When VNV Nation came to Portland, and their posters were up all over town on lampposts and whatnot, my friends approached me and asked if they were fascist. Gothic bands use different imagery than punk bands, it’s true. VNV Nation uses futurist imagery. The fascists were also influenced by fascist imagery. It’s a logical fallacy to then presume VNV Nation to be fascist, which they rather explicitly aren’t. (Though I can understand the worry if you’re not familiar with the goth aesthetic).
I used to kind of hate VNV Nation, years ago, because to me they represented the electronic “techno with words” that had strayed from the “true goth,” most of which had been written when I was like 8. Eventually, I listened to the song Darkangel (warning: the fan video uses the font papyrus) enough and realized I loved it. I love dancing, or driving, to VNV.
In Russia, the anti-fascists and the environmentalists work together. This warms my heart. Right now, however, they’re under attack. In fact, they’re essentially always under attack. And by under attack, I don’t just mean that they are being arrested and charged with bullshit crimes, although that happens too.
In Khimki, a suburb outside of Moscow, environmentalists set up an eco-camp to protect an old forest from being cleared by a new highway. Masked fascists stormed the camp and brutally attacked the people there. The police then showed up and arrested the activists, not their attackers. In response, a 500 strong block attacked city hall, with the banner “we will clear the forest of fascist occupation, 1941-2010”. The police have now arrested two of the more public anti-fascists and charged them with the attack. They were not arrested at the site of the attack, and yet now the courts have changed their story and claiming that they were.
The anti-fascists in Russia know better than to expect justice from the courts, but still, they are raising money to fight the charges.
The struggle against fascism and against the destruction of the natural earth is absolutely a global one. We need to realize that these people are our friends and comrades, and that an attack against them is an attack against us, quite literally.
Below is a full account of the situation, translated from Russian:
In what is essentially a textbook case of scapegoating, Fish & Wildlife have begun this years round of sea lion killing. For background about the whole thing, there’s an ORC article from two years ago that sums up the problem (the short version is: there’s a dam in the river that kills salmon, and the fish pool up at the base of it, so sea lions hang out at the base to hunt, but people get upset because they want to raise fishing quotas and can’t because the sea lions are eating some tiny percentage of the fish). Anyhow, In Defense of Animals set up a protest the day after the first killing of the season. We drove up to Bonneville Dam and had ourselves a little media spectacle of a protest. What matters, though, is a continued presence, to let people know that yes, folks are watching this despicable act.
Pictured above is a small portion of the mountaintop removal coal mining happening on Kayford Mountain in West Virginia. The spot where we took this picture used to be the lowest part of the mountain, the part where the road comes up and over as the most accessible point. And it’s now the highest.
I shot some photos in Mingo County of the coal companies continuing their efforts to destroy everything. In this case, it’s the burning of all the timber on the areas that they are planning on “developing.” They don’t even bother to turn the stuff into lumber. This picture is along Matewan Road, just south of 52. Note that the coal companies are just keeping along like nothing is happening, nevermind how useful those machines could be in the relief efforts of flood-ravaged Mingo County.
Last weekend, Mingo County West Virginia flooded something terrible. You see, the entire county is filled with strip mines and mountaintop removal sites. With no vegetation to keep soil intact, it just pours down the mountain and destroys towns. There’s a lot of nasty stuff going on in the area… they’re building King Coal Highway, a highway that is being built so that coal companies can mine the shit out of everything. (You don’t need permits and the like to mine if you just happen to want to extract the coal, but you’re really there to help build a highway!) Never mind that they don’t even bother logging these sites… they just tear down the forests and burn them in big piles.
You know me, I’m really skeptical of energy generation. In general, if you ask me, the “solution” to global electrical generation is to cut it back substantially and radically decentralize what remains. But I’m willing to look at developing technologies, because, well, I like the internet and I don’t want everyone heating their homes with firewood. (Passive solar, and insulation, on the other hand…)
Anyhow, VIVACE is a machine that makes use of slow-moving water to generate electricity. What’s exciting about it is that it doesn’t need to block a river and it might be rather kinder to marine life than dams or tidal power generators. Hell, the company that currently markets the device, Vortex Hydro Energy, even rambles on about how dams are being resisted and actually ought be taken down. There’s an interesting introductory video over on the University of Michigan website (where the machine was developed).
We’ll see. I’d love to see the dams gone, but when it comes to electrical generation, TANSTAAFL. I expect that this thing is less bad than dams, of course, but I’m waiting for 30 years from now when people say “oh, woops, our windfarms have radically upset weather patterns, and our VIVACE have completely changed global currents.” But well, if there’s a world with people in it around 30 years from now anyhow, it means we ditched coal at least.
This is my problem with green capitalism. It says: gee, if people turned down their thermostat they save energy and money. So far so good (I’m willing to admit saving money can be useful). But then, the solution. Get an electric blanket? How about insulating your damn house?
Green capitalism assumes that the solutions are found in products. That we just need more solar panels, not to use less energy. It’s insane. It’s not a solution. It’s just a smokescreen, to get everyone to think that the world can be saved if we just bought different things. The world cannot be fixed by buying new things! That’s the whole problem! Gah. I figure most of you know all of this anyhow.
I’ve always been skeptical of scientific solutions to our global warming woes. By and large, they ignore the fundamental problem: we consume too much. But with things getting as dire as they are, it’s worth looking at some of the last-ditch rescue methods that science has presented us with. And just now, there’s a carbon-scrubbing machine in development in Canada that pulls CO2 out of the atmosphere, anywhere. (previous technologies pulled it out of the source of pollution, like smokestacks).
Of course, they way they’re talking about using this is all kinds of messed up: pollute in the first world, scrub in the developing world. But this thing is worth looking at, worth understanding. In the article, make sure to head down to the comments section: people really know what’s up, for the most part. We can’t count on science as a savior, but we can look to use it to make it through the worst of what lays in store for us.
(Of course, this thing isn’t scrubbing methane, so we’re pwned anyhow).
Last year I wrote an article for SteamPunk Magazine describing various end-of-the-world scenarios. And of those scenarios, the one that scared me the most was the melting permafrost = methane gas that cooks us all in the atmosphere. And it looks like that has started to happen. Basically, since the last ice age there’s been a whole bunch of ice that is trapping a whole bunch of methane. And methane is 20 times the global warmer than carbon dioxide. And that ice is melting. Runaway global warming. There’s an interesting analysis of the article at the very interesting site worldchanging.com.
As for solutions, scientists are looking at massive crazy experiments that might work or might make everything worse. Worldchanging.com is arguing for a “one world civilization”. Personally, I say civilization is what got us into this mess. I advocate actual sustainability, combined with bio-regionalism and decentralization. But mostly, I advocate enjoying the hell out of your increasingly short lifespan.
Oh, that picture, by the way, is from these bastards who actually want to mine the stuff and burn it actively as fuel. There might not be good and evil in an objective sense in this world, but there’s stuff that is globally suicidal.