Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs;
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Strive to be happy.
(sorry about the robotic voice, one day I will get Sir David Attenborough to narrate for me).
My argument is, that because everything on Planet Earth is made of the same atoms and molecules we share a common sentient existence; Democritus  said that the motion of atoms unifies all things in nature.
My belief is that humans and the Biosphere are both sentient but in different ways and I argue this by taking two known scientific phenomenon, 1/f noise (or pink noise)  and Self-organized criticality .
Pink noise, which is an infrasound found in nature in both living and non-living systems, is created in the brain of humans and is also the sound made by oceans/seas, waterfalls, some animals, aurorae, lightening and astronomical bodies. It has been observed in physics, technology, biology, astrophysics, geophysics, psychology, language and music. I suggest that pink noise should be also tagged to politics in what I would call ‘Pink-lobbying’, which would be the sound environmentalists make to speak on behalf of the biosphere.
Pink noise is also a central element in quantum mechanics and the chaos theory, which suggests to me intelligence and organisation and I would argue Descartes, “I think, therefore I am” can therefore be applied the Biosphere.
The second example is that Earth displays what is called in physics as ‘Self-organized criticality’ (Bak, Tang, & Wiesenfeld, 1988).
Also involving pink noise and a property in the dynamic systems in nature, it is one of the myriads of mechanisms that drive the complexity of Earth. Self-organized criticality is a dynamical mechanism in land formation, earthquakes, forest fires, landslides, avalanches, epidemics and biological evolution.
This suggests to me that Earth is sentient and controls us and therefore should be afforded representation in the UN community.
Why if the physics are proven is Earth still not seen as sentient and afforded the same moral standing as humans? Answers on a postcard please!
I would say physiologically as shown in Table 1 that the Biosphere has a form similar to humans:
|Human physiology||Biosphere equivalent|
|Brain||Earth’s core e.g. crust=skull, inner/outer core= cerebral cortex|
|Conscience||The Theory of Everything (String Theory)|
|Skin||Lithosphere and soil (living organism in its own right)|
|Heart||Life forms dependant on Earth|
Table 1 – Similarities between Human and Biosphere’s physiology.
The climate of our planet is under the influence of humans but humans have an obligation to assist the Biosphere for its own continued survival (Singer, 2010).
Humans have dominion over nature it is true but does it become a ‘sin’ when other humans are harmed as a result of destructive actions or lack of environmental governance?
It was only 179 years ago that William Wilberforce caused the abolishment of slavery via international law and I believe that same paradigm shift can happen again now. Historically Wilberforce convinced one of the world’s richest men, Charles Grant a director of the famous East India Trading Company in the 19th Century to simply stop trading people as a moral imperative. It can happen again today if just one leader caused a tipping point on behalf of the Biosphere (Polly Higgins, 2012).
I believe it’s a moral not an economic imperative that will save the day.
The Biosphere is being used the same way human slaves were, for energy. Historically slaves were seen as dumb and without sentience, on par with animals. Obviously that was and is ridiculous and the paradigm shift that happened then can happen now to free the Biosphere from exploitation if we apply a new brand of ethics to a sentient Earth.
If I asked the descendants of slaves ‘are you happy it was abolished?’ I am sure that every single one of them would say yes they were indeed glad to have been brought into existence as free individuals. Therefore it follows that there would be the same response of future generations if they were asked ‘are you happy that in 2012 the Biosphere was deemed as sentient and made part of the UN community with honourable guardistees  and afforded rights to protect it so you now live in security and freedom from want and fear?’.
 Democritus (ca. 460 BC – ca. 370 BC) was an Ancient Greek philosopher born in Abdera, Thrace, Greece. He was an influential pre-Socratic philosopher and pupil of Leucippus, who formulated an atomic theory for the cosmos.
 guardistee ~ a trustee to guard the well-being of Earth (portmanteau word created by Candace James from guardian and trustee).
CASE STUDY – MONUSCO
United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)
In the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) it appears that some of those involved in trying to make peace and security for the country are standing so close to the elephant all they can see is grey! To really help the DRC it’s time to stand back and change perspective, if you look at the figures below it is clear that a lot of finance is being spent on military efforts as the DRC hold elections but the core cause of the problem is being overlooked and under resourced.
Background and mandate.
The current strength of the mission and its 54 contributing countries as of the 31 October 2011 are:
*Note: Statistics for international and local civilians are as of 31 August 2011 from [iii].
The mission’s mandate is to ‘to use all necessary means to carry out its mandate relating, among other things, to the protection of civilians, humanitarian personnel and human rights defenders under imminent threat of physical violence and to support the Government of the DRC in its stabilization and peace consolidation efforts.’ (MONUSCO, 2011).
But what does this mean?
“If you come only to help me, you can go back home. But if you consider my struggle as part of your struggle for survival, then maybe we can work together.” — An Aboriginal Woman
When looking at peace and conflict in the DRC one has to ponder on the historical context of the violence and fighting. In May 2007 the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) set in motion a mapping exercise to catalogue the devastation of civil war in DRC[iv], and document the crimes ‘of the most serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law committed within the territory of the DRC between March 1993 and June 2003’ (OHCHR 1996-2011). Evidently, as you read this report Human Security features as a remit due to the acts of human rights violations being carried out by the Congolese security forces as well as neighboring Rwanda. This leads one to assume that there is a negative peace with both direct and indirect violence (Gultang) happening in the country today. For further reading see The Human Development Report[v] and the Agenda for Peace[vi].
The OHCHR report cites violations of economic and social rights and the illegal exploitation of natural resources are some the major contributors to the reason the UN Peacekeeping force are still trying to broker positive peace. This brings us back to the core cause of the problems and the catalytic reasons for violence in the DRC.
You may wish to watch the UNEP film below on the natural recourses of DRC before you read on:
Taking this and appraising it from a human security viewpoint it is easy to see that illegal natural resource exploitation has been a catalyst in driving the country’s civil war. This has been carefully measured and categorized and several reports have been written to document this, for example the violence linked to environmental degradation[vii], citing the illegal exploitation as ‘the perpetration of massive human rights abuses’
But why has this not abated and why are the military still involved in human rights violations and natural resource crimes?
It appears that those running the DRC under President Mobutu’s kleptocratic management, as well as successive governments (President Kabila) completely failed to include any type of human or environmental security. Militarizing the management of resources (e.g. forestry, mining) and taking this away from civilians destabilized the country to such a massive extent that recovery from this to date has been difficult and in all probability why the UN are still intervening. Freedom from fear and want and the destruction of habitat and infrastructure made a lasting and stable peace hard to achieve. ‘Bad habits’ and corruption it seems are imbued in the mindset of its armed forces and leadership, as this is where most crimes are perpetrated. Civil society is still reeling from the conflicts making civil meta governance a challenge.
Transforming the current situation of illicit exploitation of natural resources, the UN are encouraging the DRC government to comply with the the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) and invest the money back into society for health, education and housing. This transformation is being challenged however as there are still ‘customers’ who want under the table resources from diamonds to minerals[viii]. So next time you buy some jewellery or electronics think about where it was sourced.
Concepts of 3rd and 4th generation peace building.
Is the negative peace mainly due to a combination of conflict management and conflict resolution approaches (Richmond, O 2008) driven by a top-down elitism of prescribed official processes as in a 3rd generation methodology?
Looking in on the DRC from the outside it does indeed appear that there is a multiplicity of issues and attitudes that need to be represented at a local, state and regional level to broker a settled peace thus benefiting all people and the environment, however can this 3rd generation style be brought about by NGOs, agencies and actors or should this be achieved by a vibrant civil society (Richmond, O 2008) meeting their own objectives and needs and emancipated from hegemony?
In utopian terms it would be nice to think that governance from the Congolese people themselves could resolve and transform the fragile peace into a civilized, fair and sustainable society. Therefore peace building as an approach has to be employed with sensitivity to civil society’s expectations and needs but mainly it has to encapsulate the political, social and economical development of the DRC. Policy makers encouraging top-down system thinking as well as governance usually drive this. In the DRC however the security forces are undermining peace and committing crimes against different groups causing human rights violations. This is generally due to resource exploitation and continued fighting with neighbouring countries e.g. Rwanda. . 60-80 percent of global reserves of coltan (see reference for further reading/film), used in the manufacture of mobile phones, computers and other electronic equipment are found in the DRC[ix].
Therefore in this instance 3rd generation peace building using coercive conditional relationships may not be the best approach.
A 4th generation way of transforming peace or peace-as-governance (Richmond, O 2008) may be the answer. In short due to the unique nature of a resource rich yet poor nation, reflecting on the past and getting to the root cause of the conflict in this case corruption over the resource riches of the DRC, would allow for post-structural reverse engineering of the complex issues faced. Without putting into the mix matters such as Sovereignty and focusing on the ontological elements of peace instead of just the generic methods deployed as a catch-all by the UN, a stable and democratic liberal peace could be established by creating governance structures and asking why has the current peace failed and what can be done.
Answers on a post card please!
‘Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail’.
Maybe it is time to hand the reins to UNEP (http://www.unep.org/disastersandconflicts/) and utilize their post-conflict greening peace building and environmental diplomacy toolbox as well as ecosystem management and environmental governance to help the DRC build a green economy for all[x]. Another initiative found in Afghanistan is called No Women No Peace. This campaign’s mantra is ‘peace can only be durable when the voices of women are heard.’[xi] It has enjoyed media and government attention. Maybe this could be rolled out to DRC as the UN mission has only 6 months left (June 2012) to find a peace settlement that can be enduring and inclusive. So instead of sticking a plaster over a deep wound, is it finally time to hand operations over to women and environmentalists?
Richmond, O (2008) “The Contribution of Peace and Conflict Studies” in Peace in International Relations” p104-114
Johan Gultang http://www.transcend.org/
(Accessed on 05/12/11)
Human Development Report
(Accessed on 27/11/11)
Agenda for Peace
(Accessed on 27/11/11)
MONACO United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
(Accessed on 05/12/11)
UN General Assembly Approved resources for peacekeeping operations for the period from 1 July 2011 to 30 June 2012
(Accessed on 06/12/11)
UN Peacekeeping Operations MONUSCO Facts and Figures
(Accessed on 05/12/11)
United Nations Human Rights DRC: Mapping human rights violations 1993-2003
(Accessed on 23/11/11)
Human Development Report
United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner – Info Note 5 Violence linked to natural resource exploitation
United Nations Environment Programme – Environmental Cooperation for Peacebuilding
No Women No Peace http://www.nowomennopeace.org/
My story about becoming vegan starts really when I was five days from being 6 years old in 1969. After I watched the moon landing I was moved somewhere deep inside of me when I saw the Earth from space. This is my earliest memory, 20 July 1969.
Something woke in me and I started seeing the world around me in a different way, especially nature.
Even then I didn’t want to eat animals but I was forced to and only when I became an adult and after struggling with the whole meat-culture I turned vegetarian 17 years ago.
In June this year I was involved in a facebook campaign against dairy cattle and calf abuse and after learning about it and just how much they suffer, on the 14th June 2011 I decided I could give up dairy once and for all. I am 48 now and only wish I had had the knowledge and understanding years ago, but I was put off by all the negative press and comments about veganism.
This was a hard decision to make to be honest as I am a very keen gym bunny and I wasn’t sure how I was going to get all my proteins from plants and become a ‘Vega’ (that’s what I call myself to people).
I found an amazing book by Robert Cheeke called Vegan Bodybuilding & Fitness and I have NEVER looked back. Here’s a picture of me taken in August 2011, I had been vegan for 10 weeks and I think I look fit, well and happy!
I contacted Robert and other vegan bodybuilders and you would be surprised how big the vegan bodybuilder fraternity
is, and at all the vegan fairs in the UK they have a vegan bodybuilding show. I do not feel alone and get encouragement from these amazing guys.
So, within 2 weeks of being dairy free people started saying how clear my skin had become, and the small spots I had on my chest have all gone! So it appears I was a tad lactose intolerant anyway!
What does being a vegan mean to me? I can honestly say that since I have become a vegan my life is better! I have more energy, I am happier as I know that none of my fauna brethren have suffered for me and people tell me I actually glow. I am proud to be a vega and I enjoy educating people about my life-style and positive well-being as a vegan.
And what does the future hold? I am currently doing my Masters in Environmental Governance at The University of Manchester in the UK and I am heading for a career at UNEP in post-disaster and post-conflict environmental recovery and I am interested specifically in peacebuilding (http://www.unep.org/disastersandconflicts/), once here I know I can be an advocate for animal welfare and feel that being a vega tells people that I’m serious.
Medium term though, I had an interview in April 2011 as a volunteer for next years Olympics here in the UK and I have been accepted as an Olympic Games Maker working in the Technology Team. I have already contacted the organisers to tell them I am a vegan and need vegan trainers. That should make them think! I was also nominated by friends to carry the Olympic Flame when it comes through Manchester in June 2012 and I am through to the final round, I find out in the next few weeks if I am one of 8000 blessed people to carry the Olympic Flame and at that event I hope I get an opportunity to further animal/earth rights.
Finally, to anyone whether vegetarian or meat eaters, it is okay to go vegan, yes you have to change your diet which at first is a bit of a challenge, but the benefits will make you feel so awesome. There is so much help out there, for example https://www.vegsoc.org/ who have people who can tell you about a vegan diet. We are in an elite group of people with a heart for animals and the planet and the only advice I would give you is never criticise those who aren’t vegan, we are all on a different journey and yeah… take an iron supplement!
I wish you well and if I can help you in any way or offer encouragement please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org or @CandaceJamesUK
Have a very happy Vegan Christmas, and may The Creator bless you and yours.
“Will Animal Rights please move to the back“. Yes that is how animal rights is viewed, I had to laugh out loud!
That really was the announcement as we, a smallish group of animal altruists were waiting to start our march on Liverpool Street outside the magnificant museum of manchester science and industry, calling on the Government to put the animals in circus ban into effect.
So at the back of 35 thousand people were about 200 animal altruists who all had their different animal rights mantra. I have to say that it appeared we were the most passionate and consistently loudest during the 2 hour march through the city centre of my beloved and great Manchester. It wasn’t a carnival atmosphere at the back even though there were random people cycling around with loud PA systems playing a mixture of laidback reggae and militant songs… no we were showing images of animal abuse and audio of a fox being killed by dogs and that is never anything to party about is it?
So as the march went on and on my feelings about what I was marching for became hedonistic and I realised I was truly doing this for all the ultra-bullied animals and that gave me an incredible sense of victory. Just being there with my 10 year old ‘mini-me’ I felt completely enveloped with like-minded people all of whom obviously and passionately loved animals as much as I did and who I viewed as Animal Altruists.
I wanted to find out why we do this so I asked Liz Tyson Director at Captive Animals’ Protection Society about the march and events leading up to it.
“Having worked so hard over the years to see a ban brought in on the archaic practice of exploiting animals in circuses, we all felt that we had reached a true victory as we saw MPs move to support a ban before the summer.
But our victory was short-lived as Defra appears to be pressing ahead with regulation. Regulation is not an option if the aim is to protect animals from further suffering. All regulation will do is legitimise a practice which is no longer accepted by the public, the experts or the politicians.
Only a ban will do. With the success of the campaign earlier in the year, people have been lulled into a false sense of security – just this week we attended the Labour Party Conference and were congratulated by many people who believe a ban is imminent. We need to demonstrate to the Government that we will continue to put pressure on ministers until they do the right thing. It is time for a ban on wild animals in circuses“
So we marched on the Conservative conference and shouted our cause a short clip on my YT channel shows us demonstrating at the Gmex http://bit.ly/qJBXYv
Whether or not any of the Tories heard or what we were asking for impacted on them who knows, but I am sure that the victory was ours anyway as we came out on a Sunday to represent our fauna brethern in a show of animal altruism and as we left to meet in the Quakers Meeting House behind Central Library we all had a sense of wellbeing and pumped full of positive endorphines.
We sat chatting in the Meeting House it was evident that people felt elated. The cups of tea and coffee and vegan cakes provided by CAPS were our reward for an afternoon’s hard work.
I got chatting to Kev and he gave me the following short interview which you can see on YouTube at http://bit.ly/pHjQQp
What Kev made apparent is that to be truly helpful to the animal rights cause one has to be fully on board wanting change for the ‘unheard’ and Kev was so determined to see a ban on animals being abused in the circus that he down from Yorkshire to march for the first time in 6 years with CAPS.
Everyone I spoke to and observed looked like real human beings to me, they cared about abused animals, and gave a voice to animal suffering.
In my eyes every single animal rights person showed true animal altruism and understanding on Sunday and I ask the Universe to bless you, even if we were sent to the back of the queue =:)
BTW … there are more images from Sunday found in Pictures.
Getting ready to march for all captive circus animals this Sunday 2nd October in is my absolute pleasure. We are making our presence known during the Tory Conference so hopefully we will be deemed as adversaries.
If we don’t stand up for our fauna bretheren who will? I am passionate about captive circus animals as we are supposed to live in a civilised western society where over 90% ofdo NOT want to see animals being forced to perform in a circus. It’s time for the Conservative (coalition) Government to be sensible for a change and pass this resolution to ban the use of captive circus animals for all the great Britons who don’t want animals used and abused anymore at the Circus.
I love Captive Animals’ Protection Society as they are truly committed to seeing the ban on the use of animals in http://www.captiveanimals.org/our-work/circuses.and having met them can honestly say this is one of a handful of charities I give my money to…
So if you can be around this coming Sunday 2nd October to join us please come along =:)
So for now, I can make my banner, and yes it will feature some shocking pinkness, and yes it will be cute and non-aggressive but hopefully say a thousand words as I stand shoulder to four-legs with my fauna brothers and sisters.