Ok, so maybe people have begun to hear more about this latest absurd piece of news involving a father from Virginia who unilaterally declared an 800 square mile area of disputed land between Sudan and Egypt (known as Bir Tawil) as The Kingdom of North Sudan, simply by planting a made-up flag there. Now I’m not sure which is more absurd, that this American actually thinks planting a flag in a desert are of northeast Africa entitles him to claim the land, or that he is setting it up as a kingdom so his seven year old daughter can be a princess, “Princess Emily.” Then again, maybe the most absurd part was this tidbit from the media coverage at The Washington Post.
“Jeremiah Heaton, who ran for Congress out of Virginia’s 9th district in 2012 and lost, plans to reach out to the African Union for assistance in formally establishing the Kingdom of North Sudan and said that he is confident they will welcome him. Representatives from the Egyptian and Sudanese embassies in Washington did not respond to requests for comment Saturday.”
Thomas Berry wrote the following passage concerning universities and the problem of our modern industrialist worldview.
“I mention economics, jurisprudence, and religion because these are among the subjects that are taught in our colleges and universities. An integral presentation of these subjects has not been given because of their commitment to the view that the nonhuman world is there fundamentally for the use of humans; whether economically, aesthetically, recreationally, or spiritually. For this reason the universities may be one of the principal supports of the pathology that is so ruinous to the planet.
Because of this basic attitude we consider that the more extensively we use the world about us, the more progress we are making toward some higher state of being. This vision of a transearthly status to be achieved by exploiting the natural world has driven us towards ever more violent efforts toward this end.”
Berry wrote these lines as part of his chapter on “The University” in his excellent book, The Great Work (not to be confused with the more generic use of this phrase). If you haven’t read the book I highly recommend it, regardless of your personal spiritual or ecological perspective. It’s not a heavy read at all, except perhaps the significance of some of the issues under discussion. Read More
Just ran across these wire stories today (NPR, CNN) about the recent travel regulations the TSA is imposing on some direct flights into the US, once more proving that TSA Cares! Reading these stories, it reminds me of a number of other questions I have concerning where recent US social trends are headed. But let’s not get into those for now. Instead, let’s just think about the TSA and these latest issues. Are they good, bad or whatever?
The party line so far on this appears to be something like the following:
“As the traveling public knows, all electronic devices are screened by security officers. During the security examination, officers may also ask that owners power up some devices, including cell phones. Powerless devices will not be permitted onboard the aircraft. The traveler may also undergo additional screening.
TSA will continue to adjust security measures to ensure that travelers are guaranteed the highest levels of aviation security conducted as conveniently as possible.” Read More
So I stumbled upon this really fascinating set of articles about fish recently, from very different angles. One is from an abandoned shopping mall in Bangkok (pictured here), which has turned effectively into an urban aquarium.It’s really fascinating to think about an entire shopping mall burning down in some downtown city, and then getting flooded and re-occupied by fish! It’s like an Occupy Koi squat or something!
What makes this even better is that it came up across my news feeds as a story about the Anthropocene, and the place is aptly called, as suggested below, the “New World” shopping mall.
More details on that fascinating story below: Read More
(Updates added 7/7) Hopefully people are starting to hear about the plans for the largest climate mobilization in US history, which will take place the week of September 21-28, 2014 here in New York City. There are an entire week worth of events planned, built around the Sept 23rd UN Climate Summit to he held here at the UN Headquarters. The Sunday before this meeting, September 21st, is now the official date for the People’s Climate March, so mark you calendars!
With our future on the line and the whole world watching, we’ll take a stand to bend the course of history. We’ll take to the streets to demand the world we know is within our reach: a world with an economy that works for people and the planet; a world safe from the ravages of climate change; a world with good jobs, clean air and water, and healthy communities.