TYT on UK riots

Meet the white zombie

What is environmental corruption?

Allow me to explain:

I actually see corruption a little differently from most people. Not only do I think that most of ultra-rich are in a sense “environmentally corrupt” (unless they give a sizeable amount of their wealth to environmental causes, which sadly, not a lot of them seem to do). For me when I use the term corrupt, I mean it in environmental terms, not in financial terms. A bit like how the QLD government has been accused of being “morally bankrupt” w.r.t the Adani coal mine. I’d hope they are not financially bankrupt.

But I also think that that the general population is in a sense ‘complicit’ because most of us pay taxes. Which is another way of saying: “yes, we 100% agree with what you are doing and we will even give you a large proportion of our money to you to help you to continue to do what you do”. This is why I think Aboriginal people are basically passively objecting and have always done so, because they don’t agree with the central way that government ‘works’. I am not even a part-Aborigine, but I think the majority of Westerners have a very flawed mentality of ‘sustainability’ and ‘development’ (and especially “sustainable development”). The whole point now is that we are trying to be more sustainable. That’s why it’s supposed to be an eco lodge and not some other type of lodge. But we never really ask the experts in sustainability for their advice. Right?

I have only been living in Bundeena for a few years. I also do not like the horrid construction around the Aboriginal rock engravings over at Jibbon Point for example. Why couldn’t they just leave it alone? Low key? No. They had to build all around it. It looks like scaffolding. It’s just that ugly. They had to use helicopters to help build it. Helicopters are not the most efficient transport vehicles ever devised, are they? They put some kitsch statues there made of metal with horrid stencil-like animal shapes cut out of them (well ok, they have probably been there a while). But were those works commissioned by Aboriginal artists? Not likely. My point is, all that concrete and steel had to be mined from somewhere else. I think many people in general see this kind of development as ‘progress’ — but I think we are going backwards.

Do you know what the saddest part for me is? That one of the most truly sustainable races on the planet Earth, the ingenenous Aborigines, have some of the highest rates of suicide on the planet Earth! In the case of Australian Aborigines, for one age group, 5x above average. I think we need to ask them for their help and stat. The highest suicide rate on planet Earth is not the Japanese or the Finnish or other Northern Europeans, it is for the Inuit peoples… 190/100,000 per year. That is quite alarming and indicative of our predicament.

Do you know what my shrink tells me when I tell her all this stuff? [Yes I see a shrink, no secret there, it’s the ones that don’t you have to worry about LOL] She says: “Who’s to say we’ll be here in another 500 or 1000 years?”. And I’m like: “Well that’s my point. Do we actually *want* to still be around or not? I mean, if the ancient Egyptians said things like that, we’d have been fuckéd several millenenia ago. Time has a way of catching up with us.”

I do see money as a form of corruption, yes. Why? Well here’s why. I have even heard first hand (about a decade ago) that ecologists are told to “tone down their report writing”. I suppose if they were really 100% truthful about things, nobody would hire them because not as many constructions would be approved…

For instance, one ecologist who was hired to report on this local Spring Gully construction at that the edge of the Royal National Park states:

“It is possible that, with appropriate management, the biodiversity of the existing vegetation could be increased – indeed this should be the aim of developing and maintaining a low-impact camping area.”

Well ok. But also says in the same report:

“the conservation value of the vegetation on the site has been reduced by fragmentation, as a result of residential development to the north and clearing for the night-soil dump to the south; and reduction in biodiversity as a result of past land use and bushfires.”

I.e. admits that reduction in biodiversity was caused by previous human interferance, yet now advises that it would be beneficial to put more humans there (rather than none). So now more ‘weeds’ will encroach even further into the RNP… Now imagine if the author *always* added this clause to every single ecological report: “we recommend that the area be left to regenerate for another 20+ years at which point biodiversity will be on par with surrounding regions” Would they be as likely to be hired for future work? I don’t think so.

Quite frankly I think we all know that the current political system “sucks” (if only in terms of the environment). I suppose it could always be worse though. They do acknowledge some things but then with other things like coal mining and whatnot it’s merely lip service.

So to sum up, I think if you’re working for some chemical company, or construction company, or engineering company, and you’re being paid a massive salary, then yes I see that as a form of corruption.

Trophy hunter hypocrasy

Personally I think you trophy hunters are all basic cowards. Shooting animals from distance… Like wow.

And it’s always a giraffe. But they’re not venomous. Are they? So like they are really going to fight back… Wow. Or a zebra. They don’t appear to have claws either.

You had to take a selfie. You just had to take a selfie. That’s the thing with you trophy hunters, isn’t it? You always have to have a memento. But don’t serial killers always take mementos of their victims? I think they do. They might as well call it “souvenir hunting”.

And we all know that you greedy bastards want to collect the whole set, too. We know. Because they are all very “limited edition”, aren’t they? These endangered animals.

Is it really the thrill of the hunt? Or is it all just for that tacky piece of junk that is hanging on your wall that you need to keep there … to remind yourself every single day that “you’re really brave”. Yes I think that’s what it is. You all have such a subconscious inferiority complex, you need these bullshit reminders on your walls of your “manliness”. And you need to show it off to others, too.

And what’s this you little shit-turd? You killed a lion this time? With a gun. Well anyone can do that. Anyone with a finger.
And you put the gun over your shoulder like the little dip shit that you are, acting all ‘superior’. What’s that for?

But are you superior? Are you really? Let me tell you why you’re not superior, little man with a 4cm penis:

Because yes even crossbows are overpowered today. All those linkages. Made of advanced materials. You know. You know I know. Oh I know all about materials.

How about this? Next time, try it with a fucking wooden bow that you’ve carved from a tree that you cut down yourself. And no I don’t mean with a chainsaw. I mean you must chop that tree down by hand with an axe. To be fair. To be fair to the lion.

What about the string then? For the bow. Did you harvest that from natural fibres and make it into twine? I didn’t think so. You’re all using synthetic bow strings, aren’t you? Or is that what you are so convinced that human technology is ‘superior’, because of synthetic materials?

And the arrow. Let’s not forget the arrow. Did you also make that yourself? So you choose to make the arrow from metal. But let me ask you, hunter: did you obtain that metal from first principles? Including smelting from the ore? Did you dig that ore yourself? No. Did you light the fire for the smelting operation? Chop down that wood, too, by hand with an axe?

Something tells me that you didn’t. I didn’t think so. You did none of that. You all went to the shop and bought the metal rods. For the arrows. Didn’t you? Went in your car to get those? That’s what I thought. You drive more than me. And you think I pollute. You lot actually consume more than I do! And you thought it was the other way around…

And how did you shape that arrow? Not with a lathe! No, not with a lathe. Not with electricity that gets streamed right to your closest power outlet. I mean, lions don’t have electricity to help them out, do they? No they don’t. They don’t need electricity…

Here’s a thought. Why don’t you go and hunt with a knife? EH? Something tells me I don’t think you would be in that. Because then the risk is in the lions’ favour. Don’t fancy the odds? I thought not, coward.

You want a rush, you do it properly. Give the lion a fighting chance. Because how much adrenaline can you get from shooting fish in a barrel?

Maybe if you do all of the above, make your own bow and arrow, knife, using tools you made yourself, you’ll regain some of your actual life. And you won’t feel the need to shoot lions to feel ‘happy’. Maybe if you used your muscles a bit more, you might generate more endorphins that way.

And I see you strung up that lion. It’s like you’re trying to show people that it is an animal and you are the “all powerful” ‘human’. But you, too, are an animal. And I mean that in the derogatory sense, not in the sense of awe I have for a truly magnificent beasts that hunt every single day of their lives on the Serengetti.

Did someone help you haul that lion up there? Over that tree branch? Or did you do it all by yourself? Something tells me you had to order your pathetic cameraman ‘friend’ to help you out. I know your muscles simply are not big enough to move that lion even two lousy inches without help.

Not to mention the fact that the rope is acting like a pulley system, halving the effective weight. Wow, you lifted up a quarter of a dead lion. Wow. That must have been hard. You must be so proud of yourself! Well done. And I know you probably worked up more of a sweat lifting that dead lion two feet off the ground than actually pulling the trigger a few times too, didn’t you?

Because, you certainly didn’t hunt the lion on foot, did you? I mean if even this fat ugly bastard barely works up a sweat in an African climate, I’m sure you are making it too easy for yourselves. What do I mean by that? Too easy?

Well, you drove there in your comfortable safari jeep, powered with a diesel engine, didn’t you? It probably even has air-conditioning, doesn’t it? Well maybe on the ‘deluxe’ tour.

Oh sure you got out of the car AFTER driving all the way there from Cape Town. Or wherever. But you certainly did not arrive there on foot, you pathetic cheating little bastards.

Why not try cycling or walking, and hauling your own kit over there to the safari next time? Yes I’m talking about all the way from the international airport. Try actually using your leg muscles to get somewhere next time.

What bothers me is that you like to act all “tough and manly”. Yes even the trophy-hunter-bitches like to be all “tough and manly” too (because they’re probably just lesbians and don’t even realise it or won’t admit it to themselves). It’s okay to be butch you know. Or bi. It’s okay. Better to lick pussy than kill lions.

But, again, I digress. Where was I? Oh yes, you like to all “tough and manly”. But did you walk all the way to Africa from your hometown? Did you swim or row over the Atlantic ocean? No. I didn’t think so. You flew there. Well you didn’t fly. The plane flew. And you just sat there watching television. Once again, a ‘wow’ is in order. Wow. Gettting served your meals directly in your lap. Having other people carry your water for you.

And so you you claim you are “helping the environment”. But the flight to Africa certainly isn’t helping out the atmosphere, is it?

Oh that’s right, you ultra-conservative religious gun-toting motherfuckers don’t ‘believe’ that humans can cause something like that. It seems to me your puny little brain does not comprehend physics or chemistry. But I digress…

Even if you don’t believe in climate change, that flight you took —like everything we do in this world— has an ecological cost. You have just polluted the air.

But it’s not just that. Planes require fuel. And that fuel has do come from somewhere. And where does it come from? That’s right, it always comes from natural spaces, doesn’t it? And the metal in that plane. That metal has do come from somewhere. And where does it come from? That’s right, it too comes from natural spaces. The very same natural spaces you claim to care most about. Oh the hypocrasy!

Now you could argue that the plane was going to fly to Africa anyway, even without you. But something tells me you don’t think too much. All you alpha-male hunter types. You have a little too much latent testosterone. And not quite enough IQ to match.

By your own fucked-up “hunting logic”, modern aviation is supposedly not ‘sustainable’ either, is it? Or had you conveniently forgotten about that part of your trip? You know… all the modern things in life that you’re taking advantage of…

All this time, you have been sitting on your fat arse getting driven and flown to places! And meanwhile, what you think of as a ‘lesser’ lion has —all this time— been hunting on his own. No guns. No bows and arrows. No gunpowder. No laser cut blades. Just claws and teeth mate. Claws and teeth. No composites. No ceramics. No steel or cast iron or bronze. No metal whatsoever. No plastic handles. Not even natural materials like cotton or wood, for the lion.

No lap meals for the lion. No air conditioning. No television. No flight crew. Not even so much as a fucking tent for shelter. And yet you have a nice soft mattress to sleep on, princess!

I think, to be fair, you should have to fight the lion with no materials, no technology at all. Just you and your bare hands. Learn some karate maybe? Or maybe you could try to bite the lion with your own teeth, just in the right spot. Estrangulation? Or maybe you could grow your hair long, draw some of your own blood, make a composite out of that and try to suffocate it that way. But you’d have to be pretty quick. Lions don’t like being crept up on. They tend to kill unarmed people.

Now, see, I’m not some tree-hugging vegan. I don’t view the world with rose tinted glasses. I know lions get killed. And I know tribes eat lions. I think you should be forced to eat that entire lion within one week. Not with the help of your miserable friends, but, you know, on your ownsome. But I am starting to become vegetarian, because I don’t like the way meat is farmed.

Would you try to hunt me down if you knew I was armed? If I could shoot back? I don’t think so. I really don’t think so.

Quite frankly, I don’t even think of you as human. You are not part of my species. You don’t belong.

It’s too bad the law defines you as human. Were it legal, I would hunt YOU down! I might do it from a mile off. Or I might just walk up to you and shoot you in the face. I wouldn’t even think twice, because to me, you are not human.

You disgust me, trophy hunter.

It takes real courage to admit that a lion is the greater beast here among men.

North Koreans and creativity

Sending warships over there is ridiculous.

Mainly because they don’t seem to be backing down. Are North Koreans evil people? No. So why not just leave them alone to do their thing?

Here’s what I think. I think the main trouble with treating everyone the same is that you produce more people that are all less creative. And that’s a problem, because creativity is the very lifeblood of essentially all art, music and design (etc). All the creative careers. Careers, without which, nobody would sell anything!

And without any art, music and design, photography, etc, the urban world is quite literally an extremely depressing place, too. It is. Seriously. That’s why nobody likes going to jail. It’s not all about ‘freedom’. It’s also about emotional states. No one ‘likes’ to be unhappy or depressed.

Creativity is also the mother of invention. That’s why the soviets copied Zeiss lenses, etc, and not the other way around.

Now, do you want to know why I think Mr Kim Jong-un invited Dennis Rodman (of all people!) to stay with him a few years back? If you were like me, at the time you were thinking: why him? Of all people?! I don’t think it’s because of Dennis Rodman’s style or personality. I think it’s because of Dennis Rodman’s perceived underlying ‘creativity’. He could equally have chosen Yayoi Kusama or any other creative.

Whenever a country plays the same morning tune three or more times a day, what they lack isn’t power, it’s creativity. A different way of doing things. And half of them probably don’t even know it. What they’re missing. That’s why they keep people ignorant.

That’s also why you don’t ever hear much about North Koreans smuggling money. Or gold. Or even drugs. They smuggle movies. Movies. On little usb sticks. Right?

Though trade in banned small arms and ammunition is relatively insignificant, recent reports include: imports totaling $45,500 by Brazil in 2007, of $3.1 million by the United Arab Emirates in 2006, and $364,400 by Ethiopia in 2005, and $121,400 by Mexico in 2005.[26]:14 [source]

Honestly? Forty five thousand five hundred dollars worth of illegal imports from Brazil? Honestly?! One hundred and twenty one thousand four hundred dollars worth of illegal imports from Mexico. Again, are you fucking kidding me? No, you have got to be fucking kidding me!

The copright infringement on the movies they smuggle alone is probably a hundred or a thousand times more than that lot combined! Ha ha ha.

So I wouldn’t even waste the fuel of those warships. I’d carry on exactly as normal. Win the ‘war’ with creativity.

The North Korean warship crisis

In the past few days I have seen comments on LinkedIn regarding North Korea (more specifically about their Supreme Leader).

So I have a few questions for US citizens:

Would Americans like it if half a dozen North Korean warships and an aircraft carrier were headed straight for the US peninsula? Doubtful. 

Would Americans like it if North Korean armadas were performing joint military exercises (for months on end) with other nations such as, ooh I don’t know– Cuba, right off the coast of Florida? Probably not.

So I personally think Mr trump should just shut the fuck up already, turn that American aircraft carrier escorted by the other warships right back towards Australia were it was meant to be headed AND STOP PRODDING THE ANT’S NEST ALREADY!!

CompostCam

The most unbearable, hated ‘rich kid of instagram’

Renewable energy from evaporating water

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ETA is finished!

Finally. ETA is finished!

Of course graphic designers, typographers and illustrators could forsee their demise a long long time ago. This is what happens whenever any organisation decides to embark on a hand-drawn, #DIYlogo.

That new pepsi ad with Kendall Jenner…

I will continue to drink Pepsi. In fact, the only thing contained within my “new” vintage kelvinator man-cave fridge… is a bottle of pepsi (and a metal ice cube tray).

Why I don’t think it is that bad is that it at least *tries* to be anti-establishment. What’s wrong with that? Isn’t that a good thing? It’s not sexist. Is it? It’s doesn’t cast police in a negative light. Does it?

It’s not *really* about the black movement either, because asian and muslims are represented more than freakin’ black people! [no offense to black people here]. It could well be a peace or environmental march.

So what? It’s a bit corny in places. It won’t age well. At least it got people’s attention! I think any international corporation that promotes art and music is better than one that doesn’t…

What the fuck to millenials even want? Yes, it’s sugar water. It’s water, flavoured with sugar. But it’s never pretended to be anything else, has it?

As of this moment, it’s fast approaching 60,000 ‘dislikes’. But then, that’s the problem with youtube isn’t it? Youtube has dislikes. Every other fucking social media outlet only has likes. Maybe that tells you something. Maybe people who watch youtube are just… unhappy trolls?

I do not get what everyone is complaining about. But then, I’m not a millenial. I think it’s an over-reaction. The ad is just not that bad (IMHO).

I bet you if most people had have loved the very same ad, by chance, then of course everyone else would love it too. 

Now all the marketers are trying to to analyse why it ‘failed’. Maybe it just failed because… some young people like to whinge and complain about everything? If it wasn’t this, it would be something else… 

Bioturbation – worms at work

Why I have no faith

Do you know what’s a thousand times scarier than “spending an eternity in hell”?

Realising that you only have one life. That death is final. That you could die at any time. That you could die and not accomplish the things in life that you set out to accomplish.

I think life is a very special gift. That’s why I try to make the most of my life here and now. I don’t waste it with faith. I don’t waste it with prayers. I just try to get on it with it.

I do know that if I die slowly I’m going to be questioning myself whether I tried to make a difference in the world. I think there is only so much we can accomplish in one day.

I think it about death all the time. I think about being on my deathbead. I wonder what I’ll think about. I wonder whether I think I’ll think I’ve had a useful life.

And that is why I started this blog. I don’t want to die without sharing my thoughts with the world.

Design disappointment.

Today I’m going to share with you a little secret that’s been bugging me lately

It’s about one of my inner-most feelings about the design industry. For several months now, I’ve been getting disappointed. I have a bit of a dilemma. A moral dilemma 1.

Here it is: there seem to be very few what I call “ethical designers”. And that worries me.

I know because rarely do the creatives ever ‘like’ my environmental posts on LinkedIn. Rarely. Almost never.

Now keep in mind that probably about half of my connections work in the design industry. They’re senior graphic designers. They’re art directors. Executive creative directors. Chief creative officers. Important people. Important people with important accounts.

Designers are supposed to lead the way when it comes to new trends. I mean, fashion designers have the power to change what a billion people wear, within the space of a year (or less). Right?

And yet on this subject, the environment, most designers are suspiciously silent. And I think I know why. I strongly suspect it’s because there’s this so called ‘professional’ [read: confidential] client relationship.

In other words, the never seem to speak up, because they are too afraid that they are going to lose money. Not just with customers, but with their real clients, the businesses that hire them to design. You can’t be seen to criticise the business that gives you work. Like they say, “don’t bite the hand that feeds you”.

Here’s the thing. If people say or do the wrong thing —like the wrong post say— then they lose the account. I know because one of my design teachers told me. If anyone is caught drinking Pepsi in the design room when the Coke representative walks in, your agency loses the Coke account. That’s the way it works.

You see, I really think designers are forgetting just how difficult it is to accomplish good design. I think they’re underestimating themselves. They’re selling themselves short. And I think they should act a bit more like they way they were in highschool. Back then they were the trendsetters. The people who dared to be different. The people who stood against the status quo. Those rebellious kids. The cool ones, you know.

I would like to see the designer charge three, five or ten times more than they normally would for their design. Use that extra money. Give half of it to an enviornmental charity. But I would prefer to see you refuse the brief altogether. Don’t do it. Not for any amount of money!

People who changed the world in the past were never really popular during their time. People like Galileo questioned the status quo. And now today we have satellite communication and GPS navigation systems.

It could be that my “save the planet” content is preferentially served to all my conservation connections. But somehow I doubt it. Many creatives would have seen my posts as well. Many. They lurk, they don’t like. I’ve noticed.

And I was actually going to write this on my LinkedIn feed, but decided to write about it here instead. Because over there, it’ll only become very ‘awkward’.

I’ve also noticed that whenever I post a ‘controversial’ update or comment, I get about three times the number of people looking at my profile. They’re probably checking out who is making all the waves. But they never say anything. Not even privately.

It’s like they’re thinking something like this behind my back: “well if he doesn’t know, we’re not going to tell him; more work for us”.

I know how social groups work. If you say something controversial enough, something to upset people enough, something that goes against the norm, something that people can’t deal with, you risk getting expelled. Banned from the group. And I don’t want that to happen. I’d still like to get a few illustration commisions.

I know how the world works. I know it runs with money. I’m not stupid or naïve. So it’s not that I don’t know what I’m doing. Oh no; I know exactly what I’m doing. I also know something that most designers don’t know. I know a thing or two about science.

In that respect, I suppose my training is pretty unique because I have a strong background in science but my most recent qualification was a diploma of graphic design. So I speak the dual languages of science and design. I don’t know too many ex-scientists designers. None, in fact.

The thing is, I can’t forget my past. No matter how hard I try. I can’t not be a scientist. I trained for more than ten years to be a scientist. I can’t forget who I was or who I am today. Sometimes I wish I wasn’t. Sometimes I wish I could forget. Then I could probably ignore all these conservationists and and indigenous people and just “get on with being ‘successful’ “.

It’s not that science and design are incompatible. Oh they are perfectly compatible alright. Yes business, design and science are indeed all compatible. But not when it comes to big corporations they’re not. Because the bigger the company, the less accountable the employers, employees and customers all become.

The bigger a company, the more ethical rules they seem to break. Seriously. Environmental rules. Especially when it comes to the following industries: mining, engineering, manufacturing, development, construction and transport/logistics. They just don’t give a fuck. Or so it seems.

I know enough to know that there are many unknowns in science. But for every ‘unkown’, there are ten or a hundred ‘knowns’. Science is pretty good. Science works. Your computer works. Your smart phone works. Your iwatch works.

The trouble with designers staying silent is this. The bigger the account gets, the less people see the effect of their design decisions. Designers are not seeing the impact.

But what is worth more? The account? Or the planet? If we lose the planet, we lose pretty much all future accounts. Right? Riiight?

So my new rule of business is that I only want to work towards a better future, not a worse one. Otherwise, what’s the point?

If we are all working towards a worse future, if all there is is “now”, if that is so important, why bother working at all? Why bother building cities, freeways and skyscrapers? Why bother with children and grandchildren? You tell me. What is the fucking point? What is the fucking point of having children if this world is not sustainable?

And don’t get me wrong, I try to live in the ‘now’ as much as humanly possible. It’s just that I also consider the future as well as the past (which I think is wise).

When a client comes to you asking for a rebrand, they’re obviously thinking about the future, aren’t they? They are looking for a newer, better future. Right?

So what I would like to see is this: I would like to see creative executives have the balls to say to someone like Mr Gautami Adani something like this:

“well the thing is, Mr Adani, we can’t actually make your logo any cooler, accessible or friendly, you’re asking the impossible. Fossil fuels have become out of vogue, out of fashion, we can’t change that. No one can change that. Solar and wind are “in”. Coal is out.”.

I would like to see Chief Creative Officers, Executive Design Directors remind the CEO, the CFO, the board of directors about the future. Remind them that they are hoping for a better ‘future’ design, hence, they must care about the future. That’s why they’re investing money. Because they’re hoping for a better future.

I’d like to see more people remind these fools at the top just why the environment has to come before business. And then maybe the business owners and investors would insist on a newer, more sustainable, ecological design. Who else is going to design for them?

I think it’s absurd that people are too afraid to even say anything. Everyone should be able to harp on about the environment as much as they bloodywell like without fear of losing their job. Otherwise, we are all fückéd ladies and gentlemen. Fückéd!

Here’s what I would like to say to all investors. I would like to walk into a boardroom meeting and draw this fucken equation on the board:

no environment = no business = no profit.

Because I can tell you one thing right now. People can see straight through a logo or a design. I used to think a great logo was everything. but it’s just an identity mark.

If the companies’ ethics and morals aren’t in the right place, then people will eventually go with the ugly logo. I love a good logo, I do. I choose companies based on their logos and their design. True! But once I turn on a company, there’s almost no going back. If I had to choose between designer logos and saving the planet, bring on the ugly logos.

People are fickle. Customers will change banks. No amount of design can be used to sell a horrible company to well-informed people. That might have worked in 1990. Or even the year 2000. But this is the age of information, the age of connection.

 

The reason is that money can only be used to ‘offset’ things up to a certain point. And I think we are fast getting to that point, if it isn’t already behind us. Beyond that point, money doesn’t do any good. Sure money can buy a forest. Money cannot buy us a new atmosphere or a stable, unpeturbed weather system. Money cannot buy a clean ‘new’ planet. That is not how the world works.

Sometimes I like to entertain the idea of hypothetical situations, because I find them to be very insteresting. For example. if the major powers launched all of their nuclear weapons (more or less simultaneously), then how much would it cost to ‘fix’ the planet afterwards? What if it couldn’t be ‘fixed’? What then? That’s one reason we try to avoid a nuclear holocaust. Because we know about the consequences.

Things can’t keep on going on like they’ve always done. Again, the world doesn’t work that way. I know that’s not the way it is at the moment.

You may think I am some hippie nutter. But I’m not. I am a bit of a dreamer though. I don’t really care too much about money. I care that what I think, what I say, and what I do are all aligned — in the right direction.

So where am I going with this? A few years ago I read that whenever an organisation grows, it reaches a critical size of about 150 people. That is the maximum number of people we can efficiently deal with. Beyond that and things get too disconnected and bureaucratic. Efficiency goes down.

So these days I prefer to work with smaller businesses. That’s what my gut instinct tells me to do. Businesses that are small enough to change and adapt. Businesses that are able to put the environment first. They’re the ones who I want to trade with.

 

 

 

McDonalds feedback

Nuggets. When I order 6 or 10 McNuggets, I expect to receive 6 or 10 McNuggets. Not 5 or 9. Am I right? But I never feel like complaining over one nugget. But really, this happens quite often.

Noise. Why does the kitchen sound like the cockpit a 747 that is about to crash land? WHOOP WHOOP WHOOP PULLUP STALL PROXIMITY WARNING!!! You cannot call it a “restaurant” with all of that noise happening…

Chips. They should stand up in the packet, proud and tall, not be placed in there chaotically all “mumbo jumbo”. Because that way, not as many fit and we get less. :(

Sauce. Why no chilli sauce with McNuggets? Is there an embargo on chillis? Wordwide chilli shortage? No. Not everyone likes BBQ or sweet & sour sauce. Hungry Jacks has chilli to go with their obviously and clearly inferior “non-McNuggets”.

Thank you,
I shall collect my extra chips now.

Dr. Leslie Dean Brown
www.LeslieDeanBrown.com

Why am I a minimalist?

I am a former materials scientist. The first question I always get asked is: “what is that?”.

Materials science is the study of mostly synthetic materials such as metals, polymers, ceramic and composites. We study their physical & chemical properties and how they are extracted from the Earth.

I am telling you this because I think that people need to start listening to scientists. More people need to listen to more scientists.

That’s a two way thing. I think that more scientists should start their own blogs (and other mediums communication like that).

Right. So I am a former materials scientist. And do you know what I now think about materials? What I now know?

I think that everything that you buy kills some part of the world somewhere else. The metals in the electronics that you are buying come from mines and natural spaces have to be destroyed to get them. I think we have to realise that and remember it every time we go to buy something. We need to think about that whenever Apple tries to sell us some new product. Do we really need it? What is the environmental cost?

My view now is that the things that we buy have to come from somewhere. Ask yourselves where. Most plastics [polymers] in use today come directly from oil. Uh oh.

All metals that aren’t being recycled are mined. Mines are always built in the natural environment (just look what happens when they are not –like with coal seam gas– people complain their heads off and usually get their own way).

But the problem isn’t just big banks and mining companies. Because I think 99% of adults have simply forgotten where they get their stuff from. [Read more…]

The true value of soil

Food practically grows all by itself on planet Earth.
Illustration by Leslie Dean Brown. © 2015. All rights reserved.

Let me ask you something: do we actually ‘make’ our own food? Do we? The answer is “no we do not make our own food”. We just throw pre-existing seeds in the ground and make sure most of them get enough water to sprout. We don’t make it from first principles; it grows all by itself from the soil! We simply harvest that food (once it has already grown).

Let me ask you the next question: do we humans ‘make’ soil? Not can we make it, do we make it? Again, no. Bacteria, worms and insects do that for us. Sure we might put organic matter such as apple cores, banana skins and orange peels onto the old compost pile and think we’re making

loads more soil. We might even throw things like paper and cardboard onto our compost as well and think we’re creating heaps and heaps and heaps of soil.

But are we? What are we really doing? Once gain, where did that apple core come from? Where did that banana skin come from? Where did that paper come from? Where did those trees come from? The chances are you’ll find that most of it wasn’t hydroponically produced (using liquid fertilisers and zero soil). Was it? No. It was mosty farmed, from pre-existing soil. And I’m guessing that that soil, ladies and gentlemen, took thousands and thousands and thousands of years to form.

And so you might say: “well okay, I know people that actually eat 100% hydroponically-grown foods, I’ve seen it”. And again I ask: but the people who made the hydroponic setup, did they also get all of their food from hydroponically grown plants? What about the people who made all that fertiliser? What about the people who built the whole darn fertiliser setup? What about the people who transported all of the above? And what about the people who built the vehicles so that all of that lot could be transported? Did they all eat hydroponically grown food too?

Is everyone in that hydroponics industry only eating 100% hydroponically-grown foods? Short answer? No. So my point is that at the moment, even if we can hydroponically grow a bunch of food, it’s being heavily, massively subsidised by nature.

Do you know how many apple cores, banana skins and orange peels it takes to make just one kilogram of soil? The answer is: I don’t know, because I lost count. What I can tell you is that I have been throwing ALL of my organic scraps, and those of a second person, into one giant green 400L bin for the past two years. Everything from my hair to my paper offcuts. And it has never filled up. But how much soil did all that organic matter take to produce in the first place, for two people? I’m willing to bet that it was WAY more than just 400 litres.

So is it any wonder that farmers commit suicide, when they tell us that the quality of soil is falling?

We certainly tend to the plants. We avoid flooding unless we’re growing rice. But what I think humans really do is collect, store and distribute food. If we had to do all of that for 7 billion people, for 7 million people, for even 7 thousand people, with no air, no water and no soil to begin with, I think you’d see scientists really starting to scratch their heads. Can’t be done! It just can’t be done.

In other words, we’re not somehow magically separated from nature. Scientists are never really able forget this. If seven, eight, nine or ten billion people want to live on this planet for more than a few centuries into the future, then we’re going to have to re-evaluate our values and our priorities. I think it’s time we refocus our efforts on Earth (even Carl Sagan’s last book, pale blue dot was as much about Earth as deep space and look how ‘into’ deep space adventures he was).

Koalas fast disappearing; investors in CSG mining ought to be shot.

Get a load of this, the latest news story, people:

Mining company QGC given approval to clear critical koala habitat for CSG wells near Dalby

The company’s own reports submitted to the federal Environment Department said habitat “critical to the survival of the koala” would likely be affected.

“I have written to minister Jackie Trad and the Premier in recent times on several occasions saying that not one single piece of koala habitat in Queensland should be allowed to be cut down,” she said.

“You get up to 70 and 80 per cent mortality once you move animals away from their homes,” she said.

“It’s like saying to you tonight, ‘I’m going to knock your home down, no worries, I’ll build you another one, but just wait 20 years and in the meantime just wander around’.”

[source]

I used to look out for koalas every single time we went on camping vacation in Australia. Never saw a single one, not once, in all my childhood years of peering out the back car window.

Investors (and I know they’re reading) ought to be shot. Just plain taken out into a field, and shot.

Why climate change researchers are freaking out

Rich requests

Rich people buying luxury ice cubes

What scientists fear most.

I don’t even think  this debate is merely about “global warming” anymore…

I think it’s more about whether you believe humans can alter the environment at a global as well as a local scale. I mean, all of us can accept that even cockroaches and rats can change their local little jaunts easily enough…

(either inadvertently and/or purposefully; it doesn’t really matter for the sake of this argument whether the changes are intended or not) 

There is no question that we alter things at a local scale. We can directly manipulate the atomic, molecular and microscopic scales. We manipulate things at the ‘macro’ scale, too (the scale of what we can see without the aid of a microscope). We make things, change things, on the scale of millimetres, centimetres, metres, even kilometres. We make runways for instance. How long are they? Right?

Here’s a timely reminder — Earth’s atmosphere is only about 10km ‘thick’. I’m sure most people don’t stop to appreciate this on their morning or afternoon commute: most people travel more in one single day –be it driving a car or walking in the Ethiopian desert– than the Earth’s atmosphere is ‘deep’. They most likely travel at least this distance every single day of their lives, perhaps more.

One only needs to look around a city, any city, to know that the human civilisation built it. We most definitely changed it. Why? Because it doesn’t look like it did before humans settled there, that’s why. Isn’t it obvious? Before that, it was a forest or a jungle, a river’s edge or a peat bog.

And so we continue to dam rivers and build bridges. We build skyscrapers and oil tankers and cruise liners. We construct entire airports offshore.

We tear down forests and we mine the Earth. At every and any opportunity. Why? To make it more ‘comfortable’ for ourselves. We spew out all kinds of gases and chemicals into our waterways and our atmosphere. And somehow, miraculously, none of this can even remotely alter something so basic as “the average temperature”. Somehow “that’s impossible”1.

At what point along the size scale do people go from accepting that “yes absolutely humans can and do cause local changes in the form of urbanisation” to becoming ones of “oh no, humans are too puny to have caused this, this is god’s realm, carry on” in someone’s mind? At what scale? Where exactly do they let go of reality?

Here’s the thing that most people don’t seem to understand or comprehend: if you do enough “local-scale things” all around the planet, then it has to change at a global scale as well. It has to! Indeed, there really is no black and white distinction between ‘local and global scales’. The cosmos presents a continuous scale, all the way from the very tiniest subatomic particle (and probably smaller) right the way through to galaxies and beyond. And I don’t care what you think you want to believe, each scale does affect the other.

Man is not exempt from the effects of any of these scales (at either the very large-scale end, the very small end or anywhere inbetween). All scales can potentially be ‘dangerous’ to us. We have radiation, we have poison, we have knives, we have trucks crashing into things, we have nuclear bombs. And we also have something else. Something else we can’t quite control as well. The environment: the oxygen in our atmosphere, fresh water, food (and to a lesser extent, gravity). Each represents a different scale. And the presence or absence of each one can equally kill, albeit at different timescales.

There is simply no getting around it… “do enough shit” to the surface of this planet, any planet, and you’ll most likely fuck it up completely rather than make it only slightly ‘better’2

Whether carbon dioxide gas, or any other compound, it really wouldn’t matter what is causing it either, would it? Would it matter to people if it were a different compound such as methane, krypton or something else they’ve never even heard of? Would that help them understand what is going on with vibrational modes of this molecule at infrared frequencies?

Actually, surprisingly, I think the answer to that question is: “it depends”. I think the answer lies in how much this presence or absence of whatever it is we have to give up contributes to our current lifestyle. And I think we all know that we are far less likely to give up our ‘comforts’ than if it’s something we never (or rarely) use anyway.

If we don’t have much to give up, like with CFCs for example (because we simply used a spraycan with a different propellant inside of it), then by all means “let’s do this right now, starting today”. The Result? Ozone hole partially closed already.

A scientist might say that our reluctance to change is “inversely proportional” to the amount that it affects our present and future lifestyle. Lots to give up? Climate change = fake news. Not real. Not happening. Nothing to give up? No reason why it couldn’t be true.

On the other hand, if you’re talking about giving up the power of your very own automobile, reducing your electricity consumption, buying and using less stuff, travelling less, or just even generally using less and less technology instead of more and more — then on second thought, “perhaps not quite so fast”. Right?

Do you know what scientists fear most? Do you know what scares scientists absolutely shitless? Well they might not know it, but I think all scientists inherently fear that one day we’ll lose control of nature. Because right now, science can control nature (well sort of).

Now we don’t want you to panic. But quite frankly, it’s fast getting to that point. Because species are becoming extinct all over the place… and it’s an understatment to say that biologists, entomologists, and soil scientists are not happy about that.

I think to many people, technology may make it seem like “we can do whatever the fuck we want, however we want, whenever we want and wherever we want” and still we’ll all be okay. That no matter what happens, scientists will be smart enough to “figure a way out it”. I mean heck, “who ‘invented’ the ipad?”. People. People are smart. Right?

Wrong. Because even today, in the ‘modern age’ (whatever that is) we don’t have to create our own gravity, sunlight, air pressure, oxygen and water. Do we?

And somehow –some truly clueless, ignorant people– think that “everything’s going to be alright, Jack”. Maybe because it always has been. Maybe because they don’t have a very good imagination about the future. Maybe because they are ignorant. Or maybe they believe in some kind of higher power and that “man can do no harm”, that man’s job is to “work and be more productive”.

These “deniers” generally retort: “the sky is falling, the sky is falling” whenever anyone becomes even remotely ‘alarmist’. As if all alarms are false ones. Even if the alarmists do have a higher IQ.

But I really would really like to see those very same [science] deniers in another, very different, scenario. Say they we have organised a tour of a nuclear power station for them. Just say. Would they stick around, for example, if/when a nuclear scientist is yelling at them: “THE CORE IS GOING INTO MELTDOWN, GET THE FUCK OUTTA HERE!!!!!”. Would they be hanging around the containment building, tardily and proudly proclaiming “the sky is falling, the sky is falling!”? Would they be so quick to make a cup of coffee in that instant? Or would they, far more likely, heed the scientists’ advice and flee their sorry arses right on out of there as fast as their legs could carry them? Yes I think the latter.

Or maybe I reall am missing something. Maybe we really are puny. Maybe. Maybe we are so fucking puny, nature will continue to evolve and adapt all around us.

But then I recall biololgists tellings us that the less biodiversity there is, the slower nature recovers from all kinds of change.

My politcally incorrect branding plan.

Here’s the thing, I know I shouldn’t mention politics where business & branding is concerned.

I *know* I should be more politically correct. But quite frankly, I don’t care. Or I do care somewhat, but I don’t let that stop me… I see icecaps are melting and still no one says anything through official channels. I don’t see any designers criticising Porsche for making their gas-guzzling 5.0L V8-engined Cayenne for example.

Yes I see all the other designers and creatives and their ‘approach’. And I think 99.9% simply prefer to remain silent.

But I don’t see too many designers with a science background. And my science background CANNOT allow me to sit idly by and “say nothing, do nothing”.

The truth is, our lifestyles impact this world, greatly so.I’m even having a hard time convincing my psychologist of this fact. I think she seems to think that we are all “equally to blame”.

I’m sure other people absolutely cringe when they see me always sharing things about the environment on LinkedIn. But quite frankly, if I lose people’s business as a result of being politically incorrect, maybe “it wasn’t mean to be”. I don’t want to help people ruin this planet. I want to help make it a better place.

So my branding plan is this: what I lose in being politically incorrect, hopefully I gain elsewhere by genuinely being committed to the environment. And if only half the number of art directors woule like to commission an illustration from me, well that just means I’ve got to be twice as good to make up for it. So the quality of my drawings goes up. Right? What’s wrong with that?

I would really like to see other designers and creatives be more vocal. Forget being politically correct. Be brutally honest for once. Have the confidence to know that your work is good enough to lose a few clients to be able to sleep at night.

If you know a product is crap, perhaps more people should say so? I won’t work for fossil fuel companies. Well I would, only for about $800M. I hope people see that ethos is part of my brand.

Lord Muck, revisited.

 What kind of BULLSHIT is Lord Muck even talking about here? Honestly.

Yes I am calling him Lord Muck. I think it’s “rather” an appropriate name too! Let me tell you, Lord Muck over here would be laughed out of a room full of true intellectuals. Because this is definitely not the manner in which scientists discuss real science in order to convince other scientists who are already in the know of anything new.

Maybe some of my readers should wander right on in to any old university campus. And sit in a lecture, just to look and listen for a while. To know what real science sounds like.

Science universities are not isolated fortresses after all. They hardly ever get any visitors! So I don’t think many lecturers around the world would disapprove of you being there. You just… won’t be able to sit in on any exams and/or graduate and get your degree unless you pay your union fees is all.

Contrary to seeming like an authority on cimate change, the global science community just collectively laughed at his expense. He might as well have incinerated his degree, for all the good this presentation did.

Having a posh voice only makes you an authority on… umm… poshness. It doesn’t automatically give you extra clout whenever you are ‘talking’ about climate change. And I say ‘talking’, in inverted commas like that, because, well, he doesn’t actually ‘talk’ much at all about the data at all. He’d rather put up slides that say: “Greens are too yellow to admit they’re really red”. Wow. That sentence certainly has a lot to do with climate change. [Read more…]

Tanzania: paramilitary to tackle poachers

“In a bid to combat poaching in the country, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism has announced the establishment of a paramilitary force system that will directly protect animals from being attacked and killed by poachers.” [source]

Richard Levicki: I dont like the sound of this, it should be Environmental Enforcement Officers not paramilitary. Very happy to see Tanzania seriously deal with the issue, but we do not want the agents of environment and human rights using the methods of the abusers, the word military contains all the wrong vowels.

leslie dean brown: Well I do like the sound of this. Not sorry! A few months back, they [poachers] shot and killed environmentalists in a helicopter. They should be taken out. All of them. No better (or worse) than ISIS. The only good poacher… is a dead poacher. They keep doing it… mainly because everyone else allows them to. Ultimately, I feel that 1000-5000 rhinos alive are worth more (both to humanity in the long term, no to mention “as is”, being lovely innocent rhinos) than 100 poachers in a planet of 7.5 billion people. They just are.

What I think of Nike HyperAdapt 1.0s

Yes they do look very VERY cool.

But ever since reading cradle to cradle, what worries me is that this contributes to even more e-waste.

Are they recycleable or biodegradable? Compostable? No? Why not? Oh. We can create great technology alright, but let’s see Nike come up with the same concept that is actually good for the environment. That’s going to be a challenge, not just for Nike, but all tech-companies.

And since a lot of materials aren’t ever recovered or recycled, it means more mines. You know? Mines! The things that nobody really likes to live next to.

Don’t get me wrong –I love all things design– but I just bought a pair of shoes from Novesta because they are more eco. That’s the direction I’m moving in.

Break the chain!