the rainforest

Is without question one of the most importent assets of our planet. It is concentrated on various geographical locations. Lets take Brazil here as an example.

green leafed trees under blue sky

The typical British countrydise, cleared of forest, ready for farming. Photo by Lisa Fotios on Pexels.com

Of course us developed nations we have already cleared a lot of our forests and developed our lands. We in Britain even talk about becoming self-sufficient farming-wise to justify us leaving the EU without a deal.

For that of course we need to farm the land and clear probably even more forest.

We really do love to rely on the rain forest. The untouched and virgin rain forest, that same rain forest that saves our planet.

But what about those nationas that are couched within the rainforest areas. Nations like Brazil. Do their citizens not have the right to farm, to develp the land, to get skills-based jobs that are based within their national borders.

scenic view of rainforest

Rainforst    Photo by Arnie Chou on Pexels.com

Whilst we here in Britain demand that we can become independent of others, we do expect nations within the rainforest regions to leave that forest and just not devleop, to depend on others, help others, so that we developed countries can stay developing ourselves.

What are the nationals within the rainforest countries supposed to be doing?

Nobody has thought about this and I think that just shows how stupid our privately educated politicians and business leaders are because all they can think of is themselves.

It is an international problem and it needs nations to work together. But of course our political leaders only think about Brexit and becoming indendent from Europe and use the resources of other nations to bolster our own wealth.

The rainforest? The rainforest is depended upon that it stays as it is. So what about putting that thinking cap on?

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kicking cans

If the promise to leave the EU is as strong as the promise to reduce carbon emissions to zero by 2050 are of the same strenght, then we can assume that this government is just a promise but no action government.

What we get are sincere, deep voices, manly promises, but nothing changes, really.

Greenpeace thought of getting the grey cells of some politicians into motion but that didn’t have any effect, other than being pushed out of the event.

Action speaks louder than words but words are all what some people can come up with. The dinners, the speeches, the outfits, the glamour.

I am not certain that our politicians these days have the mental capacity or even flexibility to actually change anything that moves them out of their current comfort zones.

I don’t care whether we get Brexit or not, but what I care about is that our quality of life increases.

And I don’t believe those who say they are so totally Green because they all use medications and modern technology that was borne out of dirty production methods and using fossil fuels. They all have cars and use flights.

We need to start somewhere and how about changing the way we fund and perceive our schools?

Why not make sure that all schools are enabling our pupils and future generations to breathe in clean air? That all our pupils get plenty of palying fields and green spaces?

If we really want to change our lives, we need to change the way we calculate profits, taxes and distribution of wealth, ownership. In fact we need to redefine the meaning of wealth to include

  • health
  • environment

You cannot sell a walk in the forest for profit, you cannot sell the rainforest because it needs to be wild and just as it is. You cannot sell the ocean because it needs to stay and we cannot sell the north or south pole because we need it just as it is.

Yet there are two things, which are wars and space exploration, which create more carbon emission than a lot of other items. Also the production of white goods and anything that uses metals is highly contageous. Calculate your carbon footprint here.

Lets think about that for a while.

Removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere using machines is simply not creating the bio diversity we need to keep the environment healthy and evacuating from earth to another planet is nothing but wishful dreaming.

I must admit, I just love living in our civilisation, the freedom that women can have would be not even half as good in a primitive low carbon society.

Yet there is still the possibility of an educated low carbon society, something we probably all dream about. Articles 25 and 26 of the Universal Human Rights deal with health and education whilst the vast majority of paragraphs deal with legal definitions of personal freedoms.

Perhaps that declaration of Human Rights, should include taking care of our planet as an obligation and right for all of us.

It’s in the papers, how little sense politics make

Being one of those 10% that are in politics for the politics (I got this percentage from Christopher Shale’s article in the Mail online) I was more than shell shocked to read in yesterday’s “News of the World” in an article titled “U’turns? U pay!” that Britain now borrows “25 million a day more than under Labour. Where is all the money gone, where is the £1 extra per person per day going? Considering that we had promise after promise and u-turn after u-turn, and most of us are worst of because of taxation and benefit changes.

I am completely shattered by the news and ask myself can any politicians be trusted or even be taken seriously anymore. I read that many Conservative back-benchers are fed up with having to defend unsustainable ideas and that party membership under David Cameron has fallen drastically.

Doesn’t it just fall in fine with the criticism of Dr. Rowan Williams on the democratic principle that people vote for the party but not for the policies?

We also read this weekend that prisoners get record compensation payouts, that civil servants live luxury lifestyles on expenses.

Where is all the money gone or going? Whilst we are so broke and local authorities have been told for quite a while now to make ends meet as best they can, they put up speed cameras to bolster the town hall coffers. Now around 6,000 speed cameras are likely to be removed as they do not stop accidents but make town halls a lot of cash.

Where does it all go wrong that we are being hoodwinked with wonderful policies prior to every election just to find that policies don’t work. Is it down to only those 10% of party members who actually are interested in policies or is it down to the fact that too few select members make decisions that affect all of us but that do not work?

When are we going to stop chopping and changing away on our political and economic future by devising radical solution with every new election? When are party-political strategies going to be made more transparent? One good step in the right direction is the disclosure of the astonishing salaries of the top earning civil servants, who must be doing something to earn that money, they earn each more than the prime minister.

I wonder is it all a great big sham that politicians just pretend they know what they are doing but simply are only in place to sell a party that is driven by more powerful backers than we are led to believe?

I have now been in 4 political parties and in each one I could not say that I ever got an in-depth overview of policies or was ever even invited to take part in the decision making process on policies, which is why I am interested in politics in the first place.

What I read in David Shaler’s article could also be said about Labour Party problems, I think that is a transferable matter that is equally right in political parties. His points reflect what went on in the Labour Party, the bit that Miliband described as having lost touch with the electorate and the party.

It is in both big parties the problem that a tiny select few make political decisions on the sleigh, which are sold to us as live-changing better-making politics but which are in fact just helping to further the interests of the few.

Lets not forget the Afghan war was started under Labour and it was Labour that removed any ring-fencing for housing costs, incidentally it was Labour, whom we thank the concept of council housing. Now, after all the money had been drained from housing, we are in the unique position that housing needs to be replenished but all the money has been frittered away in all sorts of schemes. Of course I think that for this reason alone huge loans need to be taken out to pay for the replenishment of social housing stock.

But why can’t we just get those facts and figures published, made transparent so that we see what is actually going on and do not have to wade through tons and tons of political promises that never work?

There is little point in being a member of any political party these days because one cannot get even a small insight into the decision making process for policies that are churned out daily with very expensive propaganda machines.

Yet whilst the Conservatives demand a change in Union decision making and ask for a minimum of 40% of union membership agreement to a strike, we see that general and local elections are being won on a participation of only 25%. Why should it only work for unions, we need to make that work for politics in general.

It’s because people are just not sure what politicians are cooking up they cannot be informed and get presented with ready-made solutions, which they have to vote for just to find out that all their enthusiasm has been for the cat again. Well that is how I feel right now.

Is it any wonder that less and less people are prepared to volunteer to make propaganda for a party. There are those few tireless volunteers who give out all the leaflets in dwindling numbers of groups prior to elections when those leaflets are the only time political parties get in touch with the electorate to put forward ideas that are often unsustainable and ill thought through. I simply refuse to take part in any further charades because I am not fully informed and cannot make decisions based on the information I need. It’s almost always phrases, promises, ideas that later on emerge to have damaged the environment, cost tax payers even more or end up to be upsetting someone.

Worst of all the amount of paper that is produced to propagate those publicity stunts are responsible for damaging precious forests who are our only lifeline in times of earth warming, so what is it all about Alfie?

I have come to believe that there aren’t any excellent politicians in public live these days and all we can do is vote for the ones who do the least damage.

Despite knowing that we are going to get water tables rising, Boris Johnson insists on carrying on with the Crossrail project, despite knowing the pollution damage in London, he will not make policies that are radical enough to change it. But he is still more reasonable than any other candidates for the post.

In politics it is all a matter of perspective, of what do I really want to achieve. Do I want more business, more health or can I even have both? (Especially whilst I live in London). From the health point of view I welcome all BA strikes because the less planes in the air the less pollution, from a business point of view I hate the strikes, so what is it to be health or business? I think that is a decision we are faced with today.

Looking at education the same equation wouldn’t work because it is another problem, its about the pensions of the teachers that worked so hard all their lives to educate children. It is a not for profit problem and that makes the whole situation quite different.

Yet what bothers me most in the problem concerning children here in London that nobody so far has demanded better health deals for inner city children. That children are only allowed out of London for 2 weeks per year, that is when either their working parents get their holidays or JSA claimants get their holiday entitlement. I think that shows how little this nation seems to care about children’s health or how little the big publishers chose to highlight the problem.

I think politicians have lost their way, they have forgotten that children are our most important asset and that they have to live in our other most important asset our planet and our country. Is that why kids in London have to suffer lung problems and is that why politicians use so much paper to tell us about ideas that are doomed to failure?

What’s wrong with democracy?

Is that it has no control as to quality and quantum. So if enough crazy people vote in a crazy leader, then that is accepted as a democratic decision, regardless of how much destruction it may cause.

When I saw this poster of David Cameron on Facebook where he holds a placard with the words: Another 5 years of Labour your choice, I thought well I wish it was because it is quite clear that Labour is not able to run the country or my local authority yet enough people keep on voting them in regardless of how bad they administer their constituencies. Apparently in Tower Hamlets only the minority of eligible voters goes to the polls but had we gotten a law about the quantum of voters, the picture could turn out quite different.

Why would people in their right mind vote in a council that sends payment reminders to those paying by direct debit because there are bank holidays over the Christmas period? I have plenty of direct debits but no other commercial organisation complains about my payments over the Christmas period with the exception of Tower Hamlets council. Well maybe the fact that 2/3 of councillors are non Christians helps to understand this mismanagement of our council taxes.

Allowing the running of a public administration on a minority vote is asking for trouble and unfortunately the long march through the courts is very long because if something goes wrong the nearest objective legal stopcock is the European court of Human Rights who enforce the Human Rights Act, able to prevent an abuse of the rights of the person. What does make the system so expensive is that one has to go through lengthy legal proceedings in the country’s courts first before the European Court can look at it.

What is wrong with democracy is that it allows locals to vote in tyrants and despots and allow them to do the job until they do it so obviously disastrous to the detriment of the population that an outside military force has to stop them from doing it. The question is what can we do to prevent this from happening again? What objective measures can we put into place to stop locals making the objectively wrong choices? Apparently the quantum of wrong decisions doesn’t make a decision right in any case.

We should allow a direct comparison to the Human Rights Act in local decisions but for that purpose the Human Rights Act doesn’t go far enough, because it should be a major heading in the Human Rights Act that everyone has the right to drink clean water and breathe fresh air.

Incidentally what brought the Roman civilisation to its knees was the fact that they drank poisoned drinking water from lead pipes but because all went crazy at the same time, they did not know it or notice it until the barbarians managed to topple them because then the Romans were too weak to defend themselves against the continuous attempts of the Barbarians to overthrow them.

Looking at  that example, we could also bring the other obvious one, the Germans voting in Hitler. Those types of developments are merely an expression of local desperation and what we need is the ability to step in at the beginning of things going wrong instead of waiting until a considerable amount of people have suffered humiliation and death or deterioration of their health.

We’ve seen it with the asbestos, the cigarettes, now the cars, then earth warming but there seems to be no ability to stop it in the tracks. That’s what’s wrong with democracy. I do not have a solution to the problem but know that there is a problem and I want people to think about this more.

Obviously there is no perfect social model that does not upset some people within it but there is not enough objectiveness on local decisions and democracy is not a good measurement at all. I am not saying, get rid of democracy, I am saying improve democracy, so that it builds in quality controls that avoid abuse of the system.

Once could say, if enough people want to be terrorised by their leaders let them, but unfortunately it doesn’t work that way because those terrorising their own often enough try to widen out their terror and want to terrorise others as well, as we’ve seen with Hitler, the Taleban and others. It’s not only those extremes that are a worry because we cannot wait until problems escalate to such extent that they do become a worry to us all, we need to stop wrongdoing in its tracks. We need less personal greed and more joint up thinking and Labour can’t do either in my view.

Here in Tower Hamlets voting for Labour has become a local habit, people simply cannot think above that old habit but when they count the cost of voting Labour since generations they should make a more sensible decision and allow common sense to prevail. Unfortunately the weekly brain-washing paper East End Life doesn’t help. See also this article in the East London Advertiser.

Of course the argument of cost comes up to put an objective measure of value and righteousness and if the cost doesn’t justify the means then a policy should be scrapped. Such demands require an independent panel to enforce such measures because here in Tower Hamlets we have a Labour Council wasting tax payer’s money and we have a Labour government that is supposed to curb that bad habit and somehow the chances of that happening are very slim indeed.

You could argue we already have the courts and the House of Lords and now also a Supreme Court and the Juridicial Review process but non of those really avoid widespread health risks or money wasting councils or government policies.  It takes years to achieve any change and then only once things have gone disasterously wrong. Maybe the monarch should be able to interfere into parliamentary business and local government decisions, we haven’t tried that one yet have we?

Greening Tower Hamlets

Birds swarm at a waterhole in Africa

Birds swarm at a waterhole in Africa

to enjoy biodiversity was the theme of today’s conference in the Ecology Pavilion in Mile End Park. I thought I replied to put myself on the list but can’t find any evidence of it, but got in nonetheless. 

There were exhibition tables from companies supplying green services, including rooftop gardens, bike stands with attached garden stand. housing professionals.

Apparently councils are now forced by law to take care of biodiversity and integrate as much greenery to encourage environmental health as possible.

Yet when I attend planning applications there never is any mention of green energy used for the building, about allowing for green space. All I ever hear at council meetings is that all available brown spaces should be built up.

Yet the council is aware, that around 2070, most of the Isle of Dogs will be flooded by rising seawater levels but still plans a new shopping complex complete with skyscrapers and a new shopping boulevard. No time as the present I suppose, we mustn’t be scaremongers and forward upward is the motto.

I heard some very interesting suggestions like putting plants on flat roofs and sheds, incidentally the Barclay’s Bank skyscraper has a roof garden that is keenly maintained by the employees.

So it is a good idea to allow plants to grow on top of the sheds, I should not have complained about the moss growth on our bike shed then. This new drive for green thinking everywhere clashed with the educated attitude that all shrubs and plants need to be neatly arranged, cut into balls or other shapes with no signs of weeds, when its the weeds that encourage the local wildlife that we so much learned to appreciate.

There is a case for sowing flower seeds instead of having shrubs that require regular pruning, and do nothing for the wildlife, as they are too dense to allow nesting in them and provide a good hiding place for muggers.

A confluence of natural and made environments

I greeted reports with enthusiasm suggesting that short cut grass areas on estates could be left to grow longer and sow flower seeds on them too. People with gardens are asked to provide little ponds.

What upset me the most is that a Peabody representative reported that he had to cut down all trees in a housing estate because residents complained about the birds singing.

I feel more effort is required to green those short-cut-grass areas that are so boring but clean. Children can enjoy play areas with longer grass areas, see nature take its course when plants grow and wave in the wind. Each time the lawn in front of my dwelling grows long and luscious and those daisies grow plentiful the big mower comes and cuts it.

A new fashion is food growing on estate allotments, new trees being fruit bearing instead of just green leaf.

From a general point of view I feel that any population that relies on centralised food production and supply is very weak because should this food supply be destroyed then most people will starve. Therefore I welcome the introduction of localised food growing.

Summer field

It will be educational for people to know how food grows, we were given the example of children who didn’t know that tomatoes grow out of the ground on stalks as they thought they derive from super markets.

 

Amazon Rainforest

I am glad that the council now by law has to develop a relationship to nature and that building each and every available square inch with housing is damaging for the planet.  I hope I’ll see a change to planning applications soon to include provision for gardening, whether its vertical rooftop or ground, but gardening that is as natural as possible.

Einstein said that once bees go humanity has only got 4 years to live because bees pollinate the plants. We need nature more than it needs us.

The only disappointment during the conference was one person saying that my question about the building up of brown sites seems to be political, whereby I replied, its not political its environmental, it goes across all parties.  I shall keep an eye on planning permissions for houses and ask some questions. Each and every one of you should do the same in their inner city areas.

I can’t stop smiling

Royal Courts of Justice London UK

Royal Courts of Justice London UK

Today started well, even the morning was pleasant with a hint of heat, almost clear skies and a promise of sunshine.

I went to the Ecology Pavilion to attend a Presentation by the London Borough of Tower Hamlets to do with bio-diversity, a subject that grabs all my attention. I shall blog separately about this.

After that I went home to see what mail had arrived and then off to the court for the judgement on Mr Hilton’s application for Summary Disposal of my claim against him under the Defamation Act of 1996.

The hearing started at 3pm and Mr Hilton was represented by Matthew Harris from the Waterfront Solicitors LLP and the hearing lasted 1 1/2 hours.

The Master went to great length to explain his decision to dismiss the application for Summary Judgement. The Master awarded costs in my favour and refused permission to appeal.

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