Planning Prosperity: Meeting a Changing World

Yesterday, whilst on a tea-break, a work mate and I got talking about this blog. He eventually asked if climate change was all wrote about (if it all seems surprising that those I spend my working hours around, who also work on many related topics, are unaware of the many thousands of words I poured into the Moth Incarnate blog, I can safely admit that of my readership, none of the regulars are related or even close friends of mine – my fiancée too hasn’t even read a single word of this blog). His question got me thinking – indeed, I never really wanted to develop a blog devoted to the science of climate change, rather one focused on practical measures as how we can alter our activities in a way that better works with the environment rather the business-as-usual approach of trying to modify the environment to suit us. As a changing climate and energy availability will inevitably play a role in developing an increasingly sustainable society, it was imperative to discuss both – which opened up a political can of worms, sending me on an unforeseen tangent. However, at best, this ridiculous “climate debate” is nothing but a distraction – something I was as sure of on the outset of creating this blog as I am today.

It really is irrelevant what is causing climate change – it is happening and requires policies to ensure species protection as well as food and water security. We need to meet the changing world with informed decision making.

It really is irrelevant when exactly any of the fossil fuels will head down the negative slope of depletion – we are too reliant on this cheap fuel, which is causing damage to the environment (from extraction, residue loss – spillage, station run-off etc, ocean acidification and very much likely through assisting climate change) and a human society without the various fossil fuels will be one radically different to that we know of today. Without making the steps early, it will be a painful and expensive rebirth of human activity.

In all, we’re riding the unsustainable wave that can best be called; The Quick, the cheap and the nasty.

It’s ludicrous how many people waste countless hours yelling over the shape of the “hockey-stick” or over bubbles in ice cores – how many of these people have even seen an ice core up close? Having worked as a scientist within a political arena and under NATA protocol, I understand how many of the relevant experts feel – especially when their hard work hits this political tide. I have no doubt that the scientific basis is compelling (I’ve provided an extensive list of scientific papers to my argument, rather than basing it on government reports), but as soon as the political fog sets in…

We’ve enjoyed a prosperous half century, and before anyone tries to remind me of the various wars and market crashes of the twentieth century and early twenty first century, in short, most of that was due to cheap abundant energy fuelling greed. We have had more than a century and a half of war fear fuelling technological growth – so much so that I don’t think that most can find any other reason to encourage further development, except I suppose, for disease prevention and cure (which is a type of war in itself). Even the cold war saw men land on the Moon – something we haven’t done since.

The conspiracy theories that have followed climate change realisation are probably the result of the culture of the past five or six generations; the fear of war, endless propaganda, economic crashes and an increasingly wealthy middle class being ripped off from which ever way they look. Like toothpaste brainwashing nonsense, UN-phobia and a Green World Order fuel a paranoid and caffeine addicted west, while parts of the east fall back on dogmatic reasons to hate in this strange war-torn world.

Ultimately it’s clear that accurate information does not support the Information Age. As always, opinion is the final word – constantly in lieu of any evidence – but now, we all have a soap box and can pit our creative talents against one another. Maybe it’s really the Age of the Soap Box?

Where am I heading through all this meandering of thought?

…you made be asking. This is what I found myself thinking following the tea-break.

You could explain to a man that how he does a certain job is killing him (or depleting the land he grows crops from), to which he’ll brush off and continue the job the way his father had taught him. You could suggest that if the job was changed in a certain way, it could be improved upon, to which he’ll probably disregard as unnecessary or too expensive, or he might simply hold onto some form of baseless scepticism. Even if you demonstrated alongside him, the improved method, proving the benefits, you may not stir anything but resentment from him. However, his offspring are likely to get the hint.

I know that the bulk of my readership (all those who have made themselves known to me) are intelligent people, many are of a professional field and some also maintain their own blogs. It seems to me that there is no shortage of accurate information (more so the blogosphere than pop-media I must admit), but we seem stuck mainly in the first, and perhaps the second, scenarios of the above situation. I know that many have previously argued that changes will come from the more entrepreneurial individuals/companies, rather than through governance, as I have myself – this is the heart of the third scenario, and something that has been the very essence of my drive in writing on this blog excessively. I’m not so interested in complaining how wrong human activity is, but instead I’m driven to explain just how amazing, as well as important, the natural world is and to ask the tough questions regarding how we can better balance our actions with natural systems, however, reasoning argues that you make the importance of change clear – something I hope I’ve done.

In this way, we will still face objection, but those with far reaching vision should jump on board. Once the benefits are demonstrated, it is likely that the more reasonable, but cautious, people will also adopt improved methods. Of course the deeply entrenched will most likely remain that way until their dying day. That cannot be helped, nor can the ramifications to culture from more than a century of fear. As an example, Henry discusses a situation of hate feeding hate – it’s not too difficult to see that everyone loses if this state is encouraged. The problems facing this century runs deeper than just meeting climate change and energy availability, however, the same method of approach is required if we can fundamentally improve life for not only our own species, but the majority of ecosystems.

A pessimistic message will not help, nor will allowing misinformation and hate to take the central stage. A while ago, I suggested a second series to discuss and develop ideas for societies beyond carbon. Stewart was probably correct in suggesting that is was too ambitious in its approach. A few years ago, I submitted a proposal to the Department of Premier and Cabinet for an initiative for a collaboration between government, the private sector and young professionals which aimed at building greater transfers of idea and future planning. Obviously that didn’t fly either. However, I still see the potential within all this and hope to focus more energy in this direction because, as I see it, the only way forward is based on not only good ideas, but individuals willing to try something knew.

2 thoughts on “Planning Prosperity: Meeting a Changing World

  1. One thing always to bear in mind that new ideas needn’t be startling or revolutionary. Landcare groups and other local organisations come to mind here. Last year I took my mother on a trip back to the mid North and Southern Flinders, the area where my father’s family had farmed and lived.

    She’d not been there for 40ish years. Everything was nice and springtime green. She was *amazed* at how many trees we could see around us – not near Spalding of course , but further north between Peterborough and Orroroo. (Spalding could be called Balding, there are a couple of spots in that area where you can see no trees in any direction from the road.) She remembers that northern part as being totally treeless during the 15 years she visited regularly.

    Small, local, incremental improvements have a cumulative impact. Remember when Canberra was first built, the summer was unbearable as you’d expect in the middle of a desert plain that had been skun of its natural cover. They just kept planting trees and more trees . The winters are fairly pitiless, but the skiers like it. But summer is fairly amenable now.

    Just like climate change in the wrong direction, really.

    And did you see this! Very encouraging for anyone interested in ameliorating local climates.


    1. I guess that’s one of the reasons why “global warming” is not really used in climate science so much nowadays – sure the temperature anomaly is in the positive, but climate is changing rather than warming universally. For instance, night temperature increase is greater than days.
      But you’re right – “The Jone’s Effect” could potentially have more impact than governance. This will occur within private ventures I suspect. Many farmers and private renewable energy ventures are good examples of this – they need more coverage.
      That article is very interesting! I’d love to do a PhD there.. if I were able to – certainly an interesting experiment. One thing with that article however; Mars will never be suitable for terra-forming – the atmosphere is too thin (even if converted to being breathable) and there isn’t the protective magnetic shield as like with Earth. That said, how wonderful is it as an example of how vegetation alters local climate? 🙂


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