Hitting the road tomorrow at first light come hell or high water. Will be heading south from Sydney down to Kosciusko National Park. From there am not sure beyond that on this trip I’ll stay within New South Wales, will be doing some landscape photography, and of interest to me are environmentally-sensitive areas. As I previously said, I’ll activate a ‘gallery’ and ‘contact’ page, and will endeavour to upload some vids to YouTube. Maybe, if I can be bothered, whatever.
Went into the city and at 12.00 hours arrived where maybe 20 people were gathered for a climate demo. The population of Sydney is just over 5 million. Not that long ago a ‘school strike for climate’ event managed 80 thousand adults and young people, two years ago and after the bushfires, there were 20 thousand, and now…
Anyways – made a decision ‘in seven breaths’, the weather is clear, and no reason to loiter around practising the way of aloneness. Getting the bicycle ready for another long ride in the outback.
Was having an email exchange with a man who was friends with a guy I knew in my youth. In his last email he commented that he didn’t believe humans beings could change the weather. It’s a common confusion.
For sure if a tornado is barrelling towards where you live, the only sensible thing to do is chuck the kids in the (electric) car, and run. There is no way to stop it from sending the garden gnomes flying into the stratosphere. That’s a weather event, it’s not climate.
Climate is what we can expect the weather to be at a given time, in a given location. And climate is something humans can affect, and therefore change, by our activities. Simply put, to exist life on this planet needs temperature to remain within a tight bracket. How this is achieved is that when one side of the Earth is facing the Sun and warming up, the opposite side is radiating excess heat back out to space. Were this all that happens, the Earth would be too cold for life such as humans and other complex beings. The fix? The heat being radiated back out to space is in the infrared wavelength, which carbon dioxide (CO2) traps and retains. CO2 works like a blanket and at the correct level in the atmospheric mix, retains just enough heat to make life possible. That level oscillated but was never in the past 700 thousand years higher that 285 parts per million (ppm) – it’s a powerful gas blanket.
Since we started burning coal and other fossil fuels, we have raised that level so far to 415 ppm, causing the planet’’s average temperature to rise by 1.1 degree Celsius, changing the climate and causing weather events such as a third of Pakistan going under water, and a now irreversible melting of the planet’s ice.
That melting is a concern beyond the resulting floods and sea level rise. You’re at home, the ambient temperature is a bit on the high side, and so you get yourself a big glass of water and chuck in a few ice blocks. Very quickly the water’s temperature decreases towards that of the ice, but that causes the ice to melt because what is happening is that the ice is drawing energy out of the water, which forces its molecules further apart, resulting in solid water turning into liquid water. It takes 334 Joules of energy to melt a gram of ice at zero degree Celsius. Between 1994 and 2017 the planet lost 28 trillion tonnes of ice. The current rate of yearly ice loss is 1.2 trillion tonnes and accelerating. I’ll let you do the maths as to how much heat energy is being absorbed by that process, and which otherwise would be pushing up global temperatures.
Here’s the scary thing. If that 334 Joules of heat energy continues to be applied to the now liquid gram of water at zero degree, the temperature of that gram of water will rise to over 70 degrees Celsius.
I think all that is just high-school physics.
Was listening this morning to a Dutch kid singing Handel’s “Ombra mai fu”, beautiful voice, beautiful musicianship for a dude of his age, there is divinity in humanity, in all that lives, it’s magic, and we have a duty to ensure its story does not end in suffering and ultimately, in extinction. Below – Dutch boy singing.
Damn it – the weather forecasts were wrong! Rather than rain near every other day, what we have is primarily beautiful bicycle riding weather, not too hot, and often with a cool breeze. Spewing.
Anyways – OM SO HUM
A lot of talk recently about climate action, how bad things actually are, and strategies used by some activists. A recent road-blocking action in Berlin, resulted in a death; a woman trapped under a concrete truck died when the fire services rushing to the scene with specialist equipment got stuck at a road block, and didn’t make it in time. I think many such activists would do well to read Che Guevara’s book, and take note of what he said the revolutionary should not do, including upsetting the lives of the average citizen. I disagree with the penalties for road-blocking that can be imposed here in New South Wales, and question the effectiveness of such strategies, believing myself that, and as David Attenborough said, the battlefield is in communications.
I’ll be at the next climate demo in Sydney, and we will walk around the city making a lot of noise, but that will be an authorised demo, we will remain behind a police car, and police will see us through intersections with a minimum of disruption to traffic. The police actually assist in making the right to protest possible, and demonstrators need to be aware that many police were they not on duty, might even join in the action. Walking to an action years ago and wearing an XR t-shirt, I passed a group of police walking in the opposite direction and as we passed a young officer discreetly gave me the thumbs up. He could well have been a young Dad as concerned as I am about our children’s future.
The climate movement needs to focus on what is in our common interest as human beings, and therefore no special-interest group, or political party, can be allowed to claim ownership of the movement, and use it as a Trojan horse for their often highly divisive agendas. They may as well be on the fossil-fuel industry’s payroll.
It’s serious and even the young-optimists, as they are called by the marketing people, are waking up to the fact that when ‘old white men’ point to the enormity of the task, doubting whether humanity is even capable of addressing it, their view is not ‘doomist’ but rather a rational assessment based on often a long experience of how humans function. Again, the main obstacle I, and men of my generation, would identify is division. ‘Old white men’ need to get off the golf course and assist our juniors, who might not admit it, but do need us. Walking through the city a few years ago, I came upon a climate action organised by socialist university students, I didn’t think it worth stopping but just as I was about to exit the area, a young woman held out a pamphlet, I took it, and we chatted for a few minutes. What I came away with was the level of fear and desperation of that young woman, the way she listened to what I had to say making me realise that Gramps’ do have a high level of authority, and a crowd of us standing shoulder to shoulder with the young ‘persons’, would have the climate-denying politicians shitting themselves.
This morning I found yet another scientific paper pointing to impending climate catastrophe. This time it is about the recent discovery of a large river under the Antarctic ice sheet, with a prediction that if that section of Antarctica melts, it would raise sea levels by 4.3 metres.
I know many would say that’s not going to happen overnight, I can’t do anything about it, and so, yeah, a concern, but who gives a fuck? ‘Future generations’ will have technology to deal with the problem.
A few things with that attitude and starting with the fact technology indeed advanced at an unbelievable rate, there is no guarantee it will continue; if a peasant in the Dark Ages dug up a piece of Roman glass, he would have thought it evidence of sorcery.
The other thing is that the attitude is grounded in the meaning-of-life view that life is about achieving personal happiness, which explains why so many today claim to be atheists, and if anything, ‘spiritual’. It’s in truth just trying to organise belief systems to fit the self-focused agenda, and it could be said, many ultra-religious fall into that trap as well; that they have ownership of God, that they are more special to God than anyone else, and their way is the only way to paradise. The case could be made that the far-left is actually a religion, because if a social and political system only, it would not take such a strong stance on the existence of God. If God does not exist, then you would not make policy His non-existence. God couldn’t give a rat’s arse anyway whether you ‘believe’ or not. All is of God, and returns to God.
We, and all other life on this planet, are facing a threat to our very existence, and if we approach this problem from a good versus evil perspective, and if a simple way to differentiate between ‘good’ and ‘evil’ is that ‘good’ creates, and ‘evil’ destroys, then the destruction of the planet’s life support system, can only be the work of evil. But evil is not limited to what most, including the religious, believe it to be. Let me call it ‘Satan’ from here on.
The image that springs to most peoples’ mind at the mention of Satan, is most likely a pubescent girl doing the unspeakable with a crucifix, spewing all over the place, whilst her head does a one-eighty; ‘The Exorcist’ version of how Satan works.
Or they might point to the Nazi concentration camps, which is correct, but how did they come into existence? For sure the Nazis didn’t, and from the beginning of their rise to power, make the planned murder of millions and triggering of World War Two, stated policy. They would never have been elected. Rather, it was a build up of justification over time, and presenting what is evil as a higher good, and that’s how Satan works, he presents as a righteous God.
The world today is fractured, and increasingly. It is the worst possible situation when we should be coming together in finding and implementing solutions to the climate problem. If and as I said, good creates and evil destroys, then these increasing divisions are Satanic and a strategy to maximise the chances of inaction on climate resulting in our self-destruction. In a recent BBC interview, UN chief Antonio Guteress also called out division as working against humanity’s future pointing to the fracturing of East-West, and North-South relations. Not being a politician nor diplomat, I can add fracturing within democracies powered by identity politics, racial and religious divisions, arguments over ownership of the means of production, and whether the science of climate change is an anti-capitalist hippy conspiracy? All groups would feel they are correct and have a duty to push their apple cart, but taking a step back, and in the context of what humanity faces, what does all this do? It’s divide and conquer, because ‘united we cannot be defeated’, even by Satan himself, and this is a good versus evil fight for our survival.