Anti-Russian Sanctions? Russia Feels a Lot Better with Them in Place
As the International Economic Forum wrapped up in St. Petersburg, Sergei Ivanov, Chief of Russia’s Presidential Administration and former defense minister summed up its results, noting that European businesses have understood that sanctions have not worked against Russia and that his home country feels a lot better with them in place.
“It has become a national sport to bet on when the sanctions will be lifted,” Sergei Ivanov joked in his interview with Sergei Brilev, host of the Vesti v Subbotu (Saturday News) show on Rossiya-1 TV channel.
“My personal opinion is that this year the punitive measures won’t be lifted, no matter what they say,” he added.
The politician explained that while the sanctions have certainly caused Russia some damage, it is going to be downhill from now on: the rate of inflation has fallen, the growth in prices for basic necessities, which was the most painful effect of the measures for ordinary people, has been curbed.
» Sputnik: Anti-Russian Sanctions? Russia Feels a Lot Better with Them in Place.
Have Western Sanctions Against Russia Backfired?
Instead of turning the Russian public against their leaders, as the West had hoped, sanctions seem to have made Russian patriotism take on an increasingly anti-Western character.
Moscow: The European Union has decided against imposing any new sanctions against Russia as a result of its devastating air assault on rebel-held east Aleppo. It seems that sanctions fatigue is setting in among many EU members, and there may be some very good reasons for that.
For over two years the US, the EU and other allies have been ratcheting up financial, economic and political pressures on Russian individuals, banks and institutions deemed to be connected with Kremlin’s Ukraine policies. The hope was to generate enough pain to cause Vladimir Putin to change his mind, influence the Russian public to turn against Kremlin policies, or at least cause sufficient economic dislocation to force Putin to let go of Ukraine. This is probably a good moment to ask, how is that going?
» The Wire: Have Western Sanctions Against Russia Backfired?.
Rural Off Grid Russians Unphased by Economic Collapse
While many in the world are completely dependent on large scale agriculture, the Russian people feed themselves. Their agricultural economy is small scale, predominantly organic and in the capable hands of the nation’s people. Russians have something built into their DNA that creates the desire to grow their own food. It’s a habit that has fed the Russian nation for centuries. It’s not just a hobby but a massive contribution to Russia’s agriculture. — Russia’s Rural Villagers Are Unphased by Economic Collapse.
In 2011, 51% of Russia’s food was grown either by dacha communities (40%), like those pictured left in Sisto-Palkino, or peasant farmers (11%) leaving the rest (49%) of production to the large agricultural enterprises. But when you dig down into the earthy data from the Russian Statistics Service you discover some impressive details. Again in 2011, dacha gardens produced over 80% of the countries fruit and berries, over 66% of the vegetables, almost 80% of the potatoes and nearly 50% of the nations milk, much of it consumed raw.
In a myriad of villages like Voskresenskoye, nestled deep in the Russian countryside, the monetary turmoil roiling the nation’s large cities still seems a largely distant threat. “This crisis is for the rich, for people who have dollars. We never had money here,” said Tamara Boychenko, a 68-year-old retired resident of the village located in northwest Russia about 80 kilometres (50 miles) from Saint Petersburg. — Russian Family Gardens Produce 40% of Russian Food.
I am inspired by the very definition of self-reliance: to be reliant on one’s own capabilities, judgment, or resources. Ultimately, it is the epitome of independence and lays the groundwork of what we are all striving for – to live a life based on our personal principles and beliefs; in harmony with nature. — Going Rogue: 15 Ways to Detach from the System.
» IGN: Rural Off Grid Russians Unphased by Economic Collapse.
Milk Producer in Russia Thrives as EU Sanctions Continue.
Russia’s need for self-sufficiency in food has been driven by sanctions after it annexed Crimea. The country’s biggest milk producer is a German who has lived there for over two decades.
» Deutsche Welle: Milk Producer in Russia Thrives as EU Sanctions Continue.
Russian Nationalism: anti-East or anti-West?
Russian nationalism and racial extremism seems to be a mini-theme of today’s Moscow Times. First there is an article on the recent report released by the Sova Center on the rise of nationalism and xenophobia. But I have a question why this report is suddenly news. According to Sova’s website, the report came out in September of last year. It hardly qualifies as the news of today as the MT portrays it. Overall their suggestion that nationalism and racism are on the rise is not surprising. How they explain this, however, is a bit curious. » Sean’s Russia Blog: Russian Nationalism: anti-East or anti-West?.
Green Nationalism? How the far right could learn to love the environment.
Myths of a pagan past in harmony with nature have been a feature of green nationalism, writes Peter Paul Catterall, from its beginnings through to the Anastasia ecovillages in contemporary Russia where – unlike their equivalent hippy communes found in the West – sustainable living is combined with a ‘reactionary eco-nationalism’. Could it happen here too?
Green politics is associated with the left these days, but that doesn’t rule out an eco-friendly turn at the opposite end of the spectrum.
After all, nationalist worries over finite resources and talk of ‘threats to tradition’ have been echoed throughout the history of the green movement.
So, is a far right environmentalism possible? And if so, given climate change is hugely disruptive for any form of traditional nationalist idyll, how long before far right groups join the likes of Greenpeace on the frontlines?
Modern forms of green activism emerged in the 1960s in a context of threats like acid rain or increasing pesticide use which transcended national boundaries. The EU in the early 1970s also began to grapple with environmental problems that could no longer be effectively managed by individual states.
This form of green activism thus showed that the nation state had failed to protect citizens against environmental problems. As such, it drew upon an older tradition that in the 1800s reacted against the perceived attacks on humanity and nature by capitalist interests by calling for a return to the land.
This could give early environmentalism a left-wing flavour, as in the Winter Hill trespass of 1896 when thousands of people in Bolton reclaimed an ancient right of way through private land. But the disruption that modernisation brings also produced a range of responses that could be termed ‘green nationalism’.
» The Ecologist: Green Nationalism? How the far right could learn to love the environment.; Counterpunch; The Conversation.
Eating Fossil Fuels.
Human beings (like all other animals) draw their energy from the food they eat. Until the last century, all of the food energy available on this planet was derived from the sun through photosynthesis. Either you ate plants or you ate animals that fed on plants, but the energy in your food was ultimately derived from the sun.
It would have been absurd to think that we would one day run out of sunshine. No, sunshine was an abundant, renewable resource, and the process of photosynthesis fed all life on this planet. It also set a limit on the amount of food that could be generated at any one time, and therefore placed a limit upon population growth. Solar energy has a limited rate of flow into this planet. To increase your food production, you had to increase the acreage under cultivation, and displace your competitors. There was no other way to increase the amount of energy available for food production. Human population grew by displacing everything else and appropriating more and more of the available solar energy.
Considering the utter necessity of population reduction, there are three obvious choices awaiting us.
We can-as a society-become aware of our dilemma and consciously make the choice not to add more people to our population. This would be the most welcome of our three options, to choose consciously and with free will to responsibly lower our population. However, this flies in the face of our biological imperative to procreate. It is further complicated by the ability of modern medicine to extend our longevity, and by the refusal of the Religious Right to consider issues of population management. And then, there is a strong business lobby to maintain a high immigration rate in order to hold down the cost of labor. Though this is probably our best choice, it is the option least likely to be chosen.
Failing to responsibly lower our population, we can force population cuts through government regulations. Is there any need to mention how distasteful this option would be? How many of us would choose to live in a world of forced sterilization and population quotas enforced under penalty of law? How easily might this lead to a culling of the population utilizing principles of eugenics?
This leaves the third choice, which itself presents an unspeakable picture of suffering and death. Should we fail to acknowledge this coming crisis and determine to deal with it, we will be faced with a die-off from which civilization may very possibly never revive. We will very likely lose more than the numbers necessary for sustainability. Under a die-off scenario, conditions will deteriorate so badly that the surviving human population would be a negligible fraction of the present population. And those survivors would suffer from the trauma of living through the death of their civilization, their neighbors, their friends and their families. Those survivors will have seen their world crushed into nothing.
The questions we must ask ourselves now are, how can we allow this to happen, and what can we do to prevent it? Does our present lifestyle mean so much to us that we would subject ourselves and our children to this fast approaching tragedy simply for a few more years of conspicuous consumption?
» From the Wilderness: Eating Fossile Fuels [archive.is/oxnh]
Our Ecological Footprint: Reducing Human Impact on Earth
Our Ecological Footprint by Mathis Wackernagel & William Rees; presents an internationally-acclaimed tool for measuring and visualizing the resources required to sustain our households, communities, regions and nations, converting the seemingly complex concepts of carrying capacity, resource-use, waste-disposal and the like into a graphic form that everyone can grasp and use. An excellent handbook for community activists, planners, teachers, students and policy makers.
» Amazon: Our Ecological Footprint: Reducing Human Impact on Earth.
» Earth Day: Ecological Footprint Calculator.
Living Within Limits: Ecology, Economics and Population Taboos
Living within Limits by Garrett Hardin; makes a forceful case for dramatically changing the way we live in the world. Discussing the wide range of economic and ecological illusions we use to support our unworkable theories of sustainable population growth and resource consumption, Hardin points out the hard choices that will be thrust upon us. His clear and insightful discussion of the theoretical assumptions that underpin our current life styles is required reading for those who would truly understand the human situation.
Quotes from Living within Limits
“Many well-meaning people resist admitting and acting on the insight that predators serve a useful function for prey populations–useful even by narrow human standards. For centuries such stories as ‘Little Red Riding Hood’ have conditioned children to think of prey as innocent and predators as wicked. Why this emphasis? The cynical explanation is that subconsciously men have seen wolves and lions as the competitors of the human species, the supreme predator-over-all. Man has trained his children to hate his competitors. (Other explanations of the folktales are possible.) Whatever the truth may be, the fact is that wolves have had an undeservedly ‘bad press.’
“How effective early childhood conditioning can be is apparent in the story of the life of Aldo Leopold (1887-1948), one of the patron saints of the ecology movement. He started his professional life as an enthusiastic enemy of wolves, mountain lions, and other ‘varmints’ that were decimating flocks of sheep in the Southwest of the United States. Many of his writings during the period from 1915 to 1920 bear testimony to his enthusiasm for killing wolves. In 1920 he said that ‘the last one must be caught’–and killed. In 1925 he modified his position only to say that we must avoid the danger of exterminating all predators, adding ‘but there is no danger of this yet.’ For the next ten years his position was ambivalent and wavering.
“Then in 1936 he took a trip to the Sierra Madre in the state of Chihuahua, Mexico, a land in the same climatic zone as New Mexico, where Leopold had spent so many years. He was thunderstruck by the beauty of the landscape, in which many animal species were abundant but none were overabundant. ‘All my life,’ he said, ‘I had seen only sick land, whereas here was a biota still in perfect aboriginal health. The term ‘unspoiled wilderness’ took on new meaning.’ Such was Leopold’s road to Damascus; his conversion, like Saint Paul’s, produced an emotional and intellectual turn of 180 degrees. From being the enemy of predators, he became their friend and champion. From one who had sought to maximize the number of deer lives, he became the proponent of the temperate killing of prey animals– by predators, preferably, but by human hunters if necessary; in any case, a killing of prey animals for the good of their own kind.
» Amazon: Living Within Limits: Ecology, Economics, and Population Taboos, by Garrett Hardin. Ecobooks: Review.
The Power of Community: How Cuba Survived Peak Oil
When Cuba lost access to Soviet oil in the early 1990s, the country faced an immediate crisis – feeding the population – and an ongoing challenge: how to create a new low-energy society. This film tells the story of the Cuban people’s hardship, ingenuity, and triumph over sudden adversity – through cooperation, conservation, and community.
Havana, Cuba — At the Organipónico de Alamar, a neighborhood agriculture project, a workers’ collective runs a large urban farm, a produce market and a restaurant. Hand tools and human labor replace oil-driven machinery. Worm cultivation and composting create productive soil. Drip irrigation conserves water, and the diverse, multi-hued produce provides the community with a rainbow of healthy foods.
» Community Solution: The Power of Community: How Cuba Survived Peak Oil. Resilience: Review by Permaculture Activist.
» Documentary: Prime Amir; Jane Norman.
A Crude Awakening: The Oil Crash
A Crude Awakening: The Oil Crash is a 2006 documentary film about peak oil, produced and directed by Basil Gelpke and Ray McCormack. A Crude Awakening: The Oil Crash explores key historical events, data and predictions regarding the global peak in petroleum production through interviews with petroleum geologists, former OPEC officials, energy analysts, politicians, and political analysts. The film contains contemporary footage interspersed with news and commercial footage from the growth heyday of petroleum production. The documentary focuses on information and testimony that supports the projection of a near-term oil production peak. The documentary examines our dependence on oil, showing how oil is essential for almost every aspect of our modern lifestyle, from driving to work to clothing and clean tap water. A Crude Awakening asks the tough question, “What happens when we run out of cheap oil?” Through expert interviews and archival footage, the film spells out in startling detail the challenges we would face in dealing with the possibility of a world without cheap oil—a world in which it may ultimately take more energy to drill for oil than we can extract from the oil the wells produce.
» Wikipedia: A Crude Awakening: The Oil Crash.
» Documentary: Remarkable Encounters; Top Documentary Films.
The Party’s Over: Oil, War and the Fate of Industrial Societies.
The Party’s Over: Oil, War and the Fate of Industrial Societies, by Richard Heinberg, is an introduction to the concept of peak oil and petroleum depletion. The book’s main points are that modern industrial societies are completely dependent on fossil fuels, they are vulnerable to reductions in energy availability, fossil fuel depletion is inevitable, peak oil is imminent, and that oil plays a major role in US foreign policy, terrorism, war, and geopolitics.
The world is about to run out of cheap oil and change dramatically. Within the next few years, global production will peak. Thereafter, even if industrial societies begin to switch to alternative energy sources, they will have less net energy each year to do all the work essential to the survival of complex societies. We are entering a new era, as different from the industrial era as the latter was from medieval times.
In “The Party’s Over,” Richard Heinberg places this momentous transition in historical context, showing how industrialism arose from the harnessing of fossil fuels, how competition to control access to oil shaped the geopolitics of the twentieth century and how contention for dwindling energy resources in the twenty-first century will lead to resource wars in the Middle East, Central Asia and South America. He describes the likely impacts of oil depletion and all of the energy alternatives. Predicting chaos unless the United States-the world’s foremost oil consumer-is willing to join with other countries to implement a global program of resource conservation and sharing, he also recommends a “managed collapse” that might make way for a slower-paced, low-energy, sustainable society in the future.
» Richard Heinberg: The Party’s Over: Oil, War and the Fate of Industrial Societies.
Crude Impact is a 2006 film written and directed by James Jandak Wood. It is a documentary about the effect of fossil fuels on issues such as global warming, the environmental crisis, society and the questionable practices of oil companies.
rude Impact is a powerful and timely story that explores the interconnection between human domination of the planet, and the discovery and use of oil. This documentary film exposes our global, deep-rooted dependency on fossil fuel energy and examines the future implications of peak oil – the point in time when the amount of petroleum available worldwide begins a steady, inexorable decline.
In 1956, M. King Hubbert, a geologist at Shell Research Labs, shocked the oil industry by predicting that United States oil production – the largest in the world at that time – would peak in the early 1970s, and then continuously and irreversibly diminish. His prediction was vilified and largely ignored – until it came true. In Crude Impact, modern experts predict how quickly global peak oil will become a reality and discuss its many serious implications for our way of life and our world. Impacts discussed range from the environmental to the cultural, examining how global oil dependency is impacting everything from human rights practices, world population, renewable energy technologies, political agendas, globalization, wildlife habitats, and of course global economy.
» Video Project: Crude Impact. James Jandak Wood: Crude Impact.
» Documentary: Sut Jhally.
Peak Everything: Waking Up to the Century of Declines
The twentieth century saw unprecedented growth in population, energy consumption, and food production. As the population shifted from rural to urban, the impact of humans on the environment increased dramatically.
The twenty-first century ushered in an era of declines, in a number of crucial parameters: Global oil, natural gas, and coal extraction Yearly grain harvests Climate stability Population Economic growth Fresh water Minerals and ores, such as copper and platinum
To adapt to this profoundly different world, we must begin now to make radical changes to our attitudes, behaviors, and expectations.
Peak Everything addresses many of the cultural, psychological, and practical changes we will have to make as nature rapidly dictates our new limits. This latest book from Richard Heinberg, author of three of the most important books on Peak Oil, touches on the most important aspects of the human condition at this unique moment in time.
…The (Rude) Awakening
The subtitle of this book, “Waking Up to the Century of Declines,” reflects my impression that even those of us who have been thinking about resource depletion for many years are still just beginning to awaken to its full implications. And if we are all in various stages of waking up to the problem, we are also waking up from the cultural trance of denial in which we are all embedded.14
This awakening is multi-dimensional. It is not just a matter of becoming intellectually and dispassionately convinced of the reality and seriousness of climate change, peak oil, or any other specific problem. Rather, it entails an emotional, cultural, and political catharsis. The biblical metaphor of scales falling from one’s eyes is as apt as the pop-culture meme of taking the red pill and seeing the world beyond the Matrix: in either case, waking up implies coming to the realization that the very fabric of modern life is woven from illusion – thousands of illusions, in fact.
In order for that fabric to be held together, there is the requirement for one master illusion, which is the notion that somehow what we see around us today is normal. In a sense, of course, it is normal: the daily life experience of millions of people is normal by definition. The reality of cars, television, and fast food is calmly taken for granted; if life has been like this for decades, why shouldn’t it continue, with incremental developmental changes, indefinitely? But how profoundly this “normal” life in a typical modern city differs from the lives of previous generations of humans! And the fact that it is built on the foundation of cheap fossil fuels means that future generations must and will live differently.
Again, the awakening I am describing is an ongoing visceral as well as intellectual reassessment of every facet of life – food, work, entertainment, travel, politics, economics, and more. The experience is so all-encompassing that it defies linear description. And yet we must make the attempt to describe and express it; we must turn our multi-dimensional experience into narrative, because that is how we humans process and share our experiences of the world.
The great transition of the 21st century will entail enormous adjustments on the part of every individual, family and community, and if those adjustments are to be made successfully, rational planning will be needed. Implications and strategies will have to be explored in nearly every area of human interest – agriculture, transportation, global war and peace, public health, resource management, and on and on. Books, research studies, television documentaries, an every other imaginable form of information transferal means will be required to convey needed information in each of these areas. Moreover, there is the need for more than explanatory materials; we will need citizen organizations that can turn policy into action, and artists to create cultural expressions that can help fire the collective imagination. Within this whirlwind of analysis, adjustment, creativity, and transformation, perhaps there is need and space for a book that simply tries to capture the overall spirit of the time into which we are headed, that ties the multifarious upwellings of cultural change to the science of global warming and peak oil in some hopefully surprising and entertaining ways, and that begins to address the psychological dimension of our global transition from industrial growth to contraction and sustainability.
» Richard Heinberg: Peak Everything. Resilience: Summary by Richard Heinberg.
» Documentary Speech: Deep Green.
What A Way to Go: Life at the End of Empire
What A Way To Go: Life at the End of Empire is a 2007 documentary film about the current situation facing humanity and the world. It discusses issues such as peak oil, climate change and the effects of global warming, population overshoot and species extinction, as well as how this situation has developed. The documentary features supporting data and interviews of Daniel Quinn, environmental activist Derrick Jensen and academics such as Richard Heinberg and many others. The tagline of the documentary is, “A middle-class white guy comes to grips with Peak Oil, Climate Change, Mass Extinction, Population Overshoot and the demise of the American lifestyle.”
» Wikipedia: What A Way to Go: Life at the End of Empire.
» Documentary: Dan Hooligan.
Scarcity: Humanity’s Last Chapter
Peak Non-Renewable Natural Resources Tipping Point
AnthroCorpocentric Flat Earth Society Jurisprudence views the world from a firmly entrenched inaccurate Anthropocentric (human-centred) perspective, where there is always a brighter future, because the implicit assumption of our Anthropocentric political, economic and legal worldview is that there will always be “enough” Non Renewable Natural Resources (NNR‘s) to enable a brighter future, and all politics and economics needs to concern itself with, is how to use these NNR‘s to provide ever improving material living standards for our ever-expanding global population. From a broader Ecocentric Finite Resource Scarcity perspective, beyond Peak NNR, there is no hope for a brighter future, the future is one of depletion, austerity, resource wars & socio-economic and political collapse; because the fundamental assumption of ever-increasing NNR‘s, underlying our limited AnthroCorpocentric jurisprudence perspective is inaccurate.
NNR’s which have peaked and in decline ‘at risk’ – i.e. years to global exhaustion of reserves – are: (a) Antimony: 8 yrs (used for starter lights ignition batteries in cars and trucks; (b) Bauxite: 40 years (only economically viable feedstock for aluminium); (c) Bismuth: 17 years (non-toxic substitute for lead in solder and plumbing fixtures); (d) Cadmium: 25 years; (e) Chromium: 26 years (stainless steel, jet engines and gas turbines); (f) Coal: 40 years (electricity generation); (g) Cobalt: 26 years (gas turbine blades, jet aircraft engines, batteries); (h) Copper: 27 years; (i) Fluorspar: 23 years (feedstock for fluorine bearing chemicals, aluminium and uranium processing); (j) Graphite (Natural): 23 years; (k) Iron Ore: 15 years (only feedstock for iron and steel); (l) Lead: 17 years; (m) Lithium: 8 years (aircraft parts, mobile phones, batteries for electrical vehicles); (n) Manganese: 17 years (stainless steel, gasoline additive, dry cell batteries); (o) Molybdenum: 20 years (aircraft parts, electrical contacts, industrial motors, tool steels); (p) Natural Gas: 34 years; (q) Nickel: 30 years; (r) Niobium: 15 years (jet and rocket engines, turbines, superconducting magnets); (s) Oil: 39 years; (t) Rhenium: 22 years (petroleum refining, jet engines, gas turbine blades); (u) Silver: 11 years; (v) Thalium: 38 years; (w) Tin: 18 years; (x) Tungsten: 32 years; (y) Uranium: 34 years (primary energy source, weapons); (z) Zinc: 13 years; (aa) Zirconium: 19 years (nuclear power plants, jet engines, gas turbine blades).
Peak Oil is the end of cheap oil, it is the point where every barrel of oil is harder to find, more expensive to extract, and more valuable to whoever owns or controls it. As early as 2000, geological experts warned Peak Oil would occur sometime between 2000 and 2007. Cheap oil is the oxygen of the “economic growth” global economic system and industrial food production.
» EoP NTE GM: EoP or WiP NWO Future?.
Collapse, directed by Chris Smith, is an American documentary film exploring the theories, writings and life story of controversial author Michael Ruppert. Ruppert, a former Los Angeles police officer who describes himself as an investigative reporter and radical thinker, has authored books on the events of the September 11 attacks and of energy issues. Critics in the mainstream media and in D.C. called him a conspiracy theorist and an alarmist. Director Smith interviewed Ruppert over the course of fourteen hours in an interrogation-like setting in an abandoned warehouse basement meat locker near downtown Los Angeles. Ruppert’s interview was shot over five days throughout March and April 2009. The filmmakers distilled these interviews down to this 82 minute monologue with archival footage interspersed as illustration. The title refers to Ruppert’s belief that unsustainable energy and financial policies have led to an ongoing collapse of modern industrial civilization. Critics have variously described the film as supportive and as critical of Ruppert’s views. Smith himself, speaking at the Toronto International Film Festival premiere, said that “What I hoped to reveal was … that his obsession with the collapse of industrial civilization has led to the collapse of his life. In the end, it is a character study about his obsession.”
» Documentary: Trailer: Full: Hunibuni Survivalist; Stuart Blaber.
The End of Growth: Adapting to Our New Economic Reality
Economists insist that recovery is at hand. Yet, unemployment remains high, real estate values continue to sink, and governments stagger under record deficits. The End of Growth proposes a startling diagnosis: humanity has reached a fundamental turning point in our economic history. The expansionary trajectory of industrial civilization is colliding with non-negotiable natural limits. Richard Heinberg’s latest landmark work goes to the heart of the ongoing financial crisis, explaining how and why it occurred, and what we must do to avert the worst potential outcomes. Written in an engaging, highly readable style, it shows why growth is being blocked by three factors: (a) Resource depletion, (b) Environmental impacts, and (c) Crushing levels of debt. These converging limits will force us to re-evaluate cherished economic theories and to reinvent money and commerce.
» Richard Heinberg: The End of Growth: Adapting to Our New Economic Reality.
Someone Better Start Pointing Out the Obvious Committee for a Better Planet
Someone Better Start Pointing Out the Obvious Committee for a Better Planet Peak Oil, Resources and Population Cartoon.
» IG: 14-08-18_ghardin-tragedycommons-tmcveigh.