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    Thought you would like this, Gail. I loved the poem you posted on your blog, “hieroglyphic stairway”… wonderful!
    Bolivia at UN talks: The climate is not for sale!
    “We did not come here to turn the climate into a business, or to protect businesses of them who want to continue aggravating the climate crisis, destroying Mother Earth. We came here to protect the future of humanity.”

    Statement by Jose Antonio Zamora Gutierrez, Minister of Environment and Water for the Plurinational State of Bolivia, at the UN Conference on Climate Change (COP18) in Doha. C&C thanks Bolivia Rising for the translation.

    Mr. President of the COP, distinguished Heads of State of countries of the world, Ministers, Officials, delegates and representatives of social organizations, indigenous peoples and communities and farmers of the world, receive a greeting from the Plurinational State of Bolivia and our President Evo Morales Ayma.

    The planet and humanity are in serious danger of extinction. The forests are in danger, biodiversity is in danger, the rivers and the oceans are in danger, the earth is in danger. This beautiful human community inhabiting our Mother Earth is in danger due to the climate crisis.

    The causes of the climate crisis are directly related to the accumulation and concentration of wealth in few countries and in small social groups, excessive and wasteful mass consumption, under the belief that having more is living better, polluting production and disposable goods to enrich wealth increasing the ecological footprint, as well as the excessive and unsustainable use of renewable and non-renewable natural resources at a high environmental cost for extractive activities for production.

    A wasteful, consumerist, exclusionary, greedy civilization generating wealth in some hands and poverty everywhere, has produced pollution and climate crisis. We did not come here to negotiate climate. We did not come here to turn the climate into a business, or to protect businesses of them who want to continue aggravating the climate crisis, destroying Mother Earth. We have come with concrete solutions.

    The climate is not for sale, ladies and gentlemen.

    Mr. President, the withdrawal of some developed countries of the Kyoto protocol and avoiding of their commitments is an attack on the Mother Earth and to life. The problem of climate crisis will not be solved with political declarations, but with specific commitments.

    We will not pay the climate debt of developed countries to developing countries. They, developed countries, must fulfill their responsibility. While some developed countries do their best to avoid their commitments to solve the climate crisis, developing countries are making greater efforts to reduce emissions, and paying the price of a climate crisis and that everyday leaves droughts, floods, hurricanes, typhoons, etc.

    The climate crisis leaves us poorer, deprives us of food, destroys our economy, creates insecurity, and creates migration. Climate change will make the poor poorer. Poor and developing countries have a great challenge: the eradication of poverty. And we’ll have to face a climate crisis for which we are not guilty.

    In addition to adapting to climate change we must ensure security, education, health, energy for the population, provision of water and sanitation services, delivery communication and infrastructure services, job creation, provision of housing, reconstruction due to loss and damage caused by extreme weather events, adaptation actions, among others.

    Mr. President, We denounce to the whole world the pressure from some countries for the approval of new carbon market mechanisms, although these have shown to be ineffective in the fight against climate change, and that only represent business opportunities. This is a climate change conference, not a conference for carbon business. We did not come here to do business with the death of Mother Earth betting on the power of markets as a solution. We are here to protect our Mother Earth, we came here to protect the future of humanity.

    Yesterday forests were turned into carbon markets businesses, and the same was done with the land, they tried to oceans and, worse, to agriculture. Agriculture is food security, employment, life, and culture. Agriculture is along with the land, mountains and forests, the house and the food of our indigenous and peasant communities.

    We will not allow the replacement of the obligations of developed countries with carbon markets. The planet is not for sale, nor our life.

    It is essential that developed countries take the lead with mitigation actions with concrete results and high ambitions and that developing countries do their part within their respective capabilities, and according to financial and technological transfers, solving problems of poverty.

    Mr. President, In Bolivia we have the vision of Living Well as a new approach for civilization and cultural alternative to capitalism, and in this context we focus our efforts to create a balance and harmony between society and nature.
    Bolivia, presented here concrete proposals to strengthen the global climate system. We have proposed the creation of the Joint Mechanism for Mitigation and Adaptation for integrated and sustainable management of forests, not based on markets, to strengthen community, indigenous and peasant management of our forests, which can promote climate mitigation actions without transferring the responsibilities of developed countries to developing countries.

    Also, we promote consistently the creation of an international mechanism to address loss and damage resulting from natural causes and impacts of climate change in developing countries. Our country will not promote carbon market mechanisms such as REDD, and will respect and strengthen community management of forests.

    Mr. President, We will not allow the people of the world to pay the bill for the irresponsibility and greed. It’s time to give concrete answers to humanity and Mother Earth. Let’s be careful of the intentions of some developed parties to make us feel resigned in front of this terrible reality, and admit the inertia and inaction of those countries that are historically responsible of global warming, sending us a message that is better to have a “pragmatic” attitude, which of course will condemn to cook planet and the extinction of the humanity.

    Mr. President, brothers and sisters of the world, take these words as a commitment to life and Mother Earth. With this conviction we will be guided to meet the challenge we have in this conference, the challenge of saving the planet, and not to negotiate our climate. Thank you Mr. President.


    Thank for reminding me of the poem Annie, I hadn’t thought about it in quite a while.  I looked up the poet and no surprise, he’s very active in Occupy!

    And thanks for the link to the statement from the Bolivian minister.  I think if I lived in a third-world country I might lose my mind with rage over the outrageous greed and arrogance of the rich countries.

    But then, there are people within those poor nations who are insanely greedy too.  Some days it’s difficult to respect our species.


    But then, there are people within those poor nations who are insanely greedy too

    Well yeah, of course, but not quite as insanely greedy as the rich elite of the west… it’s all relative, Gail. And we have to keep the status quo by continually perpetuating the myth that the poor are just as bad! Shame on them!

    I do so love that poem 🙂


    I also love the spirit of the Bolivian people! Their President, Evo Morales, has just enacted a law aimed at protecting a unique species of dolphins that live in the country’s Amazon rivers. Wish our leaders were equally compassionate…


    Annie, I’m not trying to perpetuate excuses for rich people to be greedy.  I just think it’s part of human nature to expand to the limits and beyond.  Put poor people into a situation where they can be assholes, and I expect most of them would act no more altruistically or be any less vain than Donald Trump.

    When I wrote that though, I was specifically thinking of the many horrible dictatorships which are run by people no more or less ruthless than the CEO’s of multinational corporations – who may have nicer suit but their character is just as evil.  Maybe Fidel Castro is an exception.  Actually, there probably are more but the US toppled them with the CIA.

    Anyway, thanks for the link to the Bolivian minister’s speech – I put it into a post without attribution because I didn’t know exactly how to link back to you. (

    The US did once upon a time have more than one leader who cared about the environment and wild species – we have an absolutely incredibly vast network of wilderness set aside long ago as national parklands.  Of course the lumber and mining industries do whatever they can to get around the rules.  But the parks are still spectacular- if the right wing succeeds in “privatizing” them I may have to become considerably more militant!


    Yes, I understand, Gail. No need to explain yourself.

    Human nature is not genetically predetermined and ingrained, after all. It’s really all down to the cultural context in which people are living. Take, for example, the study done by Michael W. Kraus of the University of California-San Francisco, who found that empathy and compassion appeared to be the key ingredients in the greater generosity of those with lower incomes. And these two traits proved to be in increasingly short supply as people moved up the income spectrum.

    Isn’t that amazing! The answer, I imagine, would be to have societies that were organized along more egalitarian structures than the crazy neoliberal structures of the West. Although the Scandinavians seem to be relatively successful at achieving it.

    Way to go Bolivia 😉

    Yes, you have wonderful wild spaces in the States. I’m sure they are breathtaking. And, of course,  “patron saint of the American wilderness” was a Scot, John Muir 🙂 If only our leaders were more like him… where did it all go wrong?





    I think cultures set an example, all the way from primary school to government, whatever our genetic heritage may be.

    Default to Kindness


    Canada ranked as worst performer in the developed world on climate change
    The report comes as Ministers and high-level officials arrive in Doha, Qatar for the conclusion of this year’s United Nations climate change conference. Canada has also been singled out at these negotiations for failing to live up to commitments to support poorer countries as they adapt to a problem they did nothing to create.

    Shame on you, Canadian Government 🙁


    I wonder how Bolivia fared; with all those poor people they keep churning out…

    Last time I looked they ranked 141 on the list of countries by carbon dioxide emissions per capita – says it all, really.


    The poor performance of the majority of the ten largest CO2 emitters (Table 2) is particularly alarming. These countries account for more than 60 percent of global CO2 emissions. Therefore, their willingness and ability to pursue sustainable climate policy is prerequisite in avoiding highly dangerous levels of climate change. However, the latest emissions trend data shows that not one of these countries has started sufficiently decoupling growth in CO2 emissions from GDP growth.

    Basically, we’re fucked 🙁


    “I think cultures set an example, all the way from primary school to government, whatever our genetic heritage may be.”

    But, since cultures are created by humans, isn’t that a distinction without a difference?


    Annie I think you will like this:


    Thanks, Gail. You might like this 🙂



    ..since cultures are created by humans, isn’t that a distinction without a difference?


    We can’t change our basic genetic inheritance, as primates.

    I know there are people who think we will, and that we should, including Ran Prieur, (who has no real sympathy with, or understanding of, wild nature, although he’s good on lots of stuff ) and a whole lot of trans-humanist and techno-utopian nutters, who think we can redesign the human genome to re-create humans to our own customised specification. If ever there was a dystopian nightmare scenario, that’s got to be it, IMO.

    Also should add, that we have, to some extent, already modified ourselves genetically, by domestication, although fairly insignificant, like abilityif some to digest cow’s milk, etc.

    But culture is completely different. It can be whatever humans choose it to be. We can change it.

    What’s more, these days, it’s changing all the time anyway. It’s not so much changing it that’s a problem, it’s that it’s impossible to keep it fixed, because the younger generation is continually subjected to new influences.

    Welsh culture is very different to Irish, surprisingly so, although separated by only about 60 miles of sea. It is really quite amazing.


    So, theoretically, my suggestion would be, to consciously work to change cultures, in a positive direction. It does no harm.

    However, given the time frame, and that it seems inevitable that extinction awaits us, like much else, it will ultimately, be entirely futile.

    Annie and others keep saying that I am negative, or have nothing constructive to propose, or whatever. Which may be the case, but if people want something to do, shift all the cultural paradigms. Everything that isn’t genetically determined is culturally determined. We all have basic biological and physiological similarities, but after that, it’s what our local culture instils into us from childhood. All that is variable. None of it is fixed.

    It’s what Bernay’s did, in a bad way, getting women to break the taboo on smoking in the 1920’s. The older generations were shocked. Just as the older generations were shocked by rock and roll, and the Beatles’ hair cuts ( long hair !?) and Punks and so forth…

    I’m not saying this ‘solves’ anything. I don’t think there are any answers. The CO2 thing will roll out, and that’s the end of us. But in the mean time, seeing as TPTB appear to have decide to sacrifice their children and their grandchildren, rather than be inconvenienced in any way, I try to make some positive suggestions, like get into bitcoin and LETS and avoid the banks, whatever…

    Just because it’s the end of the world, doesn’t mean it should be boring…








    Something else to do…



    So, theoretically, my suggestion would be, to consciously work to change cultures, in a positive direction. It does no harm.

    Yes, in a positive, truthful direction…



    How can a culture be true or untrue ?


    I’m not trying to be argumentative – just thinking this through, since it’s not exactly like I’ve made a scholarly study of it, and obviously many other people have.

    Having said that, it seems to me that human cultures have more in common than they have different.  Looked at from a distance, what distinguishes them is cosmetic.  I think it was Reg Morrison who said something like if you want to know what humans are all about, turn off the sound and just watch.

    Also I certainly don’t disagree that it behooves us to rise above our basest instincts, to raise our children to do so, and to seek a path towards empathy and progress.  Sometimes though I wonder if that doesn’t just encourage more subterfuge and more devious methods of achieving the same goals of dominance and exploitation.


    Annie – I got a very interesting reply from the UK Forest Service about the storm you mentioned.  (ulvfugl if you want us to take this conversation off this thread please just say so!)

    It reads backwards – starting with the last answer I got.  I’m curious about this because many studies have shown that air pollution eats at the protective waxy coating that protects leaves and needles, so my thought is that would make them more likely to be damaged by salt in rain or mist that didn’t used to bother them in past storms.  See what you think!
    Not to the knowledge of our tree health expert – he’s not seen this before. The 2011 event was severe he said because of the timing rather than wind speed per se – it hit trees shortly after flushing when leaves were at their most vulnerable to salt and dessication.

    From: Wit’s End []
    Sent: 12 December 2012 13:29
    To: Williams, Steve
    Subject: Re: Storm 2011

    Dear Steve,

    Thanks for your reply!  I was specifically curious as to whether you have any links to prior incidents of salt damage to foliage.  I have found a few in the US, but they only refer to saline soils, not direct injury to leaves and needles.

    I’m trying to understand if this is a common consequence from hurricanes or a relatively new phenomena.



    From: “Williams, Steve” <>
    To: Wit’s End <>
    Sent: Wednesday, December 12, 2012 5:00 AM
    Subject: RE: Storm 2011

    Gail – had a brief chat with our plant health expert. He said that by the end of last summer most areas had (visually) recovered, as predicted, from the hurricane ‘browning’. We still keep an eye on it but mnore on an informal basis when we are carrying out other official plant health surveys bty helicopter. Whether there will be any long-term consequences from the browning (e.g. from secondary pathogens such as Honey fungus) could take years to declare itself but we are not anticipating these being at any significant scale.

    Hope that helps


    From: Wit’s End []
    Sent: 07 December 2012 14:25
    To: Clark, Charlton; Burgess, Stuart; Turner, Becci; Williams, Steve
    Subject: Storm 2011

    Dear Mr. Clark, Mr. Burgess, Ms. Turner and Mr. Williams,

    I am a free-lance writer from the US, and I have questions regarding an article last year about trees in Scotland (

    I wasn’t sure who might have information about the aftermath of the storm, but I would be interested to know whether the trees recovered.

    I also am curious about the damage to leaves from salt.  I live on the East Coast of the US, and I’ve seen something similar following Hurricane Irene and possibly Sandy – but before then, I never saw any reference to it..  So I would like to follow up on whether there is any record of this phenomena in the past.

    If you could direct this to the appropriate source, or respond with an address, I would greatly appreciate it.  I’m working on a post for my blog on this topic so any way this contact can be expedited would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you so much for your attention,


    Gail Zawacki
    Oldwick, NJ, USA
    Wit’s End



    (if you want us to take this conversation off this thread please just say so!)


    I’m easy going about where stuff goes, Gail.


    Re what you said about cultures, thinking about, say, the Irish, Welsh, English, French, Portuguese, they are all biologically pretty much identical, but have extraordinarily different histories, which somehow must be accounted for culturally. I mean, the Portuguese, navigated the world, were brutal colonialists in Africa and S. America, why not the Irish ? They also had ships and access to the ocean, but never had an industrial revolution, like the English, who are very unlike the French in so many respects… Also, re your mention of humans as being ‘top predator’ on the NBL blog, I think it is quite important how we think of ourselves, and I don’t think of myself like that, and I was thinking, we are actually quite feeble creatures compared with real predators, and then I watched the Alan Savory video that I posted on NBL, where he says he believes we are omnivores and scavengers, not predators…

    But I think we can also be compared with the social insects. Ants are small and weak individually, but army ants are a terrifying phenomena. That’s what happened to us, when we became social creatures with cities. E.O Wilson had interesting thoughts on that. The social ants had millions of years to integrate their soceities with the rest of nature, so that they found a balance. We’ve only had about 8,000 and we have not achieved it.



    When I say humans are top predators, for example, I try to make it clear I’m talking about us in a collective sense.  There are individual exceptions.

    Omnivores is an intriguing possiblity however, I think if you happened to be a mastodon, a dodo, whale, shark, codfish, buffalo, or countless other species that humans have eaten either all the way or to the verge of extinction, you would tend to think of us as top predators.

    Curse you for making me look!  This one made me cry:

    “The tale of the passenger pigeon is one of the most tragic extinction stories of modern times. It was actually the most common bird in North America as recently as 200 years ago, and some reports counted single flocks numbering in the billions. So what happened?”

    ” The pigeon meat was commercialized and sold as cheap food, mostly for slaves and the poor, which began an unregulated hunting campaign on a massive scale. In 1896, the final flock of 250,000 were killed by a group of hunters who actually knew that it was the last flock of that size in existence. Not a single bird was left behind.”

    Culture is wonderful, but it only exists in the eye of humans.  To other species, or extraterrestrial aliens if any exist, I suspect the Irish would be interchangeable with the Chinese, and the Maori would be only negligibly distinct from the Aztecs…etc.



    Yes, I know all that, Gail, but it doesn’t make us a predator, in the biological sense of the word, as a primate.

    Yes, once we developed technology, things changed. One of the most horrifying accounts is the chemical warfare used by the American pioneers against just about everything. Thousands and thousands of tons of strychnine and arsenic.

    I don’t see culture as wonderful. I’m not talking about culture in the sense of art, literature, music, etc. I’m talking about culture as what gets passed from one generation to the next, knowledge, social stuff. It’s the major distinction between us and the animals. They all operate primarily by way of their genetic inheritance. Some species do appear to have rudimentary culture but nothing like as developed as humans.

    We pass on knowledge via culture. That means we get free from genetic evolution. I looked for cultures that have not wrecked their environments. There are not many examples. You could say.there are none, depending how fussy you want to be. But there are certainly less destructive and more destructive. Kogi, Amish, Bishnoi, at the good end, modern American at the worst end, of the scale. With the modern scientific and ecological knowledge we have, it’s possible to design systems, as in permaculture, that are relatively harmless, but of course, the mainstream global culture based on oil and funneling money up to the top isn’t interested in that, and it’s all a bit too late now.


    Yes, Gail. The tree expert describes it pretty much as my husband does. The trees were healthy, just like the autumn leaves I posted. More species were affected near the sea coast because of the wind AND sand burn. The early beech leaves further inland were affected more with wind burn because they are more delicate than most other species. No mystery. The timing of the storm is the most worrying aspect of it because of the behaviour of the jet stream.

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