Memories, like the colours of my mind…

Being a person of many years occasionally has its advantages.  You have memories that go back a long, long way.

I was fortunate tonight to have some old memories stirred by an image I came across on a Facebook page that I linked to from the blog of an artist who was kind enough to ‘Like’ my previous post here.  Ray Ferrer has a unique style of producing some stunning murals spray painted on canvas through stencils.

On his Facebook page I came across this exceedingly fine image of a young woman. The image is open for sharing so I guess he wouldn’t mind me including it here, linked back to his site.

Ray Ferrer Artwork

On seeing this I was instantly reminded of an English jazz singer who’s work I used to admire many years ago.  Her name escaped me for a while but it eventually came to me that it was Cleo Laine.  Of course, I realise that while there are visual similarities between the picture and the singer, they are not particularly strong ones.  But this is the power of the image to connect with and stir memory.

Anyway, memories and emotions having been awoken, I had to search further.  I remember that Cleo Laine was, in fact is, exceptionally talented with an amazing vocal range.  Though she would be in her mid 80’s as I write this, I understand that she was still performing until at least a very few years ago.  Like many old British entertainers she was elevated to the peerage some years back, becoming Dame Cleo Laine.

I found this intriguing live example of her work and although the video quality is not great it does demonstrate her incredible virtuosity as a singer.  This piece was something that I don’t recollect having heard performed previously so I am particularly indebted to Ray Ferrer for producing the image that led me to it.

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Point of No Return

Point of No Return

This post highlights the new Greenpeace report of the same name.  A worthy document giving a comprehensive account of the dangers to our way of life from known planned expansions of the fossil fuel industry through increased CO2 emissions by 2020.  Just seven short years away.

How old will you be in 2020?

While the report is quite comprehensive, well written, well presented  and carries an important message, it, like many such documents that aspire to a level of academic authenticity (which it has), is lengthy,  hard to read and digest for the average person in spite of the excellent illustrations.  I am not sure who the intended audience is meant to be but I doubt if many, even interested people like myself, will get around to reading it thoroughly.

The chart below, extracted from the report, illustrates the situation quite simply.  It is, if anything, a conservative view of where we are now and the possible future effects.

Passing the Point of No Return

As an Australian citizen I am ashamed and saddened to find from this report that my country will by 2025 be second only to China in responsibility for the increase in amount of CO2 emitted worldwide.  You will need to open the report to see relevant visuals but here is a revealing quote:

“Australia: by 2025, coal exports would increase to 408 million tonnes a year above 2011 levels, pushing associated CO2 emissions up by 1,200 million tonnes a year once the coal is burned. By then, the CO2 emissions caused by Australian coal exports would be three times as large as the emissions from Australia’s entire domestic energy use.”

So much for the Australian Government’s fabled stance on Climate Change.  So much for the vaunted Carbon Tax.  Smoke and mirrors. Smoke and mirrors.

Apart from saddening me that this action is being done in my name, though without my consent or approval, it does not change my view of things generally.  I am also aware of what the alternative is for my country if we stop exporting coal.  It is a good, grand and glorious alternative.  To use their own words, the government focus would have to shift from ‘Jobs, Jobs, Jobs’ to perhaps ‘People, People, People’ which is what democracy was always meant to be about, is it not?.

People, People, People

letter-green-jobs

  .

-or-

Forget jobs.  Jobs are passé.  We don’t (or won’t) need jobs.  Jobs are only needed to sustain the current Global, National and Personal economy.  Jobs are there to occupy the people so that they don’t think too much but continue to buy stuff, to hold debt, to consume and be entertained, in order for the government to have a raison d’être and the means to sustain the current system of power.  The problem with that is that if the current economy continues the way it is going, there will soon be no economy, and therefore no jobs.  I repeat, jobs are passé.

People need a sense of purpose, not jobs.  

There is no greater sense of purpose than staying alive, living, breathing deeply, experiencing and interacting with the beautiful and terrifying world of nature, being responsible for your own well-being and nurture.  Oh, of course, and caring for others, the world around you and sharing.  

Please note:  This has nothing to do with jet-skiing, sky-diving, partying, holidaying, accumulating riches or property, entertaining or being entertained.  That, is not living.

I wonder how many people who claim to support action on climate change, quite realise that the logical extension of what they desire to achieve in this regard will result in far-reaching effects in the way that they live ie. that they will have to give up most if not all the ‘perks’ of modern living.  Their nice house, their car(s), their iphone, travel, holidays, entertainment (by others), shopping (except by barter), packaged or frozen food, dining out, etc., etc.

Either way, voluntarily or by force of circumstance, that is what is going to be the situation going forward.  Climate action or no climate action.  Government policy or no government policy.  Climate, Resource Limits or Our Own Fiscal Folly; These are the Game Changers and one or all of them are about to change the game.

So where does that leave us?  I have accepted that no genuine attempt is going be made by humanity to alter the trajectory of human industrial and commercial progress.  I also accept that no amount of huffing and puffing by activists and environmental groups or the publishing of beautifully presented reports like ‘Point of No Return’, however true and virtuous their content, will be allowed to affect the eventual outcome.  Take any metaphor you like:

The brick wall is looming and we will drive straight into it.  

 The cliff is approaching and we will rush headlong over it.

Que Sera Sera.

 

“Humans are a plague on the Earth”

“Humans are a plague on the Earth”

Who said that?  ‘Twasn’t me, although I have recently and independently come to the same conclusion myself.

No, it was (at least for the most recent utterance) none other than that internationally known and revered, highly honoured and decorated naturalist, named among the 100 Greatest Britons, Sir David Attenborough.  Sir David Attenborough

Sir David made the statement in an article for the current edition of Radio Times magazine as reported by Population Matters.  So we should, merely by dint of whose words they were, approach and contemplate the matter with a serious degree of thoughtfulness and not dismiss the warning outright.

Possibly less seriously, but proving that the concept is not unprecedented, you may remember that this was also the opinion of Agent Smith in The Matrix movies.  Please don’t let this little ‘aside’ diminish or divert your thinking on the important issue raised here. I just thought it a little ‘amusing’ and something that may have been missed by viewers of the movie.

In his statement Attenborough warns that this (over-population) is a problem which is coming home to roost in the next 50 years or so and even now is seen to be in operation in places like Ethiopia where there are just too many people for the land to support.  To which I would add that the situation in Ethiopia is likely to be repeated in many other places around the world as climate forces increasingly continue to wreak havoc on food production.  Places like North America, Europe and China.

I don’t see any equitable solution to the issue.  There is not, nor will be, enough food to go around to sustain a population at current levels let alone future projected levels, even though this has often been mooted to be just a problem with distribution.  Globalisation, the Green Revolution and ceding control of production to Big Agriculture, is and will continue to be seen as having been a monumental failure.

All things considered (climate change, resource limits, Earth capacity to renew itself, systemic collapse), the safe global carrying capacity before too long will fall to something less than 1 billion human lives.  Perhaps considerably less.  The future does not look too rosy for at least six out of seven folk now alive at this present time.  I expect that conditions will be less than ideal for everyone now living as we progress through the next few decades and perhaps for considerably longer than that.

I despair for what the current younger generations, those who have known nothing other than the greed and avarice of ‘the consumer society’, are about to face and would urge young women everywhere not to have (more) children until a safe future can be assured for those unfortunate to be born into the world in these troubled days.  At this time, the future is anything but certain.

The people of the world will not lay down, perish, starve and die quietly.  There is much turmoil, movement and conflict ahead.  Immigration policies will not stand in the way of mass migrations of hungry, desperate peoples.  National borders will very soon count for nothing.

Pre-knowledge of such events is why I have personally, in the twilight years of my life (may they still be many, healthy and fruitful) moved away from centres of population, why I have learned the principles of permaculture, why I am learning how to grow, cook and prepare food and why I have shed all ownership of property/debt and why I am continuing to gather resources around me in preparation for basic survival living which will hopefully equip me to see better times.

Take some time to consider these things for yourself.  Beware the crowd mentality.  Don’t dismiss David Attenborough’s warning lightly.

Humans are an introduced virus on this planet.  You know what happens to viruses within the confines of a limited environment such as a laboratory Petrie dish or a ball of rock floating in space.  They consume all available resources (the food medium in the Petrie dish example) and then die off completely.  On a planet that is continually renewing itself we don’t have to suffer the same fate.  We just have to learn to live for as long as we are able to within the renewable limits of the planet.  That means a lot of us living very simply (few comforts, basic low technology, simple tastes) in a steady-state (zero growth) economy, or a relatively small number of us leading basic but fairly comfortable lives in a truly long term sustainable (zero growth) way.  That is the best we can hope for.

Eventually of course, we will inevitably go the way of all species.  But life, in some form, will go on.

American Biscuit

I made American Biscuits today.  Lovely!  I won’t include a picture so that you will look at the recipe link below (if interested).

Lately I have been reading a lot of American post collapse or post apocalypse fiction.  It is easy and cheap to get hold of from Amazon as instant Kindle downloads.  I hate Kindle and I will explain sometime in another post what I do to make these into readable pdf files.

It is interesting to get into the American mind-set, or at least that part of the culture that comes under the general heading of ‘Preppers’, and I have picked up some useful tips and information from our cousins across the water.

One thing that I found universally mentioned in these books whenever home cooking comes up in the story, is ‘biscuits’.  They seem to have them for breakfast  to go with any sort of cooked food.  Not having a clue what they meant by biscuits, I looked up a recipe.  It  looked so very simple that I decided to try it out this morning.  A great success first time and they are very delicious.  An almost melt-in-the-mouth treat, straight from the oven with a little butter or jam.  They look like scones but are much, much lighter and more delicate.

Here is the recipe link:  http://www.joyofbaking.com/Biscuits.html

I will be making these again..

…Politely Trying Not To Scare The Public

Ever had the thought that:

  • You are not being adequately informed?
  • Someone is trying to pull the wool over your eyes?
  • You are being lulled into a false sense of security?
  • You are being fed outright lies?

If you are like me, you would already know that this is what television, the news media, the entertainment industry, the advertising industry, gimmicky new technology like smart phones and all government policy is all about.  Keeping you uninformed, misinformed, disinterested or distracted from reality.  ‘They’ don’t want you to think too deeply.  That would not be good for you, or ‘Them’.  You would become difficult to control.

Also, if you were like me, you would already have largely abandoned, cast aside, all of these things.  Not completely, because each has its limited uses in the right context.  You would already have become an independent researcher, a seeker of truth, a lateral thinker. Someone who does not take anything at face value, but considers each new piece of information thoughtfully and deeply within the context of all existing knowledge before accepting it as something useful, truthful and beneficial to yourself and others.

This is a general principle for living as an independent being.  The alternative is something akin to zombiism, to be an indistinguishable entity among that mass of sleep-walking un-thinkers that have often been referred to by others as ‘the sheeple’.  Those that willingly follow the common pattern laid down for them by others, because ‘isn’t that what everyone does?’.

So, what brought me to raise this particular point at this particular time today?   Well, this is the first cooler day in a record breaking number of consecutive days of excessive heat across the island continent of Australia.  Time to pause and consider the implications of this recent event before it recommences tomorrow and possibly for weeks to come.  The latest in a growing lexicon of such occurrences of extreme weather, across the globe, that tells us something is happening.  Something that seeks to inform us that perhaps we need to reconsider existing behavioural pathways.

Am I alone in thinking this?  No, of course not.  There are many such knowledgeable people, and it was a couple of quotes from one such person that lead me to pen this post.

Dr Elizabeth G (Liz) Hanna, a researcher at ANU, in the last few days has been quoted in a couple of articles on the subject.

‘‘We are well past the time of niceties, of avoiding the dire nature of what is unfolding, and politely trying not to scare the public.”–Liz Hanna

This is a quote from todays article titled “Burning ‘Deep Purple’: Australia So Hot New Colour Added to Index” on the Common Dreams blog.  You should read the article for yourself but, to summarise, the article centres around the recent necessity for the Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology to add further temperature gradients to the existing temperature index for its interactive weather forecasting chart to cater for the new record temperatures.  The Bureau also considered it expedient to issue a special bulletin (pdf) on the event.  The blog article also puts the heatwave in a global context by linking to an article on the subject yesterday in The Guardian.

“Those of us who spend our days trawling – and contributing to – the scientific literature on climate change are becoming increasingly gloomy about the future of human civilisation,’’ said Liz Hanna, convener of the human health division at the Australian National University’s Climate Change Adaptation Network.

This is a quote from an article in The Age on 9 Jan titled “Get used to record-breaking heat: bureau”.  So, people who know what is going on are getting a little worried about whether, not how, we are going to get through this period of change.  Puts everything into a little different perspective, don’t you think?

How about this for focussing that perspective a little further (my last quote of the day, I promise):

‘‘Clearly, the climate system is responding to the background warming trend. Everything that happens in the climate system now is taking place on a planet which is a degree hotter than it used to be.’’, David Jones, the Bureau of Meteorology’s manager of climate monitoring and prediction, said in The Age article.

Think about that for a while.  This is the sort of weather we can expect with growing frequency (alternated with other extreme events like flooding) at only the current one degree centigrade increase in ambient temperature.  What can we expect to experience when we very soon (like within the next decade) reach the 20C agreed by the world governments as the limit of ‘safe’ climate change that we must not allow to be exceeded but which we already know to be impossible to adhere to as a result of climate forcings already in the pipeline.  As a result of worldwide apathy and inaction, we further expect ambient temperature increases in the range of 40C to 60C before the end of this century, possibly around mid-century.  Is it any wonder that experts are getting worried?

In Conclusion:

I subscribe to the Dave Pollard blog ‘how to save the world’, a misnomer really since he admits that he has given up trying to do that, at least where ‘the world’ is defined as the current human global techno-industrial-military civilisation.  Here is his latest post called Several Short Sentences About Earth’s Distant Future.  I can see, more or less, a similar vision.  Of course one has to take into account that every intervening event/decision taken both globally/individually by every living person has some influence on future outcomes, so we can never accurately extrapolate what may eventualize.  We can however thoughfully apply what we currently know, based on previous experience, to project likely scenarios.  Dave’s vision appears to me to be a whole lot more likely to be a contender for realisation than many other possibilities.  I refuse to elaborate on this just now, so that I can get this post published while it is still fresh.

Apologies for the lack of visuals but there are lots of nice pics in the linked articles.