Nate Hagens – Limits to Growth: Where We Are and What to Do About It

Is the global economy hitting the limits to growth?

In this talk, Nate Hagens will synthesize the current landscape of global energy, environment and financial risks while offering suggestions on what to do as a hominid living on a full planet. He will raise the question of whether it is possible to degrow our economies with conscious effort before our options are constrained by external forces. After a quick summary of the situation, he will lead a conversation with the audience on appropriate responses to these challenges. Are large climate rallies accomplishing anything? If they aren’t, what is a better plan of action?

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Pulling the Ole Trayvon: The Untold Racism of Our Story

THIS JUST IN: “Missouri teen shot by police was two days away from starting college.”
THIS JUST IN: “Staten Island man dies after NYPD cop puts him in chokehold.”
THIS JUST IN: “Sleeping 7-year-old girl shot in head during no-knock police raid on wrong home.”

We see this shit going on all around us, and we’re enraged, upset, disappointed, and confused by it. We know full well that it’s fueled by race.

We think, “Again? Come on!”

We think, “It’s 2014, for chrissake! What about the civil rights movement?!”

We make sarcastic jokes about the supposed end of racism and how we don’t see color; and then we bicker, ruminate, or go rogue as self-important Facebook activists bent on “intelligently debating” among ourselves as to why that last black man was shot—a common response to what is now a regularly occurring event.

We ask, “Who’s the next black kid to get shot in the face?” Indeed, it’s a miserable state of affairs, one that is surely statistically quantifiable by now.… Read the rest

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Americans Ban Books on Poverty and Class

Not only are some Americans trying to remove books on sex and religion (not to mention evolution) from schools and public libraries, now they’re going after books dealing with poverty and class, reports the Guardian:

Late last month, for the 32nd year in a row, Banned Books Week was marked across the US. Spearheaded by the American Library Association’s (ALA) Office for Intellectual Freedom, the annual salute to the freedom to read has become a fixture. It aims to counterbalance perennial challenges to the content of books and efforts to get them banned, usually from schools and libraries.

The ALA collects information on which books are objected to and reports on prominent recurring themes that tend to generate moral or ideological indignation. Subjects such as religion, race, gender, sexuality and allegations of sexually explicit content or offensive language frequently top the list.

Berkeley Heights NJ public library books and shelves

More worrying, however, is the recent rise in efforts to get books banned that cover poverty and social class.

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The Ayahuasca Dialogues

If you’re concerned about the future of psychedelic medicines and ethical/sustainable sources, then please support this project by the Ethnobotanical Stewardship Council. They are making big strides and can use all our help.

From The Nexian:

With the continued rise in popularity of psychedelic plant medicines, concerns surrounding sustainable harvesting methods and safe administration by practitioners are growing. The Ethnobotanical Stewardship Council is a nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring the sustainable and safe use of traditional plants and enriching the communities who work with them.

As we have seen in recent articles, unsustainable harvesting is a growing issue with ayahuasca, mimosa and acacia trees, iboga, peyote, and even sassafras in SE Asia. Quite antithetical to the earth-centered teachings of these plants, these harvesting methods have a devastating impact on the environment.

In order to truly heal with the planet we must not only have these experiences of higher awareness of the biosphere, but put our thoughts into action and become the stewards of nature, not its disease.… Read the rest

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Obama’s Support of Torture

Norman Pollack writes at CounterPunch:

And we thought the cold-blooded planning and execution of armed drone assassination vitiated any claim to moral character, a POTUS swaggering around on Air Force One methodically using drones and air power to destroy civilian targets and, as in the recent attacks on UN schools/shelters in Gaza, countenance—if not encourage-the same among friends and allies (Israel), now it is revealed by Charlie Savage of the New York Times, in an article, “Obama Could Reaffirm a Bush-Era Reading of a Treaty on Torture,” (Oct. 19), that our Nobelist Warrior is exquisitely parsing international treaties to allow for US TORTURE abroad, so long as not on the Homeland. Whether the program of torture or the rationale for its authorization is the greater Evil I leave to the professional philosophers to determine. But from here, America’s vanguard role, already the purveyor of global counterrevolution by all means possible, in this latest chapter of structural-political sadism, smells to high heavens.

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Suit Demands EPA Show Documents Related to Big Oil Influence over Fuel Standards

"The renewable fuel standards are one of EPA's most important tools for promoting clean air," Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) says. (Photo: Mike Mozart/flickr/cc)

“The renewable fuel standards are one of EPA’s most important tools for promoting clean air,” Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) says. (Photo: Mike Mozart/flickr/cc)

Deirdre Fulton writes at Common Dreams:

A leading Washington, D.C. ethics organization filed suit against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Wednesday for failing to provide documents regarding oil industry efforts to influence the 2014 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

Each year, the EPA sets the RFS for how much renewable fuel must be blended into transportation fuel supplies. “The renewable fuel standards are one of EPA’s most important tools for promoting clean air,” Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) states in its lawsuit (pdf).

CREW claims the EPA has yet to hand over all relevant communications—requested in May 2014 under the Freedom of Information Act—related to the EPA’s most recent RFS proposal, put forth in November 2013. At that point, for the first time since the standards were established, the EPA proposed reducing the amount of renewable fuel required to be blended into transportation fuel.

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How Hard Is It To Steal An Atom Bomb?

In 2012, an 82-year-old Nun easily broke into one of America’s most secure weapons facilities. In 1982, inspectors discovered that a massive hyper-secure vault used to store nuclear weapons had an unlocked back door next to a public road. In 1997, one of Russia’s top generals claimed that almost a hundred bombs were missing and unaccounted for.

This week, Science Faction takes a look at the jaw-dropping history of Nuclear Security blunders in ‘How Hard Is It To Steal An Atom Bomb?’

(Information is drawn primarily from released Oversight reports and Congressional hearings – Full list of sources at the end)’

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The Eye of the Luddite: Ruminations on Anti-Technological Themes in the Rocky Series

rocky-balboa-hd-4

There is a tendency among many in our culture to conflate the idea of “progress” with technological advance. The advent of the iPhone 6 is the next step “forward” in mankind’s (and gyno-kind’s, I suppose) evolution towards becoming an enlightened, intelligent species. The message has been drilled into us for the past 150 years or so by the priestly scientist caste, who have promised us absolution, atonement and the alleviation of all of life’s supposed ills, if only we pledge ourselves and our faith in the seemingly unending and supposedly unerring path of technological advance. War, famine, disease, boredom–as technology advanced, there was to be a corresponding decrease in the suffering and discomfort inherent in daily life.

Obviously, none of this has come to pass. Technology has advanced to the point that it’s almost superfluous to distinguish between it and magic, and yet people are still fucking miserable–perhaps in many more and varied ways than they had been in the past.… Read the rest

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Egyptian security forces raid universities with aim of suppressing campus dissent

"Al-Azhar University students walk past riot police during a protest conducted by a pro-Muslim Brotherhood student movement in Nasr City district on 12 October 2014." Photo cred: REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh

“Al-Azhar University students walk past riot police during a protest conducted by a pro-Muslim Brotherhood student movement in Nasr City district on 12 October 2014.” Photo cred: REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh

via IFEX.org:

Egyptian authorities should release more than 110 university students arrested since the start of the school year on October 11, 2014. The arrests were apparently aimed at preventing a revival of campus protests that have erupted repeatedly since the overthrow of the former president, Mohamed Morsy, in July 2013. The arrests and subsequent activities appear to be solely directed at the students’ peaceful exercise of the right to free assembly.

Security forces arrested at least 71 students in 15 governorates on October 11, according to the Students for Freedom Observatory, an activist group formed this year to track worsening restrictions on campus political activities. The group said many students were seized from their homes in pre-dawn raids that involved uniformed police, plainclothes officers, and heavily-armed special forces units.

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