Audio of the Clean Air Council‘s ‘Air & Health Effects of Shale Gas Infrastructure, at the University of Pennsylvania’. This recording features the presentations of Dr. Celia Lewis (Research and Communications Consultant for the Southwest Pennsylvania Environmental Health Project) and Joseph Minott (Clean Air Council Executive Director and Chief Counsel). For video of the full panel, please check the Clean Air Council’s website in the coming days.
From the event description:
Pennsylvania is the second largest natural gas producing state and there is a growing body of evidence to suggest that pollution from this industry can have a serious impact on the health of those who live in the surrounding communities.
The findings by the United Nations’ Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent covered a broad range of topics, including police brutality, mass incarceration and the school system.
The United Nations is once again tackling racism and the human rights of black people in America, detailing several concerns, from police brutality to mass incarceration to housing crises to the school-to-prison pipeline.
In a preliminary statement to the media published last week, the United Nations’ Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent listed its concerns over its findings of racial disparity in “almost all the human-development indicators such as life expectancy, income and wealth, level of education and even food security,” which the experts maintain “reflect the level of structural discrimination that creates de facto barriers for people of African descent to fully exercise their human rights.”
We should keep in mind that the United Nations is a very conservative organization, and usually very hesitant to speak out against its paymaster, the United States. So the situation must be dire indeed.
Dr. Marta Guttenberg of the Philadelphia chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility spoke with DGP about the quality of our air, the effects of pollution on the human body, and what we need to do to improve the health and well being of Philly residents. (Interview was recorded on December 8th, 2015)
The Modern Education System and the Roots of Oppression
With Layla AbdelRahim
It was great to have Layla Abdelrahim on DGP once more. She has expanded our minds and horizons several times before with her analyses of, among other things, the Trayvon Martin incident, radical ecology & primitivism, and the origins of civilized racism.
She recently spoke with me about what the outrageous police attack on a school girl in South Carolina reveals about the true purpose of the modern education system. We also explored how the institutions of human civilization depend upon and thrive on brutality, hierarchies, and inequality.
For more information on Layla’s work and background, and to read excerpts from her books, click here to visit her website.
Sushil Yadav lives in Delhi, India. He is known among radical environmentalist and anti-civ online circles for his unique perspectives on the root causes of the Anthropocene crisis. You might disagree with him, and you might find some of his answers to be provocative and controversial, yet we must admit it’s refreshing to see that all around the world people are questioning a system that most of us have been coerced into accepting.
Deep Green Philly: Your perspective on the environmental crisis and how to mitigate it is very interesting, What has influenced you and shaped your critique of industrial society?
Sushil Yadav: After finishing college I worked for a few years but I was not happy……..I tried doing different kinds of work but it did not help……It was much later that I would understand the reason…….. I left the job and stayed at home for many years……..During this period of inactivity I learned about the subjective states of mind………When we stop physical work and mental work the unused energy in our body manifests itself as subjective experience……..The mind is initially very restless but gradually you learn control it and you understand the link between different kinds of breathing and the mind……..This is related to yoga, meditation and pranayama.
It was during this period that I reflected upon the kind of life we are living…….I was very troubled by fertile soil and trees being destroyed by the construction industry, cement, concrete and asphalt …….In Delhi where I live there is too much smoke and pollution which turns the sky grey in winters and blocks out the sun……..I became aware of large scale environmental destruction happening all over the world through news stories in the media.
I wanted to understand why environmental destruction was happening, why no one was bothered and how it could be stopped.
We can use our time and energy for three kinds of work……..Physical Work, Mental Work and Subjective Work (Experience)………Destruction of environment and planet happened when we switched over from Physical Work to Mental Work / Desk Jobs.
DGP: People who have been colonized, and those living in developing countries are conditioned to accept without question the wisdom and superiority of the industrial revolution. Native life ways that were much less destructive are considered to be backwards or antiquated. Do you view returning to indigenous life ways as a viable alternative to the industrial system?
SY: It was the west that started the whole destructive process……..Industrial revolution was started by the west……..Industrial activity was promoted by the west when it forced industrial lifestyle on its colonies in Asia, Africa and America after destroying the native cultures during the era of colonization.
Today the entire world is collectively involved in the destruction of planet but the biggest role in this process of destruction was played by western civilization.
We can use our time and energy for three kinds of activities……..Physical Work, Subjective Work (Experience) and Mental Work.
For millions of years on earth environment did not get destroyed because activity was limited to physical work or subjective experience………Millions of animal species did physical work……..Man did physical work in hunter_gatherer stage and agrarian stage…….A very small percentage of population that did not do physical work spent its time and energy on subjective experience – religion, spirituality, yoga, meditation, pranayama and the arts……….(Religion might have led to hatred, violence and wars but it did not destroy environment………Military Industrial Complex has killed more people in hundred years than religion killed in thousands of years before industrialization).
Large scale destruction of environment began when man started using his time and energy for mental work – science, technology, engineering, physics, chemistry, mathematics, business, finance, economics………This led to industrialization and production (and selling) of thousands of consumer goods and services.
As long as we limited our activity to physical work or subjective experience we destroyed very little environment.
When we switched over to mental work / desk jobs, we started producing (and selling) consumer goods and ended up destroying the planet in just about 100 years.
DGP: Your critique of the education system is quite controversial. How is the modern education system linked to the destruction of the environment, and is it a system that can be reformed?
SY: All Industrial Activity that is destroying environment is being run by Scientific, Technological, Industrial, Business and Financial Education.
The most dangerous and destructive industry in this world is Education Industry.
Man was created on earth to do physical work…….For one million years in hunter_gatherer society and for 10,000 years in agrarian society, both adults and children did physical work……..Mental work/ Desk jobs for adults and schools/ colleges for children have come into existence only in the last 100 years.
Degrees = Destruction.
Universities = Destruction.
University Graduates are responsible for all Industrial Activity in this world that has decimated millions of species and destroyed Forests, Rivers, Oceans and Atmosphere.
Education has destroyed the planet.
Universities have destroyed the planet.
Scientists, Engineers, Economists, MBA’s, Business and Finance Graduates have destroyed the planet.
Universities and Colleges are producing millions of Scientists, Engineers, Economists, MBA’s, Business and Finance Graduates who are running and promoting all Industrial Activity in this world.
Education Industry is the source of all Industrial Activity…..All other Industries are by products of Education Industry.
Education Industry is the Mother of all Industries.
Education Industry is the Mother of all Environmental Destruction in this world.
Destruction of environment can never be stopped until Universities are closed down.
Decimation of millions of species cannot be stopped until Universities are closed down.
Destruction of Forests, Rivers and Oceans cannot be stopped until Universities are closed down.
DGP: Cities are commonly viewed as centers of human culture and diversity. According to the United Nations, “54 percent of the world’s population lives in urban areas, a proportion that is expected to increase to 66 per cent by 2050.” Why do you view this as problematic?
SY: Cities have destroyed the environment and planet.
Urban jobs and professions have destroyed the environment and planet.
Industrial activity is directly proportional to percentage of urban population.
Consumerism is directly proportional to percentage of urban population.
Destruction of environment is directly proportional to percentage of urban population.
Insanity, abnormality and criminality is directly proportional to percentage of urban population.
All the destructive work in this world happens when society does not produce food……….In agrarian society more than 99% of population was producing food………In industrial society 50% of world population is producing food for entire population and the remaining 50% is doing destructive work.
For millions of years adult animals searched for food, their offspring learned to search for food.
For 1 million years in hunter-gatherer society, adult humans searched for food, their children learned to search for food.
For 10,000 years in agrarian society, adult humans produced food, their children learned to produce food.
In the last 100 years in urban industrial society, adult humans have been producing and selling thousands of consumer goods in industries and corporations, their children have been going to schools and universities where they learn to produce and sell consumer goods.
Urban jobs and professions have destroyed the planet.
The entire urban population of industrial society is criminal.
The crime goes unchecked because 50% of population is now urban.
The crime goes unchecked because urban population is running the system.
DGP: More and more people are now talking about renewable energy like solar and wind as a solution to the climate crisis. What are your thoughts on this?
SY: The term Green Energy is an oxymoron………It is like the term Peaceful War………..Green energy will save the world from environmental destruction just like Communism and Socialism saved the world from Capitalism.
If you drink poison it will kill you………It doesn’t matter how the poison was produced.
If you use electricity to run millions of industries and corporations it will lead to environmental destruction……..It doesn’t even matter how the electricity was produced.
Energy Generation Industry is not the only industry that is destroying environment………It is just one of the hundreds of industries that are destroying environment.
Environment has been destroyed by Mining Industry, Logging Industry, Manufacturing Industry, Construction Industry, Energy Generation Industry, Oil Industry, Automobile Industry, Rail Industry, Airline Industry, Shipping Industry, Meat and Fishing Industry……….If you want to save environment you have to stop all these destructive industries……..How can change of energy source save the environment that is being destroyed by all these industries???
How is change of energy source going to save environment that is being destroyed by Mining Industry?
How is change of energy source going to save environment that is being destroyed by Logging Industry?
How is change of energy source going to save environment that is being destroyed by Manufacturing Industry?
How is change of energy source going to save environment that is being destroyed by Construction Industry?
How is change of energy source going to save environment that is being destroyed by Airline and Shipping Industry?
How is change of energy source going to save millions of trees and millions of acres of fertile soil that are being destroyed by millions of kilometers of road and rail networks?
How is change of energy source going to save billions of animals and fish that are being killed by the meat and fishing industry?
How is change of energy source going to save environment that is being destroyed by millions of tonnes of Plastic Waste, Chemical Waste and Ewaste?
If a gunman is shooting people dead you have to stop the shooting……..You cannot save the victims by changing the gun.
Production of energy destroys environment………Use of energy destroys environment.
Thermal Energy, Nuclear Energy, Hydro Energy, Wind Energy, Solar Energy ……….Production of all these energies destroys environment………No energy can be produced without destroying environment……..Every process of energy production destroys environment.
Once this energy is produced it is used to run millions of industries and corporations which destroy more environment.
Millions of other species destroyed environment only for food.
Agrarian man destroyed environment for food, clothing and shelter.
Industrial man has destroyed environment for food, clothing, shelter plus thousands of consumer goods and services.
It is the production of thousands of consumer goods and services that has destroyed exponential extra environment, not the source of energy.
DGP: What is your response to those who say that advocating for an end to the industrial system is genocidal (against humans), and that there can be no going back now that so much of human society is linked to industrialism?
SY: Industrial activity has already led to the genocide of millions of other species………If it is not stopped it will lead to genocide of humans………Millions of other species have already been decimated by industrial activity……….Most of the collapse of other species has already happened………Only human collapse is yet to happen…….And people are still not alarmed…….If industrial activity for production of consumer goods is not stopped immediately man will cease to exist on earth within the next few years.
Human collapse is going to come with lightning speed.
A person has been drinking heavily for decades…….His liver is on the verge of total collapse…….Can you save him by advising him to continue drinking?………..Environment has been destroyed by industry and is on the verge of total collapse………Industrial activity for production of consumer goods must stop immediately.
DGP: In your opinion, what are the most harmful aspects of industrial society and why?
SY: Hundred years of industrial activity has destroyed what was created by nature in millions of years.
Industrial society has destroyed necessary things for making unnecessary things.
Industrial society has destroyed Animals, Trees, Air, Water and Soil for making Consumer Goods.
If we don’t get consumer goods we will not die.
If we don’t get food to eat we will die in a month.
If we don’t get water to drink we will die in a week.
If we don’t get air to breathe we will die in a few minutes.
Industrial activity has already decimated millions of other species……..Man is next on the list.
In the coming years there will be severe shortage of food and water.
Food is going to vanish from earth in the coming years…….Industry is killing agriculture……..Millions of acres of fertile agricultural soil has been destroyed by Construction Industry, Mining Industry, Manufacturing Industry, Energy Generation Industry, Oil Industry, Millions of kilometers of Rail and Road Networks, Thousands of Ports and Airports.
Industry is killing agriculture by changing the weather…….Global weather is regulated by forest cover, ice cover, ocean temperature and atmospheric temperatures……..Hundred years of relentless industrial activity has decimated forest cover…….Industrial activity has led to shrinking of arctic ice and glaciers…….Global warming has heated up the oceans and atmosphere……..This has made the weather extreme, irregular and unpredictable leading to drastic increase in intensity and frequency of droughts, floods, cyclones, hurricanes and tornadoes……..Agriculture requires regularity of weather…….It requires heat, cold and rain at the right time and in the right measure…….If industrial activity is not stopped it will lead to collapse of agriculture.
Industrial activity is melting glaciers that give birth to rivers………..Rivers are going to vanish from earth………Man has already depleted underground water using diesel and electric pumps……..Lakes and ponds have been destroyed by industrial activity.
No Food……..No Water…….End of man on earth.
DGP: At this point, is there anything we can do to prevent further destruction? Are there any practical steps we can take?
SY: A pure non-industrial society is not possible now because industrialization has increased human population to over 7 billion………It took millions of years for human population to reach 1 billion in 1800 AD……..From 1 billion it jumped to over 7 billion in just 200 years after industrial revolution because of modern medicine and industrial agriculture……..If man had continued living in agrarian stage, human population would have been less than 2 billion today.
Millions of other species destroyed environment only for food.
Industrial man has destroyed environment for thousands of consumer goods and services in addition to food, clothing and shelter.
Production of thousands of consumer goods and services must stop immediately.
Millions of other species only get food from earth.
Give free food to the urban population but stop urban work………A fraction of world population is already producing food for entire population).
The collective work of human society must be limited to food, clothing and shelter.
Rapidly melting Arctic ice means less access to food and the inability to nurture offspring. The emaciated and possibly near-death female bear shown on the left is in stark contrast to the one on the right. The bear on the right is healthy and able to nurture young; she is still relatively untouched by the forces of civilization.
In the context of this photo, the one who is civilized (or changed/affected by civilization) is the one who has seen their life dramatically altered thanks to the human desire to burn massive amounts of fossil fuels despite knowing how harmful CO2 is to the environment. And yes, we’ve known how harmful CO2 is since at least the 1970’s.
According to conventional wisdom, the more civilized you are, the better off you are. Those who are uncivilized, or less civilized, are considered to be the less fortunate, those to be pitied. This is what we’re taught, but is this actually true? Has civilization been a net loss or gain for the natural world and human societies?
This is how Christopher Columbus described the Taino people he encountered after his initial “discovery” of the Americas:
…. They are an affectionate people, free from avarice and agreeable to everything. I certify to Your Highnesses that in all the world I do not believe there is a better people or a better country. They love their neighbors as themselves, and they have the softest and gentlest voices and are always smiling…
Keep in mind that these people and their society were defacto considered barbarous and backwards. Yet they were described by Columbus and others as living in a state of near-bliss. They certainly don’t sound like the average person in either today’s very civilized society, or the so-called civilized society of 16th century Europe, do they?
Civilization as we know it has been marketed as the only logical way to live, but we sometimes forget that it has historically been introduced to human populations at the tip of a sword or at the barrel of a gun. The choice, if we can call it that, is almost always the same: conform or die. For non-human animals, the civilization process is even worse because their presence is often a hindrance to human expansion – either a hindrance or of no concern at all. Those animals that are deemed useful to humans are domesticated. The rest are of little concern. More in this in forthcoming posts.
Conventional wisdom is killing the planet. We must begin to look more critically at concepts and assumptions we usually take for granted. Conventional wisdom must be challenged if we plan on saving what’s left of the natural world.
The Philadelphia Energy Solutions refinery is applying for permits that would allow it to foul our air with even more toxic chemicals and CO2. Air Management Services (AMS) held a public hearing on September 17th where members of the public voiced our concerns about the refinery and Philadelphia’s possible future as [even more of] a sacrifice zone for the fossil fuel industry.
Our city is at a crossroads. Will we continue down the same treacherous path we are on, relying on the antiquated, planet and human health destroying fossil fuel industry? Or will we look to a brighter future and embark on a path of clean, sustainable and just renewable energy? It can be done.
Click here and here for more information on Philadelphia Energy Solutions and the impact of refineries on local communities.