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“This Has Never Happened Before”: Millions Without Electricity After Massive Blackout Cripples Argentina And Uruguay

“This Has Never Happened Before”: Millions Without Electricity After Massive Blackout Cripples Argentina And Uruguay

Millions of people and entire cities descended into darkness as a massive, unprecedented power failure kept Argentina and Uruguay in the dark on Sunday morning, the same day as provincial elections were to be held in parts of Argentina. Parts of Brazil and Paraguay also were affected, according to the BBC.

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Ahora en Boedo se ve como CABA está sin luz, aún no hay información oficiall de @OficialEdesur . Estoy esperando al medicio a domicilio por mi hija de 2 años con 39 de fiebre. Vivo en un 9° piso. #SINLUZ #APAGON

According to Buenos Aires-based electricity supplier company Edesur, Argentina suffered a “nationwide” blackout, which also affected neighboring Uruguay, said the company’s spokesperson, Alejandra Martinez, adding that “Something like this has never happened before.”

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Replying to @carlosrsucho @OficialEdesur

Absolutamente todo sin luz!!! Increíble

The company had earlier explained that the massive power outage happened due to a failure in the electrical interconnection system. The blackout itself started at 7:07am local time on Sunday, according to Argentinian officials.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

How much will the US Way of Life © have to change?

How much will the US Way of Life © have to change?

On the future of farming, socialist science, and utopia

Image: Karla S. Chambers

Debates about the Green New Deal—Ocasio-Cortez’s version and occasionally radical varieties such as that of the US Green Party—have incited much discussion about paths to utopia. Central to these conversations is the labour question: who will do the work of making the world, and how will that work be apportioned? And how much will the US Way of Life © have to change?

Ecologically-minded socialists and degrowthers tend to point out that cheap energy and excess material use are built into the socio-technical structures of capitalism. Getting rid of capitalism requires replacing capitalist technology. We must build, literally, a new world, which may require more labour and much lighter consumption patterns in the core, especially among the wealthy. Eco-socialists also tend to be more attentive to agriculture’s role in development in the periphery and core.

Eco-modernists tend, instead, to focus on eliminating exploitation while maintaining as much as possible of the physical infrastructure and patterns of consumption of capitalism. They imagine machines that will take the place of the current ecologically destructive physical plant, including in the countryside—prototype AI bots to supplant fruit pickers, or non-existent carbon-dioxide-sucking machines in place of restorative agriculture, a proven method of sequestering atmospheric carbon. Very frequently, they imagine a totally post-work world, creating the conditions for a new utopia: Fully Automated Luxury Communism.  

Those who hold the latter position often forget that the current distribution of labour is the fruit of a very specific historical moment, marked not merely by a temporary cheapness of energy—and tell Bangladesh, the Seychelles, or your grandchildren that petroleum is cheap—but specific sectoral allocations of labour in farming, industry, and services in the core states.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Earth Offline: A ‘Solar Superflare’ Could Impact the Grid Sooner Than We Think

EARTH OFFLINE: A ‘SOLAR SUPERFLARE’ COULD IMPACT THE GRID SOONER THAN WE THINK

Scientists are warning that a solar superflare on the sun could take Earth’s power systems offline sooner than previously thought. New research suggests that our sun could be capable of shooting a superflare in our direction, and it might be relatively soon impacting our power grid.

Even though our sun is older and less active than other stars in the galaxy, that doesn’t mean it’s totally lost its power, according to Yuta Notsu, a visiting researcher at CU Boulder. Notsu and colleagues used Kepler Space Telescope data to check for evidence of superflares on other stars like our sun. “The Kepler results suggest that slowly rotating, sun-like stars can also have superflares,” Notsu said during a press conference at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society in St. Louis on Monday.

According to a report by Forbes, Notsu said the type of superflares his team describes would be at least 100 times more powerful than the Carrington Event of 1859, which is said to have caused Aurora Borealis as far south as Hawaii and destroyed telegraph infrastructure. “Our study shows that superflares are rare events,” said Notsu. “But there is some possibility that we could experience such an event in the next 100 years or so.”

That would mean the power grid is potentially at stake. Depending on the severity of the super flare, we could have major problems that could stretch into months-long issues.

As humans, we are reliant on the power grid for almost everything in our daily lives.  If something goes wrong, and people lose power, we could have societal upheavals and massive civil unrest. While this scenario seems less likely than an all-out economic crash, it’s still important to have the basics of survivalism in the forefront of your mind.  Adopt a preparedness mindset and just consider the possible outcomes if we have problems.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

‘Deaths Of Despair’ In The U.S. Hit Record High – So How Bad Will Things Get When Society Starts To Completely Collapse?

‘Deaths Of Despair’ In The U.S. Hit Record High – So How Bad Will Things Get When Society Starts To Completely Collapse?

According to a shocking new report from the Commonwealth Fund, the suicide rate in the United States is the highest that it has ever been before.  Sadly, the same thing can be said about the death rates from drug overdoses and alcohol.  All three death rates are at an all-time record high, and yet our society is still fairly stable at the moment.  So if we are seeing this many “deaths of despair” right now, what in the world are things going to look like when our society really begins to start crumbling?  Today, Americans have literally thousands of different ways to entertain themselves, and yet we have never been unhappier.  One out of every six Americans is taking psychiatric drugs, we are currently dealing with “the worst drug crisis in American history”, and people are killing themselves in record numbers.  Nobody likes to be told that they are a failure, but it certainly appears that our nation has been on an extremely self-destructive path for a very long time.

Even though “deaths of despair” have reached record levels, the researchers at the Commonwealth Fund found that there are major regional differences.  The following comes from NBC News

Rates of deaths from suicides, drug overdoses and alcohol have reached an all-time high in the United States, but some states have been hit far harder than others, according to a report released Wednesday by the Commonwealth Fund.

As far as drug overdose deaths are concerned, researchers discovered that the states with the highest death rates were all in northern Appalachia

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Self-Destructive Trajectory of Overly Successful Empires

The Self-Destructive Trajectory of Overly Successful Empires

It’s difficult not to see signs of this same trajectory in the U.S. since the fall of the Soviet Empire in 1990.A recent comment by my friend and colleague Davefairtex on the Roman Empire’s self-destructive civil wars that precipitated the Western Empire’s decline and fall made me rethink what I’ve learned about the Roman Empire in the past few years of reading.

Dave’s comment (my paraphrase) described the amazement of neighboring nations that Rome would squander its strength on needless, inconclusive, self-inflicted civil conflicts over which political faction would gain control of the Imperial central state.

It was a sea change in Roman history. Before the age of endless political in-fighting, it was incomprehensible that Roman armies would be mustered to fight other Roman armies over Imperial politics. The waste of Roman strength, purpose, unity and resources was monumental. Not even Rome could sustain the enormous drain of civil wars and maintain widespread prosperity and enough military power to suppress military incursions by neighbors.

I now see a very obvious trajectory that I think applies to all empires that have been too successful, that is, empires which have defeated all rivals or have reached such dominance they have no real competitors.Once there are no truly dangerous rivals to threaten the Imperial hegemony and prosperity, the ambitions of insiders turn from glory gained on the battlefield by defeating fearsome rivals to gaining an equivalently undisputed power over the imperial political system.

The empire’s very success in eliminating threats and rivals dissolves the primary source of political unity: with no credible external threat, insiders are free to devote their energies and resources to destroying political rivals.It’s difficult not to see signs of this same trajectory in the U.S. since the fall of the Soviet Empire in 1990.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

American Chernobyl

American Chernobyl

In the Spring of 1986 the Soviet Union was in a slow motion collapse. No one in the US intelligence agencies predicted it, the military was taken completely by surprise and no apologies were ever made for the thirty year, multi-trillion dollar oversight. It’s political and social institutions were Potemkin villages kept alive by little more than inertia yet on the outside everything appeared normal, and if not healthy, at least it seemed monolithic in it’s outward appearance.

The structural rot that had taken hold after the death of Stalin had become the central pillar of Eastern European civilization and the foundation upon which it was built- the blood of tens of millions of murdered citizens- softened the ground further, leading to it’s eventual implosion five short years later. On the 26th of April a failed experiment at a nuclear power plant in the Ukraine initiated a slow and steady series of system failures, leading to a full blown meltdown that forced the evacuation of tens of thousands of inhabitants from the exclusion zone.

Most Americans recall the event as a catastrophic ecological disaster that threatened- at that time- to spread radioactive particles across wide swaths of Europe, poisoning the groundwater that fed the Dnieper River, leading directly to the Black Sea. No one was certain in the aftermath of the extent of the damage, nor of the ability of the Soviet system to respond truthfully to international inquiries. It was assumed throughout the Free and Democratic nations of the West that the USSR was incapable of sharing anything that would reflect poorly on their ability to govern.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Forget “Money”: What Will Matter Are Water, Energy, Soil and Food–and a Shared National Purpose

Forget “Money”: What Will Matter Are Water, Energy, Soil and Food–and a Shared National Purpose

If you want to identify tomorrow’s superpowers, overlay maps of fresh water, energy, grain/cereal surpluses and arable land.

The status quo measures wealth with “money,” but “money” is not what’s valuable. “Money” (in quotes because the global economy operates on intrinsically valueless fiat currencies being “money”) is wealth only if it can purchase what’s actually valuable.

As the world slides into an era of scarcities, what will matter more than “money” are the essentials of survival: fresh water, energy, soil and the output of those three, food. The ability to secure these resources will separate nations that fail and those that survive.

In a world of abundance, it’s assumed every essential resource can be bought on the open market. Surpluses are placed on the market and anyone with “money” can buy the surplus.

Things work differently in scarcity: “money” buys zip, zero, nada because nobody with what’s scarce can afford to give it away for “money” which can no longer secure what’s scarce.

Parachute into a desert with gold, dollars, euros, yen and yuan, and since there’s nothing to buy, all your money is worthless. Once you’re thirsting to death, you’d give all your money away for a liter of fresh water. But why would anyone who needs that liter for their on survival trade it for useless “money”?

Imagine the longevity of a regime which sold the nation’s food while its populace went hungry. Not very long once the truth comes out.

Having resources is only one component: consumption is the other half of the picture. Having 4 million barrels a day of oil (MBPD) is nice if you’re only using 3 MBPD, but if you’re consuming 8 MBPD, you still need to import 4 MBPD.

Water and soil are not tradable commodities. 

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

They’ve Stolen Our Future!

They’ve Stolen Our Future!

Collapse is in the cards

It’s time to have a serious conversation.  I know we’ve been having it, but maybe there’s another glove hidden beneath the one we’ve already taken off.

Put bluntly, there doesn’t seem to be any hope of avoiding a collapse of civilization.  The forces of the Business-As-Usual crowd are just too strong, the narrative machine too honed, the interests too entrenched to allow any sort of meaningful course correction at this time.

But is that the case?

Writing about the outcomes of the recent Australian elections which saw a pro-business, conservative government elected, Australian based reader-member ezlxq1949 said:

“They’ve stolen our future!”

That was the wail of the 11-y.o. daughter of a Greens candidate who cried herself to sleep the night after the astonishing election results came in. It couldn’t be worse; the public have sold themselves into almost complete captivity to the neoliberal élites called the Liberal Party. (Liberal = Conservative. Go figure.) It was supposed to have been a climate change election but became a jobs ‘n growth election.

Mind you, it wouldn’t have been much better if the opposition Labor Party had won; they’ve moved so far to the right that like the US we really have only one party with two heads. For instance, Labor would not commit to stopping the monster Adani coal mine.

So it’s goodbye to:

  • the ABC (the excellent government broadcaster which has the gall and temerity to criticise the government of the day; the government badly wants to get even)
  • renewable energy (fossil fools rule ok)
  • the Great Barrier Reef (sliced and diced to let coal ships cross it)
  • our river systems (suck them dry, privatise the water, send the profits to the Cayman Islands — as is already happening)
  • the Great Artesian Basin (world’s largest and deepest, to be contaminated by coal mines and fracking)
  • public services (cut back yet again to create a damaging government budget surplus)
  • public health (to be Americanised)
  • public education (to be privatised; maybe high schools this time)
  • the Great Australian Bight (a pristine area which may have oil under it; damn the pollution, full greed ahead)
  • southern ocean fish stocks (they’ll let the supertrawlers in now).

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

First, Climate Change, Now the Global Extinction Crisis: Industry-Paid Hacks Deny Science to Congress

First, Climate Change, Now the Global Extinction Crisis: Industry-Paid Hacks Deny Science to Congress

Patrick Moore, Marc Morano, Robert Watson

In this week’s Congressional hearing on the recent (and dire) UN Global Assessment of Biodiversity, conservation scientist Dr. Jacob Malcom did not mince words as he explained the report’s startling findings that one million species are at risk of extinction.

“We are, as you have heard, losing species faster than ever in human history, tens to hundreds of times faster than the background rate of extinction,” the Defenders of Wildlife scientist told the Congressional House Water, Oceans, and Wildlife Subcommittee. “We are in the middle of the sixth mass extinction, where the last time this happened it was because an asteroid hit the planet. Today we are that asteroid.”

Such a massive loss of plants, animals, and other species would also, quite naturally, affect human life on earth. But just as they have with hearings on the climate crisis, Congressional Republicans and their witnesses used this opportunity to attack the well-documented scientific evidence of a far-reaching global threat to life. And they even used some of the same climate science deniers and tired arguments to do it.

The comprehensive report they attacked gathers even more evidence that human activities are having a significant effect on global biodiversity, just as the scientific consensus shows humans are driving rapid changes in the climate. 

“The evidence is crystal clear: Nature is in trouble. Therefore we are in trouble,” Sandra Díaz, one of the co-chairs of the UNGlobal Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, told National Geographic.

Business as Usual With Republican Science Denial

Marc Morano isn’t a scientist but does make his money attacking scientists. From 2006 to 2009, Morano was the communications director for Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.), who will be remembered for his stunt of throwing a snowball in Congress as he tried to discredit climate science.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Failure to Plant Crops

Failure to Plant Crops 

COMMENT: Good day from Chatham, Ontario Canada (50 miles east of Detroit 42.4048° N, 82.1910° W);
Interesting your models are warning of the next year’s results in climate change.

Our location is always the first to plant in Canada as it is the same latitude as northern California.
A few climate tidbits;

– As of today, May 18th, 2019, no farmers (zero) have started planting.
– In 3 years the percentage of April planting starts has decreased to 0% from 70% just 4 years ago. Typically planting was completed by mid to end of May.
– Flooding this year from Ottawa to Detroit along with cooler temperatures can wreak havoc on winter wheat crops which are planted in the fall and has germinated. But if the heat doesn’t come to dry up the land then the wheat crop is susceptible to rot.
– soil temperatures are below the 25-year average by 23 degrees.
– more rain means less sunshine.
– Songbirds in our area are unusual for May. Makes for a very noisy morning coffee.

Bird watchers reporting many species have not finished their normal migration north. Somehow they have stalled in lower latitudes knowing the northern food sources are not ready.
The birds singing is nice, but I would like to eat.
Best to you;

RH

REPLY: Others are reporting the same general trends. Some people write in and try to disagree with the forecasts. What they fail to understand is this is BY NO MEANS my “opinion” or what “I think,” for I do not see myself as qualified on such a personal level to forecast such events since I am not a farmer and have never been. My grandfather had maybe an acre where he grew grapes, fruit trees, and some other things like tomatoes. He was not a professional farmer.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

What Do You Do When Your Supplies Run Out?

What Do You Do When Your Supplies Run Out?

The small percentage of the population that keeps extra supplies on hand in the event of a disaster have taken the necessary steps to insure their family will not suffer as most others will following an event. This is the act of intelligent people that realize we live in a dangerous world with many unknowns. 

It does not matter if you are prepared for two weeks, two months or two years of societal disruptions. At some point, if the event goes on long enough, you will eventually come to the end of your supplies. When that happens, what will you do? 

Having a two year store of supplies is exceptional but as we have seen, some disasters can last far beyond that. The food scarcity we see in places like Venezuela have taken years to unfold and some past wars have raged on for more than a few years. When that happens even your best efforts may fall short and leave you in want. 

Those that store a certain amount of supplies for a set period of time need to think beyond that period of time and imagine what they will do when the disaster lasts longer than they had planned on. 

When you plan for an event, you need to think of the worst possible scenario and have a plan to handle it. A worst possible case may entail more supplies than you have the ability to buy or store but you should consider what your actions will be if you find yourself in that situation. Thinking about it now while you have the time to find solutions and determine a course of action will help you to stay calm and prevent you from making mistakes that might harm you later.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

From despair to repair

From despair to repair

I belong to an online climate discussion group that today asked three questions: what is the state of the movement, do we need climate change or system change, and do we need a meta-movement? Keying off the insights from the Earth Repair Conference, I wrote the following – and have added a post-script to include a week of research on the state of the movement for Earth Repair:

CLIMATE MOVEMENT: STATE OF PLAY

Last weekend I attended the Global Earth Repair conference and this workshop (long) is where a new context clicked for me, though I’ve had all the pieces collected over all these years of low to the ground innovations. 

The cumulative impact of the event revealed this: the Climate Movement is missing a crucial, essential element. It offers resistance but not repair. It is clear about the against, but largely mum on an equal scale restoration project. The anti-war movement allied with the Peace Movement had moral and spiritual power. In the Climate Movement we are shown pictures of the beauty of the earth and the losses of the world we and our kin were born into, but mostly to awaken individuals to act. If you love this earth… you will change your habits and join the resistance. Habit change is under the banner: if we all do a little we can do a lot.

With the Climate movement solely a resistance movement and an energy transition movement, we are missing this: the self-nourishing, self-healing, self-restoring, self-generating ecosystems of the earth herself. We are fighting symptoms without an equally massive movement for restoring health where we can – which is immense considering degraded and degrading landscapes.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Timidity and Palliatives While the Planet Burns

Timidity and Palliatives While the Planet Burns

Photograph Source: Eric Fisk – Public Domain

The best conditions for genuine discussion, for me at least, is during a feast of good food and drink. Ancient Greeks called that symposium.

The wisdom behind the tradition of symposium – millennia ago and today — is simple. Friends and guests eating food and drinking wine feel good about themselves. Organic food well-cooked and excellent wine do that. They are medicines. In such euphoria, symposiasts are very likely to be honest, even eloquent, in their expression of their views or opinions.

This is the reason Plato chose the dialogue for the spreading of his ideas. The dialogue comes from intimate symposium discussions.

Today I often hear Americans speaking in radio or television saying this and that must be part of a “national conversation.” I wonder what they have in mind.

Invisible civil war

This is because in the second decade of the twenty-first century Americans are divided as never before. Republicans are embracing guns, perpetual wars, corporate plutocracy, America-first, and ecocide. Indeed, Trump and the Republicans are now moving the country for a possible war against Iran.

The Democrats advocate policies that may improve the well-being of Americans. Yet when the Democrats had the White House and Congress, those policies were timid in fixing the gross inequality among rich and poor in America. In addition, Democrats have yet to propose a coherent plan to diminish and end global warming.

Given this political instability, verging on soft civil war between the rich and poor, the cultural elites are covering up the schism by palliative measures, especially unpolitical but fashionable talk in the academy. Professors pontificate about sexuality, race (whites or blacks or lesbians for new appointments?) and other anthropological headings.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

How A Sustainable Food System Is Built

How A Sustainable Food System Is Built

From the ground up.

Photo by Gabriel Jimenez on Unsplash.

We all eat food. Most of us every day. Most of us several times a day.

Food is undoubtedly one of the most constant and impactful aspects of our lives.

And the ways that we produce — and consume it— are impactful as well.

We all know about climate change. Agricultural activities (crop, livestock and fossil fuel) contribute approximately 25% of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions — yet around 1/3 of all food is wasted.

15% of the world’s land surface area has been degraded by soil erosion and physical and chemical degradation, while even more is at risk.

Industrial agriculture is using more and more toxic chemicals to control weeds and pests, which put the environment, agricultural workers and consumers at risk.

Farmers now earn less in every dollar that we spend on food, despite rising costs of living, as big companies squeeze (and squeeze).

Rural communities are collapsing, the quality and diversity of food that we produce (and thus eat) is constantly decreasing, neoliberal policies have seen small farmers displaced coupled with a rapid rise in the rate of rural-urban migration.

The rural poor are poorer than ever before, food security issues are rife and malnutrition is one the rise.

Meanwhile, both producers and consumers are disenchanted and dissatisfied with the current state of the industry and the way it’s structured.

In short, many aspects of the way that we produce and consume food is not sustainable.

Something (i.e. a lot of things) needs to change.

Sustainable Agriculture Isn’t Simple

But it’s necessary. Very necessary.

Defining Sustainable Agriculture

I’ve defined sustainable agriculture before but I’ll do so here again, so that we’re all on the same page.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

It’s confirmed. It really is an emergency

It’s confirmed. It really is an emergency 

The latest report that charts the accelerating impacts of global warming, climate change, and mankind’s destructive impact on the natural environment lays out a grim future for over a million of the planet’s species. This warning follows hot on the heels of a Canadian government assessment that forecasts that Canada will warm twice as fast as the global average, and the startling 2018 IPCC report that meticulously laid out the evidence that even keeping global warming to 1.5°C will result in widespread social and economic disruption as climate-driven natural disasters increasingly bludgeon the planet.

The alarming report on global biodiversity published by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, presents the work of more than 450 experts on biodiversity who have laboured for the last 3 years to bring together the latest assessment of the deteriorating condition of the planet’s natural environment and its biodiversity. 

The Bramble Cay melomys: already extinct

Their stark conclusion is that human actions threaten more species with global extinction than ever before. An average of about 25 % of animal and plant species are threatened, suggesting that around 1 million species face extinction within a matter of decades unless action is taken to reduce the intensity of the main drivers of biodiversity loss.

The problem is not only climate change—which is judged to be the third most destructive influence on the biosphere. The main culprit is the way mankind has radically changed and destroyed the natural landscape. Seventy-five percent of the land surface has been significantly altered, 66 percent of the of the oceans are experiencing increasing cumulative impacts, and over 85 percent of wetlands have been lost. Across much of the tropics, 32 million hectares of primary or recovering forests were cut down between 2010 and 2015—an area half the size of France.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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Olduvai III: Cataclysm
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