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Thursday, June 21, 2007

(cough, cough) excuse me Mr, but the end of the world is nigh


The Achilles’ heel of capitalism in my mind is the environment. So focused on quarterly profit margins, capitalism is like a meth addict with an insatiable hunger looking for a hit every second of the day, reason and rationalism about where that drive leaves us tomorrow can never come from the corporate elite because they are part of the problem. The drain on resources our consumer culture (exacerbated by a mass media induced status anxiety neurosis) simply can’t be sustained and we are making the planet violently ill. Like any living organism though, the planet has a set of defenses, disease fighting feed back mechanisms that once breached purify the planet for a few millennia from whatever virus has gotten so out of control it has greedily consumed all natural resources so obscenely and wastefully that it manages to throw out of synch an entire planet.

We seem to have 10 years to change that.

I think people should choose sides now.

Earth could 'flip' into environmental disaster
The Earth is in imminent peril and nothing short of a planetary rescue will save it from the environmental cataclysm of dangerous climate change, six leading scientists say . Writing in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A, the American scientists believe civilisation itself is threatened by global warming. They also implicitly criticise the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for under-estimating the scale of sea-level rises this century as a result of melting glaciers and polar ice sheets. Instead of sea levels rising by about 40 centimetres, as the IPCC predicts in one of its computer forecasts, the scientists say the true rise may be as great as several metres by 2100, which is why Earth today is in "imminent peril".

The 29-page scientific paper, Climate Change and Trace Gases, is the product of James Hansen, the director of Nasa's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, Makiko Sato, Pushker Kharecha, and Gary Russell, also of the Goddard Institute, David Lea of the University of California, Santa Barbara, and Mark Siddall of the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University in New York. They say: "Recent greenhouse gas emissions place the Earth perilously close to dramatic climate change that could run out of control, with great dangers for humans and other creatures." Only intense efforts to curb man-made emissions of CO2 emissions and other greenhouse gases can keep the climate near the range of the past one million years. The unnatural "forcing" of the climate as a result of man-made emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases threatens to generate a "flip" in the climate that could "spark a cataclysm" in the ice sheets of Antarctica and Greenland. Dramatic climatic flips have occurred in the past but none has happened since the development of complex human societies, which are unlikely to survive the same sort of environmental changes if they occurred now.

"Civilisation developed, and constructed extensive infrastructure, during a period of unusual climate stability, the Holocene, now almost 12,000 years in duration. That period is about to end," the scientists say. Humanity cannot afford to burn the Earth's remaining underground reserves of fossil fuel. "To do so would guarantee dramatic climate change, yielding a different planet from the one on which civilisation developed and for which extensive physical infrastructure has been built," they say. Dr Hansen said the world had about 10 years to put into effect the draconian measures needed to curb CO2 emissions quickly enough to avert a dangerous rise in global temperature. Otherwise, the extra heat could trigger the rapid melting of polar ice sheets, made worse by the "albedo flip" - when the sunlight reflected by white ice is suddenly absorbed as ice melts to become the dark surface of open water. The glaciers and ice sheets of Greenland in the northern hemisphere, and the Western Antarctic ice sheet in the south, both show signs of the rapid changes predicted with rising temperatures.

"The albedo flip property of ice/water provides a trigger mechanism. If the trigger mechanism is engaged long enough, multiple dynamical feedbacks will cause ice-sheet collapse," the scientists say. "The required persistence for this trigger mechanism is at most a century, probably less." The study looked back over more than 400,000 years of climate records from deep ice cores and found evidence to suggest that rapid climate change over a period of centuries, or even decades, have in the past occurred once the world began to heat up and ice sheets started melting. However, it is not possible to assess the dangerous level of man-made greenhouse gases.


- INDEPENDENT

18 Comments:

At 21/6/07 12:11 pm, Anonymous richard said...

all the while the forest restoration project that i have been doing for the last three years is threatened with failure for lack of any money or financial support
hmmm
http://ecologicalnz.wordpress.com

if you want to change that ..or know someone who does .

 
At 21/6/07 3:01 pm, Anonymous jr said...

lol yeah the environmental record of the non-capitalist countries was admirable...we have much to learn from them?!!

Let me guess, it was the fact that they had to compete with the nasty capitalists that drove them to devastate their environment..bloody capitalists its all their fault!!

Environmental damage is a human condition, ideology has jack shit to do with it. Thankfully you'll find more traction for your complaints in capitalist democracies than you would elsewhere, so keep shouting, despite the flawed logic you might achieve something.

 
At 21/6/07 3:19 pm, Blogger bomber said...

...
lol yeah the environmental record of the non-capitalist countries was admirable...we have much to learn from them?!!

Only a retard would think I was promoting Communisim or facisim or any other type of ism over and above Capitalisim - I'm just pointing out that they are the WORST offenders - hmmm let's see, America has 5% of the worlds population yet creates 25% of the worlds waste - not difficult to comprehend JR, not difficult

 
At 21/6/07 3:26 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

excellent bomber, this time i like the words rather than the picture, the picture is lousy bomber i can give you picture of love and peace,peterquixote

 
At 21/6/07 5:02 pm, Blogger unaha-closp said...

Like any living organism though, the planet has a set of defenses, disease fighting feed back mechanisms that once breached purify the planet for a few millennia...

Except that the planet is not a living organism. It is a lot of iron and silica floating in space. Those defenses do not exist.

 
At 21/6/07 9:48 pm, Anonymous mr_burrito said...

As the other poster pointed out its not capitalism thats the problem. Communist/quasi-Communist states don't exactly have the best of environmental records do they? The anit-capitalist blah spouted here is puerile and divisive.

If you define capitalism as "an economic system in which investment in and ownership of the means of production, distribution, and exchange of wealth is made and maintained chiefly by private individuals or corporations, esp. as contrasted to cooperatively or state-owned means of wealth."
then for all it faults (unequal distribution of wealth and so on) gives people what they want - a high standard of living, education, healthcare and so on. It also basically mirrors human nature, in so much as it fulfils the need for "betterment" we all have.

And lets face it, the competing systems haven't really turned out too well have they? Thats not to say some paradigm shift couldn't happen and so change human nature and the systems we all live under.

Perhaps global warming is the catalyst, or perhaps not. But it us global problem which requires action now on a global scale. This action ain't going to occur, not because of capitalism, but because humans are bad at forward thinking and love emphasising human differences rather than our common interests.

Humans are just animals, any biological organism left with an infinite amount of food to sustain itself in an enclosed space will eventually end up bloated and killed by its own excrement. This is what is going to happen to the human race in the next couple of hundred years. Millions, probably billions will die - not just in the third world but in NZ/Australia/Europe/the US too.

When this starts to happen it's sink or swim time for the human race - will we have technology to reverse or stem the damage being done? Who knows. But if you care about your childrens children what we should be doing now is not placing blame but at least trying on a personal level to make a bit of a difference - you don't have to live like some wacko anarcho-primitivist, but how about leaving the car at home and walking or cycling somewhere, switching off the TV and computer and reading a book instead, not buying a new pair of sneakers but let ones you already have wear out completely, installing solar panels at home to cut carbon emissions and save money, growing your own veges, not buying food from overseas, speak to people about environmental issues. All simple things - you don't even have to do them 100% of the time. But sitting at your computer writing ill thought out tirades against whatever "-ism" you dislike ain't helping anyone or anything.

 
At 21/6/07 10:07 pm, Anonymous mr_burrito said...

Interesting, two technologies that could help mitagate the effects of climate change are nuclear power and GM crops*. Those two bugbears of the 'environmental' movement and the left/progessive movements. Curiouser and curiouser. Could this be because capitalist/communist, left/right, environmentalist/planet raper are all tentacle of the same beast? What is this beast? Is there even a beast?

Open your eyes and think people.

* my favourite bit of irony is the "GE Free NZ" stickers I see on the back of huge 4x4s around Auckland.

 
At 22/6/07 12:27 am, Blogger Vegas said...

Vegas said,
The greenies 'save the planet' positoning is all wrong. They should make it 'Save yourself' As a dirty ad man I know punters are much more interested in what's in it for them. How about a future for your children. The planet doesnt need saving, never has . It will rock on regardless. Its all the annoying greedy self destructive ignorant little homosapiens that need a hand.

 
At 22/6/07 6:23 am, Blogger bomber said...

Like any living organism though, the planet has a set of defenses, disease fighting feed back mechanisms that once breached purify the planet for a few millennia...

Except that the planet is not a living organism. It is a lot of iron and silica floating in space. Those defenses do not exist.


The Earth isn't a living organism? Really, it isn't an interconnected symbiotic cluster of bio systems with cell and organ like breakdowns? The planet even breathes, but not a living organism - I think that mindset is actually part of the problem (you can treat a non living thing as badly as you like, it doesn't matter). As for your 'those defences do not exist bit' - that's simply not true - or did you not even read the article below the blog unaha-closp? The feedback mechanisms built into the planet ARE defences, once triggered the Planet purges whatever it is that made it sick - look I'm not suggesting for any one second that the planet is conscious, I'm saying it is acting exactly like a biological life form (because it is a biological life form).

 
At 22/6/07 6:41 am, Blogger bomber said...

mr_burrito said...
As the other poster pointed out its not capitalism thats the problem. Communist/quasi-Communist states don't exactly have the best of environmental records do they? The anit-capitalist blah spouted here is puerile and divisive.

If you define capitalism as "an economic system in which investment in and ownership of the means of production, distribution, and exchange of wealth is made and maintained chiefly by private individuals or corporations, esp. as contrasted to cooperatively or state-owned means of wealth."
then for all it faults (unequal distribution of wealth and so on) gives people what they want - a high standard of living, education, healthcare and so on. It also basically mirrors human nature, in so much as it fulfils the need for "betterment" we all have.

And lets face it, the competing systems haven't really turned out too well have they? Thats not to say some paradigm shift couldn't happen and so change human nature and the systems we all live under.

Perhaps global warming is the catalyst, or perhaps not. But it us global problem which requires action now on a global scale. This action ain't going to occur, not because of capitalism, but because humans are bad at forward thinking and love emphasising human differences rather than our common interests.

Humans are just animals, any biological organism left with an infinite amount of food to sustain itself in an enclosed space will eventually end up bloated and killed by its own excrement. This is what is going to happen to the human race in the next couple of hundred years. Millions, probably billions will die - not just in the third world but in NZ/Australia/Europe/the US too.

When this starts to happen it's sink or swim time for the human race - will we have technology to reverse or stem the damage being done? Who knows. But if you care about your childrens children what we should be doing now is not placing blame but at least trying on a personal level to make a bit of a difference - you don't have to live like some wacko anarcho-primitivist, but how about leaving the car at home and walking or cycling somewhere, switching off the TV and computer and reading a book instead, not buying a new pair of sneakers but let ones you already have wear out completely, installing solar panels at home to cut carbon emissions and save money, growing your own veges, not buying food from overseas, speak to people about environmental issues. All simple things - you don't even have to do them 100% of the time. But sitting at your computer writing ill thought out tirades against whatever "-ism" you dislike ain't helping anyone or anything.


Only a retard would think I was promoting Communisim or facisim or any other type of ism over and above Capitalisim - I'm just pointing out that they are the WORST offenders - hmmm let's see, America has 5% of the worlds population yet creates 25% of the worlds waste, - not difficult to comprehend Mr Burrito not difficult. Capitalism allows human nature to go to its most greedy extreme, you refuse to accept that because you defend that system. If we are to make the changes needed to avoid disaster the capitalist system you defend will do all it can to shut down debate, muddy the waters, bully governments into not adopting strict new environmental standards. We see it now and yet you claim pointing it out is, how do you charmingly refer to it mr burrito, "The anit-capitalist blah spouted here is puerile and divisive. The pressure on the corporate expolitation of the planet won't end by asking them nicely.

 
At 22/6/07 7:20 am, Anonymous sdm said...

I am always fascinated byh such posts. I mean I do see your point - the unregulated persuit of profit can lead to environmental damange. When companies are accountable to their shareholders, the motivation to protect the environment ceases to exist.

But JR et al do raise a valid question - whats the alternative. Capitalism allows for choice - consumers can choose products/services that are enviromentally friendly. Take the 'Fair Trade' movement - only buy coffee from non-expoilted workers. Take the GE Free movement - people, given the choice, want to eat GE Free food.

You are right when you suggest bomber that people should choose sides. But I wonder if the choice, instead of being a pro/anti capitalist one, is rather a decision to endorse products/producers who do so in an enviromentally way. If the action of polluting starts to hurt the dividends of the shareholders of certain companies (because less people are buying their products), then (and only then) will you see change.

 
At 22/6/07 12:51 pm, Blogger unaha-closp said...

did you not even read the article below the blog unaha-closp? The feedback mechanisms built into the planet ARE defences, once triggered the Planet purges whatever it is that made it sick...

What the article says is that if the planet heats up a little bit it will heat itself up a lot by 'albedo flipping'. This rapid change will have an effect, probably wipe out a whole lot of plants and critters who largely aren't contributing to the problem. However aside from making it wetter and warmer and speeding up trips to the beach it is not going to effect us much, because we'll adapt our technology to flourish. That is the effect caused by global warming, it is an effect only not a response.

Now if this were a biological organism, purging an infection (us) there would be a specific response (attacking us), but there ain't.



PS - if you are correct, then we got bigger worries than AGW, what happens when 'biological life form' needs to breed (as all biological life does)? Planetary sex - boggles the mind.

 
At 22/6/07 1:27 pm, Blogger bomber said...

...
No - you are living in a different world from me unaha
However aside from making it wetter and warmer and speeding up trips to the beach it is not going to effect us much, because we'll adapt our technology to flourish.
This seems delusional and suggests you didn't read it at all. What happens if the desalination of the oceans results in the shut down of the ocean conveyor current or have you not understood the threat that would bring to the planet? Or if the warming oceans release frozen methane pushing the global temperature above 10degrees within a decade? It is these feedback loops you seem to have misunderstood

That is the effect caused by global warming, it is an effect only not a response.
That's the way you see it right, but I see it as a mechanisim that inhibits anyone organisim from dominatating the host body - a naturally built in rebalancing - now again I'm not making a literal comparison to a conscious living animal, but what I see is a sick biological system that is responding to an effect.

As for planetry sex, comets look like sperm don't they

 
At 22/6/07 9:39 pm, Anonymous mr_burrito said...

Only a retard

Nice, do say that to disabled peoples faces? Or just use it your ad hominem attacks on commenters that you know nothing about?

would think I was promoting Communisim or facisim or any other type of ism over and above Capitalisim - I'm just pointing out that they are the WORST offenders - hmmm let's see, America has 5% of the worlds population yet creates 25% of the worlds waste, - not difficult to comprehend Mr Burrito not difficult.

What 'waste' are you talking about? CO2 emissions? Household waste? China is the biggest producer of greenhouse gases these days isn't it?

I will concede that the population of the US are somewhat wasteful with resources. But that can be fixed with education and legislation.

And what about the other 75% of the worlds waste - I don't see you ranting about that.

Capitalism allows human nature to go to its most greedy extreme, you refuse to accept that because you defend that system.

Pure unadulterated free market capitalism yes. But that is why we have things like international law, trade unions, laws pertaining to corporate responsibilty and so on.

If we are to make the changes needed to avoid disaster the capitalist system you defend will do all it can to shut down debate, muddy the waters, bully governments into not adopting strict new environmental standards.

Capitalism is part of the solution, not just a problem. See the explosion in ethical, organic and free trade goods. If stimulated in the right way capitalism can also be used to incentivise behaviour that is beneficial to the environment - raise tariffs on polluting items for example.

We see it now and yet you claim pointing it out is, how do you charmingly refer to it mr burrito, "The anit-capitalist blah spouted here is puerile and divisive. The pressure on the corporate expolitation of the planet won't end by asking them nicely.

Really, I thought you more intelligent than that Bomber. Newflash - your glorious revolution ain't going to happen. We ALL need to make changes NOW to save the planet and at least give the human race a fighting chance to avoid certain extinction, these changes are best made within the framework we all currently live and which people can relate to. Like my grandmother said "You catch more flies with honey than vinegar", think about it bro.

 
At 25/6/07 4:09 pm, Blogger bomber said...

...
But sitting at your computer writing ill thought out tirades against whatever "-ism" you dislike ain't helping anyone or anything.
Sorry Bro, I didn't see you at the Marsden B protest I broadcast on internet radio last year, the one that helped shut Mrasden B down

 
At 25/6/07 4:32 pm, Blogger bomber said...

...
Only a retard
Nice, do say that to disabled peoples faces? Or just use it your ad hominem attacks on commenters that you know nothing about?

no only retards

would think I was promoting Communisim or facisim or any other type of ism over and above Capitalisim - I'm just pointing out that they are the WORST offenders - hmmm let's see, America has 5% of the worlds population yet creates 25% of the worlds waste, - not difficult to comprehend Mr Burrito not difficult.

What 'waste' are you talking about? CO2 emissions? Household waste? China is the biggest producer of greenhouse gases these days isn't it?
That is correct Burrito, China that communist - oh wait, capitalist with a communist pretense country, has taken over from America, that capitalist state with a democratic pretense much quicker than anyone suggested.

I will concede that the population of the US are somewhat wasteful with resources. But that can be fixed with education and legislation.
Oh you concede that 5% of the population making 25% of the waste is a little on the chin do you - it is because of their consumer cultures and military economic dominace that they can be so greedy, but apparently the system they live under which creates the environment for this abuse has nothing to do with anything right Burrito?

And what about the other 75% of the worlds waste - I don't see you ranting about that.
I love this, that's right Burrito when the richest, wealthiest country in the world won't do a thing to change, how exactly do we enforce the rest of the world to comply Burrito, I don't see you ranting to explain that Burrito?

Capitalism allows human nature to go to its most greedy extreme, you refuse to accept that because you defend that system.
Pure unadulterated free market capitalism yes. But that is why we have things like international law, trade unions, laws pertaining to corporate responsibilty and so on.
Yes Burrito I am aware of that, but those very same systems are dominated by corporate interests, those same corporate interests you seem to be at pains to deny exist in the first place.

If we are to make the changes needed to avoid disaster the capitalist system you defend will do all it can to shut down debate, muddy the waters, bully governments into not adopting strict new environmental standards.
Capitalism is part of the solution, not just a problem. See the explosion in ethical, organic and free trade goods. If stimulated in the right way capitalism can also be used to incentivise behaviour that is beneficial to the environment - raise tariffs on polluting items for example.
That is VERY optimistic and borders on niave, I think some radical action by Governmnets are needed much sooner than your sunshine capitalism.

We see it now and yet you claim pointing it out is, how do you charmingly refer to it mr burrito, "The anit-capitalist blah spouted here is puerile and divisive. The pressure on the corporate expolitation of the planet won't end by asking them nicely.
Really, I thought you more intelligent than that Bomber. Newflash - your glorious revolution ain't going to happen.We ALL need to make changes NOW to save the planet and at least give the human race a fighting chance to avoid certain extinction, these changes are best made within the framework we all currently live and which people can relate to. Like my grandmother said "You catch more flies with honey than vinegar", think about it bro.
I agree we need to make changes now, and what I'm saying is that the system WON'T CHANGE, because the very capitalist forces you are so keen to hold up as the saviour won't change, and the changes we need have to be done now, and what I'm saying is that we can follow Burrito and his sunshine capitalism idea or we demand something much more radical - like I said the choice is there for everyone to make, Burrito wants to ask the corporate pigs who have raped the planet for their greed while selling consumer culture apathy to the masses to nicely stop please, where as I am saying we start looking to force them to change by whatever means possible.

 
At 26/6/07 2:00 am, Anonymous mr_burrito said...

no only retards

Gee. Thanks. Real mature.

I'm not going to go point by point through your responses, because you have shown your obviously aren't thinking about what I write anyway.

I know I'm banging my head against a brick wall, but at least try thinking about this.

My dictionary defines capitalism as:

capitalism; noun; an economic system based on private, rather than state, ownership of businesses, factories, transport services, etc, with free competition and profit-making.

This is a broad but essentially correct definition of capitalism. I'll give you this, in the real world, in 2007, this economic system has become corrupted, corporate interests too influential. I am all in favour of corporate responsibility - I don't think transnational corporations and their officials should be beyond the rule of law, all corporations and individuals should pay a fair amount of tax on what they earn - in the countries they earn that profit in, corporations should be responsible for the natural resources they use and so on. I also think all nations should go back to using standards backed currencies rather than fiat money. A strong and fair government would enact these reforms, the trouble is it can't be done overnight without destroying a nations economy - which is quite a bad thing don't you think?

So things take time, but if people work together, protest about these things, buy what you need from ethical businesses and if international organisations and national governments are purged of self serving careerists and have real mandate for change supplied by the electorate then it could happen little by little. In our lifetimes hopefully.

Having worked in the public/non-profit sector and the business world, let me tell you where I have found the most intelligent, passionate people that care about the environment, their communities and staff. Yes, in the business world - it's not all Gordon Gecko robber-barons you know (though those people do exist).

I fundementally believe capitalism should be reformed and retained as the preeminent global system. Because what is the alternative? Central planning? No reward for working hard? A return to the stone age? The government telling people what they should do and what they are going to earn for doing it?

I want you to outline your alternative system, because seems like you to whine and spout rhetoric about how bad things are because of the nasty capitalists, but I haven't seen any posts from you telling us what things should be like and what we should be doing to get there.

And back on to the environment - it is down to every individual to take responsibility make changes to their personal and professional habits for the benefit of us all. Blaming the US, corporations, unions, aliens or whoever will not change this fundamental truth. Personal responsibility is the beginning and end of all great endevours.

Good day to you.

 
At 26/6/07 6:44 am, Blogger bomber said...

...
Wow, that's all you got hu Burrito? Some bullshit dictionary explanation of captitalism and taht's QED is it Dr Burrito? I'm listening to what you say Bib B, I've heard it for 30 years, first as denial that capitlalism has nothing to do with environmental destruction to these piss weak defences now - and I'm telling you and everyone else who is reading that your approach won't work - I suggest you watch 'The Corporation' documentry for a more balanced insight than you have here Burrito - as for alternatives check out the greenpeace website they have, and have always had, many better alternatives. You are simply too niave for this debate Burrito, tell me when you will change your opinion B, will it be when the weather patterns collapse and 100 million climate refugees are on the march? Will it be when the ocean conveyer shuts down or will it be when the methane releases on mass from the ocean floor? See the weather patterns and the suffering will only get worse and worse Burrito, you gonna be telling all those angry human beings to keep the faith with your capitalism? You think people are going to want to hear 'its not the rich peoples fault or the consumer culture they spread' - we've got 10 years to find out. Don't get me wrong, I'm not in any shape or form suggesting we go to communism or shared lives on a commune - capitalism can be a great engine for creating wealth for a DEMOCRACY to redistribute - but the current system is totally in the favour of the corporations and your inability to see that sinks your own position.

 

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