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Archive for the 'environment' Category

Burning our Coal on Christmas Lights

Friday, December 23rd, 2011

OK I get that Christmas lights are a tradition that radiates joy in our privileged society. I get that the festive season is about Santa and goodwill. What I don’t get is this obsession with Christmas consumerism and the accompanying energy glut that gets public adoration.

Tell me this… why do we cut down our use of paper clips in the office all year and turn off the lights when we aren’t in a room? Why do we bother carpooling and why do we recycle? Because in December every year our media rush out to promote the houses that do exactly the opposite by stringing untold party lights across their roofs and gardens in some hope of becoming 5-minute famous.

The media should be doing the opposite. But how many newspapers are running the story about the arsehole wasting resources to become that local 5-minute neighbourhood hero? Next to none, if any.

What lesson about the urgency of global warming does that Christmas light display send to our children other than “BURN MORE COAL”? We wonder why human induced global warming isn’t taken seriously across society… take one look at those Christmas light displays on your local news channel.

I look at the newspapers pushing these “fabulous displays of Christmas spirit” as somehow socially irresponsible. It’s about selling papers. But at some point we need to turn our consumption and consumerism around into some coherent society that can operate on the idea of enough, equity and moderation. And we are going to need mainstream media to help facilitate that change of attitude on a broad social scale.

So just consider two small things this Christmas… will one more present from China make your child love you any more or less in the long-term? And, will burning another truckload of coal in a Queensland suburb really be harmless entertainment in the long-term?

If you can’t see the link between consuming more energy and the science of human induced global warming then nothing will change your mind about Christmas lights or rampant consumerism. That extra Chinese toy took resources, water, fossil fuels and trees in production. At a certain point Christmas stops being about goodwill and peace to all and metamorphises into “fuck the rest of the world because I’ve got money.”

Remember this… with privilege comes responsibility. Try this Christmas lesson::: teach your children to be good people, to work hard and to make a difference.


The Environmental (Green) Grinch
Pooping Parties across the Developed World
BecauseICan, Australia

The End of the Line (Book Review)

Monday, June 6th, 2011

The End of the Line

In the last century 90 per cent of the World’s fish have disappeared and the hand lays squarely at the feet of human beings for how this travesty of the Commons has happened. Charles Clover’s book titled The End of the Line: How Overfishing is Changing the World and What We Eat is the result of several decades investigating and experiencing the various fishing grounds that feed us. He looks at where we fish, the historic evolution of our fisheries and how and why we’ve suffered specific fisheries collapses.

As a young man I was drawn to commercial fishing in Bass Straight (long-tooth scallop dredging that quickly collapsed the industry) and several months working on a prawn trawler out of Townsville. It was obvious that a world without quota and devoid of some sort of communal responsibility had no long-term future. And if fisheries within the 200 mile limit were treated that way then what hope was there for the oceans that have since been blitzkrieged with industrial high-technology driven fisheries? The by-catch from trawling for prawns off the Great Barrier Reef meant that a good ton of fish in the net equaled a bucket of prawns, a few Moreton Bay bugs and the rest went back over the side dead.

So I really did find The End of the Line a compelling book that can only be recommended to humans who should be very worried about how we are going to consider feeding 9+ billion people by 2050 without fish. And it’s right now that we need to be discriminating on our plate to ensure that resource continues to exist… as for wild fish farming of carnivore species there have been more problems created than questions answered, so don’t hang your hat on that being a solution.

While reading this book a tweet ran down my Twitter stream from a usability professional in the Unites States – he wrote “I need more Sturgeons in my life”. He’s tweeted that before. So I replied with a link to Wikipedia for information about sturgeon… just so he’s aware that sturgeon are highly endangered. Unfortunately restaurants seem to be quite willing to provide their patrons with the almost forbidden fruit of endangered species. However, we would be appalled to read that Bengal tiger steaks and urangatan cutlets were served to the rich.

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About the Author

Steven Clark Steven Clark - the stand up guy on this site

My name is Steven Clark and I live in the Derwent Valley in Southern Tasmania. I have an MBA (Specialisation) and a Bachelor of Computing from the University of Tasmania. I'm a mazer & a yeast farmer (making beer, fruit wine and mead as by-products of continuous improvement in my farming practices). I'm a photographer, although my film cameras are currently silent. I do not tolerate idiots. I do not tolerate bigotry. I do not tolerate excuses. Let's be clear, if you sit with my enemies you my are my enemy for life.

Blogger. Thinker. Brewer. Drinker. Life partner to the amazing and incredible Megan.

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