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Environmental Demonstrations Ideas from 1970s Science Fiction

by gmoke Sat Nov 19th, 2022 at 02:58:18 AM EST

John Brunner was a UK science fiction writer active from the 1950s through the 1990s.  Some of his work was truly prescient, mostly the four novels Stand on Zanzibar (1968), The Jagged Orbit (1969), The Sheep Look Up (1972) and The Shockwave Rider (1975), where the term worm for a computer virus was coined, which have been called the "Club of Rome Quartet" because they deal with overpopulation, ecological collapse, and runaway technology.

In The Sheep Look Up (ISBN 0-345-24948-8-195), Brunner comes very close to predicting the recent Just Stop Oil traffic blockades, down to the symbol they are using, a skull and cross-bones:

Sharp on nine the Trainites [environmental protesters] had scattered caltraps in the roadway and created a monumental snarl-up twelve blocks by seven.  The fuzz, as usual, was elsewhere - there were always plenty of sympathizers willing to cause a diversion.  It was impossible to guess how many allies the movement had;  at a rough guess, though, one could say that in New York City, Chicago, Detroit, LA or San Francisco people were apt to cheer, while in the surrounding suburbs or the Midwest people were apt to go fetch guns.  In other words, they had least support in the areas which had voted for Prexy.

Next, the stalled cars had their windows opaqued with a cheap commercial compound used for etching glass, and slogans were painted on their doors.  Some were long:  THIS VEHICLE IS A DANGER TO LIFE AND LIMB.  Many were short:  IT STINKS!  But the commonest of all was the universally known catchphrase:  STOP, YOU'RE KILLING ME!

And in every case the inscription was concluded with a rough egg-shape above a saltire - the simplified ideogrammatic version of the invariable Trainite symbol, a skull and crossbones reduced to

I've always liked the way The Sheep Look Up ends with USAmerica having declared war against an enemy it can't name which is simply all the poisons we've thrown to the winds coming back to poison us and a woman in Ireland greeting someone at the door.

Opening the door to the visiting doctor, also to apologize for the flour on her hands - she had been baking - Mrs. Byrne sniffed.  Smoke! And if she could smell it with her heavy head cold, it must be a tremendous fire!  
"We ought to call the brigade!" She exclaimed. "Is it a hayrick?"
"The brigade would have a long way to go," the doctor told her curtly."It's from America. The wind's blowing that way."

My full notes are available at http://solarray.blogspot.com/2022/11/environmental-demonstrations-ideas-from.html

Steve Baer was one of the hippie domebuilders back in the 1960s©TMallrightsreserved working at Drop City building Zomes out of the repurposed metals roofs of scrapped automobiles.  He has also invented a series of passive solar designs and founded the company Zomeworks to produce his products and designs.  

In his book, Sunspots (Albuquerque, NM:  Zomeworks Corporation, 1975, 1977) he imagined a different vision of the environmental demonstrations of the future in a story called "The Sun Riots":

A week earlier at a demonstration a large van was driven next to the crowd.  The driver, a swarthy man of about 40, opened the back doors and began passing out foot square mirrors. "Give `em some sunshine."

A few dozen mirrors began playing beams of sunlight on a police car that had been dogging the rear end of the demonstration.  The officers were caught by surprise.  The driver managed to back the car down the street, but not before his partner, panicked by the glare and the rapidly rising temperature, had jumped out and run.  More and more mirrors were out in the crowd now.  The crowd glinted like a bank of crystals...

The mirror crowds are completely silent.  They move everywhere on foot.  A secretary at City Hall says, "They just looked so funny - a whole crowd of them standing just as still as could be holding onto those mirrors and then pretty soon the store across the street was burning."

He also imagined a response by an anti-solar and energy independence government:

On the outskirts of town the helicopters wheeled and took up stationary positions - you could see the crewmen struggling with lines as the shrouds were lowered.

A large white patch of frost and snow, an island of grey and white amid greenish brown, marked their target.
It was a method of non-violent control for dissidents who were disconnecting from the power system and going solar...

My own preference is more practical and quotidian.  The daily practice of a kind of solar swadeshi, local production, a variation on Gandhi's "soul of satyagraha."  I have one room in my rented apartment off-grid for my reading lights at night through a couple of small solar panels in one south-facing window, solar flashlights and emergency power in another south-facing window, and a little solar light and charger on my backpack that I use as a bike light.

This is also a solar civil defense, the light, battery, and phone or radio you've supposed to have on hand in case of emergency.  

This year I'm giving solar battery chargers with rechargeable batteries as Christmas presents.  Maybe it will become a movement.

I don't know what you're going to do about it,
But I know what I'm going to do about it. I'm just
    going to walk away from it. Maybe
A small part of it will die if I'm not around

     feeding it anymore.
from "Chicago Poem" by Lew Welch

More environmental demonstrations - political, practical, and other?
. yes 100%
. no 0%
. not yes 0%
. not no 0%
. neither yes nor no 0%
. both yes and nod 0%
. don't understand the question? 0%
. none of the above 0%

Votes: 1
Results | Other Polls

euronews.Witness, A/V (IT, FR) run time 00:10:00, EN captions
NARRATOR [@ 00:03:16; PHOTO: Le Progrès, 1984] As early as the 1970s, the dry cleaner plant was pouring its chemical waste into the soil. After years of complaints from residents, the business was fined in the eighties by the French courts. The over the years, the case was forgotten. I went to Lyon to understand how a highly polluted site was turned into housing for families, children, and pregnant women...
The EU's first 'ecocide' trial: toxic chemicals found in Frech home
Grézieu-La-Varenne, a small town in Eastern France, has unexpectedly become part of an international environmental debate. After dangerous levels of pollution were uncovered, a criminal 'ecocide' investigation is underway, the first of its kind in the EU.
Trichloroethylene, an industrial solvent commonly used by dry cleaners, was detected in Grézieu-La-Varenne in 2019 [?]. Whilst common, this chemical is a known carcinogen, and high levels of exposure can be fatal. The discovery came after one of Audrey's neighbours found a viscous, foul-smelling liquid in her backyard.

When the search was extended to Audrey's house, which sits on an old industrial laundry site, tests showed the trichloroethylene levels were over 800 times the legally acceptable* limit.
Alongside the criminal trial for 'ecocide', six civil lawsuits have also been filed by residents. Only one verdict has been delivered so far, which found two solicitors and one real estate company guilty. The convicted parties must therefore pay one million euros for failing to disclose details of the pollution.
Whilst activists believe France's national law is a step in the right direction, they are also calling for 'ecocide' to be recognised by the International Criminal Court. This means that crimes of severe* environmental destruction would be considered on a par with war crimes and genocide.

* undefined "degrees of atrocity" flag
Stop Ecocide International, Independent Expert Panel and legal commentary
...The work has been inspired by earlier efforts, in 1945, to forge definitions of new international crimes, including 'genocide' and 'crimes against humanity'. Ecocide draws from both terms, in form and substance. Taken with these two crimes, and with war crimes and the crime of aggression, we hope that ecocide might take its place as the fifth [?! LOL] international crime.
Position paper with regard to the revised EU Directive on Protection of the Environment through Criminal Law (EN, ES, FR, IT, DE, NL), 5 pp
United Nations Conference on the Human Environment, 5-16 June 1972, Stockholm, citation in situ
the usual suspects
Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), ISDS criticism and opposition [archived]
Consolidated Version of the Energy Charter Treaty, 1991 [archived]
Trans-Pacific Partnership [archived]
UN Basel Convention controlling transboundary movements of hazardous wastes and their disposal [archived]
archived externality FAIL, Camp Lejeune, ppm safety story developing ..., etc
by Cat on Fri Dec 2nd, 2022 at 05:53:45 PM EST
courthousenews | Negotiators take first [?!] steps toward plastic pollution treaty, 2 Dec
It was the first meeting of a United Nations committee set up to draft what is intended to be a ["]landmark["] treaty to bring an end to plastic pollution globally.

"The world needs this treaty because ["]we["] are producing plastics by the billions," said Jyoti Mathur-Filipp, executive secretary of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee for plastics in an interview with The Associated Press. "Billions of tons of plastics are being produced every year and there is absolutely no way to ensure that this plastic doesn't end up in the environment."

archived ["]Landmark["] UN plastic waste pact gets approved but not by US, market failure after China banned imports

UN Basel Convention controlling transboundary movements of hazardous wastes and their disposal, Parties to the Basel Convention
always. read. the mf. footnotes

by Cat on Sat Dec 3rd, 2022 at 02:29:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Camp Lejeune....

It is significant that a lot of the news programs on USAmerican TV now include commercials by personal injury law firms telling people who were exposed to pollutants by THEIR OWN GOVERNMENT at Camp Lejuene to get in touch to file or sue for compensation.

Gives one confidence. (irony alert)

Not sure the cognitive dissonance gets through to most people though.

Solar IS Civil Defense

by gmoke on Sat Dec 3rd, 2022 at 11:04:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
H.R.2192 - Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2021

This action is available only to individuals who were exposed to contaminated water for at least 30 days.

The bill prohibits the U.S. government from asserting specified immunity from litigation in response to such a lawsuit.

The bill also prohibits an individual who brings such an action from bringing a separate tort action against the United States based on the same harm.

Dutch Army Chrome-6 #WarOnTerror #depleteduranium #burnpits #agentorange

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Sun Dec 4th, 2022 at 07:33:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]


"cognitive dissonance" FKA schizophrenia FKA polyphony

by Cat on Sun Dec 4th, 2022 at 02:06:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Politico.eu.com | US and EU split over plastic pollution, 24 Nov: our oil refineries don't affect ...
The EU-U.S. split boils down to a difference over how best to rein in the flood of plastic befouling land, beaches[,] and seas.

According to a document seen by POLITICO, the U.S. State Department favors allowing nations to set their own action plans, dismissing the notion that there can be a "one-size-fits-all approach" to the issue. It's an approach that's not finding much support among other countries but has the enthusiastic backing of the U.S. [petro]chemicals lobby industry.

Politico.eu.com advertorial, 24 Nov

Basel fn. 9, fn. 17 cracking "added value"
9. [...]
In this connexion, the Secretary-General received the following objections on the dates indicated hereinafter:
[UK, FI, IT, NL, SE, ES, US]
17. On 13 March 1996, the Secretary-General received from the Government of the United States of America, the following communication:

"(1) It is the understanding of the United States of America that, as the Convention does not apply to vessels and aircraft that are entitled to sovereign immunity under international law, in particular to any warship, naval auxiliary, and other vessels or aircraft owned or operated by a State and in use on government, non-commercial service, each State shall ensure that such vessels or aircraft act in a manner consistent with this Convention, so far as is practicable and reasonable, by adopting appropriate measures that do not impair the operations or operational capabilities of sovereign immune vessels.

(2) It is the understanding of the United States of America that a State is a 'Transit State' within the meaning of the Convention only if wastes are moved, or are planned to be moved, through its inland waterways, inland waters, or land territory.

(3) It is the understanding of the United States of America that an exporting State may decide that it lacks the capacity to dispose of wastes in an 'environmentally sound and efficient manner' if disposal in the importing country would be both environmentally sound and economically efficient."

(4) It is the understanding of the United States of America that article 9 (2) does not create obligations for the exporting State with regard to cleanup, beyond taking such wastes back or otherwise disposing of them in accordance with the Convention. Further obligations may be determined by the parties pursuant to article 12.

Further, at the time the United States of America deposits its instrument of ratification of the Basel Convention, the United States will formally object to the declaration of any State which asserts the right to require its prior permission or authorization for the passage of vessels transporting hazardous wastes while exercising, under international law, its right of innocent passage through the territorial sea or freedom of navigation in an exclusive economic zone."

archived Green Peace, "CIRCULAR CLAIMS FALL FLAT AGAIN, 2022
by Cat on Sun Dec 4th, 2022 at 01:19:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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