Climate change in Moruya, NSW, Australia.

So today I thought I’d share this graph of my nearest weather station in NSW, Australia (well, the second-nearest weather station, because the closest one only has data since the beginning of 2000).

And here it is. Data is from the Australian government Bureau of Meteorology. Moruya heads pilot station. Minimum daily temperatures from 1910 superimpsed with data from 2016. The first year of data compared to the last full year of data. Graphs have been rescaled in the y-axis so that they line up (if they used a consistent scale I wouldn’t have to do this; I think it auto-scales).

Now I have roughly superimposed my own “line of best fit” through both curves (they are both the same height at the beginning and end, as they should be). Yes I eyeballed it. But you can clearly see that the red line is well above the blue line pretty much everywhere.

Now I know this doesn’t “prove” anything because it’s just one weather station of many. And some years are hotter due to the El Niño effect (according to google, both 1900-1901 and 2015-2016 were El Niño periods). But I was curious about something and so I thought I’d personally check it out. [I was originally looking up this very warm day we had on the 3rd of September, 2017 because it was 9°C above average]

Note:

I’ve seen other graphs where people draw their line of best fit and the end tangents don’t match for January and December. I don’t think that is technically correct, because we are looking at continuous trends from month to month and year to year. Where we take the yearly ‘chunk’ of data is kind of irrelevant.

I’ll give you an example: you wouldn’t expect that the temperature for January of 2017 to be significantly different than December of 2016. Likewise, you wouldn’t expect the temperature for December of 2015 to be significantly different than January of 2016. Indeed, we could include these two extra months if we wanted to and look at a 14 month span instead of a 12 month span. But if someone has drawn a wacky curve at the start and finish, and then we include the extra adjoining months, we see that it would be completely wrong.

Therefore, I have inserted the line of best fit through the data so that it matches up at both the start and end of the year. I inserted the minimum number of nodal points (three) and they are ‘symmetrical’. That way, we can expect the temperature fluctuations to continue on from one to the next year and precedes from the last one (without a huge slope at the beginning or end).

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!!

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.

Culture your culture

Something happened last week while I was walking my dog.

SSHE decided that the best place to do a poop was right in the middle of a path in the Royal National Park. Right in front of two people who happened to be coming the other way. They saw the whole thing. I carried on rather sheepishly as they passed right by me. They both stopped at the end of their walk and looked back at me. The fat man with lycra/spandex pants and fluorescent sports top stretched his legs and was feeling rather good about himself, because he asked me to pick up my dog’s turd when I was more than 10 metres away. That’s brave.

When I go for a street walk –and I find myself going less and less just to avoid people– sure, I carry plastic bags. This time, I didn’t have any. So wanting to avoid a confrontation (like I always do), and feeling extremely embarrassed, I just replied calmly and softly “sorry I don’t have any plastic bags”, turned around and carried on. And then I heard them both muttering something about me being in a National Park with a dog and how it was ‘prohibited’. Well I have been thinking about this for a week or so. And my internet reply –which is rather different from my real-world reply– goes something like this:

No I don’t litter and I never have done. Normally I am a really ‘good’ person and I carry plastic bags with me when I walk my dog on the street. But lately, I’ve been reading this book, which embraces a “cradle to cradle mentality”.

Nowadays, whenever I go for a walk along a nature strip, I just cover the poop over with the adjacent sandy soil. It decomposes naturally and enriches the Earth. There is no ‘waste’.

One plastic bag is spared for use on something else. And there is one less plastic bag with a turd inside it, rotting away in the Lucas Heights dumping ground that they call a “waste management centre”.

You know, Aborigines and their dingoes have been living in this same National Park for 40,000 years. And they would still be here in another 40,000 years if white folk hadn’t have come along and shot them all. They didn’t pick up their dogs’ shit and put it into a plastic bag for it to end in landfill, did they? So I think we can learn an all-important lesson in sustainability from them.

Come to think of it, what do you think would happen if you asked all creatures big and small within the bounds of the National Park to dispose of waste as you suggest, by putting it in a plastic bag? There would not BE a National Park. It would turn into a dump.

Do me a favour. Don’t demand or even ask me to “do what is right”. Who told you that that was the right thing to do anyway? Have you been watching this video or this one?

Don’t you dare judge me about being a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ person. And wipe those smug grins off your faces.

Do I mind picking my dog’s poop up? If it’s going to end up in a rubbish tip, yes, actually, I do mind.

I do not value your values. I do not culture your culture. I didn’t vote for your government and I don’t believe in what they stand for. I don’t remember signing any documents upon my birth to obey all the rules in your society. And neither does my dog.

What’s that you say? You don’t like treading in crap? It bothers you? So you don’t care about the environment after all, you just care about smearing dog shit on your vehicle’s carpet. Right, I see how it works now.

Well by the same token, I don’t like breathing in the toxic fumes coming from your vehicle’s exhaust pipe. Kindly drive around the block instead of driving past my place of residence. I’m sure that none of the animals in the National Park –with the exception of the black crows who now feed on road kill– like vehicles very much. So speaking on their behalf, kindly stop driving around and fucking up the atmosphere we all breathe.

Citizens of Australia, if it wasn’t for loads and loads of animals essentially crapping everywhere, nature wouldn’t exist as we know it. Crap is what keeps it all going. And let’s talk about the boundaries of a National Park shall we?

I went back two days later and the big pile of shit that my dog left had almost completely disappeared. The rain had already begun to wash it away. So I’m going to carry on walking my dog there until I get a fine for it. And when approached, I’m going to claim that I’m part Aboriginal and that my dog is part Dingo. And if they have a problem with that I might just say that I’m starting my own religion called “Vida Enigmatica”.

“Typical liberal moron”

So just today, someone once again called us ‘liberals’ morons. Again.

image-jpg

 

First of all, I’d like to point out to Americans that in Australia, the liberal party is actually the conservative party. The labor party is the one that swings to the left. So get your facts straight.

I hope you are one of those republicans and you are reading this. I really do. I’ve tried to spam this blog post with conservative keywords in the hope that more of you will find it and actually use a greater proportion of the right hand side of your brain.

Anyway, I think you’ll find that the majority (not all, but most) creative people ARE liberal.

So that means artists, musicians, writers, actors, 3D animators, graphic designers, industrial designers, fashion designers, interior designers, architects, art directors, creative directors, marketing and advertising gurus, chefs, comedians, photographers, hairdressers, dancers … you know… all the people who make life interesting. Not to mention many scientists, psychologists and health care workers as well.

What that means is, who do you actually go to when you do any of the following: read a book; watch movies (other than old westerns); listen to music (anthing but country music that is); buy nice clothes (including designer suits); buy furniture; go out to a restaurant; give birth to a child; watch a comedy; take a taxi; get a haircut; need a lawyer; need a psychologist; go out for a drink at a bar or pub; set foot in a nicely designed home; watch any kind of entertainment.

What music do you listen to when you feel like cheering up? Who do you go to when you want to sell more widgets? Who do you go to when you want advice on branding or corporate identity? How about you stop calling people “liberal morons” eh? Do you not know how to compose an entire sentence without insulting someone? Because it’s becoming tiresome. Really. If anyone has made the Divided States of America, it is you.

I hate to say this, but without liberal people, your society would look a lot like the USSR. You know: communist! Not that there’s anything wrong with that either. It’s just… a bit too depressing by all accounts. [Read more…]

I was worried back in ’92.

Yes I first learned about “global warming” in 1991 or 1992.

I think I must have had a smart teacher for the subject called general studies, because she knew about this new topic and warned all of us. She probably heard all about it at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) aka the Rio de Janeiro Earth Summit. I could tell she was concerned. I can still remember seeing the worry in her eyes way back then.

Also, like a lot of nerdy sciency kids, I already knew about the atmosphere of other planets (like Venus for example). And so I’ve known for a long time that there isn’t really anything (apart from biodiversity feedback loops) stopping this planet from becoming more like either Mars or Venus.

So I began making lifestyle choices back then, when I was 14 or 15 years old. I chose not to drive. I continued to ride my bicycle. I rode it everywhere. In fact I didn’t learn to drive a car until I was 28 years old. Not until I had to. Not until I needed to deliver a lot of bicycles for my business. But eventually, it all caught up with me again. It slowly dawned upon me that I was falling into the trap of becoming just like everyone else again.

We are supposed to be working for a better future. That is why we all work so hard. But if the future is going to be worse, what’s the point?

So now, after almost a decade of driving around, I’m slowly but surely weening myself off of it again.

Later, when I gratuated, I refused to work for oil companies. I was offered a very highly paid job investigating the steel microstructure of crude oil tankers. I just couldn’t do it. So I went straight back to university and did another 5 years there.

Climate scientists are saying now that we are in a “climate emergency”. Look, the coal industry in Australia is saying there is enough coal reserves to last another 365 years. Well okay. But if other planets are anything to go by, this world’s entire fucking oceans could potentially boil right off and disappear into deep space! Melting icecaps will be the least of our worries. Now, while that scenario is never mentioned by climate scientists, that’s what planetary scientists mean when they talk about “a climate system that is out of control”. Are people starting to get it now?

Now I still don’t think people even today fully realise the implications of climate change, 25 years later.

Who are the greenest printers in Australia?

I just finished a diploma of graphic design a few months ago. And during a subject called “prepress”, I found out that printing is not the most ecological part of graphic design. In fact traditional printing is not very good for the environment at all. It isn’t all just about the paper they use, but they also use loads and loads of metal printing plates and lots and lots of water.

So I have been shopping around for the most ecological printer for some time now (like 6 months, on and off). And I think I’ve finally found a quality one that is reasonably priced. [Read more…]

What this angry scientist has to say about climate change:

Here I go again… why am I angry? Do scientists even get angry? Yes. Yes they do. Well I am angry. Very fucken angry!

I‘m angry at politicians in the mainstream parties. Because they aren’t doing enough to mitigate an environmental catastrophe. Most politicians today only care about one thing: money. The economy. Whoop-de-doo.

Scientists, if you remember from highschool, are the clever people. They are the nerdy ones with poor social skills. You’d think most countries would be run by the smartest of individuals. Are they? No. See, I think that’s where we’re going wrong. Our countries are run by politicians.

Likewise, I am angry at climate change deniers. Because they are now claiming that “climate change is a government conspiracy” (right, well if that is true it has to be the dumbest conspiracy theory I have ever heard, because the governments are the ones who support burning coal for fuck’s sake!).

Actually, I lie. Half of it is worry, not anger. For example, what’s actually worrying is that some people think an average temperature increase of a couple of degrees in only a few decades is at all “natural”. What’s worrying is that some people still don’t seem to grasp the concept of “rate of change”. I have seen on LinkedIn that the biggest climate change deniers are frequently either working for oil companies, have a vested interest in contruction, or are simply “uneducated fools”.

I find some people’s responses to climate change infuriating. Scientists are (mostly) a VERY clever bunch of people. If climate scientists are ringing alarm bells and making videos like this one, it’s enough to make me pay attention and completely change my lifestyle.

Right. I’ll say that again, but in a different way, because it bears repeating. Because I know that people skim read things. When the leading climate scientist, James Hansen, says (back in 2012 mind you) that we have a climate emergency, well, it’s enough to make me sell my vehicle. It’s enough to make me think up a new career choice, about how I can make the world a better place for future generations to come…

In science, we have to have a kind of ‘faith’ too. Scientists have faith in other scientists. We mutually respect each others’ fields of expertise. If I were to say, as a materials scientist, that magnesium has a hexagonal close packed atomic structure, I would hope the other scientists would give me the benefit of the doubt about that. And that is how the whole science community works. Things are checked and rechecked. Publications are reviewed. These people are working on these problems their whole lives. [Read more…]

Who am I going to vote for in Australia?

A friendly reminder to both labor and liberal parties: without the environment, there IS no economy.

The world is changing and I think politics needs to change along with it. I think both labour and liberal are great at doing one thing: stalling.Maintaining the status quo. That’s it.

“The big risk in this election is that we would end up with an unstable, chaotic, Labor-Greens minority Government as we’ve seen before.”

Actually, I think the really big risk is that we’ll end up with a chaotic planet. I’m sure most people don’t care, but I’ll be voting for the GREENS. Because the price of labor/liberal winning –forever– is simply too great now.

The planet does not care whether or not liberal or labor is in power. Science does not care about politicians and the way they play their games. Atoms do not care. Reactions and interactions and natural forces simply do not care. And what I mean by that is that the consequences of not changing fast enough will happen —whether labor is in power or liberal.

This world is fast getting beyond the point where the green parties could make a difference… even if they won many elections all over the place.

I hate to be all doom & gloom and everthing, but my analogy is that I suppose it doesn’t really matter who is or was driving the car when the accident happens.

I think we need to hand over the control to more people that actually know what they are doing and can think longer-term. I think prevention is better than cure. That’s why I’m voting for Greens.

What I think about jet racing in the year 2016…

I’m sure you can do it honey. I’m sure you can. I once went to a drag race at Eastern Creek. Yes. And I think this would have been cool too. In about the year 1988.

Hello! What about the environment? Have you EVER stopped to think about the environment? Did your parents even teach you about that? Clearly they haven’t. This is what worries me. It really does. Not teaching another generation about the importance of sustainability.

What’s that all about? It seems everyone just wants to have as much fun as we want today. Because the Earth will be fucked within 200 hundred years anyway… so why bother doing anything about it now? Well I’m going to do something about it today, by criticising the hell out of this bullshit.

So it just seems to me that all of this it’s a total waste of oxygen. It’s a waste fuel. How much flaming CO2 does that thing even produce I wonder? And for what? For you to be somewhere that you don’t even need to be quicker than someone else? Whatever for? Just so you can feel better about yourself? So you feel ‘superior’? Because it’s pretty clear to be that you have some kind of female version of an inferiority complex. But my message doesn’t just apply to women racecar drivers. It applies to all drag racers. Male, female, trandgender, whatever. [Read more…]

LOCAL PETITION: Save Spring Gully from development, Royal National Park.

The federal heritage listed Royal National Park is the world’s oldest purpose dedicated National Park.
20150701_160050_2-800x450

Upon dedication, in 1879, it was simply named “The National Park”. The “Royal” designation was added after the visit of Queen Elizabeth II in 1954. It is the birthplace of the National Park movement in Australia. If we can’t protect the Royal National Park and if we can’t protect threatened species and ecological communities within National Parks, what can we protect?

VIDEOS:

Bundeena Landscaping and clearing – my comments PART1
Bundeena development approval – my comments PART2
Bundeena recreational facility – my comments PART3
www.springgully.org

The land clearing will significantly impact the dense Bloodwood mallee which has been cited as supporting the scientific justification for a world heritage listing of the Royal. It is habitat to threatened species and supports a local sugar glider population which extensively feed on the sugary sap of the trees that comprise this dense woodland.

There are over 1,500 trees in the before drawing on the left that are missing from the after drawing on the right. Can you find them all? Read about the trick that has been used in the development application to hide the true extent of tree and canopy removal! They only show the tree canopies with trunks larger than 15cm. Trees with trunks smaller than this are just marked with a small brown circle that is almost invisible.

These diagrams substantially misrepresent the amount of existing tree canopy to be removed. 

These drawings only show the trees in and around the proposed inner asset protection zone. Hundreds more trees will be cleared in the outer asset protection zone not shown in these drawings.

Detailed data has only been provided for the largest 237 trees to be removed or pruned, including 34 large, mature, potentially hollow bearing, angophoras (important fauna habitat) that will be pruned to leave only 31% of their current canopy. The amount of canopy to be removed from these 237 trees alone is 8,687 square metres. The other 1,300 odd trees to be removed appear on the drawing provided but without details of how much canopy loss they represent.

Many hundreds more trees, possibly another 1,500, will be destroyed in the Outer Asset Protection Zone. An accurate estimate cannot be provided because most of this area has been omitted from the tree removal plan provided (appendix 16). See diagram below for location of outer asset protection zone.

The entire Bloodwood woodland along the top, southern side of the gully will be decimated. Every tree in this dense woodland bears scars from sugar glider feeding. The gliders chew through the soft bark to release the sap below. These unique stands of bloodwood growing in the deep sands at the base of the Jibbon Hill relic cliff dune have been cited as supporting the scientific justification for the world heritage listing of the Royal National Park. They demonstrate scleromorphic adaptation in response to the unique local geomorphology that developed in this area as the sea level began to rise some 10,000 years ago and the coast receded, pushing the relic cliff dunes, including Jibbon Hill, to their present location.

Sutherland Shire Council has recommended the former Scout land be acquired for addition to the Royal National Park.

On 10 November 2014, Council resolved to write to local state and federal parliamentarians asking them to support the acquisition of the former Scout land by the state government for addition to the surrounding Royal National Park.

Can journalists stop using the term “dole bludgers” please?

I wasn’t planning on writing about personal issues on this blog, but I couldn’t help notice the headlines in the paper a few weeks ago…

I resent the term “dole bludger” being thrown around willy-nilly. I’m talking about this article, which appeared last month as a front page news headline. Really, this is not at all a politically correct phrase. It’s *absolutely* derogatory and offensive and I begin to fume with anger whenever I see supposedly “unbiased journalism” articles continually referring to this terminology in national papers such as the Telegraph and the Herald.

This is not a term that should be thrown around lightly. It’s *not* the 1980’s anymore. Since when did this term become acceptable to use in the national media?

I think this is a sorely outdated term and it *completely* isolates & alienates the thousands of people on legitimate welfare who ARE genuinely trying to seek employment (or self-employment). [Read more…]

My letter to Maurice Blackburn [PART 2]

PART 2

[continued from part 1]

As a former scientist, knowing what I know, other forms of much more sustainable energy exist and yet the government allows this to continue. The WHOLE scenario is woefully depressing. That is basically the catalyst for my chronic ‘melancholy’ depression. The total lack of global accountability and responsibility to future generations to come…

Two decades ago, there was hope. Now, because of the reluctance for industry to change, I am fast losing that hope. Indeed, the situation is almost becoming ‘hopeless’. I just read that Australia has enough brown coal reserves to last another 465 years. Now WHO DOESN’T find that figure morbidly depressing I wonder? Who fuckingwell doesn’t? Eh?

I don’t want to live in a world that contributes to a worser future. I don’t want to use their dirty electricity. But what choice do I really have? I know that even if I buy ‘green’ electricity, the very same energy company supports fossil fuel companies.

I don’t want to pay taxes while all of this all continues. What’s the point? What’s the point of even working? Aren’t we supposed to be working for a *better* future? Well many people are working on it, on renewable energy technology like solar & wind power, yes, but some of these big corporations should have to pay. They are directly affecting my mental health right now.

The government has a duty of care to protect us. They aren’t doing that properly. Mining companies also have a duty of care to ensure that they won’t jeopardise our health or the future of this planet. They aren’t doing that properly either…

I’m willing to bet there are tens of thousands of people like me… if you want to find them, start with scientists. Start with climate change scientists, ecologists, even farmers, people like that.

Sincerely,
Dr. Leslie Dean Brown.
(ex materials science researcher)

P:S I’d appreciate it if you could CC me Part 1…
unfortunately I lost that and I’d like a copy of it to put on my blog.

My letter to Maurice Blackburn [PART I]

PART I

Hello there,

I was wondering what the possiblility of starting a class action lawsuit against one of the big coal companies is? Why?
Read on…

I don’t know about the other adults in this society, but this whole global warming thing has me literally clinically depressed.

I am seeking professional treatment for this depression. I am on Prozac.

For me, it started in about 1991 —at age 16— when I found out the greenhouse effect. We were supposed to be phasing fossil fuels out EVEN BACK THEN! Two decades ago. At least that is what the fossil fuel mining companies, auto industry & governments were telling us.

Fast forward 20 years and the progress on adopting renewable energy in Australia is abysmal. One company, Adani, is planning on building the largest coal mine in the world — not even 200km from the Great barrier reef!

This year, in 2016, 93% of that same reef has been bleached. Some of that bleaching is *undoubtedly* caused by other similar coal mines. That is whole thing makes me depressed (which affects my earning potential).

[continued]

What is wrong with society today?

I was writing an e-mail today regarding a new illustration commission I received from the biodiversity alliance. I got a little side-tracked and this article is what came of it, although the illustration below is one I prepared earlier.
Illustration by Leslie Dean Brown. © 2015. All rights reserved.
Illustration by Leslie Dean Brown. © 2016. All rights reserved.

Yes we dance around and laugh and joke… at our peril. That is what we are doing as a civilisation. I do not think we should even have fireworks and such wasteful things unless we are meeting our targets for global emissions reductions (for example).

I’m not saying that it’s not worth talking about on your website, I just think that people have no choice left but to try to be happy and not get too sad about the state of the world… otherwise look at you and me… I suffer from chronic depression. I am sure that many other clever people suffer from clinical depression too. It is only by working at what we know is right in our hearts that we can feel better about what we are doing for the world. So I believe we must “be the change we want to see in the world”, be a part of the solution, not be a part of the problem. And to make it so that what we think, what we believe and what we do are all aligned. Otherwise, we are only fooling ourselves…

So yes unfortunately people are definitely “having fun while we roast ourselves.” But do we really want people to be miserable about our situation instead of ‘happy’? Miserable & depressed people probably cannot adjust and react to challenges as fast as happy people.

I think many older people are just “making the best of it” in the face of so many daunting challenges (and they really are and it is enough to make me not want to have children). I think a lot of young people are massively depressed because half of the older generation is still telling them what to do the old way based on the industrial model of business (sell more stuff, buy stuff because it is good for the economy, and money = happiness) and they are being simultaneously bombarded with mixed messages about the climate but I think many of them are feeling completely helpless. They are getting mixed messages (consumerism vs environment) and we are mostly stuck.

I think one of the reasons that the adolescent suicide rate has gone up is because of this (my sister who is a secondary high school teacher has told me so directly). I don’t think young people do all these ‘bad’ things intentionally; they behave how they were taught to behave, how society brought them up. I never questioned or considered the environment until year 9 general studies class. And then I heard about all these problems the world was facing essentially all at once…

One other problem is that the older generation is half-expecting that the younger generation will somehow come to the rescue and “save the planet”. How is that going to happen when the exact same mentality is being passed on? How is that going to happen when older politicians and wealthy people are essentially in charge? I think it is us older people who need to change first because all children naturally learn from role models. [Read more…]

Hope for the planet

I went to David Suzuki’s “hope for the planet” talk last Tuesday and I am feeling inspired! I think it was worth going, if only too see so many like-minded individuals in the one place at the one time.

Towards the end of the discussion, one young attendee said that she saw the audience as “agents of change” and asked what the single biggest piece of advice that the speakers could give to the audience. And Naomi Oreskes answered that particular question; that she couldn’t give one generic answer, because it all depends on our field of expertise. I thought that was very wise. And so I am using the tools at my disposal:

carbon-foot-print

I might as well use this opportunity to tell the whole world that like David Suzuki, I too find it COMPLETELY OUTRAGEOUS that people put the economy over and above the environment. Without the natural environment, there wouldn’t even *be* an economy!

I want people overseas to know that Gina Rinehart spent $22million on a campaign to destroy the carbon tax in Australia in 2010. She went on to invest $200million in network ten and another $280million in fairfax media to sway public opinion. Luckily she has sold most of her media investments in 2015 and has stopped trying to become one of the members of the board of directors…

I think that was a despicable attempt to control the media and thus sway public opinion the proposed carbon tax, which would have hit the mining industry hard. I see her attempt to buyy out the media as a form of environmental corruption. Inn fact last week I invented might have a new term called ‘EC’. EC is a term that originates from PC (which means politically correct). You probably already guessed it; EC means “environmentally correct”. So I think that Gina Rinehart may well be the richest person in Australia –or the richest woman in the world– but she is just not environmentally correct.

Oooh yes I think that the carbon tax should definitely be reinstated in Australia. Most definitely!

The trouble I see is that this: we know the extra carbon dixode we are putting into the air comes from burning the fossil fuels such as coal and crude oil. So if we have to reduce the amount of carbon going into the air to the level before the industrial age, not only will we have to put back all the forests as they were before all of the mining (to restore the original carbon cycle), but we’ll also have to find a way to offset billions upon billions of tonnes of of carbon that have been mined and essentially burned into the atmosphere. Hmmm

What we can learn from North Korea.

I’ve noticed lately that a lot of Western video productions are unfairly biased about North Korea.
Photo credit: AP Photo/Wong Maye-E
Photo credit: AP Photo/Wong Maye-E

So Western journalists have a big gripe about not being able to film certain parts of North Korea. But North Koreans, okay, like all nations, want to be portrayed in a good light. Because North Koreans are smart enough to know that some journalists are unscrupulous…

What if I made a video documentary about Sydney and filmed all the homeless people, the junkies, the graffiti, the rubbish, the wastage, the consumerism, the violence, the poor distribution of wealth, the relentless urbanisation, interviewed all the aboriginal people in our jails, filmed the chopping down of forrests in the Laird state forest to make way for a new coal mine? Well okay.

But what if the Tourism Industry Association of New Zealand came to Australia for example and then used that to infer that “New Zealand was better”? Maybe we’d be able to take it like a joke (even if it were all true).

But I am pretty darn sure that if our tourism industry was proven to have suffered economically because of that documentary, then we’d promptly ‘react’ by banning such films. I’m sure the Sydney council or tourism board would stop people filming the dirtier parts of town. And I wouldn’t really have a problem with that. It doesn’t make me ‘evil’. [Read more…]

The whaling debate

I think part of the trouble is that migratory species of animals do not ‘belong’ to any one individual country. Countries will always have differences of opinion; therefore all migratory species should be off-limits to hunters.

Whales don’t technically belong to Iceland, Australia, New Zealand or anyone else. And that’s just one of the reasons that they should be spared… because if Icelandic whalers can claim that the whales are ‘theirs’ to do with as they please, then Tongans too can claim that whales are born in Tongan waters and are therefore more ‘Tongan’ than ‘Icelandic’.

I’ve noticed that Icelanders keep referring to chickens, goats, cows and pigs. But none of those animals really migrate, do they? No. They do not cross vast oceans from one side of the planet to the other. Here’s my second point and it doesn’t have anything to do with factory farming, killing chickens, fish, goats, cows or pigs. Let’s forget Iceland for a moment for this analogy to be a bit more objective…

Can you see how if any country (X) started to hunt Japanese cranes in ‘Japanese’ air space that that would annoy Japan? As you know, migratory cranes are endangered. They are also very special to Japanese people in their culture and believed to bring good luck. They have a tradition of folding 1000 cranes. Now just imagine that country X goes there and kills a lot of them. The poor birds take a long time to die and suffer immensely at the time of death. Now imagine that ALL the other countries were totally against country X hunting cranes but they still kept doing it. And now just imagine that country X says to Japan: “no, but it’s okay, we’re hunting them sustainably, we only catch 333 per year.” [Read more…]

What you don’t have you don’t need it now.

How often have you bought something expensive only to want to replace it with something else –something even pricier– within a very short period of time? In short, you’re no longer satisfied with what you have. You want more. You want to maximise.

OOriginally people used to buy higher-priced quality items because they last longer than poorly-made, cheaper items. So the idea was that we’d spend more in the short term but less over the long term. Which is great because buying something that lasts longer it makes more economical and ecological sense. We never used to purchasing a replacement item solely because it was an “improved” model. Originally, we paid for quality items because they added some kind of value to our lives.

Now you may think all of the vendor’s products are so good, that you want to buy more than one model, so that you can choose which one to use based on your personal preference that particular day. A bit like the Thunderbirds — they had a fantastic selection of transport vehicles to choose from, didn’t they?

Usually you feel strangely compelled to buy something new because the new product is bigger, better, faster, more accurate, has more features, contains more memory, is smaller and lighter, stronger or more fashionable. Brands have become so strong today that we start to define our own identity by them; we associate with some brands and not others.

But where exactly did we go so wrong? We hardly even question anymore whether we really need the new item — we buy it because we can. We buy it because it’s fun. We also buy it because our government tells us that buying things is “good for the economy”.

Most people don’t even give so much as a second thought about throwing out something that still functions. These days, things become superceded or obsolete at crazy rate.

[Read more…]

Racism vs culturism

Illustration by Leslie Dean Brown. © 2015. All rights reserved.
Illustration by Leslie Dean Brown. © 2015. All rights reserved.
CULTURES are different, by their very definition. Anyone who has travelled extensively has surely witnessed that. But it just so happens, that many –not all– cultures are divided by geographical barriers, national boundaries known as a countries. And that’s when the generalisations begin…

I T’S generally fair to say that the majority of Japanese people are very reliable & punctual. Likewise, if I were to say that Tongan people are very friendly, stress-free & relaxed, that comment would also be acceptable to most people. Why are these statements accepted? Because they’re positive cultural observations. [Read more…]