Dominique, Raymond, and those who will miss Tonya as she journeys to the Summerland
Lindie Lila, Lady Water, Sisters of the Moon
Gaia Consort, Peace Now, Evolve
Loreena McKennitt, Dark Night of the Soul, A Mediterranean Odyssey
Greg Federico, A Special Place, Live to Love – Love to Life
Wendy Rule, Dissolve, World Between Worlds
Shining Wheel Pagan Chorus, Loki, Chants of Balance
Arthur Hinds, Never Underestimate, Poetry of Wonder
OMNIA, Love in the Forest, Wolf Love
The Green Children, Hear Me Now, Encounter
Orpheus Pagan Chamber Choir, The Mummer’s Dance, Orpheus: Inception
Jenna Greene, Believe, Crossroads
Chalice and Blade, Cunning and Art, Wild Hunt
Sylvia Guersenzvaig, Pisces, OpenStars
Laura Powers, Dance ’till the Rain Begins, Code of the Goddess
Spiral Dance, Magick, Live Words ‘n’ All
This winter has been really harsh – here, in the United States, East of the Rocky Mountains, we’ve seen one of the harshest, and coldest winters that most of us remember. About 60% of the Great Lakes have frozen over, as has Niagara Falls. It’s downright cold – unusually so.
And so, the climate change deniers are hopping on this like flies on – yeah, that.
Alex Jones’ site Info Wars published an article suggesting that the cold snap proves that global warming is a hoax. A number of conservative sites are poking fun at news organizations for suggesting that cold weather can be due to global warming.
Rush Limbaugh, earlier this year suggested that the “Left Creates “Polar Vortex” to Make You Think Winter is Caused by Global Warming”. Blenn Beck had a segment called “Polar Vortex Attack” back in January.
And this is what happens when people pay attention to local weather and believe that it somehow reflects the global conditions.
So, yes, in parts of Canada, and in parts of the United States, it’s cold. And yes, this is due to the Polar Vortex. What is the Polar Vortex? In reality, we typically have two of these – one near either pole. They are persistent cyclones formed and strengthened in the winter due to the temperature differentials between the Equator and the poles. They are areas, usually about 1,000 kilometers in diameter in which the air circulates counter-clockwise.
What keeps this vortex stable is a relatively large temperature differential between the equatorial regions and the polar regions. As the poles warm, and they are actually warming at about twice the rate of the rest of the world, that differential decreases, which means that the stability decreases, and this results in excursions of colder air into the mid latitudes – such as we are seeing this winter.
But, and this is an important point, the cold weather in the Eastern half of this continent is quite an anomaly – we wound up, here in the East with what would have once been considered a fairly typical winter. But if we look to Alaska, once known for its very cold weather – well, Alaska has actually been warmer than average – much warmer, and there were times when the temperature here in New Hampshire was actually colder than it was in Fairbanks!
And then we can move Eastward to Britain, who have had incredible floods. The Thames Barrier is a gate that is closed to prevent flooding of London. It’s been closed a total of 168 times since 1982. 25% of those were this past winter.
Moving South, we come to the heat in Australia – some of the worst on Record. And again, back East to the West Coast of the United States, record drought, and when they do get rain, it’s all at once.
The truth is that while it’s cold here in the Eastern US, we’re but a tiny portion of this Earth – maybe 4 – 6 % of the surface – and what’s happening here isn’t what’s happening world-wide. When we want to consider what’s going on on our planet, we can’t pretend that our tiny bit of the World is representative of it all.
Hi I’m Carl, and this is the Pagan FM Almanac for March the 6th, 2014.
Please note that all moon void of course data is courtesy of www.drstandley.com
Today is Thursday, March 6th, 2014 and it is the 65th day of the year. The waxing crescent moon is currently void of course, and will enter Gemini on Friday March 7th at 3:23 AM. The Sun is in Pisces.
The moon enters its second quarter on Saturday, March 8th at 8:27 AM.
The Moon will be void on Sunday, March 9th at 3:33 AM and will enter Cancer at 3:35 PM.
The Moon will be void on Tuesday March 11th at 4:05 PM, and will enter Leo on Wednesday, March 12th at 4:13 AM.
This Sunday, March 9th at 2:00 AM, Daylight Savings Time starts in North America as we all spring our clocks ahead one hour.
This week in history, on March 7th in 1890, William Butler Yeats was initiated into the Temple of the Golden Dawn.
In terms of holidays, March 7th is National Crown Roast of Pork Day. A crown roast is simply a pork roast arranged in a circle, with its rib bones protruding up like the points of a crown. I can’t help but notice that, perhaps not coincidentally, this last Saturday, March 1st, was National Pig Appreciation Day. Hmmmmm,,,
In current events, I and doubtless thousands of her other fans received an email last week from Kellianna, pagan singer, songwriter, and chantress, announcing two upcoming appearances in New England – a spring concert at the Horn and Cauldron in Greene, Rhode Island on March 23rd, and an appearance at the Magical Marketplace and Psychic Fair in Nashua, New Hampshire on March 29th. More information is available at her website, www.kellianna.com, that’s w-w-w-dot-K-E-double L-I-A-double N-A-dot-com.
And this has been the Pagan FM Almanac for March the 6th, 2014.
I’ve got a bit of a busy schedule, and next week here on PaganFM, we’ll be celebrating the Equinox to give our solitary listeners something to use to get ready for that holiday. But tonight, I wanted to share a bit of an article that I’m getting ready for The Pagan Activist. It’s not the whole article, but it is some of the ideas that are going into it.
I’m calling this article “Rational Activism”.
This topic may make some of you uncomfortable, but I hope that before you jump to conclusions about what it is that I’m saying, that you hear me through before judging what it is that I’m saying. We seem, today, to live in a world that is largely black and white. Whatever sort of activism it is that we take part in, it seems that we must be all-in, or we are heretics – not really part of the movement. In doing so, we may often alienate many allies – just because we don’t take the time to understand each other.
Consider the attacks that have been leveled at John McCain as he diverges a bit from the orthodoxy of the Tea Party. Whether or not one agrees with his politics, this is a man who – from the Left side of the fence, and from much of the right, is solidly Republican. He was hailed as a maverick, indeed praised for speaking his own mind. But recently, for votes that don’t completely align with the GOP platform, he’s been harshly criticized; for voting for what is good for the country, he’s labeled a RINO. Sadly, that’s the way it seems to be among some activists. If someone is fighting to reduce carbon emissions, but doesn’t have a problem with nuclear power, they are suddenly not a real environmentalist. Of if we want sustainable agriculture, but think that there are methods that will work, but aren’t necessarily in conformity with organic farming, we are somehow illegitimate and sell-outs.
If we’re going to be effective in our activism, it’s important that we have not only passion for what we’re doing, but a solid understanding of what we’re doing, and why. If we don’t, then we are really going to be ineffective. But equally, we need to understand that while we might be passionate about what we are doing, that there may well be legitimate positions that diverge from what it is that we believe.
In feminism, or in working for racial justice – if one does not toe the line, if a person has a lapse in judgment, one can be quickly ostracized – as Ani Difranco discovered when a workshop she had planned was announced to be held at a former plantation.
There seems to be a fundamentalism in almost every quarter today – if we’re not all-in, we’re certainly out. And some of this rigidness seems to have penetrated the realm of those of us who consider our selves to be tolerant, and fighting for social justice. It’s certainly a part of the green movement.
Look at the term GMO; as soon as many of us hear it, it’s met with almost a visceral response. If asked “what do you think of GMOs, many of us would immediately respond that they are evil. We’ll hear arguments that “our bodies don’t know what to do with them”, that “Monsanto is destroying the planet”, and “The biotech industry is dangerous”. In some circles, we hear that “the medical industry doesn’t want a cure for cancer” because “they make more money selling us drugs that will not heal”, and “they spend money to cover up natural cures because they can’t make money off of them”.
There is certainly a grain of truth in all of this – but is it really true that all corporations and all who work for them are entirely corrupt? Consider this: Physicians and scientists working in the pharmaceutical companies receive the same treatment that we do. If they were “covering up cures for cancer” in order to prevent knowledge of natural cures from leaking out, why is it that they don’t use these “covered up cures” when they are faced with these diseases? Why do they either use the same treatments we receive – or opt for no treatment at all?
The truth, when it comes to natural health, is that it’s not a black and white issue. Certainly the laws and regulations here in the United States are problematic. When it’s illegal to say that White Willow bark can be used as an analgesic, something is seriously wrong; it shouldn’t require a company to spend millions of dollars to do a double-blind study to make this claim when the truth of the matter is that White Willow bark was the initial source for aspirin.
But the other side of this is that there have been countless fraudulent claims by those selling “natural cures” that have been fraudulent as well. Certainly this isn’t limited to the natural health arena – drug manufacturers have done quite the same. The truth is that ALL of those who have been pandering cures without evidence to support their claims have poisoned the well – sometimes literally. And the default position of the government now is that evidence must exist prior to making claims, rather than attempting to disprove claims after the fact.
Let’s now look at the term GMO. Basically, the term means any living organism that has been modified via genetic engineering. This can certainly mean Monsanto’s corn, but it also applies to the bacteria that have been genetically modified to produce the insulin that diabetics are taking every day. I don’t believe that any of us would wish to condemn to death or misery those who are currently being treated with insulin that is obtained via GMO bacteria.
It’s important to fight – not the use of technology, but rather the irresponsible use of technology. What’s wrong with many GMO crops is not the simple fact that they are genetically modified crops – there may well be many genetic modifications that are quite worthwhile. The problem with many GMOs right now is that they aren’t designed to be inherently better for humans, but rather to be more tolerant of other dangerous chemicals. Products that are Roundup ™ ready are resistant to glyphosate, which is an herbicide. (Glyphosate is the generic name of Roundup). Use of this chemical permits farmers to use more glyphosate in their fields, and as of 2007, in the United States, some 180 – 200 million pounds of this toxin are used on an annual basis. In February of this year, that same chemical was linked to Celiac disease, gluten intolerance and irritable bowel disorder.
Other GMO crops have been designed to produce their own pesticides; they are actually poisonous to the insects that might eat them. Such organisms are classified as “Plant Incorporated Protectants” (PIP). The Environmental Protection Agency is the responsible agency for registering such products, and claims that extensive testing has been done on registered PIPs, but one needs to wonder how much testing could possibly be done on a product that has only existed for some 20 – 30 years.
The point of this is that when we direct our activism toward GMOs, it’s important to be specific; what is it that we actually object to? The reality is that we don’t object to GMOs – but, rather, to products that may be dangerous, which haven’t been fully tested, and which may not be as safe for human consumption as they have been advertised.
Other GMO crops may well be welcome. Crops that are disease or drought resistant could certainly help feed a hungry or a warming world. Such as these are certainly more welcome than seeds that are incapable of producing another generation of fertile seeds – which are designed such that farmers need to purchase new seed each year.
If we are going to be against GMOs, we need to ask – are we against all GMOs? Are they all bad? What evidence do we have to support that claim? Are we going to condemn diabetics to a horrible death simply because their insulin is derived from a genetically modified organism, and the orthodoxy claims that all such things are bad? Or can we take a more rational approach, step back, and look more closely at the TYPES of GMOs that we might have a problem with?
Let’s look at energy. The Keystone Pipeline project is in the news right now, and certainly more tar sands oil on the market is a cause for concern. Is the pipeline necessarily a bad thing?
I’d say that it’s problematic to put something that could fail, and destroy a major aquifer right where it can do the most damage. And certainly our dependence on fossil fuels is a major problem. So, what are the alternatives? Let’s say that the Keystone XL pipeline isn’t built. Will that stop the taking of oil from those sands? No. Will it eliminate the possibility that a major aquifer isn’t contaminated? Well, maybe one of them, but that oil will get out – by trains, by trucks, or by other pipelines. I’m certainly not saying that we need to build the Keystone XL pipeline. But what I am saying is that if we don’t, we need to accept the responsibility for whatever means are used to get the oil from where it is to where it’s going. Will it mean more ships in dangerous waters? Will it mean another train derailing and destroying another small town – or a larger part of a larger city?
Let’s look at natural health. It’s almost an orthodoxy that some of us believe that the medical industry is hiding cheap and effective cures for many illnesses. But that just doesn’t make sense. Making that claim implies that those who know about these so-called hidden cures are willing to die, when they suffer from such diseases that there are cures for, in order to keep up the profits of the medical industry and the pharmaceutical industry – just so that other people can remain wealthy. It makes no sense.
Certainly, patents and the like do prevent existing cures from being made more cheaply, and it’s a legitimate debate as to whether that is or isn’t immoral. Should we deny someone a cure for a life-threatening disease just so that profits from the drug or treatment remain high? What is a life worth? I don’t think that any life should be sacrificed on the altar of profits. But that’s me.
There is no single answer to every problem that those of us who count ourselves activists are involved in. There is no one answer that is right for everyone – with pretty much every problem that we face, someone will be injured in its solution. But the point is that we who consider ourselves activists, on any level, need to recognize that there ARE multiple viewpoints for everything, and that simple solutions usually only exist in textbooks.