Sunday, February 25, 2007

Humanist Greens of the Bioregional State, Unite! A Contrast to Anti-Humanist Green Anarchy Solutions

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Here's an excellent article relayed from the NWRage website. It allows a nice short contrast between "green anarchy" and the bioregional state proposals. The bioregional state proposals are completely different in recommendations, though in agreement on the seriousness of the issues of anthropogenic climate change and human pollution.

(First, for intellectual fairness that anthropogenic climate change may be only one of many variables, read about sun variations as well as note with concern the same degradative elites greenwashing themselves to stay in informal power globally under a "meet the new boss, same as the old boss" slogan. Yes, George Hunt, we hear what has been unsaid in many high elite promoted frameworks that they promise are good for everyone--while maintaining the same inequalities of power and economy for themselves. However, it hardly detracts in my view whether pollution is a sole direct cause or one of many indirect causes of global climate change, and one should be aware that simply jumping from one elite led tyrannous form of ecological degradation into another elite pressured tyranny as a proferred strategy of solution is hardly a solution--particularly if as argued in Toward a Bioregional State, overly elite frameworks of managerial power are responsible for environmental degradation instead of involved in solutions for it.)

I suppose it comes down to the point that the bioregional state is humanist, rational, secular, tolerant, and institutional in the Enlightenment tradition against forms of political and economic tyranny, while green anarchists are in their own estimation "anti-civilizational" and even anti-humanist in service of green goals. On the contrary, bioregional state proposals show that to be pro-humanist (i.e., to be concerned with reflecting human concerns on local areas) is a very green proposal given the supermajorities for a 'health, ecological, and economic' change in development policy. In other words, humans are your friends, instead of your enemies, in working toward sustainability. Humans because of local ecological self-interest yield a politics toward environmental amelioration--if it is allowed to be expressed. Typically, this ecological self-interest is shielded from its expression in formal institutions and formal policy by a whole slew of gatekeeping forms of political power that service only informal elite forms of degradative developmentalism. However, the political demographic for a change is indeed "already here though waiting to be organized."

Zim Zam with Zerzan

The above linked article is a nice exploration of green anarchism, particularly touching on Zerzan. The bioregional state for a contrast would be for different recommendations than Zerzan, though agreeing with much of his historical analysis that there has been a systematic environmental degradation for thousands of years.

However, the bioregional state premise, built from a lot of comparative historiography, is that environmental degradation is systemic to organizational and political issues of unrepresentative development, instead of something hardwired to humans themselves.

Since it is organizational, it requires organizational solutions. Zerzan's romanticism leads to radical beliefs that "everything will end". The bioregional state view is that everything will continue--until systematic change is rationally applied institutionally, that recognizes the alignment into state policy of already in sync human and ecological issues for environmental amelioration. From widely reported polls, humans are very in sync with concerns about their health, ecology, and economics. What is out of sync are the old frameworks of humanocentric state institutions, instead of ecocentric state institutions described within Toward a Bioregional State.

Instead of Zerzan's and much of the 'deep ecologist' wing's view of a radical difference in human and ecological concern, the bioregional state has always been a humanist green view, without a zero-sum green anarchist philosophical tenet that aiding one destroys the other. On the contrary, aiding one (humans) abets the other (the environmental amelioration).

On this quote from the article: "Globalization. Capitalism. Greed. Civilization. Call it what you will. It will end, the green anarchists insist,...." I'm skeptical anything ever 'ends,' it's only transformed and struggles on as best or worst it can. I think a better bet is working toward crafting institutional solutions that allow for more ecological feedback into democratic institutions instead of gatekeeping against it which is what we have presently.

As said before:

Bioregional democracy (or the Bioregional State) is a set of electoral reforms and commodity reforms designed to force the political process in a democracy to better represent concerns about the economy, the body, and environmental concerns (e.g. water quality), toward developmental paths that are locally prioritized and tailored to different areas for their own specific interests of sustainability and durability. This movement is variously called bioregional democracy, watershed cooperation, or bioregional representation, or one of various other similar names--all of which denote democratic control of a natural commons and local jurisdictional dominance in any economic developmental path decisions—while not removing more generalized civil rights protections of a larger national state.

In other words, if a lot of "green anarchists" (or anyone) wanted to get together and run their watershed they way they wanted, that's fine because that's the way it would work--as long as externalities to other watersheds are demoted. It would be up to the people involved in a particular watershed, of which there would be many different variations--as long as externalities to other watersheds are demoted.

The supermajorities supporting such a 'health, ecology, and local economy' developmentalism are already there, that is the issue. So the main issue is aligning the existing formal institutions of democracy to this, instead of allowing unrepresentative elites to gatekeep against 'The Three Pink Elephants in the Room: Health, Ecology, Economy.'

It's Green Vs. Gray, instead of Green Vs. Humans-or Even Instead of Left vs. Right

The policies of the U.S.'s version of the unsustainable developmental party (otherwise known as the Janus Party--two faced Democrats and Republicans linked together) are merely an avoidance of the social politics supported by super-majorities in polls on health care, environment, and sustainability.

These three issues of health care, ecology, and economic sustainability are the true core of U.S. grass roots social politics regardless.

Even those who typically 'vote right-wing' (on conservative interpersonal politics) are actually pro-environment socially in the U.S.

See polls above at the link, or quickly reposted below:

"polls health

Majority (65%) of Americans want single-payer health care; willing to pay more taxes to get it. --- In ABCNEWS/Washington Post poll, 3 point margin, Americans by a 2-1 margin, 62-32 percent, prefer universal health insurance program over current employer-based system. 78% dissatisfied with cost of nation's health care, including 54% "very" dissatisfied. Most dissatisfied with overall quality of health care in U.S.--first majority in 3 polls since 1993, up 10 points since 2000. --- Public wants government to play leading role in providing health care for all. In the same poll, by almost a two-to-one margin (62% to 33%), Americans said that they preferred a universal system that would provide coverage to everyone under a government program, as opposed to current employer-based system. Slightly different question asked by Kaiser, June '03: more than 7 in 10 ten adults (72%) agreed government should guarantee health insurance for all citizens even if it means repealing most tax cuts passed under President George W. Bush--less than one-quarter (24%) disagreed with this. --- Americans overwhelmingly agree access to health care should be a right. In 2000, as in 1993, 8 in 10 agreed health care be provided equally to citizens; over half agreed “strongly” or “completely.” In 2004, 76% agreed strongly or somewhat that health care should be a right.

polls ecology

The majority (77%) think we should do "whatever it takes" to protect environment. --- In another poll, reported in The Ecologist, upwards of 80% of the U.S. with little difference between left or right want their environmental laws seriously enforced, as well as strengthened. This is the issue once more that many of the people who 'vote right wing' and may be interpersonally conservative, have the same social policies and weigh in 'on the left' on the health, ecology, and economy issues.

polls economy

The majority (86 percent) favor raising the minimum wage. The majority (60%) favor repealing Bush's tax cuts, or at least those that go only to the rich. --- The majority (87%) think big oil companies are gouging consumers and would support a windfall profits tax. --- The majority (66%) want to reduce the deficit not by cutting domestic spending, but by reducing Pentagon spending or raising taxes."

That is the center--and huge center it is. The 'left/right' thing has totally broken down when left and right PARTY elites both have moved toward globalized privatization support. It has left this super-majority of social politics--for health, ecology, and economy issues--festering WORLDWIDE across all nations.

Greening the Phrygian Cap

For sustainability, there's not going to be a "new totalitarian ideology" that is globally implemented as a 'one size fits all development' plan--whether engineered distantly around an anti-humanistic WTO conference table on the one hand, or even around an equally distant anti-humanistic intellectuals' corner diner coffee table of green anarchists on the other hand. It's not going to come from intellectuals all getting on the same page. It's going to come from people actually introducing themselves collectively to their own common local geographic concerns, finding ways of durably institutionalizing such local concern in the ongoing policy process, and taking that jurisdiction away from unsustainable developmentalist politics.

Who is anyone to decide for anyone else? The bioregional state is an implementation framework for letting people decide for themselves in their own areas, within a larger geopolitical context of their wider-collective choosing as well. It's going to come from allowing more people to decide by giving those geographically situated anywhere in the world the institutional oversight in their own watersheds to affect developmentalism policies in their own particular areas--under the caveat of other watersheds having rights to stop another 'rogue watershed's' pollution through larger state structures. It's the only way that sustainability has been seen to work so far, so extrapolate from that.

Thus, sustainability is going to come from wider institutional input from actual geographies ["...democratic control of a natural commons and local jurisdictional dominance in any economic developmental path decisions--while not removing more generalized civil rights protections of a larger national state."], as well as finding ways around elite gatekeeping collusion via more checks and balances on their ecological tyranny. As said in the book summary:

"Toward A Bioregional State is a novel approach to development and to sustainability. He proposes that instead of sustainability being an issue of population scale, managerial economics, or technocratic planning, an overhaul of formal democratic institutions and commodity choices to be more locally sustainable are required. This is because environmental degradation has more to do with the biased interactions of formal institutions and informal corruption. Because of corruption, and unrepresentative choices of materials associated with it, we have environmental degradation. Current formal democratic institutions of states are forms of informal gatekeeping in politics as well as materials, and as such, intentionally maintain democracy and commodities as ecologically “out of sync”. He argues that we are unable to reach sustainability without a host of additional ecological checks and balances. These ecological checks and balances would demote corrupt uses of formal institutions by removing capacities for gatekeeping against democratic feedback and more democratic material choices. Sustainability is a politics that is already here—only waiting to be formally organized."

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Kermit says: "How did I get on this guy's hand?"
(Rocky says: "Where's Zerzan? We think a lot a like.")

The irony is that the green anarchy solutions are as quite anti-humanist as groups of corporate globalizers, Nazi-eugenic fellow travelers in the Rockefeller filled Club of Rome, or the vigilante corporate sponsored terrorism of the 'Wise Use Movement'.

The argument of the bioregional state is that pro-humanist views are solutions to environmental degradation, because it is in human ecological self-interest to reflect a sound ecology--as it is all bound up in their human health and durable economies.

Just for a quick example from the bioregional state, current formal institutions that attempt to register local self-interest are all gerrymandered across the states of the world. If electoral districts were were more aligned 'in sync' with the pro-human pro-ecological self-interest instead of gerrymandered to support gatekeeping for unsustainability against against voter choice, then what Frederick Jackson Turner noticed over 80 years ago, the 'significance of [bioregional] sections' in state political histories instead of political parties or ideologies, might be dusted off for a read once more.

A politics for environmental amelioration, pro-human and pro-ecological, is already there and has always been there: "already there--only waiting to be organized."

Here's a great film about ecological self-interest versus a corrupt governmental developmentalism endlessly gerrymandering and utilizing corrupt informal uses of formal institutions to finagle more anti-human and anti-ecological policies. Only the corrupt informal developmentalism is the cause of environmental degradation, instead of the former. Enjoy. Don't hate people. Help them. They are your friends.

Pickaxe - The Cascadia Free State Story
1 hr 34 min

Pickaxe documents efforts to halt logging at Warner Creek, a federally protected forest in Oregon. Following a suspicious fire in 1991 that cleared the land, Congress suspended environmental regulations to allow logging in the area. Since arson was determined to be the cause of the fire, however, environmental activists argued that allowing logging at Warner Creek would set a bad example and possibly lead to similarly motivated forest fires. What followed was an 11-month battle complete with a 79-day hunger strike and an amazing blockade of a remote mountain logging road. This inspiring documentary shows the power of direct action, determination and good leadership.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Silent Spring, Revisited: Bee Dieoff Shows Importance of Watershed Based Commodity Ecology Oversight

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
"A mysterious illness is killing hundreds of thousands of honeybee colonies across the country, threatening honey production, the livelihood of beekeepers and possibly crops that need bees for pollination. Researchers are scrambling to find the cause of the ailment....Reports of unusual colony deaths have come from at least 22 states."

"From different maps, Dead bees on a cake
You’re sweeping the forest, Man, it’s getting late
The milkweed is growing, Through cotton crops;
You borrowed the car, But you didn’t ask

You’ve misunderstood the place where you stand, God Man"
--David Sylvian, "God Man"

Is this a "red state" disease? (Or is it even a disease: see comments.) It would be a shame if it is, since those who are conservative politically are just as environmentally concerned as anyone else.

The massive die-offs of honeybees, the real basis of agriculture instead of human activity, requires a more ecological sound and locally representative basis of agriculture as well as pest management.

This goes for all materials instead of only agriculture. Only when all material input choices and externalities are prioritized and monitored locally in the watershed, based on local variegation of interactive effects more successfully, will we have sustainability. This has been discussed in the Commodity Ecology institutional frameworks, and bees may be an ideal case example to discuss synergistic effects of ecological pollution as well as human interests in a healthy ecology.

This sad news about bee die-offs reminds me how important commodity ecology institutions of state, described below, are going to be (or is that bee).

In the article below, they are calling what is potentially a pesticide or insecticide mass die-off a novel obfuscating term: 'colony collapse disorder'. Is that like calling pesticide pollution a strange unknown "bird dieoff disorder"--without touching on the powerful and deadly pesticide and herbicide industry?

Are they deliberately obfuscating the issue? The verroa mite, which seemed to be the harbinger of this feedback loop die-off, has recently gone immune from a major pesticide treatment. (However, see comments--since bees are hardly showing verroa mite infestation despite hardier mites being now in existence; bees are simply flying away presumably healthy, and unable to find their way back to the hive and/or die away from the hive.)

Pesticide treatment used unsparingly only raises better bugs--immune to pesticide treatment. Pesticides are a "short term solution"--which is an oxymoron when talking of ecological relations. All solutions are long term and iteratively sound or are nothing except destructive. (And Bt addled GM-crops seem to be involved in facilitating this in some way, as one factor.)

Toward this long term solution, would be the commodity ecology framework of jurisdiction for democratic material use in a watershed.

Particularly since weakened bee immune systems are suspect along with massive expansion of the varroa mite right before, it seems like a corporate public relations gesture to attempt to classify bee die-off as a novel isolated 'disorder' instead of simply calling it what it may be: more pesticide immune varroa mites along with weakened bee immune systems from overuse of pesticide treatments? (In the comments, it may have issues to do with electromagnetic 'confusion' in bees as well, that scrambles their ability to re-find the hive once they leave.)

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Though it's still up in the air what is going on, this probably has a great deal more to do with predictable synergistic effects of massive ecological pollution and pesticide use, which is in the category of the unknown feedback loops that people like Rachel Carson (Silent Spring), Sandra Steingraber (Living Downstream), or Julia Whitty (on the oceans) have been warning us about for generations: that faulty chemical intensive forms of agriculture that ignore local externalities are innately deadly.

To widen the theme though outside of just concentrating on agriculture or apiary, any material use without some form of local democratic watershed jurisdictional oversight would be dangerous. It is required more than ever to check and balance against current 'regulatory capture' by corrupt state and federal governments. As suggested in Toward a Bioregional State, all materials should be moved to more democratic input in materials choices based on local feedback against externalities--human and otherwise.--to integrate materials and the politics of our consumption in them into ecological relations.

Only then will all commodity relationships be based on ecologically sound frameworks as people gain novel watershed institutions which gives voice to their local concerns and the interrelated issues of human health, ecological health, and economic health that are always there. Such interrelationships are very plain in this bee die-off story:

Feb. 11, 2007, 9:57PM
Thousands of honeybees die of enigmatic illness
"Colony Collapse Disorder" [sic] is taking a toll in 22 states

Associated Press ...Commercial beekeepers in 22 states have reported deaths of tens of thousands of honeybee colonies. ....

...Researchers with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Penn State University and the University of Montana are trying to figure out what is causing it.

...The problem threatens honey production, the livelihood of beekeepers and...crops that need bees for pollination.

STATE COLLEGE, PA.— A mysterious illness [sic, or hardly mysterious, perhaps only intentionally mystified] is killing hundreds of thousands of honeybee colonies across the country, threatening honey production, the livelihood of beekeepers and possibly crops that need bees for pollination. Researchers are scrambling to find the cause of the ailment....Reports of unusual colony deaths have come from at least 22 states. Some affected commercial beekeepers — who often keep thousands of colonies — have reported losing more than 50 percent of their bees.

A colony can have roughly 20,000 bees in the winter, and up to 60,000 in the summer.

"We have seen a lot of things happen in 40 years, but this is the epitome of it all," Dave Hackenberg, of Lewisburg-based Hackenberg Apiaries, said by phone from Fort Meade, Fla., where he was working with his bees.

The country's bee population had already been shocked in recent years by a tiny, parasitic bug called the varroa mite, which has destroyed more than half of some beekeepers' hives and devastated most wild honeybee populations. Along with being producers of honey, commercial bee colonies are important to agriculture as pollinators, along with some birds, bats and other insects. A recent report by the National Research Council noted that in order to bear fruit, three-quarters of all flowering plants — including most food crops and some that provide fiber, drugs and fuel — rely on pollinators for fertilization.

Hackenberg, 58, was first to report...[it] bee researchers at Penn State University. He notified them in November when he was down to about 1,000 colonies — after having started the fall with 2,900. "We are going to take bees we got and make more bees ... but it's costly," he said. "We are talking about major bucks. You can only take so many blows so many times."

One beekeeper who traveled with two truckloads of bees to California to help pollinate almond trees found nearly all of his bees dead upon arrival.

Scientists at Penn State, the University of Montana and the U.S. Department of Agriculture are among the growing group of researchers and industry officials trying to solve the puzzle. Diana Cox-Foster, a Penn State entomology professor investigating the problem, said an analysis of dissected bees turned up an alarmingly high number of foreign fungi, bacteria and other organisms and weakened immune systems. Researchers are also looking into the effect pesticides might be having on bees.

Sisyphus and Pesticides: The Varroa Mite

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
(Varroa Mite infestation)

Are "health department" sprayings and agricultural insecticides and pesticides having a domino effect on bees at last? This is known to be what happened with the pesticide-immune varroa mite, which was precursor to this massive "Colony Collapse Disorder" die-off:

"The parasitic disease caused by varroa mites is called varroatosis. Its treatment has been of limited success. First the bees were medicated with fluvinate which had about 95% mite falls. It was a good product, but the last five percent became resistant to it and later, almost immune."

Thus, the pesticide applications have intentionally bred "better mites"--and very recently.

This massive varroa mite explosion decimated bee populations, then soon after there is a massive bee dieoff (really a "disappearance") which may be related to already immune hampered bee colonies throughout the United States.

With colonies almost suddenly dying out (via dispersal, see comments) in 22 US states right after the varroa mite became pesticide immune we should look for a synergistic solution.

These mites are capable of reproduction on a 10-day cycle, where, in 12 weeks the number of mites in a Western honey bee hive can multiply by 12. So with a particularly hardy varroa mite infestation becoming systemic, I think it shows clearly we have a paradigm difficulty still reaching for the whole "chemical fix" sort term solutions. I suppose honeybee populations will drop down to a lower homeostatic base until mites once more balance themselves out by killing off the bees they feed upon alone.

That the mites came before shows that it may be a human-ecological intermixed tragedy--with origins in the ongoing addictions to expecting short term solutions.

Seemingly from after varroa mite infestation, bees are far worse systemically, for wear and tear?

Regardless, it's bees and human agriculture and human health--versus the wealth generated from the pesticide and insecticide industry. Even though there are many alternatives to such chemical uses in alternative frameworks of agricultural organization or in natural free pesticides more healthful and safe for all species involved, U.S. agriculture has increasingly become an industrially dangerous wasteland for people as well as other species because scale instead of quality has been the driving ideology influencing these material relations. Seems the next scale crop is the varroa mite.

This bee die-off may be more serious than deaths from insecticides, as a combination of parasites and microbes working synergistically. (Or it may be something else, see comments.) So a more synergistic approach to all materials that humans use in ecological situations is required: commodity ecology.

With that said, I would refer you to a previous post for some solution ideas:

COMMODITY ECOLOGY: From mere "End of Pipe" Remediation, to Ecological Engineering for a Sustainable Economic Watershed

This section veers outside the formal institutional discussion toward a proposal of how to make economically sustainable frameworks across each watershed in the world. This is done by going further than the "end of pipe" remediation strategies of both ecological modernization as well as Living Machines, toward democratizing a process by which we choose and use materials locally in the first place. Commodity ecology is the local watershed democratization of commodity choice and their interactions.