Gaia and all that 1009

I have been trying for the last few days to discover a coherent logic towards my feelings on man’s relationship with his environment.  This is proving not to be simple.

The process started when I heard on World Service radio a gentleman from the International Panel on Climate Change discussing their latest report.  As you know, I tend to accept the established opinion on climate change, and rather take the view that if all our industrial activity were not affecting the atmosphere, that would be strange.

But what struck me was that the gentleman said that a pause in warming for the last fifteen years was not significant, as fifteen years was a blip in processes that last over millennia.

Well, that would certainly be very true if you are considering natural climate change.  But we are not – we are considering man-made climate change.  In terms of the period in which the scale of man’s industrial activity has been having a significant impact on the environment, surely fifteen years is a pretty important percentage of that period?  Especially as you might naturally imagine the process to be cumulative – fifteen years at the start when nothing much happened would be more explicable.

Having tucked away that doubt, I started to try to think deeper.  Man is, of course, himself a part of nature.  Anything man does on this planet is natural to this planet.  I do not take the view man should not change his environment – otherwise I should not be sitting in a house.  The question is rather, are we inadvertently making changes to the environment to our own long term detriment?

That rejection of what you might call the Gaia principle – that the environmental status quo is an end in itself – has ramifications.  It is hard to conceptualise our relationship with gases or soil, but easier in terms of animals.  I am not a vegetarian – I am quite happy that we farm and eat cattle, for example – and you might argue that the cattle are pretty successful themselves, symbiotic survivors of a kind.  Do I think other species have a value in themselves?  Is there any harm in killing off a species of insect, other than the fact that biodiversity may be reduced in ways that remove potential future advantages to man, or there may be knock on consequences we know not of that damage man somehow?  I am not quite sure, but in general I seem in practice to take the view that exploitation of other species and substantial distortion of prior ecological balance to suit men’s needs is fine, so presumably the odd extinction is fine too, unless it damages man long term.

I strongly disapprove of hurting animals for sport, and want to see them have the best quality of life possible, preferably wild.  But I like to eat and wear them.  I am not quite sure why it is OK to wear animal skin on our feet or carry it as a bag, but not to wear “fur”.  What is the difference, other than that leather has had the hair systematically rubbed off as part of the process of making it?  A trivial issue, but one that obviously relates to the deeper questions.

Yes I draw a distinction between animals which are intelligent and those which are not.  I would not eat whale or dolphin.  But this does not seem entirely logical – animal intelligence and sensibility is evidently a continuum.  Many animals mourn, for example.  The BBC World Service radio (my main contact with the outside world at present – I have just today found my very, very weak internet connection just about works if I try it  at 5am) informed me a couple of days ago that orang-utans have the ability to think forward and tell others where they will be the next day.  Why cattle and fish are daft enough to eat is hard to justify.

I quite appreciate the disbenefits to man of radically changing his environment, even if it could be done without long term risk to his existence – the loss of beauty, of connection to seasons and forms of behaviour with which we evolved.  But I regard those as important only as losses to man, not because nature is important intrinsically.  In short, if I thought higher seas, no polar bears and no glaciers would not hurt man particularly, I don’t suppose I would have much to say against it.  I fear the potential repercussions are too dangerous to man.  At base, I don’t actually care about a polar bear.





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1,009 thoughts on “Gaia and all that

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  • nevermind

    being away for a week and still Mary is still fighting an infestation of gnats, tut, tut….

    Poor Chloe has finally been shown the way forward, i.e. out of the cabinet, long verdue.

    Currently typing from a different cmputer, as my main tool has failed to initiate, soething seriusly wrng with either soft or hardware, we shall see.

    Meanwhile I shall use this laptop.

  • Mary

    Thanks for the links Nevermind. Yes we need a litter picker – 5 in 14 minutes!

    Ms Smith has been rather dilatory in declaring her visit to Israel with the CFoI and a payment from Deloitte, her previous employer. Tut tut.

    9 July 2012 – View full entry

    6. Overseas visits

    Name of donor: Conservative Friends of Israel; Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs
    Address of donor: 45b Westbourne Terrace, London W2 3UR
    Amount of donation: £974 from CFI; £574 from Israeli Ministry
    Destination of visit: Israel and West Bank
    Date of visit: 29 May–3 June 2011
    Purpose of visit: Fact finding political delegation to Israel and West Bank
    (Registered 17 June 2011)

    16 April 2012 – View full entry

    2. Remunerated employment, office, profession etc

    Payment of £850 from Deloitte MCS Ltd, 2 New Street Square, London, for business consultancy. Hours worked: 1 week, prior to resignation, post by-election.

    Here she is in June 2011 (kneeling) at the old wailing wall.


    Simon Burns has also resigned from Transport. He was one of those ministers who with Lansley and Burstow, shafted the NHS with the Health and Social Care Act 2012. He now puts himself up to replace Nigel Evans as a Deputy to Bercow. Nice.

  • Komodo

    Chloe’s just a pawn, Mary. Just one of 21 Tory MP’s to get the freebie in 2011. The extent of the lobby is quite open. There’s no secrets here:

    Which illustrates the total entanglement of UK with Israeli policy. Down to Boris grabbing photo-ops with disreputable-looking chasidim.

    As ever, follow the money*. No, not the Rothschilds. Not even just this guy:


    *take a tip from the Tories…

  • Fred

    “It is also pretty well documented at that time that Trotsky was strongly opposed to Zionism while Schiff was a supporter and I think that there were also letters from Schiff to State department officials asking for support to be cut off to the Revolutionary government on the grounds that it did not represent the Russian people – all of which further undermines your story.”

    So your suspicions undermine my names, dates and quotes do they?

    Glad you stopped just short of declaring Winston Churchill a conspiracy theorist.

    Many of the leaders of the revolution, such as Borochov were Zionists it doesn’t seem unlikely to me that Schiff would contribute to the cause and I am confident that if his grandson hadn’t claimed he did then someone would have gone through the archives and revealed it by now..

  • Abe Rene

    A new crime agency has been launched, NCA (National Crime Agency) Britain’s FBI Mark II. It will absorb SOCA which will be gone.

    My first reaction: On no! The Thundercat ( is being retired! What will deter villains in the absence of the Silver Panther and the Crown Shuriken? Our superheroes and their weapons are being taken away. 🙂

  • Komodo

    Dear Friend: Father Coughlin, who apparently tries to demonstrate that the absolute idealistic moral does not prevent man from being the greatest rascal, has declared over the radio that in the past I received enormous sums of money for the revolution from the Jewish bourgeoisie in the United States. I have already answered in the press that this is false. I did not receive such money, not, of course, because I would have refused financial support for the revolution, but because the Jewish bourgeoisie did not offer this support. The Jewish bourgeoisie remains true to the principle: not to give, even now when its head is concerned. Suffocating in its own contradictions, capitalism directs enraged blows against the Jews, moreover a part of these blows fall upon the Jewish bourgeoisie in spite of all its past “service” for capitalism. Measures of a philanthropical nature for refugees become less and less efficacious in comparison with the gigantic dimension of the evil burdening the Jewish people.

    Now it is the turn of France. The victory of fascism in this country would signify a vast strengthening of reaction, and a monstrous growth of violent anti-semitism in all the world, above all in the United States. The number of countries which expel the Jews grows without cease. The number of countries able to accept them decreases. At the same time the exacerbation of the struggle intensifies. It is possible to imagine without difficulty what awaits the Jews at the mere outbreak of the future world war. But even without war the next development of world reaction signifies with certainty the physical extermination of the Jews .

    Palestine appears a tragic mirage, Biro-bidjan a bureaucratic farce. The Kremlin refuses to accept refugees. The “anti-fascist” congresses of old ladies and young careerists do not have the slightest importance. Now more than ever, the fate of the Jewish people—not only their political but also their physical fate—is indissolubly linked with the emancipating struggle of the international proletariat. Only audacious mobilization of the workers against reaction, creation of workers’ militia, direct physical resistance to the fascist gangs, increasing self-confidence, activity and audacity on the part of all the oppressed can provoke a change in the relation of forces, stop the world wave of fascism, and open a new chapter in the history of mankind.

    The Fourth International was the first to proclaim the danger of fascism and to indicate the way of salvation. The Fourth International calls upon the Jewish popular masses not to delude themselves but to face openly the menacing reality. Salvation lies only in revolutionary struggle. The “sinews” of revolutionary struggle, as of war, are funds. With the progressive and perspicacious elements of the Jewish people rests the obligation to come to the help of the revolutionary vanguard. Time presses. A day is now equivalent to a month or even to a year. That thou doest, do quickly!

    (Leon Trotsky, 1938)

  • anon


    I think you will find that RD has pointed out that the quote you claim to be by Schiff’s grandson was not a direct quote but one made by a third party, who had dubious beliefs to say the least. Given Trotskys’s own stated views on the matters, as highlighted by Komodo, I think you need rather better evidence than that to support your theory, especially since no respected historian with the time to examine the sources has come up with any other corroboration.

    Churchill was clearly taken in by the conspiracy theorists for a short time (as were many others around that time) that some still are over 90 years is rather sad.

  • Jon

    Ah, Fedup – I rather lost the will to read the whole of your post, but belatedly spotted a partial answer to my question:

    Why do you think, that is not acceptable for the Palestinians to exact the same numbers of “collateral damage” as the zionistanis? What makes them so fucking special and why the rest of the world population is so inconsequential and fucking dispensable as a condom? You seem to be somewhat indignant that 100 to one ratio is good for the Palestinians and not good for the gander so to speak.

    Let’s be clear. You so believe in an eye for an eye, that you think the Palestinian resistance may now be entitled to shoot or bomb or maim women, children, babies and the unborn, for the crime of being alive in Israel? What sort of numbers would satisfy you?

    because I am fucking sick and tired of the “liberal” auspices that is permitting such a one sided carnage

    Those pesky liberals, refusing to countenance the planned murder of civilians! Dreadful people.

  • Fred


    Komodo’s link does seem to back up my argument rather than your’s doesn’t it? Trotsky did go to New York and he did leave with a lot of gold. Are you claiming he won it on the lottery?

    He is probably right about funding from Germany as well, expect they received funding from other sources too. Germany was, of course, the home of Zionism.

  • Arbed

    Is the thread completely off-topic by this stage? Good, I shan’t feel so bad about this.

    Anyone watch the BBC’s excretable By Any Means last night? The propaganda was so crude I thought I was watching William Hague’s wet dream. I was waiting for the cum shot but, well, I guess ‘dysfunction’ is a word that easily came to mind… But had all the correct ingredients needed for little Willy’s nocturnal imaginings: based in the Columbian embassy, Ecuadorian-style flag draped outside the building; monstrously egotistical villain claiming diplomatic asylum for non-political crimes; police entering an embassy lobby to seize villain, then having to stand down, curses!; it even had a balcony speech. MI5 saves the day with their oh-so-clever surveillance tricks and bugs in the embassy walls. Hurrah!

    Really hokey plot and the dialogue was terrible, but there were so many UK government wish-list bits in it. I thought the scenes showing the Columbian ambassador didn’t really want his guest around and couldn’t wait to get rid of him were a nice touch. Hmm, maybe they were dear Willy’s cum shots…? Like I said, really crude propaganda but the UK public didn’t seem to have much difficulty getting the message:

    “By Any Means is to taking the p**s out of Assange’s situation … LOVING IT”

    “I hope David Cameron and William Hague are watching By Any Means, could teach them how to get Assange out of th embassy.”

    “If only MI5 had gone after Julian Assange the way this lot on #ByAnyMeans have captured their man. *rollseyes*”

    “Just finished watching #ByAnyMeans Let it be a lesson for Assange…”

  • DoNNydarKo

    Mike: Yes it is odd about this shopping mall raid. How many terrorists were actually killed or captured ?
    The BBC had this long explanation (including the white widow) of how they’d rented a shop and over months had smuggled guns and explosives in.With complete access to the whole shopping centre ,they planned their deadly massacre meticulously.The white widow was the mastermind.
    And then for some odd reason, they blasted and shot their way into the Mall on the 1st day, despite having the keys so to say and run of the whole place. Weird !!They took hostages,but had no demands.
    I feel like I’ve missed a few episodes. The Kenyan security forces said it was over several times till I stopped believing them.Now it rarely gets a mention, and the main perpetrator,maybe didn’t turn up that day.
    Several suspects were let go. So who did they get ?

  • anon

    Fred – there is no mention of gold in Komodo’s link and the funds mentioned $10,000 are a long way south of the $20m you referred to earlier. As for the German money that all appears to be from the German state that most definitely was not Zionist at that time. You really are clutching at straws I’m afraid.

  • nevermind

    Hi Arbed, I watched ‘by any means’ too and made the links t Assange in my head, with the final scene really taking the biscuit, when the Columbian ambassador was seen talking to the MI’s, was in on it so to speak.

    The whole tone of the programme is making it clear that bluring the line of justice, for a partisan cause is OK sometimes, fighting the devil with a dose of beelzebub.

    It was made out that the Columbian ambassador was helping the british security wonks to get Mr. pathetic/big out of the embassy, irony heaped upon irony.

  • Passerby

    Jon said;

    Those pesky liberals, refusing to countenance the planned murder of civilians!

    Is this implying the current genocide of the Palestinians is incidental and unplanned?

    Also considering your reply to Phil points arising;


    I am not opposed to the arming of combatants. However, I think it should be looked at on a case-by-case basis.

    first setting the scene for accepting the arming of combatants, but of course with a qualification of; “case by case”. It is OK for the ziofuckwits to be armed and supplied with free; arms, Nukes, Jets, and oodles of kickback money through weird and obscure contracts. Alas the case for Palestinians ought to be studied carefully and they should not be allowed to receive even the medicine, and water purification ancillaries, they need.


    So, let’s consider arming the Palestinians. Well, the first question is who would do it?

    Well that is an option, but then it is qualified;” who should do arm them”? This “reasonable” straw man argument totally discount the the existence of the Fourth Geneva Convention. Further setting the scene for the conclusion; the usual lopsided homilies. Albeit delivered in a differing fashion. All the while ignoring the simple fact that, in principle the Plantains have the right to defend their country and in principle there should be a parity of arms supplied to them too. This point of course does not sit well with the supporters of the genocide and land plunder, because the main stay of the argument “Palestinian Terrorists” is a mandated and a given.

    Although, best to keep the ziofuckwits happy and stop them from killing even more is the theme of the response, it is clothed in concern for humanity.

    Why does it matter who should arm them? Why in principle there should be no parity between the Palestinian nationals whom by convention have every right to defend themselves agains the tyrannical apartheid regime, occupying their lands?

    On goes the charade of “liberal” whom evidently are “dreadful people”, in an attempt to portray the opponents as unreasonable and, extremists! Not an old trick at all!

    Further considering your reply to Mary points arising;

    The Gatekeepers: Locking in Palestinians as Terrorists

    The word ‘terrorist’ and versions thereof – ‘terrorism’ ‘terror’ – occur over 40 times, and all, bar once, in reference to Palestinians implicitly justifying the raison d’etre for Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency).

    The MO of the vicious Shin Bet or Shabak is covert counter-terrorism – based on the premise that the people of Palestine have no right to defend themselves or fight for their rightful independence enshrined in international law against the brutal illegal occupier and colonizer- the rogue State of Israel.

    having seen it, it isn’t the naked propaganda piece one might expect.

    Aren’t these the usual holding pattern position, albeit more nuanced?

    Add to that the pepping of the insults at all and sundry who support the Palestinians cause that have been left untouched and the culprits going without any admonishment, all pointing a blinkered “liberalism” if that is what it is called.

    PS I know I have written lots without saying anything and I and Fedup are the one and the same, and ……….. Just to ensure that your one paragraph response does not include these facets of your usual arguments.

  • Mary

    Thanks Komodo. I put up a link to Liam Fox’s expense claim, saying ‘What a mean trougher’.

    Meanwhile where are Mr and Mrs Adam Werritty? Werritty attended Fox’s book launch. No expense spared by the publishers. They hired the London Film Museum in the old County Hall.

    Perhaps Heron Books got a special rate.

    His previous here is news!

    ‘Liam Fox trained as a surgeon and worked as an army doctor for ten years and is the former Secretary of State for Defence.

    He is the Member of Parliament for North Somerset. Rising Tides is his first book. He lives in Somerset.’

    His website says: ‘He worked as a GP in Nailsea before becoming a member of Parliament and has held high office in both opposition and government. He has the experience inside and outside Parliament we need for good government.’

    Wikipedia says: ‘Fox studied medicine at the University of Glasgow (in the early 80s) and worked as a GP and Civilian Army Medical Officer[1] before being elected as an MP in 1992’

    The Con website says: ‘As well as his career in the NHS, Liam worked as a Civilian Army Medical Officer, which enabled him to see army life at first-hand. His time there has instilled in him a belief that the Government has a responsibility to look after the Armed Forces and their families.

    Liam is a member of the Royal College of General Practitioners, and worked as a GP in Buckinghamshire and Somerset before becoming a Conservative MP in 1992.’

    Do the dates and details tally?

  • Komodo

    Anon, Fred…flattering as it is to be the channel for an authorititive voice, I really should point out that there are all sorts of versions on the Web, many fruitcake, and some sane. As far as I can see, hard evidence is hard to find. In the piece above, Trotsky denies taking US Jewish cash, but says he’s have taklen it if it had been offered – at the end he invites Jews to contribute to the revolution. This is, of course, irrelevant to what he thought about Zionism, as an outgrowth of capitalism, and doomed to failure especially if the ideal of worldwide worker solidarity were achieved.

    I’d take slight issue with the notion that Germany wasn’t Zionist ca 1917, though.

    The Russian Empire, with its long record of state organized genocide and ethnic cleansing (“pogroms”) was widely regarded as the historic enemy of the Jewish people. As much of its leadership were German speakers, the Zionist movement’s headquarters were located in Berlin. At the start of World War I, most Jews (and Zionists) supported Germany in its war with Russia.

    Mind you, Trotsky/Bronstein (some have suggested he was called Braunstein, and was actually German) would have taken money from anyone offering it, and the most reasonable hypothesis to me is that Germany wanted to close down the Russian front, estimating that subversion the cheapest way to do it. Looking at the cost of the rest of WW1 to all, I’d say that was a good decision – for them. Nearly backfired, though, after the Armistice. The popular mood shifted very strongly Leftward before Hitler came along.

  • anon

    Komodo – I very pointedly said the German State wasn’t Zionist. You are right that there are lots of fruitcake versions as to how the Bolsheviks were financed many of which were linked to the Protocols fraud and forgery – but as RD points out there is now some pretty solid evidence from the Soviet archives that main source of funding was the German State. Of course as with much history there are straws that can be grasped at to support whatever prejudice you already have.

  • Komodo

    Anon -And I said I took ‘slight issue’, i.e. no biggie. Jews participated in the German State more effectively under Weimar than before or since. Could you really say none were Zionists? It certainly wasn’t a no-no to be a Zionist.

  • Fred

    “As for the German money that all appears to be from the German state that most definitely was not Zionist at that time. You really are clutching at straws I’m afraid.”

    Have you any evidence that the money came from the German state and not the German bankers who were some of the founders of Zionism?

    Jacob Schiff was German, born in Frankfurt.

  • anon


    There was still quite a lot of petty and not so petty anti-semitism around in Germany at the time and certain state positions e.g. judges were not open to Jews. Kaiser Wilhlem did meet with Herzl and initially showed some interest in Zionism as a means of getting German Jews to go elsewhere but he gave up on that idea when his ally the Sultan didn’t think much of the idea. The reality is that by the time 1917 came around the German state had rather more pressing issues on its hand than promoting Zionism or otherwise.

    Picky point but the Weimar Republic was post WW1 and the Russian Revolution.

  • Phil

    Technicolour 5 Oct, 2013 – 1:22 pm
    “The only thing that ends conflicts…is dialogue. That’s what ended apartheid.”

    Now I don’t know much but maybeez them africans fighting back might of ad an effect on the the old pow wow. And them irish people bombing the city maybe made the government peoples to fink about talking. Just phaps those letters you wrote didn’t count fer much. Not as much as yous fucking like to fink anyways.

    “Stupid stupid stupid.”

    Right y’er m’lady, thricely stupid I am to say such fings. And wiv potty mouthed language to boot.

  • Komodo

    Anon – I don’t dispute any of that. And I’m not saying Zionists funded Trotsky (or Lenin). I agree that the obvious suspect is the then German government, for the obvious reasons. And I say so. But, knowing that Trotsky was a pretty slippery character, it would not have been beyond him to accept Zionist money and deny it later. He was playing both ends against the middle in pursuit of an overriding objective of his own by this time. I don’t think you can categorically rule it out.

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