Friday, December 18, 2009


We celebrated the anniversary of the birthday of Mestre Irineu with 13 hours of song and dance and joy at the beautiful little Santo Daime church in Bujari. Just family and a few visitors, but a grand celebration for sure!

I think the videos and photos speak (and sing) for themselves.

Created with flickr slideshow.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

(Where I try to weave it all together after visiting and learning and having my heart captured by Acre.)

We are the peoples of the forest.
This home is our light.
Our spirit lives and shines in her.

Creed of the Peoples of the Forest

In the State of Acre, Brazil, I took a journey through time. Along the streets of the state capital Rio Branco, the past, present and future seemed to kaleidoscope and constellate as I strolled from the home of my friend Edson Alexandre to visit the Marina Silva Library of the Forest. The images that greeted me along the way and in the library told of a fascinating and still unfolding story.

My route carried me first through the Park of Maternity, a long green strip lining the banks of a city stream and stretching from the Children's Hospital to the central bus terminal. Along the way there are many playgrounds, places to sit, snack bars and public facilities such as small museums, artisan shops, restaurants and an amphitheater. This "urban renewal and beautification" is a reflection of the current wave of development and globalization that has been arriving in Amazônia.

As our planet heads toward 9 billion people and as modernization spreads out for the increasing numbers who can afford it, I imagined these scenes as emblematic of the new transfer of culture and information between the urban centers and the rural reaches.

I've made this walk several times before during earlier visits but this time it was the current batch of wall art and advertising signs that especially caught my attention. They all seemed to manifest the connection of this previously somewhere-near-nowhere and end-of-the-roads place to the rest of the world and, now, even to the universe.

Let's start with the local wall art and graffiti. It was similar to some of what I had seen in Sao Paulo but carried a different message. Here, the racial mix of the peoples of forest contain many lines -- Amazonian Indians, Africans and Europeans – in a uniquely Brazilian mixtura that asserts both a vision of a new planetary citizen and the dream of equality for all.

We are all equal.

The advertisements on billboards carried many versions of the themes of globalization and a world of interrelationship. Above one of the playgrounds, a public service announcement tells of the World Day of the struggle against AIDS. The words below the couple kissing say, "One of them has HIV. The other knows." And it continues with, "To live with AIDS is possible – Without prejudice."


Brazil is known for having one of the most successful anti-AIDS programs in the world which is based in large part on taking a frank and aggressive approach to what needs to be done. One example is the educational campaign about living with AIDS. And there's more. Brazil's threats to violate globally monopolistic patents and manufacture its own anti-HIV medicines has forced down the prices set by the multinational pharmaceutical corporations. And each year the Brazilian government distributes millions and millions of free condoms, especially at Carnival time. Indeed, there is even a rainforest brand of natural latex condoms which are a sustainable product of the Chico Mendes Extractive Reserve in Xapuri.

Development, of course, has many products. Crossing the parkway from the playground, we find an advertisement from NUTRISAL which is one of Brazil's large suppliers of cattle feed. About 80% the cleared Amazon lands are now occupied by cows and Brazil is the world's number one exporter of beef. The sign below says, "Together with the producer helping our State to grow." During the later 20th Century and continuing to present growth has indeed been the major theme as the frontier of the forest has been pushed back, especially for grazing cattle and growing soybeans. Today there are about 25 million people living in Amazônia and by some counts as many or perhaps even a greater number of cows.


But I was not really prepared for what I found next. My biggest surprise appeared just a few hundred meters down the street at the Marina Silva Library of the Forest. It is now adorned with a new icon – an astronaut!


"What in the world is going on here? Can all of this somehow be linked together?" is what I thought and I entered the library to find out.

An entrance foyer has a beautiful set of graphics introducing:

the peoples of the forest;


Amazonian biodiversity;


and the credo of the people who live here.

Our Home. We are peoples of the forest. We are persons, animals and trees living with the greatest biodiversity of the planet. We still seek to discover and discover the world that shelters us and surrounds us. This home is our light. Our spirit lives and shines in her.

The main foyer of the library tells the story of the hundred-plus years of globalization of the Amazon Basin. Development began in earnest with the rubber boom that supplied latex to the new motor-driven and steam-engine world of 20th Century industrialization. The wealth bubble that arrived in Brazil was so great that the rubber barons built a European-style Grand Opera House in the central Amazon at Manaus where the legends say that the money flowed so freely that cigars were lit with 100 dollar bills and dirty laundry was sent to Portugal for cleaning.

Rio Branco and Acre are located at Brazil's most western extension of the rubber trade.

The homes of rubber-tappers were built with a cluster of latex-gathering trails in the forest.

All the trails led to riverine settlements and trading posts, many of which remain to present times as villages and towns along the rivers.

But it all went bust. In one of the world's greatest acts of bio-piracy, seeds secretly taken from the Amazon were used to establish highly efficient and more competitive rubber plantations in the European colonies of Southeast Asia. As the Amazon bubble burst, the vast riverine and forest networks of workers, local bosses and traders were left behind to survive as best they could with a subsistence life of hunting, fishing, farming and gathering from the bounty of nature. In this fashion the serringeiros (rubber-tappers) became a new people of the forest.

The Brazilian rubber trade flourished again briefly during WWII when the Japanese controlled the plantations and sea routes of SE Asia but soon synthetic rubber emerged to largely replace the natural products.

The next great wave of development in the Amazon occurred under Brazil's era of military dictatorship (1964 -1985) when the decision was made to open the vast interior with roads and land grants under the slogan, "A Land without People for A People without Land." The offer of free land to small holders had a noble sound to it, but the greatest beneficiaries of the new access to the forest were logging, ranching and agribusiness interests who were dependent upon the new infrastructure of roads and ports connecting to commodity markets.

Unlike the previous rubber boom which depended on maintaining the forest habitat; this later development model was based on deforestation and dramatically altered the landscape and land uses of the Amazon basin. This set up an inevitable clash with the peoples of the forest that was fought across the last decades of the 20th Century. In Acre this conflict was especially intense (with many killings) and it triggered the Peoples of the Forest Movement in which Chico Mendes figured so prominently.

The infrastructure openning the interior of Brazil for development was a major program under the military dictatorship.

Cows started to replace trees across a vast area.

Chico Mendes and his serringeiro comrads countered with the People of the Forest Movement.

Taking on a central leadership role following the assassination of Wilson Pinheiro, Chico organized locally and traveled to the capital of Brasilia and to Washington, DC to forge a new save-the-rainforest alliance with national leaders and international environmental organizations. But it was his assassination on December 22, 1988 that truly galvanized the movement and began to bring results. The story is well-told in "The Burning Season", the widely read English language account written by the NY Times reporter Andrew Revkin.

Today, and for some years now, much has changed in Acre under the more progresive politics of the Workers Party. Indeed, Acre has generated a vision of sustainability offered by internationally known Senator Marina Silva and others. Marina was for 5 years the Federal Minister Environment but recently resigned from the Workers Party in order to promote a more advanced agenda for the 21st Century. She is expected to launch a bid for the Presidency in 2010 under the flag of the Green Party (more about Marina Silva here and here).

The broad result of years of collective effort has been the emergence of large-scale land-use planning and zoning in an effort to find a sustainable balance between nature and various cultural and technological approaches to using the land.


The new map of Acre contains now contains -- in addition to conventional delineations such as urban and agricultural areas -- Conservation Units, Extractive Reserves and Indigenous Lands and there are a host of progressive environmental laws, at least on the books if not always realized on the land. In other words, a grand and noble experiment has been set in motion to see if development in Acre and Amazônia can achieve a sustainable and harmonious future between humans and nature.

Going from these ground-level exhibits to the floors above for more of the story we go up a stairway that has been painted as if the forest floor, suspended with colorful rays of light and butterflies, and decorated with historical photos of from the life of Chico Mendes.



Walking up the stairs through history and butterflies, I imagined Acre as one of the places that the world will be watching, and this library as one the places where the people of the forest will be watching the world. Let's continue with the exhibits to catch a glimpse of how that might be.

On the second floor we find that the library is online and networked. The computers provide Internet access for public use and this is where I often upload posts for the blog. Some computers are even decorated with butterflies. On the computers' home pages the library and the very exhibits that I'm discussing here are online and available to the world.




The top floor is presently devoted to archives and several exhibits including:

Displays of the crafts of region's indigenous peoples

And wall art of serringeiro dwellings where one might find a poster of Mestre Irineu.


A current special exhibit (which had opened the day before my return to Rio Branco) featured "The Line of Tucum – the Craftworks of Amazônia" and displayed the forest products and activities of the ecological and spiritual community of Ceu do Juruá which is the birthplace of Padrinho Alfredo and one of the first places that I visited in Brazil.

Padrinho Alfredo's book, "Journeys to Juruá" sharing his thoughts and journal notes of several trips to Juruá was featured.


In the exhibition, the sustainable production processes that have been utilized are explained and the products were displayed and for sale. When I had visited the Juruá only six years ago things were just getting started and none of this had been set in place. And now, here it all was at the Library of the Forest.

Congratulations for making a great progress. PARABÉNS e VIVA! Ceu do Juruá.

Ceu do Juruá presents an important experiment seeking to discover forms of sustainable development for forest dependent riverine communities. Its example is now being networked around the world by many foreign visitors and, of course, via the Internet. This ability of the periphery to connect with th center also is a face of contemporary globalization.

Another example this new "information age sharing" appeared just across the salon where a group of young people were gathered, at the edge of the dugout canoe, to make a video of a science project with their cellular phones. And another one was using her mobile to video the display of indigenous artifacts.

At a recent conference on digital ecology that I attended before leaving São Paulo I had learned that soon the cell phone will be able to perform most of the functions of audio-visual equipment and a laptop computer – all hand held and connected to the Internet. This is an important reason that the Brazilian Federal Ministry of Culture has been working so diligently to promote digital inclusion and widespread broadband access, as well as liberal rules for peer-to-peer collaboration and content sharing.

In an interesting reversal of the eco-piracy of the rubber boom, Brazil has launched a free software movement to counter the monopolistic designs of Microsoft and other multinational corporations of the Information Age. Calling it a "peeracy", Brazil has been promoting a "conspiracy of collaboration" that is being supported at the highest governmental levels (watch this speech from "Pirate Lula") These young people in a library in Amazônia, far from the cosmopolitan centers of the great cities, soon will have a chance to be heard and to participate in world-changing processes.

All of which brings me back to the new astronaut icon that now stands over the entrance to the library.


Rio Branco is about to get a planetarium and observatory as part of a new center for instruction in the sciences of astronomy. Here's a slideshow of the library's featured exhibit…

and here's a short video illustrating the spectacular visual presentations that will arrive with the planetarium.

Does all this seem a bit strange for a small city deep in Amazônia? And does it seem even stranger to be the featured exhibit at The Library of the Forest? Why offer access to instruction in astronomical sciences to the "peoples of the forest"? Can we find any sense in this, a plausible "method to the madness?"

Here is a vision that connects -- satellite monitoring is the precise technology capable of saving the Amazon forest.

The great problem of achieving the goals of Federal environmental laws across a forest region the size of Western Europe is that it is very difficult to know what is going on let alone to police and enforce regulations promulgated far away in Brasilia. But in recent years the Ministry of Environment has been working in tandem with the Space Agency to achieve effective satellite monitoring of the forest. Not only has this has become a powerful tool in the fight against illegal logging but it promises to create a measurement system that would serve as the basis for payments to countries that help meet the challenge of global warming by reducing destruction and degradation of their forests. Indeed, this is the single exciting and positive thing now coming out of the talks in Copenhagen.

[UPADATE: 20 December 2009 Forest plan suffers setback at Copenhagen -- REDD is delayed for the next round of talks.]

Deforestation of tropical forests releases more emissions than the world's entire transportation sector of cars, busses and trucks. And Brazil has been one of the world's leading contributors to the problem. One of the technologically most cost-effective means of quickly reducing global carbon emissions is to pay countries like Brazil for preserving the ecosystem services provided by their standing forests. Achieving this depends on two things: first, Brazil and others must show the capacity to actually protect the forests; and, second, the developed world that will benefit greatly from the global reductions of emissions will have to pay for the "lost economic opportunities" of not following the damaging-but-profitable deforestation ways that countries like the US used to promote their own development.

This is the basis for the system known as REDD (Reduduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation) and it promises to turn vital ecosystem functions such carbon sequestration that were once thought of as "free services" into highly valued commodities that can have economic standing as do other "commodities." Today, the world buys wood, soybeans and beef from Brazil. It is more than appropriate to include carbon sequestration in the list. Indeed it is a global necessity.

[UPDATE: Mongabay reports that the Moore Foundation is teaming with Google Earth to produce a high powered platform for monitoring the Andes and the Amazon. This is exciting. Read more about it with more backgound here.]

As forest protection is economically "incentivized," Brazil's space agency can provide the tools if there is the political will to use them. Indeed, many interesting developments and possibilities provided by satellite and information age technologies offer the promise of tying it all together into more sustainable configuration of planning, development and enforcement in the Brazil's interior. Thus, the meme "digital ecology" is emerging not only as a cyber jargon for online networking but as a means for creating concrete and more-than-virtual value for on-the-ground places such as forests.

In Brazil, where global warming was barely on the public agenda only a year ago, a new national political debate about sustainable development has emerged along with a growing awareness of global interrelatedness at every level – cultural, economical, ecological and political. Finding the sustainable balance among the many contradictory and opposing forces has already emerged as a major theme of the 2010 presidential election in Brazil and has erupted at Copenhagen.

I have no "crystal ball" to see the future but one thing does seem certain. The pace of change and development is moving faster and faster. Today, the rainbows and satellites are rising above the homes of Rio Branco and across Amazônia.


The 21st Century is about information. And the information is making us aware of our common planetary predicament. It is also giving us unparalled opportunities to participate in creating the future of life on earth. Hopefully, this future will be carried forth by a WE which includes the people who give voice to the places that sustain us all. We have the tools for this. Now, let's see if we can mobilize the political will to use them.

Brazil Dam Protest

Thursday, December 03, 2009


is back on the web in full 20 minute edition with subtitles in English. It's part of an online film competition. To see it and vote CLICK HERE and then click on ASSISTA to get the film rolling. Voting is simple. Just choose the number of stars at the bottom of the video frame.

You can get a sense of it from this re-post from October 2009


That's the way we say "CONGRATULATIONS" in Brazil. The ovations and praises are for Petra Costa and her colleagues who have given us a tender tale of love nurtured and seasoned across more than 60 years by Gabriel and Vera. OLHOS DE RESSACA (Undertow Eyes) has won the "Best Short Film" award in Rio's Film Festival.

Directed by Petra Costa, Ava Rocha Montage, Eryk Rocha Photography, and Edson Secco Audio Design

Vera and Gabriel have been married for sixty years. In "Undertow Eyes" they wander about their own history: the first flirtations, the birth of children, life and aging. In this recollection, archival footage of family mingle with images of the present, weaving an emotional and dreamlike universe that is both delicate and delicious.

20 minutes of viewing left me more than satisfied. It filled my heart with a warm glow. Watch for it as it makes its way to the States and Abroad.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009


That's how the Lakota Indians say All My Relations or We are All Related.

And here's how the scientists say We Are All All Connected.

Soon, the Internet alone is expected to require nearly half of the electric energy generated on earth.

Dito Kayapo, of the indigenous Kayapo tribe, works with his laptop during a public hearing at the Commission of Human Rights of the Federal Senate in Brasilia, Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2009. Native communities of the Amazon rain forest are protesting the Brazilian government's decision to build the massive hydroelectric Belo Monte dam in the Xingu River.

Brazil Dam Protest
(AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)

Many Paths. One Truth.

We are all connected.


Yup, tomorrow I'll be heading back to my forest home in rural Acre, Brazil where my work station looks like this and there's no Internet connection.

The view from my window. 5:22 pm. Capixaba - Acre - Brasil

I'm excited about returning to be with loved ones and once again to be close to the forest. Of course, I'll be making photos and posting reports when I get online in town but less fequently. First, I'll be matando as saudades (killing the homesickness) and sharing a lot of hugs. And then the posts will return.

Blessings to all,


[update: sullivan has a pretty sober follow-up "morning after" analysis offering qualified support and an interesting speculation. It should be weighed with what is below.]

From the blog of Andrew Sullivan:

Land Of The Afraid

A commenter responds to Sullivan:

This is the most salient thing you've written in some time.

"The way our politics of fear is now constructed, there is no limit to the costs involved in nation-building in every conceivable failed state that could be a safe harbor for Jihadists. We cannot have the adult conversation about how much terrorist damage the US should tolerate compared with the costs of trying to control this phenomenon at its source. We are not mature enough as a country to have that conversation. And Obama has decided it isn't worth confronting that question now."

This is indeed what this is all about. To avoid a potential terrorist attack we are willing to invade countries and conduct wars to the end of time, if necessary. We are a country of cowards. And we're not too bright, either.

Not a good combination of traits. And soon enough we'll be bankrupt. But it all goes to the point that we'd rather ravage the armed forces and bankrupt the nation than risk a bomb going off in a rail station in Philadelphia. We no longer are in a state where we can guarantee 100% that we can't get hit by a terrorist. That world doesn't exist anymore. The sooner we wrap our tiny little heads and hearts around that notion the better off we'll all be.


Cowardice seems as too strong a charge as it would take deep courage to admit to this. But, it's also true that (thank God) I'm not a civilian facing bombs falling on me and mine. Nor, do I have the responsibility of managing an empire in decline.

Perhaps all that can be said follows a line from the play, "The Man From La Mancha" when Poncho says to Don Quixote, "When the glass and the rock decide to fight, I don't know who is right but I'm sure that it is not going to be good for the glass."



The Climate Treaty process has begun at Copenhagen where at this time of year, as Bill McKibben notes, there is an average of 45 minutes of sunlight per day. Here is his full assessment.

via Yale e360

As the World Waits on the U.S., a Sense of Déjà Vu in Denmark?

Twelve years ago in Kyoto, the world was poised to act on a climate treaty but looked for a clear signal from the United States. Now, with the Copenhagen talks set to begin, the outcome once again hinges on what the U.S. is prepared to do.

by bill mckibben

President Obama took much of the drama out of the Copenhagen talks earlier this month when he and other world leaders announced that there’d be no treaty at the end — in essence, they said, we’ll wait for the U.S. Senate. Still, you can’t call off the party entirely, and so the planet’s climate scientists, bureaucrats, activists, skeptics and journalists will still descend on the Danish capital in a few days for a fortnight of meeting, marching, propounding, denying, and most of all spinning.

Almost all of what happens will be murky (and not just because Copenhagen in December averages 45 minutes of sunlight daily). Without the focus provided by the need to draw up a real document, much of the tension may go out of the proceedings — minus a deadline it’s hard to push to resolution on anything. And yet it’s the fate of the world being discussed: as British negotiator Ed Miliband put it, “Bretton Woods plus Yalta multiplied by Reykjavik.” We’ll see some kind of paper signed, but it won’t commit anyone to much of anything — the talks will lurch forward into next year. Most of what occurs in Denmark will be shadow boxing, feeling each other out.

And so here are a few of the places that bear watching, to see if some kind of consensus develops over the course of the proceedings:

What’s the science really saying? For almost five years, the consensus position of those who cared about producing a treaty has been that we’re struggling to avoid a temperature rise greater than two degrees, and that to do that we’ll need to limit atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide to less than 450 parts per million. These sound like the kind of eye-glazing numbers that journalists try to avoid — but the vast and slow-moving bureaucracy of the climate negotiations process has adopted them as the goal, and most of the proposals on the table are geared to reaching (or plausibly approaching) those targets.

The problem is, that’s not good science any more. After the rapid melt of Arctic sea ice in the summer of 2007, researchers recalibrated. A NASA team said that the right figure is 350 — that anything more is not compatible with “the planet on which # civilization developed and to which life on earth is adapted.” That assertion has been backed up by no less than Rajendra Pachauri, the UN’s chief scientist, who has gotten grief for saying — most recently in an interview with Yale Environment 360 — that 350 is where we need to go. Ninety-two of the poorest nations on Earth have officially signed on to that target, and at the moment it’s still in the negotiating text, albeit in a preamble about a “shared vision” for the future.

The problem, of course, is that meeting a 350 target goes far beyond anything the Obama administration, much less the Senate, or the Chinese, or many of the other big players, are currently contemplating. We now know that Obama will arrive on Dec. 9 en route to Oslo, and that he will offer roughly a 17 percent cut in 2005 emissions levels by 2020. That would be about a zero percent cut from 1990 levels; in other words, not very ambitious — the absolute minimum for saving face, but not enough to save the world.

Going further would be fundamentally disruptive — it would mean not incremental change but a wartime footing. So the question of which science you embrace is really a proxy for how much you’re willing to do. And in this case “political realists” are the opposite of “scientific realists.” If you’re figuring the odds, there will more politicians than scientists on hand in Copenhagen.

# How tough will the developing countries be? Since Obama’s announcement that he will go to Copenhagen robbed journalists of their first cliffhanger, the next is likely to be whether the most vulnerable nations walk out on the proceedings. Here’s Mohammed Nasheed, president of the Maldives, whose country sets aside money in its budget each year in case it needs to buy a new homeland when its current one sinks beneath the waves, talking about what a 2 degree Celsius temperature increase would mean: “At two degrees we would lose the coral reefs. At 2 degrees we would melt Greenland. At 2 degrees my country would not survive.” He called the proposals from the big players a “suicide pact” and pledged to try and stop them. “As a president I cannot accept this. As a person I cannot accept this. I refuse to believe that it is too late, and that we cannot do anything about it.”

Nasheed rallied a dozen of the most vulnerable nations earlier this month at a summit in his capital of Male. And virtually every poor nation is starting to realize how badly they’re going to be hit by * climate change: The vulnerability of Andean glaciers, Asian monsoons, African rainfall patterns become clearer with each passing year. But the pressure from the rich nations — and indeed from some of the big environmental groups — not to be a skunk at the garden party will be intense. And it will come with sums of money attached — the kind of money that traditionally has been enough to buy off the anger of the poor world.

* Which leads to the next obvious question — just how much money will be on the table? The sums required are staggering. The World Bank recently estimated that keeping temperature rise to 2 degrees Celsius would mean spending $140 to $675 billion a year in the developing countries — which, after all, will only be developing if they keep figuring out how to acquire more energy. And adaptation — dealing with the effects of the climate change we can’t prevent — would run another $75 billion a year (an estimate that other research paints as extremely optimistic).

Sums like that are not on offer. The Europeans have talked about a deal in the range of $100 billion a year, but that depends on the Americans ponying up, and so far the U.S. has been as coy about its willingness to pay as about its willingness to rein in emissions. Everyone outside the U.S. knows that this is — overwhelmingly — a problem we’ve caused; since the carbon molecule has a residence time of over a century in the atmosphere, it will be the decades before the Chinese, despite their vastly larger numbers, are as responsible for climate change as Americans. But if Obama puts a realistic number on the table, Senator James Inhofe (R-Armageddon) will be on hand to take it off. (Inhofe originally announced he was going to Denmark as a “one-man truth squad,” but then added John Barasso (R-WY) and “a secret person” to his delegation). In our poisonous politics, the idea of the U.S. meeting anything like its moral obligation seems small — and without that, the politics gets harder for everyone else in the world.

Against this backdrop, there’s a lot of important and less flashy stuff that has to move forward if we’re ever going to reach an agreement. Nations with large swaths of forest, for instance, seem willing to make a deal to stop their destruction. It’s cheap compared with the other steps we’ll need to take, so it will probably happen — though the devil is deeply in the details. The same with credits for farmers for keeping carbon in the soil — it could be a big help, or a loophole large enough to drive an endless fleet of combines through.

And then there are the plumbing questions. How do you monitor and then enforce any agreement? How do you draw something up that doesn’t require treaty approval by the U.S. Senate (no one thinks there are 67 votes for a real climate policy)? How do you give credit for actions already taken? How do you keep carbon trading from turning into one more Wall Street boondoggle?

One thing will surely be tested: whether civil society is capable of really pushing the process. Activists will be descending from all directions, but the deck is stacked against them: The conference center, where the media will be mostly cooped up, is miles from town. And the environmentalists themselves are deeply split. There are groups that, for all intents and purposes, are part of the negotiations — whose experts have spent careers working on one part of the treaty or another, and are deeply invested in its success. There are less formal groups — many of them veterans of the anti-globalization movement — determined to shut down the whole process. They won’t succeed, but it’s completely conceivable that tear gas will drift across the Radhuspladsen before the month is out. And there are thousands of young people, about to be disillusioned by their first exposure to big time power politics.

Having been to Kyoto (which at least took place in the daylight) there’s a sense of overwhelming déjà vu as I head toward Denmark. There, too, most of the world was lined up to do something, but waiting on a signal from the U.S., whose negotiators had been doing its best to weaken the treaty in hopes it might pass Senate muster. There was the same will-he-come anxiety, then centered on Al Gore, who flew in at the last minute to offer some small concessions and let the conference proceed. In those days China hadn’t yet emerged as a huge carbon source. In those days the Arctic hadn’t yet melted. But in those days, as in this one, everyone was waiting on the U.S.


OBAMA Afgahnistan Speech
Photo via The Daily Dish

Respectfully, I disagree!

You can read all about it elsewhere. For myself, it simply feels necessary to state publicly that I am opposed to this decision. But I will surely pray for the American people and soldiers who must carry the burdens set for them by their leaders.