Sunday, 28 December 2008

Justice; then, you might get peace!

We are seeing collective capital punishment by our side on the Palestinian families of Gaza. Just two days after Christmas, hundreds of men, women and children are being killed, wounded and traumatised by the armaments and ammunition we have produced and sold to our good friends and close ally, the Israelis.

Rather than understanding the reasons for rockets being fired into the border towns of Israel from Gaza, we prefer to make, yet again, a wholly disproportionate response. Revenge is sweet for our side and for the Palestinians. It ups the anti and invites ever more rockets into border towns that kill Israelis infrequently. Therefore, ours is a counter productive response, too. For us and the Israelis, we have to wipe out every Palestinian to stop their rockets. Stupid and barbaric indeed.

Our aggression in Iraq and Afghanistan sets a very bad example to our friends the Israelis who, quite understandably, use killing of civilians to similarly 'defend' their expansionist policies into ever more of the West Bank.

On the very same day that hundreds of men, women and children have died at the hands of the Israelis, our church leaders prefer to condemn the immorality of government policy. Yet, that did not include condemning government immorality in a decade of supporting the Israeli terrorism to supposedly stop the Palestinian terrorism.

As Peter Ustinov once said, "The Palestinians are the second victims of the Nazis". The one time oppressed are still the oppressors.

Thursday, 25 December 2008

My verdict on GW Bush Esq

We are coming to the end of an undistinguished eight years where, under GW and the 80% of the redeemed of the Lord who voted for him twice, we have seen what life is like under a Christian theocracy. President Bush is the most prominent evangelical Christian in the world. And, the Evangelical Alliance is proud of that fact.


The Lord’s rule through George W, has seen two major wars continuing to this day; our righteous empire ruling throughout the world as we control the economic and military power and control the structures and systems that deliver them; and, we have our supremacist nonsense in insisting that only democracy and Western freedom can be enjoyed by all the other nations of the world. In addition, of course, the evangelicals insist that only their Faith and their interpretation of the Bible is correct, wholly true and trustworthy and must be exported to every corner of the planet before, finally, the Lord comes. Evangelisation of the world is part of giving the nations of the world the gospel of democracy, the gospel of McDonald’s and the gospel of Western civilisation. Our attacks on two independent, sovereign nations have given Christian mission a splendid opportunity to place the Scriptures in the hands of Muslims - as they have been doing.


Eight years of Christian governance actually, in my opinion, is somewhat worse than undistinguished! And, in December, the ‘Today’ programme agreed. It announced that President Bush is the second worse president in the history of America and Dick Cheney is the worst Vice President. The devil has, indeed handed the righteous of the Lord all the kingdoms of the world for bowing down to him. Yet, no shame or even embarrassment from Christians for their President bringing temporal power with its attendant war, hundreds of thousands dead, prisoner abuse and torture!

Too late, too rough, too tough ...

but ideal for the tough to get going!

On route to returning Jon to home after his first term at Aberystwyth Uni, the two of us tried out a Welsh circuit that is not recognised as such. We soon came across one or two little indications as to why it is so little walked!

On the south side of Tal-y-Llyn at the foot of Cadair Idris, we began the ascent from Corris Uchaf. There is good parking by the recycling facility and an unusual raised cabin on four legs! As you come out on to the main road, there is a cleverly built but very simple, stone sculpture of a long-beaked bird - just three or four stones built up on each other.

The going is rough with very few well defined paths or any paths at all. One huge tussock sent me shooting forwards, sprawling face down that even my very fine approach shoes, on their first outing, could not save me. Superb tread and some studs have revolutionised my walking on steep ground. What I thought were my newish boots were almost treadless I discovered after three slips on steep, wet grass above Cwm Cywarch a few weeks earlier. On that occasion, for the first time since my original left shoulder dislocation, I very nearly took the shoulder out again.

The route to the highest summit has an unexpected steep slope on the left that we carefully approached thinking that it was crags. Instead, it was not vertical but 70-80% of dead bracken, grass and heather.

Nearer to the summit of the 666m trig point, there is some fine, steep ground amongst high vegetation to climb that made me remark to Jon, "This is good training for Mt Blanc in June and the soft, deep snow we are likely to encounter." Over the steep ground, the hill flattens to the one metre higher 667m before the trig point is reached. We soon shot off again but found the forest would not let us through. We traversed round to the left over the shallow ridge that we should have followed from the summit and down the other side to gain the gate and forest road.

We jogged down the gentle slopes on the forest road. Jon photographed an abandoned car we came across. He commented, "It shows how quickly and easily nature takes over." We soon came out of the dark, forbidding forest and turned sharp right; only to find that the land disappeared that we needed to get down to have any hope of getting home! This was a second, very steep slope that we gingerly struggled down, holding onto rusty fencing while trying to avoid the rusty barbed wire that hung down and out on our side. What was worse, was a ribbon of white water at the bottom that was essential to cross to get back. Thankfully, 20 metres upstream, we found the swollen stream divided and the island formed allowed us to jump onto it and jump off the other side. This, finally, began the long return walk.

By now, I was kicking myself for starting so late - 1140 hours - and, not being more careful about packing in the rucsac two or more torches. All I had, for the two of us, was my £16 headtorch that worked intermittently, as I found out two weeks earlier. However, we made steady progress up grassy and sheep chewed slopes without ever getting to the top of the Graig Goch ridge. Felled forest way below to the right and some kind of path brought us to the head of a huge valley before us and the street lights of Corris Uchaf way out in the distance. Thankfully, before it got any darker, we saw a track on the far left hand side that would make our descent considerably easier. To our surprise, we very quickly came across the very beginning of the track that was out of sight when we saw the track far off to the left a few minutes earlier. This was a real God-send because this track was not marked on the map. An hour later, we were finally back on the main road, through the village and to the reassuring car, once more.

This was a challenging, adventurous walk that might be easier if the outward route continues to take in Graig Wen at 454 m and then down the N ridge to cross the river at the B road before the long climb up to Graig Goch at 586 metres. More should try it.

Saturday, 22 November 2008

Africa: basket case, breadbasket and case of carbon famine

Africa was almost certainly doing fine until the white man came on the scene with his alien culture, religion, slavery and warfighting (Tony Blair's alternative to 'warfare'). The culture was alien, the religion divisive, the slavery also involved whites and Africans enslaving/killing Africans and the warfighting resulted in the UK being the first, I think, with a scorched earth policy and the English named concentration camps that killed over 20,000 Boer women and children .

Wikipedia has:
"Eventually, there were a total of 45 tented camps built for Boer internees and 64 for black Africans. Of the 28,000 Boer men captured as prisoners of war, 25,630 were sent overseas. The vast majority of Boers remaining in the local camps were women and children. Over 26,000 women and children were to perish in these concentration camps."

In more recent years, the white powers and China see the continent, yet again as a mine for 'gold digging'; this time for the exploitation of mineral wealth to put in our mobile phones and computers. We carry on regardless, despite the complete inability of too many African countries to use their wealth to benefit all. We exploit and use this irreplaceable wealth to benefit ourselves, knowing full well that the Thatcherite trickle down theory will result in the rich West/North and the African elite continuing to enrich themselves - and, themselves alone.

In addition, we set them a very bad example with our unethical and hypocritical and aggressive foreign policy. No wonder the African leaders are such a shower when we are even more of a shower!

Our wealth grabbing lifestyles of carbon binging also result in catastrophic climate change that is resulting in the African deserts advancing while, at the same time, the African forests are, probably, being clear felled - like, almost, everywhere else.

I think we still have the major responsibility for the parlous state of Africa. We reckon ourselves the policeman, judge, jury and punisher of failed/rogue states in the world. We - the US/UK - are the hyperpower; therefore, we have the major responsibility by virtue of our self appointed world role, to alleviate the war and poverty in too much of Africa.

After all, we do run the economic and trading systems and structures of the
world so that they operate in our best interests!

Sunday, 5 October 2008

CHRISTIAN PACIFISTS; CHRISTIAN ZIONISTS; AND, MAKING FRIENDS TO AVOID HAVING TO LOVE ENEMIES!

I have listened to tape recordings of four long addresses by eloquent Bible teacher, Roger Price on the subject, 'The Doctrine of War'. Roger asked if Jesus was a pacifist. He emphatically said, 'No'. Like Roger, I don't take the hard-line position that the disciples of the Lord should be pacifists - that is too much to ask! Rather, they should not be combative and aggressive around the world. To be combative, as we have found to our cost (in SE Asia and now Afghanistan and Iraq), invites revenge. It ups the anti and the hatred for us. However, I do expect Bible believing Christians, like the large majority (80%) who have voted twice for their brother GW Bush, not to initiate violence, aggression, force around the world. It is counter-productive and is the opposite, I think, of loving God, neighbour, enemy. If we can’t love our enemy, at least don’t let us make enemies in the countries we interfere with! This is my soft-line position.

Extract from an article by Sarah Joseph who interviewed Dr Rowan Williams

Christian Zionists support the return

of Jews to Israel because they believe the

second coming of Jesus will not occur until

all Jews are in Israel. The Archbishop is

scathing, accusing them of being connected

to “the chosen nation myth of America,

meaning that what happens in America is

very much at the heart of God’s purpose for

humanity.”

In today’s world it is easy to see why

people would believe such an idea;

America seems so intrinsically involved in

everything. The Archbishop recognises that:

“We have only one global hegemonic power

at the moment.” But, he propounds, “It is

not accumulating territory; it is trying to

accumulate influence and control.”

Page 34 of ‘Emel’ magazine, December 2007

In other words, Christian Zionists, like ‘Bridges for Peace’, are an obstacle to peace because they want more Jewish settlers in more of the West Bank to help the return of Christ to be that little bit sooner!

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Let them eat cake - nuclear cake!

Well done, Mark Lynas!

With the approaching energy gap, Prof Fells' power cuts, fast rising
populations all wanting the electricity high life and not wanting to save
energy let alone be energy efficient, why not leave it to France to sell us
their nuclear electricity? Let them expand and we get on with offshore
wind and other renewables and, the likes of us - the righteous remnant -
vainly pleading for a low energy present and future!

Oil is more important as a chemical building block for the 500 everyday
products on which we depend than to turn, very inefficiently, into
electricity. It is urgent that we stop burning oil.

Many years ago, I can remember Jonathon Porritt saying that renewables
would not be enough but we must go down that route. The Greens were right
since the 1970s when New Zealand was the first Green Party. Our Manifesto
for a Sustainable Society is correct in its analysis and solutions.
However, such is the urgency of reducing the burning of fossil fuels, I now
think that James Lovelock and Mark Lynas are right, too. Nuclear is the
lesser of two evils. BUT, leave it to France AND still use deserts and
rooftops for solar power - everywhere.

Humans won't restrain themselves, so nuclear is what they must have - to
postpone inevitable ecocide. Give us the nuclear cake, 'cos we certainly won't slim down our energy hungry and oil rich lifestyles!

I hereby resign from my life membership of the Green Party and FoE!

Monday, 25 August 2008

One foot on the earth, the other in heaven!

Or, Engaging with current realities to move to our heavenly home with even greater peace of mind!

I think the devout - and the rest - all need to engage with the periodic international and national reports that all warn of increasing difficulties for humanity as we continue through this century, on our present course. And, it is the rich North, the traditional Bible centred societies, who need to face up to their much greater responsibilities, in this respect, to move from over-reaching lifestyles to more sustainable behaviours.

The only drawback is that some believe in God but don't believe in the science! Or, believe in the Lord and in science to get us out of the jam we are in! Don't worry about the life-giving oil running out; something(science)/someOne greater than us will come up with something!

In other words, the devout must believe in the Lord to get them/us out of our difficulties - in other words one foot in heaven. But then, that does not excuse them from also having one foot on earth - using the practical, constructive, here and now steps to slow the rot and improve our lot this side of heaven.

Monday, 28 July 2008

God should be Green (and red!)

My sermon (off the Mount) on selected texts, outrageously cherry-picked and totally out of context!

Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it. "Either, we get our numbers and our activities into harmony with the powers of the earth to support life or, collapsing ecosystems will do the job for us." (Green Party Manifesto for a Sustainable Society) It seems to me as though the white Christians down the centuries have done the most to fill the earth and to subdue it and, often, at the expense of the 'heathen' from the numerous tribes and peoples who simply wanted to be left alone to get on with their sustainable ways of life!

First, reducing the growth in our numbers and then reducing our high impact western populations, is still rarely discussed outside the Green Party. I fear that with the rise of creationism and fervent, right wing interpretations of the Bible in favour of armed force and homophobia, evangelical Christianity is still going in the wrong direction. Ironically, they insist they are the only ones with the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth and the rest of us are the great unwashed - we have not been washed in the blood of the Lamb.

Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. Do God but don't do aggression, the war crimes and the colonialism that is the hallmark of the nations that have sought to live by the Bible. Seek to live more sustainably, with a lower carbon footprint, having less of an impact and taking fewer of your unfair share of the earth's limited resources.

The early Church had all things in common, according to the Acts of the Apostles. Very Communistic, very red and very Christian - but you would never have thought so! 2 Corinthians 8 v 13-15 says in effect, "From each according to his ability; to each according to his need." Here, in the Bible itself, we have good, left wing principles espoused. Ironically, it has been the traditional Christian nations, that regard Communism as so evil and godless, that have spent their taxes on decades of fighting and, in the process, killing millions of people, like you and me, that we labelled as Communists. This was in SE Asia!

The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof. The earth is now dominated by the rich humans in the north of the planet who rule as Lords and masters of all - with our World Bank, our World Trade Organisation and our International Monetary Fund. The black dominated UN is ignored by the white dominated USA/UK/Israel when it suits them. These three powerful nations rule the Middle East and act with impunity, whenever they wish, in protecting their vital strategic interests.

All things work together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purposes. But, not work for good for anyone if we persist in the widespread and weird attitude that money and electricity grow on trees and that we have a God-given right to ever rising population and ever rising material standards of living. Nature for some, God for others, will have the last word if we persist in behaving as if we know better than nature/God.

There is, therefore, no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus. Romans 8 But, we all condemn ourselves if we persist in living outside the laws that say that it is pretty foolish to continue to live infinitely on a planet that is finite; living unnaturally on a planet that is natural; living with constant economic growth on a planet that is not growing in line with our ever greedy demands.

The fool has said in his heart, 'There is no God'. The fool says - even those or especially those who believe in God - that there is no climate change caused by human activities and that we humans can carry on regardless with burning up our one off geological inheritance, as if it will last forever and have no negative consequences from that burning.

Let not the sun go down on your anger. However, there is an anger that is acceptable and very necessary. For example, as seen by not the aggressive Jesus but the angry Jesus in the Temple. In one discussion, someone thought I was cross. I denied it at the time but what others say about you is invariably correct. More people like me who are living simply so that others may simply live, should be cross that the big majority are living greedily with an even bigger eco-footprint than me and are, therefore, doing even more than me to bring our way of life crashing down around our ears, even sooner. I am, in fact, more the true patriot and the true friend of the motorist!

The Right, the Righteous and the Unrighteous

It seems to me that, since the end of the Attlee government in 1951, we have had our right wing electorates voting in right wing governments of either main party.

Right wing is characterised by belligerence of foreign policy in invading and attacking Korea, Egypt, SE Asia, the 'Belgrano' and, more recently, Afghanistan and Iraq. After this, not surprisingly, right wing is characterised by a lack of sympathy for the foreigner. However, this does not include Americans and Canadians and Australians who look like us and speak English almost as well as us! Right wing is characterised by generosity of spirit towards the arms manufacturers and traders with their subsidies from the taxpayer but much less so for those on State benefits of various kinds.

So right wing governments can't help but be right and on the right; always regarding the military and their supply line as the righteous but those on the scrounge as the unrighteous - despite the fact that it is these very right wing governments and their right wing electorates who decide on the 'largesse' going to the benefit claimants.

Sunday, 27 July 2008

This I Believe

Faith is very much part of the problem when even Bible-believing Christians insist that when the Lord comes again He will make a new heaven and a new earth and all will be well. It leads to complacency and a carry on regardless mindset when our lifestyles - our numbers and our activities - are putting the planet's life support systems under such strain.

For them, catastrophic climate change already affecting the poor nations, together with the fast melting of the Arctic ice and, resource depletion just does not impinge upon the far greater issue of an eternity with the Lord. Everything else - even ecocide - pales into insignificance when compared with making disciples, of saving souls, winning all who are to be saved for the Kingdom in the end days. However, this is no longer an adequate response, in my opinion.

Not adequate because our extravagant lifestyles - and warfare, for that matter (Armageddon in the Middle East is biblical and essential and fully supported by the righteous of the Lord, who do so like to help things along!) - is seen as much amongst the Lord's faithful as it is amongst everyone else. There is no difference. Complacency - and scepticism that we need to change our behaviours - is as prevalent amongst the Lord's saved as it is amongst the rest. In fact, for the Lord's people, the certainty of His return takes away any urgency to do anything about over-filling the earth with humans and subduing it to leave less and less in the way of essential resources and habitable land.

Now, wrong kind of fullness from too much subduing!

The Bible says, "The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof ". Fullness meaning rich in resources, an abundance of wildlife and species and, fertile in soils to support all life.

That biblical text, I think, explains why humans are so dominant, still on the ascendancy and full of themselves! As the fullness of resources wastes away and as humans overfill the earth, to continue to assert that the earth is the Lord's does make me wonder if the Lord would now like to relinquish his claim on it. The Lord can no longer be proud of a planet that His creation is busily over-exploiting, indeed trashing in many parts and, making uninhabitable for yet more species humans have made extinct. One day, it may be our turn!

For too long, life has already ended prematurely for too many peoples on this planet.

Saturday, 12 July 2008

The religious and political right is invariably wrong, hypocritical and inflamatory!

Our right wing governments and electorates love to assume that we are going to be attacked at any time. We love to have enemies, too. Both help to justify our armaments, our aggression and our attacks. Tough, hard, bellicose stances by our leaders always attract the love of the electorate and their votes. Our most outstanding post-war prime ministers have been our great war leaders, Churchill, Thatcher and Blair. Eden is discredited. His right wing Conservative Party Cabinet who, with France and Israel attacked Egypt, failed to get the agreement and support of the USA and so lost the war.

For 63 years, the right in the US/UK/Israel first invented and used, and then maintained the largest arsenal of nuclear weapons in the world. The right wing democracies soon made the Bomb too destructive to be of any practical use. Yet, even so, our side came the nearest to using them in 1962 after our side provocatively put Jupiter missiles in Turkey near the border with the Soviet Union - our number one enemy. The political and religious right wingers worked hard to persuade Kennedy to use nuclear weapons - for a
second occasion being the first to use them. A more right wing, Republican president, might not have resisted their demands to nuke the evil, Communist Russians.

Our side has always been the most bellicose in word and deed in attacking countries with Communist rulers or, governments with militant, Islamic tendencies that refuse to behave like we do in the world. Well, when you have all earthly power, of course might is right and you have a duty under God to make other nations as blessed and democratic and as Christian as yours!

Our side has tried hard to make more user friendly battlefield nuclear weapons that could be of practical use in our wars around the world. We have always made the running in finding new ways to spend our one-off wealth on ever more sophisticated and wonderful conventional and nuclear weapon systems, eg Polaris to make us independent of the US, Cruise missiles, star wars, renewing Trident - and all when the US is our best and closest buddy; and, the only country with whom we have a special relationship.

We don't believe in balance - only imbalance in favour of the US, UK, Israel! The other side gets it in the neck from our invasions, attacks and occupations if the other side, our enemy, try and correct the imbalance to make for less aggression by our side. Our behaviour around the world in attacking countries without nuclear weapons, sends the powerful signal to them that they
must have the Bomb to prevent them from being attacked - and attacked by us; us who are always right and righteous and well intentioned and always know what is best for everyone else!

Our right wing electorates in the world's super-power bloc, love hard, tough, warring leaders to throw their weight about and to command the love and respect of the electorate. Democracy means war, aggression and war crimes - even from 1945 - by the great, outstanding and upstanding democracies! Right is wrong - for both our right wing political leaders and the right wing Christians who are right in there, whispering encouragements in their ears.

Might is right for the right, who are always right and blessed of the Lord. They are the righteous of the Lord, after all!

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

My green logic is impeccable but illogical!

I think carbon cutting targets are a waste of time when absolutely no-one
is prepared to make any cuts - in fact, quite the opposite - and those like
you and me who realise the urgency of such things have already cut as much
as we possibly can - and go on doing so!

Intelligent people, including my team manager, who have gone through the
education system to university standard, disagreed with me this morning
(they were not disagreeing for fun, even though Paul, the manager is full
of wicked fun!) that if 2Kw fan heaters are blasting out, that may be
because two windows on the other side of the room were wide open!
Paul, the TM said that they had the fan heaters on yesterday
when the windows were closed. Therefore, the windows being open were
irrelevant to the fan heaters being on! Anyway, there was an awful smell
in the room this morning. My argument was lost! The heaters stayed
firmly on - and, on a warm day. Failed again!

This is similar to the occasional scenario in the office of someone being
too cold and having the fan heater on by their feet and their neighbour
being too warm and having the cooling fan on wafting lovely cool air into
their face!

There is just no conception, in even well educated people, that what we do
today has irreversible consequences for tomorrow. Is there any hope for
poor, heaving humanity on its one and only planet creaking at the seams?!"

Sunday, 29 June 2008

Not so funny, not so noble, not so proud!

It is funny how we Brits think of ourselves as being so perfect and everyone else so awful! That might explain your anti-foreigner letters. Let me put the other, rarely heard, side of the story.

For many centuries, the good, clean living Brits have been exploring foreign lands and taking home the booty, eg the piracy of the Elizabethans, Sir Francis Drake and Sir John Hawkins. Both men were knighted for their noble efforts and for making their own personal fortune on the backs of the foreigner. Some of their wealth – and ours - came from human trafficking with the iniquitous slave trade. This was a lucrative activity in the organised abuse of black Africans. Our whole nation allowed either one or two million to die or killed them, out of the 12 million carried off as prisoners. It lasted from the 16th to the 19th centuries. The foreigner well and truly got it in the neck at the hands of the whites and the church-going, good Christians of the UK.

When the Quakers started pointing out the sheer immorality of this systematic, large-scale abuse of our fellow humans, the Christians and the small minority who were not, argued that the British economy would so seriously suffer that we could not possibly afford to give up enslaving the foreigner!

Eventually, the Church and Parliament abolished the trafficking of Africans but it took another 25 years to end slavery in our glorious and civilising Empire. Much to their credit, the Church of England did acknowledge their major role in slavery, repented and apologised to today's descendants of the slaves.

For many more centuries than the British slave trade lasted, our numerous wars around the world – 7 or 8 against France alone – have killed many more foreigners than British slavery. Certainly, since 1945, 16,000 Brits have died on foreign battlefields but, very many more than 16,000 foreigners have been bumped off by our so beautiful bombs and bullets and righteous rockets. For example, in our war in Vietnam from 1959 to 1975, our good friends and compatriots, the Americans suffered 58,000 deaths in the process of killing an unknown number of Vietnamese whom we labeled as evil, godless Communists. Different encyclopaedias put the figure between 2-4 million. This is genocide of foreigners for which our side is wholly responsible. Both during our war in Korea and during the Cuban missile crisis, the hawks on our side were urging the use of nuclear weapons. Our General Macarthur wanted to nuke a 30 mile wide zone between China and Korea to make it de-militarised (and pulverised and barren!)

The tumultuous end of our Empire in India resulted in the slaughter of over one million Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs and over two million who fled their homes.

Our present major wars in Iraq and Afghanistan always give the fatalities on our side but, rarely, any indication of the casualties amongst Iraqis and Afghans. It appears that their casualties are many times more than ours. But, then of course, the lives of our soldiers are far more valuable, as they have always been, than that of the foreigner.

Having made Iraq and Afghanistan not the most congenial of places in which to live, we then get all hot and bothered when a few of these foreigners finish up our shores. Most of the two millions who have fled are taken in by the rather more welcoming Jordan, Pakistan, Iran and Syria.

Indeed, I think, after centuries of not so noble British history, too many remain as racist, prejudiced and as anti-foreigner as ever. We can war on their shores but we don't like it when these foreigners come to our shores. We can go where we like but they can't come here!

Our enslaving, our imperial ways and our warfare against foreigners is a shocking stain on British history. We remain shameless, unapologetic and unmoved. That is not so funny.

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Christianity began in non-aggression, non-violence, of loving even 'enemies' ... and ended in ... see the end, below!

Christianity began in Galilee as 12 disciples of Jesus and then by many more as Followers of the Way. Only later were they called Christians - as a taunt.

Saul was converted and interpreted the death of Christ as atoning for the sins of the world, rather than the ultimate act of non-aggression and non-violence. A crucifixion that spoke volumes of the iniquity of capital punishment and, indeed of corporal punishment that was also used on this good man. Yet, both punishments are so beloved of the righteous of the Lord - and has been for centuries. They certainly don’t believe in sparing the rod, because the Bible tells them so.

The Apostle Paul took Christianity to Asia Minor and Greece but it never became a philosophy, even though the intellectual Greeks loved to debate religion.

It went to Rome and it changed from being almost unheard of for Followers of the Way to enter the army, to it becoming acceptable to do so - and ever since.

It went to Europe and the rot really did set in. Non-aggression and non-violence became not just unheard of but completely non-existent amongst the supposedly faithful of the Lord. The words even, were never used such was the popularity of the soldiers of the Cross being literally warring crusaders against evil Islam and, even the wrong kind of Christianity! No longer were they faithful followers of the way of the Lord who taught and practised loving enemies rather than aggression and violence.

It came to America and that most devout nation; indeed, the nation with the mostest - the most of absolutely everything, including Bible believing, born again Christians. Yet, for the last six decades, along with its best buddy, the UK those most righteous nations have warred, have attacked, have invaded, have occupied nations with their godless and evil Communism. Only the tiny, barely Christian sects and branches of Christendom have been noted for their non-aggression and non-violence. Only they have remained true to the roots of Christianity and its Founder's 'unsuccessful' Way of non-aggression, non-violent direct action and of, literally loving those who have come to war, attack, invade and occupy.

The worst heresy, the ultimate irony and the final insult is the Bible reading and prayerful duo who launched the War of Terrorism against two Muslim nations who had done nothing to deserve the judgement of the righteous of the Lord from the US/UK. This Christian war or crusade against evil shows just how far the supposed disciples of the King of Love and the Prince of Peace have departed the Faith. They, who talk the most about defeating evil, need to first repent of their own much greater evil, methinks! There is the Jesus parable of the mote and the beam or, the splinter and the plank. Judgement begins in the House of the Lord - and, indeed on all who take the sword and the rod to punish the evil, sinful, rogue and failed nations of the world. Except, the US/UK/Israeli hegemony gets away with it. There is no judgement for their injustice, aggression and violence because they are all powerful - unlike their founder, Jesus Christ; all powerless, non aggressive and all failing!

Friday, 13 June 2008

Open letter on living it up for ever and a day!

WARNING! This is my green propaganda, green economics coming out as I
munch my lunch!

Thanks for the thoughts, Colin, from Newsnight.

I have not heard that speculators and the work of OPEC are responsible for
the 12p/litre price difference between petrol and diesel. I have heard
that it is due to the greater demand for diesel than petrol and greater
difficulties in processing diesel compared with petrol. As regards oil in
general, experts on Radio 4 news programmes have mentioned speculators as
being partly to blame, as well as supply/demand problems.

Far safer to take home the message of rising prices that the more we
conserve the stuff through keeping to speed limits, cycling and
driving/flying less, the more we will keep prices down and preserve the
planet's wealth.

Far more sensible to assume that we may be approaching peak oil plateau and
take the green message that money and energy do not grow on trees, more
seriously. The problem is that none of us want to change our lifestyles
and patterns of behaviour until we are forced to! I certainly don't want
to give up my Scottish car camping holidays in Scotland in April and May
every year. But, as you so rightly put it at Llanrug, fuel rationing must
be introduced for the good of all of us and future generations.

I am now writing about fuel rationing being more important than congestion
charging and, rationing as an essential part of making all life last that
little bit longer.

All the best

Tim

PS The first law of capitalism and of conventional economic wisdom is that
we must rip into all finite resources as if they are infinite.
The second law is that you live only for the present and pay no regard over
our future prospects.
The third law is that you don't cost in anything like the full or complete
or external costs of our exploitation of our one off cornucopia of
resources.

It is a live now pay later economics where the message of ever rising
prices for food, fuel and everything else has no bearing on our over
consumption, over population, over reaching of ourselves. We just carry on
over doing it without any acknowledgement that the complacent and careless, "You've never
had it so good" bonanza may have something to do with it!

Our leaders and the people are all in denial, I think!

Saturday, 24 May 2008

Rainbow N Scotland and Robinson Crusoe!

I returned on Sunday evening from Scotland having visited 13 summits in 8 consecutive and very full days. My longest day was being out for 11 hours that included two food/rest stops and two Corbetts. Only one of those days was in the rain. I had cloudy and cool weather with some low cloud that made walking ideal. One day was sunny with light winds. Two Corbetts out of the 13 were visited in the evening, when the darkness caught up with me. By the end of my last long day I had swollen ankles that were biting into my boots!

So I've now climbed 29 Corbetts out of 220. Of those, 19 were this season's batch in April and May. I had a slow start having been diverted onto lower hills by one blizzard and gale force N winds that made for mesmerising, mountainous seas to shock and awe! I just got away with rounding a headland as the tide and waves came sweeping in over my mountain boots. Then, I enjoyed pretending I was shipwrecked as I waded ashore out of the white surf on one remote and deserted sandy beach - apart from one otter surprised at man Friday - on Scotland's stunning N coast. There was a mix of white and red sandy beaches of sea and loch; blue, green and grey seas and lots of white, red and black rock - quite apart from the purple-headed mountain of the hymn!

My exploration of the one Munro, in April, that I thought I had not properly completed, proved that I was wrong. There was only the one obvious summit and the concrete base, only of the trig point/pillar. I must have found that summit cairn on my first, ridiculously long diversion from Beinn a' Chleibh to Ben Lui via this Munro outlier, Beinn Bhuidhe, miles away! That was on the 26 March 1991 when I was wearing fell running shoes, no crampons and when I saw, as I descended Ben Lui, that my tent had blown down, with my sleeping bag in the process of being sucked out from under the nylon! Therefore, my round of Munros was completed with Ben More on Mull on 4 August 2007.

Saturday, 17 May 2008

They're behaving like animals!

An understandable comment on the TV scenes of violence and destruction by Rangers fans after they lost against the Russian team in Manchester, the other evening.

Yet, we are the human animal, whose violence and destruction is a slur on other mammals. It is almost unheard of for the animal kingdom to behave with the gratuitous aggression that we show. The white humans have a history of genocide and mindless destruction going back centuries far, far worse than any other branch of humanity. Empire building, piracy and slavery, exploitation and war around the globe is still the hallmark of the white, human animal. And, my own gender is almost solely to blame for the despicable behaviour of that too dominant part of creation where, far from being the crown of creation, the aggressive male much more than the female, is actually the pits!

Our antics are threatening the rest of creation by wiping out species after species as our aggression and expansion and domination continues apace. We are intent on draining every drop of oil and every molecule of gas from the earth's crust. We continue to over-populate the planet and to over-consume. We continue to believe that we are the crown of creation, the bees knees, the top dogs who can do as we like, regardless. For me, this shouts abroad how arrogant; how foolishly dominant; how stupidly supremacist we white human animals are in the otherwise sinless and innocent animal kingdom. We have messed up and trashed the planet. We have learnt nothing!

Thursday, 8 May 2008

Over-bearing, over-here and everywhere - and nature nowhere!

Margaret Thatcher, when she was Prime Minister, in one of her three environment speeches said that we had begun a massive experiment with the very life support systems of the planet itself. She never spoke a truer word!

Yet, she did nothing to modify our behaviours that are threatening those ecosystems. Indeed, the problem is we are living unnaturally in a natural world and, we are part of nature. We are living infinitely in a finite world, convinced that money and energy grows on trees! We are living as God when the result is so far from God - so far from paradise.

We think we can increase our numbers infinitely and exponentially and that there will be no repercussions. Quite extraordinary!

A Green Party publication had: "Either, we get our numbers and our activities into harmony with the powers of the earth to support life or, collapsing ecosystems will do the job for us."

9/11 - Tutu called it a criminal act

'Time' magazine wrote: "If you want to humble an empire it makes sense to maim its cathedrals. They are symbols of its faith ... The Twin Towers and the Pentagon ... are the sanctuaries of money and power that our enemies may imagine define us. But that assumes our faith rests on what we can buy and build, and that has never been America's true God."

However, I think it is what a nation does and not its spiritual or Christian faith beliefs that defines it and that it is judged by. "By their (rich) fruits shall ye know them", declared the Lord and Master of a higher proportion of Americans than any other nation. Riches for the richest nation on earth is contrary to the teaching and practice of their Lord and Master, who had no permanent home but was an itinerant preacher. Riches that have come from an abundance of its own natural resources, certainly but also by decades of running the world's structures and systems for its own material and military advantage.

It is richly ironic that for the nation that is fullest with the Lord's disciples should be the most powerful economically and militarily. This is completely contrary to the life and teaching of the Man for Others, the Servant of all and who came into Jerusalem for the last time not on a war horse but, non-violently, on a donkey.

America's true God is not the God, Jesus, of the Sermon on the Mount and who told the disciple Peter to put away his sword. It is, in fact, the wealth and vast military power that enables it to show that might is right on the world stage by keeping the weak and powerless, like Jesus, well under its dictatorial thumb.

The Anglo/American/Israeli hegemony is well and truly in charge. Indeed, Israel is the regional super-power and is funded by the devout US. Yet, the Jew who was the founder of America's Christian faith rejected the Devil's offer to give him all the kingdoms of the world if only he were to bow down to him. The most devout nation on earth, with its closest allies - the UK and Israel - has warmly embraced that offer! It has fallen at the feet of the devil. It is a fallen nation. Its crimes of aggression that come out of its empire, its imperialistic nature, its colonial ways, invite a similar response from the victims of its false God of money and power. For America's victims, revenge is so, so sweet.

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

A Tale of Two Hotels

The first was one of the few buildings in Kylesku, in Sutherland in the remote NW of Scotland. Its stunning location - overlooking a sea loch, old ferry slipway and jetty - made it unforgettable and even the steady rain detracted nothing from its beauty. A fishing vessel was unloading its cargo just metres from the bar window where I was sitting.
Never before have I seen such a presentation of a £15 main course of fish - all dangling from a spike that was sitting on a plate of delicious delicacies, like a chandelier. Its name begins with 'l' and it was a new name for me, I remember or rather fail to remember! But, I do remember that it wasn't my meal!
The village is bypassed by an impressive, soaring, curving road bridge that was opened in 1984. Photos of the five different ferries, previously used over the decades, are posted above the bar in this old coaching inn.

Inchnadamph Hotel, in Assynt, is almost on the same fold of the Landranger map as the Kylesku Hotel but, is 8 miles south. Its claim to fame is the photos and text about the Scottish geologists who discovered the 'all back to front' rocks of the area - much older rocks on top of newer and featured in the nearby crags. A second claim to fame, for me, was a quite delightful, 20 year old looking hotel assistant who, on a quiet Wednesday evening, sat on the other side of the blazing log fire from me. Her complexion was so perfect that it was her pure skin that I noticed first! She was happy enough to chat for a time, even about the politics of the 1960s after she mentioned that the book on the floor by my chair was hers. It was a biography of the newspaper tycoon, Cecil King, who owned the Daily Mirror at that time. I lived up to my stereotype and talked about green politics - and, the charming, affable, humorous Alex Salmond who I like. She came from Sedgefield in the County of Durham. I never did ask her name.

Sunday, 20 April 2008

Scotland's N coast in storm, snow and white water!

I woke up - in the car at Ceannabeinne Bay, near Durness - to gale force N winds on Sat 5 April 2008. There were a few snow showers and impressive seas - the like of which I had never seen before! Numerous rock pillars, stacks and headlands whipped the angry sea into even greater fury. Waves, already white topped would smash into them and explode upwards in a fury of white water. One great cleft in a sea cliff gave an initial explosion of wave disintegrating into a white mass like a fire burst. A second later, the same wave, had funneled into another shock of white water much higher up the cleft! This second water burst had spray coming off the top, like smoke and disappeared far over the grassy headland.

In the morning, I had views as if I was in a plane from Beinn Ceannabeinne (383m) and, in the afternoon, views as if I was at sea as I got up close to the heaving sea. I paddled through it round a small headland just getting round as the tide was flooding in. A few minutes later I had a good view of an otter that I surprised. Sometimes, the sea was blue and white; at other times green and grey but always dominated by perfect white surf, spray and foam.

Walking across the virgin white sands in the shadow of towering rock pinnacles, I had the whole place to myself. As I waded through the water, round the headland towards land, I could have been Robinson Crusoe shipwrecked on what I pretended was this sandy, idyllic desert island - apart from the very cold temperature and snow on the distant hills!

Later, I had views from the cliff top towards Cape Wrath. Far away, I saw what looked like a mini nuclear explosion as a particularly heavy sea would smash into a rocky islet. It completely disappeared in a cloud of white water and spray that reminded me of the mushroom cloud from an H bomb explosion.

Friday, 21 March 2008

Pure, unadulterated genius!

My compliment to the person who chose such a simply brave but meaningful and short title for a major Roman Catholic conference in Manchester. "LIVESIMPLY!" was the title to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the papal encyclical 'Populorum Progressio' (On the Development of Peoples).

The challenge to livesimply "is this generation's response to the document and the values it embodied", according to the event booklet. That 1967 document commands: - sharing the earth's resources with all; there is more to progress than economic growth; free trade can only work well between two equal partners; justice and the removal of the over-rich and the over-poor must be the basis of peace with justice; a duty to be of service to all, especially generations to come; dialogue between the wealthy and those in need; and, education to feed the mind.

This conference summarised the document for today as live simply, live sustainably and live in solidarity with the poor. For me, living simply is the perfect summary for living sustainably and, for standing alongside the poor. To live simply, you have to live sustainability and in solidarity with the poor. 'Sustainable' is now hopelessly overused with the word, but not the deed, being incorporated into so much. We now have sustainable development instead of economic development. It has long been hijacked by the concrete, brick and tarmac brigade of expansion come what may. Yet, this kind of sustainability is no way like the Green Party's unique 'Manifesto for a Sustainable Society' that is a blueprint for making human life - and all life - last indefinitely on earth.

It was the best conference I have ever been to with the most outstanding speakers, first rate drama and children signing reflections. Throughout, excellent organisation and timekeeping, too. However, where were the clergy? Few were in evidence in this 600 strong gathering of only the laity! Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor really should have been there. The Rt Rev Vincent Nichols was.

Livesimply means simply smaller - smaller families, smaller cars, smaller homes. However, the Catholic emphasis on the sanctity of life and the outlawing of even abortion brought within the law, and contraception, does make me think that
that sanctity is jeopardising all life on earth as we relentlessly press on with more wanted babies and more unwanted babies. And the babies of us lot - the over-rich - are living ever longer to have an increasing impact on climate change, peak oil and resource depletion, with their attendant famines, floods and droughts. Our babies are more of a problem than the teeming billions in the poor South. Yet, it is their population growth that worries us; not our own smaller growth in the UK that has a much bigger impact on deteriorating life support systems! Hypocritical? I think so.

Saturday, 23 February 2008

Fossil fuels: take today; gone tomorrow!

No one has a clue when oil will plateau and peak or, be too expensive to pump up and refine. For me - and all deep greens - it is obvious that our species is living dangerously and foolishly in expanding its numbers and activities (to 50% more people by the second half of the century!) when we are so utterly dependant on oil and gas. Totally dependant on fossil fuels that are finite and screw up the planet's climates for the worst when they are burnt, as decades of scientific research from around the world has proved and, without exception!

The complacency of Peter Odell, Austin Williams and of all non-greens, is utter folly, utter stupidity with their insistence on ever rising growth in numbers and in our material standard of living when the planet cannot expand in line with our ever greedy and unsustainable demands upon it! 'Live ever more richly to hasten the exhaustion of those finite riches', is their foolish cry! They are so welded to their motors, wedded to growth and their ephemeral riches that they think money and oil grow on trees!

When our wealth is dependant on irreplaceable resources, our supposed wealth creation is, in fact, poverty creation! Take today; gone tomorrow - simple but, unacknowledged by our sincere but misguided growth obsessed non-greens!

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

'The Forsaken Promise'

Dear friend

I have just read the blurb on my wife's DVD, 'The Forsaken Promise'. I was astonished that you are still living in the 1920s or 1930s or 1940s! Have you not heard that the promise was fulfilled in 1948 when three Israeli terrorist gangs forced the hand of the UK government to give you the land of Palestine as the home for the Jews? Have you not got the wrong end of the stick, here?

The scandal you should be highlighting is this. Such was our government's partiality and incompetence that they gave land to the Jews but made no provision for the Palestinians! This has led to sixty years of refugee camps, expulsions of Palestinians and, daily humiliation and injustices for Palestinians at the hands of our good friends and allies, the Israelis! And, a never ending war of attrition and killings; and, our very own Western, Judaeo-Christian outpost in the heart of the Arab Middle East! Talk about provocation! Even worse, our very well military funded and supported Israelis are the regional super-power, too to keep the Arabs in order and, some Arab nations on side.

In addition, to rub the Arabs noses well and truly in the dirt, our Judaeo-Christian lands of the free and the brave interfere, invade and occupy land that the Arabs see as holy, Muslim lands. To have the infidel in so many lands of the Middle East, for them is, truly a red rag to a bull! Yet, we don't care a toss, do we? We know best and these Arab nations had better accept our Judaeo-Christian democracy and McDonald's - from Afghanistan in the east to Lebanon in the west; from Syria in the north to Egypt in the south!

In addition, the evangelicals see our control, our hegemony in the Middle East as a wonderful opportunity to spread the Gospel of salvation to the misguided adherents of the false religion of Islam! No wonder we are all so hated that they want to kill the lot of us - white faced, democratic, Jewish/Christian people. I am ashamed of my Anglo-American-Israeli axis of so well-meaning but deluded and aggressive people!

With every good wish for a less violent and just and sustainable planet of non-interfering nations.

Sunday, 17 February 2008

Marking 60 years over six days!

It was brilliant to have my friends from the Stourbridge Green Network at my home in Halesowen for one of our meetings on the eve of my birthday. We ate and drunk well and had a discussion on the extent to which science should be the final arbiter. Our guest for the night was an academic who soon got stuck into the cakes; next, required a cheese sandwich and who left the hot tap in the bathroom running full on - twice! And, this, at a super-energy conscious, green meeting, too!

Day two was a fabulous meal at Halesowen College at their training restaurant. It was more tipsy than either of us was expecting because it was a Robbie Burns night celebration rather than mine! We were served with an alcoholic punch on arrival; we ordered a glass of wine each, only to find that a second glass was thrown in for free; the haggis had to be toasted with a glass of whisky and, finally, more alcohol in the liquer with the coffee! A genuine looking Scotsman serenaded us, twice with a bagpipe full of Scottish tunes over the course of the evening. Just as well we had walked from home!

Day three demanded a bus ride with Deryn's magnificent birthday cake for the team at work. Such was my consumption of food and alcohol, I needed no breakfast and I certainly wasn't going to take the car! On the bus I was still under the influence and, to such an extent, that to avoid being sick on the bus, I had to get out a mile early and walk the rest of the way! What a wimp I am!

Day four, Friday marked the journey, after work to Esgair Wen, a beautiful white Welsh cottage in the back of beyond in the great expanse of rarely visited hills between Devil's Bridge and Rhayader. Becky gave us a lovely meal in Aberystwyth where we also met Jon, who had come from Manchester by train.

Day five was a wonderful 8 hour walk with Becky, Tim and Jon whose presence made, for me, easily the best present from these three youngsters.
They loyally followed me up hill and down - and just about kept up! We explored the hills, the wind farm, the forest and the streams and rivers at the back of Esgair Wen; and even jogged along one green track that was downhill on our way to the stunning deep gorge of the Afon Rheidol at Parson's Bridge. The last 1.75 hrs and six miles from Devil's Bridge was a character building road walk back to the cottage when we found we couldn't get a signal to summon up a car to come and get us! However, it was under the stars - and some clouds.

Linda's fabulous meal was one of my favourites - shepherd's pie - and a once in a blue moon discussion on population, resources and the future of humanity. Phrases used were, 'Necessity is the mother of invention' (when the oil tap runs dry); the young are hypocrites in knowing the facts but behaving like everyone else; and, only the good Lord can sort this one out (my paraphrases!) I was in a minority of precisely one. Let's all hope I am wrong! Will Hay in 'Oh Mr Porter' rounded off the evening that was not as funny as when I first saw it - and, now I have a box of the films!

Day six photos are on the blog of our sedate walk through Coed Hafod and the final narrow footbridges of the two days;
footbridges over roaring rivers and ravines. I counted five notable footbridges yesterday and two more were in this wood. Linda and I had a quick meal at 'The Clive', north of Ludlow, on the way back.

Esgair Wen sleeps seven and is of a very high standard. Strongly recommended. All electric and warm and comfortable.

Friday, 15 February 2008

HOPE 08 or an eco-HOPE 08?

I've mentioned to my Linda my concern that as only one church leader - our own at Hasbury Christian Fellowship - saw 'An Inconvenient Truth', was there any scope for this threat to our way of life to be included in this year's programme of or, part of an event in, HOPE 08? It was ironic that the meeting planning HOPE 08 clashed with the showing of the film!

At the heart of Christian teaching is the belief that we have to face up to our inconvenient and uncomfortable realities and sins. Then, and only then can there be repentance, the solution in Christ be presented and hope for the future be an abiding reality.

'An Inconvenient Truth' does present, starkly and frighteningly the overwhelming scientific evidence over these last thirty years of totally unvarying, verifiable and, conclusive evidence from 2,500 climate scientists from over 130 countries. If we all - Christian believers and the rest - can't face up to uncomfortable home truths, there really is no hope for us. Yet, the film goes beyond this and does present the hopeful ways forward that can slow climate change and mitigate its worst effects.

Any chance of the film, or scenes from it, being included in the HOPE 08 programme or, be part of an evening in that programme? Or, if not this particular film, then the DVD from Christian Ecology Link, that is part of its Operation Noah campaign?

We each, individually - and regardless of what everyone else does or does not do - should behave not just ethically but also ecologically, I think, shouldn't we? Salvation and stewardship are core realities in Christian teaching. In other words, it means behaving as though we are saved from sin (ethically) and behaving as stewards of the earth (ecologically); a planet that we have to pass on when we die, still fit to support life. This is not happening at the moment from all the reports I hear when listening to Radio 4 News and the BBC current affairs programmes!

After thirty years of knowing and doing nothing, we are still in denial and still drifting in the good ship 'Oikumene' rudderless and clueless and bereft of Captain Jesus to lead and to guide!

Tuesday, 12 February 2008

Angelic Brits with our democracy, our success, our peaceful ways!

"90 years after some women in Britain gained the vote - why are there still so few women in Parliament? Westminster lags behind Rwanda, Pakistan and even Afghanistan on that - so what can be done to give women a bigger say in the mother of Parliaments? Debating the issue are the Conservative MP Theresa May and the veteran Labour MP, Gwyneth Dunwoody."
(from the Radio 4 website trailing 'The World this Weekend' on Sunday 10 Feb '08)

And, we reckon that these nations have got a hell of a lot to learn from us, in the West! And, we still cheekily refer to our Parliament as the mother of Parliaments! And, we reckon we are a cut above the rest! And, we behave as though our civilisation, our Christianity and our culture needs exporting to the benighted nations of the world who don't know how to do things properly, like our American/W European nations do!

Afghanistan is definitely a failed nation, we think; while our nation is a successful nation, of course! Invasion, occupation and war must put this failed nation right. Why don't they appreciate us and thank us? We can't help a few men, women and children getting killed by our brave boys in the process. Funny, how we are always on the side of the angels and the others, like the ungrateful Muslim extremist who are fighting the hated occupiers of their countries - us - are on the side of the devils!

I see all this as plain, white, supremacy. Arrogance and intolerance, too. But, then, some see tolerating evil - like the nations in our self-chosen axis of evil - as evil!

Angelic Brits with our democracy, our success, our peaceful ways. The other side is oh, so uncivilised, so full of terrorists and extremists!

Rowan Williams supports Muslims - good on him!

I am delighted with Rowan Williams so courageously supporting Islam in one area. Since 10/7 - the 7 October 2001 - that began the War of Terrorism led by the two Christian leaders of the Free World, Islam has had it in the neck from the Christian West. Christian believers have NOT been noted for their conscientious stand in facing courts martial rather than obeying their leaders calls to go out and fight Muslims to bring Western democracy to the less than 'successful' Middle Eastern Muslim nations!

Dr Williams has always opposed the War of Terrorism and that is in line, I think with the teaching of Christ, if not the teaching and practice of the Lord God in the Old Testament.

"I have to confess I am terribly upset by the frenzied treatment that is currently being dished out to the Archbishop of Canterbury, mostly by people who haven't taken the trouble to understand what he is trying to say. There is something rather sinister about a culture that judges before it seeks to understand." Rev Dr Giles Fraser, St Mary's, Putney, London. Sermon on 10 February 2008.

Monday, 4 February 2008

Necessity is the mother of invention

One member of the group at my 60th birthday weekend (photos opposite), came up with this saying to explain that we have nothing to worry about over our limited reserves of fossil fuels. Science and technology will come to our rescue as oil, gas and coal finally become too expensive to be worth exploiting. There will be hydrogen and nuclear to save us. But, hydrogen has to be made and that uses energy. Nuclear fission uses finite resources, too so cannot be the ultimate solution - unless, after all these decades of trying, nuclear fusion is perfected.

It seems that oil is more important as a chemical building block for our five hundred everyday objects around the home and office and in town and country. It is needed for even carpets! I don't think we should be burning, very wastefully, the oil - or gas, for that matter - to turn into electricity. For every $100 barrel of oil that is turned into electricity, two barrels go up the chimney of the power station! Even oil man and Texan, George W Bush admits that Western societies are addicted to oil but does nothing to even slow the rising and prodigious burning of the stuff. The President might well have said, "We need oil to survive as a nation, just like fish need water for their survival."

Our one off, never to be repeated, geological inheritance that took 300 million years to form is being foolishly blown in the Western and Christian and white man's thoughtless dash to blow the lot in just 300 years! What is the matter with the white races with their many centuries of the Judeo-Christian traditions and beliefs at their heart that see them as the peak of creation with the right to exploit this inheritance? This bonanza has gone to our heads and we've been unable to cope with this cornucopia of riches. These nations, alone, are responsible. Now, many other countries are wanting to do the same to even more quickly exhaust the remaining reserves!

The double whammy is that as we all burn the oil and gas and burn down the tropical rain forests, we also screw up, good and proper the climates of the world - to nicely further worsen our long term prospects! And, then, there are going to be 50% more of us on this tiny planet to do yet more of this stupid burning and consuming. The lot of us are the horror species not the human species on this earth, I think!

And, to think that the discovery of first coal (in about 1750) and then oil, followed by gas is an invention! Not even we humans in our arrogance and supreme intelligence can invent something so versatile, invaluable and precious as oil, gas and coal. How can we humans invent more oil when it took Nature 300 million years? Yet, on that evening, I alone was appalled by the complacency that was shown in using that saying to lull everyone into a false sense of security over our prodigality and greed in running through the black gold in the twinkling of an eye - relative to the geological time scale.

Our misguided faith in science and technology to bale us out of our folly and our reliance on the 'solution' of economic expansion from a diminishing capital resource base is like the 'Any Questions' questioner who said, "Our behaviour is like the smoker who keeps smoking confident in the knowledge there will be a cure for cancer - to allow him to keep smoking!"

Sunday, 13 January 2008

Cyclists help to keep the monster behind the wheel!

I don't always stop at red lights when on the bike. Years ago I used to get off and push the bike across, as a pedestrian, when it was safe. In more recent years, I feel it is safer and quicker to go across on red without walking with the bike. I also feel it is my reward and my prerogative for sacrificially and nobly leaving the car at home and for taking the bike to free up the road network for motorists who don't have my thoughtfulness, consideration and altruism!

In conversation with friends, colleagues and relatives, I do try and encourage these committed car addicts to, at least, let the cyclists go first, to be especially careful at roundabouts and to keep to this hierarchy:
  • Motorists give way to cyclist and walkers.
  • Cyclist must give way to walkers.
  • Cyclists should be treated more as walkers than motorists. Two use human power and reduce NHS costs; one is taking our dwindling oil reserves and contributing to ever higher oil prices and rising global temperatures. What the carbon polluters take today, none of us will have tomorrow.
Motorists are a major part of the problem; cyclists are a major part of the solution. Cyclists are the true patriots who are preserving the nation's wealth, slowing the liquidising of our assets, and slowing the devastating effects of human induced, climate change. We are the true friend of the motorists. Motorists should be saluting us in grateful acknowledgement of our noble efforts, on their behalf, to keep that little more oil in the ground to enable them to keep driving that little bit longer!

I will forgo the salute if they only give me a wide berth and, like me, try to cut their car use before they are forced to do so by circumstances - later this century, I would think.