Why voting is fast becoming a farce……

17 06 2016

Unless you are Australian, dear reader, you may not know we are in the middle of one of the longest and most boring election campaigns this country has ever had to endure…. the party leaders are boring, visionless, ignorant, condescending, liars, dishonest, and I could go on….. and if you’re not Australian, I’ll bet you can recognise your own politicians in that list!

dinataleBut what got me inspired to write this piece, hot on the heels of the Great Leap Sideways, was the Australian Greens’ leader Richard Di Natale’s economic vision for Australia which just landed in my newsfeed…

Don’t get me wrong, he’s the standout nice guy compared to the morons leading the other parties, but this ‘economic vision’ had me rolling my eyes….. and on paper, he’s walking the walk, much as I am. He lives on a farm, in a solar powered off the grid passive solar house, raising animals ethically and growing much of his food. He’s been ‘there’ longer than I’ve been ‘here’, and I’m sure he’s also got loads more money, so he’s actually way ahead of me……. our goals are seemingly the same. However, it appears that as soon as one gets involved in politics, common sense just goes out the window.

He begins with “Let me start with a statement that you won’t hear from any politician during this election campaign. The fortunes and failures of Australia’s economy are largely hitched to the whims of the global marketplace and we politicians have limited control over Australia’s economic future.” He’s right of course….. so why get involved? The big end of town buys the best parliament money can buy, and the Greens don’t get a look in! So how do they combat this?  By appeasing them, even appealing to their greed!

Richard continues with “Governments are no longer in the driver’s seat. Rather their role is to ensure the air bag is able to cushion the impact on passengers when a crash occurs.” From where I sit, the airbags aren’t inflating.  Further down, “Governments have a role in addressing market failure and there is no greater example of market failure than dangerous global warming. The entire point of putting a price on greenhouse pollution is to internalize the externality of carbon pollution and to point us towards our inevitable economic future, with minimal economic disruption.”

Hmm….  methinks he’s never read Limits to Growth… and here’s the proof:  “The Greens plan for a new, clean economy would see GDP rise significantly, but that is not the only marker of progress.”

If ever there was one party that should be calling for an end to ‘jobs and growth’, it’s the Greens…. but instead, they try to appeal to the people who have been conned into believing that’s what we must have to ensure prosperity.

He goes on to ask “Where will our productive future lie?”, seemingly unaware that it’s this very ‘production’ that is the cause of the changing climate he correctly finds alarming.

Then, and this really got me glazing my eyes over, he delivers “Right now the CSIRO is piloting projects to create hydrogen through electrolysis from solar thermal power.[2] Gas and liquid fossil fuels could one day soon be replaced with pollution-free hydrogen in the use of energy, chemical feedstocks and vehicle fuels. We have the competitive advantages of sunlight, space and ingenuity, but we haven’t yet shown the political foresight to prepare.” So, he (and the CSIRO, obviously) have not heard of the energy cliff either……  I am actually appalled that the CSIRO are working on Hydrogen….. so much so, I hope Di Natale is wrong on this one.

Additionally, for a statement on the economy, there is zero mention of our debt predicaments….. it’s like the single biggest economic problem we face just doesn’t exist.

About all you can achieve by voting this year is to stop the most evil of the big parties to fail gaining office, because not one single one of them will avert the looming calamities facing us all.

The Great Leap Sideways

17 06 2016

Recently, on a Sustainable Population Australia forum, I was debating the fact that reducing population was no silver bullet to our predicaments, we needed to also reduce our consumption of everything.  As I am wont to do, I rattled their cages repeatedly, pointing out all the usual stuff discussed on this humble blog.  I neither doubt nor misunderstand why people get sick of me pointing out that ‘techno solutions’ are no solutions at all.  It did take me fifteen years to learn why this was so, mourn the situation, come to grips with it, then accept it and move on…..  it is no easy task.

Eventually, I’m asked what would I do if I was in charge; what solutions would I implement.  I hate telling people there are no solutions (there aren’t..), and as a result I usually spout off the only things I can think of, like canceling debts and living more simply, after which I am normally dismissed as nutcase wearing a hairshirt and living in a cave.

The other day, however, my oversimplified list of ‘solutions’ was sarcastically described as my Great Leap Forward.  This reference of course was an attempt to ridicule my ideas as nothing better than the total disaster Mao Zedong inflicted on China from 1958 to 1961.  I was far too young to understand what was going on at the time, but the sarcasm wasn’t wasted on me, I have since read about the economic and social campaign by the Chinese Communist Party resulting in 18 million to 45 million deaths……

I was of course, a bit miffed, but that comment resulted in me coming up with the title for this entry, the Great Leap Sideways.

It never ceases to amaze me that people smart enough to recognise we are overpopulated, seem unable to understand limits to other growth.  They all appear to believe that if we only reduce our numbers, we can have our cake and eat it too, a world of gadgets all powered by green energy….

It’s easy for me to offer ‘non solutions’ were I in charge of the world, because I never will be (thank goodness…)  And I hate to tell the Sustainable Population Australia members, but Mao’s 18 to 45 million deaths is a picnic in the park compared to what faces the 7.5 billion and growing population about to come face to face with reality.  The death of billions obviously appears monumental, because never before have we had so many people on the planet who will all die, one day, no matter what.  Get over it….. one day, Peak Deaths will arrive too.

As I see it today, we face the perfect storm of, in likely order they will start affecting us, economic collapse, resource and food unavailability, and catastrophic climate change.

I recently heard on the radio some scientist, whose name I unfortunately did not catch while driving, that the era of limiting emissions is over, what needs to happen now is that we have to remove CO2 from the air, and fast…. how this was meant to happen, he did not say.  probably because it’s nigh impossible, especially when considering the gargantuan scale it needs to happen on.

Just the other day, another ‘we’re saved’ meme turned up, scientists apparently managed to turn CO2 into rock in Iceland. The carboncaptureamount of energy required was of course not mentioned, and then it occurred to me that in Iceland, there’s so much sustainable geothermal energy available it’s probably the only place in the world where this would be possible to achieve… but then read further and you can read “The Iceland project has already been increased in scale to bury 10,000 tonnes of CO2 a year”.  Wow. another journalist who does not understand orders of magnitude….. because we would need to build seven million such plants just to keep up with emissions, let alone reduce CO2 concentrations down from 400ppm to 350. Just think of what doing this would do to the already plummeting ERoEI of fossil fuels!

That’s the problem of course.  No one either understands or wants to admit just how big a hole we have dug ourselves into. Just the other day I was accused by a ‘friend’ of not doing my bit because I wasn’t helping the Greens’ campaign in the current electoral farce. Been there, done that, I know when I’m wasting my time. IF, and it’s a huge if of course, the Greens could win the election, I may consider helping, but that simply won’t happen.  And even if they did win, all they’d want to do is plaster more greenhouse emitting PVs and turbines all over the countryside, a non solution.

As I keep reiterating ad nauseam, only a major economic catastrophe can save us now. It’s even too late for the Great Leap Sideways…..

In case you missed it, the simplicity institute has released its latest doco.  It’s cute, but it will not convince anyone but the diehard that this is the way to change…..