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...and they lived happily ever after. Smith & Lady: poets, artists, photographers & adventurers.
Our relationship was forged to the soundtrack of Yoko Ono's magic,
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K commented – related an interesting and terrifying story about her grandmother’s second husband escaping a firing squad. ( Read the comment here. ) Such a terrible thing to go through. What courage for him and the others to have run for it.

We tend to condemn historical atrocities as events which would never happen again. But I believe the capacity for evil exists in all societies, all nationalities, at any time.

On the other hand, I believe the Internet gives citizens of the world an unprecedented opportunity to become aware and effect change. Maybe we are in the next stage of our social evolution. I sure hope so. We only started keeping records 5,000 or so years ago. Our species is still young in this endeavour.

I’m reading the book Tell Me No Lies. John Pilger’s compiled masses of articles from 1945 through 2004 by investigative journalists.

He sees the Internet as an unprecendented opportunity for ordinary citizens. Here is an exerpt from the introduction:

My own view is that the immediate future lies with the emerging samizdat, the word for the ‘unofficial’ media during the late Soviet period. Given the current technology, the potential is huge. On the worldwide web, the best ‘alternative’ websites are already read by an audience of millions. The outstanding work of Dahr Jamail, a Lebanese-American reporter, who has provided a source of eyewitness truth-telling during the bloody occupation of Iraq, rarely appears in the Western press, yet is published frequently on the worldwide web. The courageous reporting of Jo Wilding from besieged Iraq is a striking example. She is not an accredited journalist, but one of a new breed of ‘citizen reporters’. In South Korea, where political dissent is expressed mostly on the internet, the Ohmynews website claims no less than 33,000 citizen reporters.

Together with independent newspapers and radio stations broadcasting the likes of Amy Goodman and Denis Bernstein, it is this network that has helped raise the consciousness of millions; never in my lifetime have people all over the world demonstrated greater awareness of the political forces ranged against them and the possibilities for countering them. ‘The most spectacular display of public morality the world has ever seen,’ was how the writer Arundhati Roy described the outpouring of anti-war anger across the world in February 2003. That was just a beginning and the cause for optimism. For the world has two superpowers now: the power of the military plutocracy in Washington and the power of public opinion. The latter ought to be the constituency of true journalists. This is not rhetorical; human renewal is not a phenomenon; a movement has arisen that is more diverse, more enterprising, more internationalist and more tolerant of difference than ever and growing faster than ever.


Regardless of whether we can become aware in the near future, we have an environmental catastrophe at hand. And our government, the biggest polluter, is not responding. The time to respond is now.

My fear is that we don’t have time to become “good,” to develop a critical mass of awareness, to evolve. Might be drowned in rising waters and simultaneously starved by parched lands.

Reading another book – Collapse — by Jared Diamond. He analyzes the factors leading to ancient and not-so-ancient societies’ collapses. A recurrent villain in the book is deforestation. Once forests are lost, soil floods away and even rain patterns are affected.

Colonists in places like Iceland and Australia practiced farming techniques that were suitable for Europe, but not suitable for these more fragile ecosystems.

Australia fooled the colonists with its large trees. The colonists thought large trees evidence of soil productivity. But actually the trees were very slow-growing, and could not be replenished at the rate at which they were cut down.

It seems that everything Australians could do incorrectly, they did. The government required farmers to clear and overgraze the land, causing loss of fertility within a couple years.

Today, the Australian government encourages immigration to Australia because it feels that in order to become a major world power, it has to have more people. But its land cannot even support its current population.

Australia’s fisheries suffer the same fate as its forests. Recall the Orange Ruffy fad. Orange Ruffy take an astonishing FORTY years to mature before they produce more Orange Ruffy. While it appeared they were plentiful, it was just that there was a large “standing stock.” The stock takes forever to renew itself. (Just like Australia’s trees.) Australian fisheries have run through Orange Ruffy in addition to a slew of other species.

Currently Australia’s chipping what’s left of its trees at a fraction of their value to Asian markets, for paper.

Australia is a canary, an example of our stewardship of this planet. We are not good stewards. 

Lady K

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