Wednesday, April 08, 2009
I was already aware of the Teflon issue. As well, CBCF and CBCS have been strongly criticized by breast cancer prevention advocates for their being in bed with industry. In fact, breast cancer awareness month (October) which both orgs. highly support and promote as it garners funds for their salaries (hmmmm, a Marketing branch in a NFP?) is in fact funded by the drug company that makes Tamoxifen and the drug I take, Arimidex. Last year, CBCF was asked to explain how much of the $ raised during this campaign is directed to bc prevention...spokesperson unable to answer. Fact is, it all goes to detection, not prevention. And the detection simply lines the pockets of the drug companies which produce the drugs for chemotherapy and that you take for 5 years. As well, the whole pink campaign has been criticized by bc advocates. You probably know that there is an US author who produced a book "Pink, Inc" last year which examines the whole insidious hook of the pink ribbon on consumers emotions. That's why I don't support anyone giving $ to the CBCF or the CBCS. A more responsible and bc advocacy group, which by the way has been lobbying against pesticides as a direct link to bc, is the Breast Cancer Action (Ottawa-based group). They need money.
- Jane Doe
A/Director / Directrice int. Parliamentary Affairs,
Appointments and Briefings / Affaires parlementaires, nominations et breffages
Industry Canada / Industrie Canada
Monday, February 23, 2009
"It was curious to think that the sky was the same for everybody, in Eurasia or Eastasia as well as here. And the people under the sky were also very much the same—everywhere, all over the world, hundreds or thousands of millions of people just like this, people ignorant of one another's existence, held apart by walls of hatred and lies, and yet almost exactly the same—people who had never learned to think but were storing up in their hearts and bellies and muscles the power that would one day overturn the world."
-George Orwell, 1984
This is an exerpt from a recent school paper I put together
Assessment Answer 2+3+bonus:
I provide my rationality for discussing these points in the manor that I have done: The understanding of the machine of language and its manipulation, which relates to questions a, b, and c, is important to go into and is seldom discussed. These three quotes from the assigned material sum up much of what I intend to support through the support of a range of current examples.
"That this is indeed the case is shown in any dictionary, where one can see that each of the different meanings given to any particular word corresponds to a different manner in which that word orients or guides the flow of the coordinations of behaviours and emotions taking place in a conversation” (Maturana, 2008, p. 32).
"Language as a process as coordinating the perceptions and actions of its speakers languaging for short” (Krippendorff, 2006 p. 150).
"Language use creates facts. Declarations, promises, requests and acknowledgments have no truth-value.... Often, declarations come in the guise of predictions that, if believed true and acted upon, create the reality they state. The economic crisis in the 1920’s.... was triggered by the belief that banks could not pay their customers” (Krippendorff, 2006 p. 151).
This point gets to the very heart of what is at the bottom of this whole mess that the world finds itself in today: “…Declarations come in the guise of predictions that if believed true and acted upon, create the reality they state” (Krippendorff, 2006 p. 151). The use of language is a fundamental part of trying to bring about a more responsible way of human existence.
The construction of Economics:
As the control of language is a vital aspect of hegemonic control by governments, corporations and the ruling elite, it is crucial to look into some of the implications that have resulted in the abuse of power over language. I will start by looking into the dominant global financial fractional reserve banking system of the US, which also controls decision making through voting majority at the World Bank and the IMF. In the specific case of the economic crisis of the 1920’s, which is analogous of present, the use of language is important to understand, as it served to construct the reality of the great depression and has been at play once again. In 1921, Congressman Charles Lindbergh stated that, “Under the Federal Reserve Act, panics are scientifically created. The present panic is the first scientific one, worked out as we figure a mathematical equation” (Lindbergh, 1923). Although the Federal Reserve is called the ‘Federal’, it is a privately owned corporation that doesn’t require permission from the government to act.
Its decisions do not have to be ratified by the President or anyone else in the executive or legislative branch of government; it does not receive funding appropriated by Congress, and the terms of the members of the Board of Governors span multiple presidential and congressional terms. (Brown, 2008)
Governmental agencies also do not have the authority to audit the bank’s private transactions. Essentially, the Federal Reserve Bank’s only source of revenue is from the interest of public debt. This act of usury, which is considered a sin by many religions, is perpetrated on the global public and languaging plays a role in this. Through these ‘scientifically’ created panics, which are done so through languaging, they can be used to favour certain institutions/ideologies.
Generally following large increases in the money supply, contraction shortly follows, loans are called in and liquidation occurs, which as we have seen take place recently, serves to facilitate more consolidation among financial institutions and corporations thereby furthering their hegemony; history is literally repeating itself. It is interesting to note the GDP has increased along with the money supply and foreign debt, essentially meaning zero progress. Yet in spite of all this, we continue to teach and laude an economic system that in all reality is nothing but a pyramid scheme.
As the Money supply, GDP and National Debt, have all increased at very similar rates, the only thing that has remained the same (or grown) is Debt. This corollary relationship could be interpreted to suggest that debt is deliberately used as a mechanism for social control and maintenance of the current power structure. To ensure that this balance of wealth doesn’t shift, the wealthy elite have taken control of media and education institutions to dictate language and history to build a construct that suits their agenda.
US MONEY SUPPLY:
At a critical moment of the global financial meltdown of 2008, after the first ‘bailout bill’ was voted against and the second ‘bailout’ bill was on the floor of the house, a very telling speech by Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA) revealed how the use of language was being used as a tool for direct manipulation through the utterance of threats:
“The only way they can pass this bill is by creating and sustaining a panic atmosphere. That atmosphere is not justified. Many of us were in private conversations that if we voted against this bill on Monday, that the sky would fall, the market would drop 2 or 3 thousand points first day, another couple of thousand the second day and a few members were even told that there would be Martial Law in America if we voted “No”. That’s what I call fear-mongering - unjustified - proven wrong. We’ve got a week; we’ve got two weeks to write a good bill. The only way to write and pass a bad bill, keep the panic pressure on.”
Following the passage of the $700 Billion dollar ‘bailout’, which has been a disaster, largely not accounted for, and used to service foreign debts, the true nature of the actual cost is much higher than what has been widely reported. November 26, 2008 article in the San Francisco Chronicle reported:
The federal government committed an additional $800 billion to two new loan programs on Tuesday, bringing its cumulative commitment to financial rescue initiatives to a staggering $8.5 trillion, according to Bloomberg News.
That sum represents almost 60 percent of the nation's estimated gross domestic product.
Most of the money, about $5.5 trillion, comes from the Federal Reserve, which as an independent entity does not need congressional approval to lend money to banks or, in "unusual and exigent circumstances," to other financial institutions.”
If the Treasury borrows money to finance a program, that money adds to the federal debt and must eventually be paid off, with interest, says Diane Lim Rogers, chief economist with the Concord Coalition, a nonpartisan group that aims to eliminate federal deficits. The federal debt held by the public has risen to $6.4 trillion from $5.5 trillion at the end of August. (Total debt, including that owed to Social Security and other government agencies, stands at more than $10 trillion.)
This inherent relationship of inflation between the borrowing Government (public) and the lending Federal Reserve results in the devaluation of individuals’ money and creates perpetual debt through constant inflation by an increasing money supply. History is literally repeating itself from pre WW2; perhaps the current situation is even more advanced because Canada and the US already are involved in escalating foreign wars. It is my personal hope that this pattern will end, however judging by what is currently transpiring I have to say that it doesn’t appear to be relenting.
The construction of Education:
How did societal apathy grow to such a high level? Why didn’t I know all of this two years ago? Why was I not taught any of this? Why didn’t I learn about the relationships between American corporations and Nazi Germany (Higham, 1983; Mintz & Cohen, 1976)? Why wasn’t I taught that the Gulf of Tonkin incident may have been a false flag operation? Why didn’t I learn about the true nature of the Iran Contra Affair? Is there a link between an education failure, which very well could be a ‘failure by design’ and the far reaching arms of corporations? Do we want our children to be smart or intelligent? The US education system is in a serious decline. I have highlighted three key areas of failure identified by the educational futures website:
1. Schools are merging with prisons. As soon as students enter schools, they lose many of their fundamental rights, including the right to free speech. Students who do not wish to conform to prison-like, automaton production must develop individual creativity to survive… often at a price.
2. Insufficient adoption of technology. The squeeze is on from both ends: Student-purchased technology is usually derided, suppressed, and sometimes confiscated. These tools are part of the technology spectrum kids know they will have to master. On the other end, technology in the schools is dated, the Internet is firewalled, and there isn’t enough equipment to go around.
3. National education priorities are built on an idealized past, not on emergent and designed futures. Blends of applied imagination, creativity, and innovation are required to visualize preferred futures, to render them proximal and grounded, and to forge them into empirical realities. On the other hand, it is quite possible that Secretary Spellings and other highly placed education “leaders” have never had an original thought in their entire lives.
In a non-autonomous system of education with a lack of access to equipment and information, being delivered by many indoctrinated educators who deliver pre-made corporately designed curriculum, which is often ‘free’, human potential cannot be realized. The education system has turned into a financially controlled machine whose gears and levers are manipulated by the federal government through curriculum development programs (Eisner, 2002), and a handful of highly consolidated media/publishing groups, including: The News Corporation, Education Media and Publishing Group, Scholastic, Reed Elsevier PLC, McGraw-Hill Companies, Pearson PLC and Bertelsmann AG to name a few.
These groups own a wide range of publishing journals, book lines, magazines, newspapers, film, television and radio broadcast groups. These media corporations often have investments in financial corporations, and vice versa.
Bunnell 2008 points out that “living in language, means that to live languaging is the manner of living that is systemically conserved generation after generation through the learning of our children in our lineage” (Maturana 2008 p. 34). This act of language conservation as it currently exists is facilitated and controlled in an Orwellian fashion by corporate/financial/political influence so as to maintain a draconian status quo and ensure that their position of dominance isn’t threatened, which has many implications for our planet and the human mind and spirit. As these ‘information’ corporations function as such, that is to say, operate for profit, rivals are often acquired and material is narrowed and streamlined, which further exerts control over the knowledge that is to be transferred through living in language:
"Consider Education Media's efforts to save money by eliminating some competing textbooks from Harcourt and Houghton Mifflin, whose titles include "Harcourt Social Studies," "Holt Social Studies: United States History" and "McDougal Littell American History." The decision will reduce duplication, allowing the company to focus on what it considers its best and most profitable products. But it could also lead school districts, unhappy about the loss of their preferred textbooks… "The best-of-breed theory made a great deal of sense to investment bankers," said Prof. Greco. "It doesn't necessarily make a lot of sense in a K-12 world."
Due to the complex network of collusive ownership relationships between publishing corporations and other corporate entities, and their need to ‘remain competitive in the market’, the line between education and consumerism has been blurred. This has unimaginable consequences for maturing generations. Recently, attention was drawn to Scholastic for actively blurring this boundary and defending the practice:
"The world's largest publisher and distributor of children's books, Scholastic earned nearly $337 million last year from the book clubs, which it inaugurated in 1948. The company estimates that three-quarters of U.S. elementary school teachers and more than 2.2 million children participate annually in the clubs.
Items pitched to elementary school students in the last 14 months include M&M's Kart Racing Wii video game, an American Idol event planner, the SpongeBob SquarePants Monopoly computer game, lip gloss rings, Nintendo's Baby Pals video game, Hannah Montana posters and the Spy Master Voice Disguiser.
Judy Newman, a Scholastic executive vice president who oversees the book clubs, defended the program and indicated it would not be changed in response to the protest. The toys and other non-book items were included in the fliers primarily to help spark student interest in the books, she said.
We're losing kids' interest (in reading). We have to keep them engaged," Newman said in a telephone interview. "This (book club) model is 60 years old, and it has to stay relevant to do the work it does. To the extent we put in a few carefully selected non-book items, it's to keep up the interest."
Many of these corporations and subsidiary companies provide free learning resources;
The American Heritage Education Foundation accomplishes this patriotic mission by writing, producing, and distributing FREE K-12 lesson plans to teachers, students, and families in all 50 states and through additional initiatives, programs, and partnerships.
By learning and understanding the basic philosophical concepts of freedom, education, private investment, job growth, and profit incentive, our students will be better equipped to approach the responsibilities and tasks to act and serve in society.
Not only do private streamlined corporations operate in collusion with government and other corporations to supply curriculum direction, learning material and lesson plans, they also provide standardized tests.
Educational Testing Service (ETS) has signed a deal with education publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company whereby Houghton Mifflin Harcourt will be the exclusive CriterionSM distributor to K-12 institutions in the United States, Puerto Rico and U.S. territories and dependencies. Developed by ETS, the Criterion Online Writing Evaluation service is a comprehensive, instructional, web-based tool that helps students plan, write and revise essays while providing diagnostic and holistic feedback to students within 20 seconds of submission.
The agreement covers public, private and parochial schools as well as K-12 home- school associations and U.S. Department of Defense Schools. The deal should vastly expand the market penetration of the Criterion service.
These highly engineered assessment processes could have the effect of favouring successfully indoctrinated students, thus ensuring their success in the educational system, thus grooming the new crop of minds to desired specifications which will eventually integrate vertically into the very system that helped to rear them; many of our systems are self preserving, which is goes against the very dynamic nature of life itself.
To generally oversee and guide historical culturing through grants and initiation of programs, the President of the US directly appoints a Chairperson and 26 “distinguished private citizens” to oversee the National Endowment for the Humanities, which is an independent federal agency. During the George W. Bush presidency, Bruce Cole was the assigned Chairperson whose top priority was to “reinvigorate” Americans’ knowledge of history. “At NEH, he approved more than 3,000 grants and $292.7 million in funding for projects about U.S. history and culture, and was responsible for $759 million in overall grant funding during his tenure. The Endowment’s budget also increased during this period.” http://www.neh.gov/news/archive/20081112.html
This is an excerpt of one of his edicts.
If Americans cannot recall whom we fought, and whom we fought alongside, during World War II, it should not be assumed that they will longer remember what happened here on Sept. 11. And a nation that does not know why it exists, or what it stands for, cannot be expected to long endure. We must recover from the amnesia that shrouds our history in darkness, our principles in confusion, and our future in uncertainty.
This rousting declaration by Bruce Cole could seem to be reasonable to some who may point out that Cole is seeking to promoting a greater collective memory; instead it could be argued that his language serves to conjure up images of war, reminders of September 11 2001 (as reference to the official construct), and implies that questions about existence, or ideological stance would bring about the end of America. In May, 2008, the Wall Street journal openly criticised him:
In any case, his [Bruce Cole] remedy for the national affliction is a program called "We the People," which since its inception in 2002 has spent more than $50 million on teacher institutes and workshops, museum exhibits, research fellowships, digitization of historic newspapers, public programming at historic sites, and similar projects. The grants are, to quote one description on the NEH Web site, geared toward projects that "explore significant events and themes in our nation's history and culture and that advance knowledge of the principles that define America. If Mr. Cole, the art historian, finds art to be optional, however, he is also quick to get back to his main message, about history.”I don't necessarily know that it's a bad thing if people don't know about art or classical music, but I think we should offer it as an opportunity--that doesn't mean you don't like country & western music or watch TV," he says. "I don't feel that way about American history." It's essential. Here he tells the story of Ronald Reagan's parting words as president. "He said this country comes from well-informed patriotism; it's that love of country, that love of place, that's necessary for any country's survival. You can call them myths if you want, but unless we have them, we don't have anything."
Mr. Cole says at one point. "My job is to use taxpayers' money to reach as many people as possible."
In fact, Cole was deemed to be so successful by George W. Bush that he was awarded a medal for his work; “The United States honors Bruce Cole for his work to strengthen our national memory and ensure that our country's heritage is passed on to future generations.”
There is just something not quite right with hearing George W. Bush discuss ‘national memory’, after all he was able to lie repeatedly to the world and has been allowed to get away with it. As an example such as the Downing Street memo demonstrates, important information often has an extremely short life span in the news and is quickly forgotten by the general pubic. With such a high level of coordination and control over language, the dominant institutions have the ability to construct history and shape collective memory.
The Construction of the Outside Threat:
"The myth of the "outside enemy" and the threat of "Islamic terrorists" was the cornerstone of the Bush administration’s military doctrine, used as a pretext to invade Afghanistan and Iraq, not to mention the repeal of civil liberties and constitutional government in America. Without an "outside enemy", there could be no "war on terrorism". The entire national security agenda would collapse "like a deck of cards". The war criminals in high office would have no leg to stand on."
- Chossudovsky, 2008
The next example demonstrates active language manipulation. Below are two differing definitions of ‘terrorism’ from the American Heritage Dictionary, which is published by Houghton-Mifflin, a subsidiary of the Education Media and Publishing Group
American Heritage Foundation Definition of Terrorism (English language dictionary):
The unlawful use or threatened use of force or violence by a person or an organized group against people or property with the intention of intimidating or coercing societies or governments, often for ideological or political reasons.
-The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
Copyright © 2006 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
American Heritage Foundation Definition of Terrorism (Cultural Literacy Definition):
Acts of violence committed by groups that view themselves as victimized by some notable historical wrong. Although these groups have no formal connection with governments, they usually have the financial and moral backing of sympathetic governments. Typically, they stage unexpected attacks on civilian targets, including embassies and airliners, with the aim of sowing fear and confusion. Israel has been a frequent target of terrorism, but the United States has increasingly become its main target. (See also September 11 attacks, Osama bin Laden, Hezbollah, and Basque region.)
-The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Where did the word terrorism originate? The word was first used in 1795, which referred to the Reign of Terror initiated by the French government. As demonstrated by the definition offered by the American Heritage Dictionary, not only has the use of the word transferred from government to ‘groups who view themselves victimized by historical wrong’, but also has defined false victims. Noam Chomsky, John Perkins, former Rep (D-GA) and Presidential canidate Cynthia McKinney, and others have unequivocally demonstrated that the US and Israel are among the worlds leading terrorist organizations. Both countries have broken Geneva conventions by engaging in torture, and the use of banned weapons. White Phosphorous, a chemical that burns the skin, was recently used on civilian populations in Gaza and during the siege on Fallujah. This ‘war on terror’ is based on a mythical construction. It is a known fact that Osama Bin Laden was a CIA asset during the1980s (Chossudovsky, 2008), and that Al Qaeda, which literally means “the base”, used to be the name of a computer database, as was also declared by former British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook before his untimely death. There is also of course the case of September 11th 2001.
To only mention the most credible dissent of the official story: former Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-GA) held congressional hearings that raise serious questions about the legitimacy of the 9/11 commission report, which was ‘designed to fail’ according to one of its own authors Lewis Hamilton, and did not answer many crucial questions. There has also been a considerable amount of scientific study done that contradicts the ‘official’ National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) catastrophic building failure scenarios. To date there have been many peer reviewed journal articles that provide well founded criticism, and many politicians have spoken out about the issue. However, all of these facts aside, and despite that there is mounting public opinion against the ‘official’ conspiracy theory, unfortunately there has yet to be substantial debate over this vital issue; this fact alone should raise questions.
If 9/11 was indeed found to be a Reichstag style event, designed to construct a pretext for launching a global war on an idea, it would have incredible ramifications for the American civil myth. Individuals’ values would be shaken to the core; security in many beliefs would be lost. Language has been once again manipulated to exert control. I am undecided about the issue, but clearly there needs to be a substantial debate on the issue; and there has yet to be one, and there are no plans to have one.
I know from personal experience that discussing these issues immediately evokes a ‘conspiracy theory’ label, and many will refuse to discuss the matter entirely; the substance of the matter is destroyed at the outset by presuppositions that have come to be associated with ‘conspiracy’. In many instances, minds hold firm their preconceived beliefs and are not even willing to look into the information; it is a language based decision, totally void of intelligent perception. When one actually looks into the evidence and the content of scientific debate, many legitimate questions are raised, and have been formulated without reliance on circumstantial evidence. However, a discussion over these issues simply isn’t acceptable; individuals speaking out on these issues are subject to ad hominem attack, ridicule, loss of credibility and career, thus dissent is suppressed and crucial questions become omitted from the material used during the indoctrination of language and cultural narratives. Therefore, through the manipulation of languaging, culture and thought can be shrewdly guided to preserve current power structures.
As demonstrated from the examples of some of the mechanisms in operation that are designed to educate minds in a particular way to serve vested interests, a very dangerous set of presuppositions can be indoctrinated into thoughts in a highly integrated and efficient way, which alters people’s perception and guides their actions and emotions. This 2008 Sky News (FOX subsidiary) story could contribute to a very dangerous outcome; the acceptance of the notion that a widening war in Afghanistan and the inclusion of Pakistan in conflict is inevitable, which is a myth; a total abstraction from the present. It also serves the function of supporting the beliefs created by narratives delivered in classrooms, which eventually strengthens and perpetuates the preservation of the constructed languaging.
As the examples I have provided show, the process of learning is approaching that of machines’ efficiency and indifference, where students no longer learning to think; they are groomed to repeat. They are unwittingly coerced to accept a pre-designed future through a constructed past. This has a terribly stagnating and stifling effect on our collective global society and it presents a major stumbling block to a sustainable and just world. With a war for profit, debt creating, ever expanding economic system that really isn’t actually openly discussed, unfortunately, a sustainable world cannot be reached. Currently the gears of war are turning once again. Members of the Obama administration have proclaimed that Afghanistan is a situation ‘worse than Vietnam’, are increasing forces, and staging attacks inside Pakistan and are likely to send 60,000 US troops by the summer. Unfortunately, real change is supressed, and business as usual is carried on. I am glad I voted for Cynthia McKinney, because I don't see any real change in foreign policy or economic policy, although I do see change in rhetoric. I also understand that the grip that the 'corporatocracy' has on governments is strong and difficult to fight against, and I hold hope that some progress will be made (there already has been in context of the Bush/Cheney administration) provided there is enough public pressure.
As humans, we have to take a high level of personal responsibility for our actions and inactions. It is our responsibility to hold our government and those of foreign countries responsible for the direction our societies are guided to take. Instead of the same questions being repeatedly asked and the same solutions being applied, a total re-think of how we look at ourselves and our relationship with nature is needed. This can be brought about by using what we already possess as human beings; logic, innovation, and compassion need to be actually used and understood for us to reach our true human potential and realize what we are, which is really the only true hope we can realistically hold on to. All else is merely a construction of our own thought that operates somewhere outside of reality. This change must begin at the personal level. Take responsibility for the way you live your life. Realize what we all are; one biological species on a small planet. All human beings are intelligent, compassionate, and rational; they have just been told different stories.
Non Hyperlinked references:
Trading with the Enemy: An Exposé of the Nazi-American Money Plot, 1933-1949
By Charles Higham
Published by Delacorte Press, 1983
Original from the University of Michigan
Power, Inc: Public and Private Rulers and how to Make Them Accountable
By Morton Mintz, Jerry S. Cohen
Published by Viking Press, 1976
The Economic Pinch
By Charles August Lindbergh
Published by Dorrance, 1923
The Educational Imagination: On the Design and Evaluation of School Programs
By Elliot W. Eisner
Edition: 3, illustrated, revised
Published by Prentice Hall, 2001
Bateson, G. (1979). Mind and Nature. Ch. 2 Every Schoolboy Knows, pp 25-64. E.P. Dutton, N.Y.
Krippendorff, K. (2006). The Semantic Turn. Section 4.1: Language. pp 150-152. Taylor and Francis.
Maturana H. R. and G. Verden Zöller, ed. P. Bunnell (2008). The Origin of Humanness in the Biology of Love. Chapter 2, Fundaments; Language. (in press with Imprint Academic)
Friday, February 06, 2009
Saturday, January 24, 2009
BCS response to Vinyl endorsement from Taylor Davis on Vimeo.
The Canadian Cancer Society had this to say about the stickers that the BCS is endorsing:
"With regards to the breast cancer ribbon stickers you refer to and the dangers of vinyl chloride, I would first like to point out that the Breast Cancer Society of Canada is not affiliated with the Canadian Cancer Society and therefore these stickers are not coming from our organization.Vinyl chloride is a known carcinogen."
She also said that she had sent me a reply to email@example.com, which is one letter off from my email address, firstname.lastname@example.org. I don't understand how when one 'replies' to an email the sending can go wrong, but that's beside the point.
I also realized that I had somewhere along the line of trying to contact the various organizations, I had associated the BCS with the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation CBCF.
It is now my understanding that all of these organizations are not associated with each other; the CCS, the BCS and the CBCF are all separate, not to mention all of the other 'pink' organizations.
I was browsing through thebreastcancersite.com and marveling at all of the products one can buy to stop cancer. This website is operated and owned by CharityUSA.com, LLC. which is:
"one of the largest US importers of fair-trade artisan products made by rural women from areas of conflict and poverty. We sell products from 40 countries and work with charity partners to directly import custom jewelry and other products from artisan cooperatives all over the world. In fiscal year 2008, buyers from CharityUSA.com, LLC visited Afghanistan, India, Yemen, Thailand, Vietnam, China, Hong Kong, Germany, France, Spain, Sweden, Mali, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Bolivia, Brazil, Columbia, Peru, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico and Canada, in addition to sourcing product made in the United States. We are a mission-driven company, and it is our belief that selling artisan products made by rural women is one of the most important things we do because it reduces intergenerational poverty and has been correlated with improved education for children"
So far I haven't really looked too far into what sorts of companies and sources CharityUSA uses for their products, but I am certain that some of the products they sell cause cancer and contribute to a pattern of global inequality. I haven't been able to find information of the working conditions, or names of foreign companies that they associate with, but they offer a description: "imported from Thailand, from a Thai company that offers skilled craftspeople a safe environment and fair wages."
Perhaps I will go into this a little later.
Back to Teflon and the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation.
Keep in mind that Teflon is in everything. Gore-Tex, stain resistant clothing, carpets, and of course cancer awareness products, and in human blood streams and food webs.
Here is a good synopsis, and a good source for other articles on this subject: http://www.ewg.org/node/8760
"Scientists independent of chemical industry money looked at the toxicity of this chemical, and the verdict is clear: This Teflon chemical should be considered a likely human carcinogen. If EPA officials needed a reason to level the maximum fine against this $24.6 billion company, they have it now," said EWG Senior Vice President Richard Wiles. "DuPont might be politically connected with an army of lobbyists, but it should still be held accountable."
As far as the Canadian Cancer Society is concerned:
"With regards to PTFE being a known carcinogen, there is a debate in the scientific community about this chemical. There is some concern that PTFE (the non-stick coating) may break down during use to release small amounts of TFE, a substance that may cause cancer in humans, however there is no definitive evidence at this time.Similarly, there is no conclusive research at this time to indicate that PFOA (the substance used during the manufacture of non-stick coatings) causes cancer in humans, however, this issue continues to be monitored and assessed by the scientific community. The Canadian Cancer Society believes that Canadians have the right to know what is in their products. This allows individuals to choose to avoid certain products when the science is not entirely conclusive."
It is important to view this 'debate' in the context of history. The chemical industry has a long history of subversion and secrecy. I would suggest looking at the Bill Moyers documentary Trade Secrets for more information on the corruption of the chemical industry.
After re-directing my action towards the CBCF, I sent them an email yesterday:
Hello, I tried contacting your organization a couple months ago about a questionable endorsement that your organization has chosen. According to your partnership with HBC/Zeller's: "This year HBC is offering exclusive pink merchandise through its Bay, Zeller's, and Home Outfitters stores throughout Canada; net proceeds will go directly to support the Canadian Brest Cancer Foundation."
"The goal of the Think Pink™ program is to one day live in a world without breast cancer. The funds raised work towards this goal by supporting breast cancer research, and breast health education and awareness programs across the country. Think Pink™ and the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation believe in being breast aware and proactive in our health."
As a part of this partnership, a line of Telfon non-stick cookware is being sold. Perhaps this isn't the exact line that is being sold, but something to this effect:
Apparently there is still a debate going on within the 'scientific community' about the dangers of Teflon and the associated chemicals that go into the manufacturing process. Apparently there is no 'definitive' human/Teflon cancer link.
However, the legitimacy of the debate is lies on dubious ground.
In 2005, DuPont was forced to pay a settlement of 16.5 million dollars because of withholding information about the harm of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA).
and in February of 2005, the company agreed to pay more than $107 million to settle a class-action lawsuit filed in 2001 by Ohio and West Virginia residents who claimed that DuPont intentionally withheld and misrepresented information concerning human health threat posed by PFOA.
"The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency considers PFOA a likely human carcinogen known to induce testicular and mammary cancers in animals. Two peer-reviewed studies from UCLA and Johns Hopkins published last year have linked PFOA exposure among the general population to low birth weight. Perfluorinated chemicals are also associated with altered male reproductive hormones, and effects on the liver, thyroid gland, and immune system.Unlike other pollutants, which break down in the environment eventually, PFOA and other PFCs don’t, according to EPA. Every molecule that is produced today will be around forever, continually redistributing throughout the environment. As a result, it is in the bloodstream of virtually every person in the country - including children still in the womb."The definitive evidence that they are speaking of is pretty clear, in my opinion from looking at the research. How the EPA came to its non-ruling (DuPont scientists, skewed facts etc.) and that it is still in 'debate' if it causes harm is dubious. Teflon is found in the bloodstream of almost every American. The research and other informative documents can be found here:
The Canadian Federal Government has also moved to restrict the use of non stick chemicals because of the 'likelihood of harm' yet the CBCF still endorses and promotes the sale of these items.
Unfortunately, HBC/Zeller's is apparently unable to help out in the matter; this was their response:
Dear Mr. Davis, I do understand your concern in this matter and it is really unfortunate that the managers have not reverted back to you. However, I would like to inform you that since we only provide space for these products to sell, I wouldn't be able to provide you with the appropriate assisstance. If there is any other concern that we can assisst you with, please contact us at 1866 746 7422 or Customer.Service@hbc.com Regards,
Clearly, Teflon and associated chemicals cause harm. Some suggest that using the pans safely, i.e. at low temperatures, keep the coating unblemished, discard after time etc. poses no threat to human health and safety. This may be true in the acute sense of the word harm or human health, however when considering the entire life span of a product from manufacturing, consumption and disposal, clearly damage is being caused.
I understand that it may not be considered an 'unsafe' substance yet, however one would assume that an anti-cancer organization would practice risk aversion and would do everything in their power to warn the public against potential dangers, and certainly would not encourage the sale of them.
As we have seen with other chemicals, once we find out that they do indeed cause cancer, they already are pervasive in our food webs and bodies, making them impossible to clean up.
The goal of the "Think Pink" program needs to be re-considered if they are going to endorse and encourage the sale of carcinogenic chemicals in the name of a fanciful "world without breast cancer".
I am in the process of composing a news article on this matter, and also am creating a documentary film, which will be released over the Internet. It is my hope that I can gain a positive statement of action from the CBCF on this issue. I have posted a preview of this film on my blog http://www.die4freedom.blogspot.com/ It would be helpful, I would think, to your organization's image to give me some sort of a statement. Thus far, I have not received a single response from your organization, which to me is unacceptable. At least, tell me my concerns are unfounded, or provide your rational for endorsing such products? Your silence tells me two things. 1) that my concerns are founded and that this was a honest mistake made by the CBCF. 2) It was an issue that was known about, but was kept silent from the public to sell off remaining merchandise stock.
I would really appreciate some sort of response from your organization. Public support and position can change very quickly, as was in the case of BPA/nalgene bottles. The public is increasingly informed and aware of these issues, so I urge the CBCF to be proactive on this and do what it takes to right this situation it has found itself in. Cancer research is important, and important to secure funding for, however there are other totally safe and sustainable products that could be endorsed and sold instead. Solutions are available, however the decisions have to be made and personal responsibility has to be taken in order for real change to happen. I urge you to do the right thing, as it would be beneficial to everyone. Harm reduction and risk aversion for the public also means the same for your organization.
Thank you and I look forward to your response, and I hope I don't have to wait another 3 months to receive it.
So, we will see what happens.
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
This is a preview for a short film I am currently making, which sums up a few of the issues I am trying to take personal responsibility for as a human being, as it seems not many others actually are. It will highlight aspects of urban watershed management in Victoria BC where I live, and will expose the Breast Cancer Society's current practice of endorsement of carcinogenic products.
Hello, I have sent several emails regarding the decision of the BCSC to support and endorse the sale of Teflon 'think pink' cookware, and to support and endorse the sale of vinyl window stickers made by Chroma-graphics, which is a PlastiColor company. http://www.chroma-graphics.com/asp/category2.asp?cat=Decals http://www.amazon.com/Bialetti-8-Piece-Cook-Cure-Cookware/dp/B000EG66HG
I am familiar with the Canadian Cancer Society's position on Teflon cookware. It is my understanding that Teflon and PTFE is a known carcinogen, however when used 'safely' it poses no risk, or has not yet been proven to pose a significant enough risk to affect policy. What is the definition of 'safely' when considering the entire lifespan of the product? It is my concern that PTFE, along with many others like PVC, are known toxins and at some point in their life-cycle (manufacturing, use, or disposal) they persist in the environment and become infused in our food webs and water cycles and do indeed cause cancer. Perhaps there is not a direct link between using a Teflon non-stick cookware product 'safely' and breast cancer, but what is known for a fact is that persistent chemicals like PVC, BPA, and PTFE will have negative impact on human health, regardless of how they get there.
I think that it is in very poor taste to have the Breast Cancer Society of Canada partner with Teflon and Vinyl products and encourage the sale of the products through promises of 10% donations. Perhaps advocating against these products cant be done yet as research is still on going:
"Another chemical used during the making of non-stick coating, PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid), may be present at very low levels in the cookware, according to at least one study. Some studies have shown that exposure to PFOA over long periods of time may be linked to cardiovascular disease and prostate cancer, though this research is not conclusive and is continuing. Several studies show that PFOA causes cancer in laboratory animals. Based on these and other studies, the majority of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Scientific Advisory Board believes that PFOA likely causes cancer."
-quoted from Canadian Cancer Society
In light of the fact that these products likely do cause cancer, I would think that the BCSC and CCS at the very least shouldn't be endorsing the sale of these products, especially when other organizations and governments have taken proactive measures against their use. Volkswagen, Honda, Ikea, on and on and on have been phasing out the use of Vinyl, yet some how the one institution that should be the most aware and show the greatest level of concern for human and environmental health has managed to endorse, encourage and brand the very product that causes what they are fighting. Ottawa has also taken measures to avoid risk: http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20060620/non_stick_chemicals_canada_060620/20060620 Why is the BCSC and CCS still endorsing these products? Is it an oversight, or are the risks know about? This is a very ugly contradiction and should be put under a certain amount of scrutiny. The Think Pink movement should not be used to sell cancer causing chemicals, nor unknown but likely carcinogenic products. This issue should be looked at by the BCSC as it has a responsibility to inform the public of health risks. From my point of view the BCSC and its affiliated "Think Pink" marketing campaign, in the specific case of pink Teflon cookware and vinyl stickers is posing a health risk when it is being falsely advertised as a help to the cancer movement, when in fact it is a hindrance. I think it would be a nice gesture, and fair, if the Tobacco industry chose to donate a percentage of their profits towards finding a cure for that which their products cause. However, when considering the smoking/cancer risk, one would normally, and rationally, come to the conclusion that eradicating the root of the problem (smoking) would be more effective than trying to fix the problem that it creates (cancer). This choice goes directly against the statement that is made on the HBC website by the BCSC
"The goal of the Think Pink™ program is to one day live in a world without breast cancer. The funds raised work towards this goal by supporting breast cancer research, and breast health education and awareness programs across the country. Think Pink™ and the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation believe in being breast aware and proactive in our health."
The statements are rife with rotten contradictions. The goal of the "Think Pink" program needs to be re-considered if they are going to peddle carcinogenic chemicals in the name of a fanciful "world without breast cancer".
To me, it is appalling that HBC/Zeller's, and the BCSC can get away with doing this. I have been into Zeller's many times and spoken with two managers who have pledged to get back to me, and have not done so for months. I have emailed the BCSC numerous times about this issue, and their association with HBC/Zeller's and the Think Pink campaign, and have not received one response.
I thank you for your response and would encourage you to put me in contact with someone within your organization who may be able to help get more information about the stance of the BCSC's position on this issue. Cancer has touched my friends and family, and its time we collectively made a well thought out effort to address the root problems, as well as trying to find a cure.
I am astonished every single day how hard we work against ourselves. Thanks very much, and I look forward to hearing your response, as I have yet to receive a substantiated response in the months I have been trying to bring this issue to attention to HBC, Zeller's, the BCSC, and the CCS.
The response was interesting and not surprising. The next step for me is to investigate the BCS a little more and find out why they have no regard to the sorts of products they sell. Is this because they operate for a profit and thus endorse products that are cheap and sell, irrespective of whether they do and likely cause cancer? Or have they made a mistake? If the latter is true, I would have hoped for a more forth coming response and appology for the rather crass and irresponsible decision they have made to brand these products.
I am also in the process of putting together something succinct to hopefully get the media to publish, or look into at least. However, I also have a thesis to write and am running out of time, so there might be a hiatus of new information on the blog for the time being.
Dear Mr. Davis,
I do understand your concern in this matter and it is really unfortunate that the managers have not reverted back to you. However, I would like to inform you that since we only provide space for these products to sell, I wouldn't be able to provide you with the appropriate assisstance. If there is any other concern that we can assisst you with, please contact us at 1866 746 7422 or Customer.Service@hbc.com Regards,
Here is the response I received from the Canadian Cancer Society:
Thank you for writing back to the Canadian Cancer Society's Cancer Information Service.
You have stated in one of your emails that you had never received a response from the National office of the Canadian Cancer Society regarding Teflon products. My files indicate that a response from National was sent to you in December 2008. *(I never received this email, probably an honest mistake)* Just in case the email did not get through properly, I have included the original response from our National office for you to review below.
With regards to the breast cancer ribbon stickers you refer to and the dangers of vinyl chloride, I would first like to point out that the Breast Cancer Society of Canada is not affiliated with the Canadian Cancer Society and therefore these stickers are not coming from our organization.
Vinyl chloride is a known carcinogen. Please find attached some information from the Canadian Cancer Encyclopedia that you may wish to review. You may also be interested in reading the links from Health Canada and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services regarding vinyl chloride:
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services:
If you have any further questions for us Taylor, please let us know.
Audrie, Information Specialist
Email from National:
Dear Ms. Davis,
Thank you for contacting the Canadian Cancer Society.
With regards to PTFE being a known carcinogen, there is a debate in the scientific community about this chemical. There is some concern that PTFE (the non-stick coating) may break down during use to release small amounts of TFE, a substance that may cause cancer in humans, however there is no definitive evidence at this time.
Similarly, there is no conclusive research at this time to indicate that PFOA (the substance used during the manufacture of non-stick coatings) causes cancer in humans, however, this issue continues to be monitored and assessed by the scientific community. The Canadian Cancer Society believes that Canadians have the right to know what is in their products. This allows individuals to choose to avoid certain products when the science is not entirely conclusive.
With regards to the Breast Cancer Society of Canada, it is a charity that works independently of us and we cannot speak to their policies or partnerships. With respect to our own corporate relationships, however, the Canadian Cancer Society seeks corporate partnerships that are meaningful, educate Canadians about the disease and help generate funds in support of our mission.
All new corporate partnerships are reviewed against our National Corporate Relationship and Gift Acceptance Policy which is available on our website:
I hope this information will be helpful.
The Canadian Cancer Society
The Canadian Cancer Society's Cancer Information Service is available toll-free at 1 888 939-3333 in both English and French, Monday to Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. anywhere in Canada.(Node Regina Inquiry ID #511668)
Thursday, January 08, 2009
Thank you for contacting the Canadian Cancer Society's Cancer Information Service.
I understand from your email and the link that you have provided that you have concerns regarding Teflon/non-stick cookware and wonder what the Canadian Cancer Society's position is regarding these products. Please follow the link below to a webpage of our website that discusses our position on this issue. If you have any further questions or comments, don't hesitate to contact us again.
Teflon and non-stick cookware and cancer risk
A questionnaire about the quality of our service is also included, and we would be pleased to receive your feedback.
Audrie, Information Specialist
I think that it is in very poor taste to have the Breast Cancer Society of Canada partner with Teflon products and encourage the sale of the product through promises of 10% donations. This is a very ugly contradiction and should be put under a certain amount of scrutiny. The Think Pink movement should not be used to sell cancer causing chemicals, nor unknown but likely carcinogenic products. This issue should be looked at by the CCS as it has a responsibility to inform the public of health risks. From my point of view the BCSC and its affiliated "Think Pink" marketing campaign, in the specific case of pink Teflon cookware, is posing a health risk when it is being falsely advertised as a help to the cancer movement, when in fact it is a hindrance. I think it would be a nice gesture, and fair, if the Tobacco industry chose to donate a percentage of their profits towards finding a cure for that which their products cause. However, when considering the smoking/cancer risk, one would normally, and rationally, come to the conclusion that eradicating the root of the problem (smoking) would be more effective than trying to fix the problem that it creates (cancer).
I then received this email in response:
Thanks for your reply. I have forwarded your emails to our National office for a response. You should receive a reply from a Canadian Cancer Society representative in the near future.
Audrie, Information Specialist
I don't exactly know when the near future is, but in the mean time, I found some breast cancer ribbon stickers made of vinyl (vinyl chloride is highly carcinogenic), with the stamp of the Breast Cancer Society on the sticker.
Tuesday, December 09, 2008
Wednesday, December 03, 2008
Friday, November 28, 2008
They are really cheap now right?
Each time history repeats itself, the price goes up... In civilizations, population always grows until it hits the bounds of the food supply, and all civilizations become hierarchical -- the upward concentration of wealth ensures that there can never be enough to go around. The concentration of power at the top of large-scale societies gives the elite a vested interest in the status quo; they continue to prosper in darkening times long after the environment and general populace begin to suffer.
This takes us to the present day, where the "concentration of power at the top" continues to hoard resources, steal from everyone else, ruthlessly suppress opposition, and prospers as the environment and the general populace suffer. And we, strange creatures of our disconnected and self-made culture, cling desperately to the hope and false assurances that we will be saved by our gods, or our ingenuity, that what we are doing to our world is beyond our control, is not our fault, not our responsibility, and is not so bad in the global scheme of things anyway. That was a passage from the book “A Short History of Progress.”
Why do we not see these trends happening? In an age of instant information it would seem that many people would be asking more questions and be more able to alter their apathy towards the incredible greed and inequity that defines our way of life. I believe that people willingly choose to accept a sweeter pill to swallow in the form of entertainment and ignore the gathering storm. Perhaps many suffer from an unconscious state of mild depression because of what can be seen and heard all over the media. The choice is made to ignore and place it outside their realm of control.
If one takes a hard look at what has to be done to circumvent some of the problems we are compounding for ourselves, there is not much to be really positive about our collective action at the moment. The systems of consumerism and blind self-gratification are very satisfying and hard to deviate from, especially when it seems that it a normal worldly experience to go through 5 toaster ovens, 6 cars and 10 cell phones in ones lifetime. I was provided a wake up call when I realized that my childhood dreams of my imagined adult life were not right. They were sold to me as the necessary components for a happy life not complete without many possessions and personal luxuries.
So how does one not buy into the manufactured dreams when going to work depends on the ownership of a car? Well, people can start by not buying swiffer products… what’s the catch phrase? glide, flick, trap, and toss…. How is there a market for such products?! … buy our products and throw them away so you can buy more of our chemically engineered garbage. So where do I start?? Maybe I should just relax and turn on the TV and be content with delusion.
Clearly, with the financial crisis outstripping anything and everything, the hopes that environmental issues will become of the highest concern takes a blow.
Although, if the financial institutions fail once again as they did in the 30's, the chance for total restructure becomes available. However, a dysfunctional economy and chaotic society also spells disaster for our ecosystems. As the old proverb goes: "A crisis is an opportunity riding the dangerous wind."
It is profoundly ironic that the very system responsible for much of our environmental and social woes is the same system that we devote the majority of our resources to fix.
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Today the SF Chronicle posted a story about the cost of the bailout so far; roughly 60% of the US GDP. Most would think that it was around 700 Billion, well it turns out that its more in the range of 8.5 Trillion. How is it possible to have a financial economy that dwarfs the physical economy? It becomes clear what a sham these derivatives have been. Thanks to Allan Greenspan for making them legal again. Boom and bust cycles are so brilliant and wealth and power consolidation is so awesome.
Also, consider what Congressman Brad Sherman said to the House of Representatives after the first bill failed but before the second bill was passed. The bill was designed to bail out foreign banks and allow for dividends and salary increases. It really did nothing for the people who have been most affected by this whole mess.
In light of the recent news articles and events it is more and more clear that these videos make claims that are based on substantial evidence. Thoughts?
The cookware features non-stick Teflon, which has been recently added to Health Canada's environmental contaminants that cause cancer. This is a perfect example of how backwards our society really is.
I spoke to the store manager at Zellers and pointed this glaring error out. The woman I spoke to was very understanding and was equally shocked to hear the information that I gave to her. She said that she was going to speak to her manager about this ugly contradiction, so I left it at that. I have since emailed the corporate division of Zeller's to ask for their revision of this discovery of mine.
The fight against Cancer cant be for a cure alone, as some of the fairly acute causes are obvious and need to be eliminated. Its just plain insulting to see corporations manufacturing this pink carcinogenic junk and selling it to raise money for cancer. What's next, cartons of pink cigarettes for cancer research? We really can be a collectively brilliant and very stupid society. All of the petrochemicals that go towards the manufacturing of bracelets, water-bottles, stickers, cookware etc. etc. in the name of the 'cure' is part of the root problem and has to be eliminated if we want to make real progress on the issue. So do something, write a letter or tell someone about the established cancer/plastics links and consider that 'consumption for the cure' can also be a pink cancer causing sham.
Citing the aforementioned report, as a mammal bound to this earth, I have a deep concern for the apathy and disregard that so many seem to hold. Cancer of the mouth is threatening the survival of the Tasmanian devil? Do they chew tobacco? Can we really separate ourselves from the ones that are silently disappearing?
“Human activity is wiping out close to one per cent of every other species on earth every year, a global environmental report said Friday.The report, compiled by the World Wildlife Fund, the Zoological Society of London and the Global Footprint Network, said the population of animals, birds and fish has dropped by a third in the last 35 years.” You’d have to go back to the extinction of the dinosaurs to see a decline as rapid as this," said Jonathan Loh, editor of the report.” –CBC news
As an animal with primal instincts, I am feeling the instinctual need to flee, but there really is nowhere to escape to. Maybe if I buy a good digital cable package... Many of my family and friends have been affected by cancer. Grandparents, friends, friends parents; pretty much anyone I know or could think of knowing has had experiences with cancer in one way or another. I see what is happening to amphibians and other sensitive species around the world and have to wonder if endlessly searching for the cure with runs accompanied by plastic water-bottle and ribbon giveaways is somewhat of an ugly paradox.
Clearly, if there is a plastic island twice the size of Texas in the Pacific Ocean, and black pollution clouds over Vancouver Island from China, searching for answers to merely cure the acute effects of our heavily degraded environment isn’t all that is needed. It’s a terrible irony that the medical industry relies so heavily on polyvinylchloride; a known carcinogen and dioxide producing chemical. As many lives are saved through the drip of an IV from a plastic sac, many are lost to cancer in Lake Charles Louisiana. The cure for many of our ailments must surely lie partly within addressing our collectively poor attitudes and despicable treatment of our world and fellow humans. Is there a run or a ribbon for the "Human problem" cure? Can it be mandatory? Health care costs due to pollution are so high that they probably outstrip the cost of actually dealing with some of the root causes. Just look at asthma. This report:
claims that asthma is on the rise world wide to the order of 50% per decade.12% of Canadian children suffer childhood asthma. In 1990, Canada spent an estimated 600 million per year on asthma treatment. I am so happy that Stephen Harper has promised to spend 113 million on the environment over 5 years… what a great mind and wonderful leader he is. There are so many complex problems and I would be the first to admit that I am an integral part of them. I try to make the best choices I can, but often I find myself hamstrung. The "coming recession" is heralded as a really bad thing because people are slowing their spending (consumption). Is that really such a bad thing? Well, yes, because people lose jobs and suffer hardships, but that begs a question, how can we have lower consumption, something crucial to the concept of that buzz word sustaina..., yet many call for the encouragement of spend spend spending to keep the economy going. I don’t see a solution coming out of this backwards way of thinking. People are seriously deluded if they believe that we can spend our way out of our financial or environmental problems.
I don’t see how there can ever be an environmental solution with an economic one, that is to say if the traditional notion of endless expansion is considered to be vital to a functioning economy. Why growth growth growth? What happened to maintenance? Sustained pace? Sustain... hmm reminds me of a buzz word that gets tossed around a lot these days... Why does a country like Japan, experiencing a serious population decline, have to have an expanding economy? Shouldn’t an economy match a population's growth? Following that logic, many developed countries should experience flat or near negative growth. Many are panicking and losing sleep over gloomy reports of a coming recession. I am losing sleep over something much different, but perhaps not entirely unrelated.
After all these decades of hearing the repeating rhetoric of the "one day we will wake up and wish that we had made better choices" type statements, really, honestly, that day will come, and maybe it already has.Despite our 'best efforts' and increased awareness, climate change commitments thus far have failed, biodiversity protection has failed and extinction rates have accelerated, solving or reducing national or international socioeconomic disparity has failed and increased. Does this mean our economic, social and political systems and models have failed us? Likely not. Culpability lies in our own languid reactions to the transmitted information. The bottom line is that there is still time to throw everything we have at solving our environmental woes before it is too late. Transdiciplinary ideas and philosophical discussions represent an important basis of a new "economy". If we treat each other, and all other living things, as being integral parts of the much greater and very unique chance of existence we have been given, petty inter-species squabbling and personal greed can be overcome. Human creativity, compassion, scientific understanding and technology can surmount; only if we allow them to. It is essential to take knowledge we have gained, whether it is of political, economic, ecological or social focus and transform the knowledge into tangible action. Education and bridging information gaps is vital. No one faceted solution exists, thus there may be no 'right' answers, rather many differing methods of arriving at a similar destination. I hold out hope that the destination includes a little more than half of the mammal species on earth, otherwise this planet will get a whole lot more lonely.