Protest as a fashion accessory

Just as I didn’t know what to watch after Wallace and Gromit, I switched to the remainder of the Liberal hustings to hear the end of the discussion. It went like this:

Question: “Do you think we should curb internal flights?”

[Answer: “I don’t think that is feasible at the moment, we need to invest in transport infrastructure. But I went to protest with my  5-year old with Extinction Rebellion over the weekend”]

Policitians who make decisions about this climate emergency have no fear of delaying immediate action to stop environmentally unfriendly behaviour and most likely commute a lot by car and plane but do go to Extinction Rebellion demos, block traffic for others, to have a bit of fun on the weekend.

So I do not bother going to those demos to say there is a climate emergency. I rather live environmentally friendly, it is not a weekend fashion for me, it is important.

What really should be done by our politicians, they should immediately make the money available to build the infrastructure and not think of investing in the future at some point in the future.

Climate change is happening now, a dangerous heatwave is hitting the US, lakes are drying out, we need to change now.

We won’t find any entrepreneurs putting money into saving the environment, it has to come from governments spending money on saving the environment everywhere.

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Enlightenment

I love a book full of statistics. It saves me compiling them and luckily there are always plenty of published number crunches to relate to.

When I started reading Steven Pinker’s book Enlightenment Now, I started to feel, he was a little too simplistic and tries to make a case that the rich make the live of the poor easier and better.

I do however like the slant on Humanism in the under-title. And whilst I am now on the Environment chapter, I am starting to get interested.

Frightening though the samples Steven Pinker gives by quoting Paul Watson who wants to radically reduce humanity to fewer than one billion.

sand desert blue sky egypt

Photo by David McEachan on Pexels.com

I think that is a very dangerous approach. I belief that the Egyptian Pharaoh culture simply died because the Egyptians spent too many of their scarce resources  on building the pyramids. With the technology available at the time, most of the human labour available must have gone into shaping those stones and putting them into the triangular shapes that built the Pyramids. People didn’t have enough time to spend on planting, harvest and dealing with environmental emergencies or attacks from other forces. Nor did they have the time to develop better technogies.

If we reduce humanity to the bare existence level, we will suffer similar consequences by not being able to sustain technology, which was only able to develop because we have gotten so much spare resources laying around.

Our lifestyles now are becoming increasingly inflexible. We rely more and more on the same habits to do all things each day. We regulate every spare niche of our lives with increasingly complicated laws. This inflexibility in itself is a major hindrance on making real progress. We cannot possibly maintain all that technology with few people.

person holding save our planet sign

Photo by Markus Spiske temporausch.com on Pexels.com

We cannot possibly change our world by leaving it the way it is and try to reduce our carbon foot prints alone.

The fact that Amazon rainforest countries demand the right to develop their lands puts a big dampener on our enthusiams, which rely on the existence of the rainforest.

We need to come to an international agreement that we either re-settle all peoples who reside in current rain forest regions and settle them in other nations. Or another possibility is forcing all nations to have a certain amount of forest areas within each country.

The latter option will require a lot of loss of sovereignity of each nation on the planet. Whilst we cannot even cope with Europe at present, how are we going to enter world-wide agreements?

One major source of pollution is travel and air travel causes more air pollution than previously thought.

We need to radically change values and the calculation of wealth from purely being a plus in the bank acount to being a whollistic view on positive contribution to global wealth including the health of the planet.

Humanism is the best way to achieve this because we cannot continually kick each other’s backsides but believing that God loves us all whilst we destroy each other and the planet. For what, a better afterlife? The Egyptians beliefed in a great afterlife.

 

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?

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.

Dinosaurs blew up the earth

It was long my theory that Dinosaurs created so much methane through their huge farts that it all became so concentrated one day that it ignited and literally blew up the earth and all Dinosaurs with it. I don’t belief that it was a huge comet, just the methane would do.

A story from Germany proves that cow methane in a shed of 90 cows blew up the shed when the methane became concentrated and was set off by static electricity. Just imagine if cows can create that much gas how much gas the much bigger Dinosaurs created around the globe.

Greens want pollution masks for school children

I completely agree with the Greens, that children need protection from pollution. London can become a bit of a dangerous place healthwise for growing children as they are in danger of getting serious lung disease, not only from pollution but also from TB.

 

Last autumn for airmiles

I totally welcome the move to scrap the air miles scheme. It does make air travel more expensive and therefore prevents at least some people from flying. For environmental reasons I love this very much indeed. Also it is ethically wrong in my view that the purchase of shopping over loyalty cards helps people to get some services or goods cheaper than others. That puts an unethical pressure on people to use loyalty cards, therefore impeding on their right to privacy.

In any case, I am very unhappy about the data collection over loyalty cards that is taking place. There is hardly anything theses days that people still can do without being observed or listened to. Our shopping habits are carefully monitored. Everything is measured. If you have a water meter they even monitor the amount of water coming in and going out of the flat. They see exactly what electricity and gas you use and of course your voice and other communications are also listened to.

But the need for this has been brought on by constantly increasing social fluctuation and people do not know each other any longer face to face. It is travel that increasingly makes our lives more dangerous as it can transport illegal items, dangerous people and disease around the world and it contributes considerably to earth warming by polluting the air.

People that do want to keep in touch can find other ways to do so and maybe they consider moving location more carefully if visiting will become more expensive later on. Hopefully this stop on the air miles scheme indicates a more local conscience for us from our local politicians and businesses.

large roads near schools are health hazard to children.

I wrote about the subject before when it was found that children’s lungs do not develop properly when they reside near busy roads. Now a study found that even school children suffer aggravated health problems from pollution if their school is in close proximity of a road. Kids spend around 8 hours in the school and they play outside at least 1 hour of that time. But pollution also comes in through windows, doors and other crevices.

Simon Birkett, Director of the Campaign for Clean Air in London said: “We need a massive campaign to increase the public understanding about the dangers of air pollution and we have to advise people on how to protect themselves and their children. this is an important issue”.

That could and should become the deciding issue at the next Mayoral elections how traffic can be reduced, how our children can be spared lung damage.

Here in Tower Hamlets the council has decreased the availability of parking spaces for new built flats. Schools are regularly monitored that parents do not park outside and parents are actively encourage to walk, use public transport or cycle to school. Many schools here in Tower Hamlets have now a transport policy and / or are part of the Sustrans ‘Bike it’ Network. However, in my view not enough is done to make cycling easier and mark roads clearly for good use, so that pedestrians are not endangered by cyclists and to help cyclist to ride safely, especially when they have children with them.

I think it is a job for a Mayor to re-structure the road policy and discourage use of petrol burning motor vehicles and encourage other forms of transport, which are environmentally friendly and also consider the reduction in space for each individual transport user with an increase in population numbers.

The Apothekon Project concluded that air pollution could be linked to coronary heart disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in adults aged over 65. The Mayor published a study last year, which concluded that long-term exposure to airborne pollution is responsible for the premature deaths of more than 4.000 Londoners each year.

1,100 schools in London are within 150 yards of busy roads, which create high levels of pollution from exhaust fumes. The roads carry more than 10.000 vehicles each day, this could be responsible for 30% of all new cases of Asthma, European scientists claim. There are 2,270 schools within 400 yards of such roads.

Children have to take sick leave from school for breathing problems. One parent at St. Paul’s Primary School in Hammersmith has 3 small children who all suffer from Asthma. The school is in the centre of busy roads and parents support the campaign for clean air.

Under the circumstances it seems very unfair to London children that unemployed parents and often working ones are not allowed more than 2 weeks holiday to get a breath of fresh air outside of London.

I thoroughly and wholeheartedly support a campaign for fresh air. We are entitled to breathe clean air, as much as we are entitled to drink clean water. More must be done to improve air quality in London.

European Air quality can be monitored via websites, one of which is DfRA, which links to the Eye on Earth website. I find it hard to understand why the measurements show low pollution but breathing problems occur in children in high traffic areas. I suppose it does make a difference if one is within the immediate vicinity or measures an area from another location. Probably most readers know what its like to smell bad air.  My daughter lived on a very busy junction and the flowers died in the pots on the first floor and the laundry smelled bad.

I think there must be more strict measures than just age limits or taxis. There should be strict laws on polluting vehicles that spit black smoke from their exhausts and an age limit to all cars. I think Boris Johnson has already improved on vehicle idling by improving the waiting times at traffic lights, in that he reduced those and improved the flow of traffic. But more must be done to thin out traffic and disperse traffic from busy roads. The most radical solution would be stopping all traffic that is not necessary like allowing only business vehicles and creating more pedestrian zones in the Capital. Interestingly roof top gardens may improve the relaxation of employees but do not improve air quality on the ground and lower levels, which is where a lot of health damage takes place.

I have not yet heard any Mayoral candidates bringing forward radical solutions but Boris Johnson has improved the quality of public transport vehicles.

Source information Evening Standard 21.6.11

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