“The most important thing you can do is educate yourself. Whatever makes you come alive, use that passion to make a difference. Together, we can create a legacy we can be proud to pass on to the next generation.”
Self-organized self-funded circles of paramilitary guardians fulfill the inner human commitment of protecting the Earth from poachers, corporate directors, polluters, and big game trophy hunters. It is not that greedy, selfish, shortsighted behaviors are “bad” but rather that they are uneducated, unaware, uninitiated. Thus Earth Guardian Circles have a two edged purpose: making clear boundaries and providing initiatory experiences.
The minimum Earth Guardian circle is three persons, with two operatives and one logistics coordinator. Typically circles are a seven-person team, with four operatives, two logistics, and one communications person. Decisions are made using the full group’s intelligence because circles are non-hierarchical.
The need to guard the Earth has existed since the origin of roving bands of humans. It is the purpose of each action that require management. Culling an oversized heard of deer so it can thrive in a biozone is a very different purpose from poaching rhinos to sell their horns to Chinese herbalists as a human sex stimulant, killing elephants to chain-saw off their tusks for Chinese ivory, or killing off lions to make powder from their bones “to give people the strength and power of a lion.”
Streams are being polluted; fish and shellfish decimated, forests burned. Thoughtless humans are exterminating forever hundreds of species a day. Each species requires millions of years to stabilize into an ecosystem. The desperate greed of a few is pushing the Earth towards dangerous instabilities.
One would imagine that governments would do their job of protecting the Earth to assure a bright future, but there is a design error in any organization using a hierarchical power structure. Power positions are obtained by whoever does whatever it takes to climb the hierarchical ladder. The people most effective at doing whatever it takes to obtain power are psychopathic.
Thus government agencies and NGOs are coopted from the first moment to serve a psychopathic agenda due to their power structure design error – the hierarchy. Hierarchies select for psychopathic leadership.
When an official puts a family member into office not because they are competent to accomplish the service but because they are family, this is corruption. When an official redirects government funds to their personal bank accounts and increases their personal wealth and position, this is corruption. When an official turns their eyes and receives kickback and bonuses from corporations and allows them to change laws and access resources for profit, this is corruption. This corruption is undignified. This corruption lacks respect for Earth’s basic principles. If the governments and NGOs cannot protect the Earth from human corruption, then it is up to those who can protect the Earth to do so. Thus the existence of Earth Guardian Circles.
Earth Guardian Circles have evolved from the Maori traditions of kaitiakitanga which means responsible trusteeship, hospitality, guardianship, protection, or preservation. An Earth Guardian is a kaitiaki, a guardian serving the big picture rather than personal, governmental, religious, or corporate interests. Kaitiakitanga is a way of managing the environment, based on the traditional Māori world-view.
Kaitiakitanga encompasses many concepts and practices of environmental sustainability such as that people are offspring of the Earth, people are not superior to the natural order; they are part of it. All life is connected and to understand the world, one must understand the connections and relationships within it.
But uninitiated people unconsciously serve shadow purposes which are their own adolescent shadow impulses to avoid responsibility. This makes it necessary to enforce restrictions (rāhui) on the unsustainable human exploitation of plants, animals, or minerals.
Some people have the archetypal lineage of protecting the Earth. It pains them immensely to see forests burned for mono-cropping animal foods such as corn or soy beans, or for palm oil plantations. It hurts their heart to see sea and land animals being wantonly exterminated. This pain is real and has a real purpose: to motivate protection. This is the natural and appropriate origin of Earth Guardian Circles.
Earth Guardian Circles are self-organized, coordinating themselves through encrypted websites in the darknet. They are often funded by caring philanthropists frustrated by the ineffectiveness of the usual corrupt bureaucratic channels. They are often actualized by special-forces trained mercenaries with a higher sense of responsibility than towards a particular nation, religion, company, or culture. Their dedication is to Earth and protecting future generations of life.
Since the rule of law of patriarchal empire leads to global suicide (ecocide) anyone following any part of that rule of law is criminally insane. Most people are not awake to this and still defer to the national and international rule of law. This means that serving as an Earth Guardian requires discretion, or else you will find yourself engaging in social evolution experiments – perhaps behind bars – unless you take care that your activities are discreet.
Discretion begins by finding a way to communicate in your circle without being observed. There are many ways to do this, but a helpful aid can be establishing an encrypted platform for your work in the darknet. Here are some examples and links: https://www.torproject.org/about/torusers.html.en#activists.
If you have read this far, then you already may have most of the other skills needed to organize and activate your Earth Guardian Circle and to coordinate your activities with other Earth Guardian Circles.
A group of retired US vets have just landed in Africa, and their mission is to deter poaching before it contributes to the elimination of endangered species.
The effects of poaching are not to be taken lightly. According to the African Wildlife Foundation, rhinos, elephants, and other types of African wildlife may go extinct in our lifetime. Take, for example, the Black Rhino: populations of this magnificent animal have decreased by 97.6% since 1960. It’s very clear that unless some heavy force and invested interest is given to help reduce rates of poaching, the entire planet will suffer from loss of biodiversity and the greed that is causing it.
One way activists in the United States are supporting an end to poaching is by enlisting retired vets to take part in an organization that puts their years of combat training to work overseas. The non-profit VETPAW (Veterans Empowered To Protect African Wildlife) is focused on protecting African wildlife from illegally being hunted and captured.
And a recent addition to that group is Kinessa Johnson, a US Army veteran who served for 4 years in Afghanistan. At the end of March, she and a team arrived in Africa to take on a new mission: According to her, “We’re going over there to do some anti-poaching, kill some bad guys, and do some good.”
Johnson and her team of fellow Vets arrived in Tanzania on March 26th, quickly getting down to work. She has already noticed a decrease in poaching activity in her team’s immediate area because their presence is known.
…And if you take a minute to look at the build and confidence just Johnson exudes from years in dangerous territory, you likely can understand why. Her team’s primary focus at the moment will be to train park rangers and patrol with them to provide support.
African park rangers are in serious need of assistance, as she mentions, “they lost about 187 guys last year over trying to save rhinos and elephants.” The training they will provide includes marksmanship, field medicine, and counter-intelligence.
Kinessa joined VETPAW because she loves animals, and because protecting endangered species is a cause that speaks to her heart. Because Africa experiences the highest rates of poaching in the world, it made sense for her to volunteer her strength and skill to help protect some of the wildlife who are too easy of a target for poachers. Another incentive is because revenue made from selling parts from slaughtered endangered species usually goes to fund war and terrorism in Africa. So helping to combat the first act of violence will hopefully help to reduce other aspects of conflict elsewhere.
According to Johnson, “After the first obvious priority of enforcing existing poaching laws, educating the locals on protecting their country’s natural resources is most important overall.”
Taking to social media, Ms. Johnson is helping to raise money and awareness for the cause. She now has over 44,000 followers on Facebook and Instagram. And if you take time to check out her profiles, you’ll discover amazing photos of exotic African animals and updates on what her team is accomplishing.
You can also support Johnson and her team by donating to VETPAW and sharing their mission. Soon you’ll be able to watch Johnson and her team on a new show, as their efforts are being captured by the Discovery Channel!
When asked if her or her team had killed any poachers yet in a Q & A forum on Reddit, she stated, “We don’t operate with the intent to kill anyone.” The African poachers would be well advised not to test this All-American bad-ass on that though.
The moon had just cleared the horizon over South Africa’s Balule Nature Reserve one night in late September when 22-year-old Leitah Mkhabele heard the sound of poachers crashing through the underbrush. They must have clipped a hole in the fence, thought Mkhabele, as she and her patrolling partner, 24-year-old Nkateko Mzimba, crept closer. Poachers had slaughtered one of the reserve’s rhinos the month before, and the two women weren’t about to let it happen again. Mzimba radioed back to base for backup. The noise alerted the three men, who turned in their direction. Mkhabele raised her weapon, then paused. In the dark, she couldn’t tell what was slung over the first man’s shoulder. Was it a gun, or a coil of wire to set a snare? She did a quick calculation. If it was a gun, she would be shot before the poacher got within range of her pepper spray. So she ran.
The poachers fled before backup arrived. Mkhabele and Mzimba were frustrated that the trespassers had gotten away, but to their bosses, they did exactly what they were supposed to: they proved that the Black Mambas, a nearly all-women anti-poaching unit created to protect the reserve’s rhinos, could keep poachers out of the park. Still, says Mkhabele, “It would have felt good to shoot the guys who keep trying to kill our rhinos.”
Of all the anti-poaching tools in a game warden’s box, the Black Mambas are perhaps the most innovative attempt to stem an epidemic that threatens to see the demise of wild rhinos within a generation. By deploying women as scouts instead of men with guns, Balule warden and Black Mambas founder Craig Spencer has changed the rules in a war between commercial poachers and wildlife protectors.
Rising incomes in Vietnam and China are driving demand for rhinoceros horn, which, despite scientific research to the contrary, is believed to cure ailments from hangovers to cancer. With a street value of more than $65,000 a kilogram in Asia, the illegal trade in rhino horn has attracted international criminal syndicates wielding a sophisticated arsenal of helicopters, advanced weaponry and a smuggling infrastructure that rivals cocaine cartels. Of the estimated 28,000 rhinos left in the wild, approximately 90% are in South Africa. But the country is struggling to keep them safe. At least 1,215 rhinos were killed by poachers in South Africa last year, up from 13 in 2007. At this rate, South Africa will see more rhinos killed for their horns than born within the next few years. Mkhabele worries that by the time her two-year-old son grows up, the only rhinoceroses he will be able to see will be on TV. Rhinos, she says, “deserve to survive. They shouldn’t be killed for something that is not true.”
In order to stem the carnage, South African conservationists and law enforcement bodies have deployed heavily armed guards, surveillance planes, drones, canine units, tracking devices and even horn-mounted spy cameras. Private game reserve operators have shaved down their rhinoceroses’ horns to make them less attractive targets. (Like fingernails and horses hooves, rhino horn can be removed in a painless process). Still the poachers come — the 250 grams of horn embedded in a rhino’s skull makes the risk worthwhile. Some rhino proponents are embracing the most radical solution of all: legalizing trade in horns to drive poachers out of the business. One game farm owner is suing the South African government for the right to sell horns banned under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) to cover the rising costs of protecting his herd.
Armed only with walkie-talkies, hand cuffs and pepper spray, the Black Mambas may be the most low-tech solution of all. The 23 female and three male Black Mambas serve as a visible deterrent to poachers as they patrol for broken fences, snares, poacher camps and distressed animals. They take their name from the Black Mamba snake, the lethal scourge of the African bush, says Mzimba: “We are strong, and fast like snakes, so they call us the Black Mambas.”
Mkhabele would like to have a gun for self-protection, but Spencer argues that arming the Mambas would make them even more vulnerable to attack. “The role they play is purely observation. If they had weapons the poachers would up their game,” says Spencer. “Imagine if they pulled off a shot against those guys that night. They would have been hopelessly slaughtered.” He may have a point: despite several run-ins with poachers, none of the Mambas have been seriously wounded. Not only are they challenging poachers, they are taking on stereotypes, says Mzimba. “They say women can’t work in the bush. So I am very proud of us here, because we are working in the bush. Without guns, as women. It means we are strong.”
Their most important role, however, isn’t in the reserve, but in teaching the value of wildlife to residents of the impoverished townships surrounding Balule and Kruger National Park where most poachers originate. Many locals see wildlife sanctuaries as the preserve of white and wealthy tourists. They resent the fact that they cannot graze their cattle in the reserves, or hunt game freely like their forebearers did. The Black Mambas, who were recruited from the same neighborhoods, are tasked with countering that perception. Spencer chose to hire women because he thought they would be better at bringing the conservation message home. They have embraced the responsibility. Belinda Mzimba, who joined the Mambas 18 months ago with her cousin, Nkateko Mzimba, makes a point of visiting local schools whenever she is on leave to tell students about South Africa’s “Big Five”—the lions, elephants, rhinos, buffalos and leopards without which no safari adventure is complete. “I tell them ‘when you grow up you don’t need to go to poaching, because the big five animals will earn the money.’” Jobs come from tourism, she explains, and without the big five, the tourists won’t come. “You can’t be a tour guide, a field guide, if there is no nature left.”
Spencer says the Mambas have played a significant role in reducing snare traps and keeping poachers from setting up camp in the privately-run reserve. But it is not certain that their successes can be tailored to fit other areas. Rhinos may be safe in Balule’s 154 square miles, but once they cross the open border into Kruger, with its 7,523 square miles of unfenced savannah, they are much more vulnerable. To replicate the Mamba’s successes across an area roughly the size of Israel would require thousands of recruits. As it is, Spencer spends about $20,000 a month on security for Balule, and he’s still lost five rhinos in the past two years.
Rhino conservation projects working with high-tech solutions are coming up against similar barriers. The anti-poaching organization Protect has developed a device that combines heart-rate monitors, GPS tracking devices and tiny video cameras that can be embedded in a rhino’s horn to provide real time surveillance. If a rhino’s heartbeat spikes, or goes flat, rangers know where to send a team. “All these anti-poaching units do a phenomenal job,” says Protect Director Steve Piper. “The trouble is that they have to patrol vast areas. They could be the SAS or the Marines or the Delta Force, but if they don’t know where the action is, what can they do about it?” But in order to be effective, every adult rhino would have to wear a device, says Piper. Otherwise poachers would simply go after the ones without. Even if costs come down low enough to make that possible (working prototypes run in the thousands of dollars), the necessary monitoring infrastructure is likely to be beyond most nations’ capacity.
When CITES convenes in Johannesburg next year, South Africa is expected to endorse a one-off lifting of the 38-year-old ban against trade in rhino horns so that it can sell a government stockpile of 21 tons, worth more than $1.36 billion, to invest in rhino protection. Rhino breeders want to take it a step further, legalizing international trade so they can farm rhinos for the horns, like sheep for their wool. They argue that by regulating trade in rhino horn, they can meet Asia’s demand, undercut the poaching syndicates, and cover the costs of rhino security.
For some conservationists, it’s a persuasive argument, simply because nothing else seems to be working. But if desperation leads to the industrial farming of a wild animal, how much, really, has been achieved, asks ecologist Jason Gilchrist at Edinburgh’s Napier University. “Why bother saving the rhino if it isn’t wild anymore?”
According to Mkhabele, the solution has to start with the men who earn a pittance risking their lives to deliver horns to the smuggling syndicates. Every time she questions a poacher, he says he does it because he doesn’t have a job. “They won’t stop unless they run out. After rhinos, they will go for the elephants. After the elephants they will go for other things,” says Mkhabele. In Asia, there is a big market for lion bone. Rumors are swirling in her community that giraffe parts can cure AIDS. “There will always be a reason to poach, until we make people understand that without our animals, South Africa is nothing.” That’s where the Black Mambas come in. They may not be able to stop poachers with pepper spray. But they can stop them with education.