Sunday, 26 May 2013

I am angry!

Are we worth saving?  I'm having a species crisis. I search the book stores, the internet, newspapers and damn it I even bought a graphic novel on what I now term Species Extinction Porn. The end of the human world scenarios in which we get our come-uppance and the world is given enough of a respite to recover from the various ills we've inflicted on it.

It makes me think of the Nazi doctors who inflicted hideous experiments on Jews, people like Wirths (Worthless) and Heim. They did things like inject petrol into people, removed their organs while they were conscious. Hideous things. I always wondered how the people of Germany could stand by and watch it, even engage with it, support it.

But who am I to think such things when I, while not standing by quietly, still live in relative ease while children are made slaves of, where spent petrol is injected into a world that is conscious while we disembowel it so we can spread her resources, not to many, but to just a few. I am angry, and I am ashamed. I am one of these two legged ferocious beasts with opposable thumbs, these things are done in my name.

Who am I to think growing my own food, limiting my consumption and having an occasional rant will create meaningful change. It doesn't, it won't and it can't.  All it is capable of is allowing me to fool myself long enough to be able to sleep at night. I am angry and  I am useless.

I have come to the point where I feel all this talk of sustainability is unsustainable. In the end too few will willingly reduce their consumption or change their belief that they somehow deserve a part of the spoils. The oil well will have to run dry for this to happen, and by that time it will be too late. It is likely it is already so.

Some of us play nice in our backyards, grow food and marvel at the novelty, some of us will take our reusable bags to the supermarket, recycle our cans, and think twice before buying Tim Tams. But it is such a shallow thing. Radical change is required by EVERYONE and  putting solar hot water on the roof  isn't going to get us there. A paradigm shift from the ground up and from the top down is required. There is so much work to be done, and world wide we have high unemployment as our economic system enters it's final slow motion fall. We twiddle our thumbs while Rome burns.

I am angry. I am a child of the 80's, the mega consumers, and each generation that has followed has eroded the basis of all life while we increased our number by another 3 billion.  Now it is no longer possible to consume in ignorance. The writing is on the wall, but so are all the advertisements for a lifestyle we are not willing to forfeit. Humans are flawed, fatally so.

I am angry.  It is no longer possible to believe we can make the change required. If there is a human termination button and I was handed it, would I push it?  If it provided an instant, painless death to every last human... I would feel obligated.  No more tigers tied upside down in cages waiting to die of starvation so someone can make soup of its bones in order to increase their sexual stamina, no more whales taken in the name of 'science', no more mountains scraped off the earth and shoved on ships to line someones pockets with a series of zeroes. Because like zeroes, it means nothing.

Terminating us may provide the earth with a chance. Because it may be that we are the only planet with sufficient gravity, with the exact proximity to a star, with water, with the right ingredients to support life. Rare Earth; increasingly scientists posit that the possibility for life on other planets in the universe is slim. It may be that of all the billions, we are one of the few capable of supporting life, and to think so many of us would jeopardise it for our right to buy a Big Mac.

I want a trial, I want humanity in front of a judge, and some poor bastard to have to stand up in front of court and justify our right to life.

I don't need to tell you yet again that I am angry. It's obvious. I don't want to hear platitudes about how we are capable of good things. Yes, we are, but on balance it is not enough to justify who we are, what we have done and what we will continue to do until all opportunity to do so is gone.  The shame is not that we will not survive this 'experiment' in rampant resource use, it is the innocent fauna and flora we take with us.

Our technological evolution has not been matched with a cultural one. We think we are a superior species because we use tools. We have the tools to change, but we choose not to use them.

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Are Psychopaths at the top creating narcissistic Policies that destroy our environment?

Phewww! An out there post this morning. I usually steer clear of politics on the blog, but the environment and politics are inextricably linked and voting is one of the most important ways we can have an effect.

I'm reading Jon Ronson's book, The Psychopath Test. It's a great read, at the same time both funny and frightening.

1 in 100 people are psychopaths, this doesn't mean they're necessarily criminals or go around hacking people to death. They're usually able to restrain violent tendencies and use their 'talents' to get themselves into positions of power.

I believe our capitalist structure rewards psychopaths. These are people who are able to make decisions on who loses their job and actively enjoy the process. They're ruthless, and due to their inability to feel empathy, make decisions that increase profits.

All of these qualities lead them to make decisions that do not take into account anything other than profit and as a result the environment suffers. Having read a little of Abbott's plans and seeing him in action...I can't help thinking he may have a higher than average psychopath score.

So, for fun, have a go at evaluating our good friend Abbott. There are items you won't know the answer to, and usually the assessments are used once a person is in the criminal system, and performed by a professional. You could even try to rate your boss, your partner, your best friend and other politicians while you're at it.  If you're really brave (and honest) yourself.

I posted this on Facebook this morning. I think I may rate highly for being a shit stirrer. Lucky it's not one of the ratings.

What score do you get for Abbott?

Monday, 6 May 2013

Trev's Whipper snipper Invention

He didn't really invent it. He saw it elsewhere in a different form and decided he could use a pair of old wheels he had to rig himself up something similar. It's now a cross between a whipper snipper and a lawnmower and works well to reduce stress on our buggered backs, it gets close to chook wire fences without being sucked in and ripping them up, and it reduces the likelihood of accidentally 'scalping' the grass.

In NZ we'd call it Kiwi Ingenuity, not sure what Australian's call it. What about elsewhere in the world, do you have a popular culture of being able to do anything with number 8 baling wire?


I spent way too much time (weeks) creating this short Flash movie based on Edwin Starr's song War, but with a theme of MORE! over-consumption, poverty, greed, pollution, inequality and all those other lovely things we love to hate. If nothing else it will get you dancing!

We've been boring on the block!

We bit the bullet and bunged in a bore.

Every year we run out of water right when crops need it most and our succession planting goes to pot.  (well it never goes to  pot, because that which is not planted cannot be cooked).

I've always been very suspect about the use of bores but we did the research and discovered that in sandstone country groundwater replenishes annually from rainwater and in an area which is using 5% of sustainable groundwater we decided to splash out (yeah, it's a deliberate pun) and secure a reliable water supply and use it wisely.

The drillers were great. When we mentioned divining they immediately started spluttering about the idiocy of water divining and water diviners. They said we could put the darn thing where it was convenient because geologically speaking we could pop a hole through anywhere with equal likelihood of success. 80% likelihood.  Which meant we had a 20% chance of blowing  $7000 and still not have any water. The day they came I told Trev, I psychically predict it will be 42 metres deep (but I didn't share this with the drillers). I didn't even think about it being the answer to life, the universe and everything, just to our water issues.

I was in the garden furiously rotary-hoeing new land to put into crop for this still mythical market garden. when they hit water at 15 metres, but just a little bit of water, not enough to do anything with. They went further. Then excitement, roaring and jumping, they'd hit something at 36 metres and it was gushing out at 3.3 litres per second. It was black and oily and was running into the chook paddock. Had we hit oil? I bloody hoped not. It was black mudstone. I was told it would soon clear and if our water quality is like any of the other bores around here it will have low conductivity (be drinking water quality).

Then they told me, 'Once we hit water we go another 6 metres to create a sump'. 36 + 6 = 42
Yup, we have a 42 metre deep bore! With my 'gift' I might hang up a psychic shingle. (not)

What having a 42 metre bore means is we will be able to grow more than just our own food, we'll be able to grow enough to supply local cafes and restaurants and sell direct to other families and create a small income from our 3 acres. We're already on our way to growing the food and setting up relationships with local businesses. It's been a big investment but with our increasingly hot, dry summers... worth it.

We've purchased a solar pump setup which will slowly feed into a water tank during daylight hours at a rate of 13 litres a minute (once we get the darn thing working).