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An informative and disturbing documentary on the war on South African rhinos and economic markets, mythologies, crime syndicates, government corruption, high-tech massacre technologies, and vicious mercenaries driving the immanent extinction of this magnificent species. The urgency of the crisis is vividly dramatized, as are the violent urges deep in the human condition, and the armed struggle taking place right now in Africa and elsewhere in the struggle to save animals from extinction and as a vital part of the politics of nature.

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Al Jazeera Correspondent

“It’s a creature from a bygone age, older than mankind itself. Greed and corruption, myth and superstition, had brought the rhino to the brink of extinction.

For millenia its best protection, the rhino’s horn is now its worst enemy. If the killing doesn’t stop than the last rhino in the wild could disappear in just a few years.

These days rhino poachers come by a helicopter armed with powerful tranquilizers and a chainsaw. The cruelty of the attack is just breathtaking. A philosopher once said that we can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals. If so what kind of men are doing this?

In 2010 more than 300 rhinos were killed for their horns. With acts of such heartless cruelty taking place every day now, that annual total will almost double in 2012. It amounts to the wholesale slaughter of one of this continent’s most praised natural assets, by means both crude and sophisticated.”

Italian Facebook Steve Best Rome Lecture Tour Event Page

Per Animalia Veritas Steve Best Event Page

“Interview with Steve Best,” Asinus Novus

“Steve Best in Italy: From Philosophy to Action,” by the blog (and more), Asinus Novus. The writers provided a nice summary of my talks and main ideas.

A Key Meeting,” Arielvegangfashinblogspot.com; a refreshingly intelligent, fair, and incisive essay on my work, thank you Ariel.

“Now Enough,” Barbara Balsalmo

 

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I wish to thank everyone in Italy for inviting me to speak again this year, and for being such gracious hosts, fantastic activists. and amazing people. There are dozens, perhaps over a hundred of people who made this tour possible and joyful. I cannot possibly name them all. I do however, wish to offer a very special thank you to:

Kostia Troinia and Barbara Balsamo for inviting me and being the principal organizers of my talks in Rome. You are the best!

Marcos Aragao for your excellent photos.

VeggieChannel.com for your tremendous effort in interviewing me, taping my lectures in Turin, Rome, and Latina, and for having the courage to post my talks on your channel.

The kind women at Asinus Novus for showing enough interest in my work to summarize my talks and interview me; it was a pleasure, thank you.

Per Animalia Veritas; thank you for your activism, support, and bold defense of militant direct action!

The ReWild Cruelty Free Club; you guys rock and make the best vegan food!

Paolo Trono and his club, Vegan Città di Latina (a former abattoir transformed into a space for music, lectures, and culture!) in which I gave my final speech in the Rome area before moving north to Brescia; thank you for your kindness, the great audience, and the great free food and beer!

Piercarlo Paderno for inviting and hosting me in Brescia. You are a great new friend and did amazing work to help liberate the Greenhill dogs.

The Occupy Greenhill movement (see here and here) for their bold act of liberation that will go down in history as one of the most important actions of this century. In their post-Greenhill reorganization, the group is now called Animal Amnesty, and will keep opening chained fences and locked doors!

Why butcher non-human animals only? Nothing but a silly anti-cannibalism custom prevents human factory farming. Get over it already and proceed to industrialized human butchery, meatpacking, and consumption to forestall the chronic food shortages and resource scarity already plaguing the world. One bad turn deserves another. A Human Hamburger. Might be delicious. Movies such as Soylent Green (1973) and The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974, 2003) have shown the way to the delicacies of the future. Artist Sharon Baker takes it to another level of just desserts.

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Huffington Post, September 27, 2012

If you were turned off by her severed toe cookiesanatomically-correct macarons orgross-out cocktails, then you’re probably not going to like her latest project, the world’s first pop-up “human butchery.”

HuffPost got a sneak peek at photos for the upcoming event, which is being sponsored by video game publisher Capcom to mark the release of “Resident Evil 6.”

For the non-gamers among us, “Resident Evil” is a survival horror video game series that’s bloody, to say the least. It’s fitting, then, that the promotional launch for the latest installment feature meaty offerings from the “gory world of Wesker & Son, the fictional butcher with a penchant for human flesh,” according to a release.

The make-believe butchery will open for two days, September 28 and 29, in a very real location — London’s famous meat market, Smithfield’s — and will offer some edible items for purchase: “Peppered Human & Lemon Sausages,” “J’avo Caught Human Thigh Steaks” and specially-made pots of “Red Herb” and “Green Herb.”

Never fear, the meat in question isn’t actually human, although it’s unclear what meat is used. Gross or not, we can’t help but admire the pieces’ clear artistry, which comes courtesy of artist Sharon Baker. From the look of her web site, she’s created some creepy works before; check out these human bread casts.

If you can stomach it, take a look at more of Baker’s meaty work for the “human butchery.” Fair warning, a few of these pictures are NSFW.

Saturday Sept 1: Arrive in Rome

Tuesday 4: Rome: Rewild Cruelty-Free Club: “The New Abolitionism: Animal Liberation and Social Revolution”

Wednesday 5: Rome: The University of Rome La Sapienza: “Animal Liberation and Moral Progress: The Struggle for Human Evolution”

Thursday 6: Rome: Ex-Mattatoio Di Aprilia, Aprilia (LT): “The Paralysis of Pacifism: In Defense of Militant Direct Action and `Violence’ for Animal Liberation”

 Friday 7: “The Global Vivisection-Industrial Complex and Militant Liberation Struggle,” Sala Buozzi – Camera del Lavoro conference room in the “Camera del Lavoro, Brescia

Friday 14th: “The Rise and Fall of the Human Empire,” Luxembourg Conference

Sunday 16th: “The War on Animals,” Luxembourgh Conference

Wednesday 19: The University of Lisbon, Portugal, “Total Liberation: Revolution for the 21st Century” 

Friday 21st: Porto, Portugal: “Everything You Know About Homo sapiens is Wrong

Wednesday 26: Performance #1  with Blendeskil, Barcelona, Spain

Saturday 29: Performance #2 with Blendskil, Mallorca, Spain

NASA’s James Hansen, the ‘Godfather of Global Warming,’ says earlier predictions “too optimistic”

James Hansen, The Washington Post, August 3, 2012

When I testified before the Senate in the hot summer of 1988, I warned of the kind of future that climate change would bring to us and our planet. I painted a grim picture of the consequences of steadily increasing temperatures, driven by mankind’s use of fossil fuels.

But I have a confession to make: I was too optimistic.

My projections about increasing global temperature have been proved true. But I failed to fully explore how quickly that average rise would drive an increase in extreme weather.

In a new analysis of the past six decades of global temperatures, which will be published Monday, my colleagues and I have revealed a stunning increase in the frequency of extremely hot summers, with deeply troubling ramifications for not only our future but also for our present.This is not a climate model or a prediction but actual observations of weather events and temperatures that have happened. Our analysis shows that it is no longer enough to say that global warming will increase the likelihood of extreme weather and to repeat the caveat that no individual weather event can be directly linked to climate change. To the contrary, our analysis shows that, for the extreme hot weather of the recent past, there is virtually no explanation other than climate change.The deadly European heat wave of 2003, the fiery Russian heat wave of 2010 and catastrophic droughts in Texas and Oklahoma last year can each be attributed to climate change. And once the data are gathered in a few weeks’ time, it’s likely that the same will be true for the extremely hot summerthe United States is suffering through right now.These weather events are not simply an example of what climate change could bring. They are caused by climate change. The odds that natural variability created these extremes are minuscule, vanishingly small. To count on those odds would be like quitting your job and playing the lottery every morning to pay the bills.

Twenty-four years ago, I introduced the concept of “climate dice” to help distinguish the long-term trend of climate change from the natural variability of day-to-day weather. Some summers are hot, some cool. Some winters brutal, some mild. That’s natural variability.

But as the climate warms, natural variability is altered, too. In a normal climate without global warming, two sides of the die would represent cooler-than-normal weather, two sides would be normal weather, and two sides would be warmer-than-normal weather. Rolling the die again and again, or season after season, you would get an equal variation of weather over time.

An clean energy economy … is a simple, honest and effective solution.

But loading the die with a warming climate changes the odds. You end up with only one side cooler than normal, one side average, and four sides warmer than normal. Even with climate change, you will occasionally see cooler-than-normal summers or a typically cold winter. Don’t let that fool you.

Our new peer-reviewed study, published by the National Academy of Sciences, makes clear that while average global temperature has been steadily rising due to a warming climate (up about 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit in the past century), the extremes are actually becoming much more frequent and more intense worldwide.

When we plotted the world’s changing temperatures on a bell curve, the extremes of unusually cool and, even more, the extremes of unusually hot are being altered so they are becoming both more common and more severe.

The change is so dramatic that one face of the die must now represent extreme weather to illustrate the greater frequency of extremely hot weather events.

Such events used to be exceedingly rare. Extremely hot temperatures covered about 0.1 percent to 0.2 percent of the globe in the base period of our study, from 1951 to 1980. In the last three decades, while the average temperature has slowly risen, the extremes have soared and now cover about 10 percent of the globe.

This is the world we have changed, and now we have to live in it — the world that caused the 2003 heat wave in Europe that killed more than 50,000 people and the 2011 drought in Texas that caused more than $5 billion in damage. Such events, our data show, will become even more frequent and more severe.

There is still time to act and avoid a worsening climate, but we are wasting precious time. We can solve the challenge of climate change with a gradually rising fee on carbon collected from fossil-fuel companies, with 100 percent of the money rebated to all legal residents on a per capita basis. This would stimulate innovations and create a robust clean-energy economy with millions of new jobs. It is a simple, honest and effective solution.

The future is now. And it is hot.

Dr. James Hansen is director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies and adjunct professor in the department of earth and environmental sciences at Columbia University. He was the first scientist to warn the US Congress of the dangers of climate change and writes here as a private citizen. Hansen is the author of “Storms of My Grandchildren: The Truth About the Coming Climate Catastrophe and Our Last Chance to Save Humanity.
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Media Matters, April 2012

STUDY: Climate Coverage Plummets On Broadcast Networks

Research››› April 16, 2012  1:55 PM EDT ››› JILL FITZSIMMONS & JOCELYN FONG

A Media Matters analysis finds that news coverage of climate change on ABC, CBS, NBC and FOX has dropped significantly since 2009. In 2011, these networks spent more than twice as much time discussing Donald Trump as climate change.

Time Devoted To Climate Change Has Fallen Sharply Since 2009

Despite Ongoing Climate News, Broadcast Coverage Has Dropped Significantly. Since 2009, when the U.S. House of Representatives passed a climate bill and a major climate conference took place in Copenhagen, the amount of climate coverage on both the Sunday shows (Fox News Sunday, NBC’s Meet the Press, CBS’ Face the Nation, and ABC’s This Week) and the nightly news (NBC Nightly News, CBS Evening News, and ABC World News) has declined tremendously. This drop comes despite a series of newsworthy stories related to climate change in 2010 and 2011, including a debate over comprehensive climate and energy legislation in the U.S. Senate, a series of record-breaking extreme weather events, notable developments in climate science, the rise of so-called “climate skeptics” in the House of Representatives, and a deal struck at the most recent UN climate summit in Durban, South Africa.

Sunday Show Coverage Of Climate Change Fell 90% Between 2009 And 2011. Since 2009, climate coverage on the Sunday shows has dropped every year across all networks. The Sunday shows spent over an hour on climate change in 2009, compared to 21 minutes in 2010 and only 9 minutes in 2011.

  • Fox News Sunday covered climate change the most, for just under an hour, but much of Fox’s coverage promoted the “Climategate” controversy and downplayed the threat of climate change. In fact, at no point did Fox News Sunday explicitly affirm the scientific consensus that human activity is changing the climate.
  • CBS’ Face the Nation covered climate change the least, for a total of just 4 minutes in 3 years.

Nightly News Coverage Decreased 72% Between 2009 And 2011. Coverage of climate change on the nightly news programs dropped from over 2 hours in 2009 to just 27 minutes in 2010 and 38 minutes in 2011.

  • NBC Nightly News covered climate change the most – for more than an hour and a half in 3 years.
  • CBS Evening News covered climate change the least, for a total of 40 minutes in 3 years.

Priorities? The Donald Trumps Climate Change In 2011

Each Network Covered Donald Trump More Than Climate Change In 2011. Every program included in our analysis devoted more airtime to Donald Trump’s flirtation with a presidential run and birther antics than to climate change in 2011, with the exception of ABC World News, which gave equal time to the two topics. Together, the broadcast networks spent more than twice as much time covering Donald Trump. The discrepancy was most glaring on NBC’s Meet the Press, which devoted 23 minutes to Trump but did not cover climate change at all in 2011.

Sunday Shows Feature Twice As Many Republicans As Democrats On Climate Change

Sunday Shows Featured More Republicans Than Democrats On Climate Change. In total, 68% of the political figures interviewed or quoted by the Sunday shows were Republicans, and 32% were Democrats. In 2011, the only people interviewed or quoted about climate change on the Sunday shows were Republican politicians. Fox News Sunday was the most skewed, featuring eight Republicans and only two Democrats over the three years.

Scientists Were Shut Out Of Climate Change Discussions On Sunday Shows. Our study finds that the Sunday shows consulted political and media figures on climate change, but left scientists out of the discussion. Of those hosted or interviewed on climate change, 50% were political figures — including elected officials, strategists and advisers — 45% were media figures, and none were scientists. By comparison, 32% of those interviewed or quoted on the nightly news programs were political figures, and 20% were scientists.

Almost Every Mention Of Climate Change Was About Politics. Our results show that on the Sunday shows, 97% of stories mentioning climate change in the past three years were about politics in Washington, DC or on the campaign trail. One story — on Fox News Sunday — was driven by extreme weather, and none were driven by scientific findings.

Broadcast Networks Play Important Role In Public Discourse

Pew: Network Evening News “Remains An Extraordinarily Popular News Source For Americans.” From the Pew Research Center’s 2012 State of the News Media report:

For all the losses, however, the network evening news remains an extraordinarily popular news source for Americans. More than four times as many people watched the three network evening newscasts on ABC, CBS and NBC during the dinner hour than watched the highest-rated shows on the three cable news channels (CNN, Fox News and MSNBC) during prime time.

And more than twice as many people watch the lowest-rated broadcast evening news program (CBS Evening News) than watch the highest-rated cable news program (The O’Reilly Factor on Fox News). [Pew Research Center, accessed 4/12/12]

Sunday Shows Help Set Scope Of Official Debate In Washington. The Sunday shows occupy a singular place in the American media landscape. Their audience of a combined 9 million or so viewers includes virtually the entire journo-political establishment. The discussions held on the shows frequently determine the scope of official debate in Washington, legitimizing some views and — by nature of their absence — marginalizing others. [Media Matters, March 2007]

Methodology

This report analyzes coverage of “climate change” or “global warming” between January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2011, on four Sunday morning talk shows (ABC’s This Week, CBS’ Face the Nation, NBC’s Meet the Press, and Fox Broadcasting Co.’s Fox News Sunday) and three nightly news programs (ABC World News, CBS Evening News, and NBC Nightly News). Fox Broadcasting Co. airs Fox News Sunday, but does not air a nightly news equivalent; Fox News is a separate cable channel. Our analysis includes any segment devoted to climate change, as well as any substantial mention (more than one paragraph of a news transcript and/or or a definitive statement about climate change). Timestamps were acquired from Media Matters’ internal video archive and were applied generously. For instance, if a segment about an extreme weather event mentioned climate change briefly, the entire segment was counted as climate coverage. For those segments not available in our archive, we estimated the length of the segment based on its word count.

The following chart displays the coverage included in our study:

Mailonline, August 4, 2012

Intelligent and inquisitive, chimpanzees have  always been able to communicate with man.

But this heartbreaking video shows just how  desperate this chimp is to be understood and to be let out of his  cage.

The chimp is seen in the video motioning to a  watching visitor to unlock the bolt on what appears to be a glass door and lift  the window, so he can be free.

The YouTube user who uploaded the video claims that the monkey wanted to escape and was telling him to twist open the bolts

The YouTube user who uploaded the video claims that the  monkey wanted to escape and was telling him to twist open the bolts.

Helping hand: The chimpanzee desperately tries to communicate with the human visitorHelping hand: The chimpanzee desperately tries to  communicate with the human visitor.

Tapping on the window the chimp repeatedly  urges people standing on the other side of the glass to let them  outside.

It links its fingers together, a signal  similar to the American Sign Language representation of the word ‘gate’.

Alex Bailey from Manchester, who recorded the  interaction at the Welsh Mountain Zoo, interprets the signs as a direction to  free the chimp, The Telegraph reported.

One chuckling man taps on the window and  copies the chimp’s actions, mimicking the animal’s mimes of opening the  window.

A bystander can be heard giggling and saying:  ‘He wants us to open it’.

But the chimpanzee is more focused on trying  to make itself understood, as it longingly looks at the people in front of  him.

Let me out! The chimp seems to make a sign that is similar to ASL's gate gestureLet me out! The chimp seems to make a sign that is  similar to ASL’s gate gesture
Communicating: The video shows the visitor mimicking the chimp's hand motionsCommunicating: The video shows the visitor mimicking the  chimp’s hand motions.
Understand me! The chimp points to its hands as it attempts to make itself understoodUnderstand me! The chimp points to its hands as it  attempts to make itself understood.

The video, which lasts around 48 seconds, was  filmed at the Welsh Mountain Zoo, according to The Telegraph.

If it is communicating with sign language, it  is not the first chimpanzee to do so.

Washoe was a female chimpanzee who was the  first non-human to learn to communicate using American Sign Language.

The animal, who died in 2007, learnt 350  words, and taught her adopted son Loulis.

Other chimpanzees were later taught 150 or  more signs, which they were able to combine to form messages.

Chimpanzees and humans share many  similarities and they are believed to be our closest relative in the animal  kingdom.

Chimpanzees communicate using a variety of  grunts, screams and other sounds.

Most of their communication, however, is done  through gestures and facial expressions.

Many of their facial expressions – surprise,  grinning, pleading, comforting – are very similar to humans.

Humans have one fewer pair of chromosomes  than other apes, since the ape chromosomes 2 and 4 have fused into a large  chromosome (which contains remnants of the centromere and telomeres of the  ancestral 2 and 4) in humans.

Chimpanzees are often incorrectly called  monkeys, but are in the great ape family just like us. The other great apes are  orangutans and gorillas.

Human brains have a high surface area because  they are much more wrinkled than chimpanzee brains, with greater numbers of  connections.

These and a larger frontal lobe, allow us a  greater capacity for abstract and logical thought.

See video link here (at bottom of page).

A little Wild Justice always makes my day. Even though this was only a single act of a brave Kudu, and a minuscule counter to the ever-escalating human war on animals, it is an exquisite example of micro-resistance, such as animals unleash on humans everyday throughout the world.

But let us never fantasize the animals can liberate themselves through just attacks, counter-aggression, and defensive violence;. The longest and most barbaric war ever — the human war against animals — must become a two-sided war. Animal liberation can only be achieved when enough humans say Ya Basta! and destroy the destroyers by any means necessary.

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AllAfrica.com, June 12, 2012

Kudu

MURURANI – A 44-year-old man was killed by a kudu that he was trying to kill with an axe at Mururani village, south of Rundu, on Saturday. The man had caught the kudu in a wire trap.

Police Deputy Commissioner Willie Bampton said the deceased was identified as Johannes Wihinda, a resident of Mururani village. One of the trapped kudu’s horns penetrated the left side of Wihinda’s chest while he was trying to bludgeon it to death.

Wihinda died on the spot.

CEE4LIFE PRESS RELEASE
For Immediate Release
4th July, 2012

The three cheetah cubs in Mara before they were relocated to the Nairobi Animal Orphanage. The female cub in the middle subsequently died of abuse. Photo Credit: cee4life

Investigation by Australian Agency reveals Ongoing Capture of Cheetah Cubs from the Mara and Relocation to Private Concerns Via Nairobi Animal Orphanage, Kenya.

There has been a long running scheme involving conservation personalities in which the Kenya Wildlife Services (KWS) has unwittingly participated in, involving the capture of cheetahs from national parks and reserves and their relocation into privately owned and run captive facilities, a report carried out by an Australian-based organization, cee4life, reveals.

In the report, three cheetah cubs which were being rehabilitated for subsequent release in the Mara Triangle were confiscated by the authorities (KWS) and taken to the Nairobi Animal Orphanage contrary to an earlier agreement between the two to eventually release them into the Mara Triangle.

There has been a continuous influx of cheetah cubs at the Animal Orphanage, with some of the cubs being given as tokens to private individuals ostensibly to create more space for incoming orphans. The report also reveals plans to have some of the animals relocated to an upcoming facility in a ranch in Nakuru, which in turn plans to exploit the animals for entertainment and profit under the guise of education and awareness.

Dubbed “The Mara Cheetah Cubs Report”, the 66-page document mentions a prominent member of the Kenya’s conservation fraternity as one of the people behind the scandal. Ms. Mary Wykstra of Action for Cheetahs in Kenya, is revealed as one of the persons working fervently behind the scenes to ensure that the cubs are relocated to the Nairobi Orphanage so that they can be later given out to private individuals in running the aforementioned facility.

The report says, “as the investigation progressed, it was found that Ms Wykstra has endorsed a captive cheetah facility on one of the Rift valley ranches.” According to the report, the “cheetah centre” is to be built by an American organization called Cat Haven, which funds Ms Wykstra’s work in Kenya. Ms Wykstra is quoted in the report as saying; “I endorsed the proposal from Cat Haven three years ago. Six months after the endorsement, the KWS director issued a letter stating that KWS would assist in the development of the Cat Haven facility to take the pressure off of the Nairobi Orphanage.”

In a shocking revelation, Ms Wykstra, who is not a Kenyan citizen, is reported to have access to government documents from KWS in her continued efforts to source cubs for the said ‘cheetah centre’. For instance, Ms Wykstra admitted being privy to official KWS documentation regarding Mara cub removal. On this, the report says, “private Government internal emails or memos going to a foreign citizen with allegedly no “close ties” within KWS is of concern and highly unusual.”

When it was known that KWS had planned to confiscate the cubs in the Mara Triangle in early May, there was global outcry, with over 3,000 concerned individuals signing an online petition against the move in just a few days. KWS reacted by issuing a statement in defense of their actions. Terming the Animal Orphanage as “providing professional care to the cheetahs”, the wildlife body is reported to be opposed to releasing the animals in the wild saying, “attempts to release captive reared cheetahs to the wild have been unsuccessful.” However, the report disputes this, citing 107 successful cheetah release cases in Africa, 12 of which have been documented in Kenya.

The cheetah is an endangered species, with its population in the Mara ecosystem being on a steady decline. This is attributed to outbreaks of mange, high cub mortality and predation. With less than 30 individuals recorded in a recent census in the Mara, the cheetah faces a serious threat of local extinction. “It is noted that KWS and the carnivore experts did not consider the consequences of removing the Mara cubs from (the) ecosystem in the survival of the species as a whole,” states the report.

Gathering information from Kenyan-based and international investigators in the form of statements, video footage and other means, the investigation is hailed by prominent scholars for its credibility. Dr. Steven Best, a US Professor of Humanities and Philosophy, describes the report: “Few times in my life have I read such a meticulously documented, thoroughly researched, utterly persuasive, and powerful expose of one of the most deceptive, cynical, and manipulative frauds in conservation history.” He continues to ask: “Does Kenya want ecological death or biological regeneration? Do they want their reserves to be graveyards or teeming with life?”

The report confirms earlier suspicions that big cats, and specifically the cheetah, have occasionally been captured from Kenya’s protected areas and subsequently been handed over to private individuals via the Nairobi Animal Orphanage for unknown reasons and contrary to conservation best practice.

Cee4life confirms in addition that one of the three cheetah cubs has since died at the KWS facility on 01-07-2012, and the remaining two are being kept in unnatural and improper conditions.

Among other things, the report calls for an immediate and thorough investigation into claims of massive illegal trade in orphaned cheetahs via KWS and to be conducted by a separate and higher authority outside of KWS; and any cheetahs that have been found to be given as “gifts” be returned to an ethical facility. It also recommends that KWS officially approve the release program that has been presented to them by Mara Conservancy, and implement an immediate start to the official scientific program for wild release of cheetah.

For further information, please contact:

Sybelle Foxcroft
CEO Cee4life
www.cee4life.org

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Below is the original shocking report of the lies used by the “animal orphanage” to justify stealing three cheetah cubs — genetically crucial for biological diversity and preservation of the cheetah species — from professional wildlife rehabilitation, in order to be held in captivity, exploited for spectacle and tourist dollars, and even tortured. Despite the strongly documented and irrefutable facts of this report, the Kenyan government sided with the exploiters over the rehabilitators at the Mara Conservancy, EVEN AFTER ONE CUB JUST DIED OF GROSS ABUSE AND NEGLECT. More stunning information and shocking video will be posted to this blog within days. This report is well worth the time it takes to read. For regular updates and further reports, exposes, and information of this appalling scandal see Sybelle Foxcroft’s site, Cee4life.

Cee4life: Mara Cheetah Cub Report

UPDATES

Cheetahs on the brink of extinction, Wild Time Radio

Prominent Names in Cheetah Capture Scam

Scientific American, May 25, 2012

Climate scientists think a perfect storm of climate “flips” could cause massive upheavals in a matter of years

Adapted from The Fate of the Species: Why the Human Race May Cause Its Own Extinction and How We Can Stop It, by Fred Guterl (Bloomsbury USA, 2012).

The eminent British scientist James Lovelock, back in the 1970s, formulated his theory of Gaia, which held that the Earth was a kind of super organism. It had a self-regulating quality that would keep everything within that narrow band that made life possible. If things got too warm or too cold—if sunlight varied, or volcanoes caused a fall in temperatures, and so forth—Gaia would eventually compensate. This was a comforting notion. It was also wrong, as Lovelock himself later concluded. “I have to tell you, as members of the Earth’s family and an intimate part of it, that you and especially civilization are in grave danger,” he wrote in the Independent in 2006.

The world has warmed since those heady days of Gaia, and scientists have grown gloomier in their assessment of the state of the world’s climate. NASA climate scientist James Hanson has warned of a “Venus effect,” in which runaway warming turns Earth into an uninhabitable desert, with a surface temperature high enough to melt lead, sometime in the next few centuries. Even Hanson, though, is beginning to look downright optimistic compared to a new crop of climate scientists, who fret that things could head south as quickly as a handful of years, or even months, if we’re particularly unlucky. Ironically, some of them are intellectual offspring of Lovelock, the original optimist gone sour.

The true gloomsters are scientists who look at climate through the lens of “dynamical systems,” a mathematics that describes things that tend to change suddenly and are difficult to predict. It is the mathematics of the tipping point—the moment at which a “system” that has been changing slowly and predictably will suddenly “flip.” The colloquial example is the straw that breaks that camel’s back. Or you can also think of it as a ship that is stable until it tips too far in one direction and then capsizes. In this view, Earth’s climate is, or could soon be, ready to capsize, causing sudden, perhaps catastrophic, changes. And once it capsizes, it could be next to impossible to right it again.

The idea that climate behaves like a dynamical system addresses some of the key shortcomings of the conventional view of climate change—the view that looks at the planet as a whole, in terms of averages. A dynamical systems approach, by contrast, consider climate as a sum of many different parts, each with its own properties, all of them interdependent in ways that are hard to predict.

One of the most productive scientists in applying dynamical systems theory to climate is Tim Lenton at the University of East Anglia in England. Lenton is a Lovelockian two generations removed— his mentors were mentored by Lovelock. “We are looking quite hard at past data and observational data that can tell us something,” says Lenton. “Classical case studies in which you’ve seen abrupt changes in climate data. For example, in the Greenland ice-core records, you’re seeing climate jump. And the end of the Younger Dryas,” about fifteen thousand years ago, “you get a striking climate change.” So far, he says, nobody has found a big reason for such an abrupt change in these past events—no meteorite or volcano or other event that is an obvious cause—which suggests that perhaps something about the way these climate shifts occur simply makes them sudden.

Lenton is mainly interested in the future. He has tried to look for things that could possibly change suddenly and drastically even though nothing obvious may trigger them. He’s come up with a short list of nine tipping points—nine weather systems, regional in scope, that could make a rapid transition from one state to another.

Each year, the sun shines down on the dark surface of the Indian Ocean, and moist, warm air rises and forms clouds. This rising heat and the moisture form a powerful weather system, a natural pump that pulls up water and moves it in vast quantities hundreds of miles to the mainland. This is the Indian monsoon, which deposits rainfall on thousands of square miles of farmland. About a billion people, most of them poor, depend for their daily bread on crops that depend in turn on the reliability and regularity of the Indian monsoons.

India is a rapidly developing country with hundreds of millions of citizens who want to move into the middle class, drive cars and cool their homes with air-conditioning. It is also a country of poor people, many who still rely on burning agricultural waste to heat their homes and cook their suppers. Smoke from household fires has been a big source of pollution in the subcontinent, and it could disrupt the monsoons, too. The soot from these fires and from automobiles and buses in the ever more crowded cities rises into the atmosphere and drifts out over the Indian Ocean, changing the atmospheric dynamics upon which the monsoons depend. Aerosols (soot) keep much of the sun’s energy from reaching the surface, which means the monsoon doesn’t get going with the same force and takes longer to gather up a head of steam. Less rain makes it to crops.

At the same time, the buildup of greenhouse gases, coming mainly from developed countries in the northern hemisphere, has a very different effect on the Indian summer monsoons: it acts to make them stronger.

These two opposite influences make the fate of the monsoon difficult to predict and subject to instability. A small influence—a bit more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, and a bit more brown haze—could have an out- size effect. Lenton believes that the monsoons could flip from one state to another as quickly as one year. What happens then is not a question that Lenton can answer with certainty, but he foresees two possibilities.

One is that the monsoons grow in force and intensity, but come less frequently. We have already seen hints of this in the newspapers. In the last few years rains have grown erratic and less frequent, but when they do come, they tend to dump an enormous amount of water, and in places where they wouldn’t normally do so. This is almost as bad for farmers as drought, since the rain falls on parched ground with extra force, and much of it runs off without soaking into the ground, and it causes damage to boot by washing away soil and plants. The flooding that devastated Pakistan in 2011 is a case in point. If this trend continued and strengthened in intensity, it would be bad news for the two thirds of the Indian workforce that depends on farming. It would be nasty for the Indian economy—agriculture accounts for 25 percent of GDP. A permanently erratic and harsh monsoon would depress crop yields, increase erosion on farms, and cause a rise in global food prices as India is forced to import more food.

The other possibility is even worse: the monsoons could shut down entirely. This would be an unmitigated catastrophe. A sudden stopping of monsoon rain, which accounts for 80 percent of rainfall in India, could throw a billion people into danger of starvation. It would change the Indian landscape, wiping out native species of plants and animals, force farms into bankruptcy, and exacerbate water shortages that are already creating conflict. The Indian government would almost certainly be unable to cope with a disaster of such proportions. Refugees by the hundreds of millions would stream into big cities such as Mumbai and Bangalore, looking for some hope of survival. It would create a humanitarian crisis of unprecedented proportions. Lenton foresees a similar danger of sudden change in the West African monsoon, the second tipping point.

Tipping point number three in Lenton’s list is the sea ice of the north pole. For years the ice has been thinning and retreating more and more during the summer. Soon it may disappear completely during the summer months. We may already have reached this tipping point—a transition to a new state in which the north pole is ice-free during summer months is already at hand. Eventually the north pole may flip and be free of ice year-round. The knock-on effects of such a transition would be huge—they would cause marked increase of warming at the pole, since open water absorbs more of the sun’s energy than ice-covered seas. The effect of a year-round ice-free north pole would be like heating Greenland on a skillet.

The fourth tipping point is Greenland’s glaciers, which hold enough water to cause sea levels to rise by more than twenty feet. It takes a while for that much ice to melt, of course. Currently, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change projections say it will take on the order of a thou- sand years. Scientists currently don’t have a good handle on how such a big hunk of ice melts. For plenty of reasons it could happen much more quickly—recent observations suggest that the melting has not only exceeded what models predict, but has also begun to accelerate. A marked retreat of ice in coastal areas has led to an infusion of ocean water, which is relatively warm and promotes melting.

All this leads Lenton to conclude that the Greenland ice sheets could make a transition to an alternate state in three hundred years, rather than a thousand or more. Such a quick melting of Greenland would have a knock-on effect on the ocean currents that run up the Atlantic, bringing warmth to northern Europe and Scandinavia, the Atlantic thermohaline circulation. A sudden change in this current could plunge much of Europe back into an ice age. Scientists were getting nervous about this possibility a few years ago, until further research suggested that any switch in current is a long way off—perhaps a thousand years off. Lenton argues that an accelerated melting of Greenland would throw more freshwater on the northern Atlantic than these reassuring calculations have taken into account. “The canary in the coal mine is the Arctic losing its summer sea-ice cover,” says Lenton. “I am really worried about the Greenland ice sheet. It’s already losing mass and shrinking.”

If Greenland flipped into a completely ice-free state, it would cause massive rises in sea level—on the order of six or seven meters. Even if this took three hundred years to happen, “it would be an absolute disaster,” says Lenton, “a real game changer.” At such a rate of sea-level rise, it would be- come more and more difficult to protect coastlines. Low-lying areas would have to be abandoned. That includes cities such as New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, London, Tokyo, and Hong Kong, not to mention the entire state of Florida and vast swaths of Indochina.

Tipping point number six—the west Antarctic ice sheet—is even scarier. It has enough ice on it to raise sea levels by about eighty meters. The ice is melting, but slowly—most worst-case scenarios give the ice centuries to melt. But there are some niggling doubts about whether the West Antarctic Ice Sheet could calve into the sea more quickly than expected, as the glaciers contract. If that happened, it would push sea levels up by five meters in as short a time as a century. Most experts consider this unlikely, but if it did happen, Lenton thinks the sheet could flip in as little time as three hundred years—three times faster than most models predict.

Water and ice aren’t the only worries. The Amazon rain forest, the seventh of Lenton’s tipping points, is also in jeopardy. Rain forests are always pretty wet, but they have dry seasons, and those dry seasons turn out to be a limiting factor on the survival of flora and fauna. As loggers reduce the number of trees that produce moisture to feed the gathering rains, the drier the dry seasons get, and the longer they last. Lately dry seasons in the Amazon have gotten more severe and have put a crimp on the survival of many of the trees that form the forest canopy, which is the backbone of the rain-forest ecosystem. As the dry season continues to lengthen, the flora draw more and more water from the soil, which eventually begins to dry out. The trees get stressed and begin to die. There’s more fodder on the forest floor for wildfires. This is not hypothetical; it’s already begun to happen. We saw this during the estimated twelve thousand wildfires that occurred in the Amazon during the drought of 2010. As the forest loses more and more trees, it loses its ability to feed the weather patterns with warm, moist air.

If and when the Amazon flips into a drier state, it would have an big effect of weather patterns. The Amazon is basically a big spot of wet tropics. Knock out the trees and lose that moist air, and the regional circulation pattern changes as well. A similar flip could occur in Canada’s boreal forests (tipping point number eight). A die-off of these forests would release much of the 50 billion to 100 billion tons of carbon now trapped in permafrost.

The basic weather patterns that we’ve grown used to on weather maps are also subject to rapid change. Among them is what’s called El Niño– Southern Oscillation—the ninth and last of Lenton’s tipping points. El Niño involves movement of a blob of warm water on the west side of the Pacific Ocean toward the east, bringing with it moist warm air. When this warm water cools and circulates back westward, El Niño comes to an end and La Niña begins. These two patterns alternate roughly every five years. From observations, scientists have begun to see a more erratic trade-off between these two patterns. They fret that the weather patterns could flip to some different state—perhaps a more frequent switching off between the patterns. That would have a detrimental effect on the Amazon, says Lenton, exacerbating trends that already threaten to destroy the rain forest.

The real nightmare scenario is when all these changes begin to rein- force one another. The Arctic loses its summer sea ice, causing Greenland’s ice to melt and encouraging the boreal forests to change as well. The freshwater runoff changes the thermohaline dynamics and affects the jet stream. The El Niño–Southern Oscillation and the Amazon interact in such a way as to reinforce one another, perhaps affecting the monsoon in India and Africa. “It wouldn’t be such a silly thing to say that if you meddle with one, you might affect the other,” says Lenton. “Which direction the causality would go is not always obvious. We know it’s connected, we know it’s nonlinear, we know they somehow couple together. When you see one change, you see changes in the other.”

“Then we start talking about domino dynamics,” says Lenton. “The worse case would be that kind of scenario in which you tip one thing and that encourages the tipping of another. You get these cascading effects.”

It would take a perfect storm of climate flips to get us to this particular worst-case scenario. If it does come to pass, however, at least it will happen quickly.

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