Tag Archives: climate change

Slavery and Slaughter

Since the very early navigations of DP, we have underscored the deep connection between the violence inflicted upon “food animals” and core human identity. Now comes  Paul Tritschler with an analysis of killing floor psychology. The entire essay is worth a close read; excerpts below, with images added by DP, depicting various gradations of intensity in the transformation of sentient life into industrial meat.

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Animals may well have some sort of psychic antennae, some mysterious means to transcend the known substance of this world, but it seems more likely that their hysteria on the approach to the slaughterhouse has its source in the stench of entrails and in the distress calls of fellow creatures being mutilated and dismembered a short distance away. The notion of a profound death instinct at once masks this reality and assuages guilt: it allows people to acknowledge a discrete form of animal suffering, and at the same time to dissociate from the animal’s dreadful ordeal – in short, it shifts the responsibility for suffering from humans to the animal itself. Viewed from this perspective, the problem is not our desire to consume animals, but their desire to live.

 

5-10 HEADS PER HOUR WITHOUT DEHIDING MACHINE

 

The idea of a death instinct on the part of inferior life forms, otherwise referred to as food animals, is reminiscent of the mindset prevalent among many psychiatrists in the mid-nineteenth century – men such as Doctor Samuel Cartwright, who observed the outbreak of a curious condition among black slaves: the impulse to be free. Having dreamed up a diagnosis (dubbed ‘drapetomania’), for this mental illness – an illness with clinical characteristics that included a persistent longing for freedom, mounting unhappiness, or even occasional sulkiness – Cartwright concocted a cure: pain. He recommended the afflicted slave be whipped until their back was raw, followed soon after by the application into the wounds of a chemical irritant to intensify the agony. It brought the desired result: this mental shackling didn’t cure the condition, but it helped control the outbreak, greatly reducing the compulsion on the part of slaves to break away from their masters.

 

15-20 HEADS PER HOUR WITH DEHIDING MACHINE

 

As revealed by researchers such as Gail Eisnitz, a similar sort of logic prevails in slaughterhouses, where clubs or hammers are used to break the legs or spine of frantic animals in order to settle them down, and where cries of agony are addressed by cutting the animal’s vocal chords – especially when they get caught in the gate and are forced, fully conscious, to have their legs or head sawn off to speed up the line. And speed-up is very much the character of the slaughterhouse today, as increased efforts are made to meet the wholly unrealistic and unnecessary rise in global demand for meat – a rise that is monstrously resource intensive, environmentally damaging, and a major contributor to climate change.

 

30-40 HEADS PER HOUR WITH DEHIDING MACHINE

 

If not for reasons based on personal health, ethics or simply disgust, evidence suggests that becoming vegan is one of the most immediate and effective ways for an individual to reduce harmful emissions that affect climate change. Research by Peter Scarborough at the University of Oxford found that switching to a vegan diet – depending on the choices made for meat substitution – was a more realistic option for most people as a way of reducing carbon emissions than attempts at reduction within the areas of travel, such as driving or flying. The vegan diet, according to the research, cut the food-related carbon footprints by 60 per cent, saving the equivalent of 1.5 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year.

 

40-60 CARCASSES PER HOUR WITH DOUBLE MOTORIZED CHAINS

 

Animal slaughter has an adverse impact on the climate, the quality of life in society, and our identity. The extent to which we are willing to accept animal exploitation, and to tolerate animal cruelty – increasingly the key feature of the industrially-paced slaughterhouse today – bears some influence on how we see ourselves and others. At a number of points along the continuum, for example, there are clear indications that animal cruelty is a predictor of human violence and crime. The dangers in this regard were raised in Counterpunch Magazine by the investigative health journalist, Martha Rosenberg, who found that criminologists and law enforcement officials were at last beginning to acknowledge what the anthropologist, Margaret Mead, declared back in 1964: “One of the most dangerous things that can happen to a child is to kill or torture an animal and get away with it.” 

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From Spirals to Bunkers

Among the vast troves of scientific data and analysis threatened with deletion or exclusion by those who prefer to live in a fantasy world, we single out the below animation created by Jay Alder of the U.S, Geological survey, with its accompanying caption:

ccsm4_rcp85_global_temperature_change_spiral

This animated spiral portrays the simulated changes in the global averaged monthly air temperature from 1850 through 2100 relative to the 1850 – 1900 average. The temperature data are from Community Climate System (CCSM4) global climate model maintained by the National Center for Atmospheric Research. The simulation is for the IPCC Representative Concentration Pathway 8.5 (RCP8.5) emission scenario. RCP8.5 is the most aggressive scenario in which green house gases continue to rise unchecked through the end of the century, leading to an equivalent of about 1370 ppm CO2, which is roughly four times the concentration at present. The CCSM4 simulation is part of the 5th Climate Model Intercomparison Program (CMIP5) and the data can be downloaded at https://pcmdi.llnl.gov/projects/cmip5/. The 21st century animations are an extension of the graphic (http://www.climate-lab-book.ac.uk/2016/spiralling-global-temperatures/) for the 1850-2010 observed air temperature created by E. Hawkins at Reading University, UK.

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We are indebted to a DP correspondent for steering us to a second graphic death spiral, depicting changes in arctic sea ice volume:

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And from our friends at Arctic News, we receive the following updated projection and analysis:

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“Above forecast for February 6, 2017, shows that temperatures over parts of the Arctic Ocean will be as much as 30°C or 54°F higher than they were in 1979-2000. How can it be so much warmer in a place where, at this time of year, little or no sunlight is shining? The Arctic Ocean is warming particularly rapidly due to a multitude of feedbacks, some of which are illustrated on the image below.”

feedbacks

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Feedback loops are accelerating, leaving very little wriggle room for alternative facts. At some point, the feedback spiral turns into a target for a species that will not be able to escape.

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JASPER JOHNS, TARGET, 1974

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Finally, we note that building bunkers in faraway places has become fashionable among the “Future Forward” billionaires who would rather cut and run then face the implications of their various hubristic fantasies.

Former Reddit CEO Yishan Wong comments, “The tech preppers do not necessarily think a collapse is likely.They consider it a remote event, but one with a very severe downside, so, given how much money they have, spending a fraction of their net worth to hedge against this is a logical thing to do.” Oh my, how far the mighty shall fall….

HOW FAR DOWN DO WE HAVE TO GO?

HOW FAR, THE DOWNSIDE?


Commodification of the Sacred

At COP21, self-described leaders on the issue of climate change dither and bicker over where to place the deck chairs, and who should sit in what kind of deck chair, and how those deck chairs should be polished on sunny days, and where they should be stored on rainy days. Meanwhile, the iceberg floats out there in the cold Atlantic night, indifferent to such vain and senseless negotiations.

Fortunately, there are a few voices willing to confront the stark reality of the iceberg — representatives of the First Nations — including Dine and Dakota tribal activist Tom Goldtooth, a recipient of the Gandhi Peace Award. In a recent interview, Goldtooth closely examines the icy core of neoliberal omnicide; a few excerpts below.

The images are from Christi Belcourt, whose ancestry originates from the Metis historic community of Manitou Sakhigan in what is now called Alberta, Canada — home of the tar sands.

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WATER SONG

WATER SONG

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WISDOM OF THE UNIVERSE

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MEDICINES TO HELP US

MEDICINES TO HELP US

Tellingly, delegates from the First Nations, officially designated as “observers”, are not able to interfere with the deck chair party at COP21. The deep concerns of indigenous tribes are relegated to an “annex”, as discussed in an excellent report on Democracy Now.

We note that when the iceberg finally asserts its reality, a kayak will prove far more handy than a deck chair.

KAYAKS AGAINST COP21

KAYAKS AGAINST COP21


Dark Snow

We take note that a red alert has been issued by Iceland regarding angry rumblings from the volcano, Bardarbunga.

UNCERTAINTY PHASE

UNCERTAINTY PHASE

Should Bardarbunga erupt, the resulting large quantities of volcanic ash would effect more than flight paths. Consider the following excerpt from a recent interview with videographer Peter Sinclair, regarding his ongoing documentation of the Dark Snow Project:

darksnow

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Three lines from the inner lava flows of Byron’s poem “Darkness” come to mind:

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And then the last lines from the same poem:

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