24.9.14

Telstra Hates the Environment.

Get a "free" new phone every year, or as Telstra Australia is calling it "The New Phone Feeling". Oh what a feeling. What could be better, everyone loves free stuff and phones? Are you kidding this is a marriage made in corporate heaven. How many people are falling all over themselves to get the "new" phone on the market? Where people at one time used to sleep overnight on the street to get tickets to see the big band of the moment live, now we have people sleeping out for days on end just to be the fist to have the latest model phone. So a company that says "Hey sign a contract with us and we will give you a new phone every year!", that is pure marketing genius.

Unfortunately it is not such a wondrous idea when it comes to our continuously declining environment, unless of course the idea is to promote increased instability. Mind you who is thinking about that as they sleep on the footpath overnight, huddled in sleeping bags, protected by the corporate police whom just the other day were removing pesky protesters for some idealogical cause, like perhaps environmental sustainability? Anyway that is not a very fair thing to say, it's a phone not a coal fired power plant. It's not like the production and distribution of phones is destroying the environment, unless of course you are unlucky enough to reside in a place like Ghana. How many of the people sleeping out on the street, having caviare dreams about the new gadget that they just absolutely without any doubt cannot live without and just must have, could even locate Ghana on a map. Bit hard to give a damn about a place or the people that live there if you have no idea where it is, or perhaps don't have even the slightest interest in. Mind you in case some of you have had your interest perked, it is called E-Waste Hell and is where all the year old phones go to die.

That is enough about the absurd waste involved with "The New Phone feeling", what should really piss people off is the advertising. In fact one particular advertisement for this wasteful corporate policy aimed at appeasing the false wants that were planted into the consumers brain by the uncaring corporate media. You see there is this one callous and pathetic bit of advertising that presents us with some equally pathetic examples of western consumers, with their western throw away consumer mentality. These glossy eyed imbeciles are so overwhelmed and absorbed in mindless admiration for their new techno tinker toy, that apparently they lose any capacity for consideration when it comes to the disposal of packaging for their new fantasy finger phones. As they ogle the new touch screen, dreams of all the nights they are bound to spend together dancing through their heads, reality momentarily evades them and they simply drop the packaging wherever they happen to be. Alas all is not lost, Telstra saves the day with dancing crustaceans that immediately make a home out of this waste material. It all epitomises western consumer culture with such perfection. Uncaring, morally bankrupt corporations selling products that were obsolete they day they were purchased, to brainwashed dumbed down consumers that care more about their next techno wizz bang than the environment that supports their lives.

It is time to draw a line in the sand, time to send a clear message to corporations like Telstra Australia. In a world that is faced with the very real and serious problem of global climate change, where our oceans have become saturated with waste, this kind of thoughtless and down right disrespectful advertising is completely and totally unacceptable.

You can keep your "New Phone Feeling" Telstra, I am choosing the "Clean and Sustainable Earth Feeling".
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22.9.14

A Word on Waste Incineration

Sweden is "recycling" ninety-nine percent of its waste, or so goes the claim. What is really happening is Sweden is recycling about forty-eight percent of waste, land-filling one percent and burning about forty-eight percent.

By what logic has burning something constituted recycling?

It would be much more accurate to call it a one time reuse, unless of course we want to start claiming we are recycling oil by burning petrol. Or perhaps we are recycling nuclear waste when we use depleted uranium in ammunition.


We don't learn, we find what we call solutions and our behaviours do not change.
The point I am trying to make, and perha
ps I shouldn't because how dare I criticise someone doing things nominally better than us, is that we alter our behaviour or we destroy the environment. It is not simply a waste problem, we are extracting resources from the planet at a rate that exceeds its capacity to regenerate them. What is Sweden doing about consumption patterns, are the phones and computers that people buy in Sweden created from resources in Sweden? 


Of course not.
 

But hey they are burning their waste so look how clean and efficient they are.
Never-mind that all the products being sold and consumed in Sweden are just as resource intensive as everywhere else, don't worry about the fact that our planet can not maintain our current global consumption trends.
We can burn our waste.
Swedish consumption patterns have not dropped, nothing of substance has really changed.
People that understand the implications of that have a moral imperative to point it out, and to claim that the burning of waste is a step forward is entirely disingenuous.

It is very clear that Swedish private consumption took a much smaller hit than Danish private consumption in 2008-9 and consistently has grown stronger in the following years.

The only thing Sweden is doing by burning waste is burning waste, like the rest of the developed world consumption patterns continue to track higher and further away from any remote semblance of sustainability.
And that is the real issue, burning waste might mean we have less waste laying about the place, but it does absolutely nothing about impending resource scarcity.
Nothing.
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5.9.14

The Human Race

A good afternoon to you all and welcome back to The Bendigo Jockey Club, the stalls are almost loaded and we should be racing very shortly.

Our favourite today is Hope paying 2:1
Then Police State at 3:1, Liberal 5:1 Civil Unrest 5:1 Pandemic 8:1 Sharing and Equality both at 10:1 and the long odds of 18:1 are on Environmental Collapse.

Science has got behind this one, but well you would have to say it is not looking good for them.

They are all in line.

Under starters orders...... and... we're away racing!

Hope is the first to show out of gate 6, followed by 1/5 by Liberal, a half a length back is Police State and Equality followed by Sharing and Pandemic with Environmental Collapse and Civil Unrest bringing up the rear.

As they settle in it's Hope at the front stepping away from Liberal, Police State has dropped a step and Equality is moving up on the inside. Sharing and Environmental Collapse are keeping pace, Pandemic in behind and Civil Unrest is looking out of touch right from the start.

Coming into the bend now.

Liberal has dropped some pace, Equality took advantage and is closing on Hope, Sharing is passing Liberal on the outside. Police State is a nose in front of Environmental Collapse, Pandemic close behind and Civil Unrest is last out of the corner bringing up the rear.

Up the straight Hope is well off the pace now, Equality is trying to stretch away but Liberal has come back and is having none of it. Sharing has drifted back, Police State and Environmental Collapse are tucked in behind, Civil unrest out of nowhere right on their heels, Pandemic making a run on the outside, leaving hope out the back looking the worse for wear.

Inside 250 meters Liberal is squeezing past Equality on the rail, Police State and Civil Unrest nothing separating these two.

Environmental Collapse on the inside is passing Police State with a late run.
Pandemic on the outside is starting to look like a contender.
Hope is well out of touch and what ever happened to Sharing?

The last hundred to go!

Liberal has gotten away from Equality!

Environmental Collapse is closing the gap! What a run, what a run!
Pandemic close on his heels!
Police State and Civil Unrest are battling it out!
It looks like Equality went too hard too fast this time, joining Hope at the back of the field!
Sharing is a distant memory!

50 meters to go!

Liberal is struggling!

Environmental Collapse keeps coming, it's a beautiful run! A beauty of a run!!
Pandemic is charging hard along side!
Civil Unrest has broken free of Police State!
It's a five horse race now!

There's nothing in it!!

Liberal is slowing!

Civil Unrest, leaving it late, is storming home Past Environmental Collapse and Pandemic!

Liberal is all out of sorts here!

It looks Like Civil Unrest is going to take it at the post!

No, No, No, Liberal has upset Civil Unrest and Environmental Collapse Storms home!

Then it's Pandemic, and a very angry Civil Unrest.

Does anybody know what ever happened to Sharing?
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20.8.14

It is Time for A New Way of Thinking

The problem we are faced with is traditional thinking, the mind set that the way forward is growth and jobs.

I can understand it, we have been raised in this social environment all our lives, of course, however there are many signs of failure and they are all pointing at the same cause. We have massive unemployment to be sure, yet we also have a less discussed issue of under-employment. We have climate change marching ever closer, the continual loss of global biodiversity and the impending depletion of our all important oil reserves. It is all intertwined.

Our technological advancements are replacing jobs, spending is down resulting in reduced employment hours, which feeds back to reduced spending. All the while productivity is actually increasing. We want growth in the jobs market, get the people back to work and increase spending. Unfortunately this has a negative impact on our environment as we produce and throw away increasing amounts of junk we really never needed.

What we need in society is less, not more, and that less needs to be done much more efficiently. Our economy needs to be, well, economic. We don’t need a new I-phone every year or so, we need a phone that is built to last, that is easy to upgrade. We don’t need thirty different types of hammer or T.V. or whatever, we need to focus on building the best we can produce. In short we need global collaboration not competition.

We are currently going through the labour pains of social change, our hand is being forced as we come to understand that our social model is simply not sustainable. That change could actually happen very quickly, but we are all being held back by the antiquated thinking of our politicians whom have only one solution, more toxic growth.

Growth for the sake of growth on a planet of finite resources is a recipe for disaster, the only thing on our planet that continually grows is cancer and we all know how that ends. As Einstein said so many years ago,

“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”

It is time for a new way of thinking.

We need to start thinking more about each other, what it is we can do to help each other, not how we can get ahead of or be better off than each other. We need a society that is focused on cooperation and making the best most efficient use of our limited resources, so that we may sustain a high standard of living for everyone. We have all the tools we need in order to start making this a reality. This very tool we are using right now, the internet, allows us to communicate over vast distances instantaneously. It can carry data from anywhere in the world and make it available for everyone to see, total transparency and information for all.

Engineers from all over the world could be collaborating right now on how to construct the most efficient form of transportation. We could have vertical automated farms in every city, use 3D printing to produce houses. Transform our energy production from resource intensive power plants to renewable sources, and monitor the level of planetary resources, as examples, thanks to our ability to communicate collect and store information on a global scale.

The ability to change is at our fingertips, it is so tantalisingly close, if only we could change our attitudes toward each other. You see this is the crux of the problem, the dilemma, while we have the technical ability to change we are yet to develop the desire. Social conditioning has made it very difficult to consider that we could actually be better of if we drastically altered our form of economics. How could we be better off when we have all this great stuff?

We still think so inwardly, sure the plight of the three billion poverty stricken on our planet is a very serious issue and we all want that to change, but I also want my plastic whatcha ma call it with the three month guarantee and free subscription to pointlessshit.com. We are afraid, we have worked so damn hard to get to where we are and we are not about to let go without a fight.

It is fear that keeps this system going, our fear of failure, that if we try something new things might get really bad for us. Here is the kicker, things are really bad. All we need to do is spend some time looking around and recognising how things have been continually degrading all our lives. Sure we have lots of neat toys, but what has the cost been, socially and environmentally? Besides if we looked after each other and our planet the things we would have less of might be the things we are happy to do without. War, famine, ill health, work, less of these may be desirable, and while we may have less brands of toys is it possible that we would have better performing toys? Do we really think we could not do better than this?

If we look at the path we are on objectively we can see where it is leading, we are not stupid, a future with less animal life, less environmental stability, less opportunity. To continue down this corporate controlled consumer path, remaining blissfully ignorant of the reality we are faced with, stealing from the future to appease our false wants, will only lead us to a slow grinding self destruction.

We are human beings, full of potential, we can do anything we put our minds to. We can have a new social contract, a new economy, a resource based economy. It all starts with us changing the way we think about each other and the world we live on together.
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13.8.14

Why Rising Fuel Prices Are Good And Fuel Subsidies Are Bad

Steadily increasing petrol/diesel prices in our economy can create tension and while increasing costs at the petrol pump they also have a flow on effect that influences the cost of consumer goods across the board. Everything we have in the market is made available to us, in one way or another, thanks to oil or fossilised sunlight. Our machines which help us gather natural resources, freight transportation, machines used in manufacturing, a healthy proportion of our energy production, fertilizers for our food, pesticides, packaging, public and private transport, all require the use of oil. As the price of oil/petrol/diesel creeps higher, so must the prices of our consumer goods. As prices rise the increasing financial pressure on families can result in a slowing in consumption trends, which in turn creates job losses and reduced working hours, compounding the strain on our consumption based financial markets and leading us into recession/depression.

So how can rising fuel prices be good and subsidies be bad?


In order to understand this we must step back, look at our economy and identify what it is doing to both us and our planet.
Dictionary.com defines the word economy as; thrifty management; frugality in the expenditure or consumption of money, materials, etc.: the efficient, sparing, or concise use of something.
So if our "economy" is based on the idea that we all get "jobs" to earn money so that we can pay for the necessities of life, then be bombarded with advertising (corporate lying) which attempts to entice us to continually purchase things we don't really need, so we can impress people we don't know, on a planet of finite resources, is that really what an economy should be doing?
With the foundation of our "economy" being consumption for the sake of consumption, so that we can keep people employed, should we be surprised to find that we are destroying our biosphere at an exponential rate?

While we have cheap oil the gears of the machine continue to function with ease, consumption levels continue to increase beyond the already unsustainable levels they reached decades ago. We compound the damage we have done to our planet and find ourselves surpassing environmental tipping points which result in negative feedback loops that exasperate serious environmental problems which we currently have no answers for.


So yes, if we look only at the single aspect of paying to live, then low fuel prices and government subsidies are desirable. However if we look at the bigger picture and identify what our "economy" or anti-economy is doing, how our continued unquestioning participation is causing serious ecological decline, we can begin to see that cheap oil and government subsidies are doing little more than providing jobs and accelerating the decline.

If one thing needs to become clear to our species it is that we desperately need a new system, which we have discussed here, here, and here.

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14.7.14

Coal Rolling

It is not everyday that one sees something outlandishly stupid, sure we will all come across mental mediocrity from time to time, but truly mind numbing intellectual vacuousness, those moments are thankfully very rare. Unfortunately it would appear we have stumbled upon one such example of bona fide mental desolation.

It appears a small segment of our society have taken exception with humanities modest attempts to deal with the very real issue of climate change and have decided to find a fascinatingly inane way to express themselves.

Coal Rolling.

Conservatives, in the United States, upset with steps being taken to reduce carbon emissions have had their vehicles modified to produce copious amounts of black smoke on demand.

The conversions cost anywhere from $500 to $5000 depending on the amount of work that needs to be completed. Not to mention the ill effects on both human life and the environment.

Better yet is it would appear that "Coal Rolling" is perfectly legal.

The mentality is best summed up by this quote.

“I run into a lot of people that really don’t like Obama at all, if he’s into the environment, if he’s into this or that, we’re not. I hear a lot of that. To get a single stack on my truck—that’s my way of giving them the finger. You want clean air and a tiny carbon footprint? Well, screw you.”
Seller of stack kits from Wisconsin.

That one-way ticket to Mars gets more enticing with every passing day.

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25.10.13

The Economy We Could Have

Business confidence is on the table; politicians and the business community at large would have us believe that the problems in our economy are a result of poor business confidence and that the resolution to our socio-economic issues would be resolved by boosting confidence in the business sector. Confidence…. What are we actually talking about when we discuss business confidence?

Shopping, the term business confidence translates into, means corporations being reassured that people will head out and spend their hard earned cash on goods and services in a repetitious fashion, empowering growth and securing job stability in the market. Nowhere in that equation is there concern or quarter given to biosphere sustainability or the impacts of a throw away consumption model, built around perceived obsolescence, on our children’s and grand-children’s futures. The term environmental sustainability is not in the lexicon of our business community at large, the focus is on profit projections, consumption trends, cuts to financial costs and marketing to capture repeat custom.

An economy that has its basis in environmental concern, sustainability, equality, love and the type of freedom that does not require us to be told we are free: That is a direction we can head in as a species. In the direction of what has been termed a Resource Based Economic Model (R.B.E.M.).

What is a Resource Based Economic Model (R.B.E.M.)

A R.B.E.M. is more than an economic system; it is a way of life, a holistic social and economic system that requires the Earth’s resources be viewed as the common heritage of all the Earth’s inhabitants. That promotes the understanding that the Earth is not something to be divided and owned, but rather is our shared home that requires our collective stewardship. It makes use of resources, not money and concentrates on equitable distribution in the most humane and efficient manner possible. It provides all goods and services to everyone without the use of money, barter, credits or any other form of debt of servitude. Our current scientific understandings and technological advancement can easily allow us to provide access abundance for all the worlds population and that is the aim of a R.B.E.M.

We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”
Albert Einstein

The implementation of such an economy will require a fundamental values shift. Hoarding, greed and superficial commercially manufactured desires, which are so prevalent in our society today, have no place in such an economy. It is the pervasiveness of this values disorder that can get in the way of understanding or even entering into discourse about this type of economy. Just as one must be prepared to understand that our monetary economy is not inherently evil, as it was developed in a time of real scarcity, as a mechanism by which to ration as fairly as we knew how, one must also accept that over thousands of years things have changed, we understand more about our natural world and our technical capabilities have exploded beyond what our rationing system can cope with. It is for this reason that we must accept that questioning our current economy and its fundamental mechanics should not be seen as taboo, but as a part of our natural progression as a social animal on this planet.

As a species we have developed a tendency to mistrust each other. When operating socially from the confines of an economic system that requires us to strive to gain differential advantage over one another in order to elevate our standard of living, this should come as no surprise. Such permeating mistrust runs the gambit from the rational; having a reluctance to divulge personal information to unknown people over the internet, through to the irrational; being convinced that scientists are working in collusion with government agencies to gain control over us via a climate change conspiracy. (Article to come) This propensity to see conspiracy everywhere shows up as soon as we begin to discuss a computerized system of accounting planetary resources, which when looking at something as complex as monitoring resource abundance/scarcity on a global scale is absolutely necessary.

The Evil All Controlling Economy Supercomputer

It is a commonly held misunderstanding that in a resource based economy there will be a centralised supercomputer controlling our lives, dictating what we can and can not do. While it is true that computers will be needed to collect and store data in relation to resource monitoring systems, the idea that it will be one all seeing, all controlling computer overlord is a misnomer. What we could expect is that there would be many computers all over the world collecting and monitoring data in relation to regional resources and overall use. This would not include data on individuals, but on overall collective use and regeneration of resources constantly updated to give the most accurate assessment of levels of resource availability. This would not make decisions for us, but rather empower us with the knowledge of current resource availability enabling us to contemplate when, how and what we would use specific resources for. As a simple example, if we became aware through resource monitoring that at a specific global location water was becoming scarce, we would be able to perhaps choose to have shorter showers, have water imported from another location, or investigate improved ways to put that resource to use in the interest of sustainability. It would be people, the people living in the area, that would make those decisions. Not some computer, the computer would do nothing more than allow us to be aware of impending resource scarcity, how we reacted to that information would be up to us.

Again it must be understood that we are not going to awaken in the morning and suddenly find ourselves living in such an economy, before that can happen there are fundamental things that must change about the way we view our planet and each other. We must undergo a values shift, which will allow us to see each other as brothers and sisters sharing a small delicate planet — that it is in our interests to nurture as opposed to stripping bare in some vain effort to get ahead of each other. This wont happen overnight, but it will and has already begun to happen all over our world. The more time we spend understanding our biosphere and how that relates to the welfare of not only ourselves but every life form we share our home with, the more inclined we will be to question our current systems approach to life on earth. The interconnected relationships we have with not only each other, but the planet itself will become increasingly apparent and will implore us to reassess our social methods on a continuous basis, keeping us from entering into some utopian stagnation, but instead encouraging us to constantly update our methodology to come into line with up to date understandings and environmental circumstances.

“Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.”
Henry Ford

It is when it becomes accepted that a system has failed that emergent ideas can take hold and be allowed to flourish. It is long since past time to acknowledge that our economy is not just failing, but has clearly failed and with it all the systems that have been built up around it. The symptoms of that failure are prevalent in the world around us and to deny there existence or pontificate about superficial reforms could come at severe cost to our entire species.

“A planned economy, which adjusts production to the needs of the community, would distribute the work to be done among all those able to work and would guarantee a livelihood to every man, woman, and child.”
Albert Einstein
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