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Some environmental books

I gave a couple of environmental talks in Texas over the weekend, which have since been published on the web. One on sustainability in general. The other on climate change, science and politics.

To prepare for them and before and since, I read a bunch of environmental books, that I'll discuss below.

March 6 demonstration in Colombia (and a little on Cuba and Pakistan and Canada)

Apologies for the time away from blogging. I had the pleasure of being on a two-person panel with John Clarke of OCAP over the weekend, organized by the London Project for a Participatory Society (LPPS). We were talking about "taking back the city" and, as much as I enjoy being on a panel with John, he always puts me to shame. The talk was video recorded and might be available at some point on youtube.

Howard Zinn's maxims on bombing and war

Howard Zinn reviewed a book by elin o'Hara slavick called "bomb after bomb". At the end of the review he mentions some of his thoughts on war. I think they are very good and bear repeating.


My own reflections on my experiences as a bombardier, and my research on the wars of the United States have led me to certain conclusions about war and the dropping of bombs that accompany modern warfare.

Naomi Klein's Shock Doctrine

Despite not being a dispassionate reviewer, I wrote this review of Naomi Klein's Shock Doctrine. In case you didn't know, I'm not entirely without positive bias. And even with high expectations, the book really impressed. It seems to be doing quite well without my recommendation, but I would like to add my recommendation to the many that are out there. Hope you like the review.

From the UN - Indigneous Peoples' Rights Upheld, with only 4 disgraceful countries voting against

With only eleven abstaining and 143 in favor, it's great to see the anglophone settler solidarity against indigenous rights, isn't it? Thanks guys.

UN General Assembly backs indigenous peoples' rights
Thu Sep 13, 5:07 PM

UNITED NATIONS (AFP) - The UN General Assembly on Thursday adopted a non-binding declaration upholding the human, land and resources rights of the world's 370 million indigenous people, brushing off opposition from Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States.

Gottman, conversations... meetings?

Probably my last entry in the psychology stream for a while, though there are a few more things on education I'd like to read. I was drawn to Suzette Haden Elgin's verbal self-defense because I like the idea that conversations between people can be analyzed and understood somehow, even bad ones, especially bad ones. John Gottman takes this type of analysis to another level.

on mass and personal traumas

It's odd that I'm in the middle of a psychology reading binge, given my professional interest in climate and the current horrific climate chaos that has millions of people displaced in Asia, people dying from record high temperatures in Europe, and your run-of-the-mill 38 degree celsius here in Toronto. But I won't spare you my random thoughts on this reading on that account.

Alfie Kohn and Rewards... and parecon

So, rather than getting into Alice Miller right away I decided to deal with Alfie Kohn today. I started with his book, "Punished by Rewards", which discusses why rewards (grades, gold stars, salary bonuses or any other kind of bribes) are not good things - not in workplaces, not in families, and not in schools. Why? Five reasons, Alfie says:

1. Rewards are the flip side of punishment - we agree that we don't like punishment, but rewards are just as controlling.

Frontiers and Ghettos (James Ron) and a little more on Coloroso

So, today as promised a little discussion of James Ron's book, "Frontiers and Ghettos". The book is a comparison of state violence by Serbia in the 1990s and Israel in the 1980s. His argument is that the institutional context (whether the area is a 'frontier', where state authority is less intense or disputed, or a 'ghetto', where states have uncontested and intense control over people's lives, what he calls 'infrastructural control') has an influence over the intensity of violence states wield.

Bullies, Bystanders, Barbara Coloroso... and blind spots

I've been reading a fair bit that isn't directly relevant to current events or the kind of politics that I am usually involved in - namely, psychology and alternative education stuff. One important author I want to talk about a bit here is Alice Miller. Another is Alfie Kohn. I've done a few waves of this sort of reading. I find it really depends on the timing, how insightful or useful I find the stuff. Anyway I think Miller and Kohn both deserve more in-depth reviews.


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