Where was South Africa when Mandela died?

Mountain ranger

I know were I was. I spent that week in a suburban area of Pretoria called Mountain View. The day Madiba died, I was climbing the hills to get an overview of Pretoria.

The day started with some pool workers coming by to fix the last tiles of the pool. Three men, two black and one white. Then the plumbers came, one black, one white. The white boss left almost straight away to pick up something by another friend or customer. He asked me to wait an hour so that I could let him in the gate. After one hour I let the keys to the hard working black guy. Very fortunate, since the white boss didn’t turn up until almost 4 hours later…. And very strange for me that the assistant wasn’t recognized as thrustworthy.

I walked for several hours in the mountains, getting a little perspective over Pretoria. It was a sunny and hot day. I walked in a steady pace, wearing knee long shorts, my bush hat and a red and colourful sarong (a huge scarf like clothing) over my upper body, revealing little as I didn’t want to get sun burned. I also carried a small, red rucksack and a solid walking rod. I had a laugh when I was returning. In the distance were the path lead up to the mountain, I could see three persons coming up the hill. My thoughts were this was a family: A father with his kids. Approaching but still at distance, I recognized it was three white guys who couldn’t decide which peak to climb. I noticed they were looking in my direction. Yes, I can admit I might have looked a little strange form distance, but would not think a lonely walker would look frightening in the mountains. The guys started walking in my direction, but suddenly turned around and started to run away as I was getting closer. Yes, they actually ran down the hill, which I thought was either very reckless or part of some training.

My girlfriend told me later that my outfit might have looked quite strange. Guess my skin colour wasn’t really visible either, the way I was dressed and with the sun from behind.

Back home. Hot and sweaty. Grabbing a bear and sat down on the stairs into the backyard when the white plumber boss arrived. We spoke a little and he seemed pleased about me mentioning South Africa as a very beautiful country, though very badly governed by this government. Which is my sincere opinion. In this amazingly beautiful country with a lot of resources, sun as maybe the biggest, unexploited one, I always feel heartbroken knowing about the poverty still dividing the county’s population. All the talk about poverty, while the elite try to justify it’s corruption and benefits while a vast amount of people struggle every day, 365 days a year.

The white plumber wasn’t too interested in following up our conversation. He more or less jumped out in the middle of a sentence to have a talk with the other boss who I hadn’t notice was sitting in the shade in the garden, watching the two young guys lying tiles in the baking sun, on their knees without padding, which for me seemed a little reckless, having had problems with me knees for many years. The plumbers’ helper was working hard in the bathroom. White guys chitchatting in the shade. A setting that any were else in the world would have looked strange as it besides of class differences, also pointed out some racial differences, to put it out mildly.

My girlfriend came home from work a little later. She laughed about my mountain story and my hiking outfit and I reckoned I might have looked like a voodoo ranger steaming ahead to the mountain intruders. One scary monster freaking out those three pale guys.

We decided to try another place out for dinner in this sleepy little suburb. On our way, we passed the pizza place, noticing that not even one table was interracial. But we had already eaten there the day before, so we went on. It wasn’t really any other restaurants in this area, but some small pubs, some serving food as well. We chose the third one. Only white guys inside. Some of them actually said Hello to me, though not my girlfriend. Others just looked at us from the corner of their eyes, as we are so used to as an interracial couple. The bartender didn’t care too much about serving us in a polite way. Guess he wasn’t into getting new customers… His look at the black cook, especially when a friend came by, wasn’t really soothing. Where I come from, it would have been considered unprofessional, even rude, again to put it mildly.

Later that night, we got a notice about Nelson Mandela. We were not sure what to believe, as we couldn’t get any confirmation at that time and we both had seen several announcements of Mandela’s death during the last year.

Next morning Mandela’s death was confirmed and on the radio on every station. Heading to the office through Pretoria in the rush hour next morning, we noticed something strange. The traffic was heavy, but everyone seemed to let us through and we never had a smoother drive through heavy traffic in Pretoria ever. Some people even waved a little extra to us. For the first time ever, we benefitted of being a mixed, interracial couple in South Africa.

So where is this story heading? No, it is not really about what I was doing on the 5th or 6th of December 2013. Hardly even new observations either as it was not my first time in SA. Yes, I am a foreigner in SA, though I consider myself as a global citizen and a free and cosmic spirit. Were I grew up, the vast majority of the citizens are white, still we don’t see interracial couples as odd. I rather guess most people actually think it is beautiful. I am white with blond hair; still I kind of get more acceptance in black communities and parties than among whites in South Africa. Is it really that strange to have a girlfriend or a beautiful stepdaughter with a different skin colour than my own? In 2013 or 2014? Sometimes I wonder if people, especially the white population of SA, have forgotten it is a world outside SA. A world where most people get along, despite different political or religious views, sexual orientation or skin colour. Mandela’s death might awaken those sleepy, unconscious minds, as his death and the memorial period obviously

mountain ranger, cuthad the world’s attention as he was highly appreciated  and loved world-wide for his struggle and not to forget his forgiveness towards his former suppressors. Wake up South Africa and join the world! Long live the spirit of Mandela.

 

— Ole A. Seifert


Weather modification – what’s that?

by Ole A. Seifert

Jim Thomas/geoengineering-extinguisherTo many people, weather modification or geoengineering sounds like pure science fiction. It is not. Rather, it is a very real phenomenon and more relevant now than ever. After the recent climate summit November 2013, Warszaw, and the last IPCC report, weather modification or geoengineering has reached the public debate far more than ever before. Weather modification is a deliberate manipulation of the planetary environment on a large scale. It is massively contested, its purpose numerously questioned. Could this be a strategy to combat climate change? Some researchers zeal this strongly, while others are extremely skeptical of the consequences. Can the weather really be fixed for sustainable development purposes or could it have dramatic long-term consequences ultimately undoing purported just causes? 

 

Background
The term geoengineering is known from 1976 (Marchetti), but did not come into common use until the 1990s. While nowadays, geoengineering can be studied at universities around the world, it has a long history. Sometime in the 1940s Irving Langmuir, Nobel Laureate in Chemistry, 1932, discovered that dry ice dropped from a great heights, like from airplanes, into under-cooled clouds, quickly became snowflakes and eventually water when it hit the ground. In 1946, Langmuir and an atmospheric scientist Bernard Vonnegut (brother of the author Kurt) discovered silver iodide corresponding rainmaking properties. This was the beginning of cloud seedings that brought rain to the ground.

Langmuir in good company with Max Planck , Madame Curie, Einstein, Schrödinger, Heisenberg, Bohr and others at the Solvay Conference , 1927.

Langmuir in good company with Max Planck , Madame Curie, Einstein, Schrödinger, Heisenberg, Bohr and others at the Solvay Conference , 1927.

 

Another famous atmospheric scientist is Paul Crutzen from the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry and Nobel Laureate in Chemistry, 1995. Thanks to him there was more awareness of the danger of holes in the ozone layer. He also developed theories that spraying sulfur into the atmosphere slows down global warming. In 2006 Crutzen estimated that geoengineering with sulfur, a would cost an estimated $ 50 billion annually, or about 5 percent of the world’s annual defense budgets.

Although it is most common to modify the clouds and the atmosphere earth shield in space and manipulation of the oceans are also increasingly discussed and researched. Other ideas that crop up from these is to brighten the colors on crops and even buildings and cities. Some scientists have even made plans for enormously high artificial trees to suck up carbon dioxide.

canadianawareness.orgExpert Meetings
International meetings on weather modification take place fairly regularly. This summer there will be several conferences. Among others in Durham, UK ( ICITG, 21 – 22 July 2014) and in Berlin (climate engineering-conference, June 3-4). In Vienna, Austria they just held a European Geoscience Union General Assembly April 27 – May 2 . UN holds its own expert meetings, including those for geoengineering, weather modification. The last was in Lima, Peru in 2011, where the 2014 climate conference is to take place. The Russians and the Chinese have mostly dominated geoengineering research since the 50s, especially with respect to increase or limit the precipitation. But experts from other countries like the former climate change denier-guru Bjorn Lomborg — taken in serious cheating in his book, Cool It (which resulted in the book The Lomborg Deception by media critic Howard Friel) — have now jumped on the geoengineering wave, partly also recognizing the potential to make money in this domain, research-wise . American business magnate and philanthropist Bill Gates has also invested massively into geoengineering and its research as well. Indeed, weather modification has now become big business.

China in the lead
China is considered the leader in weather modification and artificial rain making, followed by, among others United States, Russia and Thailand. Thailand has its Royal Rainmaking Project which was founded in 1955 by the king and experiments conducted since 1969. The Chinese boasted loudly that they could control the weather during the opening ceremony during the Beijing Olympics. This was more than an open secret as it was on the front page of their websites and widely discussed on the web. 1104 rockets were fired and about 150 aircraft used to chase away the clouds that actually surrounded the stadium early in the morning. This was probably inspired by the Moscow Olympics in 1980, where the Soviet Union used its superior cloud seeding technology to ensure sunshine and clear skies for the event. China has nearly 53,000 employees in approximately 3,000 branches to check and control the weather, mainly to prevent drought in northern areas. Silver iodide and liquid nitrogen (dry ice) is most common to use for this.

USA, weather modification and warfare
Militarily research on weather manipulating in the US dates back to 1945 when the mathematician John von Neumann, perhaps inspired by the great battles and the atomic bomb, gathered other researchers at Princeton where they agreed to allow control of the weather, which could be of great benefit in an eventually next war. During the Vietnam War, the US used geoengineering, sprayed from aircrafts, to prevent labeled Vietnam enemy groups from advancing. This was called Operation Popeye, so public that there was a Senate hearing about it in 1974. No big secret at all. The Operation however resulted in a UN resolution against what was termed “climatological warfare”. The issue came to be discussed at an international convention against hostile “environmental modification techniques” later in 1976. On both sides of the Iron Curtain at that time, geoengineering for war purposes became central to military research. Exactly what and how much came out of this research, is not fully known.

From studies with accompanying research, the military expression “climateological warfare” appeared. Previously mentioned Langmuir began to cooperate with the military. After many attempts with accompanying controversies and lawsuits from those who felt deprived of rain, the U.S. formed the President’s Advisory Committee on Weather Control in 1953. In 1958 it allocated funds from the U.S. Congress for expanded research on rain making. More than $ 20 million a year was allocated to research on geoengineering in the early 70’s. In 1955, von Neumann, a well known mathematician (professor), physicist a.m. and participant in the Manhattan Project leading to the atomic bomb, used strong words about the weather used as weapons in a future war in Fortune magazine. Not only could it change the climate locally, but also melt the ice and have a global effect. It could be a stronger and more dangerous weapon than the atomic bomb, he predicted and urged humanity to intervene world problems with new eyes. In 1977, nuclear experts and Star Wars implicated Edward Teller wrote in the Wall Street Journal that it would only cost $ 1 billion a year to have a sunshade in space to slow global warming.

It is assumed that the same kind of research happened in the Soviet Union, although this was initially less open. More grandiose projects were planned, including to open the Behring Strait and to make Siberia hotter. Several projects, especially in the 60 – and 70’s, were about warming up local areas. One of the methods suggested was to covering large parts of the Arctic ice with soot. Both within the Soviet Union and from the West, this was met with critical eyes and resistance.

The World of Ongoing geoengineering projects, ETC Group Maps Earth System Experimentation

Ongoing geoengineering projects, ETC Group Maps Earth System Experimentation

 

300 ongoing geoengineering projects
In 1999, 24 countries reported about more than 100 ongoing geoengineering projects, compiled and published by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), a specialized agency of the UN. These figures have since been upgraded to around 300 projects. The Guardian has published a map (17 July 2012) of ongoing projects, drawn from http://www.etcgroup.org/content/world-geoengineering. «ETC Group publishes a world map of geoengineering — the large-scale manipulation of earth or climate systems. While there is no complete record of the scores of weather and climate control projects in dozens of countries, this map is the first attempt to document the expanding scope of research and experimentation. Almost 300 geoengineering projects/experiments are represented on the map belonging to 10 different types of climate-altering technologies.»

Sulfur, silver iodide and dry ice have already been mentioned. Other substances that can be used are salt, urea, ammonium nitrate, potassium or sodium chloride, compressed liquid propane and carbon dioxide.

If you have enough land to control, you can order weather changes through professional corporations such as Weather Modification Incorporated. This takes place both from the ground, as well as from the air. Or you can try Swiss Meteo Systems, the U.S North American Weather Consultants, Inc. or Israeli Mekorot which are also major players. This has been going on for years . Both India and Australia have been doing cloud seeding since 1951 and Israel seeds clouds regularly every year between November and April. In the US it is used in several states and some of these have regulations on how and when to conduct weather modifications.

Unknown consequences
Research has been done for quite a while to prevent hurricanes by different cloud seedings techniques. The danger, which also researchers are aware of, is that it can eventually interfere with precipitation in other areas. There is talk of limiting hurricanes in the North Atlantic and the Indian and Southwest Pacific, but the danger is that it will reduce rainfall in the Amazon and other areas significantly. This is a highly relevant issue, since researchers also believe that “natural” aerosols; tiny, fine dust particles from coal power plants and cars in Asia and mainly China, may contribute to increased frequency of cyclones, increased rainfall and more hot air in the middle of the Pacific Ocean on the way to the North Pole. This is recently published research results, based on computer models conducted by the National Academic of Sciences, USA, April 2014.

The World Meteorological Organization also lend their support to the “uncertain consequences” debate. On their website they state that:

Current discussions that suggest geoengineering as an option to support climate mitigation efforts remain rather abstract and lack comprehensive risk assessments that take into account possible adverse impacts over short and longer time frames. Major uncertainties exist regarding the effects of these techniques on the physical climate system and on biogeochemical cycles, their possible impacts on human and natural systems, and their effectiveness and costs. Unilateral action may have environmental side effects on other countries and regions, and may not appropriately address the global scale of the issue.

Accidents happens
A failed geoengineering project in Beijing China is believed to have caused chaos and snow storms in November 2011 in Beijing and northern areas of China, where at least eight people were killed. In October the same year,more than 16 million tons of snow fell over Beijing, after 186 rockets with silver iodide units were fired into the sky . Official figures claim that this method was responsible for artificially producing 250 billion tons of rain between 1999 and 2006. Similarly in the US- modification haphazard occur. In 1972, a US. government rain making operation went very wrong. This happened in South Dakota and resulted in a catastrophic flood and 256 deaths, which came under attack by a class action lawsuit against the government.

The British notable experience was when RAF (Royal Air Force) was conducting rainmaking experiences from 1949 to 1955. On August 15, 1952 Britain had the worst flash flood ever recorded. 35 people died after the sky released 90m tons of rain, which also released tons of rocks from the hilly Exmoor, Devon, district of Lynmouth. The disaster was named “the hand of God” though previously classified government documents indicated that a team of international scientist were collaborating with the RAF to make artificial rain the same week in the south of Britain.

The Canadian also have a bad weather modification story. There was a huge controversy with the dumping of iron sulphate in the Pacific Ocean off shore Canada in 2012, which is strictly an idea from the 1990s. It still seems like it is up in the sky where geoengineering is most likely to continue.

In all cases, the methods used may be the most researched of the geoengineering techniques but many questions remain. For instance, questions about the effect of silver iodide and other substances finally hitting the ground are raised among scientist and others, even in China. Although the questions are discussed and some assumptions debunked, there is still room for more substantive research findings and conclusions. The big question though is whether governments and commercial companies care about these research questions at all? Or are they hidden by purpose?

A sun screen around a planet. "There's No Such Place As Far Away ", oil on canvas, 1989, © Ole A. Seifert.

A sun screen around a planet. “There’s No Such Place As Far Away “, oil on canvas, 1989, © Ole A. Seifert.

Many questions, few answers
The renowned Russian scientist Mikhail Bodyko claimed in 1974 that any looming global warming could be averted with only a few flights a day that emit sulfur. Critics of such initiatives have been great, also from the scientific community. What if war or other contingencies suddenly that will prevent from carrying out such actions appear? Will the climate then change dramatically and global atmospheric temperatures rise and sky rocket overnight?

Other questions to ask is what the effect of sulfur, silver iodide and other substances will have on the living environment. What health consequences may this cause in humans? Can it impair crops and other living organisms? These questions are many and answers are few.

 

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The World Meteorological Organization  (WMO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations, providing scientific voice on the state and behaviour of the Earth’s atmosphere and climate.

A Norwegian version of this was published in the weekly paper Ny Tid (New/Modern Times) September 5, 2014.

 
 
Useful links:
World’s biggest geoengineering experiment ‘violates’ UN rules, October 2012, http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/oct/15/pacific-iron-fertilisation-geoengineering
US geoengineers to spray sun-reflecting chemicals from balloon, July 2012, http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/jul/17/us-geoengineers-spray-sun-balloon
Big names behind US push for geoengineering, October 2011, http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/blog/2011/oct/06/us-push-geoengineering
Geo-engineering is no solution to climate change, September 2008, http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2008/sep/01/climatechange.scienceofclimatechange1
IPCC asks scientists to assess geo-engineering climate solutions, June 2011,  http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/jun/15/ipcc-geo-engineering-climate 
China:
China’s ‘weather modification’ works like magic, October 2009, http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/geoengineering
China’s largest cloud seeding assault aims to stop rain on the national parade,  September 23, 2009, http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/sep/23/china-cloud-seeding
China takes battle to the heavens in search of the sun, August 2008, http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2008/aug/08/olympics20081
Largest cloud seeding effort to prevent rainfall on parade, China View, October 2009, http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2009-10/01/content_12139802.htm
Cities fall out over cloud, July 2004, http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2004/jul/15/china.weather
Snøkaos tar liv i Kina, yr.no,  http://www.yr.no/nyheter/1.6862896
Skal stoppe regnet, http://www.yr.no/nyheter/1.6114176
Weather is manipulated again for snow, China Daily, November 2009, http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2009-11/11/content_8946435.htm
Other links:
Klimaskeptikernes hevn? 2010,
http://www.gateavisa.no/2010/07/13/klimaskeptikernes-hevn-2/
Artificial rain to tackle water crisis, The Goan, November 11, 2012,  http://www.thegoan.net/story.php?id=277
How to Cool a Planet (Maybe), 2006,
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/06/27/science/earth/27cool.html?pagewanted=all
Cloud Seeding Seen as Blessed Solution for Israel’s Dry Winter, 2009,
http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/130196#.UJ6oVZudlGI
Cloud Control Could Tame Hurricanes, Study Shows, August 2012,
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120823090914.htm
UN Expert Meeting, Lima, Peru 2011,
http://www.ipcc-wg3.de/meetings/expert-meetings-and-workshops/em-geoengineering
Weather modification, Thailand,
http://www.alphabetics.info/international/2007/06/27/weather-modification-the-case-of-thailand/


Commercial weather modification companies:
Weather Modification Incorporated
http://www.weathermodification.com/about-us-team.php
Mekorot http://www.mekorot.co.il/Eng/Activities/Pages/RainEnhancement.aspx
North American Weather Consultants, Inc., http://www.nawcinc.com/
Meteo, http://zigzagpress.com/meteo/about-us/

 

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Related: 

Who controls the weather?

https://futopiapress.wordpress.com/2015/02/24/who-controls-the-weather/ 
 


			

In with root intensification — out with gmo

by Ole A. Seifert

Ecological farming with System of Root Intensification (SRI) is by far the best method to produce record crops in agriculture, not gmo. It can provide savings of 80-90% of seeds. Two good reasons to stay away from genetically modified seeds that turns many farmers into slaves of patents by biotechnology Companies

SRI can increase yields phenomenal. To the left SRI rice, plain rice on the right. Photo: Amrik Singh.

This year is the 30th anniversary of the System of Root Intensification (SRI) was developed [2013]. The French agronomist and Jesuit priest Henry de Laulaníe developed this method in Madagascar in 1983. The method has come more and more to light, especially since it has been used with great success in many poor countries. It was like an epidemic in media about  the rice farmer in India who had a record crop on his little patch of land in 2012. It was the young rice farmer Sumant Kumar from the impoverished province of Bihar who were responsible for this crop. Four to five tons of rice per hectare was the usual — world average is 4. Not only were the grains of rice larger than usual, but the production of his one little hectar of land reached astonishing 22.4 tons! This was a new world record, far better than any GMO rice crops have ever managed. Other farmers in Bihar district which also used SRI, could enroll record crops around 17-18 tons. Worth noting is that Sumant Kumar did not use chemical fertilizers or pesticides, only natural fertilizers from the farm. Bihar is now referred to as the center of the new green grassroots revolution and the state is planning a financial injection of $ 50 million to SRI.

Media focus on Kumar’s record crop makes many think that this is a method that is only suitable for rice. Applied to the non-root vegetables, it is called System of Crop Intensification (SCI). SRI / SCI sets groundbreaking records for the crops, like wheat, finger millet, potatoes, soybeans, kidney beans, lentils, peas, mustard plants, sugar cane, yams, tomatoes, garlic, eggplant and other edible plants.

The basic principles of SRI:
– Carefully managed cultivation of sprouts
– Early transplantation of 8 to 15 days old seedlings
– Easy planting with large distance
– Early and regular weeding
– Carefully controlled water management
– Use of natural compost to the greatest possible extent

Each of these methods has been used for a long time. Together they form a powerful method. The main advantage is the increasing returns achieved by using less water and local varieties. The amount of seed is also greatly reduced – up to 80-90%. ** Neither fertilizers or pesticides are required.

“Farmers use less seeds, less water and less chemicals but they get more without having invested two more. This is revolutionary, ” said Dr. Surendra Chaurassa from Bihar’s agriculture ministry. “I did not believe it to start with, but now I think it can potentially change the way everyone retreats. I would want every state two Promote it. If we get 30-40% Increase in yields, that is more than enough to recommend it.”**

The last ten years have been published around 250 scientific articles about SRI. It is estimated that somewhere between four and five million farmers are using SRI today, with support from the authorities in countries such as China, India, Indonesia, Cambodia, Vietnam and Sri Lanka.

Organic farming versus genetically modified crops (GMOs)
For years, there have been statements that organic agriculture can increase agricultural production, especially in poor countries. Although some casts doubt on the efficacy and outcomes especially in the short term by organic farming, the results show otherwise. Both in terms of the size of the crops as well as the soil. More and more agronomists and agricultural experts now believe that organic farming can not only increase production, but may be the only solution to eradicate hunger and famine ***. There is skepticism to organic farming, but one should bear in mind GMO seed producers position. They are economic giants who spend huge funds on lobbying. Much of this is reminiscent of tobacco manufacturers struggle to prove that smoking, especially passive smoking (eventually) was not dangerous, with paid researchers’ statements. When you know that Monsanto has used mercenaries from former Blackwater to infiltrate anti-GMO groups, it is reasonable to doubt that their goal is for everyone’s welfare, but rather purely economic goals and the pursuit of maximum profit *** *. Monsanto is the largest producer and market of genetically modified seeds, has a history that is worth noting, emphasizing that the people’s welfare is hardly central to their principles. According to a UN report in March 2011, organic farming has the potential to double food production in ten years.

Climate change adaptation: SRI using less water has larger root system. From Andhra Pradesh, India.

Gmo – so last millenium
Does it matter if the population gets sicker and sicker? Or is it just a wonderful gains that create more jobs, revenue and profit? Red blood cells are destroyed by genetically modified crops from seed producers, chemical and biotechnology giant Monsanto group, according to new findings. “Scientists tested levels ranging from 27 mg 270 mg over a seven day period, it was remarkably evident that the Cry toxins were hemotoxic, even at the Stop doses administered. Hemotoxins destroy red blood cells, Disrupt blood clotting and cause organ degeneration and tissue damage. “****** Another study was conducted over two years, a normal life cycle for a rat, in contrast to the normally prescribed 90 days (USA ), also showed an increase of cancers and earlier death than the control study group. This study was led by Professor of Molecular Biology, Gilles-Eric Séralini, at the University of Caen in France. The study met tremendous opposition when it came out last year. Funnily enough, the strongest opponents were also closely tied and associated with Monsanto and other GMO companies … *****

Unfortunately, there is still little that is known about the long-term effects of GMOs. Some studies indicate that GMOs can cause sterility. The precautionary principle should apply. Gateavisa warned against genetic engineering in 1989 (anniversary issue 126/1989).

The arguments for gmo is partly been to produce higher yields and reduced use of pesticides. The arguments have no validity anymore. Larger crops without the use of pesticides does not happen by gmo, but by healthy, organic cultivation. 80% of the world’s GM crops are engineered to withstand high doses of pesticides. Some mentions better flavor, texture or appearance in GMO-products. It may be true, but how healthy is a tomato that stays fresh for months? Does it digest in the body corresponding slow? Gene Technology Act regulates the use of genetically modified organisms and foods in Norway. It says that the production and use of genetically modified organisms should be performed in an ethically acceptable manner, be useful to society and should be in line with the principle of sustainable development. How to consider these criteria? What is regarded as useful for the community? Are shareholders’ profit more important than public health? Sustainable development is hardly by destroying biodiversity that will happen by the widespread use of GM seeds.

 

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Originally published in norwegian for Gateavisa, May 23, 2013 at 6:56am. http://www.gateavisa.no/2013/05/23/7131/ 

 
*) http://sri.ciifad.cornell.edu/aboutsri/FAQs.html
**) http://www.guardian.co.uk/global-development/2013/feb/16/india-rice-farmers-revolution
***) http://www.worldwatch.org/node/4060
***) http://ourworld.unu.edu/en/how-millions-of-farmers-are-advancing-agriculture-for-themselves/
****) http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/297701 Monsanto hired mercenary Blackwater to infiltrate anti-GMO groups
*****) http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/sep/28/study-gm-maize-cancer
******) http://www.collective-evolution.com/2013/05/11/scientists-discover-bt-toxins-found-in-monsanto-crops-damage-red-blood-cells/

 

http://www.foodwewant.org/esl/News/System-of-rice-intensification-SRI
http://www.ecowalkthetalk.com/blog/2011/05/02/un-report-ecological-farming-can-feed-the-world/
http://www.forskning.no/artikler/2012/august/332181
http://www.foodwewant.org/esl/News/System-of-rice-intensification-SRI
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/mar/08/eco-farming-double-food-output
http://www.srfood.org/index.php/en/component/content/article/1-latest-news/1174-report-agroecology-and-the-right-to-food
http://www.ecowalkthetalk.com/blog/2011/05/02/un-report-ecological-farming-can-feed-the-world/
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/13/genetically-modified-seed-patent-report_n_2678837.html
http://www.irri.org/index.php?option%3Dcom_k2%26view%3Ditem%26id%3D12487:another-new-rice-yield-record?-let

 

Cosmic Consciousness

by Ole A. Seifert
To choose art as a way of life is sometimes a harsh way of meeting the world which often receives you with a lot of raised eyebrows. Still, it is a rich world; a world where you harvest richly from experiences, free of forced barriers and boundaries .

In a cosmic consciousness, I see enlightened truth, love and peace. Or should I say empowered with love and peace as a guidance, the truth becomes noble and full of light, something to reach out to. The universal power tries to reach us and lead us to a common consciousness: —a substainable way for ourselves, our next and the entire cosmos. Some put this into tight frames with profane leaders and call it religion. And,well yes, it is religion. But, like most religions, it is your personal relation to God and the divine that matters, not all others limitations.

The value of wisdom is forgotten in our time. Nowadays, it is intelligence that counts. We disect the world into tiny fragments. We become allmighty and preoccupied with the atoms and ions and forget the whole picture.

When we’re children, the adults impose us to practice politeness. But, they do not necessarily practice it themselves. How many of us are polite enough to wait for everyone to get off the tram, bus or boat before we try to enter? As if it were the last journey? It is quite the same with knowledge that isn ́t integrated into daily life. It never becomes deep or wise. Knowledge must be mixed with feelings and empathy , otherwise it just becomes skin deep.

When material wealth is the only kind of wealth that counts, life gets pretty poor. How rich can you really be if you aren’t capable of sharing?

In the universal context, our world is barely a small dot. Are we not related to our fellow human beings? How can my own life be rich and meaningful if I collect an immense amount of things and exclude other people from participating? Can I really be happy while my sisters and brothers are suffering? Maybe, if I cling to my blissful ignorance and create intellectual barriers to avoid getting emotionally engaged? If I ignore the consequences that my material and spiritual pollution has on others and forthcomming generations, I can collect as much earthly possesions as I can for myself and my children, while future generations will choke on oxygen poor air, empty and polluted oceans and be affected by the impoverished soil. It makes me think about euthanasia and slow, tormented, collective suicide. How do I really want my life and our time to affect future generations?

One of our dear Christian commandments, tells us not to envy our neighbour. If I crave for the same things that my neighbour has; e.g. fancy cars, a big house and cottage, does this not contradict this commandment?! In Norway, we adhere to a similar set of rules that apply to venturing in the mountains. One of them states; ”There is no shame in turning back earlier than late” In other words, it is never to late to alter one’s ways.

Hope is one of the major things we have as humans. And the last thing to die. The belief that each and everyone of us can make a difference is important to keep alive. Then, the hardest part remains, – to make conscious choices!

 

Ole A. Seifert

Vision without action is merely a dream.

Action without vision just passes time.

Vision with action can change the world.

— Joel Baker.

 

 

Written in norwegian in 2001 and published on my art calendar of 2002. Translated English version (this) published on my art calendar of 2008. Same text used on my art calendar published and distributed in China, 2007. © Ole A. Seifert — Feel free to share in non-commercial settings. Sharing is caring, but be kind and let me know.

José Mujica – the president who set himself down on the minimum wage

by Ole A. Seifert, first published September 4, 2012 at 5:57pm
 

 

Who has not seen the posters with “Put politicians on a minimum wage, and watch how fast things change” around the web? In Uruguay, President Mujica even put himself on a minimum wage. He donates 90% of his monthly salary of $ 12,500 to welfare purposes. When will this trend reach Zuma, Sarkozy, Merkel, Stoltenberg and the rest of the world leaders?

 

The presidential manor Suarez & Reyes House is located in the Prado area of Montevideo. The president now wants this put on the list of state housing for homeless compiled by the Ministry of Welfare. If other help centres will be filled up elsewhere, homeless can get to be familiar with this exclusive three-floor shelter.

 

José Mujica has been president since 2010. Not only is he  driving around in his old Volkswagen Beetle from 1987, his only official asset of  value, but he still lives in his old house in the outskirts of the capital Montevideo with his wife who own the place, Senator Lucia Topolansky, as he promised he would before the election. Also his wife donate part of her salary to welfare purposes. Before becoming president, Mujica  drove a Vespa scooter to the Senate. As a perspective, the Vice President Danilo Astori’s stated capital is $ 275,000 including a house and a car about ten times the value of Mujica bubble that is valued at $ 1,300.

 

State run marijuana monopoly

The president has now proposed the legalization of cannabis, not only for Uruguay, but the whole of South America. Marijuana should be sold at a reasonable low price, to take profits away from the criminals. Several other Latin American countries have also sought support for deregulation and legalization of a variety of drugs, including heroin and cocaine. Uruguay wants only to legalize cannabis. Not unlike the Norwegian liquor stores, Mujica wants to introduce a state run monopoly of hashish sales.

 

Urugay was also among the first to recognize a separate Palestinian state.

 

Free and open, green and peaceful

On the list of corruption by Transparency International,  Uruguay is the second least corrupt state in South America. Uruguay is also listed as number one in South America and number four in the world among the 25 full democracies (Economist Intelligence Unit). Uruguay is also regarded as one of the freest countries politically and with good working conditions. Also in the rankings in terms of peace, stability, ecological footprint and the most livable green country, they are best in class in America and Latin America.

 

José Mujica (Broad Front) was elected president in 2009. Presidential elections are every five years and run over two rounds if not first candidate receives an absolute majority (50.1%). Mujica got 47.96 in the first round. The following candidates respectively 29.07, 17.02 and 2.49%. In the second round, José Mujica got 52.39% against Luis Alberto’s (National Party) 43.51%.

 

He was designated by former president Vázqez as the Minister of Livestock, Agriculture and Fisheries in 2005. Of this, he resigned his position as a senator, though returned to his seat in 2008 after the cabinet change in 2008.

 

José Mujica is a former guerrilla leader who has been both imprisoned and tortured for 14 years. Among others, he was held in the bottom of a well in more than two years. He escaped prison in 1971 but was re-apprehended in 1972 and shot six times by police.

(The article continues below the picture.)

 

The earthbound President José Mujica outside his home. And yes, he is a vegetarian. Photo: infobae.com América

The earthbound President José Mujica outside his home. And yes, he is a vegetarian. Photo: infobae.com América

 

 

 

The Whites

The National Party (Partido Nacional) is also known under the name of the White Party (Partido Blanco) — its previous name until 1872. It is one of the largest and oldest political parties and the major right-wing conservative party in Uruguay . Politics in Uruguay has previously been dominated by the two largest and oldest parties, aforesaid and Colorado. It is only at the last two elections Broad Front have controlled and held President. In return, they had a clear majority.

 

The front

Broad Front or Frente Amplio, FA, is a coalition between various, mainly but not exclusively left-wing parties and have close links with the trade unions and the cooperative housing movement. The coalition came into play in 1971 and was then composed of more than a dozen different parties and groups. Uruguay struggled with major political unrest in the postwar era and martial law was introduced in 1968. After the coup in 1973, the Broad Front was declared illegal, but became legal again in 1984, involving in the democratic restoration. Today there are 11 parties in the Broad Front.

 

 

 

(A shorter version of this, written in norwegian, was published by the independent magazine Gateavisa. http://www.gateavisa.no/2012/09/04/jose-mujica-presidenten-som-satte-seg-selv-ned-pa-minimumslonn/)

Anarchism, consumerism and the unconditional basic income guarantee

by Ole A. Seifert, first published May 9, 2012 at 8:43pm
    In my book, anarchist should be open minded, free thinking and inclusive. The unconditional Basic Income is a very old idea, older than the defined anarchism (though anarcistic ideas can be dated to far beyond the definded anarcism). Since the “definition of Anarchism”, human mankind has achieved some opportunities or progress. Just reading this on the net as a good example. Understanding the aspects of work, production and consume in a modern world, another. The doctrine about labour and paid work for all and everyone, is not anarchistic in itself. I am not against labour or anyones choice to choose (paid) work as a path in life, rather open to see other ways as equal right to coose as a way of life. But in a modern society, everybody do not have to work eight hours to provide the necesessaty of life, rather it stimulates a consumers (read capitalistic) world or dream. An unhealthy consumerism consumes and exploits mother earth and its resources.

 

Anarcism an basic income guarantee has long been tied together. Important in our time is to rethink our view on labour. That´s why I strongly advocate an Unconditional Basic Income Guarantee

 

In 2012 (well, even in 1984 for that sake) it is not longer necessary to keep people enslaved with eight hours work, unless offcourse you want to preserve consumerism. It is rather suitable for communism or other authoritan political -isms or capitalism to keep this doctrine alive. I am neither. I am an anarchist with conserns for mother nature, scarce ressources and freedom. I will not close my eyes for possibilities, technology included, that preserves these mentioned unhealthy “values”. There are many ways of thinking anarchy. Very few are extreme primitivists. Let´s think anarchy from where we are. Right now we are in 2012.

 

Here is some ways of thinking the funding of the Unconditional Basic Income:

Erasing poverty by Basic Income Guarantee based on Tobin-tax

https://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=179937812028576

 

Unconditional basic income + flat income tax = effectively progressive income tax   

http://www.uni-graz.at/~parncutt/BIFT1.html

 

Sven Stokkeland, Borgerlønn

http://www.duo.uio.no/sok/work.html?WORKID=4723

 

 

Erasing poverty by Basic Income Guarantee based on Tobin-tax

by Ole A. Seifert, 
first time posted March 9, 2010 at iPeace/edited february 2011

 Financing a basic income system, seems always as a big obstacle, as no one wants more taxes though some models estimate that this is possible through changing the income taxes just slightly. This varies offcourse from nation to nation.

 

Nobel prize winner James Tobin, economics 1981, had an idea about taxing foreign financial exchange transactions, known as the Tobin tax. Discussed lately in political spheres, it is suggested set at 0,05%. As minimal this seems, it actually would generate a lot of money. Beside the exclusion and savings thereby of unemployment money, pensions etc and the enourmous moneytaking of organizing these, this Tobin-tax would probably pay yhe rest and still leave money for other projects.

 

The Tobin-tax is discussed widely lately, at G8, G20 and World Economic Forum, Davos (2010) . It is extremly important that we don´t allow the IMF to swallow all the money generated by an eventually Tobin-taxation!

 

With a Tobin tax of 0.05% as it is suggested and debated by the G20, this is equivalent to $ 100 billion PR. TODAY. Or roughly € 3800 per capita globally anually. Personally, I believe this tax could well have been set much higher, twice at least. 

 

Tobin mentioned a rate at 0.5% in 2001, that is equivalent to € 38,016 per capita. Taking a height of ATTACs model of 1 / 3 to climate change, 1 / 3 to “financial buffer” and 1 / 3 to poverty reduction and use Basic Income Guarantee as such, it is € 12,672 per capita GLOBAL. It may sound as a small amount in a Norwegian context, but, adjusted by the cost of living in each country, plus the resources and money saved by erasing inefficiently and expensive social security schemes, pensions schemes etc., it might be more than enough to finance a global Basic Income Guarantee. Otherwise I see no problems to steal a bit from the defense budgets …

 

On the issue Tobin tax and how to use it, WE can be  the critical mass! Or the creater of this critical mass group. If this is an issue for debate on enough websites as well as the in ordinary papers, the polticians will eventually notice it and dare to consider the idea. 

 

 

Basic income, from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

A basic income is a proposed system of social security, that periodically provides each citizen with a sum of money that is sufficient to live on. Except for citizenship, a basic income is entirely unconditional. Furthermore, there is no means test; the richest as well as the poorest citizens would receive it.

A basic income is often proposed in the form of a citizen’s dividend (a transfer) or a negative income tax (a guarantee). A basic income less than the social minimum is referred to as a partial basic income. A worldwide basic income, typically including income redistribution between nations, is known as a global basic income.

The proposal is a specific form of guaranteed minimum income, which is normally conditional and subject to a means test.

 

 

I have allready launched this idea on several other websites and -discussions.

Join a  Basic Income Guarantee-group now and promote the idea where ever you can.