"I am an Inuit seal meat eater, and my fur is ethical," wrote Alethea Arnaquq-Baril, bundled in a sealskin coat, pants and boots. She also wrote a letter to DeGeneres and posted it online.
Samsung vowed to donate $1 for every retweet of DeGeneres’ celebrity-packed Oscars selfie to a charity of her choice. She raised $1.5 million for the Humane Society of the United States, which campaigns annually against Canada’s seal hunt.
The Ellen DeGeneres Show’s website calls the seal hunt “one of the most atrocious and inhumane acts against animals allowed by any government.”
The Inuit have long defended the hunt as a sustainable practice, deeply rooted in Inuit culture, which helps feed people in a region plagued by hunger.
"The meat feeds families, which is important to an area where many households have identified that they face issues of food insecurity," said Sandi Vincent, who posted her own sealfie Thursday.
The pelts also come in handy in the cold northern climate and provide a needed source of income, she said. She also countered the idea of the hunt as “inhumane.”
"In Inuit culture, it is believed seals and other animals have souls and offer themselves to you. Humanely and with gratitude we accepted this gift," she said, reminiscing about catching her first seal at age 15.
“المدن رائحة: عكا رائحة اليود البحري والبهارات. حيفا رائحة الصنوبر والشراشف المجعلكة. موسكو رائحة الفودكا على الثلج. القاهرة رائحة المانجو والزنجبيل. بيروت رائحة الشمس والبحر والدخان والليمون. باريس رائحة الخبز الطازج والأجبان ومشتقات الفتنة. دمشق رائحة الياسمين والفواكة المجففة. تونس رائحة مسك الليل والملح. الرباط رائحة الحناء والبخور والعسل. وكل مدينة لا تُعرفُ من رائحتها لا يُعوَّل على ذكراها. وللمنافي رائحة مشتركة هي رائحة الحنين إلى ما عداها… رائحة تتذكر رائحة أخرى. رائحة متقطعة الأنفاس، عاطفيّة تقودك كخارطة سياحية كثيرة الاستعمال إلى رائحة المكان الأول. الرائحة ذاكرةٌ وغروب شمس. والغروب هنا توبيخ الجمال للغريب”—"Cities are smells: Acre is the smell of iodine and spices. Haifa is the smell of pine and wrinkled sheets. Moscow is the smell of vodka on ice. Cairo is the smell of mango and ginger. Beirut is the smell of the sun, sea, smoke, and lemons. Paris is the smell of fresh bread, cheese, and derivations of enchantment. Damascus is the smell of jasmine and dried fruit. Tunis is the smell of night musk and salt. Rabat is the smell of henna, incense and honey. A city that cannot be known by its smell is unreliable. Exiles have a shared smell: the smell of longing for something else; a smell that remembers another smell. A painting, nostalgic that guides you, like a worn tourist map, to the smell of the original place. A smell is a memory and a setting sun. Sunset, here, is beauty rebuking the stranger. But to love the sunset is not, as they say, one of the attributes of exile.” - Mahmoud Darwish, In the presence of Absence (via nowinexile)
One of the most disturbing ways that climate change is already playing out is through what ecologists call “mismatch” or “mistiming.” This is the process whereby warming causes animals to fall out of step with a critical food source, particularly at breeding times, when a failure to find enough food can lead to rapid population losses.
The migration patterns of many songbird species, for instance, have evolved over millennia so that eggs hatch precisely when food sources such as caterpillars are at their most abundant, providing parents with ample nourishment for their hungry young. But because spring now often arrives early, the caterpillars are hatching earlier too, which means that in some areas they are less plentiful when the chicks hatch, with a number of possible long-term impacts on survival.
Similarly, in West Greenland, caribou are arriving at their calving grounds only to find themselves out of sync with the forage plants they have relied on for thousands of years, now growing earlier thanks to rising temperatures. That is leaving female caribou with less energy for lactation, reproduction and feeding their young, a mismatch that has been linked to sharp decreases in calf births and survival rates.
Scientists are studying cases of climate-related mistiming among dozens of species, from Arctic terns to pied flycatchers. But there is one important species they are missing – us. Homo sapiens. We too are suffering from a terrible case of climate-related mistiming, albeit in a cultural-historical, rather than a biological, sense. Our problem is that the climate crisis hatched in our laps at a moment in history when political and social conditions were uniquely hostile to a problem of this nature and magnitude – that moment being the tail end of the go-go 80s, the blast-off point for the crusade to spread deregulated capitalism around the world. Climate change is a collective problem demanding collective action the likes of which humanity has never actually accomplished. Yet it entered mainstream consciousness in the midst of an ideological war being waged on the very idea of the collective sphere.
When regulation became a dirty word
This deeply unfortunate mistiming has created all sorts of barriers to our ability to respond effectively to this crisis. It has meant that corporate power was ascendant at the very moment when we needed to exert unprecedented controls over corporate behaviour in order to protect life on Earth. It has meant that regulation was a dirty word just when we needed those powers most. It has meant that we are ruled by a class of politicians who know only how to dismantle and starve public institutions just when they most need to be fortified and reimagined. And it has meant that we are saddled with an apparatus of “free trade” deals that tie the hands of policymakers just when they need maximum flexibility to achieve a massive energy transition.
Confronting these various structural barriers to the next economy is the critical work of any serious climate movement. But it’s not the only task at hand. We also have to confront how the mismatch between climate change and market domination has created barriers within our very selves, making it harder to look at this most pressing of humanitarian crises with anything more than furtive, terrified glances. Because of the way our daily lives have been altered by both market and technological triumphalism, we lack many of the observational tools necessary to convince ourselves that climate change is real – let alone the confidence to believe that a different way of living is possible.
And little wonder: just when we needed to gather, our public sphere was disintegrating; just when we needed to consume less, consumerism took over virtually every aspect of our lives; just when we needed to slow down and notice, we sped up; and just when we needed longer time horizons, we were able to see only the immediate present.
This is our climate change mismatch, and it affects not just our species but potentially every other species on the planet as well.
The good news is that, unlike reindeer and songbirds, we humans are blessed with the capacity for advanced reasoning and therefore the ability to adapt more deliberately – to change old patterns of behaviour with remarkable speed. If the ideas that rule our culture are stopping us from saving ourselves, then it is within our power to change those ideas. But before that can happen, we first need to understand the nature of our personal climate mismatch.
Being consumers is all we know
Climate change demands that we consume less, but being consumers is all we know. Climate change is not a problem that can be solved simply by changing what we buy – a hybrid instead of an SUV, some carbon offsets when we get on a plane. At its core, it is a crisis born of overconsumption by the comparatively wealthy, which means the world’s most manic consumers are going to have to consume less.
The problem is not “human nature,” as we are so often told. We weren’t born having to shop this much, and we have, in our recent past, been just as happy (in many cases happier) consuming far less. The problem is the inflated role that consumption has come to play in our particular era.
Late capitalism teaches us to create ourselves through our consumer choices: shopping is how we form our identities, find community and express ourselves. Thus, telling people that they can’t shop as much as they want to because the planet’s support systems are overburdened can be understood as a kind of attack, akin to telling them that they cannot truly be themselves. This is likely why, of the original “three Rs” – reduce, reuse, recycle – only the third has ever gotten any traction, since it allows us to keep on shopping as long as we put the refuse in the right box. The other two, which require that we consume less, were pretty much dead on arrival.
Climate change is slow, and we are fast. When you are racing through a rural landscape on a bullet train, it looks as if everything you are passing is standing still: people, tractors, cars on country roads. They aren’t, of course. They are moving, but at a speed so slow compared with the train that they appear static.
So it is with climate change. Our culture, powered by fossil fuels, is that bullet train, hurtling forward toward the next quarterly report, the next election cycle, the next bit of diversion or piece of personal validation via our smartphones and tablets. Our changing climate is like the landscape out the window: from our racy vantage point it can appear static, but it is moving, its slow progress measured in receding ice sheets, swelling waters and incremental temperature rises. If left unchecked, climate change will most certainly speed up enough to capture our fractured attention – island nations wiped off the map, and city-drowning superstorms, tend to do that. But by then, it may be too late for our actions to make a difference, because the era of tipping points will likely have begun.
The importance of the intensely local
Climate change is place-based, and we are everywhere at once. The problem is not just that we are moving too quickly. It is also that the terrain on which the changes are taking place is intensely local: an early blooming of a particular flower, an unusually thin layer of ice on a lake, the late arrival of a migratory bird. Noticing those kinds of subtle changes requires an intimate connection to a specific ecosystem. That kind of communion happens only when we know a place deeply, not just as scenery but also as sustenance, and when local knowledge is passed on with a sense of sacred trust from one generation to the next.
But that is increasingly rare in the urbanised, industrialised world. We tend to abandon our homes lightly – for a new job, a new school, a new love. And as we do so, we are severed from whatever knowledge of place we managed to accumulate at the previous stop, as well as from the knowledge amassed by our ancestors (who, at least in my case, migrated repeatedly themselves).
Even for those of us who manage to stay put, our daily existence can be disconnected from the physical places where we live. Shielded from the elements as we are in our climate-controlled homes, workplaces and cars, the changes unfolding in the natural world easily pass us by. We might have no idea that a historic drought is destroying the crops on the farms that surround our urban homes, since the supermarkets still display miniature mountains of imported produce, with more coming in by truck all day. It takes something huge – like a hurricane that passes all previous high-water marks, or a flood destroying thousands of homes – for us to notice that something is truly amiss. And even then we have trouble holding on to that knowledge for long, since we are quickly ushered along to the next crisis before these truths have a chance to sink in.
Climate change, meanwhile, is busily adding to the ranks of the rootless every day, as natural disasters, failed crops, starving livestock and climate-fuelled ethnic conflicts force yet more people to leave their ancestral homes. And with every human migration, more crucial connections to specific places are lost, leaving yet fewer people to listen closely to the land.
How we made the air our sewer
Climate pollutants are invisible, and we have stopped believing in what we cannot see. When BP’s Macondo well ruptured in 2010, releasing torrents of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, one of the things we heard from company chief executive Tony Hayward was that “the Gulf of Mexico is a very big ocean. The amount of volume of oil and dispersant we are putting into it is tiny in relation to the total water volume.” The statement was widely ridiculed at the time, and rightly so, but Hayward was merely voicing one of our culture’s most cherished beliefs: that what we can’t see won’t hurt us and, indeed, barely exists.
So much of our economy relies on the assumption that there is always an “away” into which we can throw our waste. There’s the away where our garbage goes when it is taken from the curb, and the away where our waste goes when it is flushed down the drain. There’s the away where the minerals and metals that make up our goods are extracted, and the away where those raw materials are turned into finished products. But the lesson of the BP spill, in the words of ecological theorist Timothy Morton, is that ours is “a world in which there is no ‘away.’”
When I published No Logo a decade and a half ago, readers were shocked to learn of the abusive conditions under which their clothing and gadgets were manufactured. But we have since learned to live with it – not to condone it, exactly, but to be in a state of constant forgetfulness. Ours is an economy of ghosts, of deliberate blindness.
Air is the ultimate unseen, and the greenhouse gases that warm it are our most elusive ghosts. Philosopher David Abram points out that for most of human history, it was precisely this unseen quality that gave the air its power and commanded our respect. “Called Sila, the wind-mind of the world, by the Inuit; Nilch’i, or Holy Wind, by the Navajo; Ruach, or rushing-spirit, by the ancient Hebrews,” the atmosphere was “the most mysterious and sacred dimension of life.”
But in our time “we rarely acknowledge the atmosphere as it swirls between two persons.” Having forgotten the air, Abram writes, we have made it our sewer, “the perfect dump site for the unwanted byproducts of our industries … Even the most opaque, acrid smoke billowing out of the pipes will dissipate and disperse, always and ultimately dissolving into the invisible. It’s gone. Out of sight, out of mind.”
The timeframes that escape us
Another part of what makes climate change so very difficult for us to grasp is that ours is a culture of the perpetual present, one that deliberately severs itself from the past that created us as well as the future we are shaping with our actions. Climate change is about how what we did generations in the past will inescapably affect not just the present, but generations in the future. These timeframes are a language that has become foreign to most of us.
This is not about passing individual judgment, nor about berating ourselves for our shallowness or rootlessness. Rather, it is about recognising that we are products of an industrial project, one intimately and historically linked to fossil fuels.
And just as we have changed before, we can change again. After listening to the great farmer-poet Wendell Berry deliver a lecture on how we each have a duty to love our “homeplace” more than any other, I asked him if he had any advice for rootless people like me and my friends, who live in our computers and always seem to be shopping from home. “Stop somewhere,” he replied. “And begin the thousand-year-long process of knowing that place.”
That’s good advice on lots of levels. Because in order to win this fight of our lives, we all need a place to stand.
• This column first appeared in The Nation. Naomi Klein’s new book, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs The Climate, will be published this September by Allen Lane.
“We are offered to watch a string of empty-minded shows that are designed as entertainment but function to distract people from understanding their real problems or identifying the sources of their problems. Instead, those mindless shows socialize the viewer to become a passive consumer. One way to deal with an unfulfilled life is to buy more and more stuff. The shows exploit people’s emotional needs and keep them disconnceted from the needs of others. As public spaces are more and more dismantled, schools and the relatively few public spaces left work to make people good consumers.”—Noam Chomsky, Beyond a domesticating education: A dialogue with Donaldo Macedo in On Miseducation (1992)
“The female doesn’t want a rich man or a handsome man or even a poet, she wants a man who understands her eyes if she gets sad, and points to his chest and say : “Here is your home country.””—Nizar Qabbani (via acalmstateofmind)
“I’ve been laughing my way through the Cliven Bundy fiasco because, as Jamelle Bouie suggests, there may be no better example of racist privilege than the right to flout the government’s authority and then back its agents down at gunpoint.”—Ta-Nehisi Coates (via azspot)
“Anarchists are social revolutionaries, and feel that the Social revolution is the process through which a free society will be created. Self-management will be established in all areas of social life, including the right of all oppressed races of people to self-determination. As I have stated, self-determination is the right to self-government. By their own initiative, individuals will implement their own management of social life through voluntary associations. They will refuse to surrender their self-direction to the State, political parties or vanguard sects since each of these merely aid in establishing or re-establishing domination. Anarchists believe the state and capitalist authority will be abolished by the means of direct action: wildcat strikes, slowdowns, boycotts, sabotage, and armed insurrection. We recognise our goals cannot be separated from the means used to achieve them. Hence our practice and the associations we create will reflect the society we seek.”—Lorenzo Kom’boa Ervin, Anarchism and the Black Revolution (via probablyasocialecologist)
The United States is placing its “military resources into the theater” to launch a military attack against Russia, an American political commentator says.
“The US is placing the military resources into the theater for an attack on Russia. It appears to me that’s what’s going on,” Don DeBar, an anti-war activist and radio host in New York, said in a phone interview with Press TV on Saturday.
He was commenting on a Washington Post report which says that the US is planning to send troops to Poland.
A day after meeting with US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel at the Pentagon on Thursday, Polish Defense Minister Tomasz Siemoniak visited the Washington Post and told the newspaper that Poland and the US will announce next week “the deployment of US ground forces to Poland as part of an expansion of NATO presence in Central and Eastern Europe in response to events in Ukraine.”
“At the heart of the Russian position with respect to what’s been happing in Ukraine is their concern over the apparent further encirclement of Russia by NATO,” DeBar said.
“And the Russians have invoked the agreement that was reached in the period following the collapse of the Soviet Union with the West that NATO would not move eastwards — at that time it was at the east border of West Germany and did not include Czechoslovakia, now the Czech Republic,” he added.
“If you look at a map since then East Germany, Poland — it was all of Germany because East Germany was part of Germany – Poland, the Czech Republic, Romania, Bulgaria, a number of other states, the former Yugoslavia — half of that — are members of NATO, and the coup government in Ukraine is also seeking to have NATO come in there.”
“So their argument that there is encirclement effort directed at them (the Russians) by NATO is a pretty valid one even before this. Now Poland is looking for 10,000 NATO troops, essentially US troops, to come into its land,” DeBar stated.
“Those troops obviously are directed at Russia and they are obviously not for defense, because Russia has not threatened Poland or anyone else. Rather, it appears to me, it’s a very frightening thought, but on the heels of the deployment of more fighter jets to the Baltic republics and more naval resources to the Black Sea that the US is placing the military resources into the theater for an attack on Russia. It appears to me that’s what’s going on. I hope I am wrong, but that’s what it looks like,” he concluded.
I read every single parenting book I could possibly read to try to prepare myself for motherhood. My first couple of months I tried to do what the books told me to do, but I was miserable and Harlan wasn’t happy either. It was then that I realized there is really nothing that can truly prepare you for the reality.
Fast forward two years when my other daughter, Avery, was born and I threw all of my parenting logic from the books away and decided to parent purely based on my motherly instincts. I was exponentially happier and so was Avery. It turns out that all of the fears I had with Harlan that I was going to spoil her too much were completely illogical.
I’m not alone in my lack of understanding on what to expect with a new baby. But the unpreparedness that parents have could take a toll on their child. A study out of the University of Rochester found that one-third of parents are unaware of what to expect when their baby is born and don’t know how to help them grow, learn, and get along with others.
Not knowing what to do is hurting our child’s chances for a successful life. A Princeton University study shows that 40 percent of infants in the United States “live in fear or distrust of their parents, and that will translate into aggressiveness, defiance, and hyperactivity as they grow into adults.”
Parenting is something that we have to learn as we go. Everyday we deal with the unexpected, and there are no rules for us to follow. It’s incredibly alarming to me that of that 40 percent, 25 percent of those babies don’t bond with their parents because we, as their parents, aren’t responding to their needs. Even worse, 15 percent will avoid their parents all together because they find them so distressing.
Why do so many children feel this way? The study says that there are a number of factors that could contribute to the problem. Poverty is one factor, but most of the time that is something that is beyond our control. Ignorance and stress with being so busy and overwhelmed with our own lives that we can’t handle the life of a child, is another.
Although the statistics from the research are hard to stomach as a parent, rest assured that there are some fairly simple things that we can do to make sure that our children never become a statistic. The answer? According to research, simply touching our infant can give them a profound sense of security.
You want to hold your baby for hours on end? Do it. You’re not spoiling him, you’re just giving him the love that he needs.
These studies prove that those first few months of your child’s life, when life can be overwhelming and it can be a major adjustment for everyone, are the most critical. It’s important that both parents take the time that they need to really focus on being a parent and showing that immense love to your child. Hold them, cuddle them, rock them to sleep, do whatever you can that makes life happy for you and baby. It’s this love that will help shape your child’s life forever.
The Ukrainian acting prime minister says his country needs to be militarily and economically supported from the United States in its standoff with Russia.
“We need a strong and solid state. We need financial and economic support. We need to modernize our security and military forces. We need the real support,” said Arseniy Yatsenyuk while appearing on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday.
He made the remarks ahead of a visit by US Vice President Joe Biden to Ukraine this week.
Accusing the Russian President of undermining global stability and nuclear nonproliferation efforts, Yatsenyuk claimed Moscow is now not only a threat to Ukraine and the EU and but the world.
“How can you stop the nuclear-powered state, which is Russian Federation, that spent billions of dollars to modernize their military instead of Ukraine?” he asked.
"And it’s crystal clear that for today Russia… is the threat to the globe and the threat to the European Union and a real threat to Ukraine."
The Ukrainian premier added that Kiev in addition to financial and economic support needs US help to renovate its military.
“We need to be in very good shape in order to stop Russia. And for this shape, we need to have and to get the real support from our Western partners.” “We need financial, economic support. We need to modernize Ukrainian military and to overhaul all structures of Ukrainian defense system.”
The United States plans to deploy troops to Poland and Estonia to conduct drills with its allies, amid rising tensions between Washington and Moscow over Ukraine, report says.
The US is to send 150 troops to participate in nearly two weeks of military exercises, The New York Times reported.
The planned exercises by the US are part of a broader NATO plan to expand its presence in East Europe.
Over the past two months, the US has beefed up its presence in East Europe as Ukraine grapples with spiraling crisis. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said on Thursday that the US will continue to boost its military presence in the Black Sea.
General Philip Breedlove, head of US forces in Europe, said earlier this week that NATO would continue to augment its presence in East Europe.
“We’ve had a paradigm shift, change, gone through a period where I think we thought we were past the time when military force would be used to change international borders in Europe,” he said.
The US Air Force said recently it plans to deploy 18 fighter jets, already based in Europe, to Poland for joint maritime exercises at Lask Air Base in the Black Sea.
Tensions between the Western powers and Moscow heightened after Crimea declared independence from Ukraine and formally applied to become part of the Russian Federation following a referendum on March 16, in which nearly 97 percent of voters in Crimea said yes to reunion with Russia.
Russia said on Saturday that NATO’s further enlargement will change European security structure, posing a serious threat to Moscow.
Relations between Russia and NATO have been at their worst since Crimea’s reunification with Russia.
“Rather than calling these targeted killings, they should probably be seen as speculative murders — the act of terminating someone’s life when the U.S. government has the suspicion that person might pose an unspecified threat in the future.”—
Paul Woodward at War in Context. How American drone strikes are devastating Yemen
Woodward responding to a piece by Adam Baron at McClatchy.