09
Jun
08

Talking Points for June 9th

Good Morning. It’s Priya with a few ideas for today’s programme…

Fuel: Environment v Economy

Fuel Protests continue across the world….

Truck drivers in Spain begin their indefinite strike today. Fishermen, farmers and truckers from across Europe were protesting last week. It’s also happened in the UK, India, Indonesia and a woman in California.

People are talking about it – but not everyone is that upset.

This is a watershed, as Gary Duncan explains in the The Times of London. Perhaps it’s time to face a major change in our economies…

All of this is very scary stuff indeed. We seem, all of a sudden, to have hit a watershed. From a rosy, optimistic era of seemingly limitless potential and boundless appetites, the world seems to be entering a grim new age of scarcity.

That we have reached some sort of defining moment is only emphasised by the fact that even hard-nosed central bankers, not generally noted for their sandal-wearing, hippy environmentalism, think so.

The Guardian agrees… Oil isn’t expensive – it’s just that we’ve had it so cheap for so long. In any case, high prices are just the thing to wean us off our addiction

So is it time for change? Is this the way to reduce our carbon footprint as everyone reduces their fuel consumption? Or are too many jobs and livelihoods at stake?

Who is responsible for the high cost of fuel anyway? Big Oil? Governments? Gas Guzzling cars?

What’s more important? The environment or the economy?

 

SHOULD ANYONE WHO WANTS TO BE ALLOWED TO DIE?

A woman with Multiple Sclerosis wants to die, but she will need help. She has asked the courts to clarify whether her husband would be arrested for helping her.

Many feel assisted suicide is a slippery slope.

Assisted suicide is legal in Switzerland, Oregon and in other countries around the world. This is for people who cannot physically cannot kill themselves and need help doing so. People who are seriously ill or disabled find themselves in this situation and are subject to the law of their country, which usually forbids anyone else to help them.

When others can commit suicide when they choose – is it fair that those who need help are prevented from doing the same thing?

What about prisoners? Should they be allowed to die if they wish? In many countries, vulnerable prisoners are usually put on suicide watch, to prevent them killing themselves. But if they want to die, why shouldn’t they be allowed to?

This September 11 suspect WANTS the death penalty

 

DISASTER TOURISM

Some people cannot resist and exciting holiday – especially if it involves vsiiting places where death and destruction took place.

Is this a bad thing? Does it bring vital business to damaged places? Does it help to educate and bring home the genuine horror? Or is tasteless and insensitive?

Belfast is the latest place to witness the controversy of such tours.

They did it in New Orleans. And Ground Zero. And of course tours of Auschwitz remains controversial.

 

HAVE WE TURNED OUR BACKS ON ZIMBABWE?

A “campaign of violence” in Zimbabwe has extinguished any hope of free and fair run-off presidential elections, Human Rights Watch has warned

Mugabe accused of using food aid as an election weapon.

Aid agencies are ordered out of Zimbabwe

We all know what is going on – but no one seems to be doing anything… Are we ignoring Zimbabwe?


47 Responses to “Talking Points for June 9th”


  1. June 9, 2008 at 12:07

    I seem to be hyperactive on the blog this week, probably owing to the delusion that I don’t have other work to do.

    Are we ignoring Zimbabwe? No, we are being hostage by the Mugabe regime. Here is a situation which clearly portrays the hypocrisy and selectivity of human rights targets in the world (Burma is another).

    Remember the rumpus over Milosevich and Saddam? How it was vital to remove these monsters from the global political scene? And they were removed, with much expense and effort, by the mad bombers.

    The Mugabe regime is a much easier nut to crack, if there were the political will to do so. The military is Zimbabwe could be blown away like a feather in the breeze, and Mugabe could be shown the door. It won’t even require real military intervention; a show of determined strength will do it.

    But who will act? Not South Africa. Not the UK. Not the US. Not nato. Nobody things the expense and effort worth the reward: the restoration of human rights and democracy in that shattered country. No oil, alas. Not on Europe’s doorstep either, as Serbia is.

    the media, on the other hand, have not ignored Zimbabwe. Problem is they gave the Zimbabwean situation a completely skewed interpretation by going on and on about the presence of white farmers and unfair land distribution, without bothering to comment on the productivity of white farms and the complete non-productivity of farms given over to Mugabe’s cronies. This sort of reportage played its part in encouraging Mugabe to go down the route of madness.

    Now that the job’s been done, everyone is shaking their head at the basketcase that Zimbabwe has become, while conveniently forgetting that they encouraged that state of affairs by their incomplete and biased reporting.

    The only way not to ignore Zimbabwe now is to do something very forceful about that situation. But non one seems about to.

  2. 2 Katharina in Ghent
    June 9, 2008 at 12:17

    Hi Priya,

    Here in Belgium “euthanisia”, as they call assisted suicide, is legal and every year a few hundred lethally ill patients will make use of it. Not too long ago there was a study published that showed that opposite to what some people feared beforehand, there seemed to be little pressure by the relatives, if any, to speed up the proceeding. If I’m deadly sick and in pain, I also would want to have the right to end my life or get the help to end it if I wish to, nothing is more inhuman than letting somebody, be it person or animal, suffer due to some twisted “ethical” reason.

    That being said, Khaled Sheikh Muhammed should be denied the death penalty, just so that he can’t become a martyr…

  3. 3 Nadine
    June 9, 2008 at 12:19

    Here is a thought… I’ve just read that Bangladeshi ex PM Sheikh Hasina can leave the country for medical treatment – The other ex PM is Khaleda Zia, both women. Phillipines has Gloria Arroyo, one of many female leaders, Sri Lanka had one, India has many at state level and plenty at national level, Pakistan has the late Benazhir… i

    If South Asian countries have such poor womens rights – how do so many become so powerful? I reckon Asia is the world leader when it comes to powerful women… And all this excitement over Hilary!

    Or are there men behind these women? When we talk about women in politics, perhaps we need to rethink this whole thing – is there really a glass ceiling? What kind of glass is it?

  4. June 9, 2008 at 12:28

    Hi Priya,
    Akbar here in Tehran
    I am so happy that the bubble has burst.
    Talking of our community which is so terribly social conscious, best car, best house, best food and best commodities, it is good to retunr to earth. Petrol rationing has began, the run on foodstuffs spells danger for the near future. Power shortages mean that the electricity is cut for three or four hours a day. We are afraid to say it, and prefer to sweep our problems under the carpet, but here we are in the lurhc, like eveeryone else in EU, US, Southeast Asia and the rest.
    O for a modern, well-planned city where we can start brething again!
    Organizing society in such a way that youngsters can actually enjoy their youth and go to schools which have sufficient playgrounds: pedestrian precincts where we can do our shopping. Eliminating vast traffic jams and constant accidents; Cars and motorbikes knocking down pedestrians at every crossing. The annual death toll from road accidents in Iran is approx. 38,000.
    Let us sit down and think what we are doing: We are exhausting our resources, whether it is fossil fuels, food or destruction of forests and trees, it’s wrong.
    The concept of living for the hour is an illusion. Dying of cancer, heart attack, or on the road, it doesn’t have to be taht way.
    Desiging for a future age: Well-defined social entities, open town planning with plenty of recreational space, sports facilities, open air entertainment, yes.
    Aslo, eliminate constant migration to big towns. Create local industires and promote agriculture.
    Look at major population concentrations around the world: South America, India, Iran, its always the same problem. Shanty towns spring up overnight. Crime, addiction, squalor and disease thrive in such communitites.

  5. June 9, 2008 at 12:38

    Fuel prices:

    http://ryanbacon.com/2008/06/08/hooray-for-high-fuel-prices/

    Wow, sounds like something I would have written 🙂

    I completely agree and can’t wait for fuel prices to keep going up and up (And yes, I am aware that this will impact every facet of consumer-living). Come on $5.00/gal!!!!

    Furthermore, I’m tickled to death about the fishermen’s strikes. Maybe it will give a chance for fish stocks in some parts of the world to rebound.

  6. June 9, 2008 at 12:54

    Hi Brett,
    Akbar here in Tehran
    I am amazed how Europe and the States ignore the startling fact that Russia is the new energy colossus and won’t take no for an answer.
    Moscow is laughing itself silly over the fiasco in Iraq, $ 2 trillion down the drain, and loss of thousands of lives, waht next?

  7. 7 Tino
    June 9, 2008 at 13:06

    Economy should trump environment in fuel concerns until it is conclusively proven global warming is true. I do not think people should have to endure hardships for a possibility. Makes no sense.

    Right to die: Another victimless crime that is illegal right around there with marijuana. The only possible explanation is once again religion and we really need to stop letting that dictate policy as well as stop worrying about victimless crime.

  8. 8 steve
    June 9, 2008 at 13:28

    @ Brett

    As I paid $4.53 for fuel in my car yesterday leaving my parents house and returning home to Virginia, I started noticing people are even driving Smart Cars here. I was absolutely shocked, and it looked so darn small as compared for the massive SUV that was right behind it… But it was on Canal Rd. in DC. Shocking.. However, what would impress me more is if people passed up driving to walk places instead. But given how far out the McMansions are in the suburbs, not near anything, I doubt that’s a possibility.

  9. June 9, 2008 at 13:32

    Economy should trump environment in fuel concerns until it is conclusively proven global warming is true. I do not think people should have to endure hardships for a possibility. Makes no sense.

    Are you talking Economy should trump carbon emissions, or the environment as a whole?

    Please address the problem of the acidification of our rain and our streams and oceans due to increased carbon uptake as carbon levels rise. This acidification is having a direct impact on coral and mollusks, thus are and will have a direct impact on fish stocks and the health of the worlds oceans… Which we rely on economically.
    You can debate the warming issue all you want, but what about the NOX, particulate emissions, and other toxins emitted by automobiles, not to mention the environmental degredation from oil runoffs, anti-freeze runoffs, sprawling highways built through habitats to further facilitate the use of automobiles.

    Economy trumping the environment as a whole is one of the contributing factors to many cancers in certain regions, along with other sicknesses and hardships as well. (ex. Land now unsuitable for farming, fishing, grazing, etc.)

    When will people realize that the economy and environment go hand in hand. The economy RELIES on the environment. They are not two mutually exclusive systems. Pollute all you want to facilitate capitalism, as pollution can always be rationalized if your talking strictly dollars and cents (note, not SENSE). The economy will suffer, along with the people.

    Regards,
    Brett ~ Richmond, Va.

  10. June 9, 2008 at 13:36

    @ Steve:

    Ive seen an increase of smart cars in Richmond too. It also seems the price of Geo Metros has skyrocketed compared to what they were a few years ago. And who would have thunk it… A GEO!

  11. 11 selenayvonne
    June 9, 2008 at 13:39

    @Nadine

    “I’ve just read that Bangladeshi ex PM Sheikh Hasina can leave the country for medical treatment.”

    What is wrong with the medical treatment in his own country? Ex-PM? If it is good enough for the people, why isn’t it good enough for him?

    It like that woman who called herself Mother Teresa. Her Order couldn’t give dying people a decent place to die. They denied pain killers because God loves those who suffer. Yet, when MT was ill they put her on a Jet to the US for medical treatment.

    Who sees the craziness of such hypocrisy?

  12. 12 selenayvonne
    June 9, 2008 at 13:48

    @Brett

    In Canada where I live people live off the fishery. They understand sustainability. It is the governments that went against their wishes and screwed up the process. For decades fishermen were telling the government that official policy would not work in the long run. We are now seeing the effects of a decades old fishery policy run amok.

    Please don’t blame that on the fishermen!

    Also, where I live one has to have a car or a boat to survive. I don’t mind walking but walking 50 km for services is not on, I am afraid. 😉

    In Paris,we don’t own a car. I love the underground and the buses and trains. It is always an adventure using public transport.

  13. 13 selenayvonne
    June 9, 2008 at 13:59

    What bothers me about the price of gas is that someone is behind the increase manipulating the process and there is zilch we are doing about it.

    The real discussion should be about who ultimately has control over the lives of billions of people on this planet? So-called governments or a few speculators?

    We don’t seen to be able to get our heads around the fact that everything is contrived to benefit a small number of people.

    I only hope that the current strikes will trigger a process whereby we, the people, will demand an accounting of the events that led up to this unquestioned increase.

    We now know that sub-prime mortgages were a conscious thought in the minds of a few people. Therefore, it is safe to assume that the same is true of oil prices.

    Who is directing the process? Who is benefiting? Those are very real questions that should be on the minds of everyone across the globe.

  14. June 9, 2008 at 14:04

    @Selena:

    Please don’t blame that on the fishermen!

    I am not placing blame on any one individual. I believe the problems have been facilitated by greed and governance.

    Regardless, a decrease in the amount of overfishing will be positive for fish stocks and the environment.

  15. 15 Mohammed Ali
    June 9, 2008 at 14:17

    I presented this argument on the issue of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alledge master mind of the 9/11 attack on the USA when he told the court that he wants the death penalty.
    In cases of prisoners who have comitted hineous crimes and wish for a death penalty should not be given their wish rather should be given a life sentence with hard labor.
    In the instance were a person is seriously sick and has no chance of recovering they should be allowed to die if requested. If they cannot commit suicide on their own, then they should be helped. Denying them from dying and allowing them to live and suffer is an abuse to their right.

  16. 16 steve
    June 9, 2008 at 14:27

    @ Brett

    At least in the DC area, you’ll notice these people are either women or older men. unfortunately, the way things here are, given it’s a status town, if you drive something inefficient, it means you have money, hence women go after the guys in gas guzzlers. I’ve heahrd women prius drivers say “no real man would drive a prius”.

  17. 17 Mohammed Ali
    June 9, 2008 at 14:31

    We really are not turning our backs on Zimbabwe rather it is the African leaders who are backing him to stay on because they themselves are the same.
    As individuals we will continue to play make the publicity until the African leaders can realize that it is time for Mugabe to go.

  18. 18 Roberto
    June 9, 2008 at 14:33

    Economy should trump environment in fuel concerns until it is conclusively proven global warming is true.
    ———————————————————————————————

    —— My dear chap, you’ve not “conclusively proven” why economy should take precedent over the environment.

    After all, WE, we are all part of the environment, as is our “economy” that is a part of us.

    Native tribes in rainforests do just fine without an “economy,” and aren’t destroying their environment. I live in one of the most “environmentally progressive” places in the world, but wanton development, the essence of any economy, has destroyed the water quality of previously pristine waters. Ozone warnings are common in the summer, and the spike in polluting air particles has spiked the development of asthma. Traffic is gridlocked which just exacerbates the increasing problem.

    The greedy global power mongers have created both this energy crisis and the global warming, and it’s very discouraging to see how many excuse the model we are forced to submit to in order to live. Fights over the above will most assuredly lead to a massive global conflict that could make the World Wars look like a school boy playground dustup.

  19. 19 Angela in Washington D.C.
    June 9, 2008 at 14:33

    @Steve

    I know it is is aweful think to admit but most of my friends would not date a guy who drives a Prius. It is very unattractive.

  20. 20 Tino
    June 9, 2008 at 14:35

    @ Brett

    Yeah, I should have been more clear – economy trumps carbon emissions. Until it is conclusive no unnecessary burdens should be placed upon the general public (which is why I agree with our stance on Kyoto).

    The acidification of rain is primarily caused by sulfur and nitrogen compounds which form sulfuric acid and nitric acid in the air when mixing with water vapor. There are of course scrubbers on power plants in the US now and catalytic converters in cars. Both of these are quite effective at reducing pollutants in the air. It is not hard to imagine that further advances in technology will cause further reductions in emissions.

    As for run off I do not really know enough about the issue or how to solve it to comment. I would only say they should be the responsibility of whatever company allowed it to happen. If you mean the general consumer’s oil leaks and such I do not have any idea how to solve that problem. Highways I would regard as a necessary evil.

    “Pollute all you want to facilitate capitalism”

    I still do not understand why every environmentalist hates capitalism. In case you didn’t notice, it has become almost necessary to go green to sell a product. If you think the trend is anything but moving toward more environmentally friendly EVERYTHING I do not even know what to say to you. The majority of people want to see/buy green products and therefore companies will provide them. Capitalism works – most other systems would be at the mercy of those in power instead of the general public and perhaps these products would not be made.

  21. 21 Angela in Washington D.C.
    June 9, 2008 at 14:39

    I meant to say an awful thing, not an aweful think.

  22. June 9, 2008 at 14:48

    Here is a list of problems we will have to face in the next 20 years, enumerated by James Martin ( expert on global technological and socio-political trends, and founder of the Oxford School of the 21st century) in his book : The Meaning of the 21st Century:

    catastrophic global changes in climate
    rivers and aquifers drying up
    destruction of life in the oceans
    mass famine in ill-organized countries
    an unstoppable pandemic of new infectious diseases
    destitute nations sliding into deepening poverty
    unstoppable global migrations of people
    weapons of mass destruction becoming inexpensive
    growth of shantycities with extreme violence and poverty
    mass recruitment for terrorism
    nuclear/biological terrorism
    religious war between muslims and christians
    a possible world war with nuclear and biological weapons
    exposure from science to new dangers – for example, genetically modified infectious pathogens

    All this to come, and a mere ten to fifteen years to prevent it or adapt ourselves to live with it.

    Martin’s arguments are soundly based on elaborate evidence presented in the book by a man who, if he is anything, is a scientist first and foremost.

  23. 23 Katharina in Ghent
    June 9, 2008 at 14:53

    Dear Tino,

    I agree on so many things with you, but when it comes to the environment and global warming, your opinion makes my hair stand up straight, just by itself!

    1) Global warming is a fact, unless you still believe the official bulletins of the White House. Tornados in Germany, the pine beetle plage in BC because they don’t get -40degrees Celsius anymore, these are just two examples, there are plenty more.

    2) As Brett pointed out, when you screw up the environment, you don’t need to worry about the economy anymore, because watcha gonna buy with those millions when there’s nothing left? It’s not just global warming, it’s also the polluted soils, the acid rain, the interrupted food chains, the overfished seas… it all comes together to one very grim picture.

    3) Why doesn’t anyone want to see the economic opportunity in green technology??? I already read somewhere that the next bubble will be just that, and rightly so. And don’t come to me with biofuel, there’s so much more, including methane as Zak pointed out in the last Blank Page.

    I don’t even want to think about how many million years it must have taken to accumulate all this oil that we’re now burning so happily and blowing into the air! And what the world must have looked like when it was still plants and water and whatnot…

    I stopped going on longer car trips over two years ago in order to save money on gas and to blow less into the air. I also bike whenever the weather is permitting, which here in Belgium is quite an “if”. If my son still has some nature left when he’s grown up, I’ll be happy.

  24. 24 Katharina in Ghent
    June 9, 2008 at 14:55

    Hi again Tino,

    I just saw your latest post so you’re on my good page again… 😉 I still think that global warming is unavoidable, though.

  25. 25 Mohammed Ali
    June 9, 2008 at 15:01

    Regarding the issue of high fuel prices and and almost world wide demostrsation taking place due to this, the problems in my view stem from two points:
    1. The war being waged basically on those countries that are responsible for the production of crude in the middle east, also the west which is basically the highest consumer of energy in the world doesn’t also want to cultivate good relationships with other oil producing countries outside of the middle east like Russia, Venezuela, etc. etc.
    2. There are other countries whose economies are now developing at a higher rate and basically crude oil is the driving force behind those economies, like China, India, Brazil, and even some African countries, and etc. With this in mind, naturally the demand for oil will increase and the suppliers are not producing the quantity demanded hence the percieve high price. Even if the supplies were high, the price will still rise because of the supply-demand factor.

    In order to avert major crisis that will result, the west needs to rethink her policies both on the middle east and other oil producing countries like Russia and Venezuela.

  26. 26 Tino
    June 9, 2008 at 15:15

    Hey Katharina,

    Glad I am back on your good side haha.

    “3) Why doesn’t anyone want to see the economic opportunity in green technology??? I already read somewhere that the next bubble will be just that, and rightly so. And don’t come to me with biofuel, there’s so much more, including methane as Zak pointed out in the last Blank Page.”

    Could not agree more. This is definitely where the money is at these days I think. I am still not totally convinced by the global warming crowd, especially when their predictions are proven wrong rather often (like the recent cooling trend). I definitely acknowledge it as a possibility, however. I just do not think ideas like forced reductions and carbon taxes are the answer until/unless it is conclusively proven. I DO think that in the meantime we should pursue green tech as it is A.) A boost to the economy and B.) can be sold to others and spread more easily than say conservation policies. I imagine even China would want to get its hands on some green tech to promote a better image abroad as they seem to care about that quite a bit.

  27. June 9, 2008 at 15:43

    In case you didn’t notice, it has become almost necessary to go green to sell a product. If you think the trend is anything but moving toward more environmentally friendly EVERYTHING I do not even know what to say to you.

    I think everything is moving towards promoting ‘green’ products without any substantial footing.

    I see car ads with titles like “Go Green! This car / suv gets x mpg” I dont know whether to roll over laughing or turn to the side and vomit because of such lies.
    Companies convinving consumers that their cars are ‘green’… Instances such as these are just one example.

    The majority of people want to see/buy green products

    When it is convenient and financially viable to do so. Take Seventh Generation products for example. They are often twice the price of comparable products sitting on the shelves right next to them. So when the ‘environmentally savy’ consumer trucks to WalMart in their H2, and see’s these green products on the shelf, looks left and sees the same product for half the price. Which will they choose? I can garuntee you that more often then not, environmentally friendly products will only win over consumers when the financial difference is negligible or in their favor.

    Also, consumers want to ‘see / buy’ green products. And guess what, companies have picked up on this and used greenwashing as a tool to promote their product. What consumers don’t care to understand is the environmental impact of their choices throughout the life of the product, from its manufacturing and the sourcing of resources for that manufacturing, through its useful life, and then on to its disposal.
    You can have a company package a vile of mercury in recycled glass and paper and call it ‘green’.
    There are no standards on ‘green products’ now so producers are free to use this term as loosely as they want. No matter the impact their product and its manufacturing and use has on the environment. As long as theres some sort of recycled material used in it. There may not even be any difference in the product from a year ago until now when it is labeled as ‘green’.

  28. 28 selenayvonne
    June 9, 2008 at 15:55

    @Steve

    I don’t guess you will ever be a woman but you may yet reach the status of older “man”. So, be careful of your characterizations.

    And cut the bs, Steve… the majority of woman just want a nice person. You are looking in all the wrong places. Perhaps it is time to reevaluate your motives, my darling.

  29. 29 Tino
    June 9, 2008 at 16:23

    “Companies convinving consumers that their cars are ‘green’… Instances such as these are just one example.”

    Companies are convincing stupid consumers then. It is not terribly difficult to investigate things nowadays and I think you are selling the public short – most people are willing to take extra time to look at things. As for seventh gen products, I am not at all an environmentalist but I love them just for the lack of fumes which bother the hell out of me. Plenty of people will pay more, just like they do for organic food.

    “Hollender has been having a lot of good days lately. His 15-year-old company, which lost more than $12 million during the late 1980s and 1990s, has finally turned the corner.”

    “Seventh Generation has enjoyed phenomenal growth — nearly 24 percent a year for the last five years, according to Hollender, which would put the company’s current annual sales at somewhere around $25 million, though Hollender is uncharacteristically coy when it comes to revealing precise financial information about the privately held company.”

    “Supermarkets now account for 30 percent of Seventh Generation’s sales, up from virtually nothing a few years ago. Within two years, they will account for more than half of his business.”

    From: http://www.nrdc.org/onearth/04win/sevgen1.asp and it was written in 2004.

    It seems like you are reluctant to admit people are actually pushing the growth of REAL green products, and I do not know why…

    Look at my school, GT. We now have: waterless urinals, 100% recycled paper towels, we water the green land with air conditioning condensate, etc. The push, and a real one, to be green is there. If you think every green product is a lie and a sham you need to look around more. People are finally coming around to CFLs (and it took them long enough). The change is here already and it is almost an economic necessity to be green in the majority of areas.

  30. 30 gary
    June 9, 2008 at 16:30

    Taken in the sense of “the system of trade and industry by which the wealth of a country or region is made and used,” economy IS ACCOMMODATED by the environment. Temperate regions with rain and arable soils produce wheat and maize; tropical regions produce rice and bananas. Since global economic activity is modifying every country’s environment, a new definition must be globally understood. The world’s economies and the world environment are coincident. To ensure our own continuation, we must ensure everyone else’s.
    Our current state of affairs results from unwise evaluation of oil’s true worth. We thought it cheap; so we wasted it. Similarly, we viewed the environment as an unlimited and thus free resource. No garbage pile would become so big as to tax its recuperative ability. We’ve thought wrong. To correct our errors we may be forced to abandon something even more addictive that our use of oil, we may have to discard the notion that we are better than anyone else is, or that we are more deserving of an excellent quality of life. All peoples will have to solve this problem for the world. Communication, through the mutual understanding it engenders, is the only way forward; all other avenues end in chaos. For doubters, see: “The History of the World up to Present Time.”
    g

  31. 31 steve
    June 9, 2008 at 16:42

    @ Selena

    I’m sorry you don’t agree, but if you’ve ever been in major metropolitian areas, you are “judge” (I personally don’t care) if you take public transport. It’s attitudes like that that make people “dependent” upon cars, meaning more green house gases and higher fuel prices due to the demand. A car is unfortunately a status symbol, and it’s catching on in places like China and India. So long as people are insecure, and need status symbols that pollute and use gasoline, we’re going to have some serious problems, and thinking I’m somehow worse for pointing it out than the people who only make the situation worse, is saying something..

  32. June 9, 2008 at 16:55

    It seems like you are reluctant to admit people are actually pushing the growth of REAL green products, and I do not know why…

    I’m not reluctant at all to admit that. But until the MAJORITY of people are willing to make financial and lifestyle sacrifices to accomodate the environment, the benefits yeilded by those who truly care and spend the extra time and money will be negated by the stupid majority who enjoy the lower financial cost of a more environmentally harmful lifestyle.

    Changes such as a switch to recycled paper towels, are good, don’t get me wrong. But to use that as an excuse to feel good about going to buy those in your H2 when you leave all of the lights on in your house, your AC running while your not home, and countless other sacrifices you are not willing to make is, at best, ignorant.

    I praise those making small changes to their lifestyles. But all too often I hear them speak of themselves like they are saving the environment by the one act that they didn’t have to put any effort into or make any sacrifices to accomplish. Again, right before they hop into their SUV to drive to the corner store.

    I love the push for green products, but so many people use one or two green products as a way to make them feel good for all of the sacrifices they should be making, which would have a greater impact, but that they are too selfish to make.

  33. 33 selenayvonne
    June 9, 2008 at 17:15

    @Brett

    It just occurred to me… why are you asking me to make sacrifices when the rich have multiple homes, cars, boats planes etc.?

    Is Al Gore suffering?

    Shouldn’t you ask them to sacrifice before you ask me?

    I don’ t want this entirely on my shoulders… thank you.

  34. June 9, 2008 at 17:47

    Hi Brett
    Akbar here in Tehran
    I took a long, languid bus ride around the city today. I watched the outlines of high rise buildings disappear into the distant hills. I was no longer sure how the city would expand? Horizontally, vertically, underground, I don’t know.
    The machine age has overtaken us. Infatuated with cars and gadgetry, we are no longer masters of our destiny. The building boom continues.
    On the other side of the world, the buidling boom collapsed, leaving some $400 billion – $500 billion debt to be shared and shared alike between a score of banks.
    A while ago, I heard oil majors made some $ 20 billion plus profits from annual operations, yet they haven’t been able to tackle the main problem.
    How can Iran help the rest of the world and produce more oil when it can’t meet local demand. The country imports approximately $ 4 billion worth of gasoline per annum to satisfy the home market. Add another $ 8 billion for food imports, and probably another $ 6 billion – $ 7 billion car components and parts, and another $ 30 billion – $ 40 billion for sundry other expenses to keep the welfare state intact, you have it all.
    The same story pervades in rich oil nations elsewhere, it is money down the drain as long as the windfall of petrodollars lasts. So we are not a fat lot of good to ourselves, let alone to anyone else.

  35. 35 steve
    June 9, 2008 at 17:48

    I’m curious why we’re not talking about the stabbings in Tokyo. Apparently the anti gun people seem to think mass killings can happen only when guns are used. This guy stabbed 17 people and killed 7 of them, without using guns. Maybe there is truth to the guns don’t kill people, people kill people? If they really want to kill lots of people, they WILL find a way to do it.

  36. June 9, 2008 at 18:06

    @ Selena

    @Brett

    It just occurred to me… why are you asking me to make sacrifices when the rich have multiple homes, cars, boats planes etc.?

    Is Al Gore suffering?

    Shouldn’t you ask them to sacrifice before you ask me?

    I don’ t want this entirely on my shoulders… thank you.

    I am asking everyone to change, please see below from my previous comment (Many of the rich are included in that stupid majority):

    the benefits yeilded by those who truly care and spend the extra time and money will be negated by the stupid majority who enjoy the lower financial cost of a more environmentally harmful lifestyle.

    Furthermore, using the mentality that “Well I’m not changing until they change” Is just the same Bush-esque tactics which are counterproductive. If everyone has that mindset, change will never occur.

  37. 37 Bryan
    June 9, 2008 at 18:14

    Donovan at the top of the page,

    “Now that the job’s been done, everyone is shaking their head at the basketcase that Zimbabwe has become, while conveniently forgetting that they encouraged that state of affairs by their incomplete and biased reporting.”

    I couldn’t agree more. Unfortunately the PC left wing media held Mugabe up as an example of a great black revolutionary who had delivered his country from the jaws of Ian Smith. More unfortunately they ignored the killing spree he went on when tens of thousands of fellow-blacks died at his hands, and they then continued to divert attention from his increasingly despotic and brutal rule. And all for what? Because they couldn’t bear to be proven wrong about him. The media has a helluvah lot to answer for, paralysed as it is by self-important PC.

    What’s to be done now? Since the world has essentially abandoned Zimbabwe to its fate, with the able assistance of the world’s media, it seems that Zimbabweans themselves are gong to have to shake off the yoke of Mugabe.

  38. 38 Shirley
    June 10, 2008 at 03:00

    Steve,
    I don’t raise fusses over gun-related killings by posting online. I also tend not to be concerned with gun-related, knife-related, etc. deaths in other countries unless it’s an American doing the killing. If there are psych majors here, they can analyse that. I don’t know why I react or don’t react like that.

    Donovan,
    Who has been fixing Africa? Can you help me fill in the blanks? Thank you.

  39. 39 Tino
    June 10, 2008 at 03:40

    “Maybe there is truth to the guns don’t kill people, people kill people? If they really want to kill lots of people, they WILL find a way to do it.”

    Of course there is truth to the statement. If we banned every weapon, first of all people would still kill with bare hands – and cars, pens, etc. Secondly, banning something by law leaves it to criminals only.

    “According to the 1997 Survey of State Prison Inmates, among those possessing a gun, the source of the gun was from –

    * a flea market or gun show for fewer than 2%
    * a retail store or pawnshop for about 12%
    * family, friends, a street buy, or an illegal source for 80%”

    It is not rocket science to realize banning things by law takes them out of the good people’s hands. I, for one, would like to be able to carry a gun on me to school. VT would have been impossible if people were allowed to carry firearms, because criminals will do it either way…

  40. June 10, 2008 at 05:32

    Hi Akbar here
    The real issue of oil shortage is the oil majors.
    Admittedly Repsol, Total, BP. Royal Dutch Shell and Eni are independent companies: But why must they always be entangled in lengthy, inter-gvernment controversy?
    US doesn’t like it, so out goes BP or Shell. Shell put down $ 800 million guarantee on South Pars Field in Iran in 1997. The guarantee has gone up to $ 3 billion today, but the $12 billion LNG program which should go on stream in 2012 is on hold.
    Look at the problem of energy giants in Mexico? What is going to happen in Venezuela? How many more explosions in Nigeria? The political aspect is a strain on oil firms. Why politicize the oil market?
    Iran has perhaps lost $ 10 billion – $ 20 billion per annum over stalled contracts: But look at the losses to the international community and the fiasco in the oil market, thirty years after the Islamic Revolution. Why cut your nose to spite your face!

  41. 41 Rick
    June 10, 2008 at 08:39

    @Tino
    I can’t believe there is still someone in the world who believes that human activity isn’t causing climate change. Nobody can be that silly. Perhaps they are just trying to justify their wastefull lifestyle.

    I’m for a two teer fuel price system. Tax Free for efficient cars and double or triple tax for guzzlers.

  42. 42 Tino
    June 10, 2008 at 10:20

    Rick

    “I can’t believe there is still someone in the world who believes that human activity isn’t causing climate change. Nobody can be that silly. Perhaps they are just trying to justify their wastefull lifestyle.”

    So you know better than the NAS?

    Their statement on this issue: “”even given the considerable uncertainties in our knowledge of the relevant phenomena, greenhouse warming poses a potential threat sufficient to merit prompt responses. Investment in mitigation measures acts as insurance protection against the great uncertainties and the possibility of dramatic surprises.””

    Trying to make this very clear to you. The models predicting global warming are based on assumptions for phenomena which we do not know nearly enough about to say anything conclusively. Sorry, ANY side that says they know for sure is wrong – including you. Guess I am really silly huh? And so is the NAS….you’re very wrong if you are 100% certain that there is human caused global warming.

  43. 43 Rick
    June 10, 2008 at 11:36

    @Tino
    The evidence is overwhelming that smoking causes cancer but nobody has been able to sue the tobacco companies. This is similar.
    There is an ever mounting mountain of evidence of the connection, at what point does it become proof?
    To deny the connection gives an excuse to every co2 pig in the land to justify their excesses. Your arguement may be clever but you do the world a disservice because when the undeniable proof arrives it will be too late to do anything about it.

    By the way, I am not familiar with the acronym NAS. Google comes up with National Art School but I suspect that is not the one you are refering to. Who do they work for? Who funds them? What is their motive? Are they the definitive authority on this issue?
    Please shine the light of your wisdom on my vast dark cavern of ignorance.

  44. 44 Tino
    June 10, 2008 at 12:14

    @ Rick

    First off, you’re also completely wrong on tobacco:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tobacco_Lawsuits

    Plenty have won, though NO ONE should since everyone knows the risks.

    As for global warming, it becomes proof when we understand the relevant phenomena, which we do not. The model changes based on the changing assumptions we make. The NAS is the National Academy of Sciences:

    “As of spring 2003, the National Academy of Sciences included about 1,922 members, 93 members emeritus, 341 foreign associates, and employed about 1,100 staff. The current members annually elect new members for life. Election to membership is one of the highest honors that can be accorded to a scientist and recognizes scientists who have made distinguished and continuing achievements in original research.”

    I freely admit the possibility we cause the climate change. I absolutely think it is irresponsible to tax/burden the general public until we understand enough to say without doubt we cause it. In the meantime, let the market which is heavily leaning towards green take care of itself. I mean look at this:

    http://www.dailytech.com/Temperature+Monitors+Report+Worldwide+Global+Cooling/article10866.htm
    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=aU.evtnk6DPo (I want to know how someone can come to the conclusion that the earth can still cool despite us pumping so much co2, and then say to ignore the cooling…)
    http://newstatesman.com/scitech/2007/12/global-warming-temperature
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/7329799.stm

    I just do not understand why people are ready to assume so much burden for a model that cannot even predict said downtrend. Until we understand everything a little better no one should be going crazy.

  45. June 11, 2008 at 04:11

    In America the first thing to do is announce that there will no longer be any school buses operating in America. All fuel for school buses must be curtailed.

    Kids need to either walk to school, take their bikes or or get their parents to ride bikes to the school in order to deliver the kids. Or just start home schooling.

    After that the parents can start figuring out ways to get to their own work. Start gardens and accept a lower standard of living and tell the government to expect virtually no taxes this next year.

    As soon as they see that they are going to not have any income, they can start to figure out a method to modify the culture to make it work without much money or fuel.

    planting victory gardens might be the start.

    troop

  46. 46 Rick
    June 11, 2008 at 11:45

    Thank you Tino, Gee, almost 2000 respected scientist from the US. I’m sure the oil companies and George W. absolutly adore them. Why do you choose to listen to them and not thousands of others around the world who disagree with them?
    According to you we should just carry on then.
    Lets continue to consume as much as we possibly can to help George’s great plan to avoid recession. Come on, lets drive to the mall in our SUV and buy some crap made in china that we don’t need. That will somehow help save the US economy. Why should we make sacrifices when we are not 100% sure that our activities are destroying the climate andturning our children’s world into a cesspool.
    What do you think IS causing climate change Tino?

  47. June 11, 2008 at 12:20

    Rick, its only 99.9999999% for sure, no need for alarm. Its not 100% proven yet.

    When we hit 100%, are past the tipping point (which many argue we already are), we can run around like chickens with our heads chopped off.

    Until then, sit back, relax, sip on a cold frosty one and keep on living the American Dream. No cause for alarm here.


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