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The Earth

by balbuz Thu May 17th, 2007 at 01:03:46 PM EST

I was innocently yesterday watching "Ushuaia", a TV nature magazine, usually with absolutely wonderful images.

This one was no exception. There were those guys diving inside schools of fishes, being preyed upon (the fishes, not the divers) by birds, sharks, dolphins, or... whales. Until things got a bit hot, sharks nervous, and the divers just had to get out real fast.

The comments were that those schools used to be huge, but at the rate the fishing industry is destroying the oceans, these wonders will just disappear in our lifetime.

Today it was on Arte, there was this crazy Japanese photographer, renting a plane to catch a morning photo of the K2 in the Karakoram chain, at sunrise, when it raises in all its splendor above the earth. The guy obviously is a bit of a mystic, awed by the majesty of this peak.

I then went on a hunt for more images, have a look at this breathtaking view :

Some people do more than travelling from their armchairs : I just finished reading "Latitude zero", by Mike Horn. This guy went alone around the globe, following the equator, walking, sailing, or biking, climbing mount Kenya, through the jungle of the Amazon, across the Pacific, through Borneo. He was close to death a few times, but by far the most dangerous was crossing the R.D. of Congo, trying to avoid being summarily executed by the various war lords.

Somehow I am envious that he saw so much of our planet.

I have been voting left all my life, but I now find myself at a crossroads. I believe the meaningful fights are now those for cultural diversity and biodiversity. We only have this world and this planet, and when we'll be through annihilating peoples and species, it'll be hell.

In other words, the left doesn't stand for cultural diversity or biodiversity.

Bush is a symptom, not the disease.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu May 17th, 2007 at 01:11:02 PM EST
No, it would be more that I would vote left when it stands for diversity - which it does more than the other side...

Or, that the borders are not defined along the lines of pro or don't care diversity.

by balbuz on Thu May 17th, 2007 at 01:45:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So, what is the crossroads? To stop voting left and voting green, even "liberal" green as opposed to "left" green?

Bush is a symptom, not the disease.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu May 17th, 2007 at 05:50:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Voting green in the US is essentially throwing your vote away. To tell the truth, if it wasn't for Ralph Nader, Gore (who would have used anger over 9/11 to get us off of oil- a huge, wasted opportunity) would have won. He got around 535 less votes than W in Florida. Nader got over 900,000 votes in that state. I have no doubts that Gore would have rightfully won that election if Nader (who still denies responsibility) didn't run. In fact, lots of Republicans (like the Bush-ally ambassador to Ireland, forgot his name) donated to him in his second run (where he was only on the ballot in a few states, including swing states, and stood no chance of winning). Nader's response- I must be siphoning off votes from the right too. It would be funny if it wasn't so sad. I'm sure it's possible to elect green candidates sometimes, but be careful, public!
by pelcan on Thu May 17th, 2007 at 06:24:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Gore should have won the 2000 election with half his brain tied to his back. He lost it through his own failure to run a spirited campaign.

Bush is a symptom, not the disease.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu May 17th, 2007 at 06:32:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Plus, when looking at votes Gore failed to get, don't look at the 1% of voters who voted for Nader, but at the 45% who didn't vote. Especially as you shouldn't assume that had Nader not run, his voters wouldn't have joined this 45% rather than vote for Gore.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri May 18th, 2007 at 04:41:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Single Transferable vote is the only method by which you can reliably make statements about who people would have voted for had a candidate been absent, but in that case there's no room for accusations of "spoiling".

By the way, a key component of the Democrats' 2004 election strategy was to keep Nader off the ballot [just how "democratic" is the Democratic Party?] in as many states as possible, and they poured an fair amount of resources into that, with some success. And Kerry still lost, by a wider margin.

Bush is a symptom, not the disease.

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri May 18th, 2007 at 05:40:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Talk about believing their own rhetoric...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri May 18th, 2007 at 05:53:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What exactly are the chances that .06% of Nader voters (600 votes) would actually turn out to vote for Gore if Nader didn't run? Very, very likely. Furthermore, if Nader wasn't on the ballot in just one other swing state, like New Hampshire, the combined left vote would have turned the state blue and flipped the election. And Newsweek has noted that, contrary to what Nader said, most voters who vote green would vote Dem if their candidate withdraws. Also, Republicans have sued to get Nader on the ballot in 2004, so it isn't exactly democratic if you counter the will of a state that votes left by adding someone who will help give their electoral votes to the right. Instead of blaming Dems for losing campaigns that they have tried hard on, we should focus on how we can vote to realistically get someone who places the environment as a top priority the office and if green can win (a few have in Maine), so be it. After all, Dems usually vote 80-100% of the time for the environment, Repubs 0-30%.
by pelcan on Fri May 18th, 2007 at 06:36:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The crossroads is "why vote left" :
Up till now I voted Left was because it held the traditional leftist values of solidarity, and of efficiency.
This time it was mainly because I felt it had a more satisfactory answer to the whole range of problems an ever expanding humanity causes on its environment.

And no, this didn't mean vote Green, although the green candidate did make all the right points : this would have been bad strategy. I know many people who used to vote Green on the 1st round and didn't this time.

In the long run, besides the fact that "we are all dead", the care we take of our environment is the defining factor of our fate. So it's only logical that we shift the lines of the political battle.

by balbuz on Thu May 17th, 2007 at 10:28:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Because the left cares for the little guy.

Which is a reason to question whether certain traditionally 'left' parties haven't jumped ship.

Bush is a symptom, not the disease.

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri May 18th, 2007 at 05:51:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
there's a thread in the Left that stands for biodiversity -- but the more traditional Left stands for the same industrial cornucopianism, growth-mania and "development"  model as the capitalists.

the USSR was an environmental disaster... its farming practises were highly chem/fossil, industrialised monocrop, and because it had no extensive third-world periphery to loot, it couldn't keep up the ponzi scheme...

that thread on the left that supports biotic integrity, what V Shiva calls "Earth Justice," etc. could be brought forward, made stronger, etc. -- but it contends with a cornucopian fantasy that industrialism and "development" will produce nearly-infinite wealth that can be shared in a semi-socialistic way and make everyone affluent by industrial standards, i.e. a lefty version of the Jetsons...

a Left that stands for continuing the accumulation of capital via biotic liquidation, but distributing the accumulated cowrie shells more equally while the biosphere falls apart, has -- obviously -- no future...

I dunno if this is what balbuz was saying but it is how I'm seeing things as of the last 20 years or so.

The difference between theory and practise in practise ...

by DeAnander (de_at_daclarke_dot_org) on Thu May 17th, 2007 at 02:29:25 PM EST
Very nice diary, though rather short. I would suggest never vote again and enjoy life.
Don't be envious of people who rushed over many countries and lie how they felt fantastic and exaggerating whatever menaces they had met.  
One my compatriot just came here (to Dharamsala, Himachal Pradesh, India) and intends to go up - to Lahaul and Ladakh, crossing proper Himalayas. His journey supposed to be mediation retreat in very harsh conditions of high-altitude desert. Of course I traversed all these areas (by jeep) but I did not hide from him how I felt miserably there, not enjoying lunar landscapes. After all breathtaking landscapes tend to be boring and after few days I did not feel any excitement. But I remember all people I have met on my journeys.  
by FarEasterner on Fri May 18th, 2007 at 06:32:56 AM EST
Very nice diary, though rather short.
I know. It would take real work to come up with a coherent set of ideas, laying down properly why and how I feel there should be a paradigm shift in the political battles to come.

I would suggest never vote again and enjoy life.
That's an intriguing statement to make... I think being allowed to vote still is a privilege.
I know people who don't vote because they feel the political battles being fought are not theirs : they are hardcore ecologist / altermondialist, and the dividing line is not positioned where their vote would mean what they'd like.

by balbuz on Fri May 18th, 2007 at 07:48:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
OK, if you have some pressing need for representation of your views in government policies. But I believe that many changes in life (and environmental issues included) can be facilitated through means other than votes and political lobbying. One needs only find these means.
I casted my vote twice (in elections of parliament) in 1990s now I think will never vote (perhaps only accidentally).    
by FarEasterner on Fri May 18th, 2007 at 09:16:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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