Archive for the ‘Humanity’ Category

Woody Harrelson on feeling like an alien and other wise ponderings . . .

It’s apparently from a 2003 film named Go Further that curiously slipped my I must watch all films that have a green message radar.  Anyway, I came across it on Facebook via Occupy Love and was so awestruck I thought I’d share it.  Appropriate for Earth Day methinks.

I sometimes feel like an alien creature
for which there is no earthly explanation
Sure I have human form
walking erect and opposing digits,
but my mind is upside down.
I feel like a run-on sentence
in a punctuation crazy world.
And I see the world around me
like a mad collective dream.
An endless stream of people
move like ants from the freeway
cell phones, pc’s, and digital displays
“In Money We Trust,”
we’ll find happiness
the prevailing attitude;
like a genetically modified irradiated Big Mac
is somehow symbolic of food.
Morality is legislated
prisons over-populated
religion is incorporated
the profit-motive has permeated all activity
we pay our government to let us park on the street
And war is the biggest money-maker of all
we all know missile envy only comes from being small.
Politicians and prostitutes
are comfortable together
I wonder if they talk about the strange change in the weather.
This government was founded by, of, and for the people
but everybody feels it
like a giant open sore
they don’t represent us anymore
And blaming the President for the country’s woes
is like yelling at a puppet
for the way it sings
Who’s the man behind the curtain pulling the strings?
A billion people sitting watching their TV
in the room that they call living
but as for me
I see living as loving
and since there is no loving room
I sit on the grass under a tree
dreaming of the way things used to be
Pre-Industrial Revolution
which of course is before the rivers and oceans,
and skies were polluted
before Parkinson’s, and mad cows
and all the convoluted cacophony of bad ideas
like skyscrapers, and tree paper, and earth rapers
like Monsanto and Dupont had their way
as they continue to today.
This was Pre-us
back when the buffalo roamed
and the Indian’s home
was the forest, and God was nature
and heaven was here and now
Can you imagine clean water, food, and air
living in community with animals and people who care?
Do you dare to feel responsible for every dollar you lay down
are you going to make the rich man richer
or are you going to stand your ground
You say you want a revolution
a communal evolution
to be a part of the solution
maybe I’ll be seeing you around.

Woody Harrelson

Tree People – we need you now!

It seems that our unmandated government really has it in for our forests.  They have thus-far failed to slip through a bill that would allow them to sell our woodlands to private firms who would subsequently turn them into a profit-making  commodity.  So now they’re going to revise planning laws making it easier for developers to, well, develop on them.

If we are to believe our government (snigger), these proposed new planning policies will have no impact on our green and pleasant land but their promises will soon be put to the test according this article in today’s Guardian. The writer tells us that Oaken Wood in Kent is potentially at risk due to an application for a quarry extension and this highlights some serious concerns.  From the article:

At stake, under a single application for the extension of an existing quarry, is 32 hectares of ancient woodland, home to rare lady orchids, firecrests and nightingales. Under pressure from conservation groups including the Woodland Trust, and thanks to the efforts of local campaigners, Eric Pickles, local government secretary, called in the controversial application in July last year. It is scheduled to go to public inquiry in November. . . .

. . . . Today, ancient woodland covers just 2.7% of England and is home to more wildlife of conservation concern than any other terrestrial habitat. These woods are irreplaceable and require protection.

For goodness sake folks, you heard him! We don’t have much ancient woodland left in England and when it’s gone, it’s gone! Our woodlands are important on so many levels it’s hard to know where to start but to paraphrase Earl Attlee when asked what plans they had to improve ancient woodland protection in the final version of the National Planning Policy Framework, he said it’s not possible to put an economic value on ancient woodland because it is irreplaceable.

It all takes me back to a time, many moons ago, when I camped out in a beautiful ancient woodland with a bunch of tree-hugging eco-warriors in an effort to stop it from being bulldozed to make way for the M65.  Well, I say camped-out . . . taking food, drinks and blankets each day to the protesters and generally playing a supportive role would be closer to the truth but hey, I was there with the likes of  Swampy, suitably clad in wellies, camouflage trousers and an attitude.

The protesters weren’t all stereotypical tree huggers with dreadlocks and doc-martens but they became known by the locals (who mostly supported them it has to be said) as the Tree People. And these guys were fantastic.  They were radical and inventive and totally committed.  They’d lived in those self-built tree-houses for months and they were determined not to give way.  The stakes were high and their determination was downright heroic. They constructed a woodland network of ropes and tree-top walkways so that they were all connected making it very difficult for the axe-men to chop even one tree down without risking the life of a protester.  As non-violent resisters they suffered many injuries at the hands of the burly security men but they never gave up.  At one point militant-me had a very heated debate with the sheriff of somewhere-or-other (probably not Nottingham) but, being  the mardy-pants that I am, I backed off when two large, grumpy-looking policemen started to walk towards me with intent.  Yep, I was passionately proactive and I really believed in the cause but those coppers looked big and mean and there’d already been several arrests.

Anyhoo, needless to say, we were unsuccessful in our efforts. The inevitable forced eviction took place and those yellow-hats stood smugly by as the activists were dragged ruthlessly from the their tree-houses.  Subsequently, and very sadly, the beautiful woodland, where deer used to roam and wildflowers grew freely, was razed to the ground. And now a dirty, great big concrete motorway sits in its place.

I might have turned into little more than a keyboard warrior since then but I’ll tell you this folks – if our few remaining woodlands are put under serious threat of demolition because of these proposals, I WILL GET OFF MY LAZY ARSE!  I will reclaim my activism mojo!  I will tie myself to a tree and I won’t budge until those bloody useless, self-serving, arrogant set of nobs in government do something positive and permanent to protect our magnificent and vitally, vitally important woodlands.

I kid you not.

Of food and the inaccessibility thereof

Hello!

She’s alive –  she’s beautiful.

Just thought I’d share.

Here’s to activists who, unlike myself, actually get off their arses and take real-life risks in order to try and protect our lovely, good planet.

Of Forests and Fairytales

Before you buy it, do you FSC it?

Buy wood of course.

Sorry, I tried and tried to come up with a clever, rhyming soundbite but nothing worked and that’s why I’m a demonised, economy-crushing public-sector worker and not a high-flying, over-paid writer of cheesy soundbites.

Anyway, did you know or care that 2011 is the International Year of the Forest as declared by none other than the UN? Well it is. And we should care!

I do love forests.  I find them mystical and awesome and I can’t think of anything more fun than losing myself in one.  Well, that’s not quite true.  I’m not Snow White and there would be no Bambi or Thumper rushing to my aid if I got lost in one.  I’m more like Red Riding Hood with her bad friendship choices and dodgy hoodies.  But they are enchanting places to explore.  I spent many an idle childhood hour in the woods building imaginary tree-houses or making endless daisy chains.  Or I’d be chasing Faeries and hunting for witches.   The imagination at its unburdened best and not an XBox or iPod in sight.  Sigh.

Anyway, enough of the wistfulness, the good guys at WWF have a campaign running which asks the question . . . ‘If you knew where your wood came from: What wood you choose?’

Facts are that approximately 1.5 million cubic metres of  illegal timber and wood products are imported into the UK every year and it doesn’t need me to tell you that these statistics have a significantly detrimental impact on forests, species, habitats and wildlife.  And it threatens the livelihoods of people from some of the worlds poorest communities.

Most people are aware of the Fair Trade campaign and no-one can argue that buying our food ethically whenever we can is beneficial and good but we seem not to think as much about where our non-food items are sourced – everyday items such as paper and loo roll, not forgetting bigger things such as decking, flooring and furniture.

Basically, illegal logging is having a devastating effect on people and wildlife and is contributing to the decline of endgangered species.  While we continue to buy products that have been illegally sourced, the deforestation, destruction and exploitation will continue.

As WWF states, you don’t have to stop buying timber products.  Wood that has been harvested and managed responsibly is a renewable and sustainable resource that can help support the forests, the wildlife and the communities that depend on them. All we need to do is look for the FSC logo on the product we are buying.   Simple as that.

[Click the logos for more info]

Amnesty – fifty years today

Peter Benenson, founder of Amnesty International, lighting the first Amnesty candle – the small light of hope.

Thank you Amnesty!  You really have changed the world.  Because of your continuous fight against injustice everywhere the world is now a better place.  Here’s wishing for the time to come when the world no longer needs you.

Deporting Rania

I just stumbled upon an appalling piece of news.  The Home Office wants to deport  a severely disabled five-year old girl.

Brief background . . . she is half-blind, has epilepsy and quadraplegic cerebral palsy.  She came to the UK from Algeria on a six-month visa to give her mother a break and seek treatment for her condition but because of the seriousness of her condition, she was allowed to extend her stay in order to receive further treatment.  She has been staying with her aunt and uncle who apparently want to adopt her.  Now I don’t know the circumstances regarding her birth parents but I do know there is still a lot of stigma attached to epilepsy in Algeria so although we can all speculate, t’is sufficeth to say, mothers will do anything to protect their child.

The little girl is doing really well in our compassionate country and we should be proud of that.  She has overcome many difficulties and is responding well to treatment.  And she is attending mainstream school which is remarkable in itself.  Her family here are dedicated to her but if she is sent back to her home country, there is a very real possibility that she will not survive.

I know the morally-challenged hard-faces at the Daily Fail and readers thereof will be sneering and accusing her family of nothing more than trying to get free NHS treatment but even if that’s true, so what?  So bloody what?  Again, what loving parent wouldn’t move mountains to improve the quality of their child’s life?

Basically, not only is the poor girl fighting a life-threatening condition but she is now facing deportation to a country that a) doesn’t have the means to treat her condition and b)  still widely believes that epileptic fits are caused by demonic possession.

Deporting this child would be cruel and shameful.  And the stupidly frustrating thing is, it’s just not necessary.  Please sign the petition here and urge the dreadful Theresa May to reconsider her ruthless decision to deport little Rania.

No-one is Illegal

I Love This

The Power of Words

Change your words. 

Change the world.

ALUNA

It’s getting to be that every time  I switch on the news, I’m closer to believing the Mayan 2012 prediction.  We appear to have seriously evoked the wrath of the gods and it’s all starting to feel a bit doomsday. Of course I don’t really believe all that.  I mean I’ve lost count of all the Armageddons that have been prophesied thus far but there’s no denying that the news is grim and while I say I don’t believe in prophecy, I do feel strongly that, as the masters of our own destruction, it’s not really that hard to predict some of the things that may happen.  I was thus intrigued when I read about the Kogi, a lost civilisation living in the mountains close to the Colombian/Carribean coast who live in harmony with nature and believe we are heading for a disaster of our own making and, as natural guardians of Mother Earth, they are making a (second) movie to tell us how we can still prevent it.

[Thanks Ecomonkey]

From the movie website:

The People

The Kogi are the last surviving civilization from the world of the Inca and Aztec, and their cities are untouched by our world. The mountain they inhabit is an isolated triangular pyramid rising over 18,000 feet from the sea, the highest coastal mountain on earth. It is on a separate tectonic plate from the Andes, and its unique structure means that it is virtually a miniature version of the planet, with all the world’s climates represented. The mountain is quite literally a micro-cosmos, a mirror of the planet on which every ecological zone is represented and in which most of the plants and animals of the planet can find homes.

The Message

The Kogi are profoundly frightened by what we are doing to the world, but also well aware that we have no understanding of the forces which we are unleashing. They believe that the only hope of survival for mankind is if we can learn why they are so scared, and they know that we will only believe what we can see.

The Movie

The Kogi say that without thought, nothing could exist. This is a problem, because we are not just plundering the world, we are dumbing it down, destroying both the physical structure and the thought underpinning existence. The Kogi believe that they live in order to care for the world and keep its natural order functioning, but they recognized some years ago that this task was being made impossible by our mining and deforestation. In 1990 they emerged to work with Alan Ereira, making a 90-minute film for BBC1 in which they dramatically warned of our need to change course. Then they withdrew again.

But now the Kogi have summoned Alan Ereira back to say that we did not actually listen to what they said. We are incapable of being changed by being spoken to. They now understand that we learn through our eyes, not our ears. In the face of the approaching apocalypse, they have asked Ereira to make a film with them which will take the audience on a perilous journey into the mysteries of their sacred places to change our understanding of reality.

This is not a work of fiction. ARE YOU READY TO BE CHANGED?

http://vimeo.com/20644411

Weekend!

Have I really been away for that long?  What happened to February?  And March!  March downright sneaked right by me without so much as a wave or a by-your-leave.  Well technically March hasn’t gone yet but it’s almost the end of another month.  Time really does fly.

Well anyway . . . how are you?  T’as been a while.

And, making every effort to avoid the doomsday talk, it’s been quite a weekend folks.

We had that lunar perigee and would you know it, it even came with a full moon – and a clear night!  Who the heck planned that?  Not me that’s for sure.  In all honesty, although it was all very pretty and enchanting, I didn’t notice old Mr. Moon looking any closer than he does any other night but then, as  my wise son told me, if we looked at the moon sans perigee and compared it to the perigee (a kind of ‘before and after’ picture) then I’m sure we’d see a difference.

Moving on -

Drum roll if you please . . . England went and won the Six Nations which of course is just as it should be.  And then – even bigger drum roll ( and hey, let’s add huge trumpet fanfare . . . . . . . . . . . me laddie scored the winning try at Sunday’s game in the local rugby tournament.  He also came off the pitch sporting a lovely swollen and bruised cheekbone but, being the roughy-toughy, steely-eyed boy that he is, my concerns were abruptly (not to mention disgustedly) rejected.  [Note to self: must stop calling him me laddie, especially in front of his rugby buddies].

Then we spent some time cabbaging on the sofa with the TV on, mostly Tracy Beaker (yes, you heard! Well he’s a big softie at home).  Tracy Beaker is a childrens TV show based on Jaqueline Wilson’s series of books all about a childrens care home.  Well after watching a couple of back-to-back episodes me laddie (sorry, old habits and all that) now thinks I should put him into care because apparently kids in care have much more fun that he does.  Well that may be so if all care workers were like the ones in Tracy Beaker, and it has to be said, the ones in Tracy Beaker are pretty cool and fantastic, but they are actors – with written lines and stage props and stuff.  And the sad reality is (and to our  great shame my friends) that we are failing our children in care.

And on that note, before I pour out a torrential rant, it’s ta ra for now.  My comeback has gone back and there’s no telling when it will come back again so in the meantime I’ll leave you with this timely little video by the very lovely  . . . .

On Frustration

How’s it going folks?  Are we enjoying all the political shenanigans or are we totally exhausted by it all?  Personally, I’m feeling a wee bit weary of the whole sordid business but some things get me so aggravated that I have to shout.  But there’s little to be gained from blanket-bashing our MP’s just for the sake of it so I’m not going to.

Oh hell, of course I am.

And just so you know, my eyebrows are now firmly planted on the top of my head at the cheek of it all.  First I hear that the staggeringly arrogant David Cameron refer to the cuts as ‘delicious’ then Nick Clegg comes over all moral and outraged at PM’s QT when the opposition used the term social-cleansing to describe the Housing Benefit cuts even though we all know he’d be saying  the same thing if he hadn’t got into bed with the Tories.   What’s insulting and offensive is his use of diversionary tactics to avoid arguing the point in case (or is it case in point?).  He’s got a nerve anyway, calling things outrageous when he’s basically sold out his own values for a brief moment of power.  (I wish he’d just hurry up and defect to the Tories.  We know he’s going to do it eventually because he is a career politician who knows damn well that his own party is finished).  And, thinking about it,  some of those very people he says will be offended by the term social-cleansing are probably about to be forced out of their homes again.  I wouldn’t mind betting that a fair few of those people who will be affected by the HB cuts are of ethnic origin and already victims of cleansings of one kind or another.

An audience member on this week’s Question Time mentioned the disturbing drama Cathy Come Home in reference to the HB policies and lordy-me, that made me shudder.  The consequences of these rushed policies are going to hit hard.  They are rushing through sweeping policies without looking at the finer detail, using the “it’s to avoid expensive bureaucracy” excuse but as we all know, the devil is in the detail and just maybe there was a valid social reason for some of that bureaucracy created by Labour after all.

Then lordy-me again!  I find out that the government is going to sell off our forests to private firms. Typical Tory tradition – the minute they’re in power they sell off our assets.  Thatcher did it in the eighties and this time Cameron’s doing it under his  ‘Big Society‘ plan, pretending it’s so that private and civil society partners can own the forestry estates and take a greater role in the management thereof.

So, potentially, unscrupulous private developers from anywhere can swoop in, buy up and abuse them as much as they please in order to make money. And even if these business guys want to maintain the woodlands, they could deny access and and ban the public from enjoying the beauty of our own woodlands.  I have no doubt that a Tory-led government will attack the right-to-roam law – a hard-earned law fought for not least by the hugely respected John Smith RIP.

Our only hope is that some wealthy nature lover or a well-funded environmental charity will buy them up just to keep them protected.  Swampy, we need you.

And the last lordy-me goes to the Lib Dem’s  Chris Huhne who has  quietly scrapped their No to Nuclear Power policy.  I know.  I know.  Coalition = compromise.  Blah, blah.  But come on!  We’re talking core values here.  Key pre-election pledges that they’re now totally abandoning.  Have they really got no guts at all?  Hell, they’re even denying they ever had this policy. The Lib-Dem website page on their anti-nuclear power campaign has mysteriously disappeared but one guy here has the evidence which deliciously (up yours Cameron!) includes a video starring Chris Huhne himself no less speaking against nuclear power expansion.  I wonder what tomorrow’s policy-of-the-day will be.  Cowardly U-turns are fast becoming a speciality for the Lib-Dems.  Here’s the video to finish off . . .

Three years ago today: Sophie Lancaster RIP

Some thoughts to leave you with – in the wise words of the lovely Dalai Lama . . .

Despite the tremendous progress in material conditions the world over, suffering remains. The afflictions such as greed, anger, hatred and envy that underpinned much of our misery thousands of years ago continue to do so even today. Unless there is a radical change in human nature within a rapid period of time, these a…fflictions will plague us for many centuries to come.

The most important benefit of patience consists in the way it acts as a powerful antidote to the affliction of anger – the greatest threat to our inner peace, and therefore our happiness. The mind, or spirit, is not physical, it cannot be touched or harmed directly. Only negative thoughts and emotions can harm it. Therefore, only the corresponding positive quality can protect it.

A mind committed to compassion is like an overflowing reservoir – a constant source of energy, determination and kindness. This mind can also be likened to a seed; when cultivated, it gives rise to many other qualities, such as forgiveness, tolerance, inner strength, and the confidence to overcome fear and insecurity.


Dalai Lama

Dalai Lama’s Current Facebook Status . . .

Just as we should cultivate more gentle and peaceful relations with our fellow human beings, we should also extend that same kind of attitude towards the natural environment. Morally speaking, we should be concerned for our whole environment.

Who can argue with that?

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