Nature is an ecoterrorist!

Posts tagged ‘uk’

News: Starvation or Jail

A few days ago, it was reported by the BBC that a homeless man was jailed in Belfast, Northern Ireland for begging. He couldn’t pay a fine of £80, so they jailed him.

The district judge refused to give him a conditional discharge saying he had two other begging convictions and that it was clear they had not deterred him.

Look. I don’t know what things are like in Belfast for the homeless, but I am pretty hip to the fact that if a country or city’s priorities are geared towards making the homeless unseen by the housed rather than actually, you know, helping them maintain a lifestyle that is healthy, sanitary and safe, there’s probably not that many options for the homeless other than begging. For all that people like to point to homeless shelters, they’re not an option for many because of the waiting lists, lack of food/enough food/necessary food (for example, Aslan couldn’t go to shelters for food because it was all infested with dairy, to which zie is deadly allergic), an almost total absence of dignity and safety.

Very few people who recommend shelters know, or are willing to consider, the fact that you’re more at risk for rape and theft from the shelter staff than from the other shelter-ees. I’m not even touching the Mission belief that the homeless are homeless because they’re not Christians or not good enough Christians, and that making someopne who is starving and/or freezing to death listen to a sermon before they “deserve” to not starve and/or freeze is just. UnChristian and unacceptable by any decent standard (i.e. non-Randian) of ethics. And even now, we’re assuming he was able to get access to a shelter or Mission in the first place…

You know, I think there might be a reason that he wasn’t deterred by his convictions, and it’s something you’re fucking evil for faulting someone for: he valued his literal physical survival over the law.

So do I. When the law pits itself against your basic well-being, safety and survival, the law is wrong. End of.

Most people who haven’t been homeless do not understand that concept—that the law cannot physically be followed in many circumstances: in Colorado, U.S., it is actually illegal to sleep anywhere that is not a “private” residence. If you cannot pay for a motel/hotel or camping space, if you do not have a house, if someone with those things does not give you permission to sleep there, you are actually breaking the law. You can’t even sleep in a car you own. The U.S. is more concerned with keeping the homeless out of sight than with anything else, to the point that they are willing to put into place a rule that would violate the Geneva convention on torture if it were inflicted on POWs.

I’ve been there. Let me tell you something: sleep is more important than anything except water. In the hierarchy of basic needs, “sleep” and “water” are at the bottom; then “warmth” and “sanitation”; then “food” and “safety.” No number of laws can deter you from needing these, but it doesn’t seem to stop humans from trying. Like if you really were a good person, you’d find a way to do everything legally, including suddenly becoming magically successful at capitalism (because it’s your choice, after all!).

Uh, no. This is Human Rights 101: capitalism and the comfort of the privileged do not ever negate or come before any human’s survival, and capitalist infrastructure (stores) has no right to prevent humans from ensuring their survival, even if it comes at the cost of a store’s profits. If you think that a store’s “right” to profits comes before a human’s actual right to food and not starving, then congratulations—you don’t even believe in the most basic of human rights. Go to the corner and fucking check yourself.

What they’ve done to this man is criminal. That unnamed judge should be locked up.

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News: Nature is Awesome, Humans Intent on Short-Term Gain (Still)

In animals and nature news today, another species of beetle native to the UK has been discovered. It’s a rove beetle with an average length of 6.5mm (i.e. pretty damn small). A handful of new beetle species are identified each year in the region, which doesn’t include other species of insects and animals. I find a great many people who insist that we know a whole fuckin’ lot about animals, which usually provides the basis for their assertion that we know non-human animals are inferior to us, but this just isn’t true. (And it doesn’t help when you repeat basic inaccuracies like, “bees aren’t animals, they’re insects!”)

Out of a scale of everything there is to know about humans, the knowledge humanity possesses accounts for probably one millionth of one percent. I say “probably,” because we know so little about ourselves—even separate parts of the body, like the circulatory system—that it is basically impossible to estimate unless you’re using my scale (which is extremely practical but widely ignored and/or denied).

For example: did you even know there were 1,500 varieties of potatoes in existence? (I did. Plants are awesome.) There are also over 600 varieties of mangos… although they are quickly being destroyed by global agriculture, capitalism, and… hey! Carnism.

When you include everything else in the world… well, dudes, our knowledge is basically the equivalent of a single single atom among all the atoms in all the molecules of every material thing in the world.

However, we do have some knowledge by trial-and-error—not passive knowledge (that something is), but active knowledge: what happens when you do something. Actually, humans have such a long history of fucking up that we have a massive repository of straight-up facts for what will happen if you try to fuck with the world around you… This is being stolidly ignored in the UK; to reduce tuberculosis rates in farmed cows, farmers want to shoot badgers.

Aside from the outstanding evidence that “pest management” is a bad fucking idea, shooting badgers actually increases the spread of TB outside of the immediate area because of the upset to their social networks, so any badgers that foraged nearby will range farther instead of remaining in the area. No, of course that doesn’t imply badgers feel so strongly about others in their social networks dying that they will actively avoid the area—that would be sentimental and obvious reasonable evolutionarily sound anthropomorphism.

Apparently, it’s a better idea to fuck up another animals’ social system than it is to simply eliminate the problem by not farming cows. Because if you did that, nature wins! And nature is an ecoterrorist.

That’s officially my new tagline.

News: UK Forests Safe, also: Paradigms

David Cameron has abandoned his plan to privatize most of England’s forests. This is unequivocally a good thing. As a primitivist, public ownership of nature is not something I find ideal; I don’t think any species has a right to lands they have not biologically adapted to survive in (i.e. without tools or weapons), which certainly excludes humans. It’s still infinitely better than the case in the U.S., where almost all land is privatized and even outside of that, only a tiny modicum of public land is in any way available for public enjoyment, even while it is still being shilled out for private exploitation.

I am given to understand that in many non-Western countries, this is not the case—for example, Japan has hot springs that don’t really belong to anyone, they’re just there for public use and you have no right to fuck it up. Not because it would ruin others’ enjoyment of it, just that you have no right to fuck it up.

The idea that nature can ever be owned is bad enough in and of itself, but the fact is, privatization of land only serves to further marginalize people who had no choice to live there in the first place. It’s interesting, though, just how those in the Western Three (UK, US and AU) have almost no ability to imagine something that is not owned. Nature must be owned publicly if it’s not owned privately, just because there’s no concept of something being outside ownership or possession unless they are at the very top of the power scale… you have to be white, rich and male to be in any way yours.

The past day I’ve been reading Undercover Punk, specifically Innate sexuality, a THEORY, and why it hurts women and the comments thread underHeterosexualism and honestly, I’m connecting these two things on a very shiftly subconscious level.

Beyond the obvious nature/sexuality wild-dangerous/safe-tame comparisons, the direction of sexuality is something never questioned. Proponents of compulsory heterosexuality are always “questioning” homosexuality, but they’re not questioning sexuality at its basis ’cause they’re afraid to do so. Maybe this concept of sexuality is fundamentally connected to an idea of ownership, where something deemed “property” can never belong to itself—an ecosystem, a deer. It’s already patently obvious that sexuality exists in more forms than we are given words for, but I haven’t met a lot of people who realize that possession is written into every facet of the sexuality we take for granted—that sexual desire necessitates objectifying someone, or that sexual activity is automatically using someone (because you can’t feel their pleasure, or something. Which strikes me as being profoundly ignorant of the naturalness of empathy and also smacks of those “you can never be altruistic because you’ll always feel good for doing it!” philosophical-reject arguments).

The possession philosophy of sexuality is written so deep that most people take it for granted that wanting to have sex with someone is reducing them to a set of genitalia regardless of their desire, or that true sexual desire can even adequately exist without your partner’s returning desire: sexuality as sharing, as encompassing rather than dominating, is almost nowhere to be seen. You like girls… or you like boys… or both, or maybe you like gurls and bois too. But sexual desire never exists for a person because of that person: it is directed at a group of people segregated by appearance and genital arrangement, or at an action (as with BDSM) instead of a person at all. Sexuality is directed at—the object of your desire.

And it’s so normalized. You have to be sexual; you can’t just not have any interest in sexuality because sexuality itself as seen as a separate, not-optional part of human nature as much as lungs or stomachs. And sexuality having a target also justifies the harassment of asexuals, because they just can’t help it.

Sexuality is a kind of human connection—a very popular one: unlike chimps, we don’t have an estrus period, which puts us into the same socio-sexual ring as bonobos. But as someone who lives with my best friend, who I am not sexually/romantically attracted to and never have been—as someone who’s been there and experienced love and sex, all of it is the same damn thing. Love is love is love, and that’s what we need: humans are fundamentally more social beings than we are intellectual ones, but like all animals, information—whether told or observed—informs our emotions instead of controlling them.

I think that, like nature, we strip sexuality of most of its meaning when we see it in this context, and when we use day-prison to indoctrinate children to see it the same way. I do not hate humans; I don’t think they have any “special” intelligence that should necessarily condemn them to suffering as most capitalists and pro-civs do. Maybe, by trying to define sexuality with these words (an inept and unwieldy tool), we are injuring it—as we would any other living thing handled carelessly and roughly with unyielding tools.

It’s a thought.

Breaking News: Cop Sexually Assaults Woman, Media Calls it “Sex”

A British cop has been jailed for sexually assaulting a woman while on duty. Then he did it again once he was off-duty, just for good measure.

Which is more than U.S. cops get—I imagine that when some guy in the DPD does this, they throw him a congratulations party—but nevertheless, the case is still being referred to as “sex on duty.”

As far as I’ve been able to parse out, he went to this woman’s address on behalf of a “concern for welfare” call. The articles basically say jack shit about her at all. Fortunately, via Copwatch, I found that the “concern for welfare” call involved the woman being at risk of suicide. He went to “make sure she was safe” and ended up sexually assaulting her. I specifically say “sexually assault” because, repeatedly, the articles say he abused his position. That seems pretty clear-cut to me.

As you may have surmised, I have a serious problem with the way this is being reported, or I’d just have left it at “rar cops rar.”

1. Even though the freaking other cops said it was an “abuse of his position” and that he “took advantage of the situation,” it’s still being reported as sex, because the media has an anaphylactic allergy to rape, apparently.

Seriously?

If he took advantage and abused his power, then there was someone on the receiving end of it. But we never hear about her, ever—they throw around words like it was never done to anyone. Did he sexually assault someone, or did he masturbate? The utter lack of any mention of the victim strongly suggests that people basically think it’s more of the latter than it is the former.

Basically, the only way you could ever possibly see this as “sex” is if she “seduced” him. But dude, this is like, rule number one—unless you’re already in a relationship, boinking after someone tells you they want to kill themselves is a horrible fucking idea, right up there with “fucking the bereaved,” and consent is definitely up in the air. But more than the tastelessness of screwing around on the job, even if she did “seduce” him, is…

2. Why would having sex with her be this enormously horrible thing if it wasn’t sexual assault?

You get fired for having sex on the job. You get jailed for sexually assaulting someone on the job, especially when it has been made abundantly clear that the person you’re “having sex with” is not within four miles of their right mind, let alone capable of consent. Suicide distress calls—even “cries for help”—are made by people who are having serious emotional problems and do not feel that they are capable of making the right decision.

Also, I’m considering whether she started to go through with it and I’m getting seriously squicked out by the idea.

3. How unstable does a woman have to be before she’s considered to be nonconsenting?

Do you have to be drooling and catatonic or something? Because in the line of “gestures I am going to take as meaningful consent,” having someone threatening to slit their wrists and then wanting me to, uh, have sex with them is not exactly a top priority. Hell, it’s barely coherent.

4. Throughout all of this, the woman—hello, victim here, people—is rendered completely invisible. She was “had sex with,” although it’s abundantly clear that she was sexually assaulted. No mention of whether she’s okay. I’m assuming she was still alive when he came back off-duty. I don’t expect her name for obvious reasons, but I do expect a little goddamn concern for someone who is, for all intents and purposes, the victim.

Because when Michael Fletcher “abused his position and took advantage of the situation,” he wasn’t just doing it to the air.

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