Sunday, February 14, 2021

Stop Leveling Down Life's Multiple Diversity: The Smallest Bit of Life is Worthier than the Whole Lunacy of United Megalomaniac Billionaires


Léviathan stéthocephale (Bosch/Baltrusaitis, Le Moyen-Âge fantastique) & Bill Gates + Late Classic Maya Clown (Mary Miller & Karl Taube, The Gods and Symbols of Ancient Mexico and the Maya);
Haroldo de Campos + Samuel Beckett + Arara-canindé (montage A/Z);
Dr. Strangelove/Stanley Kubrick, Peter Sellers: "An astonishingly good idea";
Vandana Shiva on India's Farmer's Protests: Indian Farmers are a Victin of Food Imperialism (Going Underground, 13/02/2021);
Cara Delevingne & Vandana Shiva: The Interconnected Crises of Food, Health and Climate (EcoResolution 2020); 
EarthDance 2020 - Vandana Shiva and Reclaiming the Commons (Sinergetic Press 2020); 
Vandana Shiva: Political Economy of the Corona Crisis (Cusanus Hochschule für Gesellschaftsgestaltung 2020);
Vandana Shiva and Pragya Tiwari on Slow Living (Roli Books 2020); 
International Womxn’s Day Lecture: Dr. Vandana Shiva (Harvard GSD 2020); 
Mary Robinson & Vandana Shiva: The Injustice of Climate Change (Oxford Climate Society); 
'Bill Gates is continuing the work of Monsanto': Vandana Shiva tells France 24 (2019); 
Conversation entre Vandana Shiva et Gaël Giraud (Centre Sèvres/Facultés Jésuites 2019);
Apprenons à partager les ressources pour sauver le vivant: Gaël Giraud (Tedx 2018):
Vandana Shiva Calls War On Bill Gates: Valhalla Movement Network (2015);

"Les grands seigneurs sont presque les seules gens de qui on apprenne autant que des paysans: leur conversation s'orne de tout ce qui concerne la terre, les demeures telles qu'elles étaient habitées autrefois, les anciens usages, tout ce que le monde de l'argent ignore profondément."
Marcel Proust (le narrateur, Le Côté des Guermantes)

Climatologist Michael E. Mann interviewed by Jonathan Watts/The Guardian: 

"Another development in the “climate war” is the entry of new participants. Bill Gates is perhaps the most prominent. His new book, How to Prevent a Climate Disaster, offers a systems analyst approach to the problem, a kind of operating system upgrade for the planet. What do you make of his take?
I want to thank him for using his platform to raise awareness of the climate crisis. That said, I disagree with him quite sharply on the prescription. His view is overly technocratic and premised on an underestimate of the role that renewable energy can play in decarbonising our civilisation. If you understate that potential, you are forced to make other risky choices, such as geoengineering and carbon capture and sequestration. Investment in those unproven options would crowd out investment in better solutions.
Gates writes that he doesn’t know the political solution to climate change. But the politics are the problem buddy. If you don’t have a prescription of how to solve that, then you don’t have a solution and perhaps your solution might be taking us down the wrong path" (see the whole here: "Climatologist Michael E. Mann"/The Guardian, 27/02/2021); 

Other News: 

"... billionaire class assertions that they are philosopher kings and climate-conscious investors who know better than the original caretakers are little more than ruses for what amounts to a 21st century land grab – with big payouts in a for-profit economy seeking “green” solutions. Our era is dominated by the ultra-rich, the climate crisis and a burgeoning green capitalism. And Bill Gates’ new book How to Avoid a Climate Disaster positions himself as a thought leader in how to stop putting greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and how to fund what he has called elsewhere a “global green revolution” to help poor farmers mitigate climate change. What expertise in climate science or agriculture Gates possesses beyond being filthy rich is anyone’s guess."
"Like wealth, land ownership is becoming concentrated into fewer and fewer hands, resulting in a greater push for monocultures and more intensive industrial farming techniques to generate greater returns. One per cent of the world’s farms control 70% of the world’s farmlands, one report found. The biggest shift in recent years from small to big farms was in the US."
"The land we all live on should not be the sole property of a few. The extensive tax avoidance by these titans of industry will always far exceed their supposed charitable donations to the public. The “billionaire knows best” mentality detracts from the deep-seated realities of colonialism and white supremacy, and it ignores those who actually know best how to use and live with the land. These billionaires have nothing to offer us in terms of saving the planet – unless it’s our land back."

"Together, the three men [Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos & Bill Gates] have an estimated wealth of $466bn and some of the biggest personal carbon footprints on the planet. They are also emblematic of a Davos-centric worldview that sees free markets and technological advancements as the answer to an existential emergency already upending the lives of millions of people."
"Once one of the world's most ruthless businessmen, Gates has spent the last 20 years using his fortune to tackle big issues including poverty, disease and climate change... Among those investments is a plan to convert seawater into microscopic particles to be sprayed into clouds, increasing their whiteness and therefore their ability to reflect more sunlight back into space, reducing global warming. The geo-engineering scheme could fundamentally change the planet, whitening skies and changing weather patterns and ocean currents. He also has investments in new nuclear power plants and more traditional “green” tech like solar and wind."
"Gates has many, many ideas and is a tireless advocate for the net zero cause. But his big ideas may not pan out – or prove politically acceptable. Even someone of Gates’s wealth and influence may struggle to change the global political landscape. And, again, his advocacy of the free markets that did so much to create the crisis we now face undermines his legitimacy."

"Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg and six other tech titans made more than $360 billion during the pandemic, which may finally shatter the myth of the benevolent billionaire."
"... the staggering rise in their gains contrasts with the economic devastation of millions of Americans, amid soaring unemployment and evictions, drawing attention to issues of inequality and distribution of wealth. In fact, the $360 billion increase in top billionaire wealth approaches the $410 billion the U.S. government is spending on the latest round of $1,400 stimulus checks, passed with the $1.9 trillion pandemic relief package this week."
"The scrutiny of tech billionaires’ wealth is also driven by the role their companies played during the pandemic. Social media including Facebook appeared to make the situation worse because it was used to spread disinformation about covid-19 and the vaccines, undermining efforts to control the virus. Musk railed against stay-at-home mandates and reopened Tesla’s factory in defiance of local orders, arguing that Tesla should be allowed to continue building cars during California’s shutdown."
"In Bezos’s case, profits were possible in part because Amazon hired more than 500,000 workers to stow, sort, pick and pack goods in 2020, even as warehouse workers sounded alarms about safety and nearly 20,000 Amazon employees in the United States tested positive for the coronavirus by October."
"Tech billionaires invested comparatively little of that increased wealth back into the public sphere for the pandemic. Bezos donated $150 million, or roughly 0.26 percent of the profits he accrued during the pandemic, to covid-related causes, “while also having his workers work in Dickensian conditions,” said Tompkins-Stange, the University of Michigan professor. Musk reportedly gave $5 million, or 0.004 percent of his newfound gains, to covid-19 research, in addition to donating ventilators built to help patients with sleep apnea."
"Bill Gates, a co-founder of Microsoft, was the most influential philanthropist on the global response to the pandemic. He shifted much of the focus of the foundation he runs with his wife, Melinda, to address the pandemic, donating $1.75 billion in pandemic-related philanthropy, or 7.3 percent of the $24 billion he added to his net worth... Gates had warned about the potential for a pathogen-spread pandemic since 2015, in a TED Talk, lectures and medical journal articles. Since the coronavirus emerged, Gates has appeared on news programs, late-night talk shows and a global charity event to push for science-based solutions."

"Artificially cooling the planet carries potential threats — and so does allowing tech billionaires to monopolize the research efforts."
"There’s conflicting research on whether the most common proposal to geoengineer the planet ― spraying reflective sulfur aerosols into the stratosphere ― might inflict worse droughts and storms in different hemispheres, potentially exacerbating inequities between rich northern countries and poorer nations south of the equator. Then there are fears of how climate controls could be weaponized for war."
"... skeptics who question the wisdom of even studying geoengineering say the proposal takes broad leaps beyond what the National Academies first outlined in its initial report in 2015, and that it endangers hope of crafting international agreements to guard against rogue deployments by sketching out a national program. Some argued that simply carrying out the research has jeopardized long-overdue efforts to eliminate climate-changing emissions in the first place ― efforts that are finally taking shape in the United States, Europe and China."
"A 2013 study in the journal Nature Climate Change found that spraying aerosols in the Northern Hemisphere, such as over the United States or Japan, would likely reduce rainfall in areas closer to the equator, including the drought-parched Sahel, the semi-arid African region that includes Algeria, Mali and Sudan. A 2017 study in the journal Nature Communications determined that solar geoengineering in the north would shift the position of the tropical jet stream south, and vice versa, potentially unleashing powerful cyclones and hurricanes on whichever region misses out."
"A 2019 study in JGR Atmospheres showed that solar geoengineering risks disrupting rainfall in South Asia and much of Africa, which would threaten the only irrigation system on which billions of poor farmers rely. A 2020 paper in Geophysical Research Letters backed up the idea that geoengineering in any form would throw jet streams out of whack, possibly adding novel changes to the climate in tropic regions where half the world’s population lives."
"Absent an international agreement, policies overseeing geoengineering could become Balkanized. But another risk could be that the research remains in the control of the unaccountable private actors who are currently backing most research."

See also:

Amat Escalante (& Werner Herzog): Basilisk's Cinema;
And also: