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From me to you
Elections in the way
Australia’s federal elections are on the 2nd of July, which is mid-winter, and here in the Melbourne area, quite miserable. There have also been terrible storms lashing the east coast of the continent. The Prime Minster deserves to lose his position just for imposing an election on us at this time.
As if one day of national insanity wasn’t enough, there is a three-week pre-polling period, during which you can cast a vote if you give a suitable lie about being busy on election day.
So, our small local team of Australian Greens have been busy +++ handing out how to vote cards, sometimes in the rain, sometimes with hands freezing off, but always smiling.
So, I am preparing this issue of Bobbing Around in advance, while I can.
Those floods explained so even politicians can understand them
David Holmes, writing for The Conversation, has given an excellent explanation of the link between climate change and floods, as in Paris and Sydney.
Deniers pick on facts like “There have been higher floods in Paris in the past.” That’s not the point. Climate change shifts averages, alters probabilities. And, as David points out, higher air temperatures means more water vapour in the air, so when it does rain, more water will be dumped.
And yes, climate change makes droughts worse, in areas subject to drought.
The savage storms striking New South Wales came in the middle of the Australian elections. Strangely, neither main political party referred to them. Perhaps it doesn’t rain in ivory castles?
Here is what my friend Alfredo thinks of the issue:
By the time you read this issue, the Australian elections will probably be over. Unfortunately, however, whoever wins will keep poor, innocent people in concentration camps almost as bad as Auschwitz. Well, there are no gas chambers, and no one is deliberately executed, but that is the ONLY difference.
Elections or no, it is still relevant to Read the experiences and assessment of my colleague Paul Stevenson.
Make sure you have a strong stomach, though.
Kayaks against Shell
The multinational monster is at it again. Shell plans to build the largest oil tanker terminal in the world at Puget Sound. Their official estimate is that every few years, there will be a train derailment, spilling toxic, inflammable tar sands crude.
They need your support.
Australia feels climate change
Although the Australian government tried to silence a UN report about it, the Great Barrier Reef is dying. About a quarter of it is gone, because of high surface sea temperatures. (They were trying to protect tourism by pretending there is nothing wrong! How intelligent is that?)
Beaches in Sydney have eroded away to the point that houses have collapsed. At least, unlike in the Solomon Islands, it’s not the poorest who bear the brunt — you’d need a couple of million dollars just to buy the land to put your mansion on. Well, that land is now gone.
And Launceston, in northern Tasmania, has had the worst floods in the historical record.
Higher air temperatures mean that more water evaporates. When it rains, you can expect it to be heavier. More energy in the atmosphere means stronger winds. It’s all very basic physics. Any particular weather event is determined by multiple causes. However, the averages are raised, so exceptional departures from the average are also higher.
You have to be a coal miner or a politician to fail to understand this.
India’s hottest temps, ever
This is 51 degrees Celsius in Rajasthan. That’s 124 degrees if you use the Fahrenheit scale.
To put this in context, at a steady-state temperature above 49 degrees C, the human body is unable to function, even with 0 humidity. This is killer heat, literally.
OK, it’s not in your place but in India… for now.
This is worth quoting from the webpage:
The abnormally hot summer is not restricted to India. Not only was April 2016 the hottest April since record keeping began in 1880, it was also the 12th consecutive hottest month since then. According to the USA’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the earth’s temperature in April was 1.1 degree Celsius higher than the 20th century average for April and 0.28 degree Celsius higher than the previous record in 2010.
- Live simply, so you can simply live.
- Less is better.
- If you don’t NEED it, buying it does you harm.
- Think of the long term.
- Every action makes a difference.
There may be others. Please send me your thoughts.
Thank you, Giles Fraser
This passionate essay in the Guardian should be compulsory reading for all of us.
Giles says, if one area of your country is economically disadvantaged, there are shouts to fix the problem. Why can’t we do the same globally? Is it right that a small percentage of the population should live in comfort, while others starve? We have a lottery of where you were born. Why should I have it easy, almost regardless of my situation, while people just like me are so desperate to move that they risk death?
In all the over-wealthy countries, we are facing the problem of keeping others out. If too many of them crossed our borders, we might lose our wonderful standard of living.
Fish are people too
A review of what evidence there is of tool use by fish, by Culum Brown, has all sorts of implications.
S. E. Smith has teased out a few of them.
A great many aquatic species have been observed to exhibit logical thinking, to learn, to adapt to idiosyncratic aspects of their environment.
One example is the archerfish, who live by knocking bugs off branches with jets of water.
One experimental study, by Cait Newport et. al indicates “I think fish are smarter than most people realize. Although we sometimes say they have ‘simpler’ brains, in reality their brains may just be organized differently and our findings show that they are still capable of performing remarkable tasks and showing complex learning.”
Wise words on the Orlando massacre
From Vishen Lakhiani:
I’ve been walking around with an awful internal pain all day. I can’t focus. I feel miserable and sad. What happened in Orlando is tragic and haunting.
The terrorism incident had an impact on multiple dimensions for me. And perhaps for you too. What made this event so painful was the sheer number of different groups it touched. For me, it’s painful because I’ve been working for the past one year to raise awareness on a number of issues — All of which unified and collided in Orlando.
- I’m a strong advocate of moderate gun control — finding the middle ground between what NRA members and non-members want. Orlando made the need for this dialogue even more important.
- I’ve been working for years to advocate LGBT rights. Orlando reminded us all that we still have a long way to go.
- This past month I’ve been working with refugees in Athens to bring awareness for their plight. Most of these refugees are Muslim and Islamophobia is making it harder to get them they support the need. What happened in Orlando will no doubt make this worse.
It seemed like every cause or marginalized group I care about was impacted yesterday. And like many of you, I’m feeling a deep sense of pain.
For many of us who watched the news, it was, needless to say, shocking to see what had happened.
It’s hard to fathom how 50 innocent lives could be so callously cast aside by the abhorrent acts of a single madman with a deadly firearm.
Understandably, America is in mourning.
But the repercussions of such an atrocity spread far beyond America’s borders.
It has affected the LGBT community and the Muslim community in both America and abroad. The gun owners and anti-gun groups. And even liberals and conservatives on either end of the political spectrum.
As the dust settles, and many of us begin to process what had happened, some will start looking for answers.
But with so many communities affected by this horrible tragedy, and tensions running at all-time high, it’s easy to start pointing fingers. To blame the “other”.
Sadly, certain “outspoken” individuals have already started doing just that.
Spouting hateful rhetoric and baseless opinions solve nothing, but only add more fuel to an already volatile fire.
So what is the solution then?
I can’t say I know.
But I do believe the path to finding any resolution can only begin with the act of conscious and genuine empathy.
It’s as Bill Bullard said…
“Schools, especially good ones… that so emphasize student voice, teach us to value opinion. This is a great deception. Opinion is really the lowest form of human knowledge. It requires no accountability, no understanding. The highest form of knowledge… is empathy, for it requires us to suspend our egos and live in another’s world. It requires profound purpose larger than the self kind of understanding.”
Putting up our defenses in the face of such violence and terror is an expected reflex.
Anger and blame are natural by-products.
But they rarely work.
So regardless of which community we may belong to or which group we choose to side with, we should be wary to not put up walls too high or we run the risk of being blinded by our own fears.
And failing to truly understand what the other may be going through.
Because no matter how different we may see things.
Or how opposing our ideas may seem to be.
When you put yourself in the shoes of another with empathy, you’ll realize…
We all have far more in common than the differences we think we have.
I have a great deal of respect for Michelle Shoffro Cook, who is a regular writer on matters of health and diet. This respect has increased by a level of magnitude after reading her personal story: how she climbed out of the trap of anorexia nervosa.
This condition is often fatal. It is very resistant to ‘treatment’ of most kinds. So, if you are suffering from an eating disorder, or someone you love does, Michelle’s story will speak to you.
For that matter, people experiencing other problems such as gambling, and other addictions of various kinds, will benefit from reading her story.
Diagnosis: global warming
Mike Stasse’s post is a must-read. For climate scientists, and others with an accurate appreciation of humanity’s situation, there is a new diagnosis: climate despair.
This is a very personal account you will benefit from reading.
Of course, regular readers of Bobbing Around know my treatment: equanimity. That works for me — some of the time.
I contemplate murdering girls
I have been having these thoughts for about year now. I have had an attraction to females since my earliest school days, but I’ve never had much luck with them. I have been raised by two moms and my father is not in my life. I feel that both of them have a strong resentment for me and I don’t feel loved by them.
In recent years (I’m a senior in high school) I have practiced feelings of misogyny, and I now find girls to be disgusting creatures that are useless in all regards. They think that they are better than everyone and the pretty ones are so self centered and put for themselves. In the past year I have found myself many times daily fantasizing about killing pretty females. Usually ones that I know that have wronged me in some way. For example, there’s a really pretty girl I work with that always dismisses my romantic advances towards her and makes fun of me in her mind. She otherwise pretends to be nice to me. I find myself fantasizing about calmly killing her, such as by pinching her nose shut and clamping my hand over her mouth, and stroking her hair until she succumbs.
I hate the thoughts and they terrify me but I can’t help but find it arousing and revitalizing to think about!
I would never hurt anyone but I can’t get the thoughts to go away. It’s gotten to the point where when I see a girl in public that is pretty I immediately feel the anxiety of confronting a girl because they all hate me, and I fantasize about like bludgeoning her to death or something just to temporarily cure the anxiety, and then whisper to her how much I love her and stroke her hair… it’s really weird especially when it’s a stranger in public. This only happens with pretty girls because those are the ones I’m nervous around.
It’s horrifying and I would never want to or plan to actually do it but it’s like a monster lives inside that makes me suffer through the thoughts. I’ve spent a week in a mental hospital for this last year, and they diagnosed me with paranoid personality disorder and narcissistic personality disorder, if that matters. What should I do?
What’s wrong with me and why am I feeling this way, even when I have no desire to actually carry out the acts? Is this a underlying insecurity from having never been loved by a girl? What do I do?My dear young friend,
The first thing I’d like to ask you to do is to congratulate yourself. You have had these terrible fantasies for about a year, yet, instead of carrying them out, you find them repelling, and are asking for help. This proves that you are a good person who has fallen into a bad habit.
You see, thoughts, imaginings, emotions are habits, just as much as physical actions are. You can change this habit. It won’t be easy, but it will be very worthwhile, and will almost certainly turn your life around.
Second, about diagnostic labels. You show wisdom in saying, “if that matters.” Such diagnoses are only summaries of things you do. Change what you do, and the diagnosis disappears.
I don’t know why they applied the narcissistic label, but I can see the paranoid bits in what you wrote. You can fix them. Here is the list of your beliefs I’d like you to examine:
1. About your two moms: “I feel that both of them have a strong resentment for me and I don’t feel loved by them.”
To an outside observer, this may or may not be true. It feels true to you. Suppose it is. You can’t change them, but you CAN change how you behave toward them. That will change the relationship within the family, and so, their attitude toward you. Construct some thoughts that work for you, of the kind, “These two people have done their best, however it has felt for me.” “My moms deserve respect and care, regardless of what they do or don’t do.” “How can I make their lives better?” “What goes around comes around. I’ll do my best to treat them with kindness and care, and see how long it is before they notice.”
2. About girls: “They think that they are better than everyone and the pretty ones are so self centered and put for themselves.”
There are some girls like that, and some guys, too. That is actually the meaning of narcissism. But it is NOT true of most girls, or of most guys. In fact, because we live in a damaging culture, most people think themselves to be faulty in many ways. Chances are, many of those girls you think are self-centered in fact spend much of their time worrying about their supposed shortcomings, and feel themselves judged by others all the time.
3. “there’s a really pretty girl I work with that always dismisses my romantic advances towards her and makes fun of me in her mind”
Are you a mind reader? If not, you cannot tell what is in another person’s mind. This is an example of paranoid thinking, and you do not need to do it. If you were to treat her as one of the boys you feel some friendship toward instead of as a pretty girl, she may well react differently to you.
I have a rule: I can ask anyone anything, as long as I can accept a no, and anyone can ask me anything, as long as I can say no. You have made romantic advances to this girl, and that’s all right. She said no, and that’s all right, too. End of story, if you choose to make it so. If she is rejecting you, it’s not because she feels superior, or dislikes you, but because she dislikes something you are doing: continuing with chasing her when she has shown you that she is not interested. That is her right, and says nothing bad about her — or about you.
You wrote: “She otherwise pretends to be nice to me.” No. She IS being nice to you. She is happy to have you as a friend, as long as you don’t make her feel bad about having to tell you she doesn’t want a relationship with you. I repeat: you do not know what goes on in another person’s mind. If she is being nice to you, that’s the best evidence you have about her feelings. Treat her as a friend, exactly as if she was a boy not a pretty girl.
4. “they all hate me”
This is a paranoid thought. It is only noise, unless you buy into it. The thought comes, but not from the girls. It is something you are putting onto them. It is GUARANTEED to be false. For most of those girls, you are just a passing stranger, one of the 7 billion people on this planet. Unless you do something to make them scared or angry, they will have NO negative feelings about you at all.
All right, how to deal with these intrusive thoughts and imaginings? You wrote: “it’s like a monster lives inside that makes me suffer through the thoughts.” Latch onto this thought. It is very useful. There is a monster that has invaded you, and is trying to wreck your life by turning you into a murderer. So, all you need to do is to distinguish monster thoughts from your own thoughts. As a first guess, anything negative or bad about another person is likely to be a monster thought, not a real one from you.
So, the solution is to form a new habit. Whenever you notice yourself getting angry, or resentful, or sad, find the thought that led to it, and ask yourself if it is a monster thought. If it is, you can feel powerful, and morally good, and laugh at the monster. It failed to trick you.
Monsters hate being laughed at. They hate being ignored. This monster feeds on your negative emotions. When it is no longer able to make you feel them, it will starve to death.
And as soon as you regularly stop feeding the monster, you will find that other people will react to you very differently: with liking and friendship. Some of these will be pretty girls. You see, until now, you have been sending out nonverbal messages that they pick up and react against. When you send out positive nonverbal messages by working on conquering your monster, they will react to your new pattern.
Your new grandfather,
How do I learn to trust my wife?
I have been married to my wife for over 6 years and before then we dated for 7 years. I never caught my wife cheating. Only thing I could remember is that in our second year of dating we confessed to each other and then she told me she kissed a guy. I also was with her one day during that period when a guy in her school pecked her. But for those two, I never caught her cheating on me. I am actually the first guy to have sex with her. Yet I don’t trust her. Could it be the fact that I know that my mother cheated on my father when growing up? Could it be the fact that I also have affairs outside wedlock and with married ladies at that? I need help. I fear this may impact negatively on my marriage. I love my wife so dearly.
So, how do I develop trust in my wife? What can I do to erase the memory of my mother cheating on my father? Please helpDear Oliver,
First, everyone is different. Your wife is not your mother. You need to assess her on her behavior, not on anything else. Before you were married, she had kissed a guy. So what. That is not cheating on you. It is acceptable behavior in our culture. She committed herself to you, and has kept her promise.
You haven’t. You wrote that you have had affairs. One of the first findings in psychology was that when we feel bad about ourselves, it is easier to put that fault onto someone else than to deal with it.
So, I suggest you stop treating your distress as if your wife was causing it. Own it. You feel like this, not because of your mother, not because of your wife, but because of your own actions.
What to do?
There is no such thing as a mistake, fault of defect. There are only learning opportunities. You have had affairs, and that was a mistake. What can you learn from the fact that your guilt is baselessly driving you to mistrust your wife?
Second, apologise to yourself within your heart and forgive yourself. The problem is not what you did in the past (as long as you never do it again in the future), but the guilt. Feel the responsibility, but toss away the guilt, and then there is no longer a need to project it onto another person.
Third, make restitution. This means, doing something to make up for damage you have caused. In what way can you make your wife’s life better?
If she doesn’t already know about your past slips, it is probably a bad idea to confess to her. A rule is, “Above all, do no harm.” Judge how to treat your situation through this lens.
All the best,
That means, bleeding after giving birth to a child. In developed countries, you get an injection of oxytocin, and the bleeding stops. But in the poor countries, there is no fridge to keep the drug in, and often no one competent to give an injection.
This is why a research team at Monash University, (where I used to teach many years ago) are working on developing a powder version of oxytocin that can be inhaled.
You would think that this project would attract government funding. Well, given the people running Australia, it depends on a number of charitable foundations, and is still short of money. Associate Professor Michelle McIntosh has begged me to donate, and I am passing her request on to you.
Will Greenway on world building
Well, I tend to call it reality building, but regardless of the label, it is central to writing fiction. It is the set of techniques for inducing your reader to enter your story and live there for the duration.
I have long admired Will Greenway’s writings on writing. Here he is, on this topic, with an excellent instructional essay that most writers will learn from.
First published in 1983, Will Greenway started his creative career wanting to draw and script comics. Years later, he found writing better suited to his skills. To date he has published 11 novels, dozens of short stories, and numerous articles on writing. He resides in the Spring Valley suburb of San Diego.
Emotion in writing
You will enjoy my contribution to this month’s Rhobin’s Rounds.
This time it is the role of emotion in writing.
Do leave a comment.
What my friends want you to know
OXJAM is back!
This August, we’re back for another month-long party against poverty, and we want YOU to be part of it all.
OXJAM is a month-long festival of DIY gigs organised by people like you.
Every gig is organised in the name of fighting poverty by raising money through ticket sales or donations. Wanna get involved? Head on over to our brand new website to register your OXJAM party! Your gig could be as simple as getting a few mates together for a lounge room set, or kicking back to some beats in your backyard. Or you could tee up with some local artists in your area for an underground party at your favourite club. Go all out, or stay in — an OXJAM gig can be whatever you want it to be.
We’re pumped to see the hundreds of gigs that will be popping up across the country in August, all of which are being held for one giant cause: to support Oxfam’s life-changing work around the world. Saving the world has never sounded so good!
My friends Laurie and his daughter Isabel have spent a week eating as much as a refugee is likely to get. This is to raise money for Syrian refugee children in overcrowded, under-resourced camps in Jordan — the lucky ones who have found shelter.
This is what Laurie wrote:
We are getting towards the end of our week on our Ration Challenge. Issie’s face below says it all.
A big thanks to those of you who have sponsored us and are making the effort worthwhile.
We’ve just experienced a small part of the hardship that refugees are living with long-term, and they are the ones who’ve made it to the support of a camp.
We still have some way to go to reach our target of $5000.
Collectively over $1.5 million has been raised through the Ration Challenge. Its a great cause to support with funds going to feed, educate and provide healthcare for thousands of Syrian families forced into exile in Jordan.
Show refugees that we’re with them, not against them.
E-book contest open for entries
I’ve been a member of EPIC since 1999, when my first electronic book was published. This is a very worthwhile organisation that does lots of good things. One of them is an annual contest, which is now open for entries.
If you have had a book published (through a publisher or by yourself) that is available for sale in electronic format, then you should check it out, and I suggest, enter.
There is also a simultaneous contest for book covers, the Ariana eBook Cover Art Competition.
Judging is done by published authors, publishers, editors and other publishing industry professionals. I’ve been a judge for many years, and it’s a worthwhile way of putting back. If you are willing to be a judge, please register here.
Hepburn Wind: Five years in and still innovating!
Today is a proud day for Hepburn Wind. To celebrate our five-year anniversary of generating clean energy we are launching “Community Green”, our carbon-offset product via our new webshop. Community Green allows us to use the value of our hard-won brand and community energy credentials to create extra value for our members and attract new customers.
Community Green allows individuals, businesses or community groups to offset the carbon footprint of their residence or business, as well as activities such as travel, events, products, services and gifts.
By purchasing Hepburn Wind’s renewable energy certificates (RECs) through the online shop, customers can take responsibility for their carbon footprint while contributing to the success of a model community energy project.
Offsetting your footprint means that we will extinguish Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) on your behalf, allowing you to make a great personal contribution to greening the grid. The more RECs that are extinguished through individualised and community-based action, the more new renewable energy projects must be built to meet the Renewable Energy Target. When you purchase Community Green you are supporting the Hepburn Wind community and the future of renewable energy in Australia.
We are also proud to announce that our first Community Green customer is our local Hepburn Shire Council, which has offset 94 tonnes of carbon as part of its strategy to reach zero-net emissions for Council activities.
We would like to acknowledge Hepburn Wind member Andrew and his company Latitude Group for the fantastic work they have done to design and deliver Community Green with us.
Get your super out of coal
Are you excited about being part of the global wave of fossil fuel divestment campaigns?
Do you think the super funds entrusted with the savings of health workers shouldn’t be investing in fossil fuels — the cause of millions of deaths worldwide due to pollution and climate change impacts?
Market Forces is teaming up with Healthy Futures to train health industry workers and supercharge our HESTA and First State Super divestment campaigns. RSVP here.
This activist training will give you the skills and confidence to drive the divestment campaign in your workplace. It will cover having conversations and giving presentations about divestment, as well as tips and techniques for recruiting others.
For our campaigns to succeed and for millions of dollars to be shifted away from coal, oil and gas companies, we need more effective advocates reaching out to more super fund members. Could that be you?
The training is provided free to Market Forces supporters, but we welcome donations to help us cover the running costs.
When Sunday July 24, 2016
12.30pm-1pm: pot-luck lunch
3.30pm onwards: drinks nearby (optional)
Where 60L Ground Floor Meeting Room 60 Leicester St Carlton, Victoria 3053
Pablo Brait, Community Organiser, Market Forces
PS: To find out more about your fund’s fossil fuel investments visit the Super Switch website.
Great Transition Communication Blitz
We are organising a Great Transition Communication Blitz for March 2017. I would be pleased if you would play a role.
The vision is of millions of us communicating through our networks to inspire passionate mainstream commitment to the system changes required to solve global warming. Participating in the Great Transition Communication Blitz need not take too much of any one person or organisation’s time.
To solve global warming we need to mobilise the public will to change ALL the factors that make climate change worse — a whole system change. How might we catalyse in this level of public will?
The Communication Blitz will use innovative communication to reach people who do not seek out information about environmental and social trends and their consequences.
A robust platform has been developed. It includes
1. A unifying goal: transitioning to a life-sustaining society (rather than continuing with sure ecological self-destruction)
2. A simple but comprehensive communication strategy
3. Innovative communication tools that enable people to grasp systemic change
4. Imaginative tactics including social media, workshops and guerrilla marketing.
As Paul Hawken describes in Blessed Unrest, there are literally millions of environmental and progressive groups working for positive change. We are in a GREAT TRANSITION, as Naomi Klein calls it (following Paul Raskin).
Each group pursues its own agenda. But we can make common cause with the goal of aiming to transition to a life-sustaining society.
The Great Transition Communication Blitz
There will be a lot of preparation. During the lead up we will:
- Engage as many as possible of the millions of the individuals and groups that care as thought catalysts. We have an expanding team working on this.
- And provide ready-to-use communication tools to make communicating as easy as possible.
During the Blitz itself we envision prominent thought leaders championing the Great Transition to a life-sustaining society. Masses of us will post blogs, email our networks, and conduct transformative conversations with our friends and neighbours. (This is how we will seed transformative ideas into mainstream culture; we are all embedded in mainstream culture.)
There are many talks and panel discussions about different aspects of climate change and social justice. Rarely do they have a call to action. During the Communication Blitz and afterward, presenters will encourage their audience to become thought catalysts and communicate about transitioning to a life-sustaining society through their networks.
People will see the idea of TRANSITIONING TO A LIFE-SUSTAINING SOCIETY everywhere. It will act as a positive vision, a counter to the DESTRUCTIVE MANTRA OF ECONOMIC GROWTH, ECONOMIC GROWTH.
Of course people need to go deeper and unpack what is involved in transitioning to a life-sustaining society. Our communication tools enable people to go grasp the systemic nature of the transformative change we need, and see ways they can personally contribute to it.
If this idea catches on, it will be a game changer. Instead of having just a few groups championing whole system change, we will have thousands of groups and their members. It is a way of bypassing the media and inspiring the thinking necessary to actually solve global warming.
The simplest thing you could do during the Great Transition Communication Blitz in March will be to send one email to your networks. We have draft that you can tweak here.
Perhaps the most valuable thing you can do during the lead up, if you are so inclined, is outreach to engage leaders of organisations. I would be pleased to talk with you about this.
Phone: +61 2 8005-8382
My old mate Darrell Bain is still storming along:
Latest Bainstorming May 21 to May 29, 2016 is now live at www.darrellbain.com
Subjects in this issue: Book Sale. Samantha’s Talent and Coming of Age. The Apertures Series. Rain And More Rain. My Back Doesn’t Like Me. Memorial Day.
by Wendy and Dave Laing
This book is a set of anecdotes of the older days of flying, when it still had a human face. It is illuminating to see the huge development of technology within the lifetimes of the writers, and also the change of culture. Now, it’s all business, and a vicious fight for profit. When Wendy and Dave were young, competing airlines helped each other out, and a request from Wendy to another airline got a passenger the special treatment her circumstances needed.
So, this is a look back to kinder, less hurried times, when an aeroplane was not a giant airborne bus, but an exciting adventure.
Tarmac Tales is published by Writers Exchange e-books, the publisher that has just accepted my Hit and Run.
Thank you again, Max Shub
An elderly couple had just learned how to send text messages on their mobile phones. The wife was a romantic type and the husband was more of a no-nonsense guy.
One afternoon the wife went out to meet a friend for coffee.
She decided to send her husband a romantic text message and she wrote:
“If you are sleeping, send me your dreams. If you are laughing, send me your smile. If you are eating, send me a bite. If you are drinking, send me a sip. If you are crying, send me your tears. I love you.”
The husband texted back to her:
“I’m on the toilet. Please advise.”
About Bobbing Around
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These numbers are shocking because global temperature records have so far been broken by only a few hundredths of a degree. But March and February saw similar temperature spikes away from the average and previous records.
2015 was the hottest year on record but the odds are increasing that 2016 will take the dubious distinction.
In April, I reported that Mexico City is sinking. There have been similar reports regarding California.
There is a lot of talk about climate change, and even mention of species extinctions. Little is heard about fresh water as one of the limits we have passed. That’s what this is about.
We need to stop focusing on symptoms and deal with the cause. This is a global culture based on greed. We need to live simply — or we will simply die.
Solar beats coal — in BRITAIN
Britain is not known as the sunshine capital of the world. All the same, during the month of May, 2016, more electricity was generated by solar than by coal in that country.
This was not just a minor difference, but by 50%!
Maybe we have a hope.
Norway protects forests
Norway has legislated to stop deforestation. This goes beyond not killing their own forests. They also ban any product that contributes to loss of forests. Beef, palm oil, soy and wood products in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay, Indonesia, Malaysia and Papua New Guinea will not be imported.
Stockholm keeps it in the ground
17 young entrepeneurs to inspire you
Why admire them one at a time when when you can read about 17 of them?
Ranging from Rwanda to the USA in location, these young men and women have used imagination and morality to create businesses that are of service. My favourite is Kenton Lee, who has invented a child’s shoe that grows with the child. In impoverished countries, lack of footwear leads to disease, and keeps kids from school. Kenton’s adjustable sandal will last a growing child for about 5 years.
“The mission of my life is to put other people in the best possible position to succeed and I absolutely love doing this for kids around the world. I am constantly inspired as I listen to those living in extreme poverty to hear their thoughts, ideas and dreams for how their daily lives can be improved.”
She won’t take Nestle’s filthy money
Hannah Rousey is about to start college, and has been offered a $1000 scholarship. She turned it down — because it is from a subsidiary of Nestle’s, which sells bottled water.
She wrote to the company: “I am grateful for the scholarship I have been awarded, but I cannot in good faith accept money from a company that does not exhibit sustainable and ethical practices. I am attending Sterling College in the fall and will be majoring in sustainable agriculture and environmental protection law and policy. For me to accept your scholarship would be hypocritical.”
Kindness pushes a lawn mower
A young university student from Jamaica noticed a need. Some people didn’t have the physical capability to mow their lawns, so he did it for them.
The idea has grown, and now he has an army of enthusiastic volunteers.
Here he is, with one of his customers, and one of his helpers.
It especially touches my heart that here is a black man in Alabama, doing good with helpers of all races, helping people of all races. May this remind all people, that two millimetres below the skin, we’re the same.
Judge in jail
A judge was required to sentence a man to one night’s jail. He knew the man’s history: PTSD from having been trapped in a submerged truck while in Afghanistan. So, he chose to spend the night with the man.
Wonderful, compassionate action.
All the same, as a person who has helped many people resolve past trauma, I am wondering at the US vet system, which doesn’t manage to do so.
Football club wins in the heart
One of the worst aspects of being homeless is the difficulty in being clean and neat, smelling OK. Lilydale, Victoria is an outer suburb of Melbourne, quite close to me. Their football club is making their showers available to homeless people, even supplying towels, soap, shampoo, and other little but invaluable supplies.
We could solve all the world’s problems if everyone acted like this.
Readers of the Doom Healer series might note, this is Grater’s football club.
She is dying, but married anyway
A nursing team organised a wedding. That’s not in the usual job description for nurses. It was from the heart, and the most valuable gift anyone could give.
Syrian refugees in Canada pay it forward
Unlike the USA and Australia, Canada has acted with decency and has accepted 25,000 Syrian refugees. When there was a need in Alberta, they are donating what little they have to help.
They’ve been there themselves, and are acting from empathy, as all of us should.
Decent action in the Netherlands solves two problems
Not every country is paranoid about the influx of refugees. Kevin Matthews has reported at Care2.com that the tiny, already overcrowded country of Holland has accepted 50,000 in 2015, putting much larger countries to shame.
This country has a second “problem:” crime rates have been falling, so a number of prisons have been mothballed. After some inexpensive modifications, they make fine temporary dormitories for the new arrivals, who are very appreciative.
Young man fighting marine extinction
I wasn’t sure whether to put this under technology or inspiration. A person, only 21, has raised a small fortune, and developed technology, to significantly reduce the plastic in the ocean. He IS doing something about the 6th great extinction event of Earth.
Sunlight into hydrocarbons
Of course, that’s what plants do. But a paper in Science reports on the collaboration of two Harvard teams that has resulted in an “artificial leaf” that is 10 times more productive than the fastest growing plant.
The device is put in water, with sunlight shining on it. Water is split into hydrogen and oxygen. A type of bacteria feed on the hydrogen and atmospheric carbon dioxide to produce hydrocarbon molecules, which can then be the basis for liquid fuels, plastic manufacture, whatever.
The only negatives are lead time — the process needs to be scaled up — and costs, which are unknown as yet.
Electric highway cuts emissions
Sweden is serious about working on climate change. This country now has a stretch of road with overhead wires like for a tramline. Hybrid trucks are equipped to grab the electricity, while elsewhere they use biodiesel.
How to rein in population
Madeleine Somerville, writing in The Guardian, has presented a perfect argument for empowering women, thereby working on both population reduction and protecting the environment.
Her short essay is well worth reading.
Marc Gunther, writing for the Sierra Club presents a beautiful picture of an America powered 100% by solar and wind. It is all technologically achievable, now, and already exists in small areas. He writes that the only thing in our way of having it everywhere is the opposition of those who benefit from the status quo.
This is true enough in a way, but… but it is straight-line thinking. It is solving one set of problems, without looking at wider implications.
Changing from coal, oil and gas to solar and wind is a great step forward. The conversion leads to a lot of new economic activity, which provides employment, and leads to economic growth.
Hold it. Is that really a benefit, or is it a cost?
It doesn’t matter what is growing. You cannot have unlimited growth in a limited system. So, you have cancer cells that are electric cars rather than petrol-driven ones. They are still cancer cells.
The Club of Rome demonstrated, 44 years ago, that technology can solve any specific problem, but only by making other problems worse. Their findings were validated, 30 years later. They are still correct, now, and this is a perfect example.
So, America gets off the fossil fuel addiction, generating many benefits. But the economic activity of the changeover USES fossil fuels. It involves mining for raw materials, and leads to the generation of huge amounts of waste — what do you do with all the petrol guzzlers?
This is because the use of fossil fuels is not the primary problem, but a serious symptom of the real disease. That is a culture based on greed, aggression, unlimited growth. One can be just as greedy and aggressive while growing renewables as in growing anything else.
So, the activity of a changeover is excellent. But HOW it is done matters. The rules need to be changed to: