Monday, March 23, 2009

~ boots on throats

There have been some disturbing things appearing in the news lately. [And when are there not. I ask?]

We are being informed repeatedly that once the new carbon trading regime is instigated, individuals’ efforts to reduce their emissions will only serve to take the boot off the throats of the big emitters – because the nation’s reductions will be calculated as a whole. Check today’s Age, if you want an example.

What a cynical, disingenuous tack to be taking. For a start, Prime Minister Rudd has stated that households will be excluded from the calculations – so the whole idea, probably generated by his political opposition, is likely to be a piece of very unhelpful and meaningless political manoeuvring.

But forget the minutiae. Now is hardly the time to be reading in the newspaper that individual efforts are futile. My God! It’s the very last, last thing people ought be told. I hate trotting out clichés, but there is a whole lot of truth in the maxim: ‘think globally, act locally’.

We, the people, the mass of civilisation, composed entirely of – yes - individuals, are the producers of one hundred per cent of the country’s anthropogenic air pollution. The big emitters are big emitters because an agglomeration of individuals employs their services. If those individuals bought green electricity, hydrogen fuel cell cars and stopped eating beef etc, then those big emitters – if they still existed – would no longer be big emitters, would they?

There is no ‘big emitter’ in this world, [bar volcanoes and bushfires], which does not depend on the choices of individuals for its existence. So, please, you purblind, suicidal nutcases out there, stop getting in the way of people’s efforts to save our civilisation!

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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

~ a clear path through the maelstrom

Hello, once more, again, after so long.

There have been all kinds of reasons why I’ve been silent, but probably most importantly I’ve been rethinking what this blog is about. I’ve learnt the hard way that more delicacy is required when discussing personal matters, so for better or worse, I’m going to steer away from them. I have a tendency to say imprudent things at inappropriate times, and it appears that I’ve carried it along with me into this medium … in spades …

That aside, I’m going to keep my posts shorter this time around. That way the blog won’t weigh too heavily on my other writing responsibilities. Single topic. Not too much digression.

My novel is going well by the way. I’m just about adhering to my page a day regimen. And I’m immersed. Living half my life here, half in the strange world of Nonesuch.


Some worrisome attitudes have been revealed in our reactions to the apocalyptic Victorian bushfires. In the aftermath, with some celerity, and true to human nature, people sought someone or something to blame. Arsonists, naturally, were the first to come into their sights. Those arrested were afforded special protective measures.

A clear second were the ‘environmentalists’ in local councils who prevented landowners from clearing native vegetation in proximity to their dwellings. I read of the outrage of one person who was not allowed to cut back grasses along the front of his property. Another, who had had been fined tens of thousands of dollars for illegally felling hundred of trees on his land, claimed to the media that he was vindicated and should be returned the money. One more suggested that, as a future rule, vegetation be cut back to however many metres from all public roads. [Recall that many roadside easements provide a refuge and throughway for native flora and fauna].

As victims, they could speak from a high moral ground. Suddenly, they no longer felt constrained by political correctness and, in emotional extremis, brought their bugbears to light. But these opinions are no less thoughtless or misguided because their owners have suffered. Demands such as these, coming from devastated people, ought never be appeased at the expense of a correct response. I sincerely hope that terrible decisions are not made in response to these people’s terrible sufferings.

To paraphrase The Age, climate change did not cause the bushfires, however it did make them more likely to happen, and to be more severe. As part of our response to climate change, the environmental lobby seeks to minimise our destructive effect on the environment. We must learn to live peacefully and equitably with the natural world, as we depend on it and are naturally a part of it.

If we are to house ourselves beyond the cities, in the midst of nature, as did the people of Flowerdale or King Lake, then rather than gouge out a sterile safe zone, we should seek to have as little impact as possible. What is the point of living amongst that beauty if your presence is a defacement? Rather than alter or destroy the flora and fauna in order to shield ourselves against a natural process such as fire – we should be building structures that are either fireproof or disposable, and making sensible plans for our own safety.

Idealistic, I suppose, but the truth as I see it. No human action could have prevented or caused the holocaust that day, fed by extreme winds, unreasonable heat and a bone dry land. Lessons are sure to be learned in time, but no credence should be given uninformed opinions or short-sighted prejudices. The environmentalists are not putting trees above people – in working to preserve the ecology which sustains us, they are working to preserve the future, the common good.

It is wrong to lay blame at their feet.

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