I had the great luck of sitting in on Diane Leafe Christian‘s Ecovillage slide show the other night — and the great news is that she’s giving another one right here in Berkeley, California, on Saturday night!.
Diane is the author of two groundbreaking books on the subject: Finding Community and Creating a Life Together.
If you’re intrigued about the concept of an Ecovillage, but know little or nothing about them, like me, this is a great way for you to catch up, in a big way, in about 90 minutes, with one of the formost authorities on the subject — and in a nice friendly party potluck atmosphere.
Now what could be better! 🙂
What: Ecovillages: Where They Are, What They’re Doing, Why They
Jay and Ryanne came over to my place and interviewed Jamais a couple months ago.
Here’s the end result:
I saw a show on Bill Moyers’ Wide Angle a few months back that made me take notice of the Avian Flu virus. As Moyers made clear in his show (sorry I didn’t tape it), our biggest problem right now is that if there was a pandemic, and we had a cure for it, there is currently no adequate system of distributing such an antedote or vaccine to the large numbers of people that will be in need of it.
Here’s the scoop. Note #4 of the Quick Facts. I got all my information from the World Health Organization and the Center for Disease Control.
Quick Facts: 1) We’re talking about the: “H5N1 avian influenza virus” per the who’s update here:
some cases of H7 too: per:
2) Why is the World Health Organization so concerned?
This is the closest we’ve been to a pandemic since 1968. All the prerequisites for a pandemic have now been met EXCEPT ONE: “The establishment of efficient human-to-human transmission.” The virus is morphing, and has expanded its geographical range. Every new human case is another chance for the virus to adjust its structure to be more susceptible to humans. The trouble is, since this is a “Bird Flu,” the carriers are literally flying all over the place spreading virus infected bird shit — whether they appear to be sick or not. (I fear this is going to be bad news for birdies…)
3) What could cause efficient human-to-human transmission to take place?
Two ways: a “reassortment event” or an “adaptive mutation.”
A “Reassortment Event,” where genetic material is exchanged between human and avian viruses during co-infection of a human or pig, or an “adaptive mutation,” a more gradual process, where the capability of these viruses to bind to human cells takes place gradually, advancing with every new infection.
The reassortment even scenario is pretty bleak. The WHO is hoping for an “adaptive mutation,” a mutation that happens gradually over time, that might give everyone more time to prepare.
4) Who’s getting it so far? So far, according to the WHO’s instructions, “the vast majority of human cases have occurred in rural areas.” So farmers, basically. One of the main problems seems to be that governments will not compensate farmers for lost birds that are killed after being reported. This makes farmers not want to report outbreaks. Also it’s been tough getting the word out to farmers and/or getting medicine and assistance to them.
5) What can be done? Currently, there is no worldwide mass anti-viral drug distribution system. The WHO document suggests that this needs to be created immediately. It seems to me from the documents that antiviral drugs can help cure the disease, but it’s unclear which ones or how well they work. It also *seems to me* that we can’t create a vaccine until we have the exact virus that we’re trying to stop, which hasn’t been created yet due to #3 not happening yet. We hope that #3 never does happen, but we need to be ready for it so we can spring into action the moment it does — because it’s probably going to happen at some point with some disease.
6) How many people have died/been infected?
Around 100 people have been infected — about half of them have died. The last person to die was only 27 years old.
1) The World Health Organization’s PDF of Instructions about what to do. Available in six different languages:
“Responding to the avian influenza pandemic threat. Recommended strategic actions”
This document sets out activities that can be undertaken by individual countries, the international community and WHO to prepare the world for the next influenza pandemic and mitigate its impact once international spread has begun.
2. World Health Organization – Avian Flu – Fact Sheet
3. World Health Organization – CSR Page – Avian influenza (CSR = Communicable Disease Surveillance and Response)
4. Avian influenza
I’m currently experiencing my first
The first earthquake, measuring a 7.4 on the Richter scale, struck at 6:50 p.m. San Francisco time, centering 90 miles northwest of Eureka, California. A second earthquake measuring a 5.1 struck at 7:57 p.m. 92 miles northeast of San Francisco…
A tsunami warning was issued for the western coasts of the U.S. and parts of Mexico and Canada after a 7.4 magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of California, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said in an e-mail alert. A second earthquake struck 76 miles west-northwest of Sacramento, the state’s capital.
A tsunami warning was in effect for the coastal areas of the California-Mexico border to the northern tip of Vancouver, British Columbia, the West Coast Tsunami Warning Center said. A warning indicates that coastal locations in the warned area should be prepared for flooding, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
oh wait…it just got cancelled.
Well…that was exciting!
A tsunami warning initially issued along the Pacific coast has since been cancelled.
The 7.0-magnitude quake struck at about 7:50 p.m. southwest of the coastal community of Crescent City and 300 miles northwest of San Francisco, according to the U.S. Geological Survey Web site.
Witnesses felt buildings shaking along the California coast but there were no immediate reports of damage.
A tsunami warning was briefly in effect from the California-Mexico border all the way north to Vancouver Island, British Columbia, but was called off about an hour after the quake hit.
KCBS radio reported that residents were being evacuated from low-lying areas of Crescent City, which was struck by a tsunami after an earthquake four decades ago.
Stuart Weinstein, a geologist at the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, said that if a tsunami were generated, it would not be as strong as the Dec. 26 killer wave in the Indian Ocean.
“We’re not expecting anything huge from an event this size,” added Charles McCreery, the center’s director.
This is from the November 10, 2004 program.
Note that there is a zip file of all 4 clips also available for download.
Daily Show Clips From November 10, 2004
Included in these clips:
Ashcroft’s resignation and hand written resignation letter
Ed Helms on Florida’s disenfranchisement ploy of a checkbox in which
voters had to affirm that “I have not be adjudicated mentally incapacitated
with respect to voting, or, if I have, my competency has been restored.
Science Scope – finding the 18,000 year-old remains of a man-like “hobbit”
Global Warming creating a lovely “Northern Sea Route” in Russia
(Makes global warming worth it all!)
Tom Wolfe interview about his new book: “I am Charlotte Simmons.”
This is from the October 29, 2004 program of “Real Time” on HBO.
Bill Maher Explaining Why You Should Vote for the Environmentally-friendly candidate!
(That means Kerry!)
President Bush has quietly built up the worst environmental record of any president since Andrew Jackson stopped killing Indians by hand.
President Bush speaks constantly about how he’s the guy to protect us. But what about protecting us from what’s actually killing people right here, right now?
I don’t know how the Environment got to be the lost issue of the 2004 Election, but may I suggest on Tuesday, instead of voting your pocket books, vote your lungs, vote your kidneys, vote your galbladder. Vote for the organs that are going to have to process all the toxic shit that is in the sky, the groundwater, the food supply and the pharmacy. Vote your grand kids’ DNA.
Vote for a president who won’t hand the job of protecting the environment over to former oil and lumber executives!
This post goes with this post.
This video was shot on August 6, 2004 in Scotia, California.
My friend Gregory and I went back up to the redwoods last Friday to document the horrors we had seen the week before. To us, these tree carcasses provide a shining symbol of our own demise. The beginning of the end, if you will. Humans in the future will look back at this time period and wonder how we could have been so careless and stupid. These trees help keep us and the whole planet alive.
Here is a short video we have created to illustrate what’s going on up there, and, specifically, what we saw two weeks ago that set us on such a rampage to try to save this forest:
Pacific Coast Lumber’s Scotia Redwood Slaughter
(Small – 7 MB) (Music is “War Again” from the Variable Unit album Handbook for the Apocalypse.)
Remember! As of this moment, there is something you can do. Please, wherever you are in the world, write a letter (I’ve provided text and word files) to the Appropriations Committee supporting SB 754, The California Heritage Tree Preservation Act. The vote is taking place this Wednesday, August 11th.
Here are some stills of what’s in the video. Please send off letters to Judy Chu today. I’m going to figure out who else is on the Appropriations Committee so we can all send them letters too.
The Shrub’s own experts are telling us we’re all hosed. (Over the next 3-20 years).
What do you think guys? Is this for real? Or are they just trying to freak us out?
Now the Pentagon tells Bush: climate change will destroy us
By Mark Townsend and Paul Harris for the Observer.
Leaked Pentagon report warns climate change may bring famine, war: report
Here’s a clip from the AFP story:
The report, quoted in the paper, concluded: “Disruption and conflict will be endemic features of life…. Once again, warfare would define human life.”
Its authors — Peter Schwartz, a CIA (news – web sites) consultant and former head of planning at Royal Dutch/Shell Group, and Doug Randall of Global Business Network based in California — said climate change should be considered “immediately” as a top political and military issue.
It “should be elevated beyond a scientific debate to a US national security concern”, they were quoted as saying.
Some examples given of probable scenarios in the dramatic report include:
— Britain will have winters similar to those in current-day Siberia as European temperatures drop off radically by 2020.
— by 2007 violent storms will make large parts of the Netherlands uninhabitable and lead to a breach in the acqueduct system in California that supplies all water to densely populated southern California
— Europe and the United States become “virtual fortresses” trying to keep out millions of migrants whose homelands have been wiped out by rising sea levels or made unfarmable by drought.
— “catastrophic” shortages of potable water and energy will lead to widespread war by 2020.
Randall, one of the authors, called his findings “depressing stuff” and warned that it might even be too late to prevent future disasters.
“We don’t know exactly where we are in the process. It could start tomorrow and we would not know for another five years,” he told the paper.
Experts familiar with the report told the newspaper that the threat to global stability “vastly eclipses that of terrorism”.
Taking environmental pollution and climate change into account in political and military strategy is a new, complicated and necessary challenge for leaders, Randall said.
“It is a national security threat that is unique because there is no enemy to point your guns at and we have no control over the threat,” he said.
Aw come on — we just went through all this trouble to take over Iraq, and now we find out we can make oil out of… anything?
Oil Technological savvy could turn 600 million tons of turkey guts and other waste
into 4 billion barrels of light Texas crude each year
By Brad Lemley for Discover Magazine.
In an industrial park in Philadelphia sits a new machine that can change almost anything into oil.
…Because depolymerization takes apart materials at the molecular level, Appel says, it is “the perfect process for destroying pathogens.” On a wet afternoon in Carthage, he smiles at the new plant
In case you’re ever in a conversation with some bozo that tries to tell you that the fact of whether or not global warming is a reality is still in dispute, you can show them this.
Now. Will someone please give a heads up to the Shrub Administration?
Reaping the Whirlwind
Extreme weather prompts unprecedented global warming alert
In The Independent.
In an astonishing announcement on global warming and extreme weather, the World Meteorological Organisation signalled last night that the world’s weather is going haywire.
In a startling report, the WMO, which normally produces detailed scientific reports and staid statistics at the year’s end, highlighted record extremes in weather and climate occurring all over the world in recent weeks, from Switzerland’s hottest-ever June to a record month for tornadoes in the United States – and linked them to climate change.
The unprecedented warning takes its force and significance from the fact that it is not coming from Greenpeace or Friends of the Earth, but from an impeccably respected UN organisation that is not given to hyperbole (though environmentalists will seize on it to claim that the direst warnings of climate change are being borne out).
The Geneva-based body, to which the weather services of 185 countries contribute, takes the view that events this year in Europe, America and Asia are so remarkable that the world needs to be made aware of it immediately.
The extreme weather it documents, such as record high and low temperatures, record rainfall and record storms in different parts of the world, is consistent with predictions of global warming. Supercomputer models show that, as the atmosphere warms, the climate not only becomes hotter but much more unstable. “Recent scientific assessments indicate that, as the global temperatures continue to warm due to climate change, the number and intensity of extreme events might increase,” the WMO said, giving a striking series of examples…
“New analyses of proxy data for the northern hemisphere indicate that the increase in temperature in the 20th century is likely to have been the largest in any century during the past 1,000 years.”
While the trend towards warmer temperatures has been uneven over the past century, the trend since 1976 is roughly three times that for the whole period…
It is possible that 2003 will be the hottest year ever recorded. The 10 hottest years in the 143-year-old global temperature record have now all been since 1990, with the three hottest being 1998, 2002 and 2001.
The unstable world of climate change has long been a prediction. Now, the WMO says, it is a reality.