What’s left of Our World

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.

And in recent days, reports of astonishly high temperatures at both North and South Poles simultaneously, are ringing a lot of alarm bells as to where climate change is truly headed- and how quickly!

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 !

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Links

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/mar/20/heatwaves-at-both-of-earth-poles-alarm-climate-scientists

https://www.sfchronicle.com/opinion/openforum/article/My-first-job-was-slitting-the-throats-of-chickens-17017934.php

Gaia Strikes Back!

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…

Billion Dollar Deals to Destroy the Environment Just a Little Bit More

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’..

So 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?

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!

In return, we will be able to access cheap goods from the U.K. that we don’t really need, and that rely on exploiting third world countries for their resources; more polluting U. K. factories and encourage Britons to eat more unsustainable beef and mutton!

But that’s progress! Isn’t it?

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.

We know that, as they have repeatedly done before, almost all, if not every statement and commitment made at the COP26 Glasgow Climate Change conference 31st October to 12th November 2021, by politicians there will be outright lies and obfuscations-pretending to respond to the climate emergency while continuing to support big business and the media who keep them in power..

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.

To mitigate some of the impacts of climate change and biodiversity loss, we urgently need large areas of the planet to re-wild, to enable more trees to grow that don’t get cut down for profit, but that provide a long long term home for the remaining diversity of microbes, fungi insects, birds, reptiles, mammals and other species that we unknowingly rely on for our own survival; to ensure our fresh water resources are not used for profit but are fairly shared between the species we live alongside; and to build nature into our cities so that they are no longer concrete and tar cancers on the land.

It can be done- it must be done!

SIGN THE EMERGENCY APPEAL FOR CLIMATE ACTION!

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Links

https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/politics/uk-and-new-zealand-agree-to-1bn-free-trade-deal/LN6EYDF6NBPMY6X7EHJB7ZAVDU/#:~:text=New%20Zealand%20and%20the%20United%20Kingdom%20have%20agreed,the%20appropriate%20use%20of%20the%20haka%2C%20Ka%20Mate.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/oct/23/new-trade-deals-are-unfair-on-farmers-and-wont-help-emissions

https://www.leonard.vinci.com/en/the-technology-mirage-building-a-future-based-on-eco-sufficiency/

https://unfccc.int/process-and-meetings/conferences/glasgow-climate-change-conference

https://www.globalcitizen.org/en/content/what-is-cop15-biodiversity-summit-nature-cop26/

https://www.nature.com/collecti

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2021/11/01/over-700-groups-demand-real-climate-solutions-not-net-zero-promises?

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/nov/02/beware-gaia-theory-climate-crisis-earth