Why bother with the arm waving?

5 01 2015

Today, I am reminded by ABC News, is the fortieth anniversary of the Tasman Bridge disaster in Tasmania.  I remember it well, because I had already been to Tassie all those years ago, I had driven over that bridge, and a friend of mine who was also a photographer, at the time working for a major Australian paper, was sent down to Hobart to cover the unfolding drama….. I also think that deep down I already knew that one day I would live on this glorious island…. I was in love with it!


The Tasman Bridge was struck by the bulk ore carrier Lake Illawarra in the late evening, killing 12 people.  Notwithstanding the obviously tragic outcomes, for me the one titbit that stands out is that the drivers and occupiers of those two cars dangling over the edge managed to get out, and tried to wave people driving up towards the chasm to stop……  only to see them go around and drive over the edge…..

For me, the analogy of this story with what is happening globally is just too glaring.  I feel like the guy waving his arms in the headlights of the idiots who ignore me as they drive off the cliff.

It’s a weird thing being an arm waver…. it often feels like a total waste of time.  People ignore warnings all the time.  They text while driving even though it is now proven to be extremely dangerous, some still smoke, some still drink way too much, while the majority of us continue ignoring all the signs of the perfect climate and economic storm.

That’s all from me today.  Just feeling a little philosophical on this historic occasion….




17 responses

5 01 2015

I’ve given up arm waving. You can’t help those that don’t want help and as things slide even further, they’ll most likely be the ones that suffer first. Natural selection at work!

5 01 2015
Chris Harries

The guy who ignored the arm waver on the bridge and who subsequently went plunging into the Derwent from a great height had been a student at my high school. He was the sort of loud mouthed bloke who would have given the arm waver a two fingered salute and probably shouted something at him through the window. I though at the time (without any malice) it was a fitting end for him, if there is such a thing as a fitting death. And this may also be true too of the many folk who ignore us arm wavers, who are saying “slow down the system is broken!”

17 01 2015

Interesting Chris. Small world.
Hopefully, he hadn’t already disseminated his genes before he left us…..

5 01 2015

Keep waving, everyone please keep waving! If enough of us keep waving someone with real influence might take notice.

5 01 2015

Some years ago I tried to warn my family of what was on the horizon & even sent them a copy of the dvd “What a Way to Go” thinking most people would get what was going on but I was met by a stony silence.
I heard that my brother in law even asked my sister if “I was still into that oil stuff” She told him she thought so & he said “It’s good he doesn’t force it down other peoples throats” as if I was preaching about Jesus………………..They grow hydrangeas in NZ for export so it will be interesting to see if in 2015 the chooks come home to roost on their arrogance & apathy……………………

5 01 2015

I tried to arm wave my own family some years ago (even sent them the “What a Way to Go dvd) & was met with a stony silence. My brother in law even asked my sister if I was “still into that oil stuff” & said “it was good I wasn’t forcing it down other people throats”.
It’s like he thought I was preaching about Jesus.
They grow hydrangeas in NZ for overseas export so will be interesting to see if their chooks come home to roost in 2015.

6 01 2015

I keep arm waving, not because I believe it will do any good but because I can’t live with myself if I don’t.

6 01 2015
Chris Harries

I sat in on a social occasion yesterday and did no arm waving. The issue of bushfires came up and the people present tossed their thoughts into the ring. The conversation went something like:

“There seem to be so many more bushfires these days, every state seems to be getting hit with bad fire days.”

“It seems like that, but I reckon that there is no increase in the number of fires, there’s just a lot more reporting of them.”

“And the real problem isn’t that there are more fires, it’s that these days there are a lot more people living in the bush where they shouldn’t be living, and fuel loads are being allowed to grow.”

And so forth.

Not a single mention of the climate change elephant. And these folk are all intelligent, well educated people. What shouted at me loudly is that despite all the messages coming from science and fire service people that climate change is increasing the incidence of catastrophic fire situations, and despite all of the graphic evidence reinforcing this message, it’s not a message that citizens want to hear. So what do they do? They just block it out. Denial runs really, really really deep.

6 01 2015

Ha, I love the comments folks! I totally relate…

I need all the arm wavers (like Mike et al) so I can keep up to date and stay focussed on my voluntarily simple life (civilisation is soo damn tempting 😦 ), but very rarely do I flail my own five fingered appendages. 🙂 It’s simply not worth the grief to shoot down a believer in civilisation. But it’s good to have the firepower (facts/numbers) behind you if one of them is really asking for it! Even despite how “kooky” it might make you appear.

So hang in there folk’s, keep fightin the good fight, I’m countin’ on ya! 🙂

7 01 2015
Bengt Randers

A smilar thing happened in Sweden 35 years ago. Eight people died.

7 01 2015

That must’ve been one big span to all come down like that?

7 01 2015

As a comment to the blog article “Are we ready for 2015” I posted the following comment. I was completely unaware of the approaching anniversary.

On new years day I had to drive past the local Bunnings store and was amazed at the larger than usual number of cars parked there. Happy little consumers.

I thought that no doubt these people would react with outrage if told they need to stop their consumerist ways. Then for some reason I recalled the picture, from many years ago, of the bridge in Hobart that had a span removed by an out of control freighter. That picture showed a car stopped on the very edge of the gap with the front wheels hanging over the edge. The driver later said that he had got out of the car and attempted to wave down approaching cars, which drove around him over the edge to their deaths.

7 01 2015

Yesterday, I did some more arm waving….. to someone I’ve considered a long time friend, someone I met when I was very active in the Greens. She’s not stupid either…. a science teacher no less. But she does have an impediment, she’s too wealthy for her own good. Flies overseas on holidays twice a year as a rule. “But I have solar panels on my roof” kind of person… As a result, she simply cannot accept that the party’s over. I arm waved for an hour (at least) but she simply could not grasp the simple concept that EVERYTHING we do is unsustainable, even building schools and hospitals.

“If everyone lived like you and paid no taxes, society would collapse” she said. No shit, Sherlock? I told her there could be no other outcome, that we are in fact fucked and there’s nothing voting for the Greens can solve, but she thinks that her money will save her from the worst of it, even though she tells me she understands resource depletion…. but obviously does not understand the implications.

One more person filed under ‘too hard’, and now we’re moving to Tassie, I don’t think I can be bothered working on the friendship anymore. One more waste of space unfortunately.

17 01 2015

The trouble, I suggest, Mike, is that an hour isn’t long enough. You, like me, have spent a hundred hours+ looking at this stuff ( plus, in my case, all the financial/economic shit going on). We are both retired and have the time to research, read, and mentally process all the information we do. I do appreciate that although your friend works, it may not be a good excuse in her case, as she may spend too much time watching crap TV etc in her leisure time.
But for some people, I’m sure, shortage of time and the daily commute and stress of jobs and kids means that they don’t have the time to research and read all the things we do. They may hear about the problem of climate change/peak oil etc now and then, but until such time that it impacts in a big way on their daily lives, they don’t focus on it. That will be the case for the majority. Yes, there’s an element of denial too – wanting it to go away, just like a terminal cancer diagnosis. They feel like the problem is beyond them anyway and the idea of say, giving up their jobs or careers, relocating to Tasmania or New Zealand, with uncertain job opportunities, taking the kids out of school away from their friends and relatives, leaving their elderly parents, and explaining to everyone….well, it’s all just too much. Even worse if you have to get your spouse on board as well.

Professional denialists and Governments too, undermine the science and create doubt and confusion. I seldom wave my arms these days, lest I again be called a ‘pessimist’ or a ‘doom and gloomer’.
In any case, I’m tending to agree with Guy McPherson that it’s too late… There just doesn’t seem to be any real progress. For all the people starting to grow their own or install solar panels or to cut their consumption, for all the people who went on the marches etc, there’ s the negatives – the biggest Republican US Congressional victory since 1932, the present Abbot, Cameron and Hawker right wing Governments, the forthcoming Trans Pacific and Trans Atlantic Partnership Agreements…. Rather than preach to the unconverted/immovable, my main aim is to continue creating a survival set up for my children in a (hopefully) less adverse climate.
But I still sign all the petitions that come my way on the Internet, especially those dealing with threats to the biodiversity of nature.
– Margaret, Port Sorell, Tasmania

17 01 2015

Nope, she’s retired, an activist on Climate Change, but refuses to admit solar power will not save us and simply cannot (or will not) connect any kind of connection between consumption and the problem itself. I guess when you’re filthy rich (compared to me at least!) it’s hard to not justify spending your loot…

7 01 2015

I have no hope that anyone will see my arm waving, but I must wave.
Planting trees in a city that is now reliant on desalination will be fruitless, but I must plant.
Wave and wave hard, you will not go to your grave wondering what if I waved a little harder.

17 01 2015

“Humankind cannot bear too much reality.”
― T.S. Eliot
A good read, and comments afterwards, from 2 years back….

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