The pandemic isn’t just – gone – it’s still going. But try and find figures on infections and deaths under all the Putin palaver. The world’s under attack from a tiny implacable enemy and a small mad one. It’s also under attack from a very large and implacable enemy, the Earth herself.
The IPCC has had its meeting and they’ve established that NOTHING has been done at all as everyone ‘didn’t look up’ and start actually DOING anything. (See if you can find the movie “Don’t Look Up” because that’s precisely what’s happening right now all around the planet.)
And this is the time that a quite deranged but dangerous man in Russia has decided to try and out-dick-wave Kim Jung Un and push for a world war. I have no idea why, other than he has reportedly become quite irrational and isolated, but Ukraine is now bearing the brunt of his – whatever it is.
And WITHOUT any prompting from the IPCC there’s been a binding agreement made at UN level to start plastic cradle to cradle lifecycle manangement. This will hopefully lead to a reduction in plastics in the environment – but when? So far all that’s happened is that a committee has just agreed to form a whole heap of other committees.
It’s just been this headlong plunge into worse and worse ‘interesting times’ for the last few years and it’s given me cause to think.
The Ukraine people aren’t the only ones living under a war cloud, of course. But they’re both an echo and a bellwether, a status quo and a disruption to it. There have been wars, and there are wars all around the world right now. And we should extend all aid to them short of ourselves precipitating WW III.
My parents lived through WW II, my grandparents through both world wars. Because of the tales they tell, I’m very sympathetic to the conditions that the Ukies are experiencing right now. I also feel sympathy for every other one of us on this Earth.
Because as I observed at the beginning of this page, we’re locked in a really long war with COVID&Co (there are literally tens of thousands of other candidates for the Next Big Pandemic out there) and climate change. What WWI, WWII, all the intervening wars, the Spanish Flu, various other delights such as malaria, dengue fever, and a dozen delightful cousins should have taught us, it seems they haven’t.
Right now we’re watching world economies circling the drains, prices going up while our individual wealth is going down, political systems seemingly turning into their Bizarro World evil counterparts, and people generally being the worst that they can be.
Here in Australia we’ve had fires such as haven’t ever been seen before, floods of quite frankly biblical proportions, supply chains disrupted by COVID and COVID-related shortages, and a government that seems determined to become a bad comedy.
In the USA there’ve been similar cataclysmic events, mirrored all over the world. Islands are losing shorelines as water levels rise, the weather from pole to pole is warming almost by the day and releasing more water, the equator is approaching the kind of summer temperatures where all you have to do in order to be suffocated in your own condensation is to try and breathe.
These are all things that press on us, wear on us, make us feel beleaguered and under constant attack – much like actual wars. WW II put several generations through almost six years of that tension-filled lifestyle, and the PTSD trauma from that affected several generations after them. Imagine how long the effects of our generations will ring through the future. . . (And, in the zeitgeist of the times, I should perhaps rephrase that as as “imagine how long the effects of our generations will ring through the future provided we actually still have a future as a species“. . . )
Mad Vlad the Lad has an agenda. He can’t be stupid enough to just want Ukraine. Yes it’s been the fly in Russia’s ointment but surely he hasn’t sunk so deep into insanity that he’s become monomaniacally fixated on one relatively tiny country.
Ostensibly he wants the resources of the country – but is it worth the shit he’s dragging Russia through in the face of global reaction? (This is also slightly risible given that of all the major powers in the world, Russia is the one that will only benefit the most from global warming, as vast areas of rich land that’s been too cold for farming thaws out and offers a chance to be an agricultural superpower in the world food chain. And all he has to do for THAT to happen is wait another year or three. . . )
So does he really want WW III? We’d better hope not, because it’d become hell for all of us if that happened. And we’re far from the self-sufficient people that barely managed to survive the last one, depending as we now do on processed everything, most of us having no idea how to get by other than looting what would be a rapidly dwindling supply of processed everything – and then perishing anyway.
Of course, even if by some miracle we all managed to find viable seeds and excellent homesteading skills, we still have floods and fire and storms and weather anomalies to contend with, because the climate’s been behaving strangely.
Here Is The Weather
Our climate is undeniably changing. You can debate the reason as long as you like, but no matter how you try and slice it, we are part of the cause. The moment you eat a mouthful of food or drink a glass of water, you’re affecting the ecological balance of the planet.
Floods fall one raindrop at a time, one spot of hot decomposition starts a wildfire. You can also debate whether those actions are a ‘natural’ part of the ecosystem as if it mattered – but you can’t deny the actions themselves.
Parts of the Middle East are becoming unlivable. NOW. Right now. Rich Kuwaitis aren’t dying from the 50C++ summers because they go live in their summer homes in the cooler belts of the planet. Their servants OTOH are dying or (if they can) going back home. Meanwhile, people whose homes are now permanently under water are having to move. Many people whose homes were destroyed in the unimaginably fierce firestorms here in Australia a few years ago are still without a home and have had to move.
We can legitimately call these people climate refugees, and this is another acknowledgement that there IS a climate crisis. Also many war refugees are only in a war because some other place wants their resources. Resources that may either be dwindling, or the population outgrowing local supply. Most often there’s an element of weather involved as well. “we need fertiliser nowadays – or to find new farming land – because nothing seems to grow” or “well the last few seasons have left us in famine” are the sorts of ways that climate drives wars.
Again, one can argue that there have always been bad seasons, floods, fires, earthquakes and the like, and I’ll agree with that assessment. But there have never – EVER – been so many events, so severe, affecting so many people, in an entire era let alone this span of a mere few decades.
And this can’t be laid at the feet of anything other than homo sapiens. CO2 levels have NEVER been as high as they are right now, all the way back to when the planet first began to support complex life, and are not the result of any other process other than our overpopulating the planet and our use of burning stuff for energy.
Now the IPCC has direct proof that NOT ONE COUNTRY has reduced their carbon footprint despite knowing this would happen since the middle of last century when the last conscientious scientist (of those working for or on behalf of the then-newly-fledged corporations that profited from ecosystem-destroying practices at any rate) penned a report that foresaw that this would happen.
It was carefully scrutinised and then filed away in a nice deep dark file drawer and never spoken of again… And I mean, yes, the idea of global warming resurfaced time and time again but – have you seen anyone actually taking action? I sure haven’t. Okay – I’m doing some research and development on how to recycle locally acquired waste plastics, metals, glass, and cardboard at my RCX Project but that’s hardly going to save the planet. (It could however do with a hand. . .)
We’ve been digging up decomposing trees and dinosaurs and our early animal ancestors. Besides the fact that no good ever came from digging up the dead – ask any horror novelist – these remains represented ALL the sunlight they’d harvested in the days before their demise. All that sunlight equals a metric shit-ton of energy, which is (the way we use it) a load of heat. All that heat was safely locked up in the earth and we brought it up and released it. And THAT too is something we can’t deny.— Me, who’s been saying this for more than two decades.
This is ironic given that we’d been harvesting wind and water power with windmills and water wheels for centuries, and could quite easily have gone the solar energy direction. Solar energy is going to fall on the planet anyway, and by turning into useable energy along the way and then releasing the waste energy afterwards, we’d have not affected the Earth’s energy budget hardly at all.
And now all that energy’s coming back in the form of atmospheric energy and the attendant effects of that. In effect, the spirits (energy) of those ancient ancestors of modern living beings have come to haunt us. . .
Never ever were we allowed to put a real value on the resources we dug out of the ground, nor the damage we did to the ground above them. There’s a reason so many cultures value the dead and the land so highly. They quite correctly saw that damaging the land or taking away the material under the land which the land was recycling at its own pace was wrong and would lead to harmful consequences.
To them, that was mostly embodied in their crops failing by some combination of missing nutrients and new pests moving in where a niche had been created, it’s a natural law that works both in microcosm and at scale. Muck with one part of the ecosystem and it has effects, not usually good ones. It was only when we began to see an extrinsic value in the resources in the earth, and based economies on those resources’ extrinsic value that we began to disturb the balance.
And yes it did create the current age of technology and of plenty, but it also brought with it more powerful, widespread, and plentiful effects. We said “Let The Market take care of it” and handed the keys of the henhouse to the entire fox population. We thought that by putting dollars in between the resources and us, that would let that mythical “Market” strike the balance for us and the Earth.
But of course the Market struck a balance between the Market and all the other, less important things.
Let’s take the example of a fisher in a world where fish is all the food there is. This fisher operates a fishing boat and employs a crew of two. If this fisher is diligent and skilled they can get all the suitably-sized fish in their grounds. They take these back (after discarding the “bycatch” whether that be dead or alive, and disregarding the damage they’d caused their fishing ground) and sell it to The Market, and then The Market gives them the The Market-assigned price for fresh fish, then sells these at a profit to the The Market-Approved Processors who then sell what they make from the fish – at a profit.
The fisher meanwhile pays wages, maintenance, and refuels their boat for the next trip. The crew need enough money to survive on, i.e. a fair, liveable wage. They need to be able to buy fish (that has now been through several profit hikes) to feed themselves and their families. The fisher has to pay for the fuel – that’s been produced by people that have also had to be paid enough currency to buy their food, so that fuel’s been marked up several times along the way too.
But all the Fishers’ familes survive and thrive and the next generation is ten times bigger than this one, and so ten fishers and ten crews are now fishing that ground.
This doesn’t work.
If the fisher built their own boat and went out and only fished enough for themselves and their family, that fishing ground is basically immortal and will still be there for twenty thirty or more Fisher generations. When it’s fished at the rate needed to feed The Market, it’s depleted in a few decades and several Fisher and Crew generations end up in poverty and death.
If we’d correctly valued Fish and Oil with consideration to the costs to the planet’s health, each generation would have barely kept pace with staying level, or even declined. We NEED that disconnected economy in order to multiply.
And we do need to multiply because (with the much MUCH smaller populations a thousand years ago) it took millennia for our combined intellects to come up with the relatively few scientific advancements that were made. As those advances improved our lives, we could multiply more reliably, and more intellect was able to be applied to progress, and so on. Currently we make more advances in a year than the human race made from Stone Age to 1AD. It’s a pity that so few of those advances have been made in morals and ethics.
The Wealth Cycle
I won’t muck around. There are currently tens of thousands of corporations that are the embodiment of The Market. They have for almost two hundred years taken the real, Tangible Wealth represented by what others have wrested from the planet by mining and farming and clearfelling and construction, and turned that into “Financial wealth” or Currency – which isn’t the same thing at all as food and clean water and clean air, which are the only real Tangible Wealth that should concern us.
Being The Market, The Market is only interested in making sure The Market survives, and since The Market recognises only Currency as Wealth, it depends on amassing Currency. Since it makes the rules via government regulations and their own stock markets, the rules are biased towards The Market’s survival, that means Currency (and the Wealth that it can buy) must always flow from Customers to The Market.
From time to time The Market needs to adjust the ‘value‘ of Currency so that its Customers don’t all commit the sin of becoming Poverty-Stricken And Possibly Dead. And so too, sometimes a Fisher Dynasty rises up and briefly becomes Wealthy as well as Currency wealthy, sometimes for a whole two or three generations. But Corporations and The Market have this huge stash of Currency because that’s how they’ve built the “Free Market” edifice. And therein lies the solution, I think.
The Earth (that we need Earth to be) is slipping away one part per million of CO2 at a time, one acre of destroyed rainforest at a time. This needs us to begin to mend what we can, right now. If we don’t, most of us reading this will die due to climate related incidents. Nothing’s more certain now.
We (the ‘Customers’ of The Market) will perish in climate related disasters, and those disasters will break records year after year even after we start making changes. It will take decades if not centuries just to shed all that extra energy we’ve been pouring into the system. And it will take Wealth and Currency wealth. Thanks to how The Market operates, most of those are being held by The Market.
The Market will only succeed if it has Customers, or becomes it’s own Customer, although that is a net-loss situation for The Market. And we Customers can’t do anything to control the damage The Market has caused.
An aside: All that “you can do your bit to tackle climate change! Put it in a bin!” ra-ra-rah bullshit has been The Market testing if they can somehow not only divest us of our Currency but also get us to fix the mess they created in obtaining it.— Me, who’s been saying this for over two decades
We can’t fix the mess. They can. — also Me who’s been saying this for over two decades.
Almost twenty years ago, Bill Gates had enough personal wealth that he could have ended world hunger for ten years using much less than 10% of that fortune. Mr Gates was one of the founders of Microsoft and fortunes were made back then, including such a staggering hoard as Mt Gates had.
Mr Gates didn’t do that.
Richard Branson had enough personal wealth that he could have had a mansion in every country of the world, a dozen private jets, a fleet of the world’s most enviable cars, STILL started Virgin Galactic, and had enough left over to ensure clean water supplies for every person on Earth.
Mr Branson didn’t do that.
Elon Musk’s fortune, his personal wealth, places him only slightly ahead of Jeff Bezos in the race for the world’s first TRILLIONNAIRE (!!!!) and either of them could stump up the resources to ensure that every possible petrol / fossil fueled power station, personal vehicle, transport vehicle, and building in the world was made environmentally friendly, replaced with an environmentally friendly alternative, and the whole carbonisation problem eliminated.
They could do this with less than a quarter of each of their personal fortunes, an eighth if they bot chipped in.
Neither of them has done that.
They all need that reserve for the “Next Big Thing“, for that next investment so that they can get wealthier yet. The Market Principle ensures that the first one to make such a big donation, will give the others such a superior Financial position that the donor will end up bankrupt. Because there’s no room for morals or honesty or consideration or collaboration in The Market, it’s a machine that will chew up and spit out the entire world, animals minerals plants and people in little tiny 10cm balls and scatter then around space if there was enough profit in it.
And by now we should have had enough of The Market, and so should all the people ensnared it in and being carried along by it to become the impervious monoliths that they are, deprived of their humanity.
And you just never know – now that we’re at this extreme, the first one to donate may well start a trend instead of a feeding frenzy …
I need a call to action here, I’m not even sure what actions we can take. But please – share this post, share this topic, share some or all of the points I raised, get others talking, emailing their local politicians and ultra-billionaires and trade organisations – we REALLY need these people with trillions hoarded away that they aren’t using and will never get to use of they don’t pull their finger out, to actually pull their fingers out, look up, see that the sky really is falling this time, and then use their resources to save it.
And if you liked this article maybe find your way to the News Stand and subscribe to the Weekly newsletter.
— Me, who’s been a hoarder for over two decades.
That reminds me. When a CEO collects together a stack of money we all praise them for their financial acumen. When I do it they call me a hoarder and organise an intervention . . .