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 with me! 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!"