Moving On

Posted on 17th February, 2011 by Meira

Well that worked. Facebook spread the word and a Stubborn old man was forced to move on. Good for him, and good for young Zuckerberg, and good for the couple of million Egyptians who took to the streets despite their nation’s long history of brutality. Could it be that we are making progress? Could it be that other despots will be forced to move on. We quoted Victor Hugo just recently but it is worth mentioning again that: “One resists the invasion of armies; one does not resist the invasion of ideas.”

While on the subject of armies it is also worth reminding ourselves that the Pentagon is greening its war machines in order to reduce its dependence on fuel supplies. If the military can do it, we, as individuals, can do it. We don’t have the supply difficulty of the mighty warriors, but we do have our awareness: our constant reminder that every time we hit the road, or the airport, we are contributing to the pollution problem and warming up the planet. That has not been enough to stimulate the majority so far, but it will. It will when the proletariat overrun the kings, sheiks, and dictators who control the lion’s share of the oil supplies. When the Americans, Europeans, Chinese, and Indians are all waiting at the pumps for their weekly 5 litre ration, there will be enough stimulus to motivate us to use the sunshine to charge our batteries, and to fill our hydrogen tanks. When the newly freed citizens of Saudia, Jordan, Yemen  . . . are screaming at each other across the brand new, parliamentary, aisle dividing their secular from their various religious faction, we shall have our stimulus. When the oil is stuck in the terminals, or in the ground, because these infant democracies have yet to grow into functioning administrations, we shall have our stimulus.

Until then the oil dependent nations will continue to show whichever face creates the least pain for its electorate as they tiptoe through minefields that might exist only in perception.

Until that time we have to wait while democracy takes its ponderous, winding, course. The day will come though, when the demands of industry, and the profit margins of the financial institutions, have each received their due and finally yield to the fact that compared to the energy stored thermally in the Earth, in the Sun, and is sitting topically in the oceans, subterranean coal and oil stores are but crude thimbles that can never match our growing needs.

Budget cuts are gnawing away at Obama’s grand renewable energy plans, and will likely succeed, so let us hope that the new world leaders, the folks in charge of the massive engines of China and India, can spare a dime to save the rest of us. Let us hope the greed running, hot foot, behind the struggle for life itself in those long poor nations, can be held in check while their leaders come to see what Western leaders cannot. Let us hope the Chinese in Africa can harness the sunlight there. Let us hope the Indian government can overcome their people’s religious sentiments and can gear up regional hydro, geothermal, and solar energy stations throughout the rich land that is India.

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Posted on 2nd February, 2011 by Meira

If you asked resident Australians a month ago if they believed we were undergoing climate change it would be no surprise to hear some say no. Not the majority you understand: just a few, stubborn, souls who still, in the face of the evidence of melting ice sheets, softening permafrost, rising sea levels . . .  deny what is rapidly becoming fact.

If you asked those same citizens today, as Cyclone Yasi roars into the Queensland Coast where the flooding rivers are still wreaking havoc, you would not be confronted the stubborn in denial. Any that deny the existence of climate change in the face of the devastation that is Queensland’s, is not stubborn; such a person is deranged, and therefore in need of care.

Heard just last weekend, on a popular political TV show, was the denial of evolution as a phenomenon because he, the deneier, a panelist on the show, could not be of the same origins as monkeys because god had put him on this planet. When challenged, by another panelist, to explain how germs become resistant to antibiotics if evolution were not present, he replied that germs adapt to resist the effects of the drug. His answer raised such a furor as to block out any sensible analysis of the use of adapt, and evolve, or if his, the one true, god cared for germs.

No amount of logical argument, or presenting of contrary facts, will ever shift such a person’s view because it’s just too inconvenient to change. Christenings, weddings, funerals, and Sunday service would all have to be re-examined if he were to entertain doubts of his god. A daunting task for him, and his family, so perhaps he is neither stubborn, or deranged; perhaps he is just lazy.

Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak has, without doubt, been stubborn. The word stems from stub, as in the remains of something longer, and implies hard to remove. To quote the Oxford English Dictionary in regard to persons or animals: Pertinacious or dogged in refusing obedience or compliance; unyielding, inflexible, obstinate: chiefly in bad sense, unreasonably obstinate. In early use, apparently, sometimes with stronger notion – untameable, implacable, ruthless, fierce. Certainly Mubarak has demonstrated all those traits over the last thirty years.

Faced with the undeniable evidence of two million demonstrators that his rule is at an end, he would have to be deranged to try to continue in office: Yet he does. He makes promises of change to a people who have changed. He is talking now to a young population. He is talking to a less tolerant, no longer imbued with the their forefather’s fears, population. Like Mugable in Zimbabwe, and Gbagbo in Cote d’lvoire, it is long past time for this old man to retire to a place of care where he can adjust to reality.

The citizens of Australia have no choice but to adapt to the situation in which they find themselves. Many will cling to their belief in an all seeing god who moves in mysterious ways. Others will endorse the scientist’s view of the climate. All will adapt to their new situation and in so doing evolve into a nation stronger, and wiser, for the experience.

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Fumbling Through

Posted on 30th December, 2010 by Meira

Mater Artium Necessitas, or, more recently, Necessity is the Mother of Invention, well you’d have thought . . . but, can you believe, pollution, global warming, and the threat of rising seas that will flood our subways and drown our cattle are not of sufficient necessity to change the way we use energy? Well yes, you can believe it because you know from my stories that the federation of Fossil Fuel Suppliers, FFFS, or Big Oil and Coal, as they are know in the US, pay Congress handsomely for dragging their feet over sustainable energy issues.

You have to wonder why because as long ago as 1852 Victor Hugo pointed out that invading armies can be stopped, but ideas are unstoppable. That statement that has certainly stood the test of time so why on earth do modern industrialist think they can change such inbred human traits? Once again Ignorance rears its ugly head.

Happily the Pentagon are not so imbued with ignorance as to make such futile attempts to halt progress and are, by necessity, driven to green the fighting machine in order to become less dependent on the supply lines running through hostile territory. Brilliant. Why had they not thought that way before? When gas guzzling, turbine powered, M1 Abrams tanks speeding across the Iraqi deserts had to keep stopping to refuel, it seemed not to dawn on the Army that more fuel efficient fighting machines might achieve their objectives more quickly. In fairness to their limited abilities supply routes were easily maintained there, although strong rumours abound that the Republican Guard might not have escaped if Army VII Corps had not been lolling around waiting for fuel tankers during Desert Storm. Ho, hum, still not enough necessity . . .

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