Thursday, February 26, 2015

Race to the FINISHED Line?
“Racing Extinction” does more than Ask Tough Questions

Image: Racing Extinction: it’s not a spectator sport anymore

“My goal is to make a film that doesn't just create awareness, but inspires people to get motivated to change this insane path we're on. Films to me aren't just entertainment -- they are for me the most powerful weapon in the world, a weapon of mass construction.”
~ Louie Psihoyos

Weapons of mass construction. A Contradiction in terms, or the coolest term ever? We at Genesis Eco Fund love it, together with Louie Psihoyos, the Academy Award-Winning Director of “The Cove” and Executive Director of the Oceanic Preservation Society.

His latest project, “Racing Extinction” (formerly entitled “6”) goes further than most activist documentaries about exploitation of the natural world. It not only takes action, it documents the actions being taken and shows the world—in an exercise of modern guerilla-media warfare—the err of its ways. 

Video: “Racing Extinction” Official Festival Trailer by Oceanic Preservation Society

Is it effective? Will it ultimately make a difference? Or is it too little, too late? When asked by The Dodo, How bad is it really?  Psihoyos replied, “One paleontologist told me that WWII will be a footnote in human history compared to the current loss of biodiversity that our generation is presiding over.” Source:

Translation: Bad. Really bad.

According to Psihoyos, we could lose half of the species on the planet by the end of the century. And although this will not be the first mass extinction to happen in the planet’s history, it will be the first that is caused by human behaviour.

Whether or not this is the case, only time will tell.  The more immediate impact of Psihoyos’ work—on The Cove, Racing Extinction and OPS—is its revelatory value; what the threat of such mass human-caused ecological and genetic devastation reveals about humanity’s appalling relationship with nature.

We all know about humanity’s dismal track record of environmental exploitation, going back thousands of years. But what Psihoyos and his colleagues manage to achieve is show us that things have not improved in many places in the world. If anything, population growth has all but guaranteed that things have gotten much, much worse than they ever were before.

The technology and large scale machinery for the wholesale destruction of species has never been as advanced as it is today; neither the potential profits for individuals and groups participating in the trade of threatened creatures—including but in no way limited to sharks.

And let’s not forget that much of the trade in threatened species is built on a cultural foundation of traditions stretching back thousands of years. Combined with booming population growth and middle class aspirations of material wealth, it is inevitable that demands will be met with supply, as long as that supply is available…no matter the cost.

Such short-sightedness is but one of the many tragedies of the intellectual animal which calls itself “human.”

How do we turn things around?

Psihoyos suggests:

“1. Get your home, school, places of work and worship, and government buildings off of fossil fuels ASAP
2. Explore a plant-based diet

3. Tell everyone you know to see this film
The solutions are all upgrades. I've been driving an electric car for five years, and it never goes into the shop because there's only one moving part in the engine -- the rotor -- which lasts forever. I power it with solar panels, I don't pay for gas; in fact, my whole house and studio is powered by the sun. My license plate says “VUS” which stands for Vehicle Using Sun -- it's the opposite of an SUV. My local electric company (which OPS has been working fervently to overthrow) pays us to produce electricity because we generate 140% more energy than we use.” Source:

Genesis Eco Fund proposes you look at getting an ecosystem for your home, office/workplace, and school.

Any dog owner with will agree it is all but impossible for them to eat dog. Likewise, someone who had a pet rabbit will likely turn their nose up at rabbit stew. This is because of the deep relationship they have with their pet—and by extension pets in general. 

Living in an ecosystem one becomes more conscious of—and sensitive to—the intrinsic value of nature and ecological systems. One has a much greater appreciation of fish, for instance, when one sees how their lives support the lives of plants in an ecosystem; and, conversely, how the plants support the fish. One appreciates snails as more than escargots when one sees them eagerly cleaning the ecosystem of algae.

An ecosystem is a living, breathing microcosm of the planet as a whole. Being a part of that microcosm gives one a visceral, experiential appreciation for the whole that no intellectual or conceptual argument can match.

Yes, a film can provoke strong emotions and trigger change, but an ecosystem in your life is there always: day in and day out, like a nagging Mother Nature reminding you to make your bed and wash behind your ears, it’s not easily ignored, let alone forgotten.

And so while we applaud the efforts of Louis Psihoyos and others who devote their lives to powerful cinematic reminders—these tools of mass construction—it takes more than a blueprint and a business plan to actually build the future we want. Those 90 minutes, no matter how powerful they are, need to be backed up by real substance 24 hours a day, 7 days a week…in other words, ongoing immersion in a space of love.

That is the power of an ecosystem to enact sustainable long term positive change in peoples’ lives. The kind of sustained changes in attitudes and life choices Louis Psihoyos and his colleagues hope to be able to spark.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Artificial Womb from Science Fiction gives birth to Science Fact

(…in a bucket of artificial amniotic fluid and bioethical controversy)

Video: Artificial Wombs(Uterus):The End of Natural Motherhood? The Matrix Begins?
“The future is rosy for bioethicists.”
The revelation that Japanese scientists had incubated goat fetuses in an artificial womb (ectogenesis) using a technique known as extrauterine fetal incubation (EUFI) was first reported in the New York Times in 1996.

Interestingly, the first installment in the wildly popular film franchise The Matrix was released in 1999, just three years after the New York Times article. And one cannot deny the eerie similarity between the design & functionality of the artificial wombs used by Japanese researchers and those depicted in The Matrix films.

Does this mean science fact gave birth to science fiction?

Image Collage by Genesis: Which Artificial Womb came First: Sci-Fi or Sci-Fact?

Well, Aldous Huxley had the jump on this one, actually:
''One by one the eggs were transferred from their test-tubes to the larger containers; deftly the peritoneal lining was slit, the morula dropped into place, the saline solution poured . . . and already the bottle had passed on through an opening in the wall, slowly on into the Social Predestination Room.'' - Aldous Huxley, ''Brave New World.'' 
Here at Genesis, we do not think of ourselves as naïve. We know that materialist science is barrelling forward in directions which have potentially catastrophic consequences for individual living beings, ecosystems, the environment and this humanity and the planet as a whole. That’s just a fact. (Nuclear weapons, et al).

But at Genesis, we are concerned with matters which penetrate the veil of material reality. We know that the foundation of the physical world is not physical, and that the things that truly matter to man and beast alike lie beneath the veneer of what appears to us as a very solid foundation of everything.

And even though science knows this, it takes a stubbornly materialistic, reductive, secular and ultimately cold-hearted perspective on energy, quantum physics, consciousness. That somehow, although we know physical reality is built from these non-physical building blocks, they are somehow still regarded as inferior; disrespected, in essence, by the intellect which—if we’re honest—wants to know everything and be the centre of our universe. 

That’s because the intellect is the ego. Science likes to “play God” because the ego wants to “be godlike.” 

Don’t believe us? How else does one explain the position of UK bioethicist Anna Smajdor of the University of East Anglia, who believes that pregnancy and childbirth is a barbaric illness which lasts nine months and is occasionally fatal; an illness which should not be tolerated in a truly liberal society:
“Changes to financial and social structures may improve things marginally, but a better solution needs to be found. Either we view women as baby carriers who must subjugate their other interests to the well-being of their children or we acknowledge that our social values and level of medical expertise are no longer compatible with “natural” reproduction.”
Source: originally from an article in Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics, Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics, January
Ummm…and what about the babies? Where are there rights in all of this? How is it ethical to deny a baby the gestation within the womb? 

Here we see how the intersection of materialist science and liberal intellectualism hit head on to create the conditions which can result in catastrophic cascading effects. The assumption that ectogenesis can be “perfected” is entirely materialistic, mechanical, biological. It assumes that human beings are sacks of ectoplasmic goo surrounded by skin. It denies human beings their essentiality true nature: love.

The fallacious materialist scientific assertion that mind, emotions and love are born out of the physical realm and are by-products of material reality (genetic predisposition and environmental factors) is what allows a scientist to deny the fetus any capacity for mental, emotional well-being and to feel love. Only such a cold-hearted intellectual conclusion could conceive of denying a developing baby the essential connection between it and its mother, and the space of love of the womb (which is BOTH the mother’s womb AND the child’s womb).

Luckily, not everyone think as Ms. Smajdor.
“I would argue that God in her wisdom created pregnancy so Moms and babies could develop a relationship before birth, says Alan Fleischman, professor of pediatrics at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, who directed the neonatal program at Montefiore Medical Center for 20 years.”
Unfortunately, we cannot be naïve. It won't be long (relatively speaking) before fertility clinics begin offering this "service" to women and Homosexual male couples. At first they will offer it to women with ovarian cancer or who have had their uterus removed, in other words, any of the many medical reasons why couples have turned to surrogate mothers. However, when wealthy models, actresses, musicians (or just self-conscious women) see this technology available, there will be cases of women who choose this method over traditional pregnancy for self-serving reasons.

Such babies will not be breastfed, for obvious reasons, and the long term psychological impacts on children "produced" this way will be catastrophic. They will have so little sense, so little feeling of what it means to be a human being...their psyche will be utterly mechanical: easily programmable by the system.

And that is exactly what Aldus Huxley predicted.

As for The Matrix, it uses ectogenesis, malevolent artificial intelligence and hypnotic virtual reality allegorically to tell us something much more significant about ourselves…that we are already in The Matrix. And the ego-intellect is the mechanical intelligence inside of us responsible for every technological terror humanity has ever devised. 

The technology of ectogenesis happens to be one of the most terrifying; an atrocity of the highest order magnitude…one capable of robbing newborns in development of the most precious, important and essential nutrients required for life…the impressions of a loving, caring, nurturing space of mutual harmony and symbiosis…a space of love.

Intellectual animals “produced” in this way will be even more callous, mechanical, heartless than we already are. Ecosystems? Harmony? The Environment? What do any of these things matter to a biological machine produced on an ectogenetic assembly line? Nothing. 

But this is the perfect technology for fulfilling many another dark, ghastly sci-fi vision: from Sauraman’s army of fiercely loyal Uruk-Hai  in The Two Towers to Palpatine’s Clone Army of Stormtroopers.

Video: The creation of the first and badass Uruk-hai, Lurtz- Fellowship of the Ring (2001) 

Video: Begun the clone war has.... 

Take your pick. There’s no shortage of real-life examples and dystopian visions of what atrocities humanity is capable of when we allow materialist science, technology and “liberal intellectualism” (a clever euphemism for egotistical self-interest) to run amok.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

War of the Wolves
B.C. Should look to Yellowstone Case before Wolf Cull

Video: Wolf cull in B.C. | A War on the Wolf   
Source: CBCNews
“Nature needs no help, just no interference.”
~ BJ Palmer
Source: The Greatest Inspirational Quotes Nature
Today we look at a contentious issue again, one which rattles people on both sides of the argument: human interference or non-interference with nature?

Should human beings overtly get in the way of natural processes, systems—ecosystems—extinctions, even? It is a contentious and emotional issue. After all, as people we tend to get pretty attached to one of two deciding factors in the argument:
  1. Nature First:be it a moral position of superiority over human judgment; or, an ethical statement on the rights of animals and plants to exist free from suffering. 

  2. Humans First:be it our position of moral superiority (being “conscious,” the most “evolved” of all animals, and/or divinely assigned the role of guardian and custodian of the planet and all life on it; or, a pragmatic secular statement on humanity’s rights to exploit nature however and whenever it deems necessary; that this, too, is survival of the fittest.

These two positions are not mutually exclusive.  In the case of the proposed B.C. wolf cull discussed in the video which opened today’s article, advocates of the cull are claiming good ecological stewardship, claiming they have the best interests of the “endangered” caribou at heart—a “beloved Canadian symbol.”

We can’t help but wonder if those considering this cull have looked into the Yellowstone case for what the large-scale impacts that top-level predators have on ecosystems.

Video: The importance of predators, the Yellowstone case 

We wish to try and be somewhat balanced in sharing this information; so for the sake of balance, we should point out that even the Yellowstone “success story” has its detractors. One man’s success is another man’s disaster. This should come as no surprise.

Video: Crying Wolf: Exposing the Wolf Reintroduction to Yellowstone National Park – Preview 

Good or bad, right or wrong, for better or for worse, one cannot debate that the re-introduction of wolves to Yellowstone was a human intervention…albeit reversing previous human interference which included culling wolves and/or driving them from Yellowstone in the first place.

The point is, human beings have an ongoing and unquestionable knack for intervening in nature which leads to highly disruptive if not all out disastrous results.  The planet even has a continent which more than any other has served as a massive experiment in species introduction, relocation, and interference…Australia.

Video: Human interference with nature - it doesn't work! - BBC wildlife 

So where do we end up? Species introduction bad? Species reintroduction good? In the final analysis, these questions of good or bad, right or wrong have no place in the discourse of nature. We should, by now, know all too well that nature does not share humanity’s ideas of morality, nor does it function on a purely binary code of conduct.

At times life appears sacred to nature, and we see it nurturing and fighting to protect life at all costs from all threats. At other times, nature appears callous and uncaring, partaking in wholesale destruction of entire species.

Nature is mysterious that way, and the thinking human doesn’t like mysteries…the thinking human likes to be in control. We like to think we have the answers, and want to believe we know what we’re doing. Humanity like to think ourselves masters of the universe, whether we are scientists manipulating genes in test tubes, or spiritual gurus professing ourselves to be one with the Source of the Universe.

The problem is precisely our point of view…not which point of view we have, but the fact that we have one at all. It’s the very notion of imposing what we think—from our subjective perspective—needs to be done on what operates on a fundamentally objective paradigm.

Say what you will about nature, it at times appears fair and other times unfair…but what it is not is biased. Nature is what it is. And truthfully, it’s only from this level of consciousness that anyone can hope to approach any problem in nature and hope to get it right.

Intervention? Non-intervention? Who knows? Here’s what we do know: you’re never going to think it through…like so many of our experiences of nature, you have to feel it, but not subjectively in the mind (“poor caribou, poor moose, poor wolves”), but objectively: what is most beautiful.

You can fill countless textbooks on the ecological effects of this or that; using statistics, satellite imagery, head-counts of fauna, and every conceivable metric to stimulate the mind in an attempt to convince it of what is right or wrong. But to know what’s most beautiful you only need your imagination...

Australia overrun with foreign invaders? Yellowstone returned to her former glory? Unknown consequences to B.C. ecosystem?

Just feel it. What feels right?

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

World Wetlands Day 2015:
Wetlands for Our Future

Image: WLE Postcard (back/front) highlights ecosystem services provided by Southeast Asian wetlands

February 2nd 1971, the Convention of Wetlands was adopted and began the annual tradition of celebrating World Wetlands Day.

This year, the International Water Management Institute, or IWMI, has marked the occasion with the theme, Wetlands for Our Future, a photo contest, and communication materials available for download.  

In addition, they have produced the following infographic which highlights how broad-reaching the impacts of wetlands are on all of us.

Image: IWMI Infographic “Wetlands at Work” Source:

What is particularly telling is the foundational impact of wetlands on ecosystems.

The Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems (WLE) and International Water Management Institute are a part of CGIAR—A Global Agricultural Research Partnership.

CGIAR research partnerships focus on reduction of rural poverty, improvement in food security, nutrition and health, and sustainability in managing natural resources.

What International Wetlands Day signifies is the recognition that ecosystems are the backbone of sustainable agriculture, and that ecosystems themselves have a foundation—wetlands…water.

More than anything else, wetlands produce living water. This ionized energy-rich flow is capable of supporting massive plant and animal populations, in addition to providing naturally filtered water for human consumption, so long as it is an agricultural ecosystem.

What wetlands cannot support (what no living system can support) is industrial agriculture model built on a paradigm of exploitation.

Any attempt to use wetlands as a “silver bullet” to support inherently unsustainable western-style industrialized agriculture is doomed to fail. Trying to bring increased productivity and efficiency to the rural poor using an anti-ecosystem model, supported by what can only support ecosystems, is folly.

That said, opportunities do exist to uncover and embrace nature’s modus operandi, thereby producing everything required by local populations in environmentally responsible and sustainable ways. In other words, to comprehend how wetlands and other ecosystems interact, and use that comprehension to enable those systems to flourish naturally. 

Any exploitative model, however ingenious it may seem, will be in a constant state of conflict with the underlying natural world which seeks harmony and symbiosis. An ecosystem approach, built on harmony and symbiosis, will be met by nature as an ally, and will be supported by nature to succeed.

It’s an infinitely complex process summed up by a very simple fact. All research in this area should be focused on restoring humanity’s harmony and symbiotic relationship with the ecosystem—wetlands included. How can we contribute and support ecosystem (as oppose to “exploit and manage” resources).