Just in case anyone is wondering, no, I didn’t get swallowed by the Upside Down or anything, it’s just that after WR this year my life was basically entirely composed of working and agitating for climate justice, that is agitating for Ma’at. Because let’s not forget: Ma’at was always political, and everything we do (or don’t) is political.
Defining Ma’at is notoriously hard as it is a composite amalgam of truth, justice and social cohesion which privileges right action and good speech over having the correct beliefs and which has the objective of preserving and regenerating creation.
From instruction texts to tomb autobiographies, it appears clearly that people in a position of privilege have to act in their communities to reinforce social cohesion and prevent social exclusion and destitution of the most vulnerable. Social care is at the centre of acting for Ma’at.
it’s paternalistic, yes, but it’s better than what our politicians are doing now, blaming the vulnerable for being vulnerable and leaving them isolated and unsupported.
For the Ancient Egyptians, thoughts and prayers were not enough to deserve a spot in the Fields of Reeds next to Osiris and the other nTrw.
Borrowing Victor Hugo’s words, for the Ancient Egyptians to love Ma’at was to act, both to repeal i/sfet and to make more Ma’at in the world.
The taks of keeping creation intact and prosperous was entrusted mostly to the king, but each human had the capability of choosing to follow Ma’at (and thus help creation) or not.
It’s all there, together with fundamental equality, in the Third Deed of Ra on the Day of Creation:
I made every person like his or her fellow and I did not command them to do evil. It was their own hearts and minds that caused them to disobey that which I saidRa, Coffin Texts (via Maulana Karenga)
Nowadays we’re facing a general systems collapse of our environment. Soon it will be beyond any regeneration. The collapse of the environment in some areas like Central America and the Arid Belt between Africa, the Arab Peninsula and the Indian Subcontinent is already driving mass migration of people and this is leading to the building of walls and prison camps, to the exacerbation of racism, xenophobia and islamophobia.
Soon it might turn into a mad scramble to protect what scarce resources are left, so that one nation might last a bit longer than the others.
Eco-fascism looms on the horizon.
I/sfet is on the verge of winning .
People, especially male, white, Anglo writers, bemoan the moral failures of human nature, or of civilisation, but as I said before, the fault of this clusterfuck is not of the Indigenous people who have always tried to protect their lands and water, nor of the subsistence farmers and artisans in the Global South, whose emissions are basically nothing, and not even of the people in the Global North who try to make end meets by jumping hoops within a system that looks inescapable.
The cause of the climate crisis, as well as of austerity, and the crisis of democratic representation which os leading to populism and fascism across the world is capitalism.
Capitalism is not compatible with Ma’at. It pushes profit as the core value at the center of the world and justifies anything done in its name, be it exploiting people or exploiting nature. It forces human beings, an exquisitely social species, to engage in ruthless competition to survive, it destroys communities, it leaves humans with barely enough time to throw together a meal and collapse in a bed, let alone engage with politics.
It is a clusterfuck, and it has to go. It’s either it or us, even the science agrees now.
[…] limiting global warming to 1.5°C would require “rapid and far-reaching” transitions in land, energy, industry, buildings, transport, and cities.IPCC 2018 report, executive summary
Change will have to happen, but for now we’re only being told that “consumers” have all the power to change things and that even if the vast majority of the emissions have come from about 100 mining and fossil fuel companies, the so-called “Carbon Majors”, with a large but hard-to-quantify contribution from imperialist military operations, everything would be better if we just became all vegan, only bought overproced organic, ethic or sustainable products and never ever travelled to visit our parents in our countries of origin, lowered the heating in our pooorly insulated, draughty, poorly-constructed houses, and somehow managed to pull-off 2h commutes to work from the shitty and suburbs where we can afford to live by bike or non-existent public transport. We’ve seen how well this went for Macron in France…
Don’t get me wrong, all of these things can help, and I encourage you to think of the ways you can reduce your carbon footprint, compatibly with your levels of disposable income and time and your mental and physical help, but I also beg you not to beat yourself up if there are things you cannot do for any reason, because that is just the tip of the frikkin’ iceberg and the over-emphasis on this is just a guilt trip, a distraction tactic meant to demoralise people and keep them from acting where the action is needed.
Because there are alternatives to things continuing the same way and to the world turning into an eco-fascist austerity hellscape where resources are only allocated to those deemed “worthy” and everyone not white, straight and abled enough is just left to die.
There are lots, and they take care not just of the climate, but also of workers’ rights and living conditions, of democracy, of rebuilding societies and social cohesion, while reducing our energetic and material footprint.
I know because I helped write one of them (I’m not going to tell you which one, but you’re free to guess).
They are called Green New Deals, and at the core all of them are based on public investment in renewable energies and other socially useful (but not profitable enough for private capital) projects such as upgrading housing so that it’s actually insulated and consumes less energy to heat and cool, upgrading public transport or restoring environments and caring for them, all of this while creating local jobs in social, child and healthcare, paying proper salaries to teachers and cleaners and catereres and all the low-carbon, high-social value professions that are now being shat upon by capitalism, and taxing the crap out of polluters and transnational corporations.
They also include public control of energy companies and public transport, because those are strategic resources that cannot left to privates to control for profit, and a reduction of working hours for everybody with the same salaries or better. Because we need time to care for ourselves, society and the environment and even just to, you know, rest.
The best among them also have democratic control of workplaces, community ownership of distributed energy generation and radical municipalisation (which means that each city deals with its own issues and neighbouring cities deal together with issues in the region, etc…) and most of them embed global justice in their workings by providing mechanisms of reparation towards countries in the Global South, indigenous communities and other marginalised communities, by prioritising the funding to their own community-led sustainable transition.
They all make the transition possible and just by enabling and supporting sustainable behaviour and by centering workers and communities as actors of change and source of resilience and sustainability, instead of asking the vulnerable and marginalised to decide between the end of the world and the end of the month.
Here are the ones I know of, in case you want to read them yourself (I encourage you to do so):
- Labour for a Green New Deal – UK
- Common-Wealth Green New Deal – UK
- The Green New Deal Group – UK (they have been at this since 2007)
- The New Lucas Plan – UK (comes from the workers-led demilitarisation plan by Lucas Aerospace Combine Shop Stewards Committee of 1976, now applied to climate)
- CACC One Million Climate Jobs – UK (Campaign Against Climate Change Trade Union document, supported by the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union (BFAWU), Communication Workers Union (CWU), Fire Brigades Union (FBU), National Union of Students (NUS), Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS), Transport Salaried Staffs Associationa (TSSA), Unite, the union (UNITE), and the University and College Union (UCU)
- Pact Finance-Climate – France
- Sunrise Movement Green New Deal – USA
- The Leap Green New Deal – Canada (this is where Naomi Klein works, the legend!)
- European Greens Green New Deal for Europe – EU
- Green New Deal for Europe – EU (this is from the political movement led by Yanis Varoufakis, who is not only a badass, but also hot, and is one of the documents that supports climate justice)
There are probably more out there, so if you know any other that I didn’t mention, please comment below and I will add it to the list.
I could talk about Green New Deals and the importance of a worker- and community-led transition for a hours (I already have) but the important thing about all of this is the fact that we have a solution, and it can be applied tomorrow and it can stop this mess and give the world a fighting chance to survive and regenerate.
This is Ma’at, but this is not going to sprout off the ground fully formed on its own.
No, like very other piece of Ma’at ever in the history of the world, we have to fight for it.
The only way to ensure that this plan goes forward in the face of opposition from the usual economic interests and that we have a Green New Deal before it’s too late is to fight harder.
We need action, and I’m not talking getting arrested like it’s nothing so that you can get activist kudos (and a beating and perhaps a hefty fine, if you’re not super lucky and/or white and cishet and abled).
This is what I am actually talking about:
- Read the documents if you can, make note of what you like and what you don’t like about them.
- Talk about this with your friends and families, with the people in your social network, school or workplace (be careful of your boss). Tell them that a solution is at hand if we can only build the strength to grasp it.
- Make sure to know which parties and candidates support a GND or similar resolution in your local area. Vote for them and campaign for them. Without adequate political support, this is not going to happen in time, and the 2020 US Presidential election is absolutely key to unlocking a GND wave.
- Join the Sunrise Movement, UKSCN, FFF, Earth Strike or other just transition-supporting movements and partecipate in their actions and protests.
- Join the IWW, the CNT, IP or another less radical union and make sure they endorse the local GND or prepare to write their own if one is not available. Campiagn for your union to adopt stringent motions on climate action. Make sure your union is gearing up to protest and strike for climate justice, jobs and dignity.
Climate grief is real and is valid, but grieving alone is not going to fix things.
Thoughts and prayers alone have never brought Ma’at about, and it is so close this time… We’re on the sandbank of the w/orm, but we can still vanquish it and triumph over i/sfet.
All of us are kings in these weird times of king-less, democratic, anarchic Kemetic renaissnce,or at least many practitioners seem to think so, me included, so while we might not have been the people responsible for how this shit went down (not yet alive, too young, not actually able to choose an alternative because Capitalocene), now we’re at a point in which we have to act like the Children of Ra we are, like the Living Horus we are, like the future Osiris, like the future ancestors we are and make sure we make Ma’at so that the world might live.
So, don’t just mourn. Organise! Fight!
Make Ma’at in your local community, make others take the mantle of kingship and push Ma’at forward.
We need everybody on board and on fire to win.
This year I have been very hard pressed to keep a regular schedule of worship and rituals.
I recently realised that I havent’t been to the library to research in almost a year and the Ma’at Community Rituals that I have tried to host have gone on hiatus almost after the first episode.
Many factors have contributed to this: I have been trying to apply for fellowships and grants to start my own lab (it didn’t work out), my SO had a flare-up of his autoimmune condition and we’ve been working on lots of original solarpunk fiction and comics, but the main reason is that I have been heavily involved with the struggle against climate breakdown.
From the Week of Rest I organised on Discord and here in January onwards, I have been campaining, demonstrating, organising, leafletting and debating almost non-stop and that has left me almost no time or energy to devote to other devotional pursuits.
I do not consider this to be a fallow time, however. Much upon the contrary. I know that several deities are pushing me to do my best and engage even further with this cause.
Seth is one of them.
Why, some may ask. Aren’t chaos and storms just right up his alley?
Well, yes and no, and the reasons why are multiple.
One of them has to do with something that happened a long, long time ago, in the Neolithic.
You see, once the Sahara desert didn’t exist. In is place there was a vast stretch of savannah and scrub, kept alive by seasonal monsoons, something like the Serengeti plains. People roamed the expanse, first as hunter-gatherers, then as pastoralists, with huge herds of longhorn cattle, much like the Masai.
They had learned how to make ceramics from the Neolithic cultures of the Middle East, but practiced limited agriculture.
They didn’t need it: the monsoon and their cattle provided everything they needed and they developed a complex cattle-and-astronomy based cult which they supposedly performed in megalithic structures and rock shelters located in what is now the middle of the desert.
Perhaps they used them to pray to the Great Longhorn Bull in the Sky, Giver of Rain.
About 6000 years ago something happened: the monsoon belt in the Indian Ocean shifted southward, the life-giving rains diminished year by year and then stopped almost completely. The land dried and eroded, until it was unable to sustain even hypermobile pastoralism.
The people were faced with a choice: stay and die, or leave all they had known behind and find a new beginning in a new, unfamiliar land.
Of those that chose to stay behind nothing is known, but the scholars are in agreement that those who left came to a large valley where a large river gave life to the land, apparently without requiring any help for the rain and settled, perhaps at the mouths of the caravan roads, closest to the land that used to be their home.
The Saharan Ceramic populations contributed to the melting pot that was Predynastic Egypt.
Perhaps they even brought some of their gods with them.
There is no way to prove it, but I have some strong feelings that they did, at least one: the Lord of the Sky, Great Longhorn Bull Who Dwells in the Northern Sky, Lord of the Desert, Protector of the Exiles and the Outcasts, Seth the Great of Strength.
In a way, he’s already been through a period of climate-driven civilisation crisis and collapse before, and he knows what risks and tragedies are inherent in them.
And what makes this second run even worse was that the first time around it was a natural, cyclic phenomenon (the Sahara has been alternativel green and a desert many times before), while this time humanity is responsible, with various individual degrees of culpability, from those who knew what the consequences of their economic and technologic choices were but tried to bury the data so that they could enrich themselves, to those who enabled them to do so though their political power, to those who didn’t know better and thought that everything was fine, to those who are trapped in a system where doing the right thing is much harder and expensive than just going alond with habits and practices which destroy the environment.
I probably said this before, but climate breakdown is i/sfet just as much as fascism, imperialism and capitalist explotation. In fact they are all aspects of the same problem and now they are showing themselves at the clearest in recent history, without embellishments.
XR goes on about the future of our children and grandchildren, but in reality the consequences of this system are already a reality for Black and Brown and indigenous communities across the world and in particular in the Global South, who have their human rights violated, who have their land stolen for plantations, who have fracking and drilling for more fossil fuels imposed upon them, who have their water reserves depleted, their homes and livelihoods swept away bt extreme climate events and even their efforts to survive by fleeing criminalised.
It has been proven that the Mediterranean refugee crisis and the Migrant Caravans heading for North America both have their roots in climate injustice (as well as in the economic injustice that keeps Global South economies indebted and dependent on the Global North), however when they arrive they are only met with racism, xenophobia and islamophobia.
It is known that the longer we take to act upon climate breakdown, the more these frontline communities are going to suffer, however governments are dragging their feet, shifting the responsibility on individuals, and tinkering at the edges instead of taking immediate action to dismantle this toxic system and replace it with a fairer, more just one where no one is left behind, neither the workers and the vulnerable in the Global North, neither the frontline communities in the Global South.
This would be unacceptable for any of the nTrw, but it is particularly odious to Seth, Lord of the Exiles and the Outcasts, Lord of the Lost Monsoon and the Lost Plains, Protector of Ra and Vanquisher of Isfet with his Strong Arm and his Mighty Rage.
So on this Third Day upon the year, the Day of Coming forth of Seth, He Who Is Pleased with the Riot, I urge anyone who’s reading this to mobilise for the fight against climate breakdown and i/sfet in all its forms, to organise with their fellow human beings in schools, workplaces and neighbourhoods, to join the local chapters of climate justice and global justice organisations, to write to politicians, educate others, protest and make noise.
Things are in balance and everything seems grim and on the verge of going to the crapper, but it’s on that knife edge that things can be more easily tipped the right way. This emergency is a tragedy that is already claiming thousands of lives, but is also a moment of realisation of the fact that we’re all in this together and that we have a window of opportunity to make things right. Not just to halt climate breakdown, but also to end exploitation and neocolonialism.
We have to strike now.
I urge whoever is able to do so to join the General Strike for Climate to be held worldwide on September 27th and in the UK on September 20th (because yes… sigh), and to donate to efforts for its organisation whatever you can spare.
The UK donation link is as follows: https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/earth-strike.
I am sure that other national chapters and other organisations involved in the strike are also fundraising at the moment, so if you don’t like us, pick someone else.
It might not have been our direct fault before that things are going down the drain, but it will be now if we can’t face i/sfet and defeat it together.
Hey all, after some discussion berwing over at the KFASS Discord server and after reading in the HOPE not Hate “State of Hate 2019” report that there are occultist n/azi chucklefucks actively invoking i/sfet to destroy society and “weed out the weak” or some shit, a group of Kemetic folks decided to make a community ritual to boost Ma’at with heka and offerings.
The ritual will be performed on the 21st of March, full moon and Spring Equinox and includes 5 sections:
- Invocation to the nTrw and Ma’at and presentation of offerings
- Celebration of the victories of Ma’at with RL examples
- Commemoration of the ancestors who have fought and died for Ma’at
- Renewal of our committment to make Ma’at in the world
- Infusion on energy towards Ma’at and conclusion.
We have made a separate Discord server to perform the ritual collectively through voice chat.
Here is the invite link: https://discord.gg/EKHaVK5
The text of the ritual was on Penflip, which however is currently offline. It’s being re-written and improved and will be available on Cryptpad at this link: https://cryptpad.fr/pad/#/2/pad/edit/whnRQ92he99mDawB7YObTqu9/
Cryptpad is fully encrypted and does not require a login to partecipate.
The document with the text of the ritual will be made available on GoogleDocs on request.
Please join us on Discord and spread the word!
If you can’t join this round, the next will be on the 25th of April.
If you’ve read any of the posts from the 7DoR Kemetic event, you will see that I am a rabid supporter of the movement for the agrarian reform.
But where did this enby person catch all this zeal for the cause, you might ask?
This is where I explain it.
The year must have been 2002 or 2003. I was in high school, studying Latin, as you do in Italy.
The set book for that year’s coursework was Sallustius’ De Coniuratione Catilinae (On the Conspiracy of Catilina).
Now, it goes without saying that I generally loathe the Romans, even though I am Italian, for obvious reasons of rabid imperialism, rapacious greed and unabashed xenophobia and assimilationism.
There however, I found a Roman that I could appreciate, even though good old moralising Gaius Sallustius Crispus does his best to dig up all the trash and invent some to tarnish his memory forever.
If you take his word, and many people, even scholars, still do, Lucius Sergius Catilina was just a sleazy scumbag of a ruined nobleman with a taste for kinky sex and violence, who wanted to achieve supreme power and a personal dictatorship by appealing to the basests desires of the Roman proletariat through a demagogic campaign based on debt restructuration and agrarian reform. All of this while insulting venerable, white-hat political figures like Cicero and threatening to murder a whole bunch of people.
If you read it out loud in your head it sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it?
Yes, such an evil scheme to make sure smallhoders and homesteaders are not strangled by debt and evicted from their land by latifundists…
Really, such a nefarious plan to broaden the landowning base of society and reduce the problem of inurbation and poverty…
And yet I have read with my own two eyes papers upon papers claiming that restructuring the debt in Republican Rome would have caused loss of fides, AKA reciprocal trust between creditor and debitor, breakdown of social relationships and widespread chaos, that Catilina couldn’t possibly have been in good faith about his programme, that he was a degenerate and a demagogue, and that so were the tribuni plebis Gaius and Tiberius Cornelius Gracchus, who had tried to pass a similar reform some sixty years before.
At that time, however, thanks to my parents, long-suffering socialists who openly talked politics in front of me an my sibling, I had been exposed to enough stories about defeated revolutionaries and rebels, a gallery of almost-ancestors who tried to make the world a better place and showed us the way forward, to know what was going on with Sallustius and those who accepted his judgements without criticism.
I knew what the winners of history do with someone who would leave a legacy larger than themself, who could inspire others to take up arms and continue the fight, like he had continued the fight of the Gracchi and of the Italics, expropriated from their own lands.
They twist their story and turn them into monsters, into violent mass-murderers, into assassins of their own relatives. They harp on about their perversions and their cruelty. They desecrate their corpse, bury them shallow in unmarked ground or burn them on the battlefield, deny them a tomb, deny them memory.
They make them Unmournable.
Now, I am not saying that Lucius Sergius Catilina, son of Lucius Sergius Silo and Belliena, was a cinnamon roll who didn’t ever do any wrong.
He was a Roman and still invested in his polity’s imperial destiny, for all his revolutionary ideas in the socio-economic field, and I know he didn’t mind violence.
He was a soldier, a fighter.
Sometimes when he’s very close, I feel as if my hand was clenched around the hilt of a gladius, and it is a happy thought that makes me wants to smile.
He wasn’t perfect (he isn’t), but at the time, from the vantage point of the two millennia that stood between us, I recognised him as an ancient, unacknowledged link in the neverending chain of people who gave their life for land, freedom and dignity, a line stretching from the Gracchi brothers down to Chico Mendes and the Movimento Trabalhadores Sem Terra, to those who shouted “Tierra y Libertad!” in Mexico, to those who chanted “È ora! È ora! La Terra a chi lavora!” in Italy, to those who fought to drop the debt and to put an end to landgrabbing.
He was one of mine, of ours, and I decided that if no one would mourn him, if no one would remember his name with fondness and gratitude, if no one would acknowledge what he stood for, what he fought to the death for, I would.
I kept my thoughts private. My classmates didn’t care, they wouldn’t understand why I even cared about an “irrelevant” dead Roman, and the scholars I had access to either agreed with Sallustius and Cicero or thought that the whole affair was given too much importance for its real entity.
I didn’t care.
I was happy with being the edgy kid who stans the forgotten, the maligned, the misunderstood, the monsters.
When I found a favourable biography “Catilina, Ritratto di un Uomo in Rivolta”
by Massimo Fini, an Italian journalist, I bought it immediately and read it cover to cover in less than a day.
Then the stories started.
Once, during my MSc thesis, I wrote an entire short story about the final fateful battle of Pistoia in an afternoon while I was analysing mass spectrometry data, writing furiously in the 30 second gaps between the submission of a peptide list and the appearance of the potential matches on Expasy.
It was almost as if he was next to me, showing me how it had really, truly gone down, in all its terror and glory.
I was inspired.
Two more followed, and then mad dives through JStor, trying to absorb as much information as I could, trying to learn about him, to know him, to write his story in a way that would restore his memory, that would give him a place among the mourned ancestors.
That project is still there, and in the meantime times are changing.
Another book has come out, in English this time, telling the story the right way, and also a paper, and then a theatre company from Rome produced a play based on Fini’s book and performed it at Teatro Orione last year. On Tumblr, younger people than me have dedicated their blogs to stanning him.
More people would know about him. Maybe they would understand. Maybe they too would feel the urge to mourn and to take up the cause.
Maybe we wouldn’t be alone anymore.
This year I have been more and more involved in climate justice and food security issues and the topic of the role of the agrochemical industry in the degradation of the environment and the impoverishment of smallholders and homesteaders in favour of plantation-type monoculture enterprises pops up a lot.
Every time it popped up, a ping resonated in my head, a mixture of sadness and dismay (because we still haven’t fixed it, no, and people are still dying for ager et libertas), anger and determination, the kind of headspace that makes you stare down the entire Senate as they shout and heckle at you and tell them all that you’re going to bring the House down on them (the kind of headspace that makes you stare down an army several times the size of yours and think that if you’re not going to win, at least you’re going to fuck them up so badly that they won’t be able to tell their victory apart from a defeat).
Now we are at a moment in history in which it’s increasingly likely that it’s either going to be Revolution or Apocalypse.
I am glad that Catilina has decided to still stick with me, that I have him as my guide, my inspiration, so this year I decided to do something formal to honour him.
Problem is, I had never done it before, so I started pestering people on several Discord servers to get info on how to properly venerate one’s ancestors, adopted or not.
Someone pointed me to the Roman worship of the Lares, but another akh, Ducarius the Insuber, who likes to collect heads of Romans, vetoed it hard.
In the end I decided to go with a Kemetic ritual, one suggested by the ever helpful ArcReads/Ptah-Ikemi-Ka.
On the anniversary of the Battle of Pistoia (5 or 6/01/62 B.C.E) I set up a temporary altar on my kitchen table with incense and offerings, loaded a picture of the Teatro Orione play on my laptop as an icon and performed, forcing myself to speak the words of the ritual out loud.
Tears started streaming from my eyes, and it was good.
I blasted the playlist I had dedicated to him from the speakers of my laptop.
The air was charged with heka.
I could feel the presence of Lucius Sergius Catilina very close by.
I offered bread and water and salt and wine, and once the offering ritual was complete I made a donation in his name to an organisation which fights for the rights of peasants, the agrarian reform and the environment, La Via Campesina.
I dedicated the donation to him.
Maybe they thought it was weird. I don’t care.
That night I went to bed completely exhausted, but the energy had not dissipated completely.
I took my notebook and scribbled down furiously, imagining (remembering) the rebels, half-frozen, barely armed, but determined to do their best, standing on that hill near Pistoia, waiting for the clash, wishing to have only a fraction of their faith and their bravery.
So this is for you Comrade Catilina, and for the comrades who dreamed and fought and died with you for ager et libertas!
You are not forgotten! You will never be!
You live and fight with us, forever!
Non so se lo avrai mai, Compagno Catilina
Un monumento lassù sulla collina
Dove coi compagni cadesti allora
Per dare dignità e terra a chi lavora.
Non avrai targhe o inaugurazioni,
Ma sarai invocato alle manifestazioni
Nei circoli, negli ARCI, per la via
E negli scontri con la polizia.
L’ultimo dei resi, il primo degli insorti,
Ti diranno nelle calli e nelle corti,
Prima della marcia, prima del corteo,
E nell’occupazione di ogni ateneo.
E quando avanzerà la folla a schiera
Con noi tu marcerai con aria fiera
Insieme a noi, ora come allora,
Per dar terra e dignità a chi lavora!
Sorry again for the delay in recapping this.
The last day of the 7 Days of Rest was a working Monday, so the discussion between one thing and the other was not extensive.
What we took away from the experience was that the world-system is interconnected and we need to make sure to take this into account in our activism.
As we learned in the previous days of the event, land stewardship, biodiversity and water management are tightly linked, and all of these contribute to climate control, etc…
Humans depend on this web of life to function and thrive. We are a cog in the machine, not the masters as capitalism and some strains of christianity and positivistic thought would want us to believe.
An important resource to understand this strand of environmental justice activism can be found in the “Change the Story” series of videos posted on Vimeo by Satish Kumar, the founder of Resurgence magazine, one of the longest-running UK environmentalist magazines.
We have greed to keep the channel alive and keep on discussing and relfecting on environmental issues during the course of the year.
I am also delighted to say that this experience has helped galvanise the environmental justice sentiment of at least one part of the community to the point that some other the Kemetics have also joined the Earth Strike movement.
Overall, it was a great experience that has satisfied me both from an activist and a religious point of view. I would welcome the opportunity of doing something similar in the future.
Sorry everybody for the delay in posting the recap, life has been a bloody mess for the last 3 weeks.
The discussion started from what we had learned in the previous days, that, biodiversity is fundamental for many processes (food security, water management, even climate control), however it is threatened by climate change and exploitation, to the point that we’re heading towards a mass extinction, if we don’t change our course quickly.
One of the first topics discussed was that the main issue with GMOs is not that they’re “franken food” but that they eradicate biodiversity.
Different regions used to have a lot more biodiversity, but most of it has been eradicated through the streamlining of our food system and so we’ve lost a lot of stuff that was region-specific, substituting it with standardised “Modern” varieties. As the climate changes, we’re potentially gonna run out of varieties of food crops that work in the new conditions.
In fact GMO monocultures are just a facet of the capitalist/latifundist agricultural system, which calls for monocultures, mechanisation/automation and tons of agrochemicals. The GMOs that have been developed and released for production have been developed to fix issues in the industrial agriculture system, enabling increased profits, not to fix nutritional issues in food crops or to make varieties more tolerant to climate stressors, with the notable exception of golden rice and edible cotton.
Of note, critics of the latter, developed by an Indian professor named Keerti Rathore at Texas A&M to enable cotton producers to feed on their cash crops, have pointed out that basically what this GMO does is making cotton more like hemp and state (not unreasonably) that it would be easier to just reintroduce the cultivation of hemp.
Next we discussed how the loss of biodiversity in forest biomes in California or Portugal, thanks to the diffusion of eucalyptus monocultures for paper production, has worsened the wildfires.
Next we discussed the peculiarities of the biomes from the places where our members live/used to live.
We also learned something about the different systems of classification of biomes, in Europe and in the US (an US example here).
Finally the discussion returned to how capitalism is threatening biodiversity worldwide.
Case in point, the promotion of biofuels as transition fuels in the decarbonisation of the economy will cause more harm than good because of the carbon output of the fuels themselves, the lack of carbon sequestration by native forests torn down to give space to biofuel monocultures and the loss of biodiversity and native habitats, particularly the Leuser Ecosystem in Indonesia and the Amazon Rainforest in South America.
More info here at Biofuelwatch
Tl;dr: we all stan biodiversity and capitalist exploitation sucks.
The topic of climate justice is a hot topic in environmental activism toda and was a major point of discussion for the day alongside how climate disruption affects disproportionately communities of colour in the Global South. Strategies for climate resilience and tactics for climate justice advocacy and activism were also touched upon.
- The source below introduced the topic of Climate Justice, what it is and why it is important –
- Greenpeace provided additional info on the concept and further information of how to partecipate to the ongoing legal challenges against governments who refuse to do enough against climate change –
- La Via Campesina, the organisation which coordinates all the different peaseants’ associations worldwide, also has a very usueful and rich selection of news and actions on climate justice, from a food security slant which also includes information on how biofuels are bad news for climate, biodiversity and the food system –
- 350.org completes the current roundup of news and activities on climate justice and how it intersects with migration, displacement and the refugee crisis –
Resources to Figure Out The Impact of Climate Change on Your Region
Because some local knowledge is always beneficial to really dig into a problem, we shared resources that would allow other members of the server to have a peek at what might be to come.
- https://www.vox.com/a/weather-climate-change-us-cities-global-warming – US only, temperature change, cities only
- http://climatewizard.org/ – worldwide, multimodel prediction, temperature, rainfall
- http://sealevel.climatecentral.org/ – US only, sea levels rise
- https://insideclimatenews.org/news/31102018/jet-stream-climate-change-study-extreme-weather-arctic-amplification-temperature?amp&__twitter_impression=true – not an interactive tool. This is an article that explains how climate change is going to make the weather even more unpredictable and extreme by messing with the Jet Stream
Finally, we discussed a little about what actions we can take in response to this set of frankly scary scenarios.
Many sources and organisations harp on the little things you cando as “an individual” or “as a consumer”, which is fair enough (see this article, for example), but the general consensus (see here for example) is that collective action and a shift on politics and ways of production/consumption is necessary.
Earth Strike International, and its various national branches are
a grassroots movement that aims to organise a series of protests worldwide, culminating in a global general strike, to push for urgent climate action.
Here is their mission statement
the Earth Strike International Campaign
The world’s leading climate scientists have warned us that we have until 2030 to prevent temperature increases from exceeding 1.5 degrees Celsius. That’s a little over twelve years – by environmental standards, the blink of an eye. If we let the world’s temperature rise by a little over 2 degrees Celsius, the results will be catastrophic – sea levels will rise to untenable levels, heatwaves will become far more common, freshwater will become even more scarce, and many more effects besides. The time to act is now, before it’s too late. According to the CDP’s Carbon Majors Report of 2017, 71% of the world’s global industrial greenhouse gas emissions come from just 100 polluters. It is clear that the interests of big business no longer drive the prosperity of the human race. As a society, we need to change our course. For this reason, we will organize worldwide actions, culminating in a global strike. We need to make the world’s governments and the world’s businesses listen to the people, and the best way to do that is by refusing to participate in those businesses and governments. There will be no banking, no offices full of employees or schools full of children.(edited)
But of course, a strike is nothing without demands. The threat of climate change has reached a tipping point despite years of warnings, and we need to change course. This will be achieved through the general strike and accompanying protests with these international demands: – An immediate start on global co-operation to reverse the damage done to the earths’ climate, through unambiguous and binding agreements, by both world leaders and corporate entities, following IPCC projections of halving carbon net emissions by 2030 and zero net emissions by 2050; – International, unambiguous and binding commitments to halt the destruction of rain forests and other wildlife habitats, and – International, unambiguous and binding agreements designed to hold corporations accountable for the greenhouse gases they produce. As citizens of this planet, we implore you to work in the best interests of our species and work with us to both mitigate and prepare for the effects climate change. Spread the word of the protests, organize with your community, and take a stand for the future. The Earth shall go on strike!
The first action in preparation of the Earth Strike, which is going to be held on the 27th of September, with further actions on the 27th of April and on the 1st of August, will be on the 15th of January, so I recommend going over there and having a look soon, before you miss out on the action.
Day #4 of the event has been dedicated to discussing air quality, indoors and outdoors pollution and ways to reduce it.
Unfortunately, being a work day, not many people managed to partecipate in the discussion, but here are some highlights and resources.
- The air quality in London is so bad that it’s causing preventable deaths. A case in point is that of a 9 year-old girl who died of pollution-related asthma, and whose mother set up a very successful petition on Change.org to get the government to start an inquest. Full details can be found in this article on The Guardian – https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/aug/31/proof-air-pollution-killed-my-daughter-ella-new-inquest
- The causes and consequences of atmospheric pollution were also discussed, with reference to these sources –
- People compared notes on how messed up is the air in their area using the data from this interactive map –
- And then creative and fair solutions to smog and other forms of air pollution were discussed using thes following sources –
https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2018/nov/13/what-would-a-smog-free-city-look-like-air-pollution and https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/air-pollution-solutions-crisis-radical-world-london-uk-beijing-shanghai-delhi-a8191411.html
- To conclude the discussion and for more info, a free MOOC on pollution was shared –
On day #3, dedicated to the theme of water, the program of the discussion included topics ranging from the NoDAPL water and land stewardship movement by the Indigenous communities and the ongoing situation in Flint, to the impact of exploitative capitalism on water resources and communities of colour in general to plastic pollution and marine stewardship.
The discussion was definitely more vibrant and varied and embraced different geographic perspectives, from the Pianura Padana in North-Western Italy, to the West and Midwest of the USA, to the Gulf of Mexico and the Thames Valley in the UK, and a variety of issues, including:
- the interplay of building malpractices, rainwater collection and vegetation cover in issues such as water shortages and floods. Paved surfaces such as tarmac and concrete prevent water absorption from the ground, which depletes groundwater sources (aquifers) and causes surface flooding.
- Depaving and rewilding as strategies to improve the environment. The role of vegetation and a robust and diverse ecosystem on water management cannot be overstated, as water meadows and forests have a key role in managing the flow of rivers.
- The disproportionate draining of aquifers for intensive industrial-scale agriculture and the water pollution from industrial and agricultural contamination were also discussed.
- From there, the discussion shifted to how fracking induces an increased risk of water contamination and of the depletion of water reserves due to overuse.
- The degradation of marine environments due to overfishing and pollution was discussed too, with local contributions from folks living in the Gulf of Mexico area. This is a topical issue as a major contamination event happened in the last few days in the North Sea.
- Finally, different strategies to reduce plastic waste (including using it to make roads) and increase water availability in arid regions were discussed.
Resources on water management, flooding, depaving etc..
- An article from the Huffington Post about how water management is the missing link in fighting climate change –
- Depaving guide by ecocity builders-
- Virtuous examples of water management strategies in urban environments from Tucson, AZ –
- What happens when groundwater gets depleted (fissures) in AZ –
- Atmospheric water harvesting –
Resources on groundwater pollution, fracking, etc…
- A new paper on the linkage between fracking and water stress worldwide –
- Maps of leaking underground storage tanks for fuel products, which constitute an environmental hazard (look up your region/state and the keyword UST for more) – https://www.arcgis.com/home/item.html?id=31ccad579ec449938c13a0ac82c9f46e and https://maps.indiana.edu/previewMaps/Environment/Storage_Tanks_Underground.html
- A freely availabe article that links LUST pollution risk to socio-economic factors (QED) – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3980862/
- Map of UK fracking sites (current and proposed) from the UK anti-fracking website –
Marine stewardship resources
- UN webpage on the proposal to turn 30% of the world’s oceans into Marine Protected Areas –
- The latest incident of marine pollution in the North Sea from container loss –
- The website of Surfers Against Sewage, a UK charity for marine stewardship, focusing on plastic pollution and industrial, agricultural and sewage runoff pollution (AKA shit in the sea) –
- Best community and stewardship 2018 masterpost by @tidalpunk on Tumblr –
Resources on current solutions
- Empowering people in the Global South through plastic collection and the circular economy –
- Making streets out of plastic, according to a procedure invented by an Indian chemistry professor –
- Making streets out of plastic, the snazzy, white-person way as in the Netherlands –
- Selected DIY water-related projects by @tidalpunk on Tumblr –
- Selected current science by @tidalpunk on Tumblr –