Don’t Panic


Glenn Gould plays The Goldberg Variations by Bach 1955Glenn Gould plays The Goldberg Variations by Bach, 1955



Glenn Gould plays The Goldberg Variations by Bach 1981Same guy, same music, twenty-six years later



Weekdays, 2015 January 27-31

the-big-ratchetThere was an exchange between the Old World and the New, but ‘the horrible downside to the exchange was the rise of slavery…. The decimation of native cultures in the Americas was another cost beyond counting…. It also amplified humanity’s ability to feed itself from the coerced energy, locking civilization into feeding more and more people.’ The Big Ratchet: How Humanity Thrives In The Face Of Nature’s Crisis by Ruth DeFries 98

Towel dnawatched don’t panic: the truth about population (#dontpanic. don’t have an hour? how about this ted talk at 14 minutes? or this one at four?). very entertaining (hans is pretty funny) … and revealing. for example, families everywhere are having just two kids–‘unprecedented in human history’–why? female education and birth control choices, coupled with the increase in child life expectancy.


health-care aids teaching family planning are his true heroes. but do westerners know that families in the developing world are getting smaller? take the british, for example. turns out that the problem is not their lack of knowledge but having pre-conceived ideas.

Missione del Guaricano-due bambineon every continent, two-child families are the norm. in 2000, the year of ‘peak child‘, when the number of human children is no longer increasing. people all over the planet are having just two kids, and projections are that by the end of the century, people will still be having just two kids.

peakchild-hans-explains-with-blocksif the number of children being born has peaked, why does the population keep growing? because the children live for several more decades, adding to the population. eventually they die though and stop adding, but there is a lag between peak child and peak population, which hans demonstrates with blocks. but the world population is expected to level off by the end of the century (see image above).

Fishing 2yes, we face huge challenges. whether seven billion or nine billion or eleven billion, that’s a lot of people using a lot of resources (and crowding out other animals). the richest billion makes about a hundred dollars a day, the middle billion ten dollars a day, and the poorest billion just one dollar a day. yet the world is changing, and less are in extreme poverty, but the question is, he asks, can we get the last billion out of extreme poverty?

Laundromat ontariohe is optimistic we can. but more people wanting more stuff (like washing machines) means more energy. most of which is used by the richest three billion, who falsely look at the poorest three billion as a problem–yes, they are growing in numbers, but they hardly use any. most energy today comes from fossil fuels, which has problems.

Plastic spoon n Laundry detergent n Washing powder in whiteyet, recently, many thanked the gifts of fossil fuel (in forms as diverse as steel, electricity, and washing detergent) because it liberated them from drudgery. his advice is, ‘look at the data, look at the facts about the world, and you will see where we are today, and how we can move forward with all these billions on our wonderful planet.’

Starkregen how? the richest billion must share more equably with the rest, he says, and everyone must talk about it. he concludes: he doesn’t call himself an optimist but a possiblist. much is possible. looking at the facts you will see that ‘the world is doing a lot better than you think.’

ToothpasteRichard Rohr writes that ‘once the toothpaste is out of the tube, you can’t put it back in. You can’t tell people they don’t know once they know the Bigger Truth. So history proceeds….’

Gentoo-chinstrap hgon wednesday we watched penguin post office #3205 and the book of negroes. on thursday it was the mystery of the monsoon and genius within: the inner life of glenn gould. on friday, the shifting sands of wild arabia.


David Suzuki headshotThe David Suzuki Foundation reports that Duncan, Ladysmith, and Sannich ‘have joined nine other communities passing declarations recognizing their citizens’ right to live in a healthy environment.’

fsf-sw libMeanwhile, the Free Software Foundation commissioned Urchin Studio to make this short video about ‘why we need to reject proprietary software like DRM [Digital Restrictions Management]’.

no eepAnd you can tell National Energy Board Chair Peter Watson to include people’s voices in the Energy East review.



qog-from-dsfQueen of Green knows that ‘reducing consumption isn’t easy. We’re also saddled with making good use of what we do have, getting our money’s worth AND proper disposal. Wouldn’t you rather DO stuff than OWN stuff? Stick with me in the year ahead. Start by joining our four-week Winter Family Challenge!’

Weekend, 2015 January 31-February 1

the-big-ratchetProblems with monocultures [ie., modern farming] are not limited to human farmers. Leaf-cutter ants also have little genetic variation in their fields…. Like human farmers, ants rely on pesticides, but their pesticide consists of bacteria … (in fact, it’s the same bacteria that the pharmaceutical industry uses to make antibiotics). 149 The Big Ratchet: How Humanity Thrives In The Face Of Nature’s Crisis.

explorers-logosaturday, sue met a friend at winterfest. later, we celebrated our anniversary at our favourite restaurant, explorers cafe. sunday, we watched life story with david attenborough, then sue watched downton abbey.

Monday, 2015 February 2

world-wetlands-dayNot only is it Ground Hog’s Day, it’s World Wetlands Day!

vanier-from-jean-vanier.orgOkay, this a long one, but Jean Vanier makes an important point, one I would do well to remember: ‘I remember being in Chili, going along a road from the airport. My driver told me, “Oh, here on the right are all the rich houses, and here on the left are the slums. And nobody crosses over this road.” We live in an incredibly wounded world. I don’t want to give the impression that there are goodies and baddies and that we can issue a moral judgment. We all know that within the slum area there are incredibly beautiful men and women–and incredibly beautiful mothers and fathers who are struggling against a drug culture. Likewise, on the other side of the road in the rich areas, there are incredibly beautiful people. It’s not as simple as good people versus bad people.’

God Caught Backing Multiple GOP Candidates for President-from-nymag.comAnu Garg has a similar point. But Vanier, like Richard Rohr, is Catholic. Garg is not (although evidently she thinks God is male). She finds evidence that it doesn’t matter if you’re rich or poor, left or right, religious or not, some are more moral than others (her links are worth reading): ‘In the last election for the US president, no fewer than three presidential hopefuls [pictured] received the backing of god. Clearly god likes to hedge his bets. Not sure why he changed his mind later on and dumped all three endorsees…. Contrary to what they believe, religiosity doesn’t necessarily imply goodness. (See here and here.)…. Why get government involved in the business of god (or god in the business of government)? Why not vote for the most capable candidate irrespective of whether she bows to a particular god, or how often, or how long?… Mixing religion and state is like mixing water and petrol. It spoils both. And it creates a hazard. At one time both the religous leader and the political leader was one and the same person. In some places that’s still the norm and the results are disastrous.’

cornwall-mapwe watched walking through history (cornwall) and the agenda (breaking barriers).

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