Car Sick Part 1

In this two part article Sarah describes her experiences of direct action, of insight into the harm caused to mother earth and offers the reader sharp analysis regarding the dominant culture. The second part will be published on the 14th February 2021

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My friend Tyler told me he was heading to Minnesota to join Indigenous Water Protectors protesting an oil Pipeline. I felt sad as I could not go. Tyler and I spent 4 months at Standing Rock. The Indigenous led resistance was strong, aiming to protect the sacred from the onslaught of destruction.

I took to Facebook to ask if anyone could go in my place. No one has volunteered (so far). I caught wind of another resistance camp. On January 15th, activists Max Wilbert and Will Falk stationed themselves on public land at Thacker Pass, Nevada, an area that is part of the Great Basin (the largest watershed in North America, spanning much of Nevada and into parts of Utah, Oregon, California, Idaho, Wyoming, and Mexico).

I always say that the alien invasion is already here because we live like homesick aliens visiting and trashing a foreign Planet with no respect for the local customs, not realizing that Earth is our estranged motherland!

For today’s installment of ‘Know the Goddamn Planet You Live On’

In a closed endorheic watershed, such as The Great Basin, water is retained within the area with no water flowing out to other external bodies of water, such as rivers and oceans. Instead the water drains to form seasonal and permanent lakes, ponds and swamps, and relies primarily on evaporation to keep moisture balance.

Max and Will are camped in Thacker Pass to protest the Lithium America’s right to develop a huge Lithium mine. Lithium is a lightweight metal used in the industrial manufacturing of everything from cell phones and laptop batteries to ceramics to high tech military equipment to prescription drugs. The Lithium stores at Thacker Pass, if mined, will mainly be used for making batteries for electric cars, all part of the plan to usher in the transition away from fossil fuels to ‘green energy’.

“Well what’s wrong with that?” you may ask, “Aren’t electric vehicles better for the environment?” “Better for the environment” may be a euphemism for “slightly less horrifically devastating for life on Earth but also may have unknown consequences that could end up being worse for the environment than the original thing that was supposed to be the worst thing ever”. THAT is hard to brand, so just stamp “SUSTAINABLE”!

It may be possible for one woman’s experience of rape to not be as horrific as another woman’s but it is still rape. The U.N. pass an international law saying nuclear weapons are illegal. The majority of nations sign up, but the nine countries known to have nuclear warheads of course did not. The U.S. and Russia are roughly tied with having the most weapons, somewhere around 125,000 between them. The other 7 countries with nuclear weapons have less than 2000 weapons between them. In any case, a small fraction of these weapons are enough to destroy all life on earth.

It is estimated that the amount of Life lost due to Industrial Civilization will already take Mother Earth millions of years to restore. The current trajectory due to industrial civilization could result in life being unable to be restored to full health.

In his article Activists Occupy Site of Proposed Lithium Mine in Nevada, Kollibri terre Sonnenblume writes that this Lithium mine….

“….would impact nearly 5700 acres—close to nine square miles—and which would include a giant open pit mine over two square miles in size, a sulfuric acid processing plant, and piles of tailings. The operation would use 850 million gallons of water annually and 26,000 gallons of diesel fuel per day. The ecological damage in this delicate, slow-to-heal landscape would be permanent, at least on the human scale. At risk are a number of animal and plant species including the threatened Greater Sage Grouse, Pygmy Rabbits, the Lahontan Cutthroat Trout, a critically imperiled endemic snail species known as the King’s River Pyrg, old growth Big Sagebrush and Crosby’s Buckwheat, to name just those that are locally significant. Also present in the area are Golden Eagles, Pronghorn Antelope, and Bighorn Sheep.”

Sometimes you have to break eggs to make an omelet, right?

Right now all we have is a shit ton of broken eggs and no omelet, all for nothing! Well, except for making a handful of white men extraordinarily wealthy while they build their gigantic metal penises in the form of buildings and towers and missiles. In the process of breaking all these eggs we also broke many of the birds who were laying the eggs, the insects the birds relied on for food, the plants the insects eat, we broke the watersheds that fed the plants. We broke the water that fed the watersheds!!!!! That is right, people…we broke water!

We have been led to believe that when it comes to the environment being damaged the means justify the ends. We are approaching the end and I would challenge anyone to find even a crumb of justification. The “means” turned out to be pretty mean in the end.

I wonder how much longer anyone will be around to record these things?

As Mother Earth’s body is ravaged, we make scientific notes on how she reacts. I think it is safe to say at this point that record keeping is not enough of a motivation to make us stop the torture. We do not realize we’re in the throes of THE END mainly because a false sense of security, being generated by the artificial life support systems we are on. Those who benefit the least from securities are busy surviving. Those who DO have the luxury to think about it need to step up NOW. We cannot keep using fossil fuels to run artificial life support systems nor keep the machines going. The natural life support systems are being destroyed at an increasing rate for short term profit and unnecessary luxuries.

It is time to pull the plug on artificial life support systems and see what happens. The fact is, the plug will be pulled one way or another. If we pull the plug TOGETHER the transition may be smoother as everything collapses. It is likely, we probably won’t voluntarily pull the plug, so get ready for a world of pain…one that lots of people (and non-human beings) are already experiencing.

While at Standing Rock, part of me had to overlook the narrative that stopping these fossil fuel projects included replacing them with “green, sustainable, and/or renewable” energy. I happen to disagree with this Buckminster Fuller quote:

 “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”

This quote speaks to the kind of logic driving the push to replace fossil fuels with green energy. The logic says we have to keep using “low carbon” fuels like fracked gas and Nuclear energy as a way to “transition” to the “good, pure, guilt-free, rainbow-powered” fuels. We have bought the false premise that green energy will make fossil fuels obsolete by using a better DIFFERENT model.

The ‘new model’ is an illusion.

Green Energy is a different WAY to power the existing model. Mother Earth is shouting “I can’t breathe!” as the weight of Industrial Civilization’s knee digs into Her back. Switching to “renewables” will still leave us in the same situation. A system that extracts without replenishing, exploits, destroys, creates inequality and degrading human hierarchies. The same system that strengthens patriarchy and reinforces human supremacy over nature, promotes competition and conflict instead of cooperation and peace, that keeps us separated from Earth, from one another and ourselves. This system categorizes us as either master, consumer, or slave.

A sentiment like the Buckminster Fuller one can only come out of a culture that is disconnected from reality, from intuition and our ancestral wisdom. We are no longer standing on the shoulders of our ancestors. We are paving over and trampling on their unmarked graves.

Nature is the model that works!

All this fanfare over Biden returning to the Paris Climate Deal (PCD) can fuck off, it is “too little too late”. It will not be anywhere near enough to make a difference. It does not matter if we return to the Paris Agreement or not. We need to return to the agreement we used to have with Mother Earth! She gave us Life. We promise not to take more than we need. We offer respect, thanks and praise.  We need to return to the systems that She set up, systems we arrogantly think we can control/improve. Systems humans have lived within for over 90% of our existence as a species.

We must come to understand that it is not the way that cars are powered that is the problem.  Cars are the problem. There is no “sustainable” number of cars.  There is no such thing as “good” gas mileage. The reality is that cars are killers. Car culture makes killers out of us. There is no way to live with killers. They must be stopped. Using non-renewable resources in the current infrastructure while we wait for a better solution means we pollute and kill the Earth.  There is no “better” to be had within the context of industrial civilization.

Why bother if it’s over?

You only say that because you have been trained to look in all the wrong places for all the wrong points. The solutions being proposed by the system to “save the planet” are moot points.  We have just been disconnected from the truth. The point is both painfully obvious and mysteriously elusive.

The point is Mountain Heather.

The point is Puffins.

The point is spiders using electricity to magically fly through the air!

The point is the whimsical Maui dolphin, the smallest Dolphin in the world who never hurt anyone but SOMEHOW there are only about 50 left due to “overfishing”.

The point is that when a tree falls in the forest, other trees keep the stump alive in a process scientists call hydraulic coupling.

We must let go of doing what’s “better” for the environment. What it needed is to completely and immediately stop ALL means of production that is not necessary. This may not happen if we keep believing in money. I remember once seeing this headline in the fake parody newspaper ‘The Onion’ that read:

‘U.S. Economy Grinds To Halt As Nation Realizes Money Just A Symbolic, Mutually Shared Illusion’

We are facing our own death and the death of countless other beings and still, we refuse to face the reality. As Terrence McKenna says,

“The problem is not to find the answer, it’s to face the answer.”

Electric and hybrid cars are not the solution to our dying world, this ‘solution’ is not addressing the root problem.

It reminds me of that old children’s book ‘There was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly.’ Its grotesque imagery is a cautionary tale. To make even one more new car (electric or otherwise) at this point in the collapse of the biosphere is literally insane. The amount of resources, by-waste, and pollution involved in the PRODUCTION of a vehicle is so great that it will NEVER be able make up for the damage incurred by its production.

We must greatly reduce and then eliminate the need for cars by creating localization of every aspect of our lives. We must stop calling alternative sources of energy “renewables”! The lithium mine may result in the land needing hundreds of years to renew.  I took some of these roadkill photos while walking from Ohio to the Gulf of Mexico in 2010 after the BP Oil Spill. The dead animals from my Roadkill photo album did not care if they were killed by 100% renewable energy instead of by gas guzzlers. Walking all day long for 3 months drastically altered my perception of time and space.

I remember reading somewhere how there were some Native American tribes that were very resistant to adopting Horse travel, which was not part of their culture until the Spanish brought horses to the American continent in the 16th century. These tribes strongly believed humans were not meant to travel that fast and doing so would propel our body forward while leaving our spirit behind resulting in a fractured state of being.

I felt this the first time I rode in a car after my long walk had finished. It felt dangerous, I adapted.

Something essential and elemental is missing in environmental activism culture.

I will admit that I am afraid that something might be on the verge of being lost forever. Taking action can be a good way to re-activate what is left of the magic of the natural world and that same magic within us. There are still humans left who are the guardians of that magic, but they are greatly outnumbered. Industrial Civilization is closing in on them by the day. It can’t just be about stopping bad things and bad people, like pipelines and presidents. Western Environmental activism needs to evolve past this. Max and Will are embarked on that next chapter of activism evolution. This evolution must be centered around a brutal obliterating honesty, so sharp that it cuts straight through the fat of hope and the tendons of delusion and muscles of bargaining. Right down to the bone.

If we do not break free from the mental and emotional prisons of Industrial Civilization, we will not be able to get past false diagnosis and solutions. Green New Deal is bogus. We need is a ‘Get Real Deal’. It’s truth telling time. We must admit we don’t always know what the truth is. I used to think solar panels and wind turbines were the answer until I learned more and the truth changed.

The final permits for this lithium mine were fast tracked by Trump before he left office in a way that is more difficult to reverse through presidential orders. It is unlikely Biden would stop it, he already has a “save the environment” token, due to his executive order to halt construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. This will serve as a powerful pacifier for liberals. To highlight this point: we have a MLK Day so we do not need a Malcolm X or a Fred Hampton Day. Plus we would not want to offer a radical view now, would we?

Biden is being lauded for stopping Keystone XL.

This culture greatly praises men for doing the t simplest things. I am aware the Biden administration has suspended new oil and gas leasing and drilling permits on U.S. lands and waters. But only for 60 days.  Naomi Klein speaks of the tactic of “Shock and Awe” that the ruling elite uses as a means to wear us all down so we give up. The strategy of “Balk and Stall” (copyright, Sarah Baker) is where those in power make a big deal out of decreeing something to be bad to stall while they figure out how to get out of stopping the bad thing.

“FOR 60 DAYS” the permits will be suspended, says the Biden people. It is the fine print that we must see. The “Balk and Stall” I witnessed at Standing Rock, was impressive, after the Army Core of Engineers announced that the DAPL pipeline construction would have to stop until an environmental impact statement was conducted. The celebrations were so intoxicating that it was as if people could not see the continued construction. Similarly, Trump’s wall is still being built even though Biden said he would stop it! The Cleveland Indians announce they will consider changing the name of their team. I have a name for you: how about the Cleveland Colonizers. Their mascot can be a Smallpox infested Blanket.

I was going to post this essay on Inauguration Day but figured I’d wait until the tranquilizing effects of that patriotism packed lullaby for liberals started to wear off. I didn’t see the entire pageantry of that day, but what I did see was quite spew worthy. There was this overall sentiment of: “Shhhhhh, it’s ok, you just had a bad 4 year long nightmare but everything’s fine now, a Democrat is in charge again, so here’s a glass of water made from the joy filled tears of all the Latin American mothers who have been instantaneously reunited with their children at the border. Now let us get you tucked in so you can go back to sleep and dream about Impeachment hearings and Bernie memes.”


A longtime environmental activist, Sarah lives in Ohio US, she loves writing and refusing to mow her lawn. You can read her article published in the Washington Post here. 

6 thoughts on “Car Sick Part 1”

  1. Your problem with your lawn is that you dont know Guerrilla Law. I had this with my mayor in #SeymourMO #JerryMiller. I fought him in the court for 5 years and during that time he was so furious he came with the police to mow my backyard down. I took photos and went around and showed them saying “I got him I got him!” Now I’m gonna take him to court and sue Seymour for 200K or so. This got around and the next thing that happened to him was he didn’t get 3 bids on the stormshelter so he violated the terms of the grant and cost Seymour $80,000 and I could have told him that if he hadn’t harassed me so. Then he got caught having sex with a woman admin in his office and that was the end of his may or story there. But you can drive these people so nutty with legal stuff they get very careless. Look at what they have been doing to Trump to understand how to do it. Thr initialproblem for the mayor was my clover that attracted bees and Seymour had banned bees in the town as a bee stung a child andher father sued the town. Talk about crazy! My clover attracted a lot of bees. A big no-no. Writng long sad stories is nice but not effective. Hit them where it hurts – in my case his ego – and do it again and again. 5 years of. it. I was practicing my grasjp of Guerrilla Law and it works! Thanks to #GeneZimmerman’s course 2 decades ago.

  2. Great essay, maybe the best one here yet! I don’t think there’s anything in this post that I disagree with.

    “I always say that the alien invasion is already here because we live like homesick aliens visiting and trashing a foreign Planet with no respect for the local customs, not realizing that Earth is our estranged motherland!”

    I always say that the dominant human-like species are not from Earth, they’re from Golgafrincham. That explains why they don’t care about the Earth and have created these Earth-destroying lifestyles. Read Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy for more information on this.

    I interpret and characterize the facts in the bullet points as humans destroying the Earth. Not literally blowing it up like in the movie Star Wars, but destroying it nonetheless. Whenever someone says, “humans can’t destroy the Earth” some other such nonsense, this is my response: humans ALREADY HAVE destroyed the Earth! This planet looks a lot different in a bad way then it did before humans started using agriculture and grossly overpopulated, and industrial society made it look even worse. We are a very long way down the wrong path, and some things like extinct species and destroyed ecosystems will not recover from the humanpox even if humans were to immediately do everything they could to reverse course as quickly as possible.

    While it’s great that Sarah and other DGRers oppose the Thacker Pass mine — I assume that everyone reading this does also and certainly hope so! — mines are not the biggest harm in the western U.S. For that, the grazing industry gets the trophy. The grazing industry has caused more environmental and ecological harm to the western U.S. than any other industry, including mining. If you’re interested in details, read Sacred Cows at the Public Trough and/or Welfare Ranching, two excellent books on this subject. The non-native unnatural hooved locusts called cattle are absolutely everywhere and are incredibly destructive, in addition to the destruction the ranchers themselves do with things like fences, killing wildlife, killing native plants & replacing them with non-natives, etc. I’d like to see protests against this massively destructive industry, starting with a major campaign against eating beef. It’s vital that we focus on the biggest problems, not just the most obvious ones.

  3. Agreed that this may be the best DGR essay yet, though it would be even better if she hadn’t found it necessary to play the race and gender cards. (Blaming white men for the mess humans have made of the planet is like praising the Green New Deal. Trust me, Sarah, you do not want to see the list of men and women of other colors whose joy in life is Earth rape. Need I mention Bolsonaro, the female Clinton, countless African dictators, Golda Meir, Imelda Marcos, several hundred million Chinese, or the majority of indigenous Americans, who readily adopted colonial ways?)

    That said, there is a trove of literary gems here that we can all borrow. Sarah’s note that rape is rape, whether the violence is expressed or implied, reminds me of one of my all-time favorite quotes. It comes from “The War Myth,” a book by Donald Wells, a former history professor at Washington State University. “The line between democratic death and dictatorial death,” he wrote, “is pretty thin for the dead.”

    Like Sarah, I briefly thought that “green energy” and electric cars were a possible ticket to a warmer, fuzzier industrial world. I had a list of electric vehicles I was interested in. And being an “environmentalist,” I was focused on the lighter footprint models, like the 3-wheel car that does freeway speeds, but also has pedals for short urban trips (a zero carbon hybrid!). I was even proudly thinking of an electric trike, with a top speed of 25mph, as my next “car.”

    Then I reminded myself that the core motivator of industrialism isn’t transforming more of a living Earth into newer and better lifeless products. The core purpose of industry is economic “profit,” which only derives from the “growth” of death, the “development” of a natural Earth into pavement and parking lots, and the packaging of it all into happy “progress” toward a dead, exhausted planet, with toxic landfills where there once were forests, grasslands, wetlands, rivers, and seas full of fish, instead of plastic bags, drift nets, bottles, tampon applicators, disposable lighters, etc.

    The one fact I’m trying to wrap my head around now is that an objective alien would see no difference beteeen what our so-called “leaders” call “healthy economic activity” and a desperate race to use up the planet as fast as possible, and turn it all into a toxic dump.

    I keep returning to the four, mind-boggling statistics that explain it all: Since 1900, annual human use of raw materials has gone from 7 billion to roughly 70 billion tons, the non-renewable portion of that total has flipped from one-third to two-thirds, human population has metastasized from 1.6 to 7.8 billion, and per capita use of raw materials has soared from 4.3 to 9.1 tons.* And you’d have to do a lot of explaining to convince that visiting alien that the whole purpose of our excavating, killing, wasting, and baby-making human lifestyle is anything other than a race to destroy the planet.

    Consider that idiot Joe Biden, for instance, who (a couple of weeks ago) said, “When I hear ‘climate change,’ I think jobs.” Even when the continued existence of life on earth is at stake, the top priority of politicians and most of their quisling, human horde is our money-grubbing, exploitive economy.

    And it’s not that they don’t know better. They just know that their positions of wealth and power depend on exploitation, destruction, and death. Turning Thacker Pass into a dead toxic dump surrounded by wildlife skeletons is good for today’s economy. Sure, it also means a dead planet in 30-50 years. But that’s okay with Joe and Jill, and with non-white, non-male Kamala, because all of them were planning on being dead by then, anyway.

    They and most of us are in some type of denial, like my two multimillionaire stepbrothers, who are so up-to-their-necks in cattle and oil that they can’t tell the difference between a bank and a rendering plant. And that’s really the only difference between Biden and Harris in one camp, Trump in another, and AOC and the Sierra Club in a third. There are those who know but don’t care, those who refuse to know because it would wreck their supremacist fantasies, and those who think we can have our cake and eat it, too.

    Even most of us who think we’re “deep green” have our doubts and denials. We won’t admit, for instance, that long term survival would require a drastic thinning of the human herd. (Bluntly put, at least 92% of us need to die without replacement.) But we dare not say it, because we’re still human supremacists. And the reason we won’t say it is that we’re taught that demanding human population control is somehow “racist,” rather than an admission that human population as a whole is like a global swarm of rats.

    But we’re infinitely worse than rats. Rats don’t burn fossil fuels, have nuclear weapons, practice industrial agriculture, or believe they were created by a rat-looking god, to rule the world. (Think about this one: Rats and coclroaches were never a problem before civilization. So which species are the true pests — theirs or ours?)

    Ditto our attitudes about sustainable economics. Some of us are willing to give up beef, cars, and air travel to save the planet. But who’s willing to give up phones, TV, cloth, refrigeration, modern dentistry, electric heat, flush toilets, or paper products? Even sailboats, wood stoves, and horse-drawn wagon aren’t sustainable for more than maybe 3% of the current human population.

    Even the most humane efforts toward population reduction would mean the end of most forms of elder care, for the simple reason that too much of the work force would be engaged in the maintenance of people who can’t take care of themselves anymore. We would have to accept (as the pre-industrial Inuit did) that when people become too old to be productive, it’s time to gracefully go away and die, as has always been the norm among other species.

    I, too, find some of this hard to accept. But I recently began to see how we might accept it. And the realization came from watching other species, and how they relate to nature.

    First and foremost, they accept natural realities because they never questioned them from the beginning. No species but ours ever questioned their role in nature, because they never cultivated the illusion that they were not an integral part of it. And by accepting one’s role in nature, everything — including our own mortality — is accepted as part of the natural order.

    Animals live entirely in the moment, with no worries about politics, war, economics, or any of the other contrivances that we drive ourselves mad worrying about. And for most of our indigenous ancestors, it was much the same. When human life operates at the village (rather than city) level, the difference between what is human and what is natural is negligible.

    I recently read (in another DGR article) that most indigenous languages don’t even have a word for “nature,” because they don’t fantasize about being outside it. And a good argument can be made that when we began to see ourselves as apart from nature, the seeds of our approaching industrial apocalypse had already been sown.

    It really is that simple. Either we realize the obvious truth that we are of, in, and inseparable from nature, or we are at war with it. And that is a war in which our defeat is self-evident and inescapable.

    At the very least, we will soon have to accept that more than 90% of what we have discovered and created since the development of electricity and motors is sustainably obsolete — along with more tha 90% of the human population.

    I got a then largely unappreciated glimpse of it, roughly 30 years ago, when I happened across a small book on how the indigenous tribes of Central Texas lived quite comfortably, and without any of the industrial creature comforts we take for granted. At first I was amazed at how they survived without the products of industry. Then I was amazed at how nothing in their cultures went to waste — how even the bones and intestines of the animals they hunted became the raw materials for their way of life.

    But by the time I finished the book, I found myself not marveling at how they endured it, but envying their ability to satisfy all their needs with what they found around them, and could transform into homes, food, clothing, weapons, medicine, and toys.

    As a result, I began to cultivate a belief that the only legitimate cultures are those that have no need for garbage cans — i.e., if you produce inorganic waste, you have no organic right to exist.

    Obviously, we’re not going to get to that way of thinking from here. As a culture, we lack the will to give up our toys and crutches, our destructive industries and our wasteful lifestyles. We would rather die than live naturally again. And so, most of our grandchildren or great-grandchildren will die in misery, wondering where food really comes from, when the fridge is empty and unplugged; what to do for shelter, when the nylon tents are gone; and even how to hunt and cook, when the gun stores are closed, and the stove doesn’t have power.

    Since our leaders prefer to go down in flames, the best we can do is to prepare ourselves and our children for the coming apocalypse — to learn and teach others how to live off the land, how to raise food in a permaculture environment, and — most of all — how to think as components of nature, rather than its mythical masters.

  4. I inadvertently omitted the footnote indicated by the * in the comment above. So here it is:
    _____________________
    * At various times, I’ve used somewhat different statistics in describing our exponential use and waste of natural resources, due to the fact that global exploitation is all estimated from various scientific estimates, some of whose authors are conservative, and some more liberal.

    Annual current global use of raw materials appears to be around 70 billion tons, two-thirds of which is non-renewables like oil, gas, and metals, with the other third consisting of renawables, such as food, water, cotton, rubber, and wood. The generally accepted figures for 1900 are 7 billion tons, at a time when two-thirds of all usage was still renewable.
    (Latest projection, from tonight’s episode of “60 Minutes”: Estimated industrial use of concrete and steel between now and mid-century equals the construction of another New York City, every year for 30 years. That’s if we don’t run out of sand and extractable iron ore first. The steel and cement industries also account for an estimated 16% of fossil fuel use.)

  5. My wife and I found this a great read. Kind of hard to be a humanists these days. My wife’s house is the same township calls if grass above heighth allowed. While all other nazi grass mowers mow when an 8th inch thick. Another wonderful reason we are transitioning her out of her old house to a cabin we are building in hills on parents land. Our sheep will eat the grass there and we’ll scythe it for hay and bedding.
    I become iirtiable when in a suburban area and hear all the noise pollution from these ignorant zombies. The really sad part is they are so bored otherwise this gives them something to do! Same for snow up here, we are Lake Erie it can snow a lot-but even if its 2 inches its snow blower snow plow tractor madness. Insanity is so common you feel better and better about yourself everyday.
    My wife was trying to rewild her rural home for our the bees and rabbits and other wild species along with me doing some wild skills in the backyard and neighbors say look at this mess! why don’t you go to Alaska with this crap. HAHA

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