Tag Archives: Europe

Are the European floods linked to the climate crisis?

Almost certainly. Scientists have long predicted climate disruption will lead to more extreme weather, such as heatwaves, droughts and floods. Human emissions from engine exhaust fumes, forest burning and other activities are heating the planet. As the atmosphere gets warmer it holds more moisture which brings more rain. All the places that recently experienced flooding – Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, London, Edinburgh, Tokyo and elsewhere – might have had heavy summer rain even without the climate crisis, but the deluges were unlikely to have been as intense.

There has not yet been an attribution study for the latest floods in Europe because the analysis takes several days.

Please continue reading: What is causing the floods in Europe?

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Investigating how climate affects intense rainstorms across Europe, climate experts have shown there will be a significant future increase in the occurrence of slow-moving intense rainstorms.

The scientists estimate that these slow-moving storms may be 14 times more frequent across land by the end of the century. It is these slow-moving storms that have the potential for very high precipitation accumulations, with devastating impacts, as we saw in Germany and Belgium.

Professor Lizzie Kendon, Science Fellow at the Met Office and Professor at Bristol University, said:

“This study shows that in addition to the intensification of rainfall with global warming, we can also expect a big increase in slow-moving storms which have the potential for high rainfall accumulations. This is very relevant to the recent flooding seen in Germany and Belgium, which highlights the devastating impacts of slow-moving storms.

“Our finding that slow-moving intense rainstorms could be 14 times more frequent by the end of the century under the high emissions RCP8.5 scenario, shows the serious impacts that we may expect across Europe if we do not curb our emissions of greenhouse gases.”

The study findings are relevant to climate mitigation and adaptation policy in Europe, with specific implications for future flooding impacts, the design of infrastructure systems, and the management of water resources.

Currently, almost stationary intense rainstorms are uncommon in Europe and happen rarely over parts of the Mediterranean Sea. Accurate predictions of future changes in intense rainfall events are key to putting effective adaptation and mitigation plans in place to limit the adverse impacts of climate change.

> Extreme Storms Will Be More Likely In Europe Research Shows

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Can China Become A Super-Power

 

Political And Developmental Thoughts

Throughout history, many superpowers that dominated the world politically and economically came and left, the Roman empire, the Byzantine empire, the Umayyad empire, the Abbasid empire, the Mongol empire, the British empire. In today’s world, the hegemon that can be said is the world power that dominates the world not only politically and economically, but also culturally such as by movies, media, music and literature is the United States. 

The United States became the new superpower after world war 1 when the British Empire lost that position due to the economic and political damage the war had cost. The Americans filled that space by entering and ending the war, helping Europe recover by financing projects to rebuild war-torn Europe, and spreading its muscle around the world.

Today many believe that in the 21st century the world will experience another…

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Europe’s catastrophic flooding was forecast well in advance – what went so wrong?

Almost 200 people dead and many others still missing. Billions of euros’ worth of damage. Communities devastated. Thousands of homes destroyed and their occupants traumatised.

Hannah Cloke  advises the Environment Agency, the European Centre for Medium-range Weather Forecasts, the Copernicus Emergency Management Service, local and national governments and humanitarian agencies on the forecasting and warning of natural hazards. She is a Council member of the UKRI Natural Environment Research Council, a fellow of the European Centre for Medium-range Weather Forecasts, a fellow of the Centre for Natural Hazards & Disaster Science in Sweden and is also affiliated to Uppsala University in Sweden. Her research is funded by the UKRI Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council, the UKRI Natural Environment Research Council and the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office.

I am a flood forecaster who helped to set up the forecasting system that was used to predict the recent floods in Germany and surrounding countries. I saw days in advance that they were coming. I read reports of rainfall and river levels rising. And then I watched with growing horror as the death toll surged.

The European Flood Awareness System (EFAS), which I helped to set up, is part of the EU’s Copernicus Emergency Management Service. It provides early information on flooding to national and local authorities across Europe. I work closely with people there in my role as an independent flood scientist at the University of Reading to improve and analyse EFAS data. I don’t work in the team that issues early flood information to authorities, but looking at the data with colleagues, I could see early on just how serious the floods looked.

Forecasts on Friday July 9 and Saturday 10 for the Rhine catchment, covering Germany and Switzerland, had shown a high probability of flooding that would begin on Tuesday July 13. Subsequent forecasts also showed the Meuse in Belgium would be affected. The forecasts in the following days showed that there was little doubt that a major flood was coming.

EFAS sends out bulletins of early information which are designed to be read, understood and acted on by experts. They are not directly available to the public. Public flood warnings come from the national and regional weather, environment and civil protection agencies, and EFAS information needs to be used by these authorities alongside their own forecasts.

The first EFAS bulletin was sent to the relevant national authorities on Saturday July 10. More updates continued over the following days as more precise predictions became available. Formal flood notifications were issued to authorities in Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, Switzerland and Luxembourg, as well as the Emergency Response Coordination Centre (ERCC) of the European Commission throughout Monday and Tuesday. As the event neared and uncertainty in the forecast shrank, the predicted start of the flooding was pushed to Wednesday for smaller rivers and Thursday for the larger downstream rivers. Around 25 individual warnings were sent out to parts of the Rhine and Meuse.

The German weather service, DWD, had independently forecast extremely high rainfall too and issued warnings for more than 200 mm of rain in the same areas several days ahead of time, saying that flooding was possible. Regional warnings were also issued, for example by the Environment Agency in the German state of Rhineland-Palatinate, one of the areas hit particularly hard by flooding.

The floods that did happen matched the scale and distribution of those that were forecast several days before. I was very surprised, therefore, that so many people died, given that authorities knew about the event and had sufficient warnings to get people to safety before the floods began.

Where flood warnings fail

Clearly, tragically, the whole system designed to save lives by ensuring people act on warnings before floods arrive, did not work as it should have done. It may be that individual parts of the system worked exactly as they were designed, and it is certainly true that forecasts were accurate, and there were some warnings issued through official channels. In some areas, many authorities did act in time, to evacuate people, erect temporary flood defences, and move vehicles to higher ground. But this clearly did not happen everywhere.

In the middle of an election campaign, some German leaders in national and regional government still seemed to defend the locally-devolved nature of disaster management in Germany, insisting that the warnings were adequate and agencies did their work well. It is like claiming that the maiden voyage of the Titanic was a success because 99% of its engineering worked perfectly throughout. While their arguments may be true on an individual scale, unless those in power admit that the system ultimately failed, they risk failing to learn lessons and put others at risk in the future.

Science, in large part, is about helping people see the invisible. What is the use of a perfect forecast if the people it is supposed to warn cannot see the danger they are in? Effective flood warnings require people to be able to see into the future and imagine their house full of water, to assess the likelihood of that happening, and to see the multiple paths they could take to keep them, their family, and their property safe.


Read more: Report from Europe’s flood zone: researcher calls out early warning system gridlock amid shocking loss of life


I recently took part in an exercise encouraging scientists, from senior professors to school pupils, to trace the path of water in a river through time using just their imagination. Weeks later, we are seeing what happens when people cannot visualise the threat of a river ripping down their street, or a lake appearing in their house. These are the elements of flood warnings that must improve.

As climate change increases risks from heatwaves, fires and floods, we need to not only slash emissions but prepare ourselves for the problems we already have in store. Even with sufficient decarbonisation measures – which we are still yet to see from any major government – there is no avoiding the consequences of a hotter, more turbulent environment.

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Suggested further reading

McEwan, L., Garde-Hansen, J., Holmes, A., Jones, O. & Krause, R. (2016). Sustainable flood memories, lay knowledges and the development of community resilience to future flood risk. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 42, 14 – 28. https://doi.org/10.1111/tran.12149.

Alexander, M., Priest, S. & Penning-Roswell, E. (2017). The risk of ill-informed reform: The future for English flood risk management. Area, 50, 426 – 429. https://doi.org/10.1111/area.12393.

Forrest, S., Trell, E. & Woltjer, J. (2018). Civil society contributions to local level flood resilience: Before, during and after the 2015 Boxing Day floods in the Upper Calder Valley. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 44, 422 – 436. https://doi.org/10.1111/tran.12279.

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La Peste (1947) by Albert Camus – The Plague

Michael mentioned in his exhortation the book The Plague by  (or the original French title La Peste),
It just so happened that a version was broadcast on 26th July on BBC Radio 4.
This is available on this link below and is available until 22nd August – probably on iPlayer for longer.
https://cdn.britannica.com/07/21107-004-8BBC18D8/Albert-Camus-photograph-Henri-Cartier-Bresson.jpg

Albert Camus, French novelist, essayist, and playwright, best known for such novels as L’Étranger (1942; The Stranger), La Peste (1947; The Plague), and La Chute (1956; The Fall)

The Plague was adapted from the globally renowned novel La Peste by Albert Camus, and directed for radio by Neil Bartlett, based on his 2017 Arcola Theatre production and script. A disturbing, deeply relevant listen. Bartlett’s adaptation is the English language world radio premiere production of The Plague and focuses the story on five characters, using only words contained in the novel.

La Peste book cover.jpg

Cover of the first edition of the novel by Albert Camus, published in 1947, that tells the story from the point of view of an unknown narrator of a plague sweeping the French Algerian city of Oran. The novel presents a snapshot of life in Oran as seen through the author’s distinctive absurdist point of view.[

It is often said of La Peste – written in 1947 by the Nobel Prize winner for literature, Albert Camus – that the plague and the rats in his novel are an allegory for the rise of fascism across Europe. He always denied this.
For us today, The Plague will have uncanny echoes of the pandemic, the restrictions and the moral dilemmas we are living through, as well as the rise of extremist ideology in many countries today. Just like our current crisis, the characters in The Plague comprise heroes, selfless and selfish acts, those who shame themselves into changing, and those who do not and suffer the consequences once the plague has been conquered. Hope surfaces when there is talk of a serum but, with the arrival of the first attempts at a cure, who should be selected as the guinea pigs? In an uncanny parallel, this drama about a community facing lockdown due to a deadly plague was recorded by actors, locked down in their own homes during our own pandemic. The scope of the production was not reduced as a result. 

Cast:

Doctor Rieux ………… Sara Powell
Raymond Rambert …. Billy Postlethwaite
Mr Cottard ……………. Joe Alessi
Jean Tarrou ………….. Jude Aduwudike
Mr Grand ……………… Colin Hurley

Adapted for radio and directed by Neil Bartlett
Producer: Turan Ali A Bona Broadcasting production for BBC Radio 4

The Plague (1992 film).jpg

Hong Kong DVD Release of The plague (La Peste) this time telling the story of Dr. Bernard Rieux in the 90s (Camus’s novel was set in 1940s),

For those who want to see the 1992 Argentine-French-British drama film written and directed by Luis Puenzo. (On Disc/Streaming:

 

Released directly on to video in the U.S., but exhibited on the festival circuit and in Europe, Plague is an adaptation of Albert Camus’ novel and reteams filmmaker Luis Puenzo with actors Robert Duvall and William Hurt, Sandrine Bonnaire, and Raul Julia, to tell the story of a South American city that must be cut off from the world following an outbreak of the bubonic plague. The key characters include a French tele-journalist, her cameraman and a fearless doctor.

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We talked  about it also for our payertheme for this month:

And David said to his son Solomon,
“Be strong and of good courage, and do it; do not fear nor be dismayed, for the Lord God—my God—will be with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you, until you have finished all the work for the service of the house of the Lord. (NKJ)
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Find the prayertheme for the month: Prayertheme for August 2020: Feeling alarm or anxiety

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When 1 699 676 people worldwide are infected and the number of deaths had totalled 102 734 in 210 countries or territories

Thirty years old Gordon Bland who is a seminary student at Regent University, in his second year has a website called Agape Ministry on which he writes in his blogarticle Pandemic: Be Calm During the Storm:

We are living in a time that is certainly not the norm that we are used to, but is this unprecedented? If it is unprecedented, then is it totally unique or should our actions and emotions be similar to any other catastrophic event? The new Coronavirus that has spread globally, Covid-19, has caused over 13,000 deaths and over 300,000 illnesses. This is something that is affecting nearly every person in some manner, but is fear appropriate? Perhaps more importantly, is fear ever appropriate?

As of April 11, 2020, the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) had been confirmed in around 210 countries or territories. The virus had infected 1,699,676 people worldwide, and the number of deaths had totalled 102,734. The most severely affected countries include the U.S., Italy, and Spain.

Lots of people have signs of anxiety and fear that unseen enemy that had not previously been identified in humans. In February 2020, the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses and the World Health Organization announced official names for both the virus and the disease it causes: SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19, respectively. The name of the disease is derived from the words corona, virus, and disease, while the number 19 represents the year that it emerged.

There have been leaders of states who first downplayed or minimalised this virus as an ordinary virus resembling that of the common cold, with those infected often experiencing fever, coughing, and shortness of breath, and called it a “Chinese disease”, wanting to have people to believe it was the Chinese infecting others.

Soon that horrible virus infected the USA, where there are still people not wanting to see the importance of staying at home and when coming into public to stay far away enough from each other, on the 11th of April there were already 502 876 cases, leaving Spain far behind with its 158 273 registered infected people.
On the 11th of April over 376,339 people had recovered from the disease, while there had been 102,734 deaths.

Gordon Bland wonders:

We are living in a time that is certainly not the norm that we are used to, but is this unprecedented? If it is unprecedented, then is it totally unique or should our actions and emotions be similar to any other catastrophic event? {Pandemic: Be Calm During the Storm}

The world has had more very dangerous diseases bringing fear over this globe. One of the most devastating pandemics was the Black Death (also known as The Plague or Black Plague), which killed an estimated 75–200 million people in the 14th century. Other notable pandemics include the 1918 influenza pandemic (Spanish flu). Among the ten major virus outbreaks in the last 50 years, the Marburgvirus, genus of viruses in family Filovirida, caused severe disease in humans and other primates. One species has been described, Marburg marburgvirus (formerly Lake Victoria marburgvirus), which is represented by two viruses, Ravn virus (RAVV) and Marburg virus (MARV). The zoonotic disease that is characterized by high fever known as Marburg virus disease (MVD), with a malaise, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, skin rash, and hemorrhage (bleeding) gave a fatality rate as high as 80 to 90 percent.

How the Nipah virus spreads

Nipah, a type of RNA virus in the genus Henipavirus, followed in 1986 with a fatality percentage of 77,6.

ebolavirus; Ebola virus disease

Ebola, in full Ebola virus disease, formerly called Ebola hemorrhagic fever, contagious disease caused by a virus of the family Filoviridae that is responsible for a severe and often fatal viral hemorrhagic fever.

In comparison, the recent novel coronavirus, originating from the Chinese city of Wuhan, had a fatality rate of 2.2 percent as of January 31, 2020, whilst the so much feared Ebola in 1976 had ‘only’ a fatality rate of 40,4%.  As of early February 2020, the virus has spread to 24 countries with over 40 thousand confirmed cases.

The present virus came for many as a surprise. People should know it is because so many countries took such drastic measures there are no more casualties. Looking at the many deaths and so many illnesses. Bland wonders if this:

is something that is affecting nearly every person in some manner, but is fear appropriate? Perhaps more importantly, is fear ever appropriate? {Pandemic: Be Calm During the Storm}

It can be said it is normal that people are afraid for something they can not control; This time the world faces a pandemic they have a lot of difficulties to keep under control. Dangerous leaders of States, like Donald Trump and Boris Johnson, brought their own population in danger and made that we now can see more deaths than there should have been with the knowledge scientists have to battle this disease.

we should not disregard actions to preserve life such as “social distancing.” We can learn from Jesus’ concern in the boat that He knew there was no reason to fear the storm for He was aware of the Father’s plan for His life. He knew it was not the time for His death. Instead, we can see that the storm was a trial for the disciples so that their faith may be tested. Jesus, with His sovereign control over all, controlled the storm and used it as a teaching moment regarding faith. {Pandemic: Be Calm During the Storm}

We all should know that it is God Who decides when our time to go comes. But we should not tempt Him by shouting we should not fear this diseases because we have God on our side. The Adonai has given the world people with brains, who can study diseases and can warn and help others to stay safe. I other people shall ignore those warnings and think all those scientists are fools they shall have to bear the consequences.

Bland urges you to

not sin through disregarding the life the Lord has given us. Do not take actions that cause you to endanger others, but instead, do what you can to ensure others are safe and provided for. We are to love our neighbor (Mark 12:31), so live your lives as such. It is not loving to needlessly risk other’s health for the sake of vain pleasure. Similarly, to disregard your own health is to sin against the Lord. If God gave us the gift of life, how foolish are we to live in a way to put it in danger? If a child is given a gift, is it not disrespectful to the giver of the gift to destroy it? How much more disrespect do we show to the Creator of life if we treat it as something to disregard. {Pandemic: Be Calm During the Storm}

Two days ago we could see how in White Rusland (White Russia) or Belarus, formerly known by its Russian name Byelorussia or Belorussia, for Good Friday people all gathered in churches and came to kiss a grand cross lying in the aisle. An ideal way for the virus to transmit from one person to another. Other pictures also entered in our living room from the United States of America, where so-called Christians said they had nothing to worry because they are Christians and God is with them, protecting them, and if their time would be there to die than it would be so. According to Pew Most White Evangelicals Don’t Think COVID-19 is a Medical Crisis. Several Protestants and Roman Catholics were calling their members to ignore the request for distancing and to come to the Easter celebrations. Also in Europe there are people who find the Easter egg hunt such an important family tradition that families should come together with their children in the houses of their grandparents to search for eggs. (Naturally one can wonder what eggs have to do with the death and resurrection of Christ!?!)
Such people ignoring the scientists their advice to stay at home and to avoid contact with others, are bringing other people in danger, but also themselves.

Many people are indeed showing respect for life by taking measures to protect the elderly and immune-compromised. This type of concern is something demonstrating how to love our neighbor, but how much more important that we show the same love for the unborn, who are but at the beginning of life. {Pandemic: Be Calm During the Storm}

We should not forget

The church has survived many pandemics like Covid-19. In fact, some were much worse, like the Black Death that killed 75 million deaths in Europe in the 14th Century. In 1918, the church saw the Spanish Flu ravage the world population, yet we are still here today. I will not say we should not have some concern, because we have a duty to both ourselves and others, but we shall not live in fear. Trust upon the Lord for his provision and protection. We will get through this together, all the whilst praising the Lord. If not, I’ll see you in Heaven, and we will praise the Lord! No matter what happens, we can have everlasting joy because of Jesus Christ, so that we may praise the Lord. I pray everybody will remain in good health, or recover quickly. God bless you all. {Pandemic: Be Calm During the Storm}

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Preceding

CoViD-19 warnings

Anxiety Management During Pandemic Days~

Hope on the Horizon: Pandemic Anxiety Management II~

Pandemic Anxiety Busters~

Mel Brooks saying “go home” to Max Brooks

Christian Response to the Covid-19 Pandemic

So many being afraid – reason enough to step in the boat with Christ

“In The Midst Of The Storm”

Love in the Time of Corona

Why are you afraid?

Fear in your own heart or outside of it

Our life depending on faith

If you keep your faith and trust in God

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Find also to read

  1. 2014 Health and welfare
  2. 2015 Health and Welfare
  3. The unseen enemy
  4. Making deeper cuts than some terrorist attacks of the near past
  5. Under-reporting the total number of coronavirus cases
  6. In denial, Donald Trump continues to insist that nothing serious is at hand and everything is in control
  7. India affected by Corona
  8. Coronavirus on March 11 declared a global pandemic on March 31 affecting more than 177 countries
  9. José Antonio Vergara talking in Esperanto about the outbreak of the epidemic
  10. Margaret Zaleski-Zamenho from Paris telling in Esperanto about the situation in France
  11. Using fears of the deadly coronavirus
  12. Europe in Chaos for a Pandemic
  13. Only a few days left before 14 Nisan
  14. Today’s thought “A night of watching” (February 5)
  15. Catholics facing a totally different Holy Week
  16. According to Pew Most White Evangelicals Don’t Think COVID-19 is a Medical Crisis
  17. Not able to see Jesus working wonders
  18. Observance of the Lord’s Evening Meal
  19. Christian values, traditions, real or false stories, pure and upright belief
  20. When Belonging to the escaped ones gathering in Jesus name

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Further Related

  1. Holy Lament, Holy Suffering
  2. The Planet is On Fire and We’re Chilling Out — Mental Illness and the COVID-19 Crisis
  3. Is this over yet?
  4. Social Distancing Works, But What’s Next?
  5. COVID-19 Journal (Entry 12)
  6. The Stir Crazy Files – Episode 19
  7. 20,000: US death toll overtakes Italy’s as Midwest braces
  8. Facing the Coronavirus
  9. We’re All Behind Together
  10. Quarantine YA Recommendations
  11. On Easter
  12. The Wind of Prayer in Battle
  13. ‘We’re Catching It Double.’ Amid Coronavirus Lockdowns, Gun Violence Continues to Plague Chicago
  14. #trumpcovidfails more bedbuggery than features, Bret Stephens decides bigly government sucks
  15. kids and coronavirus, three weeks in
  16. COVID-19 Chronicles: Day 26
  17. Headlines promise Australia’s on the ‘cusp’ of defeating coronavirus. We’re not and it’s too soon to relax restrictions
  18. Easter is coming
  19. Isolation
  20. Gorgeous Rendition of Rise Again by the Choir of Women Physicians
  21. The Grim Reaper
  22. Today was full of panic
  23. staying connected during quarantine
  24. Update: Wilmington Now Has 155 Active Positive COVID-19 Cases — 65 In Community, 73 At Advinia, 17 At CareOne
  25. Couple celebrates milestone anniversary while keeping social distancing in mind
  26. The Cottages, Fayetteville PD enforce social distancing
  27. S . O . S . ~ Move Your Body
  28. Today I am going for a walk
  29. Words for the Way IV: Pastoral Notes for locked down times. Easter Sunday Who will Roll the Stone Away?
  30. Covid
  31. Draw in & Breathe – For me
  32. Easter 2020
  33. Easter Greetings from Mrs Daffodil
  34. Sew it Begins….Sew It is Finished
  35. ‘Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread’
  36. Easter Vigil
  37. The Longest Night of My Life
  38. Dak Prescott And Zeke Need To Be Suspended Until (At Least) 2022 For Violating Social Distancing Laws
  39. Dispatches from Covid-ville: Sunday is Coming
  40. Easter is coming

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A huge world with giant trees in danger by the fault of man

You will search in vain for a mention of mammoth trees in the Bible, but because they belong to the group of the tallest trees in the world, we must not overlook them. By the way, that would be very difficult; because their tops are almost invisible from the ground!

Mammoth trees can reach a height of 90 meters and the trunk can have a diameter of 7 meters. They are native to California, but are often planted as a street or park tree in Europe.

The egg-shaped cone the huge trees throw on the earth, consist of thirty scales, that offer complete protection to the very tiny seeds until the time of reproduction. Incredible what a great strong tree can grow out such a small seed and can stand there for ages which surpasses many human generations.

Is this not one of the most remarkable wonders of creation?

The Giant Sequoia it’s massive size, resilience, longevity and beauty brings us in awe. It also can bring us to think about the creation. We can be amazed that this magnificent tree starts from a seed smaller than a grain of oat.

Thinking about the organization of the universe, the configuration of our solar system, the construction of our earth, the composition of all matter, all the DNA sequences that make up all things living, not to mention the human brain which is able to contemplate all this – it’s unfathomable.

Today we also might find that even those giants are threatened by the carelessness of human beings with dealing with nature. We cannot longer ignore the global warming and all the pollution our industry and our way of life creates. The input of our lifestyle to fauna and flora is horrible and unacceptable. Man has to change its way of life soon.

Those who love God should also love and respect His creation. They should defend those who have no voice and should take care to protect them from ‘eternal’ destruction. In the last few years we have seen far too many animal species and plant species disappear. We should take on our responsibility.
Those who believe in God must make their voices heard among the unbelievers and encourage world leaders to protect God’s creation.

 

 

The whole world is in our hands
– plants and animals, oceans and ice caps, rain forests, atmosphere and ecosystem. 

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Jehovah, God, we know we got this earth in loan from you,
touch our hearts, O God, make us worthy of this trust 

Help us care for life on this beautiful earth. 

 

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Just a thought for this month of Changing colours in Western Europe

The North and West of Belgium may look like a country full of bricks, full of houses with here and there some green trying to stay straight and alive. Where there can be found trees and fields the landscape is changing to red, yellow and golden colours. In the little gardens we may have mushrooms are the living proof we are in fall.

From the Schmidlin Family Farm we hear that at their place, in the Pacific Coast Range of Northern Oregon,

Fall seemed to only last a week this year in the Pacific Northwest.

the vibrant hues of the trees as the leaves turned from greens to wild splashes of color was only in full display a short while.

Trees with leaves ready to fallStorms that came in from the ocean sent wind and rain driving sideways at times. They lashed at the vegetation and ripped the tender stems of the leaves right off the trees that are drifting into slumber in preparation for the cold ahead. {From Vivid To Bare}

For the moment in Belgium we did not receive our portion of Autumn storms, but the temperature indicators do not seem to know where to go, one day cold the other day warm (? 17° C) for the time of year.

This year in Flemish Brabant the trees started already becoming brown in July (because of the water shortage for two years already), though in the South of France in September we could find lovely green colours and later in October them starting to give way to red, yellow and gold. They want to show the world they are strong and not yet willing to give away the crown they may be in the sky. Whilst mother earth cries unto them they sing their song in the wind, calling for memories and tricking us into lovely walks in nature.

At some places in Europe the birches are master of the surroundings. At the Muir of Dinnet National Nature Reserve it won’t be long until they lose their leaves, so the  park strongly advise to get out there now – or we’ll miss the best autumn colours!

Loch Kinord has been looking especially pretty with the yellow birches. There’s just something about reflections on water that makes things extra-beautiful. {Golden Autumn Days – Muir of Dinnet NNR}

How long did we looked forward to sunny and warm days, and how quickly they are gone. Though at for some years, at certain times in Belgium it looked like we only had two seasons, a wet one and a wetter (and colder) season. With global warming we are treated with more extremes, hotter days but also more heavy winds and rainstorms. Some parts in West Europe receive in a few hours the amount of water which would normally fall there in three months. Without any concession, the water takes everything it can grab and drags it along into the depths or miles further to throw it on one large scrap heap. Cleaning up is all what rests for those who could survive the sudden torrent.

Is it not water then there are the flames which love to lick the earth and get tourists flee their resorts of rest. That way the flames get those fleeing people thinking about the drought and how they too are responsible for what is going on with nature which seems to have lost its wheel.

Is it the slow speed by which this year wants to announce the coming Winter, that I may be feeling a little bit down? Or is it my awareness that mankind has not treated his surroundings very well? Is it me feeling like man has lost his connection with mother earth or not willing to take care of it any more?

Though Fall brings us such magnificent colours and when we look at the many blogs and at Instagram, we are treated with an incredible world of magic. But that magical colourful world is something which seems to be far away from the industrialised economical world of West Europe. Most people not receiving enough time to go to the parks and to enjoy the changing nature.

The trees call out and reach to the people down there. But they do not seem to hear or seem not wanting to see. Even when youngsters already for months call those in charge of governments to become aware that we should turn our way of life and have to make serious measure to protect our earth.

Let those voices on the streets in the big cities know that their honest cry is heard, by those who can live in that beautiful nature, which seems to be  strangled by industry and by profit-seeking investors. The trees may be leaning in close to encourage another and want to give the people who live around them the lovely sweets of a year of pride standing high above the earth and streaming water. Now

it’s as though
Heaven itself conjoins with Earth. {Encouragement}

Is it not that the youngsters of today could also need some encouragement? Or should they become the driving force to get those older people coming to change their attitude of life? Perhaps the roles have to be switched and in this age it have to be the younger ones to bring the older ones to the senses?

It is just my (feeling down) thought for today.

 

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Find some Autumn reflections and lovely pictures at

  1. Encouragement
  2. Golden Autumn Days – Muir of Dinnet NNR
  3. virginia hikes: Mount Pleasant loop, October 24 2019
  4. Fahnestock Flora
  5. Spectacular Color along the Parkway

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Additional reading

  1. Temperatures rising
  2. Air-conditioning treath and HFCs extremely powerful heat-trappers
  3. Global watershortages and Worsening food security conditions
  4. June – July 2019
  5. Stepping forward with public commitments for Making different sectors carbon neutral by 2050
  6. Reducing effects of environmental disasters
  7. After the Summer-holiday thinking even more about God’s creation

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Related

  1. It’s getting hot in here!
  2. Global Warming
  3. Time to Care Before More Islands Disappear
  4. Global warming is no joke
  5. A Forecast for a Warming World: Learn to Live With Fire
  6. Industrial Carbon Storage/Removal
  7. The terrifying truth about Global warming
  8. What a Melting Arctic Circle Means for Us
  9. Concerns for the future of the Arctic
  10. New assessment related to Arctic Climate Argument
  11. Clear evidence the Pentagon has no idea how the global climate system functions
  12. Global Warming
  13. Arctic impact has showed our world is in danger
  14. Marianne Williamson: We Need ‘World War II Level Mass Mobilization’ to Fight Climate Change
  15. Tirol: Will Austria stand up for its environment and against Climate Change by refusing the Oetztal & Pitztal ski area merger?
  16. Caring for the Earth

7 Comments

Filed under Activism and Peace Work, Being and Feeling, Ecological affairs, Lifestyle, Nature, Welfare matters, World affairs

Francis Fukuyama and ‘The End of History?’

image from BloggingHeads.tv podcast

American political scientist, political economist, and author Yoshihiro Francis Fukuyama in 2015

The American writer and political theorist Francis Fukuyama wrote

“Human beings never existed in a pre-­social state. The idea that human beings at one time existed as isolated individuals is not correct.”

In his seminal 1989 essay ‘The End of History?’ he also wrote

‘What we may be witnessing is the end point of mankind’s ideological evolution and the universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government.’

Fukuyama trying to convey silent messages through stories about the evolution of democratic societies he continued

‘With the fall of the Soviet Union the struggle for recognition, the willingness to risk one’s life for a purely abstract goal, the worldwide ideological struggle that called forth daring, courage, imagination, and idealism will be replaced by economic calculation, the endless solving of technical problems, environmental concerns, and the satisfaction of sophisticated consumer demands.’

The End of History and the Last Man.jpg

The End of History and the Last Man is a 1992 book by Francis Fukuyama, expanding on his 1989 essay “The End of History?”, published in the international affairs journal The National Interest.

Fukuyama did not suggest that the end of history meant the end of wars or conflicts, but rather that capitalism and Western-style liberal democracy were the culmination of human political development and would not, and could not, be transcended. He beliefs that the triumph of liberal democracy at the end of the Cold War marked the last ideological stage in the progression of human history. The initial political challenge having to escape beyond tribalism and the “tyranny of cousins”.

For Fukuyama, tribal organisation responds to structural imperatives in social evolution but also blocks the path to further development. The early account of the origins of state-like forms relies heavily on Lawrence Keeley’s military-focused argument in War Before Civilisation (1996) and does not consider the evidence assembled by Keith Otterbein in How War Began (2004): that warfare greatly declined in importance following the hunting to extinction of the larger mammals. Keeley himself grants that early settlement cultures, such as the Natufian,

“furnish no indication of warfare at all”. {Robin BlackburnThe Origins of Political Order: From Pre-Human Times to the French Revolution, By Francis Fukuyama}

We can see that in the West the majority prefers a capitalist system and in several industrialised countries people are a lot afraid of what smells social or communist. Fukuyama thinks that all states are going to adopt a form of capitalist liberal democracy. It was an argument contested from almost the moment he finished writing his essay.
The rise of Islamism, the unleashing of ethnic conflicts, the challenge posed by China – a myriad developments, his critics suggested, questioned the presumption of an end of history.

Donald Trump’s Presidential victory was one of the signs how politicians would easily be able to lure people in false ideas, by their words. The last few years we have seen a seemingly unstoppable rise of populist forces throughout Europe.

Many will probably see how in the quarter of a century since Fukuyama wrote his essay, politics, particularly in the West, has indeed shifted away from ‘ideological struggle’ towards

‘the endless solving of technical problems’.

The broad ideological divides that characterized politics for much of the past two hundred years have been eroded. Politics has become less about competing visions of the kinds of society people want than a debate about how best to manage the existing political system, a question more of technocratic management rather than of social transformation.

What might more come to an end is the believe of people in political systems and in politicians. Lots of people are convinced that politicians are not listening to them and are mostly just working for themselves and trying to get the best paid job.
The majority of politicians have lost connection with the ordinary people who want to feel as if they are justly recognised and that their voice can be heard. The last few years they feel more they are mocked at, nobody taking their voice seriously. Politicians should come to know that this desire to experience both personal and collective recognition is inescapable to the modern human condition.

Liberal democratic states that Fukuyama so vigorously defended in “The End of History” have not responded well to the challenges of pluralism.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, few believed in an alternative to capitalism, not seeing that the Soviet Union was not really the best representative of communism, because it had more dictators than real communist leaders. Communist parties crumbled, while social democratic parties remade themselves, cutting ties to their traditional working class constituencies while reorienting themselves as technocratic parties. Trade unions weakened and social justice campaigns eroded.

It seemed that not only in Europe social movements and political organizations eroded,  and the far-right movements gained space. Local people wanted to become recognised and wanted to look upon social change through the lens of their own cultures, identities, goals and ideals.

Many sections of the working class have found themselves politically voiceless at the very time their lives have become more precarious, as jobs have declined, public services savaged, austerity imposed, and inequality risen. Many also came to see all those immigrants as a danger for their own position, their jobs and income as well as being afraid of loosing their culture.

Having their world coming to an end.

Lots of people in charge of the working of society did not see the discontent many their votes expressed.

Prominent alt-rightists were instrumental in organising the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia in August 2017. Here, rally participants carry Confederate battle flags, Gadsden flags and a Nazi flag.

In Europe and America, people have become disaffected with the old order and felt more attraction for those who promised heaven on earth and for them “a great nation” again. Many of the opposition movements that give voice to that disaffection of the labourers, are shaped not by progressive ideals but by sectarian politics, and rooted in religious or ethnic identity. The Islamist AKP in Turkey or the Hindu nationalist BJP in India are the equivalents of the Front National in France or the alt right, far-right, white supremacist, white nationalist, white separatist, anti-immigration and antisemitic movement in America and Europe.

Those growing right-wing and far- or extreme-right-wing groups should make us aware of the severity of the present political situation. We are witnessing a globally disinformation movement which is creating more hatred and racism as well setting up people against others for wrong reasons.

The current tumult is the result of struggles for recognition that remain unshaped by progressive movements, of ideological struggles in a post-ideological world.

Demand for recognition of one’s identity is a master concept that unifies much of what is going on in world politics today. In his new book: Identity: The Demand for Dignity and the Politics of Resentment Francis Fukuyama looks at the new layers of meaning of the voters or citizen’s identity.

Fukuyama believes that the focus on self separates people from their communities. The demand for identity cannot be transcended and therefore people must begin to shape identity in a way that supports rather than undermines democracy.
When coming to know the self one can not ignore the connection with religious feelings. One aspect of wisdom is recognizing your need for The One Being outside man.

Christianity succeeds in diminishing family ties when the Church takes a strong stand against practices which enhanced the power of lineages such as cousin marriage, divorce, adoption and marriage to the widows of dead relatives. The looser family pattern favoured by the practices of Latin Christianity have the effect of channelling assets to the Church itself (eg through widows’ bequests). Fukuyama further urges that “contrary to Marx, capitalism was the consequence rather than the cause of a change in social relationships”. Yet he soon acknowledges that

“the most convincing argument for the shift has been given by the social anthropologist Jack Goody“,

an authority whose work could be seen as a distinctive fruit of Cambridge Marxism. {Robin BlackburnThe Origins of Political Order: From Pre-Human Times to the French Revolution, By Francis Fukuyama}

Fukuyama has the idea that the individualistic sense of identity comes to the fore during periods of modernisation in which people fled from rural areas into the cities and were confronted with a mass of different dialects or languages, religions and cultures and were aware of a sense of the difference between where they were and where they are now. Today in some way many people seem to be lost or are so much afraid of such confrontation they do hope their politicians can solve that problem of difference between the inhabitants of their villages, cities and countries.

Fukuyama notes the ways in which questions of identity politics have come to be regarded as synonymous with the right. Donald Trump supporters are animated around the removal of Confederate statues and the president’s lack of defence to political correctness is a significant mobilising force on the right.

Intimidation and efforts to control people have become the present day norm for many politicians, who gain a lot of popularity because many fall for their lies. That virus threatening democracy has not only infected the United States but also the European Union. As such we may see that identity politics has become the political form of cultural fragmentation of these days, and is corrosive of some features of an effective democracy – social cohesion, talking with strangers and working across the aisle.

According to me the politicians do have to give an identity to the people again and have to show them that we all have more in common with each other than what divides us.

It is a “we” who are the same, and not a “we” who are strangers dwelling together despite our differences. {Jeff RichIdentity Crisis – some theses on identity politics}

The End of the End of History?

History shall continue and show how man tries to find different political solutions and ways to govern a country. Man shall have to find a way to make it that by the globalisation more and more people would be going to see the richness of a multicultural society, instead of fearing it.

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Read also

  1. Our political systems and juggling with human laws
  2. Declaration of war against Islam and Christianity
  3. Declining commitment to democracy : What’s going on around the world ?
  4. Collision course of socialist and capitalist worlds
  5. Subcutaneous power for humanity 2 1950-2010 Post war generations
  6. The Free Market (and all that) did not bring down the Berlin Wall
  7. Common Goods, people and the Market
  8. Pushing people in a corner danger for indoctrination and loss of democratic values
  9. Populism endangering democracy
  10. An European alliance or a populist alliance
  11. British Parliament hostage its citizens for even more months
  12. American social perception, classes and fear mongering
  13. United in an open society relying not on command and control but on freedom
  14. Capitalism and economic policy and Christian survey

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Further related

  1. The Origins of Political Order: From Pre-Human Times to the French Revolution, By Francis Fukuyama
  2. What Do We Mean When We Say Something Is Political? — Recommended Readings
  3. The Sisyphean Task at the Core of Identity Politics
  4. Fukuyama has a new book on identity
  5. Little Theories
  6. The Decline of Liberalism
  7. Identity
  8. Identity Crisis – some theses on identity politics
  9. We’re in This Together Now 
  10. Two Books by Francis Fukuyama
  11. What Fukuyama got right.
  12. From ‘End Of History’ To ‘End Of Democracy’ – Why Fukuyama Now Likes China
  13. “Echoing Margaret Thatcher’s dictum that ‘there is no alternative’ …
  14. Social Psychology and Religious Behavior
  15. Francis Fukuyama and technology
  16. Eurasianism: The Struggle For The Multi-Polar World

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Filed under Being and Feeling, History, Knowledge & Wisdom, Lifestyle, Political affairs, Religious affairs, Social affairs, Welfare matters, World affairs

Holocaust memorial cobblestones laid around Europe – and beyond

In the 1990s, Gunter Demnig decided victims of the Holocaust should return to their homes, at least figuratively.

Today, more than 70,000 so-called Stolpersteine have been laid around Europe – and beyond.

As a 71-year-old man, spending more than 200 days a year travelling around Europe and beyond for his project, meeting young people, politicians and relatives of those he strives to commemorate, Demnig .

According to some it would not be a respectful manner to commemorate the victims, seeing as they are literally being walked upon, or even kicked. For that reason the southern German city of Munich decided against having the Stolpersteine. Instead, after much arguing, Munich chose to install plaques and steles across the city instead.

Demnig says he does not agree with the logic that his project means the victims are kicked over and over again.

“The Nazis were never content with kicking, they had a whole extermination and murder plan.”

And even if people did want to kick the cobblestones, they have been designed so that this action makes them “ever more shiny.”

“You can walk over them, to polish the stones even more, to preserve the commemoration, and honour them,”

Demnig says.

The artist says he could “never” imagine stopping his Stolpersteine project. Despite being officially retired, he says he will continue.

“We need them now more than ever,”

he reasons, thinking of the rise of far-right rhetoric and populism across the world.

“Especially when some people from the AfD [far-right Alternative for Germany party] get up and say, ‘We don’t need to remember the Nazi period, that was birdshit,’ then we have to say: Now more than ever.”

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Filed under Activism and Peace Work, Headlines - News

Institutional Racism

Not only the United States of America has its problems with racism. It is a growing problem in Europe as well where populism and nationalism are gaining terrain.

Several right-wing politicians are helping it to grow and use the immigration as their flagship to make people afraid for Mohammedanism. At the same time the other politicians are too much afraid to loose votes, by giving a clear voice against the exclusion of certain people and religions.

From the church, synagogues and mosques are not enough voices coming up and letting people see their true face.

We can not longer stand at the side and be silent. We do have to play our role to have people their eyes opened and to overcome to see the differences which are not and should not frighten us. We should take care to be in time to disarm those who take every effort to blacken others and to have those who have a gloomy side of things to see the world more positive and to see the others not as a threat.

We need the right people to show others are not the menace to fear, and that we can live together in peace with a multicultural society, which shall enrich us more than deteriorating us.

It is high time to see those to stand up who can and will be the ones who reform policing and empower all to build up one united society.

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To remember

  • Much of the resistance to government intervention and assistance comes down to a belief that “They” are getting the benefits – the mysterious “other” that is easily blamed for everything. It prevents us from having a useful discussion about “Us”, a free and united people ready to tackle the changes of our world bravely and directly.
  • White Privilege is generally little more than the benefit of the doubt. But when the volume is turned up and the noise is deafening, only baser senses remain. The simple benefit of the doubt often adrenalizes into violent, destructive action. {White Privilege}
  • A simple assumption accelerates into a terrible collision. {White Privilege}
  • society as a whole is still incapable of comprehending how simple yet terrible it is. {White Privilege}
  • We won’t end racism overnight, but we can continue to make progress.
  • There is a horrible lack of leadership everywhere in the developed world right now > requires strategic thinking, + strategy = horribly under-appreciated. {Strategy as Leadership}
  • separation between Strategy and Tactics is what usually trips people up. {Strategy as Leadership}
  • lack of leadership we see at the top = merely a reflection of the lack of understanding of leadership throughout our society, which is to say how to think strategically.{Strategy as Leadership}
  • institutional racism, =/= issue defeated head-on > Once lines are set => frozen. Everyone hunkered down in a defensive position, ready for the attacks. => quickly dissolves into trench warfare, = nasty game of inches rather than yards.
  • It will take understanding, love, patience, + humor to get at the heart of racism.
  • key = to engage it in a way that disarms majority of people who have racist thoughts but are empathetic enough to realize it is wrong. They need tools to cope and an invitation to stand proud rather than hunker down defensively.

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Preceding articles

If you’re going to be a hater, make sure you’ve done your homework.

Refusing to Be Silent

Tact? Knowing when it is better to remain silent!

My Multi-Cultural Childhood Could be the Answer to Racism & Xenophobia

Anti-Semitic pressure driving Jews out of Europe

It’s Time real lovers of God to Stand and Speak Out!

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Additional reading

  1. Martin Luther King’s Dream Today
  2. Immigration consternation
  3. Forms of slavery, human trafficking and disrespectful attitude to creation to be changed
  4. Migrants to the West #3
  5. Migrants to the West #8 Welbeing
  6. Speciesism and racism
  7. Rome mobilisation to say no to fascism and racism

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Related

  1. More about the Legacy of Race in Seventh-day Adventist Culture
  2. Anti-racism – definition of anti-racism by The Free Dictionary
  3. Jon Jones blasts Colby Covington for racism, throws shade after Fabricio Werdum altercation
  4. Social Issues: #2 Racial Prejudice and Racism
  5. Everyday racism
  6. AmeriKKKan Racism ~VS~ World Racism
  7. Institutional Racism Finally Addressed at Inquest into Toronto Police Killing of Andrew Loku

Barataria - The work of Erik Hare

For Dr. King’s Day, we have to acknowledge there is a war on between races.  It is a war which can only tear this nation apart, as it has done for centuries.  This,from 2016, is on how we have to engage it.

My thesis is this: there is nothing more important to the future of our nation than ending racism, particularly institutional racism. This has become a desperate matter of survival for far too many people when it comes to the issue of police killings. These tragedies happen disproportionately to minorities largely because of racism.

Yet the problem goes far beyond that. There is not a single issue in this nation which does not ultimately become polarized and frozen by race. Much of the resistance to government intervention and assistance comes down to a belief that “They” are getting the benefits – the mysterious “other” that is easily blamed for…

View original post 1,631 more words

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Filed under Activism and Peace Work, Being and Feeling, Cultural affairs, Headlines - News, Juridical matters, Lifestyle, Political affairs, Re-Blogs and Great Blogs, Social affairs, World affairs