Laframboise on the Fifth IPCC Report

I’ve noticed that Donna Laframboise is creating a minor spike for incoming traffic of late and it is due to her mundane activities with the 5th IPCC report that she has had an early look at. There isn’t much that I could say that Dana hasn’t already written in his excellent post.

We can put her noise in the correct basket – that is, uncritical, scientifically untrained and overwhelming superficial – and, like I’ve said about the early “sceptics” on the scene, we can take this as great news.

What did she find? Nothing. She doesn’t like that they use grey literature. Donna would be kidding herself if she thought that the validity of the report hinged on this grey literature, rather than that it is like “bonus” information of relevance.

So back to the droning; you can think of the IPCC as a delinquent teenager; someone you wouldn’t take as having much knowledge, so sleep assured they have nothing of compelling evidence supporting just how stupid our activities are in respect to our geo-engineering of the atmosphere.

By the time the report is release, these “sceptics” aren’t going to have much left to say about it!

Stats and Musings: Behind the Scenes of New Anthro

As most bloggers would naturally do, I keep an eye on my stats over time. This allows me to better understand my readership and tailor my work so that it both achieves the purposes of my own goals while merging with what my readers prefer to read.

This only goes so far, obviously. For, if I wanted a higher readership, I’d probably forgo my natural writing style for short, bombastic pop articles, with a couple cute kittens and “memebase” references to boot…

A couple persistent features have stood out to me over the near four years of my writing.

The first of which is that my readership is twice as likely to be from the US than Australia. Unlike many of my counterparts, I don’t actually spend a great deal of energy following the goings-on across the Pacific. My writing is largely about environmental governance and Australian politics. I’m intrigued that, no matter how I break down my stats, it always returns two US hits for every Aussie one.

The second interesting feature – and one that intrigues me more – is that good ol’ Donna Laframboise without fail draws in the crowd. For committed sceptics, she is fairly obscure. Unlike the batty Monckton, Andrew Bolt, Jo Nova and Anthony Watts, she appears (at least to me) nowhere near as prominent. Her arguments are even fairly pathetic – even for denialists.

I mean;

  • Climate scepticism is free speech: Yes, however opinion is no substitute for critical evidence derived by experts. You’re opinion does not deserve equal consideration because it is not equally explored via critical methodology.
    .
  • We can’t predict weather in a month, but we think we can predict climate a century from now:  No we don’t. Apart from the fact that weather isn’t climate (ie. weather is the physically observable noise overlaying a climate signature visible only through statistical analysis) no-one pretends to predict weather or climate accurately. If she had read the IPCC reports as she claims to have done, she would have noted the effort gone to within them to explain certainty. The could also be said about understanding the genuine science behind meteorology rather than just listening to the local news weather presenter.
    .
    Certainty is the point most exploited by the committed sceptic because they don’t understand it. It’s like odds in betting on a sporting event BUT not the result of one blokes guess against the punter, rather the result of a community of highly skilled experts teasing out reality. Rather than a spread, like you have with sports betting, the odds tend to be very close to 1:1 for one idea and the rest 1:1000+. That climate change cannot result from our greenhouse contribution fits into the latter. No punter, who actually read and understood the methodology and uncertainties – or even understood the physical chemistry of greenhouse gases – would make such a stupid bet. Yet, this is exactly the bet the commit sceptic wants us to make.
    .
  • The authors to the IPCC reports had a lot of internal kafuffle and political and advocacy involvement: So…? This is disingenuous. What does it say about the quality of the peer-reviewed literature on which the conclusions are drawn? Not a lot. What about the independent reviews by independent experts who have provided another tier of review, which find it sound? Why are the only people who seriously question the validity of the reports they type who hang out, present and/or a funded by deeply conservative think tanks, like the Heartland Institute and the Institute of Public Affairs and create straw-men, such as Donna’s criticism?
    .
  • Greenpeace are funded by the fossil fuel industry: Um… okay. lol

Donna’s arguments are pretty weak at best and she certainly doesn’t attract the mainstream media like Nova, Bolt, Monckton and Watts so it is intriguing that she rates higher in the New Anthro than her more noisy peers. Hopefully she reads this and her head inflates just a little.

Of course no-one rates as high – no topic at all rates as high – as another person; Gina Rinehart. However, that’s not so interesting really. She is an oddball with oodles of cash – she is entertaining.

Is there a Reasonable Mind in the Debate?

Anyone who engages on the non-debate over such subjects as anthropogenic climate change, evolution and vaccination hears, from “both sides” (I hate the term – but it accurately portrays such events for what they are; sport for entertainment) the assertion “reasonable mind” or “rational mind”.

Everyone insists they have reached their conclusions by reasonably and rationally reviewing the available data. The obvious flaw here is that some sort of debate persists, so someone must have reached their conclusions less reasonably and less rationally.

So what is it to be reasonably minded?

The Jo Nova’s of the world would insist they are being reasonably minded because they ask questions. The Donna Laframboise’s would think so because they employ free speech on the subject of committed scepticism. Of course, asking questions is not enough, nor is receiving the answers, as I’ve written with Jo Nova’s obvious lack of understanding of science. Likewise one can dispel the free speech argument by simply referring the Westboro Baptist Church (having an opinion and voicing that opinion doesn’t make that opinion sound or, in many cases, even ethical), but I’ve done a lot more on that subject in this piece and the referenced links.

Perhaps, as I hear often, it’s about being open-minded. Maybe I’m close-minded to what might possibly be true…

This sounds appealing and indeed logical. Science after all proceeds by great minds thinking, “what if…” and testing outside of the box. Are we right to thus reject anything, because, for all we know, it might possibly be true.

This is a favourite of the religiously bent individual which allows for the god-of-gaps. It fails, again, to understand the science method. We need to make three simple assumptions; 1) we exist, 2) the universe is bound by certain rules/laws, and 3) we can learn about the universe by discovering these rules/laws.

With this in mind, no-one can seriously suggest that, perhaps the Earth is really flat or that gravity isn’t really a constant law of attraction (ie. changing unpredictably). It’s not close minded to reject such hypotheses without wasting time on investigating them in depth (and at great expense), but reasonably minded to accept that the body of work is largely done and dusted on these matters and, if anything, it’s in a stage of fine turning (eg. the Earth isn’t a perfect globe, but more pear shaped and there is still a lot of work in understanding the force of gravity).

We also know about the misadventures of Mr. Credulous.

The great appeal for others to be reasonably/rationally minded quickly becomes, with only a general review, a complex matter from this perspective.

However, I don’t really think such appeals are anything about a methodical and critical review process, as the ego of such people suggests it is, but rather one hooked on personal values which filter acceptable data.

Listening to such discussions, it’s clear that the “debate” is really one over where the individual deems the appropriate height for the bar of possibility. A creationist, to render their ideology plausible, requires the bar to be set low, for instance, appealing to the mentioned “all things are possible” mantra. A committed climate sceptic probably has the bar a little higher – sensible on most subjects but low enough so that if they cannot understand the science in its entirety and if there isn’t universal agreement on every little detail, well then the jury is out on the subject and we can get on with business as usual. Even higher still perhaps (but unlikely from my experience) could be the bar for the anti-vax individual; it needs to be low enough just so that hear-say and YouTube videos render their objections sensible.

If others refuse to set the bar at the required height, they must be closed minded, not (what is really the case) that the quality of the data isn’t of the quality required to make the bar.

A lot of what my writing these few years has been on addressing these short comings. The links provided above to posts on the likes of Jo Nova and Donna Laframboise are about me looking at their claims and the “ergo…” conclusions drawn and finding the original position either false or irrelevant, which strips away the foundations to their conclusions.

It’s an unpopular approach because it doesn’t engage – for the blood thirsty trolls – but only exposes genuine shortcomings. It also taps into personal values which is most easily ignored by characterising me as close minded.

So what is it, in my opinion, to be reasonably/rationally minded?

First and foremost, it requires one to understand critical review and investigation. One needs to understand the scientific method and review the actual study articles, perhaps some of their underpinning studies as well as relevant review papers. It’s not glamorous nor is it as easy as reading a post on WUWT or Jo Nova and parroting that off anywhere that will let you.

Secondly, one needs to remove emotional ties to desired conclusions. By doing so, one is often more easily able to take the next step and change one’s mind after critical review of the available data. Two personal examples I offer are my views regarding invasive species and religion (separate, below).

Many of the debates we encounter are nothing more than emotionally fuelled beliefs in how the world ought to be – or is perceived to be doing us harm. God loves us. Hidden bankers are out to take over the world. The “environmental movement” is nothing more than a thinly veiled socialism uprising. Governments are always trying to find ways to undermine rights of the individual. Reasonable parental love and care coerced  into illogical fears propagated by anger/upset individuals whom have latched on to anything rather than the truth (ie. “we’re just starting to understand autism, but it shows no relationship to vaccination”) message of science.

In each and every debate we encounter on such topics, we find such beliefs entwined intimately with them. For instance, no committed climate sceptic has discussed the validity of their conclusions without including conspiracies involving the government, secret agents or devious scientists (all without a shred of evidence). Why is that? It’s because their argument cannot be justified or explained without such conspiracies. There’s no point for it.

Remember this the next time you find yourself in such a debate. You cannot win, nor are you likely to alter the position of the other – you both are likely to have the bar set at a different height. Who is really reasonable and rational? That’s open to later reflection.

Just save yourself the effort, as you would on a troll insisting on a flat earth.

________

In the case of the former, I chose my degree (and hoped-for career path) based around a deep love for the environment through which I hiked and explored. I have come to understand that it is not always feasible – indeed sometimes impossible – to remove invasive species and in a few cases, such species provide valuable services to the surrounding ecosystem. In the latter case, I was raised a Lutheran. In my teenage years, I began to question the validity of the stories I had grown up with. I started to discover how the fundamental points of the doctrine (most notably, the book of Genesis) just didn’t match the facts known about the world, thus muting the rest of the doctrine. I also discovered vast amounts of the good book, that had previously been overlooked in Sunday school etc, to be immoral. After researching a number of other faiths, I had to conclude that none represented any verifiable truth. I became a non-theist (not an Atheist, who I see to hold a religious stance, albeit negative; my position is more like zero – it’s a nonissue) which had many of its own hurdles to overcome (ie. rationalising death, morality, meaning etc).

 

 

 

History Deniers Vs. AGW Deniers

Sometimes you just know. It’s not luck or coincidence – you just know.

I had a moment like that this evening, when I mused over history-deniers, such as the hard workers of Answers in Genesis (only a couple weeks ago I actually stumbled upon the files for a site I created around a decade ago in which l responded to AiG as I do today with AGW denial, but like I’m currently finding with AGW denial, I grew bored of that nonsense as well). I had a thought. I wondered if, like this veteran group of reality deniers, do AGW deniers rely on the same obvious tactics? The first of which came to mind was Donna Laframboise’s handful of ‘smart people who beg to differ on global warming‘.

And would you know it? Not five minutes of investigation led to AiG’s list, ‘Some modern scientists who have accepted the biblical account of creation‘.

I make no apologies when I say that I don’t care what a person’s credential are – unless they’ve provided their criticism of the relevant theory up to peer-review and it’s been reviewed by the scientists activity working in the field, it’s simply not valid scepticism, but merely personal belief.

While flipping through the pages of wisdom, I stumbled upon Creationwise Comics, which bared a number of similarities to another AGW denier who also feels that scientists and those who accept the science without necessarily knowing the finer details of that field (as anyone of us are on a number of scientific topics), are deluded, arrogant, ignorant and ultimately leading us to our own destruction under the guise of reason.

Remind anyone else of Nova’s work?

And I cannot count the number of deniers whom have said, “I use to believe AGW was true, but now I don’t…”

Surely, in this example, the ‘biblical creation’ could be Monckton’s One World Government (run by the UN) and Intelligent Design the fringing papers that question climate sensitivity.

There is no doubt that the history deniers are the true legions of refuting reason. They also serve as a good reminder that when someone wants to believe something strong enough absolutely nothing anyone can possibly do could alter their perception. That elegant and well informed public speakers, such as Dawkins, have in some respects been unsuccessful in reaching certain communities should be a reminder to us all; not everyone is reasonable.

I might invest some time in cross-denial investigation – more to demonstrate to the reasonable that actively engaging such people is not always a wise option, but rather time wasting and ultimately disheartening. The reasonable are generally on board and now we should focus on genuine action and personal initiative – leaving the Jones effect to gravitate the less open-minded to an innovative, prosperous and positively modern outlook.

A Year and 200 Posts Later!

I hadn’t realised it until just now, but a year ago yesterday – the 12th of January – I published my first post on the MothIncarnate blog;

Business as Usual; The Dead Horse and Juggernaut of Climate Change.

At the same time, this is also post number 200!

I can’t say that I’m overwhelmingly happy with my progress. I’ve managed to have a little over 10, 000 visits in the previous year, or an average of 30 per day (although whilst working on the Innovation is Key project, I had the bulk of my visits – the best day of which reached 170 visits, thereby skewing the actually visits per day by a fair amount).

I actually started out this blog assuming that most people were beyond doubt over Anthropogenic Global Warming and I hoped to reinforce this by discussing related issues… However, I found myself being sucked into the public AGW debate like so many others.

After a year engulfed in that dog fight I can safely make the following points;

  • it will not stop until climate gives it us an undeniable kick in the arse (maintaining a debate, btw, doesn’t mean that there is valid uncertainty in the reality of AGW),
  • it is such an entrenched, pointless battle that no matter how much more certain we are following new evidence that is increasingly available, positions cannot be changed,
  • only one journalist is required to dismantle the work completed by hundreds of scientists,
  • it is more about a love-to-hate than the topic itself.

Anyway, I wish that I had done more Warm Fuzzy Forecast and Business As Usual 2.0 comics over 2010 than I had, but somehow the topic itself and the needless debate drained much of my motivation. With any luck, my new angle and contribution to the new blog under construction by Mike and myself should provide a new positive spin that should feed also into my comics.

Therefore you can expect much more enthusiasm regarding the natural world and how our species interacts with it, because that is the forgotten angle on all things environmentally related – optimism. In what can only be compared to school yard childishness, pro-business-as-usual individuals have worked hard to bring down anyone who thinks differently. Look at, for instance, the deplorable ridicule of David Suzuki by loathsome characters such as Laframboise. Think back to any blog in which you’ve tried to comment on the positive possibilities that face an innovative future or on the worrisome state of any environmental issue where you face such ridicule.

This is the best tool they’ve got; pessimism. I won’t stand for it any more nor will I entertain it. I have but this short life and I plan to do what I can so as my grandchild can be left a world that is as full of wonder as that I knew – those who scoff can do so elsewhere.

Blinding Reason Through Confirmation Bias

If you note an unusual, or at least unexplained phenomena in nature, you may suggest how it operates. This, as most people would know, is a hypothesis. In previous eras, this was as far as the process had to go and if the hypothesis came from an authority, it is likely to be considered unquestionable.

The many Gods, past and present that gave meaning to complex processes, such as the weather, seasons, birth and illness were part of such thinking. Countless humans and other animals have been slaughtered in response – as a remedy for the detrimental effects of such complex processes. The four humours of ancient medicine (still widely accepted until around a century and half ago) tried to keep the “four fluids of the body” in balance in a world unaware of sanitation. Consuming certain parts of the body of other animals was thought  (and still is in some cultures) to work wonders; from impotence (think the thick chunk of hair that makes the Rhino’s horn) to superhuman strength (the heart of any given large carnivore). The smoke from burning certain plant matter or the sound made by ringing certain bells keep evil spirits and bad luck away.

This is now called “ancient wisdom” in some corners, but by and large is the result of a time when we had to guess our way through existence. If such guessing ever worked, or was thought to have worked, even once in a hundred occasions, it was considered a success (ie. since I’ve owned my coffee mug, I’ve had no major misfortune – therefore it must keep bad spirits away).

This is a form of confirmation bias.

Fortunately we have developed methodology that allows us to go beyond the hypothesis and draw conclusions with greater confidence. This is the methodology behind modern science.

In short, once someone has a hypothesis, they try to disprove it. By removing all other possible influences, they run a series of experiments to test the hypothetical conclusions. If by this form of elimination, the hypothesis looks to be the only possible correct answer, it is submitted to the scientific community, through peer-review literature, thoroughly explaining every step taken so others can replicate, not only to test the  assumptions and results, but also to test the methods (it must also be noted that null results are also important as it lets us know that a certain possibility is disproven).

There are always uncertainties and unknowns. If there were no uncertainties and unknowns, there would be no need for the tools of scientific investigation because everything would already be known. Confidence is the heart of scientific understanding, not belief (as it’s understood and applied in the real world). A scientist will make assumptions based on mounting evidence and as more of this accumulated data comes to light and tends to point in the same direction, the scientist will have greater confidence in the assumption. Any study that attempts to pass flawed methodology under the radar cannot hold up to the scrutiny of peer-review.

Likewise, if a study tries to rely on bias data (such as the claim by some climate deniers that scientists “cook the books”), it will stand as an outlier – a study that cannot be backed up or confirmed because no other study can repeat the results. There is little doubt that this occurs, but in the end it is counter-productive, even to the researchers involved. One study, or one research group does little to provide confidence of a hypothesis – it takes many independent sources of evidence to strengthen our confidence in a conclusion.

It could be suggest that some such studies are designed only to create confusion and unmerited doubt, however, as stated above, a scientist will look for patterns across independent sources of evidence for confidence – such outlier studies designed to create confusion do so in the public and political arena.

Scientific methodology is opposite to confirmation bias. It refuses to accept a conclusion solely when the data supports it, but rather when little to no data seems to challenge the hypothesis.

Andrew Bolt, rejecting the potential importance of a species based on an assumed lack of importance of another is an example of confirmation bias (and one that begins with a fallacy), regardless of the available ecological data that states otherwise.

That Donna Laframboise rejects the bulk of climate science because an engineer, author, elderly physicist and a comedian also do and because we cannot make long term weather predictions is a simple straw man argument. It’s does not  even rely  on  outlier studies or make fair comparisons but still concretes her held belief, regardless of the mountain of contrary evidence. See more here.

There are also those who exaggerate uncertainty. They like to claim that the “Hockey Stick is broken, therefore climate change is false” (similar to creationists claiming the fossil record isn’t complete, therefore evolution is false), or they try to talk about climate sensitivity (of which there is some uncertainty still within the scientific community, but the best indications seem to suggest a positive value for increasing CO2) or past climate events, which are clearly not directly translatable to our current climate.

Much of the noise that we hear against science by so called “sceptics” is of this nature. They do not try to question what is clear and obvious, but instead attack the weakest part of our understanding – that which is at the forefront – to assist obscurity.

If reason was an Ankylosaurus, which grew larger, with more inertia, as it walked forward, doubt, based on ideological confirmation bias, attempts to poke out the eyes – scientific investigation – to subdue the creature.

 

Illustration of Ankylosaurus

I’ve recently looked into why climate science is not a religion, in fact quite the opposite. I’ve also looked into why being concerned about potential climate change is not based on alarmism. In both cases, I’ve demonstrated that people whom make such claims do so hypocritically, for it is their foundation that is rooted in ideology and alarmism.

Here, I’ve tried to extend the reasoning to cover another anti-science claim; that there are other ways of knowing that are equally valid. The notion that science is arrogant is just absurd – it is simply confident because of the available evidence. The opponents to this, as stated above, do not supply a challenge to the reasoning, but only a scrap of evidence or unfair comparisons that fit what they would like to think – or like you to think.

Modern scientific methodology has radically changed humanity over the past few hundred years and made existence fair more enjoyable and safe for our species (regardless of what some might think of “ancient wisdom”). It is now telling us that our actions are becoming a significant pressure on other biological and physical processes that is leading to degradation. It isn’t a comfortable realisation, however it is the reality. It is also providing some of the answers as to how we can change our behaviour for the benefit of all life, including our own. By encouraging science, we will have even more answers over time.

Blinding the beast of reason will just send us into a ditch that we are unlikely to get ourselves out of.

The Smoke and Mirrors of Laframboise’s attack on David Suzuki

Journalism is, more than anything, opinion – something that needs not be entirely true, simply to stir the emotional responses of the reader to further push an agenda. As such, less than a week ago, Donna Laframboise produced an article, David Suzuki’s five kids, to paint the man and his life’s work as being riddled with hypocrisy to further undermine well founded environmental concern. Much of her work is of this red herring nature, which I’ve commented on many times previously (see the link below).

Firstly, her major argument focuses on his criticism of population growth, whilst fathering five children. I agree somewhat that large families should be discourage against, however, I also share the nightmare image portrayed in the appalling movie, Idiocracy. Until proper policies are created to limit population, it is not useful for a small few to take such measures personally. No, anyone clever enough to see that “endless growth” is fundamentally incompatible on a non-growing world should instead be making noise about changing our practices to others that are more sustainable.

On another note, I know that at least one of his children, Severn Cullis-Suzuki, has been an excellent environmental ambassador, who has done far more for ecology than  the anti-science propaganda found on Donnas blog, so I am personally happy that he has had numerous children.

The other point Donna makes is clearly a smoke and mirror act. Here, she quotes David quoting Lester Brown;

Rapid population growth is beginning to overwhelm local life support systems [in Southeast Asia, Africa and Latin America], leading to ecological deterioration and declining living standards. Population growth and falling incomes are reinforcing each other. [Bold added by Donna Laframboise’s]

Note first that she slips “ecological deterioration” by with disregard here. She goes on from this point to talk about just how much the standard of living has increased in Asia based with up-to-date reporting.

Let me first use a smaller scale example;

A family has a plot of land, with a small lake, understory that supports grains and insects that in turn supports 10 chickens , a vegetable patch and a number of fruiting trees which provide a canopy. The mother gives birth to triplets, which, with the other children and the parents now means seven mouths to feed.

The bloke next door is building a new shed and would pay well for the wood from the family’s plot. So the father cuts down the trees, sells the wood the the neighbour and breathes a sigh of relief.

The money from the wood runs low within six months. The father had planned to plant seeds from the fruit so that in a few years he would again have some fruit, yet, for reasons unknown he continued to procrastinate in doing so (even though common sense was screaming at him). However, it would’ve been an expensive, if not useless effort anyway.

Without the tree cover, the understory was exposed to too much light and heat. The insects moved on and the plants dried up and without the ground cover, the top soil blew away – enough of the organic material settled into the lake, leading it to stagnation.

If you don’t think this kind of scenario occurs, read this interest article that I stumbled upon (it’s written by none-other than Lester Brown, who Donna disregards as a “perpetual pessimist”, yet it’s more accurate than anything she’s ever written  on the environment).  The process is called desertification and although the story is not entirely the same across scales, the basics are transferable enough.

What Donna offers in response to David is equivalent to the father’s sigh of relief. It’s not the whole story and that she openly ignored “ecological deterioration” seems to me to be an obvious sign that she is well aware of this.

Earlier this year, Giam et al., published a study where they looked a wide range of threats to existing biodiversity at the country-level. They not only included direct human and environmental treats, such as landscape use change and climate change, but also political treats, such as governance and poverty.

Long story short, they produced the following diagrams.

 

 

Countries conservation needs categorised, coupled with wealth in (A) and governance quality in (B)

 

Another article, that I commented on last week looked at water security on a global scale in much the same way. Here, Vörösmarty et al (2010) produced this diagram.

 

Fresh water security threat to both human activity and biodiversity

 

So, regardless of recent improvements to the standard of living in developing nations, in both cases, there is are still major threats to biodiversity and fresh water resources in the coming decades to much of Asia, Africa and Latin America, as well as many other places.

Donna simply waves a pretty penny in the face of her readership and hopes that they don’t notice the growing dust storm over her shoulder. I’d even go as far as to suggest that she is aware of the illusionary act that she’s carrying out.

No-one is perfect, that much is clear. What is also clear is that we are degrading the environment and having an impact on climate. David fathering five children doesn’t change this fact. The improved standard of living in developing nations doesn’t alter the fact that this wealth comes from unsustainable reaping of environments. Taking Donnas opinion over the evidence is simply insanity – she is certainly content with the irrational pressures that we inflict on a degrading world and would prefer the rest of us to sit idle and watch her magic act.

For more on Donna Laframboise, see Donna Laframboise and Cloud screaming

The Freeway of Unacceptable Risk

A dreary Friday morning. The speed limit on the Mount Barker freeway, city bound direction, are reduce, although no-one around me seems to have noticed. Suddenly, around the next bend, traffic has come to a near standstill and those around me test their breaks suddenly.

For the next 10kms, we move an average of 20km/h. The reason; a two car collision on the lower side of the tunnel. On the uphill side of the road, one lane has also been made useless, so as a fire truck can park while an assessment of the scene can be made. Luckily, in this situation, no-one seems to have been severely injured. I’ve often said, “from driver to idiot: just add water!”

However, this is not the entire case. It seems almost as likely that a crash can occur in dry conditions. What we have on the freeway is a perfect example of one of the major dysfunctions of society that ultimately makes life worse for everyone else.

The reckless speeding, shoving into partial gaps and tail-gating are only too frequent on the freeway.  It’s a ridiculous combination of arrogance and ignorance. Even while we’re all reduced to a snails pace, some bozos sneak down the closed lane as long as possible, to jump the cue. Self-importance prevailing.

In a better world, each of us would have well maintained vehicles, adhere to the speed limits and keep safe braking distances between us and the car in front (in a perfect world, the need for a personal vehicle would be greatly reduced by Transit/Pedestrian Orientated Developments). We would all get to where we’re going with greatly reduced personal risk and tardiness.

However, in the real world, we accept far too much abuse of reasonable policies, designed to make life better for all, in the name of the individual.

I’m late / in a hurry!”

“It’s my money and my car, why should I get the car serviced?”

Me Me Me: another fatality.

We wouldn’t shove our way through a crowded mall, even if it got us to our destination sooner, because we are made more accountable for our actions. Yet, behind the wheel of a 1.5ton heap of metal, hurtling down the road at 120km/h, many of us feel sufficiently removed enough to become selfish. One persons act of arrogant, self-importance / bravado, raises the likelihood of negatively effecting the lives of countless others around them.

Fear of being late for work could very likely lead to being absent from work for yourself and others while making many hundreds of others late at the same time. It also raises the risk of fatality, altering the lives of many others forever.

Yet, why am I saying this? It’s all so perfectly simple that it shouldn’t need to be explained. I witnessed another needless collision this morning and am no stranger to having another vehicle less than 2m behind my own whilst travelling at 110km/h. I know that my life may not be worth much to them, but it means a great deal to me. For that reason, I’m not one to risk my own life, but are subjected to risk because of the thoughtless actions of others.

The reason I raise this point on my blog is because it seems to fit hand-in-hand with the unreasonable objection to environmental management. We often hear that, “greenies are trying to take the rights away from the individual.”

This is of course, complete nonsense. Arguing that it’s silly to exploit that land, fish communities, ground water or forests as quickly as possible, to make cash quick and, “boost the economy”, is nothing more than suggesting that we should abide by the road rules, so we all get to work on time, with lower risk of mortality. Grabbing it all up, as quickly as we can right now, will lead to unrecoverable environments that are of no worth to future generations. Working with the land, rather than forcing it into submission leads to a resource that continues, year after year, to provide valuable returns. It also provides environments that are healthier and more enjoyable.

While I crept past the two ruined vehicles, police, fire and ambulance vehicles and the relating people, I couldn’t help but feel that their scene was a metaphor to the future that creators of hot air, such as Christopher Monckton, Donna Laframoise, Jo Nova, Andrew Bolt, Anthony Watts and many others would lead us to. They argue that the scientific evidence threatens your freedom; your rights. You have, they tend to say, the right to go as hard and fast as you want. Just as with the evidence behind roadway safety, the science holds up compelling evidence to suggest that the risk is simply too great – and also there’s already an unacceptable rate of roadkill because of our driving (ie. extinction and habitat loss rates).

By not servicing and improving the car, not abiding by suggestions of what is acceptable and unacceptable risks, all in the name of self-importance, in getting to work a mere 3mins earlier, we’re simply asking for a crash. Who the hell would want to be responsible for that?