Scientist Rebellion.

Relatively new in the trenches is ‘Scientist Rebellion’, an organisation that kicked off with a few physicists chucking green paint on the doors of the Royal Society. They are a welcome addition to the fight for action. Copied and pasted from their website, and I’m sure they won’t mind, is the ‘who we are’ statement below,

Who We Are

We are activists from a variety of scientific backgrounds, calling on our communities to stand in resistance to the genocidal direction of our governments, before it’s too late. If we scientists don’t act like we’re in an emergency, how can we expect the public to do so?

We believe scientists should be resisting on the front lines, but the resistance must be bigger than any one group. If you are not a scientist, you are welcome – behind every action is a whole community of people supporting, creating and organising. When scientists rebel it is powerful because it inspires others to rise up. By bringing scientist and activist communities together, both are empowered.

Scientist Rebellion Website. https://scientistrebellion.com/

Foucault, Tunisian Boys, and the Amazon Forest.

A recent article that caught my attention is a piece published on the al Jazeera website in which a Tunisian academic alleges Michel Foucault (French philosopher) had relations with prepubescent Tunisian children during the time he lived there in the sixties. No argument that North Africa was a popular destination with western sex-tourists, just read playwright Joe Orton’s diaries, but to dress the whole thing up as proof of racism, as this guy does, is twisting the truth to fit the theory. It would be like saying American author William Burroughs moved to London because he felt superior to the British and therefore had no qualms about picking up ‘little boyfriends’ from Piccadilly Circus. As in an interview a contemporary and gay friend of Burroughs claimed he did, and Burroughs made no secret of the fact he didn’t consider himself a LGBTQI+ style ‘gay’, “A room full of fags gives me the horrors” (Junky pp72) but he was seriously into boys – as was near all the male elite of western culture, and that going back to antiquity. Funny thing that.

Anyways…

Other reading is papers on climate change and that’s where I really feel that prior to leaving home to take up a full-time career as a street boy, I was second last of the class. Phew – the maths and the chemistry of some of dem papers! I can make out that we are in serious trouble though, thank God for the executive summaries, and action is needed ‘like in yesterday’. Question is what is it that we average citizens can do to get the required action from governments? As a reminder because I’ve posted this before, reducing emissions to net zero is no longer sufficient and where that still needs to be done as soon as possible, we also need to capture and sequester the excess already in the atmosphere, and do that until levels of CO2 drop to 350ppm at most, less would be better, and the really tricky one – deploy solar radiation management to arrest and reverse the warming of the Arctic. Even if successful with all that, we would stabilise the climate but there is no way apparently to go back to pre industrial era conditions. Our Earth systems are damaged beyond repair but the situation can still be stabilised so our children and their descendants inherit a livable planet, and not one heading for a ‘hot Earth’ condition with near total extinction of life.

Latest I’m reading is a paper called ‘Carbon and Beyond: the Biogeochemistry of Climate in a Rapidly Changing Amazon’ and where the Murdoch media such as that gem of journalism, Sydney’s ‘Daily Telegraph’, might quote a single so-called ‘scientist’ in support of climate change denial, this paper – hang on I’ll copy and past the list of contributors and their institutions…

Kristofer Covey 1 *, Fiona Soper 2 , Sunitha Pangala 3 , Angelo Bernardino 4 , Zoe Pagliaro 1 ,

Luana Basso 5 , Henrique Cassol 6 , Philip Fearnside 7 , Diego Navarrete 8 , Sidney Novoa 9 ,

Henrique Sawakuchi 10 , Thomas Lovejoy 11 , Jose Marengo 12 , Carlos A. Peres 13 ,

Jonathan Baillie 14 , Paula Bernasconi 15 , Jose Camargo 7 , Carolina Freitas 16 ,

Bruce Hoffman 17 , Gabriela B. Nardoto 18 , Ismael Nobre 19 , Juan Mayorga 14,20 ,

Rita Mesquita 7 , Silvia Pavan 21 , Flavia Pinto 22 ,Flavia Rocha 23 , Ricardo de Assis Mello 24 ,

Alice Thuault 15 , Alexis Anne Bahl 14 and Aurora Elmore 14

1

Edited by:

Dylan Craven,

Universidad Mayor, Chile

Reviewed by:

Wu Sun,

Carnegie Institution for Science (CIS),

United States

Ana Maria Yáñez-Serrano,

Ecological and Forestry Applications

Research Center (CREAF), Spain

*Correspondence:

Kristofer Covey

kcovey@skidmore.edu

Specialty section:

This article was submitted to

Tropical Forests,

a section of the journal

Frontiers in Forests and Global

Change

Received: 16 October 2020

Accepted: 12 February 2021

Published: 11 March 2021

Citation:

Covey K, Soper F, Pangala S,

Bernardino A, Pagliaro Z, Basso L,

Cassol H, Fearnside P, Navarrete D,

Novoa S, Sawakuchi H, Lovejoy T,

Marengo J, Peres CA, Baillie J,

Bernasconi P, Camargo J, Freitas C,

Hoffman B, Nardoto GB, Nobre I,

Mayorga J, Mesquita R, Pavan S,

Pinto F, Rocha F, de Assis Mello R,

Thuault A, Bahl AA and Elmore A

(2021) Carbon and Beyond: The

Biogeochemistry of Climate in a

Rapidly Changing Amazon.

Front. For. Glob. Change 4:618401.

doi: 10.3389/ffgc.2021.618401

Environmental Studies and Sciences Program, Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, NY, United States, 2 Department of

Biology and School of Environment, McGill University, Montreal, QC, Canada, 3 Lancaster Environment Centre, Lancaster

University, Lancaster, United Kingdom, 4 Departamento de Oceanografia, Universidade Federal do Espírito Santo, Vitória,

Brazil, 5 Earth System Science Center (CCST), National Institute of Space Research Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais

(INEP), São José dos Campos, Brazil, 6 Remote Sensing Division (Divisão de Sensoriamento Remoto), National Institute for

Space Research (Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais), São José dos Campos, Brazil, 7 National Institute for Research

in Amazonia (Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas da Amazônia), Manaus, Brazil, 8 The Nature Conservancy, Bogota, Colombia,

9

Asociación para la Conservación de la Cuenca Amazónica, Lima, Peru, 10 Department of Thematic Studies – Environmental

Change, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden, 11 Department of Environmental Science and Policy, George Mason

University, Fairfax, VA, United States, 12 National Center for Monitoring and Early Warning of Natural Disasters (CEMADEN),

Sáo Paulo, Brazil, 13 School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia, Norwich, United Kingdom, 14 National

Geographic Society, Washington, DC, United States, 15 Instituto Centro de Vida (ICV), Cuiabá, Brazil, 16 Coordenação Geral

de Observação da Terra, Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais (INPE), São Paulo, Brazil, 17 The Amazon Conservation

Team – Suriname Program, Paramaribo, Suriname, 18 Department of Ecology, Universidade de Brasília, Brasília, Brazil,

19

Amazon Third Way Project, Universidade Estadual de Campinas, São Paulo, Brazil, 20 Bren School of Environmental

Science and Management, University of California, Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, CA, United States, 21 Coordenação de

Zoologia, Museu Paraense Emílio Goeldi, Belém, Brazil, 22 The Nature Conservancy, Brasilia, Brazil, 23 Department of

Environmental Sciences, UFRRJ, Federal Rural University of Rio de Janeiro, Institute of Forests, Seropédica, Brazil, 24 World

Wide Fund For Nature (WWF), Brasil, Distrito Federal, Brazil

Basically the paper, as I get it so far, explains why the Amazon is now a net emitter of green house gasses. We is be in deep shit. Why and how? Just Google the paper and download the PDF. Hope you remember your chemistry better than I do.

Drunk soldiers behaving badly?

Announced as shocking beyond anything Australian audiences would have heard before, Channel Nine yesterday evening ran a story on how a highly decorated veteran of the Afghan conflict is allegedly not a choirboy. The most serious allegation was of the unlawful killing of an Afghan civilian, the rest was footage of soldiers partying like a bunch of drunk teenage boys certain their Dads are not going to appear at the front door.

Aside from the allegation of unlawful killing of a civilian, what we saw is what you would expect when young men are lied to and sent overseas to kill or be killed. They went in to fight the Taliban, to stabilise a troubled nation, and prevent it from becoming a haven for terrorists. That’s what they believed, and then they most likely figured out it was all bullshit. The Afghans may well fight each other, but they are on the same team when it comes to foreigners getting involved in their family feuds. I remember a documentary on the subject of Australian troops in Afghanistan and a young soldier saying that when they leave their base to go on patrol, “You know you are approaching an IED (Improvised Explosive Device) because the children watching cover their ears”. It was the same situation that in Vietnam led to the My Lai incident; soldiers realising they are risking their lives for people who hate them. There are countless other examples of how war dehumanises all involved, recently I was listening to a WWII veteran describe how the Soviets having taken a town or village would go hunting for women and girls to rape. They were in Germany alone, successful 200 thousand times.

The time to intervene in a manner that might have brought peace and stability to Afghanistan was in the early seventies when the entire population was starving whilst the then king was away partying in European resorts. Everyone knew of the need, below is an extract from a New York Times article dated June 1972 and written by James P Sterba,

CHAKHCHARAN, Afghanistan, June 9—The boy’s spindly body sank slowly to the dusty gravel road. He lowered his head to the pebbles, resting his sunken cheek on his hand. His dry, cracked lips did not close. He tried to cover his feet, but the torn, dirt‐encrusted rags he wore were not long enough. He placed an empty tin can, his only possession, near his stomach. And then he started to cry.

Fifty feet away, near a mud building, another small boy lay motionless in the midmorning sun. in a ditch 20 yards away was a tiny, rag‐covered body, and beside it still another boy, perhaps 6 years old, sat on his haunches and stared blankly at the road, his eyes not following two bearded men as they coaxed their sagebrush ‐laden mules toward the bazaar.

The reality is clear: Afghanistan has been suffering from the worst food shortages in memory.

The final days of life for the sick and starving children in this small, dust‐swept provincial capital in the barren hills of central Afghanistan are spent pleading for a nugget of mutton fat from the town butcher, drinking water from a puddle, dodging the flailing sticks of the newly arrived sellers of wheat, flour, onions and tomatoes, picking a precious few spilled grains of rice out of the dirt, and trying to swallow roots and the toxic grass that swells their faces and puffs their eyelids nearly shut.

The final nights are spent stumbling from mud house to mud house, knocking on locked doors and gates moaning for food and warmth, and huddling in corners of abandoned buildings to escape the cold wind.

The final hours are spent alone.

No one knows how many children, abandoned by parents who had no food for them, have died or are dying in Chakhcharan, in the surrounding hills of Ghor Province or in the other towns and hills in central and western Afghanistan. Fewer are dying now. Roads are opening and food is beginning to trickle in.

Then was the time for humanitarian aid and assistance in forming a new and responsible government. As it happened, there was a coup d’etat which saw a communist government come to power, and here we are fifty years later still paying for the mistake of not caring. Can we blame the Afghans, who have long memory, for their contempt? Can we blame our soldiers?

Now and cynically, I’d also say there is one aspect of Afghanistan unknown in the seventies and that is trillions of dollars of untouched minerals lying under its mudbrick villages.

That some of our SAS soldiers behaved badly is undeniable, but a large part of the fault must be accepted by successive governments which sent them into battle under-resourced and over-extended. There is also a failure of leadership, of the senior officers who failed to identify based on historical experience, that the conditions under which our men were fighting was bound to result in breakdown of moral, of belief in the mission, and their men would react as human beings do when dehumanised. They are not the tin soldiers a spoilt child received for Xmas. What we need is senior officers who are warriors but who would nod in agreement hearing General Dwight Eisenhower when he said,

I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can, only as one who has seen its brutality, its futility, its stupidity.”

Blessings.

Sir David on the urgent need for climate action.

Eloquent as always – old-school education – Sir David Attenborough, addressing the UN security council on the need for urgent action to save life on this planet.

It’s now self-evident that any politician, news media outlet or captain of industry actively seeking to confound and confuse the dumb into believing we can continue making whoopee with fossil fuels, can only be described as criminal sociopath and should be treated as such.

Some lives don’t matter.

Cut short the experiment and took down the last three posts, traffic analysis over the past days confirmed what I always suspected. There are in today’s social debates truths that are simply way too inconvenient. Nuff said.

OK – feel like I could do with an extended stay in a Zen monastery.

On the climate front, I need to go over the latest news and figures. I think it was the Indian energy minister who was quoted as saying seeking to meet the Paris targets is ‘a pie in the sky’. A statement of the bloody obvious if ever there was one.