Greener Times

Promoting a sustainable society…one day at a time.

November 23 – 29

Posted by Trey Smith on November 21, 2009

Greener Times for the Week of November 23 – 29
Volume 4 No. 32
an e-publication for Greens anywhere and everywhere

Greener Times Collective: Maryrose Asher, Duff Badgley, Tom Herring and Trey Smith (Editor)

In This Week’s Issue
* For Your Consideration…
* Thoughts By the Way: Ft. Hood
* Our Climate Crisis: Fear Cripples Us
* From Where I Stand: Swaneagle Harijan on Big Mountain – Struggle Continues
* This Week in History
* Letters to the Editor
* Pencil Shavings: Missing the Point

For Your Consideration…
Everything You Know About Going Green Is Wrong

What if that brand new Prius is worse for the environment than a 1995 Chevy Suburban, despite getting 38 more miles to the gallon? What if that sirloin, shipped to the steakhouse from a newly deforested pasture in the Amazon, means less to the global climate than a hill of individually wrapped jellybeans? What if using that old avocado-green clothes washer turned out to be better for the environment than the brand new Energy Star model? These are the types of thoughts one thinks after reading two recent reports by Joshuah Stolaroff, who could do far more to turn “going green” on its head than your average faceless bureaucrat…

Apocalypse Fatigue: Losing the Public on Climate Change
Last month, the Pew Research Center released its latest poll of public attitudes on global warming. On its face, the news was not good: Belief that global warming is occurring had declined from 71 percent in April of 2008 to 56 percent in October — an astonishing drop in just 18 months. The belief that global warming is human-caused declined from 47 percent to 36 percent. While some pollsters questioned these numbers, the Pew statistics are consistent with the findings by Gallup in March that public concern about global warming had declined, that the number of Americans who believed that news about global warming was exaggerated had increased, and that the number of Americans who believed that the effects of global warming had already begun had declined…

US Home Foreclosures at Record High as Jobs Crisis Deepens
The number of home loans in the US that are either in foreclosure or at least one payment past due reached one in seven last month, a record high, according to a survey released Thursday by the Mortgage Bankers Association. The survey found that nearly 10 percent of mortgage holders were at least one payment behind on their mortgages, while 4.47 percent of were in foreclosure. Both of these are the highest figures on records dating back to 1972. About 7 million households are behind on payments or in foreclosure. These figures present just one indicator of the worsening conditions facing US workers caught up in the longest economic downturn since the Great Depression…

Behind the Mammogram Controversy
As luck would have it, I had my first mammogram right before the new federal guidelines appeared stating that women my age might as well skip the whole thing for another decade. Like most women my age, I know too many people who have been diagnosed with breast cancer to be cavalier about the possibility. And while I didn’t relish the idea of getting “squished,” I felt like I was being good by overcoming my dread of the whole topic–not to mention the desire to avoid a misdiagnosis or, worse, bad news–and going in for my appointment…

Increase In GM Crops Leads to Jump in Herbicide Use
The widespread use of genetically modified crops engineered to tolerate herbicides has led to a sharp increase of the chemicals in the U.S. and is creating herbicide-resistant “super weeds” and an increase in chemical residues in U.S. food, according to a new report. As more farmers have adopted variations of corn, soy beans, and cotton bred to tolerate weed killer in recent years, the use of herbicides has increased steadily, with herbicide use growing by 383 million pounds from 1996 to 2008…

Thoughts By the Way: Ft. Hood
Tom Herring is a former Vashon Island Community Council member, but now chooses to sort nails in his shop. Catch more of Tom’s thoughts on his blog.

I’ve just read an analysis by Webster Tarpley of the Ft. Hood shooting. It is well written and got by my baloney and polemic detectors. It concludes that two other soldiers did most of the shooting, that Major Hasan was a patsy, and that the shooting was arranged by a rogue network within the Military in order to whip up hatred of Moslems. In onionspeak, the two top layers say that one, Moslems are bad, and that two, Hasan was a bad Moslem. Hawk and dove there. Layer three is this false flag over Texas: Hasan, a boozing and whoring veneer Moslem was given a pass and kept in the Military — even advanced — for use as patsy some day. I bought it.

Indeed Tarpley strains belief, but I argue that as a people our faith machinery is broken and that we’d damn well better believe: I’ll try to make the point that our failure to face the implications of 9/11 guarantees that we will be unable to face climate change, a hornet’s nest in South Asia, economic breakdown, and a Homeland Security gone rogue – a short list. I’ll try that again: government involvement in 9/11 was too awful to believe, and that is essentially what we face now – we face the end of everything we have known but do not believe it is going to happen.

So here again in short is what we know but do not believe. There’s already enough carbon in the air to continue, and to tip, warming. There are babies in Fallujah with extra heads and missing limbs. The US military is playing amateur chess with nuclear-armed pieces in South Asia. Rogue elements run the government, torture randomly to keep us compliant, and are throwing us into confusion. We are the most aggressive nation on Earth.

In addition to venting my panic as in that paragraph I try to stick to the point. Faced with horror too horrible to believe we nod yes we know but cannot bring ourselves to believe. Denial, yes, although I’m trying to stuff a bag labeled belief. Denial is dreary. Belief is magical.

My own path to believing anything disqualifies me. In chronological order: Congregational, Quaker, Ethical Culture, Southern Methodist, Christian Science, Unitarian, and Lutheran. But these encounters taught me less than a half hour on Interstate 210 in 1963. I’d red-eyed into LA International, gotten into my 1961 VW convertible and headed for Mt Baldy. Shortly into the drive panic hit me and for the next half hour I was acutely aware of imminent death. The next day I’d forgotten all about it. I understand that the “firewall” one employs driving on a freeway is essential. I conclude that in addition to a freeway firewall I have one against religion. My firewall against believing that my teenage granddaughters should not have children is down for the count.

If as a people we were to believe what we know then we would make a religion of gathering together locally to draw from each other the strength to do the best we can to care for the less fortunate in the hard times to come.

Our Climate Crisis: Fear Cripples Us
Duff Badgley is the leader of the One Earth Climate Action Group and was a candidate for Governor as a Green in 2008. He can be reached at 206-283-0621.

“Somehow, it’s more terrifying for any of us to face down a cop than it is to contemplate the total destruction of our earthly eco-system.”—Mickey Z., oped news, 3/23/09

Fear cripples us. It rules our personal lives. It dominates our religions, our government, our laws, our industry, our schools, our universities, our journalism, our activism. Fear is the reason we pay 50 cents of every tax dollar to our murderous military. Fear makes the United States into the planet-killing brute we are.

Nowhere does fear rule more viciously than in the activist community.

I met an activist recently on my travels who had the courage to admit her fear. She told me she had been arrested before and didn’t like the experience of “the police state”. She also said others were supporting my efforts at recruiting for Non-Violent Civil Disobedience (NVCD), but not risking arrest themselves, out of “shame”. Shame in this context is fear once removed, or sublimated fear.

Fair enough. In acknowledging her fear, this person is pretty far along the ‘arrestable’ continuum that stretches from Never-Will-Risk-Arrest to Frequently-Will-Risk-Arrest. This person showed courage in admitting her fear. And courage fights fear.

Much closer to Never-Will-Risk-Arrest are other activists who simply deny their fear and criticize a particular NVCD strategy as sending the “wrong message”. ‘Messaging’ can cover a lot of activist asses. ‘Messaging’ so often tries to bury fear in a blur of clever words.

So, how to fight fear? How to inject courage to risk arrest — our single most potent tool in our struggle against Business-As-Usual — in those who might be wavering toward NVCD?

Power of personal example? Maybe. We’ll try again on N30. Wish us luck with the cops. Or. Much better, join us. It’s numbers of arrestees that will crumble Business-As-Usual and give our Livable Planet a chance.

From Where I Stand: Swaneagle Harijan on Big Mountain – Struggle Continues
“From Where I Stand” is a revolving column currently featuring the writings of Swaneagle Harijan and Dr. Richard Curtis. If you’d like to get in on the act and contribute to this feature, contact editor Trey Smith.

I woke at 4 am. I am preparing to go to Big Mountain during the Thanksgiving work week that has been organized for many years now by Black Mesa Indigenous Support volunteers. I have not been on a caravan to Big Mountain since we organized an amazing first in 1985 that arrived at the survival camp in time for the Spring Gathering. It included a U-Haul filled with food and clothing donations. This was an unprecedented collaboration with AIM and Hippies from the mountains of northeastern Washington, Olympia organizers, non-Indian allies and many who joined along the way. The memories from that journey are priceless. Many who participated have passed on. May the story be told….

The optimism charging that long ago effort has been worn down by the ongoing reality of serious struggle silenced even by fellow activists. The resistance of traditional Native Americans is the longest and most ignored stand for sacred land and against long-term resource extraction on the north and south of this continent. Such is the deeply rooted stubborn legacy of racist colonialism. It is a mental and physical illness I strive to address not only among my own people, but in myself as well. Changing such generational behaviors is difficult, yet essential.

To advocate for the silenced is to take on a lifetime of self-educating that includes systematic dismantling of my own inbred racism. Few seem to be willing to dismantle the privilege and sacrifice involved in facing what most white people continue maintaining. I have witnessed over the years how most drop the quest for justice like the hot potato it is. Oh, bloody, painful heart of genocide that burns one to the very soul…

It is no easy task to follow through to completion the sacred duty involved in addressing the comforts enjoyed overwhelmingly by the invader nations who control, still, this country and it’s wealth. I am ashamed of my people, even my precious Hippie people who populate the hills and valleys where organic food has a foothold. I see denial infecting all of us as the situation grows ever bleaker for our fragile planet and the coming generations. We, who had the chance to act with full, strong conscience, have failed. We can’t even stand strongly against the warped hybrid war-into-global-genocide that stains all our hands with the blood of innocents.

Isolation is lethal and it is one of the most effective tools of divide and conquer available. Thanks to the judgments of privilege perpetrated by those whose fear prevents strong, committed and powerful action, we are a nation known globally as in disagreement with genocide, yet failing miserably to do a thing about it.

So, it is with this heart heavy for many years now, that I embark on a journey. I have not seen Pauline since December of 2004. Her sheepherder Owen called in September leaving a message from her and asking me to join in this effort. I planned accordingly.

I have been laboring intensely to care for my youngest who has also been a recipient of hateful racism. It has taken us 3 years to find a home after leaving the mountains where we lived for most of her life when the bigotry, economics and family tragedy forced us out. To live in the dominant society with children forces one to conform to it’s destructiveness in order to eat. At least working as I do gardening, cleaning houses and cooking allows more of my beliefs to remain intact, but it’s capitulation to capitalism, nonetheless. I feel the pull within my entire being to the lands of Big Mountain/Black Mesa, to the borderlands, to Mexico, to Juarez, to Chiapas, to the places where the most silenced caretakers of earth never stop defending ancient ways of life. To lose these ways is to the peril of all life, all of us, everything.

The vital energy I once had as I realized the importance of the struggle of traditional Dine and Hopi has decreased due to exhaustion, age and the lack of mass response. Too many just shrug and say they thought it was over, that relocation never really happened. The issue perhaps never grabbed hearts like mine was and is. So I see hearts must awaken when they do and I simply must continue as I am able. Finally, I can make this journey for a very short time to support Pauline Whitesinger, my life’s greatest teacher in her lifetime opposition to Peabody coal and her defense of sacred land and life.

My daughter is almost on her own. When I am fully able to devote myself to the justice that must be done, I will be 60 years old hands, back, legs, gnarled with hard labor. My heart feels ageless driving me to carry out whatever instructions come through in the quest for peace and justice due emerging generations.

This Week in History
This Week in History, published by Carl Bunin and edited by Al Frank, is a collection designed to help us appreciate the fact that we are part of a rich history advocating peace and social justice. While the entries often focus on large and dramatic events there are so many smaller things done everyday to promote peace and justice. Find more info at

November 23, 1170 BCE: The first recorded strike took place in Egypt when necropolis workers who had not been paid for their work in more than two months sat down and refused to work until they were paid and able to eat.

November 24, 1859: British naturalist Charles Darwin published On the Origin of Species, which explained his theory of evolution. The basis for the theory is natural selection, the process by which organisms change over time as a result of changes in heritable (genetically based) physical or behavioral traits. Such changes allow an organism to better adapt to its environment and help it survive and have more offspring. Evolution is now universally accepted among scientists, and is the organizing principle upon which modern biological and related sciences are based.

November 26, 1968: The U.N. General Assembly passed a resolution against capital punishment following an official report which said, “Examination of the number of murders before and after the abolition of the death penalty does not support the theory that capital punishment has a unique deterrent effect.”

Letters to the Editor
Got something you want to get off your chest? Did an article in a previous edition of Greener Times make you madder than a hornet or cause you to stand up to say, “Right on!”? Well, this space is reserved each week for your comments and opinions.

The Seattle school board still seems hell-bent on cutting down the trees at Ingraham High School a 30 acre campus, plastered with sports facilities and parking lots.

You may send comments regarding this to the public resource center at:
City of Seattle
The Department of Planning & Development, Tamara Garrett
700 5th Avenue, Suite 2000
PO Box 34019
Seattle, WA 98124
Contact Us at: 206-684-8467 or Email: or for more info or go to
~ Marjorie ~

Pencil Shavings: Missing the Point
Pencil Shavings appears in this space most weeks and solely represents the opinions of the publisher. If you’d like to read more of Trey’s ruminations, visit The Rambling Taoist.

In today’s lead article in GT, Everything You Know About Going Green Is Wrong, we’re told that “the stuff we buy and the packaging that comes with the stuff we buy represent our biggest contribution to global warming.” I’ve read numerous articles of this nature which attempt to argue that this or that human activity is responsible for the biggest chunk of our carbon footprint.

To be quite candid, I find that most of these reports seem to be missing the overall point. Who really cares which activity is rated #1, #2, or #10? Taken in totality, we humans are taking too much out of the environment without giving enough back. Consequently, we need to rethink and re-prioritize EVERYTHING, not simply one or two aspects of how we live.

We need to drive less frequently and less distance. We need to learn to reuse and recycle. We need to learn to desire less “stuff”. We need to move away from a meat-based diet and to quit developing genetically-modified produce. And we need to learn how to reinvent a society that walks lightly upon the earth. It’s not going to happen by changing one or two behaviors. Every aspect of our lives needs to be on the table.


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