Category Archives: environmental pollution

Price Less – monbiot.com

The following, by George Monbiot, is well worth reading and pondering as it demonstrates how another nail in civilization’s coffin is going to be driven in.

A couple of days ago I wrote a post in which I said, and quote:

“In order to continue legitimizing a system that no longer makes any sense, the Powers that rule man’s world and mind have exponentially increased their oppression of all life on earth. Everything has been given a monetary value and put on the auction block. Every drop of water, every ounce of mineral, every blade of grass and every sentient life-form has been graded and categorized as either valuable to the System or expendable.

What has value is being squeezed like a lemon until the very pips squeak. What is expendable is being systematically hunted down, collected, burned, poisoned, slaughtered. This is how a civilization ends and make no mistake, this civilization is ending.”

Examples of such surround us to the point of embarrassment, that is, if we still possessed the sense to be embarrassed about stupidity, folly and gargantuan avarice. Sadly, we no longer have that. We left it in a throw away paper cup at the stadium or on the floor at Burger King.

While thinking on these things, one could also watch this feature length documentary on our eating habits, and the consequences:

H.O.P.E. What You Eat Matters
H.O.P.E. What You Eat Matters
If you want to change the world, look no further than your dinner plate. According to the stirring feature-length documentary “H.O.P.E. What You Eat Matters”, that’s where the potential for meaningful transformation lies within reach for all of us. The film tackles…
Watch now →

Price Less – monbiot.com


Price Less

Posted: 17 May 2018 10:49 PM PDT

The “natural capital” agenda is morally wrong, intellectually vacuous, and most of all counter-productive

By George Monbiot, published in the Guardian 15th May 2018

Never mind that the new environmental watchdog will have no teeth. Never mind that the government plans to remove protection from local wildlife sites. Never mind that its 25-year environment plan is all talk and no action. We don’t need rules any more. We have a pouch of magic powder we can sprinkle on any problem to make it disappear.

This powder is the monetary valuation of the natural world. Through the magic of the markets, we can avoid conflict and hard choices, laws and policies, by replacing political decisions with economic calculations.

Almost all official documents on environmental issues are now peppered with references to “natural capital” and to the Natural Capital Committee, the Laputian body the government has created to price the living world and develop a set of “national natural capital accounts”. The government admits that “at present we cannot robustly value everything we wish to in economic terms; wildlife being a particular challenge.” Hopefully, such gaps can soon be filled, so we’ll know exactly how much a primrose is worth.

The government argues that without a price, the living world is accorded no value, so irrational decisions are made. By costing nature, you ensure that it commands the investment and protection that other forms of capital attract.

This thinking is based on a series of extraordinary misconceptions. Even the name reveals a confusion: natural capital is a contradiction in terms. Capital is properly understood as the human-made segment of wealth that is deployed in production to create further financial returns. Concepts such as natural capital, human capital or social capital can be used as metaphors or analogies, though even these are misleading. But the 25-year plan defines natural capital as “the air, water, soil and ecosystems that support all forms of life”. In other words, nature is capital. In reality, natural wealth and human-made capital are neither comparable nor interchangeable. If the soil is washed off the land, we cannot grow crops on a bed of derivatives.

A similar fallacy applies to price. Unless something is redeemable for money, a pound or dollar sign placed in front of it is senseless: price represents an expectation of payment, in accordance with market rates. In pricing a river, a landscape or an ecosystem, either you are lining it up for sale, in which case the exercise is sinister, or you are not, in which case it is meaningless.

Still more deluded is the expectation that we can defend the living world through the mindset that’s destroying it. The notions that nature exists to serve us; that its value consists of the instrumental benefits we can extract; that this value can be measured in cash terms; and that what can’t be measured does not matter have proved lethal to the rest of life on Earth. The way we name things and think about them – in other words the mental frames we use – helps determine the way we treat them.

As the cognitive linguist George Lakoff points out, when you use the frames and language of your opponents, you don’t persuade them to adopt your point of view. Instead you adopt theirs, while strengthening their resistance to your objectives. Lakoff argues that the key to political success is to promote your own values, rather than appease the mindset you contest.

The natural capital agenda reinforces the notion that nature has no value unless you can extract cash from it. Dieter Helm, who chairs the government’s preposterous committee, makes this point explicit: the idea that nature has intrinsic value, independent of what humans can take from it, he says, is “dangerous”. But this dangerous idea has been the motivating force of all successful environmental campaigns.

The commonest response to the case I’m making is that we can use both intrinsic and extrinsic arguments for protecting nature. The natural capital agenda, its defenders say, is “an additional weapon in the fight to protect the countryside”. But it does not add, it subtracts. As the philosopher Michael Sandel argues in What Money Can’t Buy, market values crowd out non-market values. Markets change the meaning of the things we discuss, replacing moral obligations with commercial relationships. This process corrupts and degrades our intrinsic values and empties public life of moral argument.

It is also, his examples show, counterproductive: financial incentives undermine our motivation to act for the public good. “Altruism, generosity, solidarity and civic spirit are … like muscles that develop and grow stronger with exercise. One of the defects of the market-driven society is it lets these virtues languish.”

So who will resist this parched, destructive mindset? Not, it seems, the big conservation groups. In this month’s BBC Wildlife magazine, Tony Juniper – who in other respects is an admirable defender of the living world – reveals that he will use his new post as head of campaigns at WWF to promote the natural capital agenda.

Perhaps he is unaware that in 2014 WWF commissioned research to test this approach. It showed that when people were reminded of the intrinsic value of nature, they were more likely to defend the living planet and support WWF than when they were exposed to instrumental and financial arguments. It also discovered that using both arguments together produced the same result as using the financial argument alone: the natural capital agenda, in other words, undermined people’s intrinsic motivation.

Has this been forgotten? Sometimes I wonder whether anything is learnt in conservation, or whether the big NGOs are forever destined to follow a circular track, endlessly repeating their mistakes. Rather than contributing to the alienation and disenchantment the commercial mindset fosters, they should help to enrich our relationship with the living world.

The natural capital agenda is the definitive expression of our disengagement from the living world. First we lose our wildlife and natural wonders. Then we lose our connections with what remains of life on Earth. Then we lose the words that described what we once knew. Then we call it capital and give it a price. This approach is morally wrong, intellectually vacuous, emotionally alienating and self-defeating.

Those of us who are motivated by love for the living planet should not hesitate to say so. Never underestimate the power of intrinsic values. They inspire every struggle for a better world.

http://www.monbiot.com

Advertisements

The Machine Eaters

I don’t know how this is going to work; I forgot to add a comment and reason for reblogging Aishwariya Ramachandran’s latest post. Says it all and says it well. The post may be a bit long for some but if one is looking for quality and depth of thought, look no further.

Quoting the beginning of the post:

The Machine Eaters

by Aishwariya Ramachandran

Magpies burble outside frosty windows. Autumn sidles into view. I dreamed many things. Awakening is sharp on the spirit.

All the old heroes are dead and buried and pushing up wilting flowers, soot-covered, frayed at the edges, desperate for a clean breath in the sickly yellow-glow of the industry.

Red-faced oligarchs loot the coffers of citizenry taking human capital and freedoms of movement, speech, and association, running them through the great profit calculator prophet machine, the machine which conjures the specter of the invisible hand.

Too much Too soon

Magpies burble outside frosty windows. Autumn sidles into view. I dreamed many things. Awakening is sharp on the spirit.

All the old heroes are dead and buried and pushing up wilting flowers, soot-covered, frayed at the edges, desperate for a clean breath in the sickly yellow-glow of the industry.

Red-faced oligarchs loot the coffers of citizenry taking human capital and freedoms of movement, speech, and association, running them through the great profit calculator prophet machine, the machine which conjures the specter of the invisible hand.

Acolytes of its imperceptible body gather round shadows on the wall and cry sweet objectivities while the fire creeps closer, the wavering images growing longer, blacker and deeper; they cost the waking dreamer, screamer of sanity’s alarm for speaking truth in the face of true lies told by the state.

All the old constants are broken in heaped piles on the floor of democracy

View original post 3,037 more words

Send in the Clowns

 

In the midst of the other stuff, like writing rants, poems and a novel (thoroughly enjoying that part) I’ve also been reading many, many blogs and gaining more insight along the way.

This write is, first of all, a thank you to those of you who post that great stuff on your blogs and often also take the time to comment here.

While I’m at it, a sincere thank you for the many “Likes” and the re-blogs. There’s a feel good about getting those, kind of like a hug, or a kiss!

Now then, to some of those blogs I read. There are still quite a few that express, rightfully so, some great and deep concerns about Donald Trump as the president of the United States.

Very briefly, using that insight I mentioned, here’s how I currently see Mr. Trump.

For those of you old enough to have seen a real circus, some of those acts involved a trainer working with lions or other dangerous man-eating predators. It has happened that these predators, for whatever reason, revert to their natural proclivity to eat a human, and turn upon their trainer.

In the wings are clowns, trained to jump into the caged arena, to distract, disrupt, confuse the attacking lion, or lions. That’s where the expression, “Send in the clowns” comes from, not from “Barbra” Streisand’s song.

I see “The Donald” as the clown. He wasn’t actually supposed to get to centre stage, that spot had been earmarked for Hillary Clinton but somehow she blew it and the Clown was sent in.

The problem is that he was never meant to be anything else but a clown. He wasn’t trainer material. He didn’t have the body moves; he didn’t have the language; he didn’t even know the difference between a whip and a tweet. He wasn’t actually good at anything at all except being annoying and brutish. But he liked the idea of being centre stage and instead of blushing all over, apologizing and quickly making an exit stage left, he decided to go on with the show.

Sad, really.

Here are a couple of links to YouTube videos that go a long way to explain what’s currently going on, not just in Washington, but in Canada and in the world; describing in some clear details why things are as they are.

The first, 50 minutes long, is our own Paul Hellyer, once Canadian minister of defence.

The second, a bit long at 2 hours, is Dr. Steven Greer.

If you can take the time, these two “speeches” are worth their weight of wisdom to listen to. Conveniently for those hard of hearing both have reasonably good closed captions.

Paul Hellyer speaks on 9/11, the banking cartel, global warming and Roswell – 50 minutes

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=833&v=YmkTuH8nxG4

Dr. Steven Greer speaks on the Deep Deep State and explains why our democracies are in a shambles today.  – 2 hours.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-NpkckISywA 

Treaty Song Lyrics by Joanne Shenandoah

It seems to be that kind of a day, past, present and possible future meeting at the apex of the three-sided pyramid that is my life and little of it any of what one could call good.  I think the following lyrics express much of what I’ve been reading today.  We don’t want “fake news”?  Then this isn’t. 

Treaty song – Joanne Shenandoah

When you’ve razed all the forests… silenced all the birds

Destroyed creation that came before your words

When you’ve stamped to the ground all the things you fear

One thing to be sure of… I’ll still be here

Remember the treaty you have made with me

As long as grass grows and the sky is blue and rivers run free

Does this not mean forever?

Or did we not agree?

Will lies and broken promises be your legacy?

Who am I your Honour?

Who am I your Grace?

Who do you see standing here as you look upon my face?

Hear me Mr President…

This is Sacred Ground

You cannot own my Spirit, though you might lay me down

So take all your children… teach them your lies

Why waters are polluted… smog fills the skies

You can drain all the oceans and fill them with tears

You will never remove me…

I’ll always be here

So when you seat your Council, who will come to speak

For the Buffalo, the Eagle, the forest and the trees

The oceans and their bounty are all here nearby

And for all the children standing at our side

(Repeating refrain omitted)

Facts:  Over 100 million Native American people were genocided in the “conquest” and western expansion by white Americans.

Facts: British traders transported an estimated 3.4 million Africans to North America as slaves during the 245 years the transatlantic slave trade was active.

 

 

Walking Barefoot on the Underside of Life

[thoughts from   ~burning woman~   by Sha’Tara]

When I was a child I wanted to walk barefoot but my parents, particularly my mother, forbade it. I believe she thought it would make us look poor in the eyes of other villagers, as if we were anything but poor and our poverty was any different than anyone else living in that forgotten place. Perhaps there were deeper reasons she would never share.

It was to be much later in life that I would find or create my own personal type of freedom.  That was when  I rediscovered the joy of walking barefoot upon the earth, a joy I am constantly rediscovering even now at 71 years of age. I walk barefoot as much as my life allows, mostly in my own yard, in sunshine, rain, snow, mud, crush, mulch among the shrubs, in the garden, and I love to kick off my sandals and drive barefoot.

It’s not just the freedom of it, or the life-long rebellion against societal mores, so many of which are not just ridiculous but downright insane and unhealthy. There is much more.

When I walk barefoot, I can feel the earth reaching through my feet all the way up to my brain. I become aware of my body touching the rest of life. I care what I step on, and how I step on it; how I stand or where I put pressure on the earth. I feel a throbbing that is blocked by the wearing of artificial soles. I can feel the earth’s joy and also her sorrow.

In unfamiliar territory, bare feet become inquisitive and protective of themselves. This brings me to look down at what is around me. I will explain why that is important but before, I must say that I wish, oh I so wish, that I had had parents and teachers who had known about the powerful healing effects of the barefoot walk and had not only encouraged me (us children) to walk thus, but had explained why we should do so. But such knowing people do not exist, certainly not in Western societies.

Now I must do the explaining, although I know quite well that it is much, much too late for this society to learn how to walk barefoot by renouncing its societal mores.

When I walk barefoot I am both, mentally empowered and physically weakened. I want to focus on the benefits of such physical weakening because it is directly conducive to developing humility, probably one of the most maligned “virtues” in these societies built on entitlement.

In this hard and harsh materialistic society, feet are dangerously vulnerable to many dangers: stubbing of toes, cutting by broken glass, broken rocks and pieces of cement; slivers from chunks of metal or wood; crushing from falling crates, bottles, tools and various kinds of implements, burning from spilled chemicals, puncturing from rusty nails protruding from a fallen fence picket hidden in grass, or a number of such impediments.

In teaching myself the art of walking barefoot I have experienced all of the above. It’s inevitable really because people are incredibly careless, lacking the empathy needed to prevent them from being crass about leaving dangerous garbage about. This is a dirty, filthy, unhealthy society. How does the barefoot person approach such a condition?

One word describes it best: humility. Indeed. There is a park behind my house where I like to go and walk, or run, barefoot. I’ve had people tell me it was a stupid thing to do because there are those “horrible” homeless people that go there at night to shoot up and who leave needles on the ground. I don’t know, I’ve never seen “needles” in the park. More to the point, there are those who walk their dogs and can’t be bothered to pick up after their animals. I have stepped in dog poo with my bare feet many times. At first I was incensed. But it forced me to walk down to the river at the bottom of the park and walk in the water, rubbing my feet in its mud, or sand, or weeds, depending where I was and feel the washing and healing action of the water. That was an amazing realization.

After a few times in the dog poo, I learned to accept it as the consequences of barefooting. Whether people despoil their public or private spaces is really none of my business. I’m a walking observer, not really much of a participant. I don’t engage most of the things people around me seem to find pleasure in doing, certainly not in drugs, and I don’t have pets. I find my pleasure in things they know nothing about, or would not find pleasurable if they had to do them. I accept that now, as part of the change process.

When I speak of “barefoot humility” I’m not thinking of being poor, unable to afford shoes, sandals or flip-flops. I’m thinking of what it means to approach this hard/harsh world with my vulnerable bare feet. I’m thinking of having to bow my head and look down; look at the ground, the floor, the sidewalk, the road, the site, and guide my feet through obstacles that could prove painful or detrimental to them. There is no room for pride here.

In this barefoot exercise, I have the choice of cursing those who ignorantly leave dangerous or filthy things in the way of others, particularly on public streets, sidewalks, parking lots or parks. Or I can accept this aspect of society, refusing to react in anger, but rather with a sadness at the overt self-destructiveness of human nature. I allow my feet to do the talking, and I listen, very carefully.

Feet, in our materialistic society are jewels encased in hard boxes or crates called shoes, never to be exposed to what lies under them. We have no idea, until we remove our shoes and relearn how to walk on the earth, how much our protective equipment we call shoes and clothes, have taken away from our identity with our world.

Encased in our various types of armour; driving our polluting and destructive machines; locked in our equally unhealthy air-conditioned/centrally heated box homes, we storm and stomp through the earth as conquerors, rapists, violators and murderers. We do not feel because we cannot feel. We live in artificial exoskeletons that deny us our natural heritage which demands that we daily touch the earth with our natural nakedness. We are denied, and we deny ourselves and we become “more machine than man” as we progress towards the ringing bells of our earth’s death knell.

There is a movement under way called “Free the Nipple” by people who believe that women should have the same right to go topless in public as men do. Perhaps we need a movement called “Free the Feet” so we can once again walk barefoot wherever we choose, including in restaurants and all other type of stores or offices.

Beautiful feet are not found inside prisons called shoes. They are found naked and free.

Totally out of context perhaps but a truly fine expression: “As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” [Isaiah 52:7]”

 

 

I’m Puzzled about Mankind

[thoughts from    ~burning woman~   by Sha’Tara]

Hi, this is me, and yes, I’m talking to myself again.  Who else would be here to talk to at 10:30 in the evening?

So, what’s so important, I had to close down my evening reading for?

As per usual, I’m wondering about the fate of mankind.  OK, forget that.  I’m puzzled about mankind, is that better?

In some sort of normal scheme of things, if a group of intelligent beings were made aware that what they are doing, as a collective, is endangering the majority of their group, perhaps all of it by also endangering the one and only world they can survive on, one would think they would stop just long enough to consider this possibility, check out the best possible information, correlate the data and if in fact it looked like it was indeed the case, decide on a course change?

Of course I’m speaking of normal reaction to a serious situation.  Is it a fact then that one cannot expect a normal reaction from the collective that likes to think of itself as human, and calls itself mankind?  The collective that certainly considers itself “the smartest guys in the room”?  When was the last time people chose to give planetary leadership to, say, the whales, the elephants, the chimps, the gorillas, the lions, the cheetahs, the cottontail rabbits or the mountain bluebirds?  Even less drastic, when was the last time people chose a tribe of aborigines to rule the planet, using only their tribal rules of interaction with each other and the environment?

This is the problem, you see?  Modern, Techno Man has held the reins of power for far too long, never willing to concede defeat regardless of how many of his own civilizations he destroyed and caused to collapse.  Hubris, pure and simple.  A belief in some theory that man, only man, can rule this world.  No one else gets a chance, it’s a closed rule.  So even if mankind is on the verge of collapsing another civilization, and with it, billions of his own, not to mention the shock-wave effect upon the planet when the collapse inevitably turns to blood and gore, even “limited” nuclear war.

It’s one thing to be intelligent, and certainly mankind is an intelligent species; it’s an entirely different thing to be what I’d call a holistic being.  Intelligence serves evil just as handily as it does those who would do only good.  Intelligence is a tool, nothing more.  It is not a mark of character.  Intelligence doesn’t automatically confer the right to rule, and it follows, to despoil, upon anyone.  In fact if intelligence was used properly, it would lead in the opposite direction so right there we know intelligence, or “IQ” is not how we measure worth, no more than using a monetary factor.

Organized religion, the modern world’s once unchallenged ruler, has taken a bit of a pounding since the last century and deservedly so.  However, having been replaced by science as the new god of the age, things have not gotten any better.  That is because, like religion, science is but a tool of capitalism, i.e. greed, and when you have mostly tools operating a tool, you are going to have a lot of inhuman happenings in the shop and around the yard.  That’s what we’ve been seeing, a whole lot of inhuman happenings.  Highest on the pedestal of scientific achievements: weapons of mass destruction and weapons of all sorts have proliferated.  Those are great for killing people, but surely science can provide other great sources of profit.  Indeed, it proved itself once more in a cornucopia of devilish chemicals to kill bugs and weeds.  DDT,  Malathion, Glyphosate, 2,4-D, Roundup (for those GMO crops!) and… remember Napalm? Killing bugs, weeds, trees and people, in one fell swoop in fiery infernos.  Makes one want to get on the knees and worship in ecstasy, doesn’t it? 

Undoubtedly some will jump to the defense of science and claim it has ushered in many great accomplishments.  Perhaps, but I’ll say this: all, bar none, of those accomplishments were done for profit, and continue to be done for profit, including any and all new drives in “clean” energy, and all monetary profit is always, without fail, to the detriment of the planet and the people.  Science is thus a bit more than a tool, it is a brash and proud whore of capitalism.

I could list a whole lot more of science’s infernal inventions unleashed upon insects, plants, animals and people world-wide.  The thing is, most people reading about such things just shut down.  “Does not compute” — “Change the channel, please!”  Most people can’t even face the things they know themselves to be in collusion with.  It all has to do with intelligence.  Consumers know how they get their mosquito-free pond setting environment; their bug-free flowers and their relatively cheap goods, no denying that, despite all the happy people in the commercials, they know about the poisons, the exploitation of labour, the oppression of dispossessed minorities and refugees, the endless extortion of life from the poor globally.  They know.  But with a great deal of help from their programming, they choose to ignore the warnings that such things have never ended well before.

Near the end of this internal monologue I realize once again that such things as I’m seeing here today have never boded well for any other civilization.  When you see rising corruption in places of power, you see more wars of extortion.  You see a general breakdown of many good things some societies had managed to set up for themselves.  You see more repression at home, on the streets.  More police armed for war and looking for mass confrontation.  More “security” everywhere.  You see personal freedoms taken away one by one, then two by two, then all gone.  You see razor wire fences going up and more prisons.  You experience racism and segregation when you thought you’d done away with such evils. 

You did not, and you never will, simply because your programming tells you it’s fixable.  You can patch it.  So your system plays you.

One example, for Americans.  Recently there was some concern that a known pedophile running as a Republican would be elected to the senate.  Oh, the uproar!  Then “miraculously” the “good guy” predictably a Democrat, won.  Jubilation in the ranks.  And the wheel turns, the game goes on and none are the wiser.  So the Democrats, if there’s still a country left standing after the current fiasco regime, will return to power, and to all their sleazy games which are just put on hold while the Republicans do the dirty work of validating a glorious return for their opposition.  There’s intelligence here, surely or at least method to madness.

So, what are you actually puzzled about then?

If I were offered a way out of a predicament that spelled so much doom, wouldn’t I take it?  Would I just shrug it off, or argue against it when all of my arguments have already proved to be false?  Surely there is some room for intelligent intelligence here, on this world?

Good luck with that one girl, you’re on the wrong planet, but don’t give up, you’re almost done!

Yeah, I wondered about that, and thanks for reminding me.

         A short “report” upon returning from another MDS (Mennonite Disaster Service) volunteer stint, this time near Lone Butte (100 Mile House) in the Caribou country of British Columbia, Canada.
This was MDS’ first “contract” in the area.  The reason we were so late starting was due to the roads having been closed because of the fires and it took a while to get the “all clear.”

Thanks to precautions by the owner, such as spreading fire retardant around the buildings and having a sprinkler system going fed by the solar panel array as the power grid was down, some of the buildings and animals survived the fires.  The dogs and horses did not survive.  Though many buildings throughout the fire area were saved that way, the ranchers lost over 30,000 heads of cattle, many of whom had to be put down having their hoofs and legs burned from running through the wildfires trying to escape.
Wildlife, especially the smaller rodent populations that provide food for the larger carnivores, was decimated.  Hungry cougars and other large predators are now roaming ever closer to remaining winter feed lots and even homes.   Children have to be driven inside vehicles to school bus pick-up points though you can see some daring lonely souls, who probably do not have the luxury of a parent at home able to drive them, walking along the roads.  One does not have to wonder long what would happen if they were attacked.
The goal of our 5-man crew was to get as much of the replacement house covered, laying up of trusses, sheathing and if possible, installation of the metal roofing.  We got as far as the tar paper and strapping, which will ensure the building stays relatively free of snow and rain on the inside, barring whatever blows in through doors and windows as yet not installed.  With the onset of winter up there, about 300 miles north of the border, or from Chilliwack which is where I live (practically on the 49th parallel) we probably will not be returning until after spring breakup.  By then there should be several more projects identified and contracted for by our project managers.

Following are some pictures I took the time to snap as the work progressed.  Couldn’t waste much time off the job as the days are short up there – it reminded me of the Peace River country in northern Alberta where I was raised, if a bit warmer and wetter and the mud not quite as sticky as our great plains gumbo.  If the pictures appear fuzzy, it’s because they are greatly reduced from their original format.

Images and captions:  This is the house we worked on.  It may seem large but it has to accommodate a large family.  IMG_0169

House againIMG_0170

… house…IMG_0154

Solar panels and power house.  Behind is the log cabin the family is now using as temporary abode. IMG_0166

…angle consultation.  The man in the black cap is the owner. IMG_0184

This is part of the area the family calls “Elizabeth’s Pond” IMG_0175

A bit more of “the pond” and the “floating fence” which sits on several feet of soft peat and is often under water. IMG_0180

Close up of “floating fence” and edge of pond.  I was told that if someone ventured here they’d sink over their head in peat and mud. IMG_0164

Children’s play area (one of several!) IMG_0153

Log playhouse. IMG_0152

Burned area near the homestead/ranch, and a small lake.IMG_0194

More of burned area – close up.IMG_0189

… and more… IMG_0200

My faithful companion van and mobile tool box,  properly “decorated” with high country mud.  Individual patiently looking out and waiting for me to take my pictures along the forest road is my friend, Vic Janzen, one of MDS’ project managers and project leaders.  We rode up together on this particular project.

IMG_0196

A month ago, this is what our sun looked like at high noon here, 300 miles south of the raging wild fires. IMG_0006

I must say that, as much as I enjoy giving away time and resources to help others it never ceases to amaze me that as a nation people willingly let their pathocratic leaders blow off tax dollars on destroying people and the planet and fail to find it offensive that there is “no money” to help the very people who pay the taxes used to build the military hardware; the military machine and to pay the inflated “salaries” of rich, elitist rulers.  How can a supposed intelligent species be this dumb?  This uncaring?  This unfeeling?  This crass?  This ignorant?  This stupid?  How many of “us” is there for every one of “them”?  Yet we claim to be democratic societies.  Is this what we really want?  If not then why is it that those who propose change are always spurned, scorned, distrusted or even “elimitated” so the sharks can continue to have free range over the planet?  Surpasses my understanding.

As a final note, I saw the full glory of the Milky Way for the first time since leaving the Peace River country in 1964!  Prevailing winds must have “miraculously” blown the smoke away from the area where we bunked.  We seldom realize how much city environments create horribly polluted conditions until we find ourselves far enough up in the mountains, or far enough north that city smogs can’t reach there… yet.