Category Archives: Ecology

Connections, Elections, The Common

From other news sources — “Human-caused stresses, including global warming and over fishing, are encouraging jellyfish surpluses in many tourist destinations and productive fisheries”—-National Science Foundation.

Some problem areas are off the coasts of Australia, the Gulf of Mexico, Hawaii, the Black Sea, Namibia, Britain, the Mediterranean, the Sea of Japan, and the Yangtze estuary.

Jellyfish thrive in areas that are compromised by pollution, but not in the increasing number of Dead Zones where nothing can live, and are dramatically increasing in number.

Dead Zones are waters that are so depleted of oxygen that they cannot support life and there are over 400 of them, that we know of, and they are increasing in size.

The world’s largest Dead Zone is in the Baltic Sea and it loses 1.3 million metric tons of food a year.

It sounds as if our oceans are becoming close relations to our currently disintegrating stock market. Many of the Dead Zones are caused by global run-off of agricultural fertilizers from our giant agri-farms and also, believe it or not, from polluted air. Everything is connected.

The Earth was not ready for our throw-away human way of life. It is imperative that the new leaders of all countries make themselves aware of what needs to be done to save the Earth from our dysfunctional ways of life.

War, fossil fuel misuse, over-population, greed. Our species feels entitled to whatever it can take from the Earth and disregards the cost to other species, the oceans, the air, and the fresh water ways that are being degraded by the garbage we pour into it.

When a civilization collapses, it isn’t pretty. Stock market crashes are just the tip of the iceberg. It takes more than one man leading a country to solve the problems we face.

If the United States were to elect Barack Obama, and it would be in our best interests to do so, we must lead him to a better way of life. Unfortunately, I believe that John McCain is more concerned with the art of war than in making our world a better place to live. Sarah Palin is just unaware. Period.

Our civilization is facing a crisis that is totally unique. When Rome was falling, another place was rising. When Greece was falling, another place was rising. In today’s times, all of our civilizations are linked together and what we are facing is a global collapse of our civilization.

If we let this happen, the survivors will live in a savage land ruled by the least of us. The barbarians will have won. The sounds of whips and chains will resound around the world for the humans that remain.

Right now, there is much more at stake than a stock market bail-out. So much more. We must rise from our complacency or pay the unimaginable price.

The Four Horsemen, Pestilence, Famine, War, and Death are riding our way. I will close with a poem that was written by an unknown author, unknown to me, in 1764, courtesy of Jose Gouvieaa of The Highway Poets —

English Folk Poem

They hang the man and flog the woman
That steal the goose from off the Common,
But let the greater villain loose
That steals the Common from the goose.

The law demands that we atone
When we take things we do not own
But leaves the Lords and Ladies fine
Who take things that are yours and mine.

The poor and wretched don’t escape
If they conspire the law to break;
This must be so but they endure
Those who conspire to make the law.

The law locks up the man and woman
who steals the goose from off the Common,
And geese will still a Common lack
Till they go and steal it back.



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Connecting The Dots

“Currently published in Spare Change News, 1151 Mass Avenue, Cambridge, MA  02138”

Unfortunately for us, the human species and all the others that occupy our battered planet, the dots are bigger than we think, and as fast as they connect, we disconnect them.  So much is happening that I don’t know what to talk about first.

First.  We’ve got this Presidential primary going on where the two top Democratic contenders are in the 11th round of a 12 round boxing match and they are both battered and have been on the canvas a number of times.  Yes, I favor Obama but so what?  I’m watching Hillary and Obama in a fight where, at the end, there may be no man (or woman) standing.

I trust John McCain.  I believe John McCain.  By listening to him I realize that if he wins the Presidency, and that’s all too possible now, the war (wars) will continue, fuel prices will continue to rise, which means food prices will continue to rise and the death toll will rise, ever higher, ever higher.

What’s happening here?  Is every politician so desirous of winning that they don’t care that the human species is on a humungous playground slide where, at the bottom, waits death and destruction on a scale which we have never known before.  No one tells the truth because they all want to win.

Actually, I don’t know what Hillary believes, and I’m not really sure what Barack Obama believes, but I know that Deval Patrick fooled me and dammit, like the Who, a rock’n’roll band from that 60’s (that incidentally fooled me) said, “We don’t want to be fooled again.”

All right, maybe I’m being too hard on Deval Patrick.  Maybe he’s just making mistake after mistake after mistake but his heart is pure.  But I just don’t know anymore.  That Cadillac he bought sure buried me under a ton of carbon footprint and now, that book deal Deval’s cooking up has blown me right into the Dead Zone that’s building up in the Gulf of Mexico.  Nothing can live there.

And that’s not the only Dead Zone in our oceans; there’s a few of them.

I try to do the right thing.  I ride my bicycle instead of using my car as much as I can.  Okay, okay, some of you may have caught me on my motorcycle but that gets 60 miles to the gallon because it’s only a 250cc.  I’m not going to name it because I’ll be damned if I’m going to advertise for any giant corporation if I can help it.

Those giant corporations are killing us while they tell us they’re all going  green.  The only thing going green right now is the Hulk — no, wait a minute, the Hulk is RED now; he’s bleeding just like life on this planet Earth.

How many species will become extinct this year?  Did you ever wonder, while drinking a cup of coffee in a strofoam cup, how many other people are drinking a cup of coffee in a styrofoam cup that day, and how many are going to do it again in a brand new styrofoam cup tomorrow.  And how big is that pile of styrofoam cups even if they’re crushing them, whoever THEY are?

I’m guilty as charged.  Part of the problem.  I’m trying not to be but – – – okay, where are the dots?

One dot is ethanol, what they’re putting in your gas/our gas to stretch it.  Did they tell you that ethanol comes from corn and corn is grown by giant conglomerates that use fuel to grow the corn and not only is that raising food prices all around the world but ethanol leaves a futher-mucker of a carbon foot print too.

So they use fuel to make fuel but who’s paying attention anyway.  Also, almost everyone in the United States, (I’ll pick on us) has a toilet bowl which gets flushed more than once a day.  That’s a lot of water for a world that’s struggling with water demand in many countries.

The one thing we have to keep in mind is all those countries are on the planet Earth so they are all connected.  Dot.  Dot.  Dot.

There is only one source of fossil fuel.  It is the planet Earth.  We, as a species, are using more fossil fuel than ever before and, some scientists say, we have passed the halfway point of the fuel that is left and accessible on Earth, yet our demand for it is still growing.  Dot.  Dot.  Dot.

Our food supply, controlled by giant conglomerates for the most part, is fertilized by fossil fuel, travels to us by fossil fuel, and is even preserved in our refrigerators powered by fossil fuel.  Dot.  Dot.  Dot.

Everything that burns fossil fuel has an exhaust pipe somewhere and those exhaust pipes are pumping carbon wastes into our planet’s atmosphere at an astounding rate.  Because of this, the Arctic ice is melting, the weather patterns are changing, and if you look over the large population centers of the world you will see a cloud of particulate matter that is tainting the very air we breathe.  Dot.  Dot.  Dot.

Then there is WAR!  Right now, as I sit at this old MacIIci computer, there are wars being waged in more areas of this planet Earth than I can name.  I have an old milage ration paper with coupons from World War II and on top of it, the words read “Gasoline Powers The Attack!”  The only thing that has changed since then is the use of fuel for war has grown exponentially.  Iraq.  Afghanistan.  Israel.  Palestine.  Russia.  The United States.  Dot.  Dot.  Dot.

I’ll go back to the election now, just for a minute.  I only have one question.  Where is Al Gore right now, now that we really need him?  He’s not a candidate.  My friends, that is indeed “An Inconvenient Truth.”  Dot.  Dot.  Dot.

I also want to add one more truth that much of the world is aware of but, here in the United States, I wonder if we really understand this.  Food does not grow on shelves.  Connect the dots.

Marc D. Goldfinger

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On The Pyapon River, Burma

The bodies float.  Plain folks are bathing in the river next to the bodies that have turned white.  The bodies are stuck in mangrove trees in the river.  Women are scrubbing clothes near the bodies.

How many dead?  Myanmar is in shock.  Because of the after effects of the storm, some say over 100,000 will die.

The government blocks relief efforts in their own way.

And in Seneca, Missouri, people search for the dead after the tornadoes.

Massive shocks in weather-patterns in different parts of the world.  The Earth is stressed by the human species and when it burps, the crises occur.

In the meantime, the United States has, with deadly precision, shot a satellite out of the sky with a missile.  Can you hear your cell phone crackle with static.

Be afraid.  Maybe just be resigned.  When Rome fell, it was one pocket of civilization in a giant world.

When this civilization falls, all the links will be exposed.  We are all linked together but it seems as if we just don’t get it yet.

For those of you who do, I apologize.  I just saw a Bruce Willis movie last night.  That’s my explanation.

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Elephant Kills Allowed in Africa

After a 13 year suspension, officials in South Africa approved an annual culling, that’s killing, of elephants in their some of their national parks.  In the Virunga, a forested region by the eastern Congo’s borders with Rwanda and Uganda, only 350 elephants remain, but they say that’s too many.

In the meantime, in Virunga National Park, 14 elephants have been poached even before the annual “culling” went into effect, and that’s just since mid-April.

If there were only 350 humans left in Massachusetts, for example, you would say we were an endangered species.

Elephants are extremely intelligent beings.  They even have dying places and they return to those places periodically to mourn those they have lost from their family.

When they do a “culling”, they usually shoot down the head elephant, the Matriarch, because the other elephants will run to protect her and then it will be an easy slaughter with the elephants all close together.

Species after species are disappearing at an alarming rate because of humanity’s ways.  What the hell is wrong with us?  In recorded history there have been five major species die-offs, one of them due to a giant meteor hitting the Earth and dramatically changing climates all over the world.

Some scientists say we are in the sixth major die-off.  This time it is because of humanity, or the lack of it within us.

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Oil and how it holds civilization captive

It was just a little over one hundred years ago when the automobile was invented. One only need to look at today’s traffic reports to see what has happened. We have built a civilization where the automobile holds us captive. Most of us need the car to get to work, or we think we do.

Picture the size of your gas tank, if you can. Then take all the gas tanks in the world, fit them together, and just try to imagine how big that tank would be. Don’t even think about the oil tanks that many people use to heat their houses. It’s going to take enough of a feat of the imagination just to visualize the size of all the gas tanks in the world put together. Imagine yourself walking through that tank. How far would you have to travel to get from one side of the tank to the other?

Just think, we fill that tank with gasoline, derived from oil, at least once a week, some of us more than that. Now think of the hole in the ground that is the same size as the tank you are walking through. Understand me, this hole is doubling in size, at a minimum, every week.

Now consider that we use oil to make plastic, we use oil to ship food to our major population centers, we use oil to run our giant farms that mono-crop, we use oil to grow the feed that the cows and pigs and chickens we eat need to survive, we use oil to build the asphalt roads we drive on, we use oil to get the energy to manufacture almost everything we use, we use massive amounts of oil to wage war.

Do you see where we are all going here? How big is that hole in the ground now? This all started only a little over one hundred years ago.

Oil is the weak link that holds our civilization together. Consider this: Is it possible that we have come close to using half the oil that exists in this world in a little over one hundred years and the use of oil increases constantly as our population explodes to over 6,000,000,000 people from a mere 2,000,000,000 just a little over two hundred years ago.

Oil has made this possible and, as we drain the Earth of its fossil fuel, we are going to watch the intricate threads that hold our civilization together unravel.

Now, maybe I’ve made a miscalculation. Maybe this isn’t happening as I’ve described it. But when I turn on my TV and watch the traffic reports and the war reports and all the little events that make up the Big Event, it hints that something is happening and you don’t know what it is, do you, Mr. Jones.

I haven’t even factored in Global Warming or given you the picture of all the exhaust pipes in the world fastened together to make one giant pipe. Our collective noses are in that pipe.

Ethanol is nice but it’s only possible in a cheap oil economy because it is derived from mono-cropping oil. So we’re back to the drawing board. Or maybe scratching pictures on the walls of caves after civilization implodes.

Have a great day and go for a joy drive folks.

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Oaxaca, Mexican farmers screwed by NAFTA

After NAFTA was passed the corporate beasts from the US unloaded cheap corn into Mexico, some not fit for human consumption, and the Mexican farmers were driven out of business because they couldn’t compete. Some of them took out loans and went under; lost their land.
When some of the Genetically Modified corn was used as seed by the farmers, the pollen contaminated other farms, destroying corn strains that were over 10,000 years old.
They call this Genetic Drift. Once you let the genie out of the bottle, it won’t go back in.
Many young Oaxacans, driven from their lands, had to go work in sweat shops in Northern Mexico or in the fields, factories, warehouses, restaurants and hotels of the U.S.
Families that survived the invasion of the Aztec Empire are being destroyed.
The end results of this ecosystem rape has yet to be seen.

This news was taken from the Earth First! Journal. One can subscribe to them by sending a check made out to Earth First! to Earth First!, PO Box 3023, Tucson, AZ 85702.
They also have a website at

They are a wonderful magazine that prints the news that you won’t find anywhere else. Poetry also.

It’s only $25 a year and worth a hell of a lot more than that.

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Just a Brief Note

In Iqalit, Nunavit Territory, Simon Nattaq fell through the thinning Arctic ice due to rising Arctic temperatures.

Global warming? He thinks so. He lost both feet but managed to survive. He says, “Today I am here because the creator allowed it.”

According to an article in The Boston Globe, “the Arctic is the region of the globe hardest hit by rising temperatures.”

There is a report released February 2nd by a UN sponsored group of scientists that indicate “the Arctic’s late-summer sea ice will disappear almost entirely in the second half of this century.”

The Earth is changing. Are we the geological force moving the planet into global warming, which does not mean that all places will get warmer; it could trigger colder temperatures in areas that were warm. There is a giant current (one of many) called the Conveyer belt in the ocean which, if too much ice melts and drops fresh water into the ocean, could stop and reverse direction and, almost overnight, climates could change dramatically all over the Earth.

I studied this stuff in the late 60’s, early 70’s using a text by Odum and a great ecology teacher whose name has slipped out of my mind used to take us out to the Hudson River in slightly upper New York State, near Red Hook. He’d help us collect samples of small wildlife and study the ecosphere to show us how small changes can have major effects. This was while I was a student at Bard College. What freaks me out is that all the things he talked about as coming probabilities are starting to take place now.

I don’t know why people get all upset over second hand cigarette smoke when we walk around with giant exhaust pipes spewing trash out into the atmosphere. Which would you rather suck on — a cigarette or an exhaust pipe?

Just imagine, for a second, glueing all the exhaust pipes of every car and truck in the world together into one giant pipe. Think about it. How big would that pipe be?

Right now, that pipe is pushing carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, particulate matter, and other compounds into our fragile but powerful atmosphere.

When cars were first invented, no one thought about the magnitude of millions of vehicles running all over the world. It was a new concept then. We just take it for granted now.

I’m only 61 years old and I’ve seen major changes in our entire environment.

Have you ever read about Passenger Pigeons? They flew and nested in giant flocks in North America. Some flocks were over a mile wide and 150 miles long. That’s like the distance between Boston and the White Mountains in New Hampshire. It takes over three hours to make that trip by (ahem) automobile. Anyway, those birds would all land at once in some area and the trees would bend with the weight of them.

Humans would set up Gatling guns and bring other types of weapons out and slaughter the birds. I mean, the ground would be piled high with dead birds.

They’re extinct now. Not a one of them survives.

Just think of how many there were and twist your mind around the fact that they’re all gone.

We can change the world.

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