Why do I bother blogging…….

29 06 2014

Why do I bother blogging…….  I’ve been asking myself this a lot lately.  You may have noticed I haven’t been writing much lately.  A combination of having a hard working wwoofer here for over two months who has transformed the place, while I plod along trying to get this house more finished for selling, and now, display in this year’s Sustainable House Day.  Well, it’s days actually, the event is held over two consecutive Sundays, the 7th and the 14th of September.  The event is run by volunteers, and as a result things must happen slowly, our place is not yet listed as of today, almost the end of June.

Yes, in Qld that's one year's supply of firewood for an energy efficient AGA!

Yes, in Qld that’s one year’s supply of firewood for an energy efficient AGA!

Alessandro, apart from making pizzas, has tidied up the yard extensively, finding so much firewood to burn in the AGA we have hardly touched our stockpile from last year.  Whoever buys this place will inherit a year’s supply of fuel to keep the old girl going all next winter.  Meantime, I’ve been finishing pelmets, painting doors, and even making the place actually lockable!  I may even have fixed quite a few air leaks in the process, hopefully making the place even warmer in Winter.  It’s only taken eight years or so…..  Alessandro who comes from a country rife with crime is totally bewildered by the fact we don’t lock our house.

Βut back to why do I bother blogging…….   To a large extent, I use DTM as a storage of information, and I use it during exchanges on certain forums by linking to articles published here in often vain attempts to convince people that major change is upon us.  I often fail.  Recently, the AIMN published an article by Kaye Lee on the worth of having High Speed Rail in Australia.  The AIMN is a barely hidden ALP lovefest site where the writers take turn at hating the current government.  Not that you can blame them mind you, but that topic can get tiresome.  So any time I get a chance to put some alternative stances on the state of the world, I grab it with both hands.  It always lands me in deep water, I’m labelled negative and without hope.

To be frank, I don’t know myself why I bother.  Neither I nor anyone else can ‘save the world’.  I won’t save Kaye Lee either.  She’s been convinced by the techno-utopians that we have a future low flying in renewable powered HSR.

Even Dave Pollard, a soulmate of mine in many regards is asking himself the same question….

In that recent entry of his, Dave mentions a book I’d never heard of, titled Straw Dogs, by John Gray.  Here is an excerpt:

The mass of mankind is ruled not by its own intermittent moral sensations, still less by self-interest, but by the needs of the moment. It seems fated to wreck the balance of life on Earth — and thereby to be the agent of its own destruction. What could be more hopeless than placing the Earth in the charge of this exceptionally destructive species? It is not of becoming the planet’s wise stewards that Earth-lovers dream, but of a time when humans have ceased to matter…

Political action has come to be a surrogate for salvation; but no political project can deliver humanity from its natural condition. However radical, political programmes are expedients — modest devices for coping with recurring evils. Hegel writes that humanity will be content only when it lives in a world of its own making. In contrast, Straw Dogs argues for a shift from human solipsism [belief in our aloneness and our disconnection from everything else]. Humans cannot save the world, but this is no reason for despair. It does not need saving. Happily, humans will never live in a world of their own making…

Homo Rapiens is only one of very many species, and not obviously worth preserving. Later or sooner, it will become extinct. When it is gone Earth will recover. Long after the last traces of the human animal have disappeared, many of the species it is bent on destroying will still be around, along with others that have yet to spring up. The Earth will forget mankind. The play of life will go on.

Homo Rapiens….  I’m going to use that from now on..!  A book worth reading obviously…..  I keep blogging, states Dave, because I owe just about everything about my current situation to my blog. My writing and my readers’ responses have shaped and radically altered my worldview.  I have to agree with this…… starting DTM was a bit of a life changing moment; I actually had to start thinking about why I did things, but lately, I feel that I have started running out of things to say.  How many times can I write about why Climate Change, Peak Oil, Limits to Growth, and Economic Collapse will combine to become our downfall before I’ve said it all?  And realistically, anything I add here now is to simply say ‘it’s all getting worse’ and ‘I told you so’.  And besides, Dave does a far better job than I, his blog is among the very best on the whole interweb as far as I’m concerned.

More of Alessandro's handiwork

More of Alessandro’s handiwork

Also, something weird has happened over the past couple of months.  In March and April, DTM was going absolutely gangbusters (by my humble standards at least) with page reads going exponential.  Then it all stopped.  At first I couldn’t understand what was going on, maybe it was my lack of writing at this busy time, but WordPress gives its bloggers some neat tools, like the ability to see from which countries in the world visitors come from.  And it appears Americans have literally stopped coming here.  And I mean by more than 75%.  I know I’ve insulted a few by renouncing Guy McPherson’s near term extinction thesis (I’m prepared to give humanity another 150 years instead of just 30…) but at the expense of sounding like a conspiracy theorist, I wonder if the CIA or some such has put a block on this site.  The rapidity with which the numbers have fallen off is bewildering.  Not that blogging is a popularity contest, as I told Kaye Lee; it’s much easier to attract readership with how much you hate Tony Abbott than telling people civilisation is about to collapse……!

To change tack in this final paragraph, here we are near the end of June, and Winter has still not arrived.  We’ve had one cold morning that almost gave us a light frost (there was ice on the Citroen’s windscreen, but not the ute’s – and they were parked side by side – so go figure) but now the morning’s minimums are again over six degrees C, everyone’s still complaining about the flies (which are currently the worst we have ever seen, even in Summer), cabbage moths are still flying around the garden, and I’m still mowing the grass, even if very intermittently.  Down south, they’re being hammered by blizzards and storm strength winds, clearly we are stealing their warmth…  Climate Change?  WHAT Climate Change……?  Hopefully we’ll get a cold snap or two over the next couple of months, otherwise the garlic crop will be another failure, just like last year.  Aah Tasmania, wherefore art thou…?


Automobile Deathwatch Revisited

12 12 2013

My article on the impending (now confirmed) closure of Holden factories was republished over at the AIMN (Australian Independent Media Network).  The owner of that blog accepted my offer to reblog it as it was topical.  Shall I say it was poorly received?

Maybe I shouldn’t be surprised…..  after all, I lead a sheltered life where most of the people I converse with or read are like minded and aware.  Like here at DTM….  And offering up an article that shatters “ordinary Australians” vision of their collective futures in the hope they’d understand it was probably a big ask.  There’s no harm in trying to wake people up, but I seriously think I wasted my entire day yesterday feeding these denialists all the facts that we here take for granted.  I won’t do it again, I have better things to do like preparing to move to Tasmania.

Some of the comments are classics…….

I can’t see us heading back willingly to subsistence so where should we head? Public transport rather than roads? High-speed rail? Bio-fuels?

I do not believe that private vehicles will ever disappear. Too many people love them too much. Bicycles, horses and buggies have their place as does public transport but the fact remains that private transport is the simplest and most convenient that currently exists. No amount of cajoling or complaining about environmental degradation will change that fact. No, the car must change and will change but it will not disappear. For myself, I’d love an all electric vehicle and I believe the time is fast approaching when they will be widely available, practical and affordable.

CSIRO research has shown it should be possible to produce algal biodiesel at a lower cost and with less greenhouse gas emissions than fossil fuels.

Algal biofuel has the potential to be a sustainable, environmentally friendly alternative to diesel. In addition:

algal ponds could be established on land unsuitable for food crops.

algal farms can have a low environmental impact in comparison to crops.

Current CSIRO projects are identifying, characterising and trialling the best algal strains (or species) to convert to biodiesel. Growth rates, oil profiles and productivity will determine the best species.

Feasibility studies are examining the quantity and quality of potential Australian algal resources from ponds and bioreactors, and sources of algae from locations including waste water facilities, algal blooms and seaweed.

You don’t put a lot of faith in research and emerging technologies do you mikestasse. I choose to believe that the brilliant minds of this world will continue to amaze us if we do our job of supporting them and tending the fire while they do their thang.

“In May this year the U.S. Energy Department launched H2USA: a public-and private sector partnership focused on advancing hydrogen infrastructure to support more fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEVs) transportation. Already US R &D has aided reduced fuel cell costs by more than 35% since 2008 and more than 80% since 2002. Fuel cell durability has doubled and the amount of platinum needed in fuel cells has fallen by 80% since 2005.
In March Hyundai produced South Korea’s first hydrogen-powered car for mass production. Hyundai plans to start consumer production by 2015 with 1,000 fuel cells vehicles ready for public use. The cars will go mainly to Europe, where the European Union has started building hydrogen fuel stations. However, Hyundai plans to produce 10000 fuel-cell cars per year in the US after 2015. Toyota and Honda have said they will release their fuel-cell cars in the US also in 2015. The Chevrolet Equinox Fuel Cell test vehicle has been road tested since 2008. In addition GM and Honda share research facilities in Michigan and in Japan to deliver fuel cell vehicles. Ford has joined with Daimler and Renault-Nissan to speed up development of their fuel cell hydrogen models.
California is facilitating about 120 hydrogen fuel filling stations with many in advanced state of coming on line. A University of Colorado Boulder team has developed a solar-thermal water-splitting (STWS) system for the efficient production of hydrogen cutting cost of hydrogen production by 37%.”

M8 you need to catch up on hydrogen facts.
The Universe`s most abundant element and it`s time we got it together to use it.
Water desal plants can be set up to provide fresh water to cities,hydrogen can be produced at these plants for which some is used to generate electricity.
If in car hydrogen cell manufacture becomes too hard then technology as in the LNG?LPG industries could be upgraded to store/transport excess hydrogen for vehicular use.
Used hydrogen as fuel has only some drops of water as exhaust,everyone knows that.
Iraq/Afghanistan has cost the world a trillion or so and maybe the Western Hemisphere doe`s not want to proceed with hydrogen technology,but the East will.


And still you and your proteges refuse to acknowledge other sources of power.

For instance you point to this http://www.oilcrisis.com/hydrogen/crea.htm where the author states the U.S. imports 60% of its power …. this figure is changing daily due to fracking and CSG.

Time to come back into the world of optimism … optimism that man/womankind are capable of boundless innovations …… and personal transport will be around for a long time.

Isn’t that what your friend Professor S. Krumdieck [whom I quoted as an expert on fuel cells] encourages in her research ?

we have about 5 billion years to work out a solution for that one mikestasse. My bet is that by then we will have colonised other planets.

The blind faith in future technology was gobsmacking.  After yesterday, I know we have no hope left if people continue thinking this way.  And if you’re still with me, check this out……  must be the last nail in the shale gas industry’s coffin.

Over the past six months, The New York Times reviewed thousands of pages of documents related to shale gas, including hundreds of industry e-mails, internal agency documents and reports by analysts. A selection of these documents is included here; names and identifying information have been redacted to protect the confidentiality of sources, many of whom were not authorized by their employers to communicate with The Times.

Anyhow, it’s back to the grind for me, I have honey to extract and more cheese to make………

Talkin’ bout a revolution revisited

8 11 2013

GreedyI wrote this about a week ago in response to articles and comments written over at the Australian Independent Media Network regarding our infamous friend Russell Brand’s assertions voting was a waste of time…….  Having been published now, it’s time to also put it up here……  Enjoy.

To say Russell Brand has had an impact on the blogosphere would be the understatement of the year.  His notion that we should all stop voting has brought out all the people who don’t, those who are thinking about it, and those who think the whole idea is the abandonment of hard won liberty and democracy . . .The crux of Brand’s position on our systems of government really resonated with me when he told Paxman in that now infamous BBC interview “Well I don’t think it’s working very well, Jeremy. Given that the planet is being destroyed. Given that there is economic disparity of a huge degree. What are you saying? There’s no alternative? There’s no alternative? Just this system?”

The system (I call it the Matrix…) is indeed broken.  I was prompted to write this article by OzFenric‘s assertion that Democracy had been poisoned by Capitalism.  As it happens, I totally agree.  But how did this come about?  I’m old enough to remember when this wasn’t so…..  I’m starting to think that Capitalism really went berserk once Communism was defeated with the fall of the USSR and the demolition of the Berlin Wall.  Unconstrained by the cold war, Capitalism decided to take us lefties on, and not just take us on, but convert us.  And it largely worked.  At the last election, the Socialist Party garnered 0.07% of the vote . . . yet right wing micro parties did far far better than that.  Was winning the socialist ‘struggle’ meant to be ‘us’ becoming Capitalists?

With roughly twice as many years under my belt as Brand, I can remember all sorts of things he doesn’t even know occurred.  Trivial things.  Like the fact that in my twenties, one never heard about the stock market as part of ‘the news’.  Nor the price of gold or oil, unless of course we were having a less trivial oil shock because the US hit Peak Oil and the Arabs wouldn’t sell them their oil at the ridiculously low price of the time, causing gold to reach $800 an ounce . . . I remember those things, but I also remember not understanding them.  I was too busy having fun, and no I wasn’t doing drugs like Brand.  Once that crisis passed, nobody mentioned the price of gold or oil again; well not for another 10 or 15 years.  Now it’s a substantial section of ‘the news’.  Everyone seems fixated with money now, as if it was some sort of measure of wealth, instead of course being a measure of debt…..

A lot of things have changed in my sixty odd years.  I clearly remember us only having one car, a Renault that was so small the family couldn’t fit in it.  And the only reason we even had this car was that it was supplied to my father by his employer to do his work for them.  I remember having no phone (of any kind), no TV, no fridge, no Traction lounge, no house of our own, in fact we had almost nothing.  I remember an absolutely epic trip when I was seven years old, moving from the south of France to Belgium in my father’s Citroën (you know, the type they use in Maigret and WWII films…)  In this car we shoe horned my parents (someone had to drive!), my grandmother, five kids and all our belongings…  Everything.  One thousand kilometres with the boot roped up to stay shut and the roof rack having to be adjusted forward again every few hundred k’s because it was sliding backwards in the wind drag.  And trust me, we weren’t going fast.No affluence here, move along…..

With two more siblings born in Belgium, by 1963 my Communist parents decided they’d had enough, and sought asylum in Australia looking for a better future.  The rest as they say . . .

Looking back fifty years, it would be easy to say Capitalism was good to us.

There’s an old saying:  “If you’re not a socialist at 20, you haven’t got a heart.  If you’re still a socialist at 50, you haven’t got any money”.  That must explain why the Socialist Party only received 0.07% of the vote at the last election.  I don’t know why they bother.  I mean, you have to get at least 0.5% of the vote like the Motoring Enthusiast Party to have any chance of getting into the Senate…!  But I digress.

Raised in a Communist household, you’d think my future was sealed, but after ten years working as a public servant after leaving school, I decided to have a crack at Capitalism and started my own business.  During the eighties, which even though that decade started under the conditions of the aforementioned oil shock and the Howard induced recession, was one of the fastest growing periods known to Homo Capitalus.  I single handedly managed to grow my photographic studio from nothing to $150,000 a year turnover in just eight years.  I really thought I was made.  For a brief period, I even abandoned Socialism!  I was rich . . . well I felt rich.  In reality, I was seriously indebted….  This could never end, now could it….?  My naivety knew no bounds, but was soon enough shaken by the ‘recession we had to have’.  Much of my work came from advertising agencies which fostered insatiable growth and consumerism, and once people started losing their jobs, people stopped consuming, and advertising budgets collapsed.  As did my business.  Was this all that the much heralded Capitalism I had embraced meant to achieve?  Failure . . . ?

What followed, for me at least, was a mid-life crisis (you know, the one I was never going to have) entwined with the discovery of environmentalism.  Two books changed my life.  Ted Trainer’s ‘Abandon Affluence’, and the Club of Rome’s ‘Limits to Growth Report’.  I was blown away by the fact that the utter unsustainability of Capitalism had completely escaped my attention.  What was wrong with me?  How could I even have worked for the evil advertising industry?  Yet every man and his dog was hard at work, denigrating those anti growth books; we can’t have reality getting in the way of unfettered profits, now can we…..

At this stage, still full of optimism and wanting to change the world, I retrained in Renewable Energy technology, and joined the Greens.  I abandoned affluence and Capitalism, sold all my crap, rid myself of all debts, and downsized like you wouldn’t believe.

Whilst I at first believed our looming predicaments could in fact be fixed, what I really learned was that it was all too late.  Why I believe this would take far far more space than an article like this can allow, but it’s all relentlessly laid out in this blog.  The numbers simply do not stack up . . .

Since Capitalism converted all of us lefties to embrace affluence, the growth of the economy and population means we are fast approaching uncontrollable climate change.  In cyberspace, there are two kinds of blogs I now realise.  Those like this one (meaning the AIMN for whom this was originally written…) that debate politics and environmental issues – without really knowing the enormity of the predicaments looming on the horizon – and the doomerblogs, like mine, run by people who ‘get it’.  There’s even a whole bunch discussing ‘Near Term Human Extinction’, now known by its own acronym, NTHE.  Never heard of it?  Look it up . . . fascinating stuff, might even make you think voting is a waste of time!

“Getting it” is quite a process.  I’ve been at it now for close on twenty years.  I don’t expect anyone reading this to suddenly ‘get it’.  It’s all about the numbers; they simply do not add up . . . I just can’t say this enough.  Once you truly realise what ‘they’ have done to us, and the environment, once you truly understand the mathematics of exponential growth, once you understand what a scam the whole debt economy is, and once you realise that ‘they’ will do nothing about it (even though they know . . . ) because there are no solutions apart from ‘them’ losing their wealth and power . . . you too may well start thinking voting is a complete waste of time.

I don’t know what Brand knows.  I reckon if he came here for dinner, we could have a doozy of a conversation.  But Brand’s gut feeling is right.  We need a revolution.  It could so easily be a bloodless one too . . . What the next system needs to be like will be worked out after a serious shake up of the establishment.  Capitalism is doomed to fail, just like every other ponzi scheme ever dreamed up before it has failed.  There will be a lot of people walking around like zombies in the streets wondering WTF happened . . . and we the zombies outnumber ‘them’ a million to one (they are not really the 1% at all..), ‘they’ do not stand a chance.  ‘They’ are shit scared I reckon.  Hence all this cyber spying and neo fascist nonsense we are beginning to read about everywhere.  The next ism will have to be invented.  I don’t know how it will turn out any more than Brand does.  But everything’s about to change, and most people have no idea.  And they vote.  Still.