Sunday, April 18, 2021

The Great Pause Week 57: Mama at the Bat

"How do pandemics, climate variability, plastic, toxic pollution, and other threats affect fertility?"

 

Image after Saisha Bloom: beinG sLAVE


Some time back, I came across an odd fact that did not seem to reconcile with what had I thought about natural systems and planetary homeostasis. Girls all over the world, from the capital cities of Europe to the remote regions of Pakistan, were getting their periods younger. In Europe, menarche declined from age 17 in 1840 to about 13 in 1970. In North America it declined from about 15 in 1890 to 13 in 1920. The age of onset was shortening.

This extends the window of fertility, meaning women become able to bear more children during their lives. So why, if human overpopulation threatens all life on Earth, should that be “naturally” accelerating? 

One hypotheses is that since 1840, nutrition, average weight, and stress, have all changed markedly. Logically, an improved standard of living translates into begetting more children. Might it also be that we are genetically conditioned, by hundreds of thousands of years of extreme climate variability and other threats to our survival, to burst forth and flower when we luck into better conditions? We can observe, for instance, how the end of World War II brought a surge in baby-having, and how stresses from climate and culture are driving down fertility today. Nomadic refugees cannot easily accommodate childbearing and infant care. 

Another study suggests that vitamin D deficiency elevates risk of early menarche. Intuitively, this would correspond to a more outdoor lifestyle for children in 1840 compared to 1970. 

No datum directly shows that chemicals are responsible for the change. Data is accumulating, however, that environmental pollution may be affecting other factors. In 2017, Shanna Swan, an environmental and reproductive epidemiologist at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York and her team of researchers completed a study that showed that over the past four decades, sperm levels among men in Western countries have dropped by more than 50 percent. They hypothesized that both lifestyle and chemical exposures may be the cause.

Count Down: How Our Modern World Is Threatening Sperm Counts, Altering Male and Female Reproductive Development, and Imperiling the Future of the Human Race

In the short span of a few decades, reduction in male fertility has overtaken the increase in female fertility and the extensions of average lifespan that were pushing population higher. Japan’s population has been in decline since 2006, creating problems as a greying population swamps pension and healthcare systems. It’s a similar story in South Korea, Italy, Spain, and across most of Eastern Europe. In only four industrialized countries are women, on average, having the two children required to sustain population size.

“It’s too early to be alarmist,” says Henri Leridon, who heads the Laboratory of Epidemiology, Demography, and Social Sciences at the University of Paris XI. On the lifestyle side of the equation, many factors converge to lower fertility:

  • Women in Western countries have been electing to have children later, which is bound to result in fewer children per family. 
  • The expansion of in vitro fertilization may have created a cohort of adults who have inherited their parents’ fertility problems.
  • The shift towards having more sexual partners post-adolescence has increased sexually transmitted diseases, including Chlamydia trachomatis, a major cause of female infertility which is rarely diagnosed and produces no obvious symptoms.
  • Up to ten percent of US women are thought to have infertility related to obesity, where eggs do not mature or there is a failure to ovulate.
  • Smoking, alcohol consumption and a range of other lifestyle factors can all reduce a couple’s ability to conceive, usually affecting women more severely than men. 

On the chemical exposures causality, researchers have reported:

  • A woman’s stock of eggs is defined by the number and maturity of her ovarian follicles when she herself was an embryo. Normal fetal follicular development depends on the mother’s diet and other lifestyle factors, including her exposure to chemicals.
  • Adult male sperm count and quality is determined largely by the development of sperm-nurturing Sertoli cells in the embryonic testes. This depends heavily on exposure to sex hormones in the womb, which again is influenced by the mother’s lifestyle and other environmental factors.

Where global fertility stands now is hard to say. For example, among 1,540 British couples aged 16–59, taking longer than one year to get pregnant fell from 21% in 1960–65 to just 10% in 1991–93. Fertility was rising. Yet, in a survey of thousands of USAnian couples, fertility declined between the early 1980s and the mid-1990s.

Swann thinks the US trend is the more likely to dominate in the future. Her team found that sperm counts have dropped almost 60% since 1973 and could reach zero by 2045. 

Zero. Let that sink in. That would mean no babies. No reproduction. No more humans. Forgive me for asking: why isn’t the UN calling an emergency meeting on this right now?

 — Erin Brockovich 

Swann writes, “The current state of reproductive affairs can’t continue much longer without threatening human survival. It’s a global existential crisis.” 

Writing for The Guardian on March 18, Erin Brockovich observed:

In the United States today, for example, you can’t eat the deer meat caught in in Oscoda, Michigan, as the health department there issued a “do not eat” advisory for deer caught near the former Air Force base because of staggeringly high PFOS levels .… 
***
The chemicals to blame for this crisis are found in everything from plastic containers and food wrapping, to waterproof clothes and fragrances in cleaning products, to soaps and shampoos, to electronics and carpeting. Some of them, called PFAS, are known as “forever chemicals”, because they don’t breakdown in the environment or the human body. They just accumulate and accumulate — doing more and more damage, minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day. Now, it seems, humanity is reaching a breaking point.
***
The European Union, for example, has restricted several phthalates in toys and sets limits on phthalates considered “reprotoxic” — meaning they harm the human reproductive capacities — in food production.

I suspect life on Earth would be considerably better, not just for humans but for all other creatures, if human population crashed to, say, one billion. What fertility alarmists seem to worry about is the economy.

But we have been here before.

References

Butler, D. The fertility riddle. Nature 432, 38–39 (2004). 03 November 2004

Flaws, Jodi A., Fady I. Sharara, Ellen K. Silbergeld, and Anne N. Hirshfield, “Environmental exposures and women’s reproductive health” in Women and Health, pp. 625–633. Academic Press, 2000

Pal, Lubna, and Hugh S. Taylor. “Role in Reproductive Biology and Reproductive Dysfunction in Women” in Vitamin D, pp. 783–795. Academic Press, 2018.

 ___________________


The COVID-19 pandemic has destroyed lives, livelihoods, and economies. But it has not slowed down climate change, which presents an existential threat to all life, humans included. The warnings could not be stronger: temperatures and fires are breaking records, greenhouse gas levels keep climbing, sea level is rising, and natural disasters are upsizing.

As the world confronts the pandemic and emerges into recovery, there is growing recognition that the recovery must be a pathway to a new carbon economy, one that goes beyond zero emissions and runs the industrial carbon cycle backwards — taking CO2 from the atmosphere and ocean, turning it into coal and oil, and burying it in the ground. The triple bottom line of this new economy is antifragility, regeneration, and resilience.

Help me get my blog posted every week. All Patreon donations and Blogger subscriptions are needed and welcomed. You are how we make this happen. Your contributions are being made to Global Village Institute, a tax-deductible 501(c)(3) charity. PowerUp! donors on Patreon get an autographed book off each first press run. Please help if you can.

#RestorationGeneration

“There are the good tipping points, the tipping points in public consciousness when it comes to addressing this crisis, and I think we are very close to that.”

 — Climate Scientist Michael Mann, January 13, 2021.

Sunday, April 11, 2021

The Great Pause Week 56: The Upside of Work


"Unicorns and angels are real, and anyone could become rich just for being famous."

Ökodorf Freie Republik Wendland at May 1980 Gorleben Protestcamp

We pretend to work and they pretend to pay us.

 — expression in the Soviet era

In his breakthrough role as beatnik Maynard G. Krebs on “The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis,” actor Bob Denver had an audible brand. He was unable to say the word, “work,” without a voice break, the inflected half of the word rising a couple octaves. That speech impediment was generally understood by a 1959 TV audience as denoting the beatnik aversion to labor, a false stereotype, not unlike later tropes about dirty hippies or pacifists spitting on veterans. 

During the 2020 election cycle, Democrat Andrew Yang tried to explain how Krebs was not wrong, just 50 years early: 

“We are in the midst of the greatest calamity in generations. Tens of millions of jobs are gone — for good. We’ve seen 10 years’ worth of change in the last 10 weeks. Forty-two percent of the jobs lost during [the pandemic] are not returning.”

Before Covid, half of all USAnians were employed in five sectors:

Administrative/clerical (including call centers)
Sales/retail
Food service/food prep
Truck driving/transportation
Manufacturing jobs

Covid devastated anything related to travel or hospitality. In the next decade, robotics, artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, biotechnology, machine-to-machine communication and 3D printing will destroy much of the rest. Yang merely narrated the Fourth Industrial Revolution for those who don’t stay current with such things. He said we needed to retool, reduce the work week, and move to Universal Basic Income. Work less and work smarter. Work, at least in the way Maynard G. Krebs thought of it — and most conservatives still do — is over.

The Universal Basic Income idea has been around for almost as long as Dobie Gillis. In Alaska they call it the Permanent Fund, a subsidy every resident receives from the State’s lucrative oil and gas extraction fees. In Cherokee, North Carolina, it is the check every tribal member gets from Indian casino revenues. Both those places defied conservative predictions. UBI lifted children out of poverty and kept them from lost lives in welfare lines, prison, or the military.

Lately I have been partaking in the invitation-only app for iPhones, soon to be on Android, called Clubhouse. The app is like Burning Man without the sand or psilocybin. While I find it a bit of a mire with way too many people having way too much idle time — like what royal courts must have been like in the 18th Century? — it also provided a rapid tour of the culture of Silicon Valley c. 2021. It is a shame it cannot be preserved in amber.

I was struck by the fragility of it all.

Imagine you have 90,000 followers on Linked-In, your podcast has a million downloads, your YouTube channel has global subscribers, your Clubhouse room and your Twitter feed have tons of followers, you have a couple PAs to return your DMs, and your brand is locked and loaded for sale to the highest bidder any time you are ready. You are thinking 7 or 8 figures could tempt you, maybe when it stops being fun.

Then a previously uncharted comet leaves an EMF wake that fries phones over one third of the planet, wiping clean the internet until it can be rebuilt EMF-proof.

Or, maybe something a little more probable — while you were scanning Google Analytics for the latest eyeball valuations at your posh rental in one of the forested burbs outside Santa Monica or Melbourne there comes a midnight knock on the door and you have to flee in your pajamas and return two days later to sift through the ashes of everything you owned.

My daughter was not even in the 1000-year floodplain when a flood wrecked her house in Nashville a few years ago. She rebuilt, sold it and moved to higher ground. Last month her old house got its second 1000-year flood.

Andrew Yang is right about one thing. This is not your daddy’s world anymore, kids. Most GEN Z’ers know that if they skip the old path of cubicles and assembly lines and can succeed as influencers, the lucky among them will build a 7-figure side hustle while spinning at the gym listening to World Beat. Unicorns and angels are real, and anyone could become rich just for being famous.

So what happens when a bot uploaded by a teenager in a chat room in Turkey drops a worm into all the national electric reliability networks and puts them down permanently? Or maybe that same teen has access to a school CRISPR lab and she inserts a gene into a bacterium that lets it eat through all the world’s grains before her high school teacher can engineer a hunter-killer?

What happens when a supervolcano freezes equatorial latitudes for successive summers? Or instead of an Evergreen container ship getting stuck in the Suez Canal, a war with Iran blocks the Straits of Hormuz, cutting off half of the world’s oil?

If any of those happened, we would enter that cyclical phase of history, be it Mayan, Mongol, or Modern, where the macro mega-system can’t inflate anymore. Attempts to compensate for de-growth with debt, ie: borrowing from the future, will run their course. Then the Ponzi scheme runs out of fresh meat. Ironically, it may not even require some catastrophic event. It could already be baked in the cake we are brunching on.

In 1970… [the] hippies learned the ancient virtues of hard work, good hygiene, and crop rotation.
 — Jim Windolf, Sex, Drugs and Soybeans, Vanity Fair Green Issue, 2007. 

As James Howard Kunstler recently observed, debt only works in the youthful growth phases of economic pulsation, when the prospect of being paid back is statistically favorable. 

Now in the elder de-growth phase, the prospect of paying back debts, or even servicing the interest, is statistically dismal. The amount of racked-up debt worldwide has entered the realm of the laughable. So, the roughly twenty-year experiment in Central Bank credit magic, as a replacement for true capital formation, has come to its grievous end.

Modern Monetary Theory has it that the nation which claims a monopoly on issuing money can “create” new money ad infinitum with no negative consequences. We can borrow any amount into existence, whether trillions or quadrillions. Of course these are trillions or quadrillions of dollars, euros and yen, not trillions or quadrillions of fish or cubic meters of topsoil. Kunstler, after classical environmental economists Herman Daly or Robert Costanza, calls this “prosperity without wealth.”

The error is thinking we never have to worry about paying it back because we can always “create” more. To anyone not raised in Southern California after 1950, the errors of this approach should be patently obvious. Inflating a modern technological economy with virtual wealth that buys it real things from somewhere else in the world, some place where hunger makes labor cheap, creates still more virtual wealth. Virtual wealth is almost indistinguishable from the real kind — because it can buy what it needs — until something comes along to expose the grift.

Kunstler, whose “History of the Future” series of books painted a watercolor of life after illusion popped, sans climate change, said the Biden/Harris “Build Back Better” is precisely the opposite of what should be done under the circumstances. We should rather “downsize, downscale, and re-localize all our activities to bring them back into sync with actual productivity — that is, raising food, making real stuff, and trading it.” 

He says “Build Back Better” is mainly 

“… malinvestment folly now because we’re nearing the end of mass motoring and commercial aviation as we’ve known them. If we even have electricity twenty-five years from now, it will come from much-reduced grids on a much more regional basis. The bottom line for all this is that pretty soon every corner of the country will be on its own amid quite a bit of social disorder and financial wreckage. So, whatever energy you actually can marshal to Build Back Better, save it for your town or your local community. And remember, all of the attempts by a national government to control these events, and coerce its citizens in the service of that, will only lead to a more ineffectual and impotent national government that nobody has faith in, confirming the fact that you are on your own.”

I am less pessimistic about the impact of trillionization on public works a la the 1930’s WPA and CCC. I hold some hope that much of the virtual money coming from NFT auctions in Clubhouse can be used to reverse climate change, which Kunstler largely ignores but without which the odds of any of us getting out of this century alive are very long. Sooner than that, on the question of whether the money we are exchanging becomes worthless, the odds run highly favorable.

One industry that is going to skyrocket in coming years, and be able to employ vast numbers of the dispossessed, is drawdown. For example, ChargerHelp trains workers and pays them $30/hr to maintain and repair EV charging stations, both hardware and software. ClimeWorks is building carbon scrubbers that turn air into stone in Iceland, powered by volcanic vents. Carbon Trust has developed a product carbon footprint label. Earth Restoration Camps are spreading faster than their conceptualizers ever conceived, filling with the multitudes of GEN-Gaians willing to put their shoulders to the task of creating a realistic, doable way forward. In a short time, the drawdown sector will scale from almost nothing to many times larger than all the present fortune 500 companies combined. Chevron and BP see this and are repositioning accordingly. Exxon Mobil calls it b.s. and will die choking in its own stranded assets.

The question I have for a young person just getting out of school and thinking of starting a career on their smartphone is, “Really?”

_____________________

The COVID-19 pandemic has destroyed lives, livelihoods, and economies. But it has not slowed down climate change, which presents an existential threat to all life, humans included. The warnings could not be stronger: temperatures and fires are breaking records, greenhouse gas levels keep climbing, sea level is rising, and natural disasters are upsizing.

As the world confronts the pandemic and emerges into recovery, there is growing recognition that the recovery must be a pathway to a new carbon economy, one that goes beyond zero emissions and runs the industrial carbon cycle backwards — taking CO2 from the atmosphere and ocean, turning it into coal and oil, and burying it in the ground. The triple bottom line of this new economy is antifragility, regeneration, and resilience.

Help me get my blog posted every week. All Patreon donations and Blogger subscriptions are needed and welcomed. You are how we make this happen. Your contributions are being made to Global Village Institute, a tax-deductible 501(c)(3) charity. PowerUp! donors on Patreon get an autographed book off each first press run. Please help if you can.

#RestorationGeneration

Sunday, April 4, 2021

The Great Pause Week 55: The Secret Life of Weed

"Legalization of cannabis may be, for the global climate, like re-creating the fossil fuel industry from scratch."


With the domestication of wheat, some 10,000 years ago, the plant world split. Some became crops and others became weeds.
 — Elizabeth Kolbert, Under a White Sky (2021)

Cannabis is now the United States’ highest-value cash crop, even where it is still illegal. Thanks to the genius of ATF top gun Harry Anslinger in the 1930s, marijuana moved to that rank decades before it was legally grown. 

It sits in the top export product ranks for Mexico, Colombia, too, and likely some nations in the Middle East and Asia, even while enduring the occasional kabuki eradication effort. 

Patchy criminalization at the US federal level (interstate transport, for instance) compels each state to develop local markets, irrespective of the suitability of their seasons or climate. The Central Valley of California holds no special advantage over the Rocky Mountains of Colorado or the Green Mountains of Vermont since it’s all indoors now. While the localization of trade is a very healthy development, the indoor grow room is an abomination.

Here in México I have a neighbor who was just given a puppy. I can see by its paws it is going to be quite large when grown. My neighbor works on the ferry and is away at work from an hour before sunrise until an hour after sunset every day. In summer months that can be 16 hours. Because the dog likes to escape the yard to look for his master or just be a dog, my neighbor locks him inside the house when he leaves. As I write this, the pup’s low moan can be heard through a closed window. That will continue off and on all day. Multiply that times ten million and you have the fate of dogs in much of the world.

Why should a cannabis plant be any different?

A recent paper in Nature Sustainability concluded that legalization of cannabis may be, for the global climate, like re-creating the fossil fuel industry from scratch. Picture a grow room in Humboldt County like Col. Drake’s first rig in Pennsylvania. The grass may look green, but more so for customers and investors than to carbon auditors. 

California’s grass already soaks up, or soon will, more power than is produced by all its wind farms. Every kilo of dried flower represents from 2,283 to 5,184 kg of CO2 or equivalent greenhouse gases added to the atmosphere

Look at that again. 2 to 5 thousand times the carbon content of the weed itself is going to atmosphere and ocean from its production. You make the problem even worse when you go for the top-shelf indoor-grown varietals. Believe me or test for yourself — the bottom-shelf outdoor products are just as good.

“Twenty percent of the public uses marijuana … this is not some new scary group of people that’s going to start doing some new scary thing. … In 10 years this is going to be as normal as when you go to the Boston Common and see a movie and you can buy a drink.” 

 — Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commissioner Shaleen Title, October, 2018.

Windowless indoor spaces under full-spectrum mercury lights with hooded CO2-infusion and climate control to the fraction of a degree are transforming warehouse districts and abandoned shopping malls from California to Colorado. So much so that Illinois has made outdoor cultivation illegal. Elsewhere, state utility boards have offered cheap industrial rates and multimillion-dollar rebates to relocate to the largest indoor growers. In more than 40 percent of those indoor farms — each the size of a city block — lonely weed, silently howling for blue sky and a full moon overhead, will never see the light of day while it is alive. In the other 60 percent, the plant may spend more than half its life potted under a plastic hood, hopped up on vitamin brews, before finally getting outside to soak up some tanning rays — a last request before the reaper walks its row, scissors in hand. 

State permitting authorities in Palo Verde, California report that one cannabis company has asked to build its own private fossil-fuel power plant to match its 55-acre industrial park. According to Evan Mills writing for Slate, this is larger, at 25 city blocks, than a Hollywood Studio complex — passing enough electricity every day to feed 90,000 homes at So-Cal consumerist lifestyle standards. Indoor cannabis uses more energy than all other pharmaceutical manufacturing, Operation Warp Speed vaccines included.

All of this carbon footprint is disturbing, but it’s hard to argue with the business logic of five or more harvests per year of perfectly uniform and genetically identical hybrids. Few things are more comforting to millionaire venture capital investors or banking institutional lenders with quantitative dollars to ease than predictability. But they need to be discomforted. Due diligence would surely reveal there is no profit when there is no planet. Massive carbon footprints, persistent toxic agro-cides and grow media, bee, butterfly and hummingbird kills, and plastic and mercury proliferation are all in the opposite direction of green. 

“No company that ignores either climate change or biodiversity loss should be getting funding.”

— Ibrahim AlHusseini, CEO, FullCycle Funds

In the world of weed, some things may still need to be illegal. Indoor cultivation is one of them. And someone should let the dogs out, too.

“I used to live in a world of objects, and now I live in a world of subjects. And so, I am never alone.” 

 — Monica Gagliano

Do plants have a secret life, as Cleve Backster tried to tell us half a century ago? Some years ago, while consulting on a permaculture design in Amazonia, I took time out for a 10-night ayahuasca retreat. While there, I met a man who had been part of the US Army’s 20-year project on parapsychology that formed the basis for the 2004 book, The Men Who Stare at Goats, by Jon Ronson and, loosely, the George Clooney comedy of the same name. This man, a serious psychic, was on a month-long “dieta,” consuming mostly teas, pulps, and porridges made from the bark, roots, and leaves of a single tree, and then using ayahuasca and a shamanic guide to commune with the spirit of that tree. This may sound bizarre, but in 2019, Ellie Shechet profiled researcher Monica Gagliano, Centre for Evolutionary Biology, School of Animal Biology, University of Western Australia, for The New York Times:

As environmental collapse looms, we’ve never known so much about life on earth — how extraordinary and intricate it all is, and how loose the boundary where “it” ends and “we” begin.
Language, for example, doesn’t seem to be limited to humans. Prairie dogs use adjectives (lots of them) and Alston’s singing mice, a species found in Central America, chirp “politely.” Ravens have demonstrated advanced planning, another blow to human exceptionalism, by bartering for food and selecting the best tools for future use.
The list goes on. Leaf-cutter ants not only invented farming a couple million years before we did, but they have their own landfills — and garbagemen. Even slime molds can be said to make “decisions,” and are so good at determining the most efficient route between resources that researchers have suggested we use them to help design highways.

Actually, slime molds have already recapitulated maps of the Tokyo rail system.

In 2014, Gagliano and co-workers published a study, Experience teaches plants to learn faster and forget slower in environments where it matters, concluding that like animals, plants acquire a huge amount of information from their environment, memorize it, and organize behavioral responses. That paper referenced findings of transgenerational stress-acquired memory; plant root neurobiology and epigenetic retention; immunological response in wild tobacco; plant touch stimuli; drought ‘trained’ transcriptional responses in Arabidopsis; and an anti-predator, learned, thorn-exposing mechanism.

We have known for some time that plants recognize common threats and will share nutrients and defensive remedies to an entire mixed-species community as they communicate these threats. They can count. They can feel you touching them. Just because they lack nervous systems similar to animals does not mean they do not use external neural networks, such as long webs of fungal mycelia, to pass along encoded messages. It does not mean they do not feel pain, wish you well, or mourn the loss of their friends and family members.

Dr. Gagliano worked with multiple plant shamans, or vegetalistas, in Peru. There she bathed in the foul-smelling pulp of an Ayahuma tree that in the bath instructed her to “train young plants in a maze and give them freedom of choice.” The Ayahuma also helped her diagram a 2017 study investigating pea plants’ use of sound to detect water.

The only time I was ever kicked off an airplane was when I was boarding in Lima for a return flight to the States. Fresh clothing being in somewhat limited supply to me then, I had worn a “relatively clean” shirt I had previously put on after taking an Ayahuma bath some days earlier. To my warped olfactory capacity, I imagined it smelled vaguely floral. The flight attendants made me disembark, rush to the nearest lavatory, and put on a different shirt. Only after I passed their sniff test was I allowed to reboard and take my seat. Shechet continued:

“I’m really interested in the notion of plants as teachers, what we can learn from them as models,” said Robin Wall Kimmerer, an author, botanist and SUNY professor, and a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation. “And that comes from my work with indigenous knowledge, because that is a fundamental assumption of indigenous environmental philosophy.”
Dr. Kimmerer doesn’t see Dr. Gagliano’s experiences as mystical processes so much as poorly understood ones. 
“Some of the medicines that people have made are sophisticated biochemistry over a fire,” Dr. Kimmerer said. “You think, how in the world did people learn this? And the answer is almost always, ‘The plants told us how to do this.’ This is not a matter necessarily of walking in the woods and being tapped on the shoulder, but indigenous cultures have sophisticated protocols that are research protocols, in a sense, for learning from the plants. They involve fasting, ceremonial practices that bring one to a state of such openness to the conversations of other beings that you can hear them.”
“Have you ever had an experience like that?” I asked.
“I have,” she said, preferring to leave it mostly at that. “Suffice it to say, I have had experiences of intense focus and attention with plants where I came away knowing something that I didn’t know before, and it’s quite incredible. You feel like, ‘Wow, where did that come from?’” 
The problem with talking about these experiences, Dr. Kimmerer said, is that they “are grounded in a cultural context that is so different from Western science that they are easily dismissed.”

With cannabis responsible for so many of our creative artistic expressions, scientific and literary realizations, and intellectual breakthroughs over so many years (see Michael Pollan’s book, How to Change Your Mind), doesn’t it seem reasonable now to allow this plant to live outdoors with a measure of the dignity and respect it richly deserves?

And puppies too?

References

Ellis, J., The Lives They Lived: Cleve Backster, The New York Times, Dec 21, 2013

Gagliano, M., Renton, M., Depczynski, M. et al. Experience teaches plants to learn faster and forget slower in environments where it matters. Oecologia 175, 63–72 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00442-013-2873-7

Shechet, E., Do Plants Have Something To Say, The New York Times, Aug 26, 2019

 ________________________


The COVID-19 pandemic has destroyed lives, livelihoods, and economies. But it has not slowed down climate change, which presents an existential threat to all life, humans included. The warnings could not be stronger: temperatures and fires are breaking records, greenhouse gas levels keep climbing, sea level is rising, and natural disasters are upsizing.

As the world confronts the pandemic and emerges into recovery, there is growing recognition that the recovery must be a pathway to a new carbon economy, one that goes beyond zero emissions and runs the industrial carbon cycle backwards — taking CO2 from the atmosphere and ocean, turning it into coal and oil, and burying it in the ground. The triple bottom line of this new economy is antifragility, regeneration, and resilience.

Help me get my blog posted every week. All Patreon donations and Blogger subscriptions are needed and welcomed. You are how we make this happen. Your contributions are being made to Global Village Institute, a tax-deductible 501(c)(3) charity. PowerUp! donors on Patreon get an autographed book off each first press run. My latest book, Plagued, is out now. A children’s version of Dark Side of the Ocean called Making Waves, may be out by Christmas. Please help if you can.

#RestorationGeneration

“There are the good tipping points, the tipping points in public consciousness when it comes to addressing this crisis, and I think we are very close to that.”

— Climate Scientist Michael Mann, January 13, 2021.


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