After poisoning and dividing America, Donald Trump has won an ugly victory. The Conversation

9 November 2016
“….In truth, the sickness this election has brought to the surface has been brewing for a long time. Trump is a symptom, not just a pathogen. He has shown a genius for channelling the grievances and insecurities of those disaffected by economic and social changes in the US – primarily, though not solely, working-class whites. With this uncanny skill, he has magnified a form of identity politics the Republicans have long been using to appease and mobilise their base. This experiment in political engineering began in earnest back in the early 1990s. It was until recently an insidious thing, usually advanced via dog-whistle tactics. Trump has picked it up and turned into a blunt instrument as he doubled down on his pursuit of a core white vote and eschewed any serious appeals to minorities….”

Read the article here:

Source: After poisoning and dividing America, Donald Trump has won an ugly victory

What We as a People Can Do, by Richard Heinberg, David Fridley, originally published by Our Renewable Future | JUL 14, 2016

Ed. note: This is Chapter 10 of Richard Heinberg’s and David Fridley’s new book, Our Renewable Future, now available from Island Press. Post Carbon Institute’s companion website, ourrenewablefuture.org has also just been launched and contains additional content not in the book.

Sound national and international climate policies are crucial: without them, it will be impossible to organize a transition away from fossil fuels and toward renewable energy that is orderly enough to maintain industrial civilization, while speedy enough to avert catastrophic ecosystem collapse. However, world leaders have been working on hammering out effective climate policies for nearly a quarter of a century, and during that time greenhouse gas emissions have continued to increase. And the impacts of climate change are becoming ever more incontrovertible and perilous.

Clearly, individuals, households, communities, and nongovernmental organizations cannot merely stand by and hope that political leaders somehow find the wherewithal at the last moment (if it is not already too late) to halt our descent into climate chaos. We must put all possible pressure on those leaders to take politically difficult decisions to severely limit carbon emissions.

That will require collective action on a scale that has yet to be seen. The massive transformations in energy systems, government, and the economy that we have described are exceedingly unlikely to occur absent struggle and social action. Powerful interests invested in the extractive economy will not give up their advantages willingly. As Frederick Douglass eloquently said, “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.”

At the same time, we must also show that we as citizens are ready for climate policies by proactively reducing our reliance on fossil fuels and cutting our greenhouse gas emissions. In the process, we can road-test behaviors and technologies that are needed on a broader scale. Fortunately, many people, communities, and organizations have already started doing this, but more are needed.

Individuals and Households

Tackling the energy transition, climate change, and energy inequality will require collective action and policy. So the most important thing we can do as individuals is to support equitable solutions to climate change, and support local democracy and engagement in local decisions about energy.

Read more here: What We as a People Can Do

U of S fires Robert Buckingham after he spoke out on TransformUs – Saskatoon – CBC News

The head of the University of Saskatchewan’s School of Public Health was fired this morning after he spoke out against the school’s TransformUs restructuring plan.

The university confirmed that it fired professor Robert Buckingham, but would not comment further.

When Buckingham showed up to work this morning, he said he was met by two police officers. He said they handed him a note, which talked about a letter he released yesterday called ‘The Silence of the Deans.’

Buckingham said the university claimed he breached his contract through the letter, and irrevocably damaged his relationship with the university.

He was escorted off campus by the pair of officers. He was told to stay off university property, but will be allowed to return at a later date to collect his personal belongings.

He said his tenure and benefits have been revoked.and cannot comment further until he obtains a lawyer.

U of S reaction

Brett Fairbairn, provost and vice-president academic at the University of Saskatchewan, said in a statement issued today that leadership positions at the institution are roles of trust and stewardship.

“It is not open to anyone to wear the hat of a leader and a non-leader simultaneously,” he said in the statement.

Fairbairn said that being a leader includes putting the good of the organization ahead of one’s own interests or views. He added that deans and other senior leaders had opportunities throughout the TransformUs process to raise their views in small and large group settings.

Sask. opposition weighs in

Saskatchewan opposition leader Cam Broten said that Premier Brad Wall should be calling university president Illene Busch-Vishniac in for a meeting. He said the provincial government did not hesitate to get involved at First Nations University of Canada and the University of Regina in 2005.

The leader of the Saskatchewan NDP said this is “not some university in Arizona run out of someone’s basement” but a real, reputable university whose reputation will be hurt by this.

‘The Silence of the Deans’

In a public letter Buckingham titled “The Silence of the Deans”, he detailed a December 2013 meeting between senior academic leaders at the school. He said Deans and Vice-Presidents were in attendance. Buckingham claims that president Busch-Vishniac told the group not to “publicly disagree with the process or findings of TransformUs”. Buckingham alleges President Busch-Vishniac went on to tell the group that if they did speak out against the cost-cutting process their “tenure would be short”.

“I felt, at that time, [the] deans were being threatened,” Buckingham told CBC News on Tuesday afternoon, a few hours after his letter was raised by the NDP in Question Period at the Legislature. “If we did share publicly, [President Busch-Vishniac] stated that our tenure would be short. I thought that was a threat. What I am concerned about here is freedom of speech at a university,” Buckingham said.

Warned again

Buckingham, who became Dean of the School of Public Health at the U of S in 2009, said it was always his intention to come to the school, improve the school and leave his post at the university after five years. Because of this, he contends university administration, including Provost Brett Fairbairn were vigilant in reminding him that speaking out against TransformUs, publicly, was not condoned; especially as the university prepared to make the details of the TransformUs plan public in May 2014.

Buckingham points to an email sent by Provost Fairbairn on April 29, 2014, addressed to him and Dr. Ken Sutherland the Associate Dean and Professor of Fixed Prosthodontics at the U of S, as evidence that academic leaders were muzzled.

An excerpt from the email reads; “you are in an especially tough position and are subject to the expectation the president has of all of its leaders, that you will support TransformUs and the university’s messaging.”

University issues statement

Following the circulation of Buckingham’s letter on Tuesday, CBC News requested an interview with either President Busch-Vishniac or Provost Fairbairn. CBC News was advised no formal interview would ever be granted on the matter, however the university’s communications department forwarded the following statement and said it was attributable to the Provost:

“The University of Saskatchewan has high expectations of its senior leaders to support the university’s directions and to lead their implementation. Top among current priorities are the university’s TransformUS initiatives. Leaders have opportunities to express personal opinions in leadership discussions. Once decisions are made, all leaders are expected to support the university’s directions,” read the statement.

However, Buckingham hopes his decision to publicly speak out against TransformUs will encourage others in similar positions to do the same.

“I certainly felt stifled and muzzled,” Buckingham said “I think there are probably other Deans at this university who are feeling muzzled also, afraid to speak out.”

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via U of S fires Robert Buckingham after he spoke out on TransformUs – Saskatoon – CBC News.

Academics condemn police attempt to spy on students – University World News

More than 100 academics have condemned an attempt by the police to spy on the political activities of students at Cambridge University. The academics said such \”highly invasive and unjustifiable\” covert surveillance would deter students from joining political groups, writes Rob Evans for the Guardian.

The condemnation comes after the Guardian revealed secret footage recording how a police officer tried to recruit an activist to become an informant and pass on information about demonstrations. The activist wore a concealed camera to record the police officer asking him to feed him the names of students involved in demonstrations, their Facebook postings and the vehicles they used to travel to protests. The officer said the police needed information about \”student-union type stuff\”, citing as examples demonstrations against education cuts and tuition fees.

via Academics condemn police attempt to spy on students – University World News.

Dame Anne Salmond: We could do with a change of heart – Opinion – NZ Herald News

The “invisible hand” of the market, first conceived in the Enlightenment but coupled at that time with notions of justice, human dignity and “the rights of man”, has failed to deliver prosperity and happiness, in New Zealand as elsewhere.

The problem, it seems, is a loss of balance. In the pursuit of profit, everything in the world – the earth itself, other species, knowledge and indeed, other people – has been turned into a “resource” to be exploited, often without care or conscience.

In the process, ideas of justice, truth and the common good have been undermined. Without these bulwarks, democracy falters, capitalism fails to share wealth and the distribution of income shifts dangerously out of kilter.

via Dame Anne Salmond: We could do with a change of heart – Opinion – NZ Herald News.

TEDxGreatPacificGarbagePatch – Van Jones “Environmental Justice” | anakegoodall

TEDxGreatPacificGarbagePatch – Van Jones “Environmental Justice” | anakegoodall.

We care about giving plastic a second chance yet we don’t do the same for people?

 

Anthropocene re-writes: democracy, economics, liberalism – the anthropo.scene

Anthropocene re-writes: democracy, economics, liberalism – the anthropo.scene.

“Contemporary science radically reframes a fundamental idea at the heart of democratic theory and practice: that each person is free to act as he or she wishes so long as that action does not harm other persons. Two important sources of this idea are John Locke’s A Letter Concerning Toleration (1689) and John Stuart Mill’s On Liberty (1859)Locke held that our religious beliefs are internal matters and hence should be beyond the legitimate reach of the state, whose principal tasks are external—to secure “life, liberty, and property.” Mill held that the state has no right to interfere in what he called “purely self-regarding acts”—though interpreting this phrase has proved contentious, even for Mill. Despite the pedigree of these two philosophers, the assumptions their ideas contain have become problematical.”

(thanks to Jeremy Schmidt)