Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell. Edward Abbey

28 February 2010

The rebel alliance - revolt!

I firmly believe that for children to become successful adults in a demanding world, they have to learn to break the rules.

Jansen called it wrong on the UFS fiasco, but I agree with most of what he says in the above column. I have no time for automatons.

24 February 2010

Avatar in India right now

An indigenous people, the Dongria Kondh of India, face the destruction of their lands and extinction at the hands of British mining giant Vedanta Resources as we speak.

The tribe opened their annual festival of worship on their sacred mountain to the media and activists for the first time ever in order to try and raise awareness of their plight. I can imagine the strength it must take to do this.

The UK mining company is determined to mine for aluminium ore on the Dongria Kondh's sacred mountain.

22 February 2010

WARNING: Some makes of "rescue remedy" not whale friendly!

We live in hectic times. Our culture is insane and people turn to remedies of all kinds to deal with the insanity.  Some watch lots of sport, some drink too much alcohol, some kill their life-essence with anti-depressants, others turn to stronger drugs (legal and illegal) and  some take "Rescue Remedy" when the going gets tough.

I was saddened to learn today that a South African version, namely Natura Rescue contains an ingredient sourced from sperm whales. Ambra grisea, ambergris, Ambre gris or ambergrease is a fatty substance found in the intestines of sperm whales and was used as a fixing agent in perfumery for centuries. 

Trade in Ambra grisea is illegal in some countries because it is extremely valuable, and one can never be sure if the source was found on a beach (vomited up by a whale) or if it was extracted from a slaughtered whale!

So my advice to you is to use the Bach flower essences version of rescue ie Rescue Remedy, which contains NO AMBRA GRISEA!

... and don't get me started on Ethiopian civet paste.

So what do you say to climate change denialists?

What do you say when a usually perfectly rational friend asks: "But how do you know climate change is happening and that it's caused by humans? What if it's all just hype?"

And I'm not talking about engaging in long intellectual debates here. I think the most dangerous thing we can do right now is intellectualise the debate about the future survival of our planet.

So how do you respond simply and intensely, in such a way as to change that person's mind?

Perhaps you can point them to the amazing resource:
The effects of Anthropogenic Climate Change
which lists in alphabetical order articles from the mass media which refer to the human impact on climate change.

Perhaps you can say:

In May, 2007 Ahmed Djoghlaf, head of the U.N. Convention on Biological Diversity, said that "Extinction rates are rising by a factor of up to 1,000 above natural rates. Every hour, three species disappear. Every day, up to 150 species are lost."


... you could say something poetic like:

"When the last individual of a race of living things breathes no more, another Heaven and another Earth must pass before such a one can be again." William Beebe (1877-1962)


... I could relate how

I found the satellite images of a shrinking north polar cap, as published in National Geographic late last year,  moving. They showed the earliest images of the polar cap and superimposed on that the extent of the polar cap in winter 2006, 2007 and 2008. If I remember correctly, winter 2007 produced the smallest ice cap on record.

Another effective tool are the images of deforestation. Again satellite images are powerful indicators of the rapidly shrinking rain forests of the world and hell it is surely impossible to argue that these are not a human created problem!

But I guess ultimately a belief that climate change is happening and that it is human-made can only come from the heart. For every climate scientist confirming climate change, there are 10 who will produce some stats to counter it. So one can no longer depend on the scientists to be of any real assistance here. There are far too many vested interests pulling them in all directions. So best make the decision on your own.

Oh and for South Africans, a drive through the back roads of the new Mpumalanga coal fields should be all that's needed to see what coal fired power stations do to the planet.

For more intellectual debates and links:

... and one last comment. Let's not forget what's happening in the oceans.  Some 90% of all the large fish in the ocean, including tuna, swordfish, sharks, cod, marlin, flounder, and halibut, are gone—fished out of existence. In the oceans, plastic now outweighs phytoplankton ten to one. In 2009 marine biologists confirmed that large predators such as sharks and barracudas no longer roam the reefs of the Caribbean due to disease, hurricanes, and warming oceans.

I could go on and on ... but the point is, we have a problem here and arguing about whether or not the current radical climate change taking place in our home is "man-made" or not, is secondary. Saving what's left is primary.

15 February 2010

Camping is an expensive business

This blog would appear to be way too serious and negative for anyone to actually read anything here. So it's time to link to something light and frivolous and even indulge in a little navel gazing.

There's a wonderful take on camping on Christian Landers' website Stuff White People Like.  I particularly loved the line about how sleeping on the ground should be inexpensive "and yet as with everything in white culture, the more simple it appears the more expensive it actually is".

08 February 2010

Andaman tribe’s extermination complete

Her language dies with her: as her tribe goes extinct, hear the last Bo woman's song:
What are we going to do about the 200 species per day that are going extinct? What are we going to do about the indigenous tribes whom civilized humans are destroying. Should we do like the Navi in Avatar? Should we join the indigenous, take up arms and fight?

04 February 2010

Gauteng taps to run dry by 2013

M&G today reports on a study by Consulting Engineers South Africa (CESA) concluding that South Africa's water demand will exceed supply by 2025. Areas in the Witwatersrand are likely to experience "water shortages" within the next three years. THREE YEARS. Yes, THAT'S THREE YEARS FROM NOW.

Many millions of people in SA already face serious water shortages and surprise, surprise, they are the poorest members of society.  But the rivers themselves and the plant and animal communities that depend on them are suffering too and will not be recognised, as only human rights are protected in the constitution. But that's a whole different debate.

Read more about South Africa's human focused water wars: