As California’s wells dry up, residents rely on bottled water to survive

In drought-parched Central Valley, thousands rely on trucked and bottled water as they wait for new wells

As California’s wells dry up, residents rely on bottled water to survive
Bryce Johnston of Big River Drilling works on drilling a new water well in August. (Matt McClain/The Washington Post)

Wells are running dry in California at a record pace. Amid a hotter, drier climate and the third consecutive year of severe drought, the state has already tallied a record 1,351 dry wells this year — nearly 40 percent over last year’s rate and the most since the state created its voluntary reporting system in 2014. The bulk of these outages slice through the center of the state, in the parched lowlands of the San Joaquin Valley, where residents compete with deep agricultural wells for the rapidly dwindling supply of groundwater.

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The Fourth Revolution

The Light Age is the Dark Age, part two

The Fourth Revolution

By now, you might have heard about the rising threat of ‘eco-fascism’. If you haven’t you soon will, because the number of people warning about this alarming new danger to civilisation seems to be growing exponentially. In publications right and left and neither you’ll be able to read long expositions of the origins and intentions of this frightening movement, which seems to be taking root all over the world.

Those essays and articles could be rolled into one easily enough, and sometimes it seems like they have been. The formula is always the same, and can be usefully applied across the political spectrum. Start with talk of the ‘rising tide of authoritarianism’ all over the world, as evidenced by ‘populism’, Brexit, Georgia Melloni, Viktor Orban, Justin Trudeau, Donald Trump, Joe Biden or any other leader you don’t like. Move on to explore how much of this ‘rising authoritarianism’ is reflected in environmentalism, as evidenced by Just Stop Oil, Extinction Rebellion, the Green New Deal, the Great Reset, Bill Gates, Greta Thunberg or [insert name of bête noire here]

After this, list the historical inspirations for these new green authoritarians: Ted Kaczynski, Pentti Linkola and Dave Foreman should do for starters. Dig into the most miserable chans and reddits of the Internet and ‘expose’ a few anonymised avatars promoting race war in the name of the planet. Mention the Christchurch shooter. Use the phrase ‘dark undercurrent’ a lot. Quote Murray Bookchin. Chuck in the names of a couple of nature writers from the 1930s who became fascists. Mutter darkly about ‘blood and soil’ and how Hitler was a vegetarian. Did you know there was an organic garden at Dachau? It makes you think. If you’re lucky.

Having got here, you can move on to the meat of the thing: sombrely intoning about the ‘new threat to democracy’ which is represented by this ominous movement. Depending on where you’re coming from, you can now explain how these new eco-authoritarians represent either [a] a threat to our God-given right to drive, mine, manufacture, fly, burn oil and freely enjoy the glories that only Western Progress can provide, or [b] a threat to diversity, equality, human rights, LGBTQIA++ people, refugees, ‘global justice’ and a woman’s right to choose. Either way, the conclusion will be much the same: a non-specific but ominous call for more monitoring of ‘problematic’ views, more work to tackle ‘radicalisation’, more ‘hate speech’ or anti-protest laws and probably more Internet regulation. For the safety of us all, of course.

The problem, though, is that actual ‘eco fascism’ is notable mostly by its absence. Dark corners of the Internet aside – you can find any craziness there, after all – it’s hard to find a single ‘eco fascist’ anywhere out in the real world. No public intellectuals, no writers, no philosophers, no politicians, no popular movements embrace anything of the kind. Plenty of people get the label applied to them of course – without the prefix, the word ‘fascist’ has been a meaningless, all-purpose insult for decades – but they all reject it. I was in and around the green movement for a long time, but I never met an eco-fascist, though I did have the pleasure of being called one.

So why all the dire warnings? I can think of two possible explanations.

RED

By now, you might have heard about the rising threat of ‘eco-fascism’. If you haven’t you soon will, because the number of people warning about this alarming new danger to civilisation seems to be growing exponentially. In publications right and left and neither you’ll be able to read long expositions of the origins and intentions of this frightening movement, which seems to be taking root all over the world.

Those essays and articles could be rolled into one easily enough, and sometimes it seems like they have been. The formula is always the same, and can be usefully applied across the political spectrum. Start with talk of the ‘rising tide of authoritarianism’ all over the world, as evidenced by ‘populism’, Brexit, Georgia Melloni, Viktor Orban, Justin Trudeau, Donald Trump, Joe Biden or any other leader you don’t like. Move on to explore how much of this ‘rising authoritarianism’ is reflected in environmentalism, as evidenced by Just Stop Oil, Extinction Rebellion, the Green New Deal, the Great Reset, Bill Gates, Greta Thunberg or [insert name of bête noire here]

After this, list the historical inspirations for these new green authoritarians: Ted Kaczynski, Pentti Linkola and Dave Foreman should do for starters. Dig into the most miserable chans and reddits of the Internet and ‘expose’ a few anonymised avatars promoting race war in the name of the planet. Mention the Christchurch shooter. Use the phrase ‘dark undercurrent’ a lot. Quote Murray Bookchin. Chuck in the names of a couple of nature writers from the 1930s who became fascists. Mutter darkly about ‘blood and soil’ and how Hitler was a vegetarian. Did you know there was an organic garden at Dachau? It makes you think. If you’re lucky.

Having got here, you can move on to the meat of the thing: sombrely intoning about the ‘new threat to democracy’ which is represented by this ominous movement. Depending on where you’re coming from, you can now explain how these new eco-authoritarians represent either [a] a threat to our God-given right to drive, mine, manufacture, fly, burn oil and freely enjoy the glories that only Western Progress can provide, or [b] a threat to diversity, equality, human rights, LGBTQIA++ people, refugees, ‘global justice’ and a woman’s right to choose. Either way, the conclusion will be much the same: a non-specific but ominous call for more monitoring of ‘problematic’ views, more work to tackle ‘radicalisation’, more ‘hate speech’ or anti-protest laws and probably more Internet regulation. For the safety of us all, of course.

The problem, though, is that actual ‘eco fascism’ is notable mostly by its absence. Dark corners of the Internet aside – you can find any craziness there, after all – it’s hard to find a single ‘eco fascist’ anywhere out in the real world. No public intellectuals, no writers, no philosophers, no politicians, no popular movements embrace anything of the kind. Plenty of people get the label applied to them of course – without the prefix, the word ‘fascist’ has been a meaningless, all-purpose insult for decades – but they all reject it. I was in and around the green movement for a long time, but I never met an eco-fascist, though I did have the pleasure of being called one.

So why all the dire warnings? I can think of two possible explanations.

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The US megadrought won’t just end – it will change the land forever

Patterns of drought and deluge are common throughout history, but human-driven climate change is disrupting these cycles, making it more difficult to predict exactly how the current megadought in south-western North America will end

An abandoned pomegranate orchard during a droughtGetty Images/Bloomberg Creative/ David Paul Morris
An abandoned pomegranate orchard during a drought
Getty Images/Bloomberg Creative/ David Paul Morris

The current drought began when Kent Norman was just 2 years old. Farming is in his blood. His family has worked the land in Stockton, California, for generations. But the last two decades have created one of the most severe droughts in the region history: Over the course of his life, south-western North America has become drier than it has been in more than 1000 years.

LINK: https://www.newscientist.com/article/2344912-the-us-megadrought-wont-just-end-it-will-change-the-land-forever/

World close to ‘irreversible’ climate breakdown, warn major studies

Key UN reports published in last two days warn urgent and collective action needed – as oil firms report astronomical profits

LINK: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/oct/27/world-close-to-irreversible-climate-breakdown-warn-major-studies

Burn Wild

Burn Wild

For more than a decade two mugshots of fugitive environmentalists have sat amongst airplane hijackers, bombers and murders on the FBI’s Most Wanted Domestic Terrorists list.

One of the photos is of a tall, hipster looking engineer from Seattle. He’s wearing a red shirt, has a light shadowy beard.

His name: Joseph Mahmoud Dibee.

The other photo is of a young white woman with thick eyebrows, piercing brown eyes and long brown hair. Across her back is a large tattoo: a bird with its wings outstretched, soaring.

Her name: Josephine Sunshine Overaker.

To the authorities, Joseph Mahmoud Dibee and Josephine Sunshine Overaker are dangerous, violent extremists, part of an eco-terrorist movement that in 2005 the then Deputy Assistant Director of the FBI called the number one domestic terror threat in America.

And now one of them – Joseph Dibee – has been caught.

For the past eighteen months journalist Leah Sottile has been recording with Joe Dibee as his case progresses through the courts and as she works to understand the truth behind the mugshots and how they ended up here.

Burn Wild is a story of radical environmentalism and morality that journeys into one of the most thorny and murky questions of our time: How far is too far to go to stop the planet burning?

Answering this will take Leah and producer Georgia Catt into radical activist communities past and present on both sides of the Atlantic, amongst people who’ve spent their lives running from the authorities, and those who carry the weight of that word – terrorist – on their shoulders.

In this story people will take away very different things on what they hear, but where you sit isn’t a question of the past. It’s a question of right now.

Heather Lewis

A Lost Generation

Photo Credit: Jill Krementz
Photo Credit: Jill Krementz

Publication, Emily Dickinson mused, “is the Auction Of the Mind,” a condition “so foul” that after a certain point she deemed it better to work in “Poverty” rather than pursue the acclaim to which she knew she was entitled. That sentiment caught my eye because of its slant resonance to the case of Heather Lewis. In 1996, Heather began submitting the sequel to her controversial debut, House Rules. Notice didn’t fare well with editors. Its lurid story—a nameless young woman turns tricks for drugs until she falls in love with the wife of one of her johns, a rich sadist who molested and killed his own daughter and uses the protagonist to reenact his crime night after night—struck industry readers as unbelievable or, even more discomfiting, too close to their notions of the author’s actual experience.

At the time Heather took the stoic route, shelving Notice and writing The Second Suspect, the final installment of what she considered a trilogy. She ditched the first-person narrator for third-person detachment, filtering the central conceit of incest, misogyny, and murder through a detective’s objective gaze rather than the unnerving subjectivity of a survivor. The crime-drama prism got the novel published but didn’t save The Second Suspect from being dissed as “transgressive,” its subject matter attributed to “an almost adolescent need to shock.” The taunts stung, not least because they deliberately failed to understand Heather’s work, but also because of the implicit suggestion that the kinds of experiences she wrote about weren’t fit materials for art. The situation was complicated by the collapse of Heather’s career in the wake of The Second Suspect’s failure; in addition, after a decade of sobriety, she started drinking again. These lamentable developments, coupled with who knew what personal traumas, culminated in her suicide in 2002; it is only through the valiant efforts of a handful of supporters that Notice is now being published nearly a decade after she wrote it.

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‘Soon the world will be unrecognisable’: is it still possible to prevent total climate meltdown?

Record high temperatures and extreme weather events are being recorded around the world. Photograph: Ian Logan/Getty Images
Record high temperatures and extreme weather events are being recorded around the world. Photograph: Ian Logan/Getty Images

Blistering heatwaves are just the start. We must accept how bad things are before we can head off global catastrophe, according to a leading UK scientist

How the US Military is Preparing for Climate Change – The Green Line – Ep 1

How the US Military is Preparing for Climate Change - The Green LineWhilst debates around Climate Change still rage on US TV, the US Military has been quietly preparing for the now inevitable. Planners are now acutely aware of just how quick Climate Change is coming down upon us, and how dramatically it will change the geopolitics of the planet. What wargames are the military running in preparation for this? Which theatres do they project to be the most impacted? and is the US ready for a worst-case scenario? We ask our panel of experts. On the panel this week: – Sharon Burke (Ecospherics/Fmr White House) – John Conger (Center for Climate and Security/Fmr White House) – Larry Wilkerson (Fmr Chief of Staff to Colin Powell) This is Part 1 of our special 5-Part Series focusing on The Geopolitics of Climate Change This Production was Brought to you by The Red Line and Mission Climate Project

LINKS:

https://theredline.libsyn.com/how-the-us-military-is-preparing-for-climate-change-the-green-line-ep-1

https://www.theredlinepodcast.com/post/how-the-us-military-is-preparing-for-climate-change

Global wildlife populations have declined by 69% since 1970, WWF report finds

The Amazon pink river dolphin population has dropped drastically in 22 years.
The Amazon pink river dolphin population has dropped drastically in 22 years.

The world’s wildlife populations plummeted by an average of 69% between 1970 and 2018, a dangerous decline resulting from climate change and other human activity, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) warned in a report Thursday.

LINK: https://www.cnn.com/2022/10/13/world/wwf-living-planet-report-2022-climate-intl-scli-scn/index.html

Living in the Time of Dying

Living in The Time of Dying is an unflinching look at what it means to be living in the midst of climate catastrophe and finding purpose and meaning within it. Recognising the magnitude of the climate crisis we are facing, independent filmmaker Michael Shaw, sells his house to travel around the world looking for answers. Pretty soon we begin to see how deep the predicament goes along with the systems and ways of thinking that brought us here.

Featured in this documentary are Professor of Sustainability and founder of the Deep Adaptation movement Jem Bendell, award winning journalist and author of “The End of Ice” , Dahr Jamail, Dharma teacher and author of Facing Extinction Catherine Ingram and Stan Rushworth, a Native American Elder, teacher and author who brings an especially enlightening viewpoint to these questions.

While it becomes clear that catastrophic climate change is now inevitable it also opens up a whole new set of questions: How exactly did we arrive at this point? What new choices can we make now re how to live our lives and what actions make sense at this time. The people interviewed in the documentary, all highly regarded and well known spokespeople on the issue, argue it’s too late to stop what is coming but in no way is it too late to regain a renewed, life giving relationship with our selves and our world.

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