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Planet Coronavirus: Survival, Resistance and Regeneration

“There are times in history when sudden events—natural disasters, economic collapses, pandemics, wars, famines—change everything. They change politics, they change economics and they change public opinion in drastic ways. Many social movement analysts call these “trigger events.” During a trigger event, things that were previously unimaginable quickly become reality, as the social and political map is remade. Coronavirus is a historic trigger event—and it needs a Movement to Respond.” Paul Engler, March 16, 2020

The frightening COVID-19 pandemic, slowly but surely infecting millions, fueling an economic and political meltdown and metastasizing in the midst of a global Climate Emergency, has pushed a critical mass of us all to the brink.

Words can barely convey our waking nightmare, or fully expose the cabal of monsters and the degenerate “business-as-usual” practices that have brought on this disaster. Like a horror movie rerun, every night I wake up.

How did we ever let this happen? What can we do to protect ourselves and others? Can we rise to the occasion and organize a massive Grassroots Rising, head off disaster, and take advantage of this tragic “trigger moment”?

Can we deal with the degenerative practices that have unleashed this mega-crisis and bring to heel the perpetrators, the greedy elite who created and/or abetted this catastrophe?

As an international chorus of climate, environmental and political leaders warned this week, it’s now or never “to harness our fears, build hope and drive action to respond to the human health, economic, climate and biodiversity crisis with solutions that build resilient societies on the longer term.”

Protect yourself and others. Take control of your health. Force governments to provide necessary resources.

We must protect ourselves and others, especially the most vulnerable. Solidarity and common sense dictate that we change what up until now has been considered “normal” behavior.

In North America, and all over the world, we need to maintain and step up the social hygiene, distancing and quarantine procedures that are absolutely necessary to reduce infections, to “flatten the curve” of a disease 10 times more lethal and three times more infective than recent flu epidemics.

But to flatten the curve we need to demand that our governments put money in the hands of workers and their families (and small businesses) so that they can afford to stay home for months, or for as long as it takes.

We must provide emergency funds and resources to hospitals, healthcare workers, and clinics so they can test, separate, isolate and treat those infected and exposed to the Coronavirus. Constant hand-washing and spatial distancing are absolutely necessary, even if we’re healthy, with strict spatial isolation if we’ve been exposed to those carrying the virus. Stay away from elderly people and those with fragile health.

My extended family and our activist staff and networks have suspended face-to-face contact and are using email, text messages, shared photos and Zoom calls to stay in touch.

Beyond spatial distancing we all need to strengthen our immune systems and preserve our physical and mental health for the challenges that lie ahead. Even though we’ve all heard it before, now is the time for action. Now is the time, as natural health leader Dr. Joseph Mercola tells us, to “Take control of your health.”

Here’s some of what we all need to do, today and every day.

• Cook at home. Learn new recipes. Stop going out to restaurants until the pandemic is over. Buy local and organic whenever possible. Eliminate factory-farmed meat and animal products, GMOs and all the other nutritionally deficient and poisonous products of industrial agriculture from your diet. Purchase, prepare, and consume as many fresh and healthy, nutritionally-dense foods as possible. This means lots of organic fruits and vegetables, including fermented foods. Cut down on sugar and sugary deserts and reduce your alcohol consumption. Start growing you own sprouts indoors and get ready to plant an organic garden this spring if you have a patio or outdoor space. Consume whole organic grains and healthy carbs, not processed food. If you eat meat and animal products, search out organic, grass-fed, and pasture-raised products. But of course not everyone has access to, or can afford to buy healthy food. Ethics and solidarity require us to help others in our community gain access to organic and healthy foods. Support mutual aid projects such as food hubs, food banks, and food delivery projects in your local community.

• Take this opportunity to stop smoking tobacco. Coronavirus death rates are substantially higher for smokers. If you smoke pot, stop sharing joints—or better yet switch to homemade edibles. Supplement your diet with vitamins and nutritional supplements, such as Vitamin C and D to strengthen your body’s immune system and disease-fighting capabilities.

• Start getting regular exercise, outdoors if at all possible, but indoors if necessary. My daily regimen includes yoga stretches, light calisthenics and an hour or more of walking outdoors. Walking and/or exercising for an hour will calm you down as well boost the microphages in your body that kill pathogens.

• Get seven to eight hours of sleep every night. If you wake up in the middle of the night like I do, don’t take sleeping pills, search out natural sleep supplements with no side effects. For 3 a.m. insomnia, I take a four or five spray shots in my throat of Dr. Mercola’s Melatonin and put two tiny pills (30c) under my tongue of a homeopathic remedy called Nux Vomica. You can find these over-the-counter sleep supporters in your local co-op or natural food store, or else online.

• Try to reduce mental stress, which increases the inflammation that weakens your body’s defense mechanisms. Think positive. Remind yourself that this disaster can change politics, economics and public opinion in drastic ways. If we can unite our networks for healthy food and natural health, and create synergy with those all over the world organizing for a just transition to a green economy, we can not only overcome this pandemic, but we can solve the even more catastrophic threat posed by our Climate Emergency.  Even in this time of social distancing, people all over the world are starting to collectively resist and get organized. Search out the positive news of rebellion and mutual aid online and you’ll see that people are slowly but surely building up a compassionate and sane response to the pandemic and mobilizing to turn back racist, xenophobic and elitist government policies such as bailing out the wealthy “one percent,” instead of the rest of us, the “99 percent.” Stop spending so much time reading or watching the commercial mass media, which is filled with corporate propaganda and doom and gloom, and tune in instead to the positive information you can find in the alternative media. Go to the websites of Organic Consumers Association or Regeneration International, news sites like Common Dreams and natural health sites like Mercola. Watch the news everyday on Democracy Now!

If you want a positive roadmap showing how we can reverse global warming and mobilize a critical mass to implement an organic and regenerative Green New Deal, you can read my new book: “Grassroots Rising: A Call to Action on Climate, Farming, Food, and a Green New Deal.” (The audio version is available here).  

• Now is the time to strengthen friendships and build up a stronger movement for radical change. If we’re going to survive the current crisis, avoid catastrophic climate change, and build the kind of world we all want and need, we need to exponentially increase solidarity and trust among heretofore separate communities and activist networks isolated in their separate silos. Please step up communications with your friends and fellow activists over the phone and the Internet and accentuate the positive. Sign up for our newsletter and stay in touch. The upside of this terrible catastrophe is that it is creating the objective and subjective conditions for a global Grassroots Rising and Regeneration Revolution.

Let’s talk about the real roots of this pandemic

Here’s what Jane Goodall recently said about the pandemic crisis:

“All over the world we’ve been destroying the places where animals live in order to get materials to build our homes, our cities and to make our own lives more comfortable. And as a result, we’ve brought the climate crisis on ourselves. Many species of animals and plants have become extinct. And our too-close relationship with wild animals in the markets, or when we use them for entertainment, has unleashed the terror and misery of new viruses.”

The coronavirus pandemic, like the climate crisis, is not an accident, nor an act of God. Both of these existential threats have arisen out of a U.S. and global food, farming, energy, resource extraction, economic, militaristic “national security” and trading system that is degenerative, unethical, inequitable and as we see now, self-destructive.

As Vandana Shiva points out:

“New diseases are being created because a globalized industrialized, inefficient food and agriculture model is invading the ecological habitat of other species and manipulating animals and plants with no respect for their integrity and their health . . . The health emergency that the coronavirus is waking us up to is connected to the emergency of extinction and disappearance of species, and it is connected to the climate emergency. All emergencies are rooted in a mechanistic, militaristic anthropocentric world view of humans as separate from, and superior to other beings whom we can own, manipulate and control. It is also rooted in an economic model based on the illusion of limitless growth and limitless greed . . . .”

Unless we can stop large corporations and desperate people from destroying the habitats of wild animals, such as bats, pangolins, and civets . . . unless we can shut down the animal factories where pigs, poultry and other hapless creatures are crammed together in filthy disease-ridden environments, stuffed with genetically engineered animal feeds and dosed with drugs guaranteed to spread antibiotic resistance and virulent pathogens . . . unless we can alleviate the poverty that forces people to cut down their forests and hunt and consume and bring to market wild creatures . . . unless we as conscious global citizens can stop buying and consuming the inhumane and dangerous factory-farmed foods and products made from forest-killing commodities such as industrial palm oil and GMO soybeans . . .  unless we can stop multinational corporations from clearcutting tropical rainforests, plowing up grasslands and savannas and destroying wetlands and marine ecosystems, and instead reforest, regenerate and restore damaged ecosystems . . . unless we can break down the walls of the factory farms and get 50 billion confined farm animals back out on the land grazing and foraging in a holistic and regenerative fashion that sequesters carbon and reduces rural poverty . . . unless we can carry out a global food, farming, land-use, energy and political regeneration, we will have more emerging viruses and diseases, an out-of-control climate emergency and the endless wars, poverty and conflict that arise out of our militarized “profit at any cost” economic system.

In Sonia Shan’s recent article in The Nation magazine she quotes epidemiologist Larry Brilliant, who once said, “Outbreaks are inevitable, but pandemics are optional.”

But, as Shan points out:

“ . . . pandemics only remain optional if we have the will to disrupt our politics as readily as we disrupt nature and wildlife. In the end, there is no real mystery about the animal source of pandemics. It’s not some spiky scaled pangolin or furry flying bat. It’s populations of warm-blooded primates: The true animal source is us.”

The myth of ‘national security’ and the global military-industrial complex: disturbing information

The whole notion of “national security” (i.e. “my army or my nuclear weapons or my biological weapons are more potent than yours”) is exposed as insanity when pandemics such as the coronavirus, or looming catastrophes such as runaway global warming (which will require global cooperation to stop greenhouse gas emissions and draw down excess greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and sequester them in our soils, plants and forests), rise up and pose existential threats to us all.

It’s not clear yet whether COVID-19 was weaponized in one of the world’s numerous, and secretive, chemical and biological warfare laboratories (such as the ones in Fort Detrick, Maryland, or the one in Wuhan, China) and then was accidentally or deliberately released, or whether its toxic potency was accelerated by “normal” genetic mutations as it passed from bats and pangolins through humans.

But there are disturbing facts about coronavirus, biowarfare and lax security in the world’s growing network of chemical and biological warfare labs that the commercial mass media and world governments aren’t telling us about.

Francis Boyle, a legal expert on chemical and biological weapons, who authored the U.S. Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act of 1989—passed unanimously by both houses of Congress and signed into law—and which bans offensive chemical and biological weapons and research, has stated that he believes the COVID-19 virus was weaponized and then accidentally released.

Boyle suspects COVID-19 is a weaponized pathogen that escaped from Wuhan City’s Biosafety Level 4 facility, which was specifically set up to research coronaviruses and SARS. According to Boyle, the COVID-19 virus is a chimera. It includes SARS, an already weaponized coronavirus, along with HIV genetic material and possibly flu virus. It also has “gain of function properties” that allow it to spread a greater distance than normal.

Last year (February 27, 2019) the Washington Post published a disturbing article entitled “The U.S. is funding dangerous experiments it doesn’t want you to know about.”

The newsletter WanttoKnow.info summarizes and comments upon the implications of the Washington Post article (which is now behind a paywall):

“In 2014, U.S. officials imposed a moratorium on experiments to enhance some of the world’s most lethal viruses by making them transmissible by air, responding to widespread concerns that a lab accident could spark a global pandemic. Apparently, the government has decided the research should now move ahead. In the past year, the U.S. government quietly greenlighted funding for two groups of researchers . . . to conduct transmission-enhancing experiments on the bird flu virus. Neither the approval nor the deliberations or judgments that supported it were announced publicly. This lack of transparency is unacceptable. Making decisions to approve potentially dangerous research in secret betrays the government’s responsibility to inform and involve the public when approving endeavors . . . that could put health and lives at risk. Hundreds of researchers . . . publicly opposed these experiments when they were first announced. In response to these concerns, the government issued a framework in 2017  for special review of ‘enhanced’ pathogens that could become capable of causing a pandemic. The framework . . . requires that experts in public-health preparedness and response, biosafety, ethics and law, among others, evaluate the work, but it is unclear from the public record if that happened. This secrecy means we don’t know how these requirements were applied, if at all, to the experiments now funded by the government.”

On August 5, 2019, the New York Times reported that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) had closed down (since reopened) the most important chemical and biological warfare laboratory in the U.S. at Fort Detrick, Maryland, for biosecurity lapses, “problems with disposal of dangerous materials.” Shortly thereafter, the Guardian UK newspaper linked to a video in which the CDC Director, Robert Redfield seemed to admit at a Congressional hearing that “some cases”  i.e. deaths from the coronavirus, had been discovered in the U.S. before being identified in Wuhan—no doubt due to the previously documented inability of the U.S. to test and verify differences compared with the flu.

Watch this video interview with an experienced U.S. virologist, Judy Mikovits, who previously worked at Fort Detrick on weaponizing , and you’ll see why we desperately need to stop the madness, before it’s too late.

I could go on and on with other disturbing “coincidences.” Hopefully COVID-19 was not weaponized in a CBW lab such as Fort Detrick or Wuhan, or at worst it was an accidental release due to a biosecurity lapse, rather than an act of war, as the Chinese, Russians and Iranians are now claiming in response to Trumps’s belligerent characterization of COVID-19 as the “Chinese Virus.”

The point is that we need to stop weaponizing viruses and other pathogens in our so-called “defensive” chemical and biological weapons laboratories across the world, as international treaties dictate. We need to drop all U.S.- imposed economic sanctions across the world immediately, including those hampering current anti- COVID-19 measures in Russia, Cuba, Iran, Venezuela, Syria, North Korea and other nations.

We are all in this together. We need to stop bullying and threatening one another. We need to stop spending trillions of dollars on bombs and missiles and chemical and biological warfare programs and cooperate on waging war against the real monsters that are staring us in the face: COVID-19 and the global Climate Emergency.

The year 2020 will hopefully be remembered by our children and grandchildren as the transformational time when the global grassroots finally awakened to the existential threat of a Climate Emergency and the coronavirus pandemic, and forced our governments to cooperate and take decisive action.

Hopefully, 2020 will be recorded in the history books as a time when we mobilized, as never before, to overcome a national and global emergency, and launched a long-overdue political and social revolution, a U.S. and global Green New Deal.

Hopefully the future generations will be inspired by the unprecedented public education, grassroots lobbying, marketplace pressure, civil protest, mutual aid and farmer, energy, community and land-use innovation that will now be unfolding, galvanizing radical political and system change on a wartime scale, with a massive transfer of public and private investment from degenerative to regenerative practices.

If not, future generations will look back on 2020 as the beginning of the end.

We have an opportunity. As Paul Engler points out:

“Trigger events can create confusion and unease. But they also present tremendous opportunities for people who have a plan and know how to use the moment to push forward their agendas. These agendas can be reactionary, as when conservatives and fascists pass harsh austerity measures and spread xenophobia—the type of activity documented in Naomi Klein’s ‘The Shock Doctrine. Yet, this type of response need not prevail. With a counter-agenda rooted in a commitment to democracy and a deep sense of collective empathy, communities can flourish, even amid a crisis.”

Ronnie Cummins is co-founder of the Organic Consumers Association (OCA) and Regeneration International, and the author of “Grassroots Rising: A Call to Action on Food, Farming, Climate and a Green New Deal.” To keep up with OCA’s news and alerts, sign up here.

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