Tag Archives: Climate change

Elites, the ABC, & hyena vomit.

30 Nov

 

hyena

 

It was with some disbelief that I watched ABC TV coverage of One Nation leader Pauline Hanson’s quick trip to the Great Barrier Reef last week.

Accompanied by that renowned and reasoning mind, Malcolm Roberts, Hanson’s trip was designed to *prove* that claims of coral bleaching are highly exaggerated, stupid. Look: it’s perfectly fine.

The two senators’ (yes, they are senators in our government and we laugh at the US for Trump) claims are based on Hanson ripping out a few stems of healthy coral and waving them triumphantly at the slavering cameras. That she was diving some thousand kilometres south of where the most serious bleaching occurs hardly seemed to matter.

However, the point of this post is not to argue against gross stupidity, always a thankless task. Gross stupidity should be ignored, in my opinion, as it will not respond to anything that does not wholly support its position. You cannot change grossly stupid people. You may well interpret this as an elitist comment, and I don’t fucking care. By my definition intelligence requires a capacity to listen, weigh evidence, and if necessary be capable of change. It is enabled and enhanced by education, but has nothing at all to do with higher degrees. One of the most grossly stupid people I’ve ever met sailed through university at the age of sixteen.

In our current zeitgeist anyone possessed of a modicum of smarts is verbally abused, even by our millionaire Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull (see, money doesn’t make you elite either, apparently) as being elite. Unless of course you’re a sportsperson, when being elite is a good thing. For the rest of us, the PM, following Donald Trump, has redefined the meaning of *elite* to describe anyone who doesn’t agree with him.

Be that as it may, what I want to know is, what were the ABC’s motives in giving this pathetic piece of theatrical trash a whole swag of time on the 7.30 Report? Reason tells me the show is watched largely by *elites* who will become enraged and complain, turn off the telly, bang their heads on the coffee table in frustrated despair before turning off the telly, or, if they have a gun, shoot out their screens which would have been my preferred method of dealing with yet another inundation of grossly stupid, unchallenged, bereft of facts and reason hyena vomit. Except I don’t have a gun.

I think I have a partial answer to my own question. The master plan is to make the ABC intolerable for anyone who does not agree with the government and other lunatics. Then it will be entirely co-opted as an arm of government propaganda, which it very nearly is. I am convinced of this after the recent removal of absolutely ace broadcaster Jonathan Green from Sunday mornings, along with the most original voice in media, First Dog on the Moon. To be replaced by the utterly colourless, utterly boring, utterly talentless but CONSERVATIVE, Tom Switzer.

How is it that conservatives, neo liberals and fascists are so astoundingly humourless and bereft of creativity? Rhetorical question.

Obviously, what is required here is a moneyed elite or elites who are prepared to fund alternative media that will contest the mind destroying drivel now served up nightly by the ABC. A home for the talent the LNP government is, like all good fascists, doing its best to silence. I do not believe in gods, but I am praying for this outcome.

In the meantime, we should all unceasingly point out to whoever will listen  that fact-less hyena vomit is not *balance*, or anything like *balance.* It is fact-less hyena vomit. It is making this country exceedingly dumb. And there is nothing fascists like more than a dumbed down population over whom they have absolute control.

By the way, here’s the latest on the coral bleaching. Not from hyenas.

 

 

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Climate change: what is “the greatest moral challenge?”

4 Feb

Last weekend’s storm was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced which means nothing, other than I haven’t been in violent weather events before.

Some years ago all my children and grandchildren went missing for five days in Hurricane Wilma. They were in Cancun, Mexico at the time the category four storm struck.  For a long time afterwards my granddaughter trembled whenever the wind rose.  The high-pitched whine of a violent wind, and the emotions it provokes in sentient beings, is hard to delete from the memory.

In what seems to me a rare example of synchronicity, I happened to be at the top of Tamborine Mountain and reading Barbara Kingsolver’s Flight Behaviours, at the time the Queensland storms struck.  The wind whined its whine in merciless gusts, the ferocity of which were alarming. Six adults, five dogs, six chickens in the bathtub, and one baby, we huddled by candlelight in a house on the edge of an escarpment while trees fell and water belted at the windows. This was a long way out of my comfort zone. At bedtime I read Kingsolver with a torch, wearing earplugs. What I couldn’t hear wouldn’t frighten me, I reasoned.

 

 Flight Behaviour is one of several recent novels that take as their theme the issue of climate change. Kingsolver is an intelligent, powerfully imaginative writer whose every book I’ve treasured, and she’s a biologist as well. The narrative is built around episodes of violent storm activity in a Mexican town that causes its resident population of Monarch butterflies to abandon the flight behaviour of lifetimes, and find a new home in southern Texas. It’s not easy for them there, either, but I won’t tell the story. Suffice to say in her usual accomplished manner, Kingsolver weaves the lives and futures of her characters through the fate of the butterflies, and indeed, of the world. She even includes Australia.

I find the climate change war difficult to understand on many levels. I’m alarmed by the emotions on both sides, in particular the rage that erupts from those who will not tolerate the concept of human contribution to global warming. I interpret this rage as springing from terror: terror of what that means, terror of losing what they believe they have, terror of necessary change, terror of being out of control, of the natural world being an uncontrollable force.

Those who argue against them, such as myself, also know terror: the terror of leaving things too late, terror of what the world will become if we fail to do everything in our power to halt the destruction, terror of our apparent helplessness in the face of climate change and those who to my mind obdurately refuse to accept that we have any responsibility in the matter.

What we share is our fear: we ought to be able to use that as common ground. And there’s a wishful thought, if ever there was one.

I don’t know if Kevin Rudd was either right or helpful when he described climate change as “the greatest moral challenge of our time.” I agree it’s the greatest challenge, and it is also a moral one, however, we might be better served focusing on the practicalities rather than the moralities of the challenge we face. When an issue is couched in moral terms it inevitably bifurcates into judgements good and bad, with one side or the other claiming the high moral ground even as it is wrenched away from under them, in this instance by flood, high seas, and fire. What becomes most important is the battle and who is right, rather than the biggest challenge.

There is a sense in which the argument about the morality of climate change action or non-action has to be postponed for the greater good: we can’t afford to waste our energies on that argument. We have to err on the side of caution, surely. We cannot prove to everyone’s satisfaction that humans have and continue to contribute to global warming, which in turn is causing extreme and destructive weather events. The “greatest moral challenge,” then, is to suspend our disbelief and act as if we have and are affecting climate change. As we are unable to prove that we are not, it makes sense, given the gravity of the situation, to act as if we are.

The greatest moral challenge facing us is to put aside the notion of moral challenge, and instead, act.

I’m dreamin’, I know. This is a fertile battleground for those who want only to battle. There’s precious little political good will, and a crop of politicians on both sides whose will to power outweighs any notion of the greater good.

Perhaps circumstances will eventually force these self-interested laggards to take action. Perhaps when enough people have suffered enough as a consequence of extreme weather events, and the roads are broken enough, and the food has become expensive enough, and the people turn in great numbers on their leaders, we will see politicians finally give climate change the attention it demands. When there’s votes in it.

Until then I guess what we can’t hear won’t frighten us? Pass that politician some earplugs and make them read Flight Patterns, by torchlight, of course.

 

Satire is not dead, but you’ll only find the good stuff in the blogosphere

8 Oct

Do you want to know what drives Andrew Bolt? Even if you don’t give a tinker’s curse, it’s worth reading this piece by Under the Milky Way. Very funny, very erudite, my favourite combination of talents.

Then trot across to The Political Sword and learn how Sophie Mirabella and Scott Morrison take over the dumped ABC Collectors program. Warning: this piece contains references to a diarrhetic seabird so you might want to leave it till after your coffee and croissants.

And if you want something a little more serious in tone try Rolling Stone on the end of Australia and climate change:

Want to know what global warming has in store for us? Just go to Australia, where rivers are drying up, reefs are dying, and fires and floods are ravaging the continent

Don’t forget to check out the comments, many posted by outraged Aussies. WTF! Rolling Stone doesn’t even write about music properly anymore so where do they get off doing our Oz and climate change!!!! they bleat.

New born babies, and gender: what is it good for?

4 Oct

As I welcomed a baby boy into the world last Wednesday,  I wondered just what kind of a planet he’ll be inheriting from his elders.

For a start I’d been unable to buy any decent clothes prior to his birth in either the US or here, because the parents decided they didn’t want to know their baby’s sex. Access to prior knowledge has come to mean insanely stupid gender divisions in the infant clothing market, and if you say you don’t know shop people look at you as if you’ve come out of a cave. So the infant had nothing much other than hospital garments to wear for his first couple of days on Earth, as everyone waited to hear about the newborn genitals before they went on a spend.

If I was still bringing children into the world I’d dress them in primary colours from birth, stuff the pinks and the blues, and anybody who said girls always or boys always would be banned from the infant’s presence.

Which reminds me that I am seriously pissed off with the likes of Clive Hamilton telling me all about women and men, as if the possession of a vagina or penis is the only determining factor in the life span of one’s entire being. Women, according to Clive, are supposed to provide an ameliorating presence that soothes the warring and destructive instincts of men. The very idea it’s the role of women to soothe the violence of men is so ludicrous that you wonder what Hamilton’s on that he’d even suggest it, let alone seriously argue for it.

Well, Clive, I could tell you some stories about a few warring and destructive women that would make your hair curl. Sorry, I forgot you haven’t got any, but you know what I mean.

I could tell you some stories about tender, pacifying, nurturing men that would turn all those essentialisms of yours right on their heads (is that another new word I made up? Essentialisms?) because the argument you’re running flat-out denies the possibility of such men, and shame on you for that.

I just watched a young man with his first baby and I’m telling you Clive, he’d match any woman any day in the nurturing stakes. Talk about feeling the love.

It seems to me that the gender card is usually brought into play when somebody wants to use it as a blaming weapon. Like, men never do the dishes properly, women never read maps right. Men abuse women, women are the victims of men. Women are compassionate, men would rather fight. Men are from Mars Bars, Women are from Venus fly traps. Gender, like race, is a construct and it pays to have a long hard look at who is currently constructing it and why.

I’m all for acknowledgment and appreciation of difference, but not for using difference as a reason for discrimination, accusation, blame,and lower pay scales.

OMG! I just got up to close the door and shut my finger in it. There’s a gender devil in the room, and it’s looking to hurt me!

I told our baby boy, whispering it into his tiny (pink) ear, that he can be as tender, nurturing and ameliorating as he wants, and he’ll probably feel violent and aggressive now and again as well, but somebody, likely his dad and mum, will show him how to handle that without acting it out on somebody. I told him he could grow up to love men or women or both and none of us will think twice about it because he’s ours and we love him, and love is love whether there’s a penis or a vagina involved. By the time he gets round to thinking about it, I told him, gay marriage will be legal and that’s one less battle he might have to fight on his own behalf or that of others.

I hope, I told him, that the climate change deniers will have gone to their god, and somebody in charge will have attended to the situation before it gets so bad his life will be spent in a hostile environment. I am so very sorry, my darling, I whispered, that we have let it come to this, and that we’ll die off and leave you with the wreckage.

The world is an amazing place, I told him (I watch a lot of SBS) in spite of all its problems, enmities and murderous ways. There’s still wondrous people in it, and thrilling things to see and do.  I’ll shout you a trip around the globe when you finish school, if they still do gap years then, so you can see its marvels for yourself.

I’ll mind you as often as your parents will let me, I promised him. It’s a family tradition that at some point in adolescence, everyone goes to live with a grandmother when their parents get naff. I did it, your dad did it, your uncle did it, your aunties did it, and I’m pretty damn sure a few of your cousins will do it as well. I’m here for you, then and always, I told him, if I’m the granny you choose.

And here the infant opened his eyes and looked at me for the very first time. How, I wondered, as I fell immediately and irrevocably into love, can we live with such disregard for the futures of those who’ll succeed us? They are newly formed human beings. They come in utter helplessness and trust. They come with a vulnerability that makes the heart ache.  Don’t we owe them everything?

 

The climate change stand-off

19 Jul

NEW MATILDA DAILY CARTOON 19 Jul 2011

Thanks to Peter Broelman

The Yes No Carbon Debate

Mentioning the war – on the Watermelon Blog

26 Jun
WikiWorld comic based on the articles "Go...

Image via Wikipedia

Have a read of Mentioning the war on the Watermelon Blog. David Horton reclaims THAT word from the climate change deniers who call Godwin’s Law!

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