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The Green Thing

The Green Thing

by Rémy Ngamije / 21.07.2010

Don’t act like this isn’t the Western world’s fault. Because it is. We know it is. Our crime? We’re petroleum burning, carbon dioxide emitting, meat eating, non-recycling miscreants. Our crime is the whole green thing. And how little notice we’re taking of it.

People discussing Miley Cyrus’ underage ‘beaver’ shot online (an outrage that might cost Perez Hilton his scuzzy career) number millions. There aren’t nearly that many of us discussing the ecological fate of the planet! Scientists began reporting incidences of climate change decades ago. Weather patterns changing rapidly. Temperatures rising.

This steady stream of data has been deflected and called “alarmist” by everyone vested in “business as usual” – from the usual car and oil companies to countries over-committed to carbon based growth. Our leaders and experts have decided to wait and see if things get worse. For decades now they have. And show no signs of stopping.

But things are not getting worse spectacularly enough to inspire global action on all fronts. Small events happen – a flood here, a Polar bear on a lone ice pack there, more warmer winters in places used to freezing. Nothing hold the phone massive yet. Climate change has not been packaged and presented to us properly. There’s too much at stake. All we get is a distorted picture of what we are doing to the environment, and how we can prevent it.

The scale and danger of climate change is often individualised – the solution bogusly presented to us as a behaviour we can adopt – the “change your habits” approach. It’s a mystifying David-versus-Goliath scenario: small polluting human versus the ailing environment. What’s missing is the system itself. The resource guzzling, waste spewing economy of consumption and growth currently holding sway across the globe. The collective impact of unbalanced living.

The climate change movement needs more radical messages. It’s time to play rough. Why not have a BP exec admitting cars that do not run on petrol are the only viable future? Why not admit that it’s time to move away from short-sightedly acquisitive individual behaviour, and time to indict and end the system that rewards it?

Unfortunately solving climate change is too demanding, dangerous and challenging to the powers that be than fucking up the ozone is. Most countries pollute the environment in irreversible ways. Most of them are located in the Western world. Why not criminalise industrial practices that pollute? Why not run headlines like “US Takes Dump On World – Shit Bound To Happen!”

Cultural attitudes also need to change. If we started treating Muslims, women and the poor guy cursed with a Nigerian passport with as much respect as we treat the idiot driving the BMW, we might be one step closer to caring about losing thousands of trees daily. The better we are to Others, the better the world. Every organism that crawls, walks, runs or shits on the earth is implicated in the risk of climate change. The Green thing is our thing. Make it yours.

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RESPONSES (59)
  1. Teotwawki says:

    The green phenomenon is an interesting one. I bought into it in a big way over the last few years. I have found it difficult to maintain the thought that it is actually going to make a difference in the end and recently have reached a point where I think the “green thing” is an illusion that gives us the hope that we actually have a chance of saving ourselves – saying that, it’s an illusion that I buy into because the alternative feels morally wrong.

    Since diving head first into trying to live in a way that is as non-destructive as possible (whatever that means when I own a car, shop at a supermarket, etc) I’ve tried to educate myself about how we arrived at where we are in human evolution…and the overwhelming feeling is that we don’t have a chance.

    We are seemingly destructive by nature and self-serving greed seems to be our default setting.

    Since the discovery of fire and the start of agriculture, we have always destroyed whatever it was that we touched…the process has simply accelerated in the last 2 centuries.
    There are too many, well-written books about our history of destruction, not to mention daily reports of human greed, stupidity and violence for me to believe that human nature will change. The religion of money has assured that.

    Just a though on climate change: Climate change is a red herring. It’s not the real issue…it is a symptom of our destruction of the environment. You want to stop climate change? Address our ever-growing use/destruction of natural resources and you’ll address climate change. Hell, even if climate change didn’t exist, our use of the planet’s resources as if they are limitless means that we’re on a road to nowhere. Sadly, nothing in our history points to us being able to stop human destruction of this planet.

    This planet will be better off without us.

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  2. Anonymous says:

    “This planet will be better off without us.”
    Teotwawki, well said!

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  3. TheGreenery says:

    Yes, planet would be WAY better off without us but sadly we’re here to stick our greedy, natural-resource-destroying hands into everything.

    The whole Green Thing might be an illusion but it’s a step closer to being educated about the entire human race’s life-sucking abilities, and maybe, just maybe more people will catch on.

    For the time being, the small fraction of the population trying to do their (small) bit for the environment will have to suffice. Maybe one day they will work alongside the leaders of the world (and better yet kick the leaders down and out eventually) to actually make a difference.

    For me personally the worst consequence of all this is the effect we’ve had and continue to have on the animal kingdom. No other species deserves what us humans believe it is our right to hand out.

    The Greenery
    http://thegreenery.southerncrossroads.info/

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  4. Bob says:

    The sky is falling!

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  5. Rich says:

    Have you read anything on climate change lately?

    http://climatedebatedaily.com

    http://climategate.tv

    http://junkscience.com

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/

    There are many more. You should follow the debate before you freak out.

    Leave the fear-mongering to the pigs at the top with their political and corporate agendas.

    Be environmentally aware.

    Peace

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  6. jayson says:

    This is really well written: sharp and too the point. Great stuff, Remy!

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  7. dude says:

    ha ha…BoB!

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  8. Maxi Deck says:

    This whole green thing… Here’s my point of view: don’t have children. THE END. If you don’t have kids, right, there is no imagined human future. And you are therefore cleared of all moral obligations toward the planet.

    The planet can’t feel, the planet doesn’t care. Animals die every day and violently. Your meat isn’t happy to be on your plate. Ice ages come and go. Carbon dioxide emissions killing the ozone layer? The planet isn’t a person.

    I’m a little sick of the contradictions. Just wake up, hippies.

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  9. Rémy Ngamije says:

    @ Teotwawki: Indeed. But I have a vendetta against Death and I need to live as long as I can. I just need to make sure that while living, the rest of the world does too…

    @ Jayson: Thanks for the props. I appreciate it alot!

    @ Maxi Deck: The planet is indeed not a person. It does not feel and it cannot be “hurt”. But let me put it this way. If the planet was your car (and that is presuming that you have one)…or your house (again, another presumption), would you like it if we for example, shat in it whenever we wanted, smoked in it when we felt like it? Put chemicals wherever we damn well felt like it? I think not…

    I am not a hippie. Far from it. I like me some good old fashioned Rap music and my jeans are baggier than most parachutes. I also like me a lot of dead animals on my plate. Sprouting a conscience is not the same as being as hippie. Contradictions exist…It is the way of human life. The more we are, the more we are not…But saying that there is a problem with the world does not negate the fact that we are in fact part of the world…

    Speech is mahala…action is not…

    Think before you ink…

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  10. Anonymous says:

    Really enjoyed the piece Remy.

    You make some good points…

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  11. Aragorn Eloff says:

    Well said Rémy!

    Great thought piece 🙂

    My only point of disagreement is on the electric cars: we still need so many non-renewable resources to manufacture cars, roads, etc. that it’s unlikely mass individual transport of this kind will ever be anywhere near sustainable. Bicycles (you can make them out of bamboo even!), bio-regionalism, efficient public transport…those are much more sustainable options.

    PS: Just ignore the kooky climate change denialists. They’re a bit like the flat earth society must have been a few hundred years ago.

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  12. TheGreenery says:

    @ Maxi Deck – you say that the Planet isn’t a person like that justifies what we’re doing to it? So, everything that is not a person can be treated like trash and disrespect? I don’t agree at all.

    @ Remy, great reply re shitting in houses and not being a hippie

    @ Aragorn, really like the bicycles made out bamboo – do you have a link?

    The Greenery
    http://thegreenery.southerncrossroads.info/

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  13. Aragorn Eloff says:

    @TheGreenery: Here you go: http://www.calfeedesign.com/bamboo.htm

    I think Maxi Deck needs to look into ecosystems theory a little…Even the most selfish, human-centered person has cause for extreme concern!

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  14. Rémy Ngamije says:

    @ Anonymous: Thank you so much for the comment.

    Aragorn: I like the bicycle ideas. In all honesty, I think that is the only way to save the Earth, if we all just change our lifestyles wholesales. I do not believe in the Prius and any other kind of eco-friendly car. Those are just marketing stunts…

    @ The Greenery: Have a look at this magazine. I designed an infographic that shows my thoughts on the matter…

    http://issuu.com/remythequill/docs/thegreenissue

    Also have a look at this article in its more raw form…
    http://remythequill.blogspot.com/2010/07/real-green-thing.html

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  15. Kate says:

    Good article, thanks.

    @Maxi – fine, but the shit is steadily approaching the fan & you’re still going to be here to live through it, even if your conscience doesn’t stretch beyond yourself.

    @ Aragorn – it’s a giant leap from hummer to bamboo bicycle- ask the 5 people who cycle to work in SA. A transitional step may be required

    Being a good little greeny & seperating out your glass may be a drop in the ocean (at best, and pointless at worst), but at least it turns your mind to matters that matter, & when one day a forward-thinking policy-maker says “who’s with me?” you’ll be ready to jump behind them when it counts.
    Even the most cynical of world views must acknowledge the power of public opinion.

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  16. TheGreenery says:

    Thanks @ Aragorn 🙂

    xx

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  17. Aragorn Eloff says:

    @Kate: As one of the five cyclists, my observation is that we just don’t have time or resources for transitional steps like electric cars. It would be nice if we could slowly slide into sustainability, but alas we’ve left the discussion too late and current levels of action are far from encouraging.

    One of the problems is the green capitalist rhetoric that tells us that if we simply change lightbulbs and recycle a little bit, we’ll save the planet (and yes, Maxi, ourselves). From a simple materials science / ecosystems point of view, this is hopelessly inadequate – given the incontrovertible facts it’s vital to encourage people to make big, bold steps, instead of little lifestyle changes. Being a good greenie is hard work, not just hemp shopping bags.

    Public opinion is good when it impels effective direct action. Otherwise it’s just like Bush’s war in Iraq, which went ahead regardless of the 11 million people around the world who expressed their public opinion on the streets with banners and songs and fun outfits.

    I wrote an article on being green a while back that summarises my perspective reasonably well: http://www.southafrica.co.za/2010/02/25/it-aint-easy-being-green/

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  18. Rich says:

    “PS: Just ignore the kooky climate change denialists. They’re a bit like the flat earth society must have been a few hundred years ago”

    @ Aragorn There’s a difference between being a denialist and being a skeptic. The joke is that you all think the science is settled. That’s the greater denial. Science is rarely ever settled – especially when it comes to climate science.

    @ Remy As I said before. Read before you fear and guilt monger. You sound like a religious nut.

    http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20727693.100-climate-scientists-respond-to-climategate-report.html

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  19. Aragorn Eloff says:

    @Rich: No science is ever settled. Physics isn’t settled. That doesn’t stop us from being able to build televisions and space ships.

    What climate science is is *reasonably well settled*, to a degree where we can actually develop successfully predictive models (yes, we can, really) based on extrapolation of data analyses, etc.

    And when something is reasonably well settled, science advises us to bring parsimony and the precautionary principle to bear.

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  20. Aragorn Eloff says:

    @Rich: And, of course, you’re not saying anything vaguely like what the New Scientist article (which supports the anthropogenic climate change hypothesis) is saying when you supply nothing more than links to denialist websites set up by corporate lobby groups.

    Anyone interested in Rich’s links can refer to http://www.sourcewatch.org to see who is behind them.

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  21. The Watcher says:

    Rich is an idiot. The atmosphere is heating up, we all know that. And worst of all, we all know what is causing it. Why are we still beating around the bush? I think Rémy has read up on it, in great detail I might at. See the other article that he wrote on his blog. It’s raw. but it makes sense. The West is screwing up, and they are the ones that are in a position to do something about it. In Africa, there is little that we can do. It is pointless, as he says, to ask people that are living off the land NOT to live off the land. It is hard to tell people in Somalia and Central Africa where there are no alternative methods of heating, not to cut trees for heat. Rather tell the Americans to turn of some of the lights since they have them.

    And I like the bicycle thing. It is a hard change, but I am sure that there will come a time when drastic measures will have to be taken…

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  22. Illusion says:

    The Watcher lays it on thick…

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  23. James May says:

    The Green Thing is a concern, but I can tell you that the Prius is not the best way to do it. I read the original article, and Rémy raised a good point: I want to save the environment, but I want to be cool doing it.

    While eliminating cars will be a huge blow to our lifestyles and the like, it will save the planet. But as Rémy says, the only reason we are continuing the way we are is because the car makers do not want us to change to anything more economic. They are waiting for petrol and oil to run out, so that they can charge us double for more economic cars…

    Such is life on Earth….

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  24. Moola says:

    Nice article man. And the magazine you made was quite cool too.

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  25. Ilena says:

    Rich and Maxi are the reason we are going to wind up sitting and stewing in our own excrement in the next 20 years…Educate yourselves before you comment man.

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  26. Rich says:

    As long as you all feel better about yourselves…

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  27. Ilena says:

    Got nothing with making ourselves feel better. I drive a car, I smoke cigarettes, I fart all day and I add to the problems of the world. But acknowledging that you are part of the problem is a start….

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  28. Sara says:

    it’s not just the Western world, China has the highest greenhouse gas emissions in the world at the moment

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  29. Ilena says:

    That is also true. We need to get those punks!

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  30. Rémy says:

    Indeed, the Chinese are also guilty.

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  31. Moses says:

    They also did not sign the Kyoto Protocol. Punks

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  32. Allan M. says:

    And Australia…

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  33. Ilena says:

    Them too.

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  34. Kate says:

    @Aragorn: Indeedy, you speak the truth. I’m just not sure the other 99% of people are going to hop on a bike (yet) unless someone with a big stick makes them. (or a big fuel bill – maybe therein lies the answer…). But we shall see, maybe I’ll be pleasantly surprised.

    Read your article – spot on. I guess my concern is that telling people recycling is a waste of time (eg.) has to be done pretty carefully to avoid the knee-jerk this-problem-is-so-big-nothing-I-can-do-will-make-a-difference-so-I’ll-stop-thinking-about-it response. Not really sure what the answer is there though. Technically, yours, but practically..? Any thoughts?

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  35. Stuart says:

    Nice article indeed, neat and punchy!

    I am wondering Rémy what are your thoughts beyond looking at the issues?

    I am a scultptor and photographer, I tackle mainly environmental issues and also human along with many other species also. I try to focus my work on a sultion orientated ethos. I feel that so many of the issues that we are presented with today are so HUGE that we feel that as one person there is nothing we can do. This is a falicy, a largely believed one to! I want to show that by one person doing it, lets say 1 in 100 start recycling and they show their friends and also gain 1 more that is a huge amount in the world, not enough but a large amount. It has been said above that recycling etc is a waste but I feel that if you change the mind set of a person, the understanding that will bring an interest in doing more that is concurent with that. If you oopen your mind to something, the more you understanbd it. You dont have to be a long haired hippy to appreciate that or to d.so something about it! .I am not a hippy, I also wear bagy trousers and enjoy some funky ass hip hop and sunshiny reggae now again. Believe it or not, I also wear a suit some days… it seems that judging a person by what they wear and putting them into a ‘sub-culture’ box is no longer of relevance on the grand scale these days. We are all in it tohether, we are all rewsponsible and we all can make a difference. Look at all the major discoveries and new understandings our world has seen, they have all started with one man or woman, most of them recieved bad press and were atempted to be shut down, or shot down, look at Joan of Arc, Einstein, Newton etc

    I have a keen spirit and love nature, I would love to meet and/or chat with people who share similar interewsts!! I creat to speak of how we can all create, raise fun/awareness/productivity and the chances of survival for all special aborad this crazy place we call home!

    I have a few ideas, bring me yours lets see if we can majke some BIG ideas!!

    Stu – stuart@live.co.za

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  36. Aragorn Eloff says:

    @Kate: It’s tough. As Derrick Jensen says, we need it all – if there was a simple, one size fits all, not too difficult or controversial solution, we’d have solved the problem by now. What’s most important in the face of all this adversity is that those of us who do feel more strongly about these issues – or at least more able to engage them – not rest on our laurels. We need to do as much as we possibly can while trying to initiate as much constructive conversation around alternatives as possible, all without laying too much blame or sounding too cynical or judgmental. Oh, and we need to do it really, really soon…Easy, huh?

    I think it’s vital, in this regard, that we also address the social issues that lead to ecological catastrophe, otherwise we’re just addressing symptoms not root causes. For me it’s a combination of capitalism, Enlightenment humanist progress myths and the state that are the primary causes of ecological collapse, which is why I find the constructive alternatives posed by anarchist thinkers (Colin Ward, Peter Kropotkin, Murray Bookchin, Graham Purchase) so richly rewarding and insightful.

    Here’s a very beautiful recent piece by Derrick Jensen on passionate activism: http://www.orionmagazine.org/index.php/articles/article/5622/

    If it strikes a chord with you, there are several more of his articles on the same site.

    @Stuart: You make good sense when you talk about not limiting it to specific subcultures. After all, it’s not like only hippies live on our planet 🙂

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  37. Teotwawki says:

    The irony of Jensen’s desire to end industrial civilization is that our exploitation and destruction of the environment is the exact thing that will bring it down…unfortunately we are taking everything else with us.

    As he says, “I hate this fucking culture.”

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  38. Rémy Ngamije says:

    @ Stuart: Beyond looking at the issues. Well in that respect, the only solutions that I can come up with is for all of us to accept that we are indeed having an effect on the planet. Until such a point is reached, then we cannot do anything about it. It is much like the AIDS epidemic. Too many people believed that it did not exist, that it only affected homosexuals, or that it could not be contracted if you had sex standing up. All of those urban legends stopped it from being tackled as quickly as possible. That is the same thing with climate change – we all need to realise that it is real and that we need to stop it.

    Secondly, I think we need to realise that a lifestyle change is in our best interests. We need to let go of a lot of things now with the full knowledge that we will enjoy it later.

    Third, we need to stop thinking that recycling is for green hippies who want to hug the Earth and give every tree a big kiss. We need to make sure that the hip hop heads and the skaterboys and the fashionistas are all on board. Because like the AIDS thing, we need everyone to pull their weight…

    The fourth and most important thing that we need to do, is realise where all of the problems are coming from. It is not only the West that is creating the problems, it is everyone. But we need to put more pressure on them because they are in a position to do something about it. We need to tell them that they cannot drill for OUR oil without paying heavy taxes or putting in the wildlife fund, we need to tell them they cannot mine for diamonds unless they have a plan for restoring the land to the way that it was before…Like I said, it is all of our fault, but they have the majority of it…

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  39. Storm says:

    Yes, everyone has a point. But if not for modern medicine I would have died in child birth so I do have a lot of respect for – progress, industrialization (whatever you want to call it) just look at how technology is allowing us to communicate like this!
    Truth is the planet is quite forgiving of our pollution when it is not totally overboard – so why is it overboard ……there are toooooo many people. If we address this issure along with how we can be more eco friendly and with how our economic system would have to adjust to non-continueal growth, we might be starting to get somewhere.

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  40. Aragorn Eloff says:

    @Storm: Modern medicine does afford us some advantages, but we always have to weigh up the costs, externalities, perceived benefits, etc.

    For instance, we view modern medicine as the primary reason for increased lifespan and decreased infant mortality, but we forget all about how this is mitigated by the unhealthy effects of industrial civilization, the medicalization of life, etc. We also conveniently forget that the primary cause of increased life expectancy was enhancement of hygiene practices, and the lifespan wasn’t ‘short and brutish’ in ‘primitive’ cultures – in fact in many ways it is comparable to modern life expectancy in developed countries.

    Modern technology is nice, but should it cost the Earth? Is it sustainable? Can we have cars and trees at the same time? Can we make the massive server farms running the Internet sustainable given that they’re one of the largest emitters of climate change gasses? Can we produce cellphones without fueling conflict in the Congo and releasing hazardous chemicals into the air and water? Some technology might work, but we need to be very specific about which technologies we can keep, which are too dangerous or unsustainable, how each benefits us and, indeed, how each impoverishes us (books like The Shallows and I Am Not A Gadget go into great detail about how mass communication is infantilising us).

    There are not just too many people, there is too much consumption. The average American has the ecological footprint of around THIRTY rural folks in Africa. If we miss this out in a conversation about population we also miss out on any kind of constructive conclusion around effective strategy.

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  41. Aragorn Eloff says:

    @Rich: ‘Fans of opinion’? You mean like, people who like having a perspective on something? How tautological…I thought all human beings were ‘fans of opinion’ 😀

    Now, apart from Robert Laughlin – who appears to have some specific concern about sea water and limestone – who’s talking about the Earth itself? We’re talking about *life* on Earth, especially the lives of every young person on the planet but not forgetting the myriad other complex lifeforms and ecosystems that will be massively negatively impacted by runaway climate change.

    To say we should do nothing because geological processes will regulate impacts is like saying we shouldn’t bother falling in love because of the second law of thermodynamics resulting in the eventual heat death of the universe.

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  42. Stuart says:

    @ Aragorn

    WELL SAID!, Bravo!

    People – check out http://www.dontbeapassenger.com

    Peas

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  43. Anonymous says:

    @Storm: I think you need to examine your admiration for modern technology a bit more. “if not for modern medicine I would have died in child birth” ; “there are toooooo many people”.
    …kill 2 birds with 1 stone?
    (not that I would wish you or any individual dead)

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  44. Aragorn Eloff says:

    @Rich: I’m not sure what you’re trying to say by posting this depressing article, other than to let us know that some corporate lobby groups are gaining ground and that the solution to anthropogenic climate change (which is, for those of us who don’t suffer from some kind of terminal incapacity to see the real world, an actual phenomenon that exists outside of political ebbs and flows – Krugman’s original article cited by Dalmia actually says precisely this) might therefore lie outside of the structures and processes of representative democracy.

    As for ‘checking the source’, perhaps you need to read up a bit on the Cato Foundation and the Reason Foundation (Shikha Dalmia is a senior ) lest you continue to come across as:

    A) the kind of SimCity-fetishising free market fundamentalist who supports organisations that deny the link between smoking and lung cancer 😉

    B) Someone who doesn’t have the time or skills to actually ensure that the links they post actually say what they think they say.

    And now, here’s a brief overview of those charming, well-meaning folks at the li’l ole non-profit Reason Foundation: http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Reason_Foundation

    Good luck smartening that ass up 🙂

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  45. Rich says:

    @ Al Gore Eloff:

    The article is not depressing. It’s really quite refreshing. It’s your alarmist end-of-the-world hysteria that’s depressing, especially coupled with your naive faith in government and the integrity of the IPCC.

    You also seem to have a lot of faith in SourceWatch Al. But they couldn’t possibly hold any bias could they?

    Have you read the disclaimer page on SourceWatch?

    “Please be advised that nothing found here has necessarily been reviewed by professionals with the expertise required to provide you with complete, accurate or reliable information. That is not to say that you will not find valuable and accurate information in SourceWatch; much of the time you will. However, SourceWatch cannot guarantee the validity of the information found here.

    “None of the authors, contributors, sponsors, administrators, sysops, or anyone else connected with SourceWatch in any way whatsoever can be responsible for the appearance of any inaccurate or libelous information or for your use of the information contained in or linked from these web pages.”

    Seriously?

    Who created this supposed source referencing site? Center for Media and Democracy?

    Who are they? Well, here are just three of their own long list of financial contributors:

    Tides Foundation
    Rockefeller Associates
    Rockefeller Family Foundation

    Hmmm, that is interesting.

    SourceWatch is just another black propaganda site created by the progressive/communist movement. Created by super rich people where their final goal is benevolent? I doubt it.

    Anyone referencing SourceWatch should know that you are spreading black propaganda created by people funded by the likes of George Soros and the Rockefeller family.

    Wecome to the Infowar, South Africa. Don’t panic – it’s not the end of the world.

    But wait, here’s Al Gore Eloff with a swift and witty retort…

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  46. hehe says:

    Haha, well pointed out Anon. Storm, you really need to think before you write.

    Aragorn and Rich, your argument(s) is pointless. Take a look around you…do either of you really think any change will come? The only thing that WILL continue is that we will continue to be human and with that will come the destruction of everything around us. Climate change will be the last of our worries…the shit that is coming will arrive before climate change has any real human-depopulation effects. You two are arguing about whether you’r drinking a cab sav or a merlot while the Titanic sinks.

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  47. Aragorn Eloff says:

    @hehe: You mean freshwater loss, soil degradation, the decimation of the food supply by hegemonic forces with their GMO’s, toxification of our bodies by plastics and heavy metals…that kind of thing?

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  48. Aragorn Eloff says:

    @Rich: Naive faith in government? I’m an anarchist!

    You, on the other hand, are watching too much Alex Jones 😉

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  49. Storm says:

    Guys you are getting down to mud slinging which is not very helpfull! Who has actually got a list of practical suggestions that we can take up and put into practise. We are obviously all quite passionate about the subject. Lets break it down a bit and see if we can get more people to buy in?
    Regards Gail

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  50. Aragorn Eloff says:

    @Storm: I agree completely. In order to discuss practical suggestions, however, one has to agree on what the problem is. Some exceptionally misguided folks still haven’t accepted that there is one 😉

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  51. Aragorn Eloff says:

    Here are some practical suggestions:

    1) Stop consuming so much, regardless of what it says on the label. ‘Green’ consumerism is mostly greenwash. Learn more about what you’re consuming too – did you know that your cellphone almost definitely contains minerals that are obtained at rock bottom prices because of corrupt companies perpetuating conflict in Central Africa?

    2) Drive less. I try use my Ezeebike most days: http://www.ezeebike.co.za – expensive, but it’ll pay for itself in about two years of cycling to work instead of driving, and the ecological impact of building a bicycle with a lithium battery is orders of magnitude less than building a new car.

    3) Go vegan. You’ll massively diminish your ecological footprint. Local and organic are good rules of thumb too. Read up about this before listening to the pseudo-science of the anti-vegan kneejerk contingent – there’s a reason the UN supports the move to a plant-based diet 😉

    4) Don’t assume that government or big business can ever be rendered benevolent; power corrupts, as do the hyper-individualist consumer values capitalism teaches us.

    5) Look into grassroots, bottom-up, community-level alternatives wherever possible: for food, energy generation, etc. Build community!

    6) Consider how great social change has happened in the past and accept that some kind of revolutionary activity might be necessary, especially one that eschews hierarchies – political, economic, etc. – in its means and not just its ends.

    7) At the very least, some kind of resistance / civil disobedience is called for: the people who are killing the planet have names and addresses and they’re not going to concede anything without a real demand.

    8) Start talking to others about this. In the real world, not the Internet. There are friends and neighbours just across those electric fences.

    9) Stop paying attention to the naysayers; they’ve been suckered by clever PR campaigns and denialist rhetoric that leverage a very particular demographic in a very tricky way. On the other hand, some of them are just afraid of making big changes. These ones can probably be helped.

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  52. hehe says:

    Yes, I mean all that and more. Corporates having the same rights as humans, private ownership of the water supply, the list is endless…

    Think of it this way (and I think I read it in Jensen): If someone from 100 years ago could time-travel to today, they’d look around and think, “Where is everything? Where are the animals? Where are the forests?” We think (because our only point of reference is now) that there is still a lot left but the reality is that it’s all almost gone. There is already nothing left. We’ve destroyed it all.

    Best case scenario: We come up with a way to feed 9 billion people, we find/discover an energy source that is able to provide energy for all these people. But, there’s no plant or animal life left because we’ve killed it all. So, we’ve survived but not much else has. What a barren lifeless planet it will be. Would you want to live in a world like that? Not something to look forward to…and that’s the best case.

    The reality is going to hurt a whole lot more if you’re human.

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  53. Aragorn Eloff says:

    @hehe: I agree that things are really, really bad. As Jensen says in his latest book, ‘What We Leave Behind,’ it’s not too late…It’s just *almost* too late.

    I suppose we just try as best we can.

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