Archive for the War Category

Rescue ME Blondie

Posted in Environmental Security, Popular Culture, War with tags , , on April 21, 2010 by jessicabarranco

Punk heroine to the rescue! Beware of blondes and lipgloss

Well, I can’t find the actual comic strip to post… but I did get a kick out of the movie!

Just wanted to pass it on.

Gotta get Mine

Posted in Climate Change, Environmental Security, Natural Disasters, Nuclear Apocalypse, Rhetoric, Risk & Fear, War on April 8, 2010 by Taylor Manuel

Through exploring the connections between war and the environment, there seems to be an  overwhelming voice speaking to an escalation of conflict in the interest of securing increasingly diminishing  resources. I think that in carrying on discussion in this area it is important to note that though there seems to be an increase in such conflict, securing environmental resources and conversely using them in war has been an aspect of conflict from the very beginning of war itself. Though technology certainly magnifies the impact and feasibility of environment both as weapon and reason for war.

Geo-political interest in foreign occupation has become just as permanent as the basses we have established.

If securing oil and gas resources is the major motivation for military occupation and national security, why do we put boots on the ground in the name of “Democracy and womens rights”? I suppose the answer is an obvious one, but is securing access to dwindling resources not just? As selfish as it may seem. Not to mention, profitable!

Unrelated to this theme, its interesting to think of Natural disaster being used as a covert weapon. Both in  cause and or response.

Gordan J. F. Macdonald was a visionary professor in Geophysics. In 1968, he wrote a book entitled, “Unless Peace Comes: How to Wreck the Environment.” He writes:

Man already possesses highly effective tools for destruction. Eventually, however, means other than open warfare may be used to secure national advantage. As economic competition among many advanced nations heightens, it may be to a country’s advantage to ensure a peaceful natural environment for itself and a disturbed environment for its competitors. Operations producing such conditions might be carried out covertly, since nature’s great irregularity permits storms, floods, droughts, earthquakes and tidal waves to be viewed as unusual but not unexpected. Such a ‘secret war’ need never be declared or even known by the affected populations. It could go on for years with only the security forces involved being aware of it. The years of drought and storm would be attributed to unkindly nature and only after a nation were thoroughly drained would an armed take-over be attempted.

This strategy of covert war, coupled with the securing of resources and invasive population control presents an interesting dynamism…

Short Truth of War

Posted in Climate Change, Environmental Security, Uncategorized, War with tags , , , , , on April 7, 2010 by jessicabarranco

As nature triumphs over wilderness that has been devastated through war, society becomes enamored with the anthropocentric idea that through our actions, nature is given the means to survive.  People live in a constant state of war.  It challenges our assumptions that nature will succeed, regardless of how many people we kill, or how many are impoverished or living in degradation.  It seems that if humans can’t live there, it would be unexpected for any form of life to strive or even flourish.  Why is this the case?

War can be viewed as humanity’s natural state; poor, nasty, brutish and short (Hobbes quoted in Environment: An Interdisciplinary Anthology).  If the world’s greatest percentage of people fall under these categories of being poor, they must also entail the other qualities as well.  In the chapter on War and Peace, there are a number of civilizations that are in constant, militarized state of war.  In these areas, nature flourishes, even to the extent that in some places, tigers are remediating the clean-up of blood shed and death in combat zones.  “Tigers rapidly move toward gunfire and apparently consume large numbers of battle casualties.” (Environment, p. 230)  Naturally, wildlife is able to find a use for those we find disposable; the dead.  What nature has a hard time surviving is the constant pressure of incessant population growth.  Since we separate ourselves from nature in our mentality, we have this idea to digest: “The worst degradation is generally where the population is highest.  The population is generally highest where the soil is the best.  So we’re degrading earth’s best soil.” (Environment, p. 221)

What role does society play, if the idea of war is natural, and the thought that nature can survive this tension? Western society gives us the false notion that we are secure in our system of government, and that in times of need or chaos, it will step in to mediate the relationship between man and nature.  But at what point are we responsible for our individual role in this relationship?  It is wrong for us to assume that society is maturing in its knowledge of natural systems, and to instead, we should find the means for survival elsewhere.  I suggest an approach similar to Lauren’s ideas for survival from Parable of the Sower.

Civilization is to groups what intelligence is to individuals.  It is a means of combining the intelligence of many to achieve ongoing group adaptation.

Civilization, like intelligence, may serve well, serve adequately, or fail to serve its adaptive function.  When civilization fails to serve, it must disintegrate unless it is acted upon by unifying internal or external forces. (Butler, p. 101)

It is up to the individual to recognize his limits.  It cannot be guaranteed that those with the inability to succeed will be protected from the government.  It would be ignorant to wait for a superficial entity to have the answers in times of chaos, when this same structure struggles to unify its people under one system on a daily basis.  As Simon Dalby writes in Environmental Security, “the point is not simply that knowledge is power, but that knowledge and power are imbricated in each other in complex discursive formations…” (p. xxv).

“War can damn Earthly ecosystems to hell.”

Posted in Climate Change, Environmental Security, Natural Disasters, Risk & Fear, Uncategorized, War on April 5, 2010 by Rita

     I am honestly torn by my title statement, which was stated by Alan Weisman in, The World Without Us, because on the face of it, war does devastate and yet Nature (make me happy) finds a way. An example is the DMZ in Vietnam where land mines are spread far and wide. Agent Orange used quite liberally and yet flora and fauna are flourishing in this dangerous ecosystem~a safeguard from man, so to speak. Other examples are ship and plane wrecks in the ocean and how Nature adapts and assimilates to this by-product of war.

     Then just as easily, as tossing a coin in the air, you can find: images, stories, videos, documentaries etc showing and illustrating the devastation of areas like Iran/Iraq where Nature has been decimated, forced to oblivion, having had to give up because the organisms cannot thrive, let alone survive.

     Like stated in the class handout, War and Peace, it’s true that:                     

               “Overpopulation and ecological collapse in any one country or region burden the entire world community and the biosphere itself.”


“…in the long run, everyone’s prosperity depends on the health of the whole.”


     Afterall, bombing for peace is like fucking for virginity!

     In closing,

                                                                         Love & Take Care,





Posted in Natural Disasters, Uncategorized, War with tags , , , , on March 31, 2010 by jessicabarranco

Societies are  programmed to self-destruct regardless of actual experience, historic accounts, or even coming to an understanding of the environmental issues are at stake in order to address the problem and find a solution to it.  If this history is true, then why not lay down and play dead?

Jared Diamond, addresses the possible reasons for society’s ignorance:

First of all, a group may fail to anticipate a problem before the problem actually arrives.  Second, when the problem does arrive, the group may fail to perceive it.  Then after they perceive it, they may fail even to try to solve it.  Finally, they may try to solve it but may not succeed … Why, then, do some societies succeed and others fail, int he various ways discussed in this chapter?  Part of the reason, of course, involves differences among environments rather than among societies: some environments pose much more difficult problems than do others. (Diamond, 421 and 438)

As Diamond points out, it is the challenging aspect of the environment that is responsible for society’s demise.  In his chapter, Why Do Some Societies Make Disastrous Decisions?, he lists many examples of disastrous behavior of society given many different environments, under different types of governments.  The most interesting account, involves his fourth point, that societies may try to solve the problem, but a solutions may be beyond its capacity to solve it, due to lack of expenses or efforts.  He describes the cold climate of Greenland, and notes that for 5,000 years, “its limited, unpredictably variable resources have posed an insuperably difficult challenge to human efforts to establish a long-lasting sustainable economy” (p. 436).  If the answer to why societies are unsuccessful, lie in the fact that it does not have the capacity to solve it, this is my response:  If you have 5,000 years of history proving that life in a particular area is unsustainable, then there is absolutely no way that some measly little environmentalist or big bad government is going to magically take the earth by her horns, and force her to yield to this society that wants to live in that particular area.


Millenarian Revolutions on the other hand have a bone to pick with man-made disasters, and the corruption among governments that refuse the survival of the masses.  To counter Jeffrey Ellis’ argument for finding a comprehensive understanding to problems, I would argue that Mike Davis sets up a clear account of over-population.  If arguing through Paul Ehrlich’s perspective, it is only natural for governments to allow victims of natural disaster and catastrophe to fend for themselves.  These people are not going to be the next heroes for the next generation, and will not contribute to maximization of profits for anyone anywhere.  The victims of drought and famine are those that do not have power or worth, except through rebellion and mere survival.  Even as these catastrophes unfold, the governments in place use tactics that nature has demonstrated against those who are already devastated.  “It was impossible to disentangle the victims of drought from the casualties of warfare, or to the clearly distinguish famine from epidemic mortality” (Davis, p. 199).  In this description, it is the fate of the victims to perish under exploited environments.  And so, society dwindles.

Ellis argues that the problems that arise in nature are not consequences of only one problem, nor do they have any one solution.  Regardless of the perspective, he proposes, “Instead of arguing with one another about who is most right, radicals must begin to consider the insights each perspective has generated and work toward a more comprehensive rather than a confrontational understanding of problems that have multiple, complex, and interconnected causes” (Ellis, p. 267).  As he sets up his argument in On the Search for a Root Cause, it would not matter my own personal perspective on the effects of society or environmental collapse, or even the possible solutions to them.  The real matter is that people are placed in strategic settings in order to play a game of Climate Risk.  As Davis points out in The Origins of the Third World, “Climate risk is not given by nature but by ‘negotiated settlement’ since each society has institutional, social, and technical means for coping with risk.  Famines thus are social crises that represent the failures for particular economic and political systems” (Davis, p. 288).

Returning to my orignial argument, if society chooses to play the game, it is up to them to survive.  The given society has the means to survive, if it addresses the environment with keen instinct and a unified collective of understanding.  “There havebeen many such courageous, insightful, strong leaders who deserve our admiration … China’s leaders who mandated family planning long before overpopulation in China could reach Rwandan levels.” (Diamond, p. 440)

“The Babbling of Dead Souls”

Posted in Popular Culture, Rhetoric, Uncategorized, War on March 23, 2010 by Rita

Heat. This is what cities mean to me. You get off the train and walk out of the station and you are hit with the full blast. The heat of air, traffic and people. The heat of food and sex. The heat of tall buildings. The heat that floats out of the subways and the tunnels. It’s always fifteen degrees hotter in the cities. Heat rises from the sidewalks and falls from the poisoned sky. The buses breathe heat. Heat emanates from crowds of shoppers and office workers. The entire infrastructure is based on heat, desperately uses up heat, breeds more heat. The eventual heat death of the universe that scientists love to talk about is already underway and you can feel it happening all around you in any large or medium-sized city. ” (Don DeLillo, White Noise. 1984. New York. Penguin Books)

For those of you who live in cities, you have my sympathy. I listened and watched the following video and I ended up with a migraine! I know that the vast majority of  city residents assimilate to the sites and sounds and eventually it all becomes White Noise to you.  As an adult, I found the sounds more than I could bear, imagine what it’s like for a newborn! The shock to the system or is it something they have already adapted to while in the womb?


Here’s a definition, for those of you who are still unsure what White Noise is: White Noise is a type of noise that is produced by combining sounds of all different frequencies together. If you took all of the imaginable tones that a human can hear and combined them together, you would have White Noise. You can think of White Noise as 20,000 tones all playing at the same time.” (http:/ What is White Noise?).

For those of you who didn’t care for the White Noise of the city, following are a couple of videos that might be more to your liking.

For your listening and visual enjoyment:

For your audio pleasure:

Here in America where no one is responsible or in control; all are receptors, receivers of stimuli, consumers. The recording and producing of White Noise machines, CDs of Nature sounds-like the ocean waves, bird songs, rivers, streams, storms, and rain [who knew residents of temperate rainforests had it so good? :0) ] is fast becoming a multi-million a year industry. If the noise of your community or neighborhood isn’t quiet enough or too noisy you can purchase your choice of White Noise.

The biggest conveyance of White Noise and information about White Noise is the television. ” Television is ”the primal force in the American home, sealed-off, self-contained, self-referring . . . a wealth of data concealed in the grid, in the bright packaging, the jingles, the slice-of-life commercials, the products hurtling out of darkness, the coded messages . . . like chants. . . . Coke is it, Coke is it, Coke is it.  (Don DeLillo, White Noise. 1984. New York. Penguin Books)

So… How much White Noise is in your life?