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Monday, October 26, 2015

The Psychology of Coal Rollers
In Politics and Products
Courtesy of Google Image
There’s a very large segment of the US population and, I dare say, of every nation in the world that are anti-environmentalists. This is often much deeper than political disagreement. They hate everything about us environmentalists. They hate the Pope (if he dares to delve into their insulated Worlds of Climate Denial and Unbridled Capitalism). In the US, they hate Obama (for many reasons, including just for being Obama), They especially hate any regulatory agency that dares to protect the environment, or, to limit their use of health risking chemicals, or to impose any regulation on food, drugs, agriculture, or even more infuriating to them, they hate any attempt to protect an endangered species, at the expense of a dent in corporate profits. They call themselves Conservatives, and once Republicans were, but now they abhor any notion of Conservation.
When confronted with anyone they perceive to be a “do-gooder”, an environmentalist, a liberal, even a health-conscious eater like ourselves, these people get a visceral gut reaction, and they are determined to do everything they can do to thwart us and our objectives, one of which being to save the planet, to which they respond with utter disdain.
Many of these people who oppose environmentalism are not the 1%ers, the owners of the extractive corporate industries, the ones who are actually benefiting from the huge salaries, stock options, and profits, but are blue-collar workers or middle-class relatively poor people. They support the corporate executives who would risk our Common Home, to use the words of the Pope. Though supporting the Polluters is certainly as contrary to their best interests as it is to ours, they identify with their corporate employers (as slaves sometimes identified with their slave-owners). Bombarded with what they hear on right wing radio, on Fox TV Network, from Republican politicians, from Koch-funded groups like the Heritage Foundation and Americans For Prosperity, in their churches, and having heard these same messages from their parents and grandparents since the 70s, the birth of the environmental movement, they have been brainwashed into taking on this anti-environmentalist stance. If they’d just open their eyes they could see the extreme weather signs of Climate Change on the news (the deluges and the mega-wildfires) and in their own neighborhoods, but they refuse to accept it. Despite the fact that just like we, they have children and grandchildren and their futures to consider, they somehow believe that this anti-environmentalist stance is cool.
So they prefer to identify with “cold-blooded businessmen” who don’t care what the downstream effects are of what they’re doing to neighbors and nearby communities, or what the real costs are to the environment, usually left to society to remediate pursuant to bankruptcies, as long as the Corporation makes a profit, which they equate to being ‘good for the Economy’. And they don’t mind the executives feathering their own nests with obscene salaries, stock options, and benefits, betting on the pipedream of the trickle-down theory. The businessmen so much admired by these people have no compunctions as to who they may be harming by their policies, actions and waste streams. They’re not “nice people”. They don’t consider themselves or want to be considered “nice people”. They are proud to be “cold blooded killers”. The game show, reality TV oriented imaginations of their fans have them imagining being hired by Trump, and being a “Winner”. As they learned watching The Apprentice TV show year after year, they certainly don’t want to be a “Loser”, and get “Fired”.
And he’s right that the money managers on Wall Street and the corporate executives really don’t care. They are “man-eaters”, and they’re proud of it. Any concern for unintended consequences is for the weak and feeble hearted in his world. And any demonstration of weakness is for “Losers”.
This attitude of corporate identification is exhibited at every income level, from the bottom to the top, and the accompanying amoral orientation toward environmental concerns extends from the lowest workers into the highest chambers of Government, both Democrats and Republicans, and into the Courts, Law Enforcement, the Military, Small Business, and especially into the boardrooms and executive suites of the Almighty Corporations.

The Psychology of Rolling Coal

Before we go any further, let’s begin with an explanation of a new American invented hobby called, ‘Rolling Coal’. Almost as relevant would be the fringe practices of flying the Confederate flag or the donning of the garb of the Ku Klux Klan, but an explanation of this new fringe phenomenon, Rolling Coal, is so indicative of the prevalent psychology we’d like to expose, as it extends into every sector of more “respectable” society.

Mostly men (and perhaps some women) in the US are souping up their large diesel pickup trucks after spending their savings and going into debt to purchase them, after which they spend up to an additional $5,000 for the rebuilds, to allow their trucks to release huge oily puffs of jet black smoke at will, burning up gallons of additional diesel fuel in order to do this. They don’t mind the expense as long as it allows them to make their statement, which to them is so important.

The statement they want to make is a big “F You” to Obama (for his EPA emission limits, and for ObamaCare and for Benghazi, and for everything else they might wish to include). They are also saying “F You” to all government regulation, to the notion of Climate Change and to Government and Society in general. They especially love puffing black smoke when they see a hybrid Prius behind them, calling it “Prius Repellent”, as if they were spraying a mosquito. The jet black smoke kills visibility and might cause an accident, but that makes it even more fun. By releasing all these carcinogenic diesel fumes filled with heavy metals and particulates, they are not just threatening others’ health (and adding to air pollution and greenhouse gas), but they themselves take the brunt of it by proximity alone. They are also breaking the law, but that’s OK, they probably would never be caught, because the local police might find it just as cool.

Stephen Colbert, whose not to be missed Colbert Report video segment on Rolling Coal can be found at the end of this report, portrays it as a demonstration of testosterone. And you’ve got to see this one to believe it. There are quite a few other videos and articles on Rolling Coal on the internet, so if you haven’t had your fill, feel free.

Blowing noxious black puffs of diesel fumes from a pickup truck is much like farting in public, a practice that is not politically correct, nor is it polite, but that’s just the point. These people resist any notion of political correctness, just as they resent all the cultural and demographic changes in America they’re being faced with every day (immigrants, gay marriage, and equality, racial, women’s, LGBT, or otherwise). Like teenagers rebelling against their parents and/or authority, they feel compelled to demonstrate their rebellion, and Rolling Coal is one of the best ways they’ve found to make them feel like they can accomplish this. Though doing so, despite their fun and enjoyment, there is something quite mean-spirited and sinister behind it.

They love blowing the black smoke in order to punctuate their anti-environmental statement, and when they get away with it, they feel like they’re the “winners” in the process, but clearly they are “losers”, and their children and grandchildren will be the losers if they are able to get their way and allow the corporations to pollute and destroy our Common Home. There’s nothing rational about it, and as far as they’re concerned, there doesn’t have to be. This phenomenon of Rolling Coal is their way of lashing out, and though it may just be a fringe hobby behavior (to our knowledge, only in the US and Canada), we contend it is very revealing of a psychology that is in play in every echelon and sector of society, and on every continent.

Tea Party Politics in Government

Though we’ve seen this Coal Roller psychology to be evident in Canada and Australia and in right wing and nationalist governments and opposition parties around the globe, there is no clearer example than the Tea Party faction of the Republican Party in the US Senate and Congress.

These American politicians that identify themselves as being in the Tea Party, aka the Freedom Caucus, are more interested in making their statement than in facilitating the operation of our government. The Republicans at the behest of the Tea Party have obstructed the process of making laws in our government for years when the Democrats had the majority. And even now when Republicans have the majority in both chambers, they still seem to be largely ineffective at getting laws on the books, but are still very good at assuring gridlock and stopping legislation.

By threatening the shutdown of our government repeatedly over the last seven years, this time over their desire to defund Planned Parenthood, the primary health care provider for millions of Americans, they are demonstrating the thumbing of their noses at America. They are so intent on making their right wing anti-abortion statement, for this one example of the many times they’ve done this, they are even willing to risk the reputation of our nation and our economy, not to mention the electability of their candidates, in order to make their statement.

By threatening the shutdown of our government, they are also thumbing their noses at the Military and at millions of federal employees and subcontractors, who, facing the threat to the security of their families’ incomes arising from a sequestered budget in the event of shutdown, as was experienced in 2013, might seek and find other employment, causing the loss to the government of talented individuals.

But these Tea Party leaders and followers don’t care about any of that, or about any of the families whose feeling of security is threatened repeatedly by their misguided actions, as long as they can advance their far right agenda, or, at least, make their ever so important statements, much like a Coal Roller feels compelled to blow a trail of black smoke.

In support of the Big Polluter Agenda, since they gained the majority, the Republicans have launched an all-out attack on environmental and conservation protections. But rather than propose legislation that would be subject to debate, they seem to prefer to sneak their anti-environmental wish-list into Riders (clauses) that are included deep within large (1,000+ page), multi-billion dollar, many times unrelated, must-pass Appropriations bills. To date in 2015 they’ve inserted over 80 Riders into such bills with the intention of gutting the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Rule, the Clean Power Plants Rule, the National Oceans Rule, the Fracking on Public Lands Rule, EPA’s ability to regulate toxics and lead in paint, even the Endangered Species Act, (which 90% of Americans support), and, of course, to reduce funding for the EPA. For a more complete list of these Riders, be sure to see this NRDC article. (Please note: One of these Riders is to reclassify the burning of “biomass”, which is really supposed to be about burning garbage and debris, but in common practice, burning fresh cut trees, as being Carbon-Free.)

Some of the Republican Senators and Congressmen, who are trying to roll back the last 40 years of environmental and conservation protections, may have an issue involving one of their constituents, for example, the protection of an endangered species versus a planned industrial expansion, but most of the proponents of these Riders have nothing at all at stake,. They’re just piling on, to make their anti-environmental, anti-conservation, anti-government, and we contend, mean-spirited statement, thumbing their noses both at the Americans and at the endangered species (which we are proud to care about) that would be harmed by lack of these protections.

When the Republicans took over the Senate in January, 2015, they appointed senior Senator Jim Inhofe, the author of a 2012 book still sold on Amazon, entitled, The Greatest Hoax: How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future, as chairman of the US Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. He has been known to harass environmental witnesses, and once brought a snowball into the Senate to prove that there was no such thing as global warming. At the same time, they appointed Senator Ted Cruz, one of the long time poster-children of the Tea Party, as chairman of the US Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Space, Science, and Competitiveness. He aggressively denies Climate Change, regularly insults witnesses, and recently suggested, on the record, that NASA, which he oversees as chairman, stop studying the Planet Earth, one of its main missions since NASA’s inception. The mere fact that these two Senators are chairmen of two of the most prestigious Senate Committees of one of the most powerful nations in the world is an embarrassment. It’s an insult not just to Society, but to Science, to all independent scientists and universities, and to our nation.

Most of the Republican candidates for President, not to mention most of their Congressmen and Senators are climate change deniers with a Dumb-As-We-Wanna-Be attitude (coined by Tom Friedman of the New York Times) and that doesn’t bode well for the ratification of any climate agreement that, if we’re lucky enough, may be reached shortly in Paris.

Duplicitous Democrats

Democrats, by comparison, really do look like angels, especially if you listen to their eloquent speeches on the subject of climate change, but that’s until you look a little closer. President Obama, the Democratic champion of Climate Change, about to lead the world in Paris, is continuing to do everything his government can, to subsidize and support “all of the above” fossil fuels. As harmful as fracking is to its neighbors who must live with the smells, the 24 hour truck traffic, the gas flaring noise and pollution, not to mention the health risks, the President and so many other Democrats still sing its praises. And they continue to encourage the investment and waste of billions of dollars for pipelines and fossil fuel infrastructure, that very soon when the sea levels rise enough, and after enduring more extreme climate disasters, we’ll have no heart to use. And yet despite his delay of the KXL pipeline for “Canadian Crude”, Tarsands oil, Obama is allowing Koch to refine it here in the US, and to export a deadly by-product, Petcoke, because it’s too dirty to burn here in the US. Many don’t realize this, but despite no KXL Pipeline, millions of gallons of Tarsands are at this moment being imported into the US through KXL “clone” pipelines, all built with the Federal government’s approval, and by rail. Recently the government approved dirty Tarsands mining for the first time in the US, which has already begun in Utah. And a UK/Australian multinational, Rio Tinto, just opened a large new copper mine on Apache sacred land, Oak Flat, Arizona, with the blessings of senior Republican Senator John McCain and our Democratic federal government. Obama is still approving more extractive mining, drilling, and deforestation (lumber) on our public lands, (including in our National Forests and National Parks). He has approved more offshore gas and oil leasing in the Gulf, the Pacific, now in the Atlantic, and for a brief time, in the Arctic. And, just as on land, all offshore drilling releases billions of gallons of toxic wastewater, and Obama’s EPA legally permits billions of gallons of wastewater to be put directly into our already very threatened oceans.

And all this is happening at a time when there is no need for this oil and gas, considering a huge oversupply, and considering that the Saudis and OPEC are intentionally depressing the price of oil, (as their costs are lower, and the Saudis can see the handwriting on the wall, that the world will soon prefer wind and solar energy, so now, they realize, is the time for them to sell as much as they can).

Whether fossil fuels are burned here in America or exported and burnt elsewhere, it makes no difference as far as Climate is concerned, but Obama and many Democrats and Republicans, are proud of the fact that the US is now one of the largest, if not the largest, producers of fossil fuels, and they won’t acknowledge that this path will eventually lead to the world’s destruction. (Also note that while the world had their attention on who the next Speaker of the House would be, the House just passed a bill to allow the US to export oil, which by US law, hasn’t been allowed in decades.)

Obama, and many Democrats, are, perhaps, even more culpable than the Republicans, because they should know better. If they would just listen to their own words in their own speeches acknowledging Climate Change and other environmental impacts, they would realize that they themselves are very much to blame. At least the Republicans can hide behind denial and their, perhaps feigned, ignorance.

By supporting the fossil fuel industry, GMO’s and Big Chem, BigAg, Big Food, Big Insurance, Big Medical, and the bloodsucking Big Pharma with very little real regulation on any of these industries, Obama and the Democrats join the Republicans in risking our health and well-being, and in so doing, they are thumbing their noses at America and also at the entire world.

Dollars versus Democracy

Whenever a politician, regardless of party, accepts a donation from an industry lobby or directly from a business or corporation, or from a millionaire donor, regardless of its legality, and then makes his or her decisions based on that contribution, rather than based on what’s best for their constituents, including the poor people, he or she is thumbing their noses at Society.

The US Supreme Court justices, by not more aggressively protecting Voting Rights, and by approving the Citizens United decision, allowing unlimited corporate funds to find their way into political campaigns, and in that sense, the buying of elections, are thumbing their noses at Democracy.

Trade Agreements – Threat to Democracy

But the biggest threat to Democracy that the world is facing today are the multilateral trade agreements being negotiated in secret by world leaders and multinational corporations, the TPP, the TTIP, and the TISA. These trade agreements are being pushed into effect by President Obama, a Democrat, and other of the world’s top national executives, along with executives of the multi-national corporations, and with no input from any representatives of the people of the world, nor with their prior knowledge or consent.
What we do know about these agreements is that they take the interests of the corporations before the interests of all the people, including the poor people. We also know that these trade agreements give corporations the power to sue nations, and/or states, and/or local governments, for lost profits, should the people represented by that government elect a policy that might be found to lessen their profits. These law suits would be settled by binding arbitration, and with no further legal recourse, by an agency they’ve already set up to resolve these disputes (most probably in their favor), called the ICSID. Ratification of these trade agreements would be the biggest corporate coup ever imagined!

By advancing these potentially disastrous trade agreements threatening the self-determination of the people of the world, and by subjugating our environment and our health to the interests of the multi-national corporations, Obama, and the rest of them who favor such agreements, are thumbing their noses at all of us, certainly at the 99%.

Business Ethics 101

Noticing the rise in white-collar crime, and having recognized that they were graduating students devoid of any sense of ethics, many prestigious business schools in America introduced required courses in Business Ethics, but to think that these few courses have made any change in the landscape would be absurd. In business, increasing shareholder value is paramount, and the bottom line is the bottom line. The VW executives who perpetrated the recently discovered, trick-software supported emissions fraud, which has now expanded  to several more diesel automobile manufacturers, and is not just limited to Volkswagen, are perfect examples of businessmen risking the reputations of their companies in order to force profits for as long as they can. And this is but one example.

Certainly, there are many ethical businessmen and businesswomen out there, and there are many corporations with wonderful sustainability and environmental programs, but to think that you could operate businesses with no regulation and enforcement, on the honor system, and that they would voluntarily protect our children’s environment, is ridiculous. We have seen the results of industries operating in lax regulatory arenas in Third World countries and in Communist China that have become wastelands of pollution. So, whether in a capitalist or a communist economy, Society cannot operate without regulation and enforcement, no matter how much the anti-environmentalist, with the coal rolling mentality, hates this fact.

Unethical Products

Ethics is not something to be bet on in business, so instead of wasting any more of our time on the business executives and their questionable ethics, let’s focus on certain of their products that just in themselves are an insult to Society. Forgetting the corporate ‘yes men’ responsible, these products alone become a statement of a total lack of care for the Environment, which in itself is ‘unethical’.

The corporations that produce these products get to walk away with all the profits. And the society that is harmed by them, and must bear the cost of dealing with their aftermath and the real damages incurred, is never compensated, not even with a tax. And we’re not just talking about putting a dollar value to the environmental and health damages caused by these products, but also actual taxpayer dollars spent by Municipalities, States and Nations in dealing with them and their waste streams. When the costs outweigh the benefits to Society, it is an ‘unethical product’. There are so many of these, but we only have time to list a few of the worst atrocities, with several notes on each.

Keurig Coffeemakers and K-Cups

One such product is the Keurig Coffeemaker, now found in one out of three homes and many businesses in America. This Coffeemaker is designed not to function at all without an endless supply of K-Cups, single use portions of various flavors in small plastic, metallic foil covered cups, ensuring the company a customer for the life of each machine that is willing to pay approximately $40 for a pound of coffee. But the consumers love them for their convenience and reliability, and they love the taste of the coffee with their state-of-the-art appliance. The machine itself is reasonably priced and very profitable to Keurig, because it is so cheap to make, and once the consumer throws away their old drip coffeemaker, they’re locked in.

Currently 9 billion K-Cups, enough to wrap around the equator 12 times, are used and thrown away each and every year, going into landfills and emitting CO2 and methane, as the coffee grounds within them decompose in the non-decomposing plastic cup, or they end up, along with other plastic garbage, in rivers, lakes, and oceans. When the used K-Cup falls into the water, the wet coffee grounds stick to the foil top, so it’s top-heavy and floats upside down. Though the machine puts a small hole in the foil, that hole ends up facing down, so the air is trapped inside, and the cup will float upside down for many years, releasing a tiny trail of coffee fertilizer into the water that’s rich in potassium and phosphorus, feeding algae blooms. Coffee grounds are a great fertilizer for gardening, but unless people start tearing off the foil and cleaning out their K-Cups, which will never happen, they’ll be lost.

All single-use packaging is wasteful and a drain on society, but Keurig, now at $4.9 billion in sales, and very profitable, has fostered the atrocity of billions of K-Cups on the environment of the world, at zero cost or liability to the Corporation.

Baby Wipes and Baby Wipes for Adults

The title of an article published by the Guardian in June, 2015 names wet wipes, “The Biggest Villain of 2015”. Having saturated the baby market, the manufacturers of baby wipes are now encouraging adults to use baby wipes through social media and magazine articles. They are even enlisting doctors and experts in this endeavor, and it’s working. Not just geriatrics, but young adults are starting to use baby wipes,also purchasing convenient individually wrapped wipes. Sales of baby wipes are being projected to rise faster than most personal care products over the next six years. When asked in social media whether they were safe for adults to use, the answer was that, if they are used on babies, they must be safe.

But baby wipes are neither safe for Health nor for the Environment. All baby wipes are moistened with chemicals and preservatives and fragrances that contain EDCs that disrupt hormones. One such ingredient is Phthalates, listed as Fragrance, Perfume, or Parfum. This is equivalent to wiping your baby with an estrogen-like substance, to which babies are particularly vulnerable since they are in key stages of development. Or if you prefer to use them on yourself, you are wiping your own nether regions with an estrogen-like substance. And some of the preservatives used have been known to break down to formaldehyde, a carcinogen.

All baby wipes are made of a nonwoven material. Though they may contain some cotton fibers, this nonwoven material always contains plastic, so they are not “biodegradable”, or as is commonly believed, never are they “flushable”. This fact is normally shown in a pictogram on the packaging for liability purposes, but rarely mentioned in words anywhere on most packaging. Nonetheless, people routinely flush used ones down public toilets and down their own toilets, rather than have to smell them in their garbage. In the sewer system, fat is absorbed by the very absorbent nonwoven material in baby wipes, often creating huge “fatbergs”, sometimes weighing thousands of pounds, that have been known to clog and crack sewer pipes and mains, and damage waste treatment plants. The only way to remove these huge “fatbergs” is to disassemble the sewage pipes and systems. Every sewer system manager in the world is acutely aware of this problem, as the costly repairs to their systems are paid for by the taxpayers through their budgets. And yet Kimberly Clark and the other baby wipe corporate managers get to walk away with all the profits and none of these expenses.

(Also note: Baby wipes, since they contain plastic and won’t biodegrade, are routinely found on beaches many per mile, and in the water they resemble Jellyfish, so they are eaten by turtles and other sea creatures.)

Expanded Polystyrene Foam (EPS)

Styrofoam is actually a trademark of Dow Chemical, and it is extruded foam, not expanded, but what we’re talking about is generically called Styrofoam and is used in food containers, packaging, and insulation. Dart Container, the world’s largest manufacturer of foam cups and containers at $1.1 billion in sales, with about 50% of the market, is fiercely trying to hold on to that business, by supporting the Plastics lobby with millions of dollars, relying on them to fight any attempt at the banning of foam anywhere it is attempted.

Many of the largest cities out West, notably San Francisco, Portland, and Seattle, have banned Styrofoam, so you rarely see it in the West. Instead they use biodegradable packaging, and it is not the end of the world, as the Plastics lobby would have you believe. But foam is the dominant material used in fast food and take-out businesses in every other part of the US.

The City Council of New York City recently banned EPS foam food containers, but the ban was overturned by a judge who was convinced by the powerful Plastics lobby that foam really is recyclable, even though all these years it has never been, nor will it really be recycled in the future.

There are several reasons EPS should be banned. It is dangerous to use it in food containers, since it leaches into the food, especially if that food is hot. This has been confirmed. If the weight of a coffee cup is compared before and after, it actually weighs slightly less after the hot coffee is drunk, and presumably you consumed the difference. The plastic Styrene and the chemicals from natural gas used to make it and expand it, Benzene and Pentane, all three are listed by the EPA and IARC as carcinogenic and EDCs, chemicals that disrupt hormones. Besides the possible leaching of these chemicals into our food, manufacturing EPS pollutes the water used and the air with these EDCs.

Another problem with Styrofoam (EPS) is that it is extremely light and buoyant, because it is 95% air, but it is not biodegradable, and projected not to decompose for at least 500 years. Our landfills all over the US are filled 25 to 30% with Styrofoam that is 95% air. Does that make sense? It is very costly for Society to deal with this waste stream, to which landfill expense alone is ridiculous.

What doesn’t make it into the landfill blows away, since foam is so light, and litters our landscapes, or blows into our rivers, lakes, and oceans, and will float there forever to be eaten by sea creatures with catastrophic results.

For so many reasons EPS should be banned. If we allow the Plastics lobby to dominate, we are condoning this unethical product, and we are not serving the interests of Society.

Other Unethical Products

There are literally hundreds of products like these three mentioned, (as well as entire industries such as Fracking and GMO’s), that we know are unquestionably harmful to human and animal health and/or to the Environment, and yet all the profits for these products (and industries) go to the Corporations and the Shareholders, and Society is left with all the expenses and must go on to pick up the pieces. There are no laws to protect us from these products (and industries), no matter how profitable they may be, and no special taxes to pay for their damages.

Perhaps there should be a way of saying “No” to certain products that can be seen to be harmful to health and/or to the Environment, and thus to Society, before they are marketed, and before they become costly. Or perhaps, we should find a way to assign liability and collect damages, or at least tax these harmful products. Otherwise, the status quo will leave Society vulnerable with no defense to the next product “villain” with which we’re about to be faced. Without pure luck, such a Society is not sustainable.


It’s always darkest before the dawn. Through all the black smoke and darkness covered in this article, both literal and figurative, including the darkness of Ignorance and Denial, Pope Francis’s recent visit to the United Nations and the US was like a beacon of light. He came to the US and addressed the United Nations and all the nations and peoples of the world, including the poor people, to reassure us that, not only is it OK to be an environmental and human rights advocate, but that this is the only moral path to take. Not unlike a biblical prophet, he warned us that unless we change our ways, we will destroy (allow the corporations to destroy) our Common Home, and that includes everybody, even the Republicans and the Anti-environmentalists around the world, and their children and their future generations.

The timing of the Pope’s visit to New York was calculated to be during General Assembly Week of the United Nations, where he would be able to present his Encyclical on Climate Change to every nation of the world several months before the crucial, life-and-death Paris Climate Summit scheduled in December. More world leaders would be present for this address than had attended any previous General Assembly.  But the Pope didn’t want his speech to divide the UN, just as he didn’t want his address to Congress, at the invitation of then Speaker of the House, John Boehner, a staunch Republican, to divide an already divided Congress, and so he preached Love and the Golden Rule vis-a-vis immigrants, and though he did refer to it strongly, never uttered the term, “Climate Change”.

Some environmentalists were disappointed that the Pope’s addresses at the UN and at the US Capitol did not include more specifics. But he didn’t have to get into the specifics. He had already taken the time to write all of it down for every one of us to read and study, including the Science, which he thankfully covered so well. Pope Francis, with the assistance of many others, spent more than a year researching and writing his Encyclical Letter, Laudato Si’, (translated, Praised Be), On Care of our Common Home, and he made it available for all of us to read. A link to this important document can be found at the end of this report before the videos.

Pope Francis came to the US to give us a lesson in what it means to be a Society, and what it means to care for our children and their future, and to care for each other. And that cannot be without caring for Mother Earth. These are imperatives without which Society cannot survive. The predominance of the endless pursuit of the God of Money and Greed could very well be the end of Society, certainly the end of Democratic Society.

Though we are not Catholics, nor Fundamentalists, the Pope helped us see, and it has always been clear to many of us, that we humans are endowed with Choice, the Choice between the Path of Black Smoke and Darkness, expressed by the psychology of the Coal Rollers and the Anti-environmentalists, and the Path of Light, expressed by those who care for Human Rights and for Mother Earth.

Beyond any quest for utopia, just in order for us to survive, the world needs major changes right now, and a departure from all Fossil Fuels and Big Ag, from the rule of Corporations, and a return to Democracy and the rule of the People. Dr. Vandana Shiva, the Mother of the Seed Freedom Movement, along with her colleagues, offers us a Manifesto for such a Society. It includes a blueprint for a Circular Economy, not Capitalism, not Socialism, certainly not Communism, something different, setting the priorities straight. This document is called Terra Viva - Our Soil, Our Commons, Our Future – A new vision for Planetary Citizenship, and, again, the link can be found towards the end before the videos.

Hopefully by shining a light on all of those politicians, government officials, and businessmen who are in a very real sense ‘thumbing their noses at society’, and by appealing to people’s better nature, they might take it upon themselves to exhibit a little bit less of that attitude, and that alone will make it easier for us to make the necessary changes in this world for us to survive..

During Pope Francis’s visit, he blessed many individuals, but I think the Pope would agree that he isn’t the only one with the power to bless. All humans are endowed with this power, so let’s bless each other with the strength to continue our urgent struggle against the powers of Darkness and Anti-environmentalism, a dead end street, and bless Mother Earth and all of her Creatures, including us, our children, and future generations.

Rainbow for Pope Over Central Park, NYC September 25, 2015
Courtesy of
80,000 people awaiting the Pope’s procession
witnessed this Rainbow, when it hadn’t rained
in NYC in close to two weeks. The scientific
explanation was that ice crystals in high altitude
clouds refracted the light, called a ‘Sundog’,
per the New York Times. But, anyway,
the timing was perfect!

Message to our Readers

Before we get into the Books and Movies that we’re so delighted to offer at the end of this report, we’ve got to take care of some unfinished business.

We started this report with the statement that these people, these anti-environmentalists, hate us and everything about us, and that they even hate the Pope. Hate is a strong word, but in this case it’s almost an understatement. Though we will not pollute our video section with this hatred, it would be incomplete for us not to include some back up. First, we’ve got a series of clips put together by Media Matters with shockingly hateful remarks about the Pope and his Encyclical. Next, we’ve got a video from Right Wing Watch on the Religious Right and their take on Environmentalism, where the hosts characterize environmentalism as a dangerous radical movement that is “deadly to human prosperity” and “deadly to the Gospel of Jesus Christ”. They call environmentalism the “Cult of the Green Dragon”, as though we were the Devil incarnate. We are not paranoid when we say they hate us. But that is all we’re going to include here.  If you wish to see more, there’s no shortage of hatred on the Internet.

Now on a much more positive note, we’ve included a section called, ’Priceless Documents’. Though these books are not ours to give, we can’t think of more wonderful gifts. Please regift them to your family, friends, and neighbors. That’s the miracle of digital; you can regift unlimited times without diminishing what you have.

The first book is Pope Francis’s 184 page ‘Encyclical Letter, Laudato Si’ - Of The Holy Father Francis – On Care For Our Common Home’. It’s not just about Climate Change. Besides Human Rights and many related subjects, including the right to Food and Water, it covers most every environmental subject, including Biodiversity, GMOs, Air and Soil and Water Pollution, Our Oceans, Forests, and more. We encourage you not to miss, at very least, the introduction, and pages 9 to 12, where the Pope introduces St. Francis of Assisi, after whom he named himself when he was elected Bishop of Rome. St. Francis was a total nature loving “hippie”, very much like the spiritual environmentalist, John Muir. There’s a Table of Contents at the end, and we encourage you to peruse the Science in the words of the Pope, and see how he presents it. In general, the scientific community was very supportive of the accuracy of his presentation and conclusions.

Our second ‘Priceless Document’ is entitled, ‘Terra Viva - Our Soil, Our Commons, Our Future - A new vision for Planetary Citizenship’. It’s 104 pages long (2 pages per PDF page), with a Table of Contents right after the intro. In writing ‘Terra Viva’, with her many associates on that project, Dr. Vandana Shiva, the leader of the Seed Freedom movement, envisioned a society which “exchanges a linear process of exploitation of land and resources with a circular process based on reintegration and regeneration, which in turn guarantees resilience, sustainability, justice, and peace. This new agriculture (culture) is part of a process which aims to redefine the very concepts of democracy and freedom. It is capable of generating both a new economy and a new democracy; Earth Democracy.” Beautifully written, Terra Viva makes so much sense.

The first in our video section is a marvelous expose on the phenomenon of “Rolling Coal”, as presented by the Colbert Report. The psychology of Coal Rollers is central to our report, and to fully understand how deeply the psychology extends, it’s essential that you view this hilarious satire about a very sick practice.

We had to include our second video, Corruption is Legal in America, because it demonstrates so clearly how the Corporations and the 1% have co-opted Democracy, and in that sense, how the politicians and corporate execs are thumbing their noses at the rest of us. Unfortunately, corruption, legal or otherwise, is not limited to America, or to Capitalism. It’s everywhere.

The third and fourth videos are the trailer for the movie based on Naomi Klein’s controversial book, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs The Climate, and a short (23 minutes), inspiring lecture Naomi presented at the Bioneers Summit Conference. She ends her talk with a discussion of the ‘new’ Climate Movement, which she and others have dubbed, ‘Blockadia’, and how indispensible protesters have been, “grounded in a ferocious love of place”, especially indigenous protesters, in the ongoing struggles against bomb trains, pipelines, extractive toxic fracking, mining. lumber, and fossil fuel terminals and infrastructure. In Naomi’s words, ”Blockadia is not a specific location on a map, but rather, a roving transnational conflict zone that is cropping up with great intensity wherever extractive companies are attempting to put natural systems at risk, whether for open pit coal mining, or gas fracking, or tarsands, or oil pipelines.” On Capitalism and Climate Change she tells us, ”Our economic model is at war with Life on Earth. We can’t change the Laws of Nature, but we can change our broken economy, and that’s why Climate Change isn’t just a disaster, it’s also our best chance to demand and build a better world.”

In our final video, ’We Care For Life - The Power In Caring - Call to Action for Living Seed and Living Soil‘, by Dr. Vandana Shiva, it’s striking how similar her message is to the message of Pope Francis, despite the fact that they come from such different places. They both advocate “a revolution of love, and a revolution of caring for life”. While fighting the fight of her life against Big Chem and Agribusiness on behalf of the farmers, and our health, and the health and sustainability of our food supply, as well as organic agriculture’s ability to remediate Climate Change and regenerate Soil, Dr. Shiva joyously encourages us. “The power of love is stronger than the power to destroy”, and that has everything to do with the struggle between the Environmentalists and the Coal Rollers of this world.

We thank our readers in France, Germany, Canada, the UK, and Russia, (our biggest audience outside the US), and we thank all of our US and international readers (from over 100 nations). We really do appreciate you taking the time to read our articles. And we extra-appreciate when you refer them to friends. That’s where our readers can really make a difference. Whether we really are able to do something significant to protect the last 40 years of environmental and conservation protections against the attack of the Right Wing, whose goal it is to tear them all down, depends largely on whether we and others can get this story out, and make citizens of the world aware, and get them out to vote. We love getting feedback. Our email address is:, or if you prefer Twitter, you can use: @Mikethemikeman1. For the sake of our people, our families, and Mother Earth, we encourage all of you, as charter members of Woodstock Earth, to spread the word and help get these stories out.

Priceless Documents


A new vision for Planetary Citizenship


Rolling Coal

Corruption is Legal in America

This Changes Everything – The Movie – Trailer

Naomi Klein - This Changes Everything

We Care For Life
The Power In Caring
Call to Action for Living Seed and Living Soil 2015


  1. This is a great piece, covering a lot of ground.

  2. Many thanks for this compendium of useful info.
    Keep on keep'n on.