Jungle Talk

Are we hard wired to run a sustainable planet? And are we accountable to the entire world that we live in? For me the Jungle is something made up of so many fascinating elements; a journey of intriguing possibilities. That kind of sounds like "life" on planet-johnson.

Can I travel with a presence that allows my footprint to add value to the world that you live in while "capturing moments" that tell a compelling story? Karma is a belief that all of your actions will have equal reprecussions, affecting you and I. This journey is a search for some balance, a little discovery and hopefully some visual poetry?

This blog will humbly attempt to see my world through the experience of TRAVEL, photos and sincere examination of an experential and visual karma. And I will find a way to incorporate some positive travel experience into that karma with the perspective of a Digital Camera. Photography and writing have become my "love affair" with life on planet-johnson. Hopefully I can share my passions for the best of this crazy world!

Please join in and welcome to the jungle! 

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The Cure

    " Imagine no possessions I wonder if you can. No need for greed or hunger A brotherhood of man. Imagine all the people Sharing all the world..."         John Lennon

Rich folk and rich celebrities are climbing on the bandwagon to save the world`s extreme poor (especially Africa)  like they have the Gandhi virus. Oprah, Geldof, Warren Buffet, The Gates family, Bono, Pitt and Jolie, Matt Damon, George Clooney, Bill Clinton, George Soros and more to come. There`s been similar acts in past but not this stampede of good that makes doing kind look so cool and sexy. Are all motivations sincere? I hope so, but does it matter?

If these people can make the difference that world governments won`t, then it can only help the cause. And maybe it becomes a catalyst for "the cure" to our negligence. Watch Madonna upcoming Docu-Movie on Malawi and world poverty. Sounds like she`s got "do good" fever and maybe she really can help Bono share the stage and inspire a "brotherhood of man". If she can do poverty like she played the musical "virgin" then we`re in for a powerful performance. And another very small step to inspire sharing the world?


Can Corporations Save the World?

"Every good act is charity. A man's true wealth hereafter is the good that he does in this world to his fellows."    Mohammed

I`m attending a Health and Safety Conference in Toronto and I hear that the keynote speaker is going to be Stephen Lewis, a Canadian karmadawg of the highest order. His resume as Canada`s Gandhi-like International diplomat is karma bound and I take advantage of the moment. I need to hear the man and know for myself. And he doesn`t disappoint!

Mr. Lewis`s theme is Global Corporate Social Responsibility? This must be a mistake or a book of dreams that Lewis is trying to sell in the fiction category. But this guy doesn't`t do fiction. He does pain and suffering and the real life horrors of dying in modern Africa. Definitely no laughs, but maybe there`s a new serial killer story on sale?  There`s got to be something unexpected in all this. Corporations don`t do "Social Responsibility". They do greed!

Lewis articulates HIV/AIDS and it`s part as a health crisis in the workplaces of Lesotho, Africa. We`re not talking about Kansas, Dorothy, this is a vision of hell on earth for most of us. There are 2.2 million people in Lesotho with a 45% unemployment rate. And the life expectancy is 34.4 years. That`s not a typo. 34.4 years! Shite!

There are 45,000 people working in Africa`s largest garment industry in Lesotho and 15,000 of them have HIV/AIDS. Lewis speaks of his many visits to Lesotho and how these garment industries were true sweat shops in the early visits. But now he sees improvements in Social Responsibility shown by companies like the Gap. Here`s where we leave Lewis who led us to the water and we drink the notion of the Gap (and other notorious corporations) doing public good. How debatable can that be? Bill Gates, Apple, Steven Speilberg and others are singing the praise of red products that share profits with an effort to finance the alleviation of HIV/AIDS in Africa. Red products like the Gap red shirts are made in Lesotho and employ African workers as part of the campaign. And Africans need employment.

Bono does Amex red card adds  where the campaign gets 1% of every Amex purchase. Is this the last straw? Is Bono a sell out or a pioneer. Does the Gap or any of the others really give enough of their profit to the cause or is it a "royal scam"? I don`t think so. And this I think I know (here we go again).

People in the rich corners of planet capitalism won`t stop consuming in our near future. Bet ya! And if Corporations like the Gap are willing to give 50% of the profit on red shirts to AIDS research and the distribution of anti viral drugs,  then I`m with Oprah and I`m supporting getting these evil Corporations to join arms with consumers to build a Global Fund to alleviate a veracious scourge on our crazy little world. And now even Stephen Lewis can find a kind word to say about the Gap and progress in 'social responsibility". This is too hopeful and I can`t deny it`s potential.

Denial of globalization and consumerism is futile in the near term and refusal of "red product concepts" could delay progress in fighting HIV/AIDS in Africa. We need to get our minds around using Corporations and consumption for a better good. There may be some devil in the details but the payoff is hope for a fair shot at a real future for someone in Lesotho, Africa. We should keep every CEO`s conscience to the fire, demand a larger share of profit and better working conditions for Africans, but this pact with the devil could save lives!  And don`t forget, Oprah likes this and ya gotta like Oprah!



" Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope... and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance " Robert F. Kennedy

I keep looking for the next "great right hope". Someone who keeps trying to make a difference and seems to inspire doing the "right" thing, critics be damned. This man has shown the indomitable will to hold all world leader`s feet to the fire of need. Jeffrey Sachs is not a politician, he`s just a "karmadawg" on a mission. Truth and justice is the beat of a true karmadawg. And this beat keeps playing!

Check out this Reith Lectures Podcast.



Intelligent Lies

"You can bend it and twist it...You can misuse it and abuse it...But even God cannot change the truth" Michael Levy

The IPCC`s recent public findings on the impact of man-induced global warming is putting the "man" on the defensive. So what does the "man" do to protect his aimless prosperity? (Hey just a second, I think I`m the man!?)  He will massage some truth with the tools of his trade. CNN and the Bloomberg (Wallstreet) ride to the rescue of status quo business interests. Interview a credible scientist and plant the seeds of doubt (i.e.Bloomberg). But the scientist doth protest. He values truth and the science of probability and has little value for junk science. But he does not rage against the machine. He`s too civil for that. These scientists continue to deliver perspective in the face of censorship (read Monbiot) and the closed doors of mass media.

Truth is a scientist`s stock of trade but how many scientists do you see on Fox, MSNBC, CNN, CBS etc. Opinion seems to get  a higher ranking than hypothesis and probability. Rush Limbaugh rules the rotten air waves as the stink leaves science in it`s wake. But the truth is out there! Try Real Climate or EarthWatch.

Even Oprah`s buddy Anderson Cooper (CNN) carries an odour of distortion. Or is that pure manipulation?  A recent Cooper show is a good example of media bullshite at it`s worst. But Anderson Cooper is such a nice guy and so, so credible? This recent Cooper pap pretended to consider the roles of religion and science. In a pro-creationist segment focused on nonsense Cooper was the tool and science got 2 sentences to counter the footage of a "creation science museum" and too much time with school moms debunking the theory of evolution. "Intelligent Design" starts to feel like an "intelligent lie". Somebody is buying Cooper`s credibility. The "man"? Big surprise!

In the end,  we can consider the balance of probability when planning the hopes and dreams of an entire planet by listening to scientists like James Annan for his balanced view of probability   rather than Michael Crichton`s "state of confusion". Crichton is a popular fiction author who is in denial on global warming. He has become something of an icon in the dark art of "intelligent lies" that are closely examined in this Real Climate article.    I could only dream that the Anderson Coopers would do a show of balanced analysis of this junk science with the same passion he puts into his usual crap. He could straight talk for "the man" (yeah, I guess that`s me).  The truth is out there but its not getting the ratings for now.





Hungry for Justice

    "Its not about charity, its about justice"  Bono

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)  has weighed into our conscience with a detailed and impassioned warning that "the poorest of the poor in the world, and this includes poor people in prosperous countries, are going to be the worst hit by the impact of man-induced global warming." The IPCC does not carry out research nor does it monitor climate related data. This is a scientific think-tank of members from the World Meteorological Organization and the United Nations Environment Program that bases its assessment on peer reviewed and published scientific/technical literature. Warning, these people are very worried!  And they have have a healthy respect for the process of hypothesis and probability. They might as well have said that SUV`s, coal fired hydro and unsustainable growth are going to kill poor people. But politicians watered down the report and coddled us (the developed world) with a sugar coated threat to consider in our spare time. Is this what we pay these politicians for? To bury the real shite that might shatter this glass house we`re living in. A house of pain for the poorest of the poor.

The truth is about adaptation to climate change for the poor. It means taking action to help the poor while we tackle decades of economic and environmental adjustment. The Millennium Development Goals (inspired by United Nations and efforts of Jeffrey Sachs) are reasonable, easily achievable and can be a karma comeback for a generation of wasteful boomers. This takes a commitment of .7% of GNP from the world`s richest governments. Most European countries have met (5 countries so far) or are working toward meeting the goal by 2015. Canada`s contribution was .33% and will drop this year to .32%. Pretty disappointing, and the US is worse. This is a crazy chance to alleviate extreme poverty in this world in our lifetimes. We`ve got enough blood on our hands and it`s time to put on our rally hats and stand up for their rights. It makes me want to climb onto my roof and shout for the poorest of the poor? Yeah, a lot of good that`l do? But watch this Rennetto stand way up for the poor.

I don`t know Rennetto but he takes a bit of a risk and sends a powerful message. Its pure karma inspiration, especially for 50% of the world living on less than $2 a day and hungry for justice.


The Anti Politician:Elizabeth May

"We never know the worth of water till the well is dry"   Thomas Fuller

Some would say it is a bit naive to identify with, expect too much from or believe in a politician. We`ve all been down that road too many times. But then, along comes a woman who steals my anxious idealist heart with presence and words that ring hope for doing the right things in an "era of consequences". Yeah, what a load of shite! But after listening to Elizabeth May, Canadian Green Party Leader, speak at a gathering in my little town, I`m a bit excited. Why?! What makes her different?

Impressions? She`s engaging (great speaker) , attractive and believable. That`s the easy part! But she shows a passion for truth that is a little unusual for them. She shows no end in disappointment in our Conservative government and will speak all night on the reasons why. We can all do that, so show me something radical. Ms. May confesses that she won`t be disappointed in losing an election if the other parties continue to steal her Green platform. She wants to affect policy (like our Tommy Douglas many years ago) with or without power. (Mind you, she fully expects to kick Peter Mckay`s ass in her local riding election.)  And she`s very open about her high regard and respect for Liberal leader Stephan Dion even though he is in the "wrong party". She claims he was a fine Environment Minister and a man of integrity. Unusual praise for political opponents. Lets see. She`s not driven by power and she`s complimentary about her opponents strengths. Not the usual political mould? What`s the catch?

She saves her bluntest truth for tough talk about the "consequences" of status quo policy in the world today.  Ms. May paraphrases Winston Churchill,  "we are in an era of consequences", as she argues for policies that defend future generations. The policies? Here`s a few:  First she would cut our income and payroll taxes and raise taxes on carbon. The plan is to reward behaviour like work and penalize pollution and CO2 emissions while balancing the budget. Then honor International agreements with a sustainable economy. About time!  Second is a plan to change the voting system to Proportional Representation. No longer would a minority of voters be able to elect a majority government in Canada. About fracking time!  Imagine how Mulroney, Rae, Harris and Chretien governments might have done if they had to consider everyone`s interest? Imagine politics of consensus and compromise. Shite, it sounds like democracy. Third we would approach Afghanistan as a peace keeping and rebuilding mission. Give hands on support to the local poppy industry by redirecting the product to pharmaceutical industry from heroin market. She says the American led Nato strategy is to destroy poppy crops and that`s driving people into alliance with drug lords and Taliban. We need to convince the locals we`re on their side and not shiteing on their economy.  And she worries  for safety of our troops in the Kandahar province because of this dumb ass leadership. We are pissing off the people we`re supposed to be dying for and that`s not a good strategy for "winning the peace."

These are some pieces of her puzzle as she commands the stage with a passion for change. I can see why some of our lamer leaders (Harper and Layton)  are not too crazy about having a public debate with this woman. Elizabeth May looks like a perfect storm of new and needed ideas for the stain of our status quo Canadian politic. A new generation of voters, the internet and a rising fury for the push button issue of the future. Parties will need to listen for the sound of this storm: it`s the environment stupid!  And here`s a crazy notion. The next Prime Minister in a minority government chooses May as his Minister of Environment while the government acts like it represents us all. Yeah, I`m such a dreamer but Elizabeth May is riding the winds of change where hopefully she can make a difference before this well goes dry!