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Rolla Peace News

October 15, 2019
Dear Friends:

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          In this newsletter is:

3. THE MISFIT MATHEMATICIAN (Tom's column, http://tomsager.org)
          a) The Sea Is a-Boilin'
          b) Syria: This May Be the Big One
          c) Robert Koehler On the Rights of Nature



We vigil for peace in front of the Rolla Post Office, THIS THURSDAY, OCTOBER 17, FROM NOON TO 1:00 PM (and most subsequent Thursdays until Peace is established). Please try to join us. The temperature is predicted to be around 60. If you do not feel comfortable standing with us in front of the Post Office, please consider driving by and showing your support for our message by honking your horn and flashing a peace sign.


The Rolla chapter of the Citizens Climate Lobby will meet at 5:30pm on Thursday, October 24 in the meeting room in the children's section of the Rolla Public Library. The film, Paris to Pittsburgh will be shown.

3. THE MISFIT MATHEMATICIAN (Tom's column, http://tomsager.org)
          a) The Sea Is a-Boilin'
          b) Syria: This May Be the Big One
          c) Robert Koehler On the Rights of Nature

The Sea Is a-Boilin'
“The Lord said, ‘Sinnerman, the sea will be a-boilin’,
All on that day.” —traditional (Sinnerman)

Russian climate scientist, Igor Semiletov, and an international bevy of scientists found the Arctic Ocean is literally “boiling” as it releases copious streams of bubbles of methane as the sea warms and the permafrost below melts. Semiletov remarked, “This is the most powerful seep I have ever been able to observe. ... No one has ever recorded anything similar.” Methane is 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas. Semiletov has made 45 such expeditions to the Arctic and has been trying for years to warn of the dangers as the Arctic warms, permafrost melts and methane is released. Unfortunately, until now, few listened.

Here's a short snippet I wrote on Semiletov's findings eight years ago. I was among those few who listened.

Isn't it amazing how so many ancient prophecies are now coming true due to climate change? Here's another on sea level rise and wildfires from the old Norse Poetic Edda:
“The sun turns black, earth sinks in the sea,
The hot stars down from heaven are whirled;
Fierce grows the steam and the life-feeding flame,
Till fire leaps high about heaven itself.”
—Voluspo:57 (translated by Henry Adams Bellows)

Voluspo also prophesies that after the world is destroyed by fire and water, it will be reborn anew.
“Now do I see the earth anew
Rise all green from the waves again;
The cataracts fall, and the eagle flies,
And fish he catches beneath the cliffs.”
—Voluspo:59 (translated by Henry Adams Bellows)

Syria: This May Be the Big One
“The best laid schemes o' mice an' men
Gang aft a-gley. —Robert Burns

I can't make head nor tail of this article by Simon Tisdall in which he enumerates all the “players” in the deadly drama unfolding in Syria and how they are all uniting against Turkey. Well, if nothing seems to make sense, make up something that does; so here goes:
I think there are powerful forces in Washington wanting to teach Turkey a lesson for pursuing an independent foreign policy and buying a Russian missile defense system. I think these same forces are looking at Donald Trump as a liability and wish to be rid of him. So what better way to accomplish both objectives than to get Trump to declare “neutrality” and withdraw from Northern Syria, leaving our Kurdish allies to face the Turkish invasion alone. So while Turkey walks into a trap, Donald Trump takes the rap. But don't mind me. I'm just an old conspiracy theorist.
I wrote the above paragraph Sunday. Three days later, the Syrian Kurds have allied with the Syrian government and by extension, Russia and Iran. ISIS captives have escaped from prison, and will almost certainly reconstitute themselves as a fighting force and take the field.

Four years ago, when Turkey shot down a Russian fighter plane that may or may not have briefly strayed into Turkish airspace, Vladimir Putin remarked, “There will be consequences” ... “We will keep remembering what they did. And they will keep regretting it.”

I think we may be watching those “consequences” unfold. Think about it. Russia may have just lured Turkey away from its NATO allies, only to ally itself with Turkey's Kurdish enemies. What a coup that would be!

And what happens next? See Robert Burns quote at top of snippet.

In war, there are no winners. Everybody loses. But the biggest losers will certainly be the Syrian people.

Robert Koehler On the Rights of Nature
“Assuredly the creation of the heavens and the earth is a greater (matter) than the creation of men: Yet most men understand not.” The Holy Qur'an 40:57

“A human being is a part of the whole, called by us the ‘Universe,’ a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.” Albert Einstein

Generally, I dislike reading opinion from folks I agree with. It tends to be boring and I don't learn anything. Robert Koehler is the exception. He always seems to come up with thoughts that lead to new insights I hadn't considered before.

Here, Koehler talks about the movement to give legal Rights to Nature. Clearly, he is uncomfortable with the concept, although he seems to endorse it up to a point.

I, too, am uncomfortable with the concept. We are all a part of Nature. How can the part give legal Rights to the whole? It would be like your liver declaring that your spleen had certain Rights. Without a spleen, your body would die, and your liver along with it. Likewise, if an ecosystem dies, so too, all the creatures that depend on that ecosystem die.

Koehler writes, “The prime strangeness about all this is the implicit assumption that ‘the law’ in some way has conceptual dominion over Lake Erie or the Klamath River or Pachamama and can choose (or choose not) to give a particular ecosystem, which sustains life itself, the right to exist.”

Well, here's a story about what happens when the parts declare dominion over the whole:
Shortly after God created mankind, all the parts of the human body got together to choose which part should hold dominion over the others.

“I should have dominion over the rest of you,” said the brain, “because I run all the body's systems, so without me nothing would happen.”

“I should have dominion over the rest of you,” said the blood , “because I circulate oxygen all over so without me you'd all waste away.”

“I should have dominion over the rest of you,” said the stomach , “because I process food and give all of you energy.”

“I should have dominion over the rest of you,” said the legs , “because I carry the body wherever it needs to go.”

“I should have dominion over the rest of you,” said the eyes, “Because I allow the body to see where it goes.”

And so it went, until finally the asshole said, “I should have dominion over the rest of you, because I'm responsible for waste disposal.”

All the other body parts laughed at the asshole and insulted him. In a fit of anger, the asshole threw a temper tantrum and shut down tight.

Within a few days, the brain had a terrible headache, the stomach was bloated, the legs got wobbly, the eyes got watery, and the blood got toxic. The following day all the body parts agreed: The asshole would have dominion over all the parts of the body.

Conclusion: Only an asshole can succeed in holding dominion over others.
Perhaps, instead of declaring that ecosystems have legal Rights, we should be asking what mankind must do to attain the Right to exist in Nature?


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Wage peace,

helenm (at) fidnet.com