The fact that there were at least 36 private jets which flew participants into the COP27 conference, spewing huge amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere is one small demonstration of what these conferences are about- looking good and taking no action while our living planet dies.
While there were many indigenous peoples attending the COP27 who were able to voice their concerns about the current state of the earth and make suggestions for change, their voice had absolutely no weight in the final decisions made by the big power-brokers ( who depend on a CO2 producing economy to keep the electoral money rolling in).
Those indigenous groups talked not only about climate change, but more importantly, about the loss of biodiversity and our dis-connection with the rest of nature which industrialization and commodification has done to our beautiful living world in the last 200 years. Without our fellow living things on this planet ; we are done .
The idea that giving some money to a poor country to compensate for a now unsolvable problem of environmental destruction is frankly bizarre, and amply demonstrates that mental vacuity of those rich and powerful people.
No doubt the money will be useful and may help poorer countries mitigate the losses to their local ecosystems and help humans survive in their devastated environment a little longer, but in many cases that money will simply be spent on more ‘development’ and ‘progress’ and thus more environmental destruction.
And as we can already begin to see, many of the global ‘rich’ countries are already struggling to cope with the environmental ‘costs’ to their own economies, so their capacity to pay anybody else for their own stupidity is soon going to be substantially diminished.
Everywhere we see the powerful and the media portraying climate change as some little problem we can solve- at some stage- but lets get on with the business of despoiling the planet now -while there’s money to be made!
I see sublime examples of this on my local state television news channel, who in one news segment show how our magnificent government has made some new pledge to reduce carbon emissions and the next news segment extols the virtues of that same government encouraging tourists from half way round the world to travel to New Zealand.(and home again). Those enormous jet plane carbon emissions (about 5 tonnes of Co2 each way) will of course not be counted in New Zealand’s carbon emissions but to the tourist’s home country, so naturally everything is ok!
We will undoubtedly exceed 1.5C increases in global temperatures in the not so distant future , and will also certainly reach 3.5C increases if we do not dramatically reduce our consumption of energy globally. Green energy solutions; solar, wind and wave can make that transition a little easier, but they cannot ever replace the quantity of energy from oil gas and coal we continue to consume at ever increasing rates.
We all need to come to terms with consuming less and helping to recreate the natural world .
If we don’t, and very soon, Nature will decide for us in not so pleasant ways.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has it seems irrevocably pinned her flag to the mast of the ‘dark side’- the U.S. ‘rule based order’ ( not to be confused with the UN charter of human rights or anything silly like that, but with the right of the YS to do anything it damn well likes to any country and people it pleases. (bombing an allies’ gas pipeline is just one of so many examples)
Whil insisting there is only one truth in regard to world conflicts (no room for peace negotiations there!) she also insisted there could only be one view about climate change. As one who does not deny the reality of climate change, I find it astonishing that Ardern suggests we can legislate climate impacts away by saying we will not allow the world to increase global temperatures by 1.5C.
Either she is amazing badly informed by her science advisors about climate change, or she is simply posturing. The reality is that it is now inevitable that the world will experience much more than 1.5C warming. Governments across the world (including her own) have talked a lot about climate change impacts and what should be done- but have in fact done nothing more than pretend to their voters they are doing something. Co2 global production continues to increase, not decrease.
And in fact Ardern’s government has continued to push for more international tourism (which in New Zealand results in massive production of Co2 from the passenger jets winging their way around the world to the South Pacific from the Northern hemisphere), more extensive dairy and agribusiness farming which continues to destroy our environment in multiple ways and generally more ‘progress’ (which means more businesses which inevitably destroy more of the environment and induces more consumption of goods people don’t need.
Ardern and her Labour are like her National Party opposition and all the other New Zealand political parties, locked into requiring financial support from businesses- and ‘more business’ and ‘progress’ are simply euphemisms for making money from environmental destruction.
But, to return to the earlier argument about there being simple single truths about the Ukraine war; that a democratic Ukraine with ‘European’ values of tolerance and freedom is fighting against a relentless ruthless behemoth of Putin’s Russian Empire, we might put forward a counter ‘truth’. That Ukraine is in fact a brutal single party white supremacist state whose only reason for Western support is to defang the Russian bear so that Western corporations can once again (as in the Yeltsin years) begin to appropriate Russian assets at bargain prices.
As the Scrum notes: Incited by Western powers, Poland, Lithuania, and the Habsburg Empire, the key to Ukrainian nationalism was that it was Western, and thus superior. Since Ukrainians and Russians stem from the same population, pro-Western Ukrainian ultra-nationalism was built on imaginary myths of racial differences: Ukrainians were the true Western whatever-it-was, whereas Russians were mixed with “Mongols” and thus an inferior race. Banderist Ukrainian nationalists have openly called for elimination of Russians as such, as inferior beings.
These Ukrainian ultra-nationalists have also been enthusiastically supported by strong Nazi elements in the Baltic States, Germany, Poland and the Ukrainian post WW2 diaspora, particularly in Canada.
So, naturally, any compromise in the grand Western agenda, not to mention a reduction in the Western PR media effort to discredit Russia (and now China) in any way possible how ever implausible, is completely impossible- peace negotiations are not an option. Nuclear war with Russia is also being promoted in Western media as also an option, deliberately misrepresenting (as Scott Ritter-former UN weapons inspector notes)the Russian position on first use of nuclear weapons.
The ‘perhaps’ unintended consequence of this glorification of the ultra-nationalist agenda, along with the self-destruction of European economies causing poverty and anger and demonstrations on the street, is the resurrection of the white supremacist ultranationalist movements, like Zelensky’s, across Europe.
These far-right groups not only celebrate intolerance of minorities, but also any dissent of the view that the state is pre-eminent in all things, that the corporations should rule in tandem with government (as in the US), and that consequently any collective view of humanity outside of the state apparatus is a threat to be stamped out.
However the far-right’s biggest threat to humanity is their denial of the climate change disaster. How can the state become strong in their view, without industrial ‘progress’ and a strong war-machine?
We can already see that view reflected in those European ‘moderate’ parties who currently control the EU. They’ll talk about mitigating climate change and green energy and all those cute things, as long as it doesn’t impact on the economy and the money that rolls into party coffers from the corporations-‘fire up the coal boilers for electricity again ‘cos we need to destroy Russia first!’
We are, after all, talking about Jacinda Ardern’s favourite ‘international rule-based order’ here!
Let’s get our priorities straight with the one true Truth!
All wars are, without doubt, pointless, tragic and foolish affairs that also play a significant part in destroying the remainder of our natural environment and a future for our children.
Western media are continuously playing a looped recording that Ukraine and its president Zelensky are defending the ‘free world’ – democratic ‘white” nations- against the evil Russian hordes. What is most interesting is that the language used in this messaging is consistent right across the Western media, regardless of the country you live in .
That the Kiev armies are undoubtedly shelling the former Ukrainian nuclear power plant near Zaporizhzhia: presumably to create more support for more weapons from the ‘white’ world.
That the Kiev government and its Western government supporters have been deliberately shelling civilian areas of the Donbass held by Russian speaking Ukrainians since 2014 , with over 14,000 deaths from shelling, and more recently with illegal ‘butterfly’ or ‘petal’ anti-personnel mines.
In the last few days we have also heard about the killing of the daughter of the ‘ultra-nationalist” Alexander Dugin. Dugin is, in my opinion, an obnoxious idealogue who has for many years promoted a Russia first meme. However nobody deserves to die because of their beliefs, (let alone their children) – be they Russian, Ukrainian or any other nationality.
What is however scary, is the identical use of language by Western media in describing Dugin as an ‘ultra-nationalist” – what exactly an ‘ultra-nationalist’ is, as opposed to simply being a ‘nationalist’, is somewhat unclear- but one is left with the clear understanding that only Russians can be ‘ultranationalists’ (or for that matter ‘oligarchs’) and never of course those Americans who have the ludicrous belief in the United States as the ‘exceptional nation’ who wanders the world doing good deeds for the benefit of those of us who are less enlightened.
Patriotism is one of the scourges of humanity; an absurd belief in the superiority of the culture and land to which you were accidentally born into. A scourge that blights and distorts the mind into believing that any action ; however intrinsically evil it is, is good as long as it benefits the country you were born in.
We see that evil in the blue and gold banners that enswathes everything in Ukraine, the United State’s ‘Stars and Stripes’, and the blue white and red flag of Russia, to name but three.
So now, as Westerners, we are told to hate all Russians, all Chinese, because they are a threat to our expensive lifestyles….And as true patriots, we should consume more, build more and destroy more , because we are the epitome of ‘civilisation’.
And all the while, we move ever faster into a new world where the climate is already more unpredictable and dangerous, where global warming and sea-levels continue to rise and rise for the next hundred, maybe thousand years, and where we ever more rapidly, destroy what is left of our living world.
And why?- because their media profit margins and their sponsors depend on more economic ‘growth’.
So it becomes clear that the only path to ‘de-growth’, and retaining some semblance of a live-able world for humans and other species, is one where Gaia herself creates that economic destruction.
When hurricanes, huge storms, enormous amounts of rainfall, oppressive high temperatures and sea level rise ( among many other ‘natural’ impacts), result in it being impossible to buy insurance for industry to sell your products or to have a market where people can no longer afford to buy your useless junk; only then will we start to see a return to a sustainable (but hotter) world where all species can live in harmony, and even some contentment!
Media have indoctrinated us all to believe that we need to consume more, do more, travel more – that we cannot live lives of contentment without all those things we need to buy and consume..
As two of the world’s ‘superpowers’ fight it out in Ukraine for the spoils of war, the world descends into a dystopian whirlpool of economic stagflation and environmental catastrophe.
While the Western propaganda war of obvious lies to its populations about the war in Ukraine is deeply disturbing, what is far far worse is the psychotic behaviour of all the world’s political classes in talking about the need to address climate change while doing the exact opposite- promoting ‘growth’, trying to revitalise tourist air travel, more production of goods, more industry..
The evidence is unequivocal; only a reduction and stabilization of human ‘growth’ will allow species on this planet to barely cope with the ongoing and now inevitable climate and ecocide we are experiencing. Promoting more growth is simply going to push us all faster off the cliff to a far deeper environmental catastrophe.
Sadly the Ukraine war has given us ample evidence of the concerted activity of Western media to consistently lie to its populations. The refusal to acknowledge the war of terror by the Kiev government on its Donbas population for 8 years since 2014 ( with 14,000 deaths), the refusal to acknowledge the existence of the well documented neo-nazi military groups working to eliminate Ukrainian Russian speakers (even while promoting videos made by them), or even the refusal to acknowledge that much of the fighting against Western Ukrainians is being carried out by Russian speaking Ukrainians from the Donbas against Western Ukrainians and the neonazis, are all examples of the subterfuge Western governments are required to commit to ensure a compliant population supports their war against Russia, while ignoring the horrors of Palestine’s slow genocide by Israel or the rapid genocide in Yemen by the Saudis, both enthusiastically supported by the U.S. and U.K.
My ‘favourite’ so far from New Zealand state tv , TVNZ, is their recent video clip of an interview with an elderly man in Donetsk (a Donbass city held by Russian speaking Ukrainians and constantly bombarded by Kiev’s troops since 2014) after shelling of his apartment building by the Western Ukrainians, while the commentator pretends the damage has been caused by Russian shelling.
When media have no compunction to consistently lie to get their ‘message’ across, one knows we have no hope of the media presenting an honest case about the desperate need for genuine action about climate change. We are instead presented with occasional short media articles about climate change, followed by a psychotic switch to the main propaganda barrage of ‘produce more, work more, buy more, sell more, fly more’. Greenwashing is now the ‘in thing’. Half-truths and pure lies infest our mainstream media.
Perhaps the one saving grace of our incompetent leaders is that they are, through their own incompetence, leading the world into a severe economic depression, which, together with the impacts of climate change, will inevitably reduce consumption and consequently allow some restoration of our natural world.
Sadly however that economic depression will lead to much suffering and many deaths. A planned and systematic approach to de-growth would have been a far more humane response.
Unfortunately , politicians’ and bureaucrats’ responses to the various crises enveloping the world is either to make war, or ‘grow’ economies more.
While Russia and the United States fight it out by proxy in Ukraine for the spoils of war, or the 70+ year old war against Palestine and the war in Yemen to name just a few, the world continues, at an ever faster rate, to descend into climate and natural disintegration.
This is not to denigrate the appalling suffering and damage to the living world that wars bring- or to deny that there are evil people in the world (but not always the people that you consider are evil )
However, the recent IPPC 6th report of 2022 clearly articulates that the world is now in a perilous state. Climate change is now and will increasingly devastatingly impact on human’s lives and the other living things on this planet.
‘The cumulative scientific evidence is unequivocal: Climate change is a threat to human well-being and planetary health. Any further delay in concerted anticipatory global action on adaptation and mitigation will miss a brief and rapidly closing window of opportunity to secure a liveable and sustainable future for all.‘
Despite all the hype and speeches from ‘important global people’ at the COP26 climate change conference in Edinburgh in 2021 , the rate of global CO2 emissions continues to increase, not decrease. The natural world of indigenous forest is increasingly rapidly being hacked to oblivion for quick bucks for agribusiness, and along with it’s demise- all the species that depend on that living world.
The use of chemical pesticides and herbicides (poisons) that eliminate the insects and birds that provide life for the rest of us on our planet, is not being reduced. Even our supermarkets and hardware stores continue to be lined with rows of poisons to ‘tame nature’.
It is abundantly clear that politicians around the world have absolutely no intent to eliminate the ongoing destruction of our planet, let alone begin to restore it to a sustainable living world.
The current bizarre and mythical obsession with “growth” and “progress” constantly spewed out by planners, politicians and the media provides humanity with a completely flawed sense that we are ‘going somewhere’, ever upwards! We are in reality not going anywhere (unless to oblivion if we continue our current tack); we simply exist as safely and comfortably as we can for as long we can, as part of our living planet-nothing more-or less. Psychotic illusions of human ‘progress’ will damn us all to oblivion.
We need to take both individual and collective action to save our planet from human greed and undeniable human stupidity.
The destructive changes human activity has wrought on this world in the past 40 years; let alone from the start of the Industrial Revolution and earlier, are horrendous in magnitude and depravity. And, as ‘State of the Planet’ notes, those changes are not just temporary blips in our march towards ‘progress’ . Many of those devastating environmental changes will be with the planet (and maybe humans ) for thousands if not tens of thousands of years from now.
We can and must therefore do what we can to stop the continued and accelerating destruction of our living world, and begin to reverse that damage through dramatic reductions in consumerism, through tree planting and through simply acknowledging that we as humans are interconnected with the rest of this living world we inhabit.
Every human child needs to be taught now and forever, to respect and cherish every other living thing on this planet– not just their human neighbours; to learn that they don’t need to consume the ‘stuff’ that’s ‘pushed’ at them by media, and to consider what each and every one of their actions will have on the living things around them.
A study by the University of Bath last year found that climate change is causing severe mental health concerns among people aged 16–25 years. It found that nearly 60% were “extremely worried” about climate change and that the concerns were exacerbated by governments’ lack of action.
We no longer, and never again, will have the option of disregarding the rest of our natural world- there are now simply too many of this human species on this small planet to pretend that each one of our actions do not matter !
The invasion of Ukraine by the Russian Federation and the subsequent explosion of sanctions on Russian oil and natural gas, wheat and other products by Western nations, is likely to result in a substantial long-term economic downturn in both the West and Russia because of rapidly escalating oil, natural gas and nickel and paladium prices, consequent substantial increases in global transport costs, supply chain disruptions and inflation.
Food costs will also rise from shortages of chemical fertilizers, increased wheat prices and transport costs for many in the West and the third world , and this will have the most impact on those who are already struggling.
The only upside from all this chaos is that consumption in the West is likely to substantially diminish in the short to medium to…… Given that, per head of population, the West is by far the biggest producer of CO2 and the cause of much of the deforestation, species loss and environmental destruction in non Western countries, Gaia will be smiling.
Along with the impacts on consumption because of COVID- (less air travel, less conspicuous consumption because of lockdowns etc), we are likely to see a significant reduction in the production of CO2 into the atmosphere with a higher proportion of renewable energy sources, and a higher proportion of more organic fertlizers .
Of course the actual measurable processes and outcomes are much more complex than the above simplistic outline. Just two examples ; possibly coal production will increase significantly in Europe to cope with the reductions of access to natural gas and oil resulting in, at best, a status quo level of CO2 production, and/or commodity prices in the West increase to such an extent that revolutions on the street occur, and result in even more violent and extremist governments than we already have…
One of the biggest likely impacts will be on the confidence of European and U.S. populations that this current way of life of excessive consumption is both realistic, sustainable or even possible.
Combine that with the predicted but certain dire impacts on climate and global livability by the recent IPCC report on climate change, and we have an existential crisis of confidence in the Western way of ‘life’- ( or should that be ‘way of consumption’?)
Of course the other option for Gaia is nuclear war- not an impossibility given Vladimir Putin’s insistence that there can be no world without Russia, and Washington’s neoliberal and media blood-lusting for ‘no flight zones’ over Ukraine and their wish for dismemberment of Russia. Human beings have some significant cognitive problems with resolving conflict issues in reasonable ways.
Gaia may well be calculating that human beings were an unfortunate and highly destructive anomaly, and we need to start from scratch again…
when our New Zealand government announces its fully supportive of measures to reduce climate change impact and reduce biodiversity loss (except not quite right now), and then announces a one billion dollar free trade deal with the United Kingdom, we sense there is a little mismatch!-or perhaps, dare we say it? -even a little smattering of psychosis?
The ‘environment’ is everything on this planet; its not some separate piece of work or concept that we can occasionally pull out and look at and say, ‘well we achieved this climate or biodiversity goal, now we can get back to the real work of human progress’..
That billion dollar deal will result in more dairy production in New Zealand (more polluted and depleted water sources, more natural environment destroyed for more dairy farmland, and more processing infrastructure like roads and factories), more vineyards using prodigious amounts of poisons to keep nature at bay from their precious grapes, and more sheep and cows being brutally killed in our slaughterhouses. And that’s just the start!
When are we going to see governments across the world really accept that every bit of ‘progress’ they encourage in connivance with their business allies, is destroying the planet?
A steady state economy in every country around the world is literally not going to be the end of the world – (but more ‘progress’ will be). The desperate, futile and farcical arguments that we can somehow escape global climate change and loss of diversity with more technology, is simply fiction. Every new piece of ‘alternate’ industrial production, whether it be lithium batteries, hydrogen production or carbon capture is simply sleight of hand- robbing the environment to pay for more ‘progress’.
We need to start consuming less- a lot less: Eat more local food, grow our own where we can, repair broken items, buy second hand when we need something different, stop the fiction of a housing crisis in the Western world and ensure housing bought by speculators (because of low bank rates) is occupied affordably stopping the unnecessary building of houses over land and nature, get rid of the expectation that we need that overseas holiday, or that we need to kill other species for fun and relaxation…lower our expectations that we ‘need’ this or that, and more of it- we don’t.
As the climate rapidly evolves globally into some new unknowable and unpredictable chaotic pattern, we will see more drought, more floods, more storms, more climate extremes of every kind- becoming more and more intense as we rapidly, and seemingly inevitably, head towards a 3C warmer world.
In consequence, large scale human activity; industrial farming, mining and goods production is becoming more at risk- supply chain problems are escalating, production costs are rising, transport costs are ballooning, and insurance premiums will go through the roof to cover that increasing wild unpredictability. We will have to move towards smaller and more localised production; we will not have a choice.
Curiously, the equally important U.N Conference on biodiversity this October 2021 in China, received almost no media attention. Yet retaining as much as we can of the remaining species now left on this planet, is vital to humans and every other species’ survival- just as much, if not more so, than climate change. The difference of course is that species loss doesn’t, apparently for now at least, impact on human economies, so its not worthy of the same attention. However, almost every aspect of human ‘progress’ requires the depletion of natural environments for other species and species’ death. The level of destruction of sentient organisms in the world via human ‘progress’ is phenomenal, and has already potentially reached a tipping point of no return for the remaining species- including humans.