A philosophic Australian writes here, one who admits to loving Scandinavia. I'm interested in global politics, but scratch the surface and you'll find I am a practical Environmentalist with an Egalitarian bent trying to unleash a little creativity.
Scandinavian culture, literature and traditions are close to my heart, even though I am Australian. Travel broadens the mind, so I travel whenever I can. I am an avid reader, I enjoy photography, writing and a variety of crafts, particularly traditional art forms. You are always welcome to stop by at S.t.P.A.
Thanks largely to social media, much of the world already knows the basic facts – the planet is warming, carbon emissions are increasing, biodiversity is decreasing and all this and more threatens mankind’s existence on planet earth.
Martin Fredricks of IVWords was a recent guest at StPA, writing about how we talk about the climate crisis, and the reactions of others, in everyday conversations.
Do climate sceptics, or those in authority, want to hear more shocking statistics and dire warnings? Will it galvanise support for change and encourage the immediate action that is needed? Possibly. Possibly not.
More likely is that some will turn a deaf ear, place it in the too hard basket or choose not to believe it will happen, at least in their lifetime.
Repeating facts, figures, and ghastly predictions is merely preaching to the choir, and can actually be counter-productive by provoking anxiety in those who already know the planet is in danger. We don’t need to reiterate that things are getting worse.
Endless and ongoing debate with climate deniers wastes time, precious time as it a sceptic’s own confirmation bias skews their perceptions and blinds them to any logical explanation.
So what might increase awareness and understanding of the climate crisis?
Personally, I believe we need to focus on solutions. Hope for OUR future is in finding solutions to climate change and reversing environmental damage.
I want to hear ideas and suggestions of things the ordinary man and woman can do, or have already done, in their own corner of the world. Ideas, positive ones. Give us solutions and tips on how we might at least stabilize the environment deterioration, if not improve it.
Context and expert guidance on steps we can enact for ourselves or in collaboration with authorities and others, that is relevant to each individual area is vital.
For it is when we sense that feeling of community, of connection and of common goals, we are more likely to succeed and others, even sceptics will join us in positive action and change.
Please share in the comments below the positive initiatives happening in your corner of the world. Here is some initiatives in mine.
‘Green’ Environmental Initiatives in Moreton Bay, Australia
In my own little area I find:
Habitat protection on private properties – Grants for Land dedicated for Wildlife
Reforestation and mass tree plantings and maintenance with recycled water by active Bushcare groups
Glass recycled for re- use in the manufacture of new glass bottles and conversion to glass sand for use in asphalt, filtration, drainage, coating, resin and sandblasting applications.
Plastic collections for recycling by residents, as well as general recycling in Council kerbside collection
Walk to school days promoted to discourage use of petroleum driven vehicles
Over 75% uptake of solar power panels by new and established homes aided by Government subsidies and rebates
It’s Not Just a Crisis of Climate: by Martin C. Fredricks IV
Everything I need to know about the climate crisis and the need to speak positively about what can be done I’ve seen in my daughters’ eyes.
Martin C. Fredricks IV
One is 19 and the other is 13. Both, at different times, have had a slightly fearful but determined look in their eyes while telling me they don’t plan on having children. Each followed it up with, “Why would I….”
“The world’s going to be uninhabitable soon,” each has said in her own way. “Why would I bring kids into that.”
It’s not a question, but a statement of moral conviction. They don’t want it this way, but they’re looking to the future with eyes wide open. They reason it would be wrong to put any additional human beings through what looks likely to be coming.
But there’s no anger or disappointment from me. Just sadness. Not because my wife and I might never have grandchildren, but because our daughters and people their age around their world have to think this way. Theirs is the first generation forced to look at Armageddon not as some far-off, theoretical threat, but as a real possibility within their lifetimes.
I’m partially to blame. I talk, think and write about the climate crisis all the time; no doubt I’ve been too bitter and graphic about it too many times around the dinner table.
But in truth we all share some blame. We’ve enabled the politicians and governments that have their heads stuck deep into the sand, not to mention the lobbying slush funds of fossil-fuels companies. They’re blindly, happily and willfully ignorant of the damage we’re already experiencing.
Think about the power outages in Texas. The fires on the west coast of the USA, in the Amazon and across Australia. The flooding in Indonesia. Or the Covid-19 pandemic around the world. Scientists tell us this particular coronavirus strain was able to jump from animals to humans at least partly because of climate-related habitat loss.
Better still, read scientific reports like “Special Report: Global Warming of 1.5°C” by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the “Fourth National Climate Assessment” by the U.S. Global Change Research Program. They paint a clear, fact-based picture of what’s coming if people do not curtail carbon emissions at least 45 percent by 2030 and down to net zero by 2050.
Yet we still hear officials say climate change is a deception, and we still see social media posts like this from our neighbors:
To which I always respond:
Fortunately, there are starting to be more that say things like:
Which is on the right track. The false debate about climate change’s existence is over.
It’s now time to act.
I’ve been doing what I can, and now, with my daughters’ eyes haunting me, I’m recommitted. That look is in my mind’s eye every time I write a post, march for climate action or attend a meeting about sustainability.
It’s also why I’ve started telling them the good news about the climate crisis –
If human beings start doing the right things right now, there’s still time. We can save our planet and ourselves by electing the right people, pressuring the wrong ones through peaceful protest, stopping financial support for corporations that fund fossil fuel extraction, and doing everything else we can in our own lives and communities.
Because, remember: what we say and what we do make a difference, especially to the people we love most.
So how are you talking about the climate crisis with the most important people in your life?
The Rudolph Framework “helps you understand the actual problem you and your business solve for your customers– not the one you *think* you solve.” Click HERE to be taken to her fun explanation of this framework.
Most know, or will quickly find out, I am no blog business guru and to be frank, StPA is purely self-expression via my own mindful meanderings covering a multitude of topics from the environment to photography.
Therefore, you might, as I initially did, think this Rudolph exercise holds little relevance in the blogging world and is akin to writing one of those verbose, but glib ‘mission statements.’ [Groan]
Those two words, ‘mission statement,’ is enough for me to tune out and yet, reading further, I quickly realized that I did want to know where I might be headed blog-wise, and that a little blogging self-examinationmay indeed be useful, at least to me. Add to that, Ally mentioned that she was curious to see where the framework would take other bloggers. Thus, I’d dive right in. I may have taken it in a tangent way off the original intention, but it IS an experiment so who knows where we will end up.
Following are the Framework questions. One fills in the blanks for how it pertains to your blog. Like one of those grammar exercises back in school. Easy, right?
Something to Ponder About Blog’s Rudolph Framework
Once upon a time, there was a blog focused on information important enough to share with others that promoted open, independent discussion called Something to Ponder About.
It has the capacity to question, to inform, to frustrate and possibly to validate aspects of environmental change, in addition to various other topics.
Some people doubt it because they’re sure technology will be the saviour in any environmental disaster and the blogosphere is merely filled with rank amateurs who not only ignore contradictory information and opinions, but seem hell-bent on locking up the planet, subverting business progress or fixate on their own capitalistic endeavours. [which is incorrect].
But one day, the earth shouts at ALL its people so loudly that heads turn and deaf ears and closed eyes open.
Which means that more folks become interested in environmental change and start to connect with bloggers and others who recognize we all live on one heavenly body.
To help the awareness of planetary health and survival for all sentient beings.
And that matters because the global population needs access to independent information and different opinions, from many diverse sources which results in an informed global community, who might be more proactive about positive change, mindful of equity and respectful of differences.
In the process, you help coalesce a community of global cohesiveness and egalitarian understanding with blogs being one small catalyst.
The Planet gets a kiss!
Applying the Rudolph Framework to Your Own Blog
If you wish to try this writing experiment with your own blog, check in with Ally. Blogger etiquette would suggest you cite Ann Handley and include a pingback to The Spectacled Bean.
They point out they never had all our cars, air conditioning, computers and devices.
That is true.
However, it is not the damage of past generations so much as the story of the last thirty years and the speed of increase is concerning, as David Wallace-Wells points out:
Half of the all the emissions that have ever been produced from the burning of fossil fuels, in the entire history of humanity, have been produced in just the last thirty years.
More than in all the centuries and millennia before.
Wallace-Wells believes we are on the brink of catastrophe. He states this is not the work of our ancestors, it is more so the work of a single generation – his. [Despite this we are all responsible for the future.]
He also points out that it is a reflection of how much power we wield over this planet, so we can do something to help.
The obstacles may be enormous, but the main driver of global warming is human action and how much carbon we put into the atmosphere. And we can do something about that!
We will be writing the climate change story whether we like it or not.
Inaction is not a choice. I prefer alternatives and solutions.
Environmental Emissions Problems and Solutions
Problem: 2/3 of the carbon emissions can be attributed to the burning of fossil fuels!
Solution: Employ solar arrays or increase uptake of renewable energy sources. A sliver of Sahara Desert can absorb enough solar energy to power the world’s energy needs.
Problem: 2/3 of power generation is lost to waste heat so a new electric grid is needed.
Solution: Renewables is the cheaper default for energy needs and are now cheaper than fossil fuels
Even though few people are currently travelling, most of us have travel stories about our global adventures, that we can re-visit through writing and photographs.
Welcome back to the Friendly Friday Blogging Challenge, where I challenge you to create a post and share your stories, photographs, or memories, that you experienced ‘On the Way,’ to, or from, somewhere. It may be a shop, airport, workplace, historic site, residence, or whichever place you choose.
It was steaming hot and humid, as only Thailand can be. The vacation was over, but with our well-cured suntans and fond vacation memories lingering softly in our minds, the ‘Moth,’ (ie. Man of the House), and I were ushered into the rear seat of a Mercedes, by two young men who would drive us to Bangkok International Airport.
This older model ‘Merc,’ clearly nearing its use-by date, was the Taxi Airport Transfer our Travel Agent had kindly arranged, which meant we’d avoid navigating Bangkok’s public transport system in the oppressive, pea soup-like heat that had surrounded us back at Pattaya Beach.
Thankfully, the Mercedes was air-conditioned; mind you, the cooling unit was working extra hard to reach anywhere near the back seat and in reality, a vintage metal blade fan spewing tepid air would have been more effective than this car’s cooling system and I smiled a wry smile to the Moth, now seated beside me.
My hand reached across the numerous cracks and wrinkles in the sweat-caressed leather upholstery and touched the Moth’s hand. He’d been a tad nervous about travelling in South-East Asia and was clearly relieved he’d soon be on a plane heading home, to Australia.
Then something happened which began to make that look a little less likely.
We’d already been stuck in not one, but two, traffic jams and to pass the time, our Thai guide and his young driver would repeatedly push the ‘eject’ button, on the 1970’s era cassette player, and laugh uproariously when the ageing cassette plopped out on the floor. Added to this it seemed that absentmindedly switching the windscreen wipers on and off, and on and off again, despite the sun blazing outside, was an additional source of mirth for these two young guys.
Was this their first city job, I wondered? They looked like they were still a bit wet behind the ears.
Glancing over at the car’s instrument panel, I noticed the temperature gauge was spiking ‘hot,’ while the petrol gauge’s needle now flickered on ‘Reserve,’ indicating the fuel tank was close to empty. I raised an eyebrow and felt a slight tightening in my chest.
Cautiously, I asked the Thai Guide how much longer it might be before we’d reach the airport? In broken English, the reply came that it would be around half an hour, more or less, depending on traffic problems around the airport. I raised my eyebrows and looked again at the Moth.
Should I say something more about potentially running out of petrol?
I hesitated for a moment and crossed my fingers, but remained silent.
Minutes ticked by and I began to calculate whether we could still make our flight if we did get stuck in another of Bangkok’s notorious traffic jams and whether the car would run out of petrol before we reached our destination.
I decided I should speak up.
“Won’t you need a little more fuel, soon?” I finally said, in a polite, suggestive way.
Both the driver and his offsider looked at each other, befuddled. After a moment, they shook their heads firmly. It seemed I might need to clarify a little more what I meant.
“The fuel gauge,” I said, gaining confidence and pointing.“It is showing empty.”
“Ah, hah,” the young Driver said, with a gentle laugh.
“Temperature,” he said smiling and tapping the petrol gauge with a knowing nod.
“Umm.I don’t think so.” I offered. I was shaking my head but in those days, I had a soft voice and hadn’t developed any kind of authoritative tone, so the driver easily shrugged me off with a quick, “No problem,” and flashed that broad and innocent Thai smile, that can charm almost anyone.
I sat back in my seat thinking there was no way we’d catch our flight if we ran out of petrol. I looked at the Moth, imploring him with my eyes to say something to the driver. His eyebrows were knitted together, yet he remained silent.
“Would you like something to eat?” the driver then piped up? “A bowl of rice? You have time,” he said pointing to his watch.”
I thought a detour may use up even more petrol and remembering his questionable skills in reading gauges, I wasn’t confident we had any time for food. Declining politely, I advised him we’d eat at the airport, adding under my breath – if we ever get there.
Several minutes later, the frenzied finger-pointing and gesticulating towards the car’s instrument panel, accompanied by feverish Thai mutterings between driver and colleague, suggested something was amiss.
Without warning, the Driver stepped hard on the Merc’s gas pedal. We sped off at high speed through the traffic. I suspected it wasn’t the pressures of time that had prompted his change of heart. He must have realised his mistake in reading the gauges and surmised fuel was now perilously low.
Falsely thinking that accelerating and reaching the airport faster would prevent the car from running out of petrol, meant we were now overtaking every car on the highway, at breakneck speed. I gripped the armrest tightly with one hand and the Moth’s hand with the other.
Just hold on! the Moth mouthed at me silently.
After what seemed like an eternity, I saw the terminal of Bangkok International Airport loom ahead of us through the windscreen. If anyone had been listening in at that moment, they would have heard four very audible and loud signs of relief from both the front and the back seat of the old Merc.
We had arrived.
Join in with the Friendly Friday Challenge
Do you have a story or photograph or two to share?
Compose a post, be that photograph/s, story or recipe, with the theme, ‘On the way,’ somewhere – and include both the tag, ‘Friendly Friday’ and a url linking back to this post.
After publishing your post, return here and leave a comment with your post’s url. That way other visitors can find your post and visit.
What the future will be like is a contentious issue, as it is not about what has been, but what might happen.
There are those who choose to deny it, who find it overwhelming or depressing, who stick their heads in the sand and conversely, those who are moved to agitate about it. Which ever side of the Climate Change debate you sit upon, certain things cannot be denied and are fact.
Facts on Climate Change
Rising global temperatures due to Industrialization are destabilizing weather systems
Ice shields in Greenland and Antartica are melting and destabilizing weather systems
Sea levels are rising and threatening coastal and island communities
Extreme weather events of all varieties are rapidly increasing
Deforestation and habitat loss is causing a mass extinction of animal and plant species at an unprecedented level since the Dinosaur era.
Before any climate change denier or sceptic raises the point that climate change isn’t real and it’s nature doing what it normally does, global climate does, without doubt vary from year to year, decade to decade; global warming and cooling does occur naturally, but it is the UNPRECEDENTED INCREASE IN RATE of CLIMATE CHANGE that is directly attributed to ADVERSE human activityand is not sustainable.
The world as we know it could not and will not sustain more than a 2 degree rise in global temperature without dire climatic consequences.
But there is hope.
Not the faint-hearted ostrich like mentality that technology will inevitably safe us from ourselves and our environmental problems if only we wait and recycle our goods more, but hope that we can come together in an effective and collaborative global response to this human-caused threat.
Hope based on Action.
Once we act, hope is everywhere.
Because it is a problem, caused by humans. By us. So we can fix this.
Communicating Climate Facts to the Public
The Hollywood Mad Max type future portrayed in some apocalyptic movies generates only fear, guilt, anger despair, is not at all helpful and can result in many turning a deaf ear to conversations on action or acknowledgement of climate change.
Instead, as Rebecca Huntley believes, it is inspiring to read and to see stories of hope, of action, of people overcoming odds and succeeding in small ways to making changes at a local level changing their lifestyle and damaging habits. Renewal of ecosystems, caring and nurturing animal and plant species and systems, environmentally friendly options and products, less emphasis on fossil fuels and their products.
According to Per Espen Stoknes educating people is a good first step, but it may never be enough. Presenting facts on global warming has so far not sufficiently convinced policymakers and journalists of the scale of the problem, nor the sense of urgency around it.
Part of the problem is that this issue is conceptually complex and the descriptions reflect a potential and somewhat vague future, not a tangible, direct event that people can see and identify.
Climate Scientists have known about these predictions since 1979 and lament that the physics and conversations have not changed, that they are simply updating the data. Yet nothing was done by Governments.
University Science students, like me, were lectured on global warming back in the 1980’s and yet, no one in the community or Government was interested in listening.
“it no longer seems rational to assume that humanity, encountering an existential threat, will behave rationally.”
Do you ever think about what youwant to happen in a forthcoming situation? Or does worry get in the way and you tend to focus on what you don’t want to happen?
The Ego and Finding Fault
It seems our ego focuses naturally on the negative aspects, due to an outdated evolutionary adaptation and we are then in a postion that makes us hard-pressed to see positives.
Fault finding comes from believing your happiness comes from the world according to your liking.
We then tend to find fault with whatever is going on, to blame others or circumstances, especially where the outcome has been less than, what we consider, satisfactory.
This may have helped us survive in pre-historic times, where man-eating beasts lurked close by, but is hardly relevant to modern life. Now, our egos flood our brains with self-critical thoughts, most of which are not terribly accurate and anxiety quickly follows.
Lee Jampolsky once asked a stressed-out salesman,
“What is the real purpose of a sale?
Replying about his own needs and that he wanted to boost his sale stats, Jampolsky then encouraged the salesman to instead direct his thought focus outwards – ie. so that his real purpose in a transaction or interaction would be that he was genuinely interested in the person he was selling to, in being patient and kind and, to try to ‘see’ the customer’s heart.
To the salesman’s surprise, his sales rose significantly and he was no longer so stressed when he followed that sageful advice. His customers picked up on those non-verbal and verbal signals that he ‘cared.’
Without the ego naturally defaulting to negative, there is room in our minds for all sorts of alternative thoughts.
Contemplating a more positive goal at the beginning of any situation may help influence the outcome, (even if you are not convinced of its worth, at first).
What Went Wrong?
Don’t waste your precious time on analysing what went wrong with a situation. Ignore those feelings that you have been short-changed in lifeas they tend promulgate the victim concept, which only makes you feel worse.
Think about what your goal is, making it pertinent to your perception and personal actions and see what happens.
We can attract the exact things that we give thought oxygen to or dwell on.
Jampolsky believes that we can direct ourselves to be peaceful inside regardless of what is happening outside.
We are in the midst of a casual baking challenge in a (time-unlimited) bake-off with Sandy, Moon and Ju-Lyn. Sandy has issued a counter challenge for me to make a Dacquoise ( See Sandy’s pic below). I have to summon up a little more courage before making that. All in good fun though.
Whilst it is somewhat of a cross-cultural event, spanning Canada, USA, and Singapore, my Pavlova recipe was very traditional, originating in the Australian Women’s Weekly Cookbook.