe luxury of principle, my family needs me to be a breadwinner. We all need integrity, we all need to apply principle when the school requires us to teach acceptance of compromise. Trade unions need to turn away from purely the struggle for an increased share of marginal costs into institutions of integrity fighting for the rights of members not to have to compromise their integrity. For trade unions simply to fight for increased wages in metropolitan countries is a complete collaboration with the 1%. Politicial strategies that compromise in order to promote the building of trade unions irrespective of integrity have proven not to work, and the independent power of trade unions has diminished as a result of this collaboration. As instiuttions trade unions are as much a part of the collaboration as are people selling out for a rung on the ladder. And how has this occurred? Because there are echelons within trade unions whose survival depends on salaries from the institutions, again collaboration for comfort. In terms of trade unions such views were always rejected as “Trot” and considered destructive for the movement. But at the time mobilisation of the movement was possibly an effective strategy against the bourgeoisie, it is now the time to recognise that such a strategy only fits into the corporatocratic paradigm leading us to the current situationof permanenty recession whilst our taxes become banksters’ bonuses.
Climate justice starts with personal justice and personal integrity. Seeking such justice in the workplace whilst also working for consensus mobilisation such as Occupy whilst adopting a dual approach to outr iown survival might enable personal and human survival – if we stay outside sustainable spiritual communities. Along with Anjali we can then say “get it done” with integrity.
I am perhaps coming full-turn back to Buddhism after listening to this interview with Thay. Anger is not a way to build a community, it is perhaps fuel for organising but it is not a way to build a community.
He talks about despair, people are so desparate after what the 1% have done to us, where do they go? This is Occupy but Occupy is a movement built in desparation and anger at the 1%. So how much community building is going on at Occupy? I cannot know because I am not in the Occupy Community. There is evidence of many good things, but it is still a community in adversity.
What about a positive community? A community that comes together to celebrate Nature and spirituality, maybe the Occupy meditation group are already doing this. This is such a fascinating discussion to listen to given the importance of the Occupy movement politically – community building. This is Occupy – building a community. So what are the basics of this community? It began as a movement in response to the oppression of the 1%, but it is developing from there. It is developing socio-economically when you start to consider Occupy Farms and Alternative Banking and Economy working groups. But these are a response to the 1%.
But Thay is suggesting “take it a step further”. Not only do you take community building out of the existing economic shackles through alternative economy, but you build that community on a recognition of what are human needs. And once you have begun to recognise those needs, with appropriate teaching people can recognise that there is great happiness that comes from recognising and controlling these needs for survival and developing spiritually leading to that happiness. Has Occupy gone that far with the meditation and wellness group?
Thay focussed on despair. The 1% have driven some people into Occupy through despair, for many I suspect it is anger but despair will come the way the 1% are behaving. For those in despair they can see through the examples of his Plum Village(s) that a spiritual community can bring happiness, and take one out of despair. Despair can be assuaged through Occupy as an economic-based movement, but fundamentally despair is human and personal, and needs a spiritual response.
Thay avoided a direct contemporary political response to the 1%. He talked about the grander picture of civilisations coming and going, and offered the spirituality and community of Plum Village as an alternative. But at the beginning he offered a road map for community building. You build communities from the bottom up. This bottom-up group, say for example a General Assembly, defines the ethics and rationales of this community, and its leaders are exemplar in holding to these ethics. These ethics would encompass an approach to climate change – ostensibly what the discussion was about. The community revolves around these ethics and rationales, and would meet regularly to confirm this charter. In Plum Village he cited the precepts that were part of his mindfulness that binds the Plum Village brotherhood and sisterhood together.
It is love that drives Plum Village. The precepts that might be an Occupy charter free the monks from desire enabling expression of this love. When asked about the environment and the lack of willingness to correct the damage that is being done to the environment he talked of the man whose child loved him and couldn’t understand why he was smoking. Love can conquer the negative desire for smoking, love can conquer all negative desires. Love obviates the needs that come from a society dominated economically. In this Love there is Love for Nature, this is key to happiness for Thay. Experience love of Nature and that brings Happiness and love for each other.
As pointers Thay offers Occupy a lot but at the same time he does not. Occupy is an economic movement, and Thay is saying move beyond the economic shackles and find a spiritual solution. Yet Thay sees himself as part of the Engaged Buddhist movement. Where does this fit in with engagement? Insight recognises that in this day and age the 1% are creating suffering, Thay’s response is become happy through spiritual community building. His insight does not seek political involvement but separate spiritual communities. I am stuck here, do I agree? The last 6 months I don’t, but have I full-turned to agree? Need to meditate then go to the beach.
Here is a guy connected to Occupy who has the notion of community building positively through love:-
and here is a nice dance Occupy from their website:-
Addendum on confronting
In society we do not confront the problem for what it is. In the community building talk there was the mayor of Vancouver present, perhaps Vancouver is progressive; maybe it looked good for him to be seen on a platform with Thay and David Suzuki. The chair broached the 1% and there was talk of vested interests. Let’s be honest the 1% are exploiting us rotten. Their influence controls most social aspects of our lives especially our working lives. If ordinary people want to make changes in their communities, they cannot – unless it does not interfere with business interest. The Occupy movement are trying to hold the 1% accountable and all kinds of trumped-up charges are bringing them into conflict with police. Thay intentionally does not confront this, but the others, the chair and David Suzuki, talk around it. The politician is relatively comfortable. Why should he be? I don’t know when this discussion took place, the original vimeo clip was 18 August this year. I was conscious throughout watching that post-Cop17 Canada was the first country to withdraw from Kyoto. August was in the middle of the Keystone XL debacle before Obama withdrew. And we have a pleasant debate involving a politician who throughout was never confronted except when Thay said that the community building charter should start from the bottom-up and the leaders should be exemplary. That was the extent to which this politician was threatened, he was accepted. In fact at the end of the talk the politician was complimented by Thay on the beautiful city.
I am debating whether these people should be made to feel social pariahs.
What about the straight-talking Anjali Appadurai? Did COP17 feel uncomfortable? Can they accept that they are doing good when they have done nothing all of her life? Of course most people in public office become inured to criticism in public office, but isn’t it time we stopped making it easy for these people? All my life we have made it easy for these people for the occasional crumb they offer us. Is what they offer worth it? Has it been worth eating crow all the times in my life that I have? Financially it probably has been. I have some money in the bank and a satisfactory pension if they pay it. Morally it has not. Would it have been better when I had the opportunity to tell these people to stop taking advantage and do some good? I just don’t know. I had enough conflict in my life, and that would have meant more. I had conflict when I tried to play their game, if I confronted them would more have been gained? But the trouble is all these people I met and let them feel comfortable whilst I compromised myself in discomfort, would it have made any difference to their thick skins if I had told them like it is.
Yet the trouble is a Canadian politician like this is gaining politicial acceptability by being on a platform with Thay and David Suzuki whilst his country is digging up Tar Sands and had plans to get out of Kyoto. I remember David Suzuki saying that Canada and Europe were taking positive climate steps. How ironic is that! And this man apparently has the confidence of Canadians. Does he now?
Is it time that people who know confront those in power and make them uncomfortable? Is it constructive? Certainly appeasing over the last 40 years has left me with a feeling of frustration that I have just been used, and whilst deep down no-one who knows me could have seen any acceptance in me, for the casual contacts maybe they should have been confronted.
I have just recently watched this movie, “Age of Stupid”. The message in the movie was clear but it was too gimicky for me – flashbacks from a future damaged by the stupidity that has produced climate change and hasn’t got the sense to attempt repair.
I wanted to put the movie on my blog but I had nothing much to say about it. And then this week (December 5,6,7,8,9 Democracy Now has been at the “Conference of Polluters”, go to the website to download the progs. What is clear is that the conference is being stupid. Whilst small island nations arrive and tell the world that climate change is drowning them, no-one is listening – listening with regards to climate change means deep listening means change. When Africa says it is feeling climate change, no-one deep listens – only the intellect registers it on the surface. When the science committee says you have to act now there is no deep listening to the science. Meanwhile the West who have caused most of the pollution do not have the respect to send senior delegates and then they block meaningful accords. The Age of Stupid politics run by the 1% – the Polluters.
On December 9 we saw a clip of the clearest example of absolute stupidity:-
James Inhofe was originally supposed to be at the climate talks representing the US, but he sent this video. Such a level of arrogance and rudeness, despite the ignorance he showed in what he said. Galactically stupid!
At least in the same programme (Democracy Now on Dec 9) a student stood up and told them like it is:-
All my life I have listened to people saying there is no point to such talk. Anjali Appadurai was being unrealistic. So how about all the compromising that people have done? How has that helped? Party lines have forced me personally to support crass positions. In general people have subverted their ideals because they are being unrealistic. They are not being unrealistic. they are being used as a scapegoat. Pick on the extremist so that we ignore the 1%. How often do we actually say the 1% are the problem? Mostly we don’t we cloud our talks in euphemism. It is time to stand up and stop playing their games. Withdraw. In a strike we withdraw labour because they profit from that labour. That right has effectively been withdrawn by globalisation. but they still want our money – withdraw it. they still want their credibility – withdraw it. They don’t represent us. We do not live in democracies. Withdraw. How much are the Labour party and the Democrats held together by activists? Withdraw. Maybe we vote for the Democrats and Labour but don’t do their work. Let Occupy save peoples’ homes, Occupiers used to be grass roots Democrats – withdraw. Stick with Occupy.
Anjali is not unrealistic, they just tell us she is. It would be easy for business to cut their emissions. It would be easy for business to participate in a green economy. they just have to accept less profit. Businesses are top-down structures. The CEO says control the emissions, and they are controlled. That is the end of it.
We are unrealistic if we think that, by putting on a suit going to work doing what the boss says getting our salaries, paying for our mortgage, saving for our pension and living without problems, this way of life is still going to work. We will get screwed and dumped.
Anjali – keep the straight talk. Occupy keep the straight talk and consensus. Let’s stand up with the straight talk. No more euphemisms.