Has the World Gone Mad?
Or is it just me who thinks it has?
Among the people I talk to, there seems to be a general feeling that the World is being governed and led by morons without a thread of common sense between them.
Or… it’s run by near criminals without any moral compass, in their own self-interest only.
Now I have to admit that most of my friends and colleagues are cranky old Baby Boomers like me, but life experiences do add up to some scepticism about the messaging we and other less critical people are receiving on a daily basis.
So, I thought it might be worth setting down some alternative thoughts on the things that bug us, like political correctness, political party contributions, lobbyists, electric cars, Covid variants, climate change, global warming, fruit picking, coal mines, natural gas, hydrogen, Barrier Reef etc.
Can you trust politicians?
When politicians rely on contributions from businesses and wealthy people to get in to power and stay there, how can you be sure that they are making decisions that benefit you and not the donors? You can bet your last dollar on that one!
Obviously, the donors want something back for their investment and if they don’t get it, the politician or political party won’t get their support or money, next time round. It is “Bribery” pure and simple! And it’s about time it stopped because it is immoral, undemocratic and reduces the value of our vote and the credibility of all those who lead and serve us.
The same goes for ex-politicians and lobbyists paid to represent unpopular industries like coal and banking and sit on their Boards. They wouldn’t be there if the bribery, donations and subtle corruption didn’t work!
Self Interest Rules!
What about our dependence on economic growth?
The government has finally admitted that they need a flow of immigrants to keep the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) growing and that without them we will all be in trouble. More people, more jobs, more houses, more schools, more hospitals more roads, more rubbish, more pollution, etc.
But economists worldwide, like Nobel Prize winning Professor Joseph Stiglitz, are telling anyone that will listen that we need to abandon GDP as a measure of economic success. It creates a Ponzi Scheme of growth which can’t go on forever.
As American Philosopher Edward Abbey said “Growth for the sake of
growth is the ideology of the Cancer Cell”.
Think about it….. mankind’s spread across the planet looks like a cancer growing over it. Cancer’s growth kills its host and there is no planet B!
Professor Stiglitz says it’s time to start measuring other things like quality of life for individuals, families, the world’s citizens and the world as a whole.
Any family without shelter and any children without food diminishes the rest of us with everything! Let’s start there! To provide food, clean water and shelter for all is a good measurable objective. If the wealthy folk don’t start sharing what they have, then the poor folk are going to be taking it away!
True believer or climate sceptic, climate change is a long-term problem with long term worldwide solutions. The consequential changes in weather events, water temperature coral bleaching on the Barrier Reef and catastrophic fires are here now.
There is no point in waiting until sea levels rise before you move your seaside house. Or, to do nothing until CO2 levels start reducing, temperatures fall and there are fewer fires.
Let’s look for things we can do now without blaming anyone else – stop polluting the oceans with plastic and pay someone to collect and recycle it. A clean planet is worth paying for. All countries can contribute as they all benefit.
I just heard that logging in the Amazon rainforest means that it has passed the tipping point and now adds more CO2 to the planet that it contributes in reducing CO2 and producing oxygen. How about paying the loggers to stop burning – it does not have to be money, just assistance and support of alternative industries that will help their citizens to recognise and value the rainforest lungs of our planet.
There are 1082 coal fired power stations in China with a further 350 under construction. The USA has 241in operation, Australia has 24 and the UK only four.
Extreme Weather and Fires
Looks like floods and fires are with us to stay so how do we mitigate them?
Perhaps a solution is a world army of firefighters and disaster responders reporting to United Nations. Ready to go anywhere in the world at a moment’s notice. Might give the UN something useful to do!
Perhaps a world army of medical teams ready to any emergency, pandemic or refugee situation with food and assistance as well as medicines. Not relying on charities like Red Cross.
That's the sort of warfare we should be focusing on.
Instead, our world leaders are arguing about limiting the increase in global warming and continuing to build weapons of war at vast cost.
Carbon Credits as a Solution
Getting carbon dioxide polluters to buy “Carbon Credits” that then allow them to continue polluting! What a terminally bad idea to pay some people to grow trees and allow polluters to pay for polluting. Result – same volume of CO2 pollution!
Goldman Sachs the investment company who invented the concept, think it’s a potential new currency and want to make a buck out of essentially doing nothing!
They get a nice commission in real money for moving the credits around. I’ve heard they would like to do the same with drinking water, which is a surprisingly scarce commodity.
Working from Home - Works!
By the end of this pandemic almost everyone who can, will have tried working from home and a big proportion of them want to continue doing it. About a third of those currently commuting to work in big cities will either stop altogether or only commute once or twice a week.
So…. Let’s forget the big rail and road infrastructure projects for commuters. They won’t be there! Empty trains and empty busses are very predictable.
Empty city offices and office buildings could be the norm, maybe they could become accommodation instead.
Less commuting equals less CO2 from cars and trucks and a better air quality. During the lockdown some cities in China saw the sun for the first time!
Coal Powered Electric Cars
It is a mystery to me why there is this big focus on “Electric” cars, particularly here in Australia with big distances being driven and relatively small ranges for each electric fill-up.
While electricity is clean, the generation of the power is dirty in CO2 terms. In Australian 75% of the electricity used is generated by 24 coal fired power stations and 16% by gas powered generators. So 91% of the electricity used to charge up the otherwise clean Tesla uses fossil fuel and sends vast quantities of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
The electric car is pollution free where it is, so it is just a matter of where the pollution happens rather that it being reduced. Hydro generates 5% of the electricity produced and wind power 2%. I am not sure how much solar contributes.
I have a diesel Land Rover Defender which can run on old sunflower or canola chip oil, all grown by the sun’s energy and so it is ultimately solar powered and greener than a Tesla.
Coal Mining, Gas and Government Subsidies
Did you know that the State and Federal Governments pay subsidies to coal mining companies to dig up the stuff? During 2020 “Fossil Fuel” (coal and gas) subsidies cost a staggering $10.3 BILLION and the State Governments are committed to increasing these subsidies! Really – That is insane.
The US Government also supports its fossil fuel industry to the tune of US $20 BILLION, in subsidies, but at least President Biden is committed to phasing them out. Our leaders seem to keep very quiet about these subsidies… WHY?
Well, in 2018-2019 the fossil fuel industry donated over $85.7M to both major political parties and there is no reason to believe it has reduced those donations since. Perhaps that explains it!
The politicians all seem to love “Free Trade”. They get nice overseas trips, have lunches and dinners with other politicians and then come back to tell us that about another Free Trade agreement. Usually one that their bureaucrats put together by emails before they left and creating un-needed cheap competition for local suppliers and manufacturers, while benefitting a marginal electorate somewhere. Sure, I’m cynical!
Retirees, School Leavers - Gap Year!
Baby boomers / retirees – let’s give school leavers a gap year “On the Farm”
Potential resources like backpacker hotels and camping grounds are already there and were built for foreign back-packers – make it easy for them and fun too. Both would support rural towns and spend there too. Experience of farming might create some new farmers and stimulate the industry. Beats bringing in foreign workers at miserable wages. Our school leavers could be working to buy their first car or just to gain a lot of life experiences. Not difficult to organise! I would volunteer. A lot of retirees are pretty fit too so they could also add to the workforce. Perhaps some favourable concessions on tax and pensions could open
up this “local” source of labour. The grey nomads bring their own accommodation too.
Doctors and Health Workers
It seems to me that a disproportionate number of our doctors and health workers seem to come from other countries where they did their training and got their qualifications. Don’t we train our own doctors anymore? Seems pretty unreasonable that our health service should be enjoying the benefit of these doctors training which was paid for by the people in their country of origin. There is a lot of investment involved in the years of training, only for it to be lost to a wealthy nation, like ours, able to afford to train their own doctors.
Pfizer and Conspiracy Theories
I have read all the conspiracy theories about Covid escaping from the Wuhan Lab and Pfizer financing the research etc. And then manufacturing the vaccine and hanging on to the licensing to keep the price high. What is worrying is that the conspiracies fit the business models of BIG pharmacy and their amoral pursuit of profit. Now we hear that we may need annual boosters like the flu. There’s a
nice on-going business model. To sort of confirm that, there is an agreement in place now with Pfizer to supply “booster” vaccines to Australia in major quantities during 2022.
The world is MAD and most of our leaders self-serving and in many cases corrupt or incompetent.
Perhaps it has always been this way and we have chosen to ignore it in favour of a quiet life.
But looking at the world now it is clear that some big issues need to be fixed right away and some fundamental changes need to happen now.
God knows we need to do better - Maybe we all need to be a bit more vocal and less tolerant of our leader’s miscommunications and suspect their motives.