Bobbing Around Volume 19 Number 4

Making a difference is far more important than making a fortune.

Bird populations in North America have declined by nearly one-third in 48 years.

Bobbing Around

Volume Nineteen, Number Four,
October, 2019

Bob Rich’s rave

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*About Bobbing Around
guidelines for contributions

Comments are welcome — on the bottom of every post and page here, including this one.

If you are on my subscriber list, please consider “following” Bobbing Around instead.

*From me to you
A case study in generosity

*New stuff

*Blog posts during September

I am responsible for anything I have written. However, where I reproduce contributions from other people, I do not necessarily endorse their opinions. I may or may not agree with them, but give them the courtesy of a forum.

Our research team studied many everyday items — from yogurt cups to bath sponges — and found toxic chemicals in three-quarters of them.

  • Refuse buying unnecessary plastics and reduce your plastics exposure and footprint, for example, by buying fresh and unpackaged products.
  • Avoid PVC products when possible, which are labelled #3 in the recycling code, and all “other types of plastic” labelled as #7 because it is not clear which material they are made from.
  • Consumers can and should demand safer plastics. One way is to ask retailers for transparency regarding what materials a product is made of and which chemicals are in the product.

Martin Wagner

Bobbing Around is COPYRIGHTED. No part of it may be reproduced in any form, at any venue, without the express permission of the publisher (ME!) and the author if that is another person.

From me to you

A case study in generosity



On the 20th, I attended the Climate Strike. Took me 2 days to physically recover from it, but it was a terrific experience. I loved it. The closest city to me, Melbourne, had an estimated 150,000 people attend, and it was all joyful and peaceful.

On Saturday, I helped to staff a stall for the Australian Greens at a festival. It blew half a gale in the morning, so we kept having to wrestle with the tent, and it rained. After lunch, the wind dropped and the sun shone, so the event was saved. I had a good time, chatting politics with people.

There are two major political parties in Australia, but both have been bought by the coal industry, and both have a record of terrible cruelty to asylum seekers. The Greens are the only opposition, so I am highly motivated to get people to join.

Yesterday, I spent a couple of hours at a committee meeting of a group with the purpose of helping refugees. This morning, I was a volunteer for a local charity, driving one lady to a medical appointment, another to her bank and then a bit of shopping. This was my reward: Arguing over money.

Recently, I wrote a short story for a contest. I’m editing a book for a publisher about using a 12-step program to get off addictions. It addresses other social issues as well. And my son is writing a book, and I am editing chapters for him as he is ready with them.

Then of course it is spring here now, so there is work in the garden, and I regularly exercise. So, I haven’t had much time to work on the book I am writing, but that’s all right.

Metta to you.

A case study in generosity

Most people are naturally generous, and are delighted to be of help.

Last year I bought an old Prius, because a usually knowledgeable friend wrongly told me plug-in kits were easy to get. Not in Australia, they are not.

I spread the word, and after several months, a man in a different state contacted me. He had an unused kit that had rested in his garage for ten years. He refused to accept money for it, and I got maybe $5000 worth of equipment for the cost of shipping. Wonderful.

Only, the kit has no documentation or any kind of instructions, and the manufacturer’s website is gone. The domain name is for sale if you want it.

I attended a festival, staffing the stall for the Australian Greens. The electric car people were there, too. One is putting the request for information into their newsletter. Another nice man has spent his Saturday using sophisticated search techniques to find me heaps of relevant information, including a list of businesses that used to be dealers for this product.

I have now emailed them, and waiting for at least one useful response. I fully expect those still in existence to do their best — because that’s what people do.

The more you give, the more you grow.

New stuff

Issac Robledo

Good news
Chubb insurance adopts sanity

Helping a victim of bullying
What do children think about climate change?

Deeper Issues
Global economy

Clean your carpet without poisoning your home

Look over a writer’s shoulder
How to pitch for freelance writing

I approve of these announcements
Frugal Book Promoter in third edition
Friends of the Earth in Melbourne turns 45

From Depression to Contentment, reviewed by Lyndon Medina
Love is the Answer, God is the Cure, by Aimee Cabo Nikolov
His Unexpected Muse, by Victoria Chatham
Peter Gibilisco’s Six and a Half Years on a Dunghill: Life in Specialist Disability Accommodation reviewed by Frank Stilwell

Truth is stranger than fiction


Issac Robledo

Hi Bob, thanks for sending me this [the September issue of Bobbing Around].

Do you ever lose hope for humanity and think we’re simply not making enough progress fast enough on big issues like climate change?

I believe that mindsets need to change on a grand scope to have the hope to change the world on a larger scale. I also think technology may help save us in the future, but I feel it is also important that more and more people need to actively become concerned with our role in the health of the planet and other life. And then we actually need to do something, as concern alone is not enough. We need to use that concern to help lead us toward more investments in technology and policy changes, for example.

As important as I think it is for the individual to recycle, avoid smoking, and avoid wasting energy, I wonder what we can truly do to make a grand impact. For the average individual who wants to make a change, it will feel frustrating to know that in the end, we may help to slow down climate change, contamination, and waste, but it seems we cannot reverse this trend. We may come to feel that we are on a sinking boat, and all we can do is grab buckets and pour water out, as we continue to sink more and more deeply.

Personally, I sense that my writings will gradually shift into philosophizing about world issues as these are often on my mind — but in the end I’m not sure what difference it will make. Raising awareness or talking about it may help, but ultimately we need to actually take action. Like I said, I think things have moved so far along that we need technology to help overcome the problems we have created. And my background is not in technology / engineering, so I am unlikely to be of any help in those areas.

No one has ever asked me, as I am no ‘expert,’ but what do I think we need to do as a human species? At 18 years old I decided the best thing for the world was to radically reduce the human population. At 28, I decided that this was unlikely to ever happen because the economy benefits from more people to purchase stuff, and governments benefit from more people to fight wars, work in defense, and compete with the rest of the world. Another conundrum is actually enforcing a law of reducing the population in an ethical way. I’m 34 now, and I still haven’t come up with any fruitful ideas. I’m hoping by 38, if not sooner, to come up with practicable solutions that can be implemented at a grand scale — although I’m aware that this will just sound like wishful thinking to most people.

I suspect in the end, my role in this world is to continue what I’m doing — learn every day and write books to help people realize how we can make positive changes in our lives and to have a positive impact on the world. Also, I may operate as a role model for others. I’m not sure if this is enough. I feel that I should be doing more.

The clock is ticking.

Where do you think the individual should begin in attempting to drive change on a grand scale? Or should we just focus on small steps that we can achieve on a daily basis? I would be curious if you have any recommended books to read too.

Best regards,

I. C. Robledo

Issac Robledo is an internationally bestselling author with his M.S. from the University of Oklahoma in industrial-organizational psychology. His books are meant to help readers build their intellectual, creative, and mindful abilities. His key goals include building a peak performing mind for himself and helping his readers to do the same. Robledo’s most recent publications include Practical Memory, 7 Thoughts to Live Your Life By, and 365 Quotes to Live Your Life By (free eBook).

Issac, the world needs more people like you (though I agree, many fewer overall). To answer your question about the most important actions to take, they need to have two goals.

First, we must buy time. This is what everyone thinks is the only thing needed: energy conservation, renewable technology, reducing fossil carbon burning, reducing plastic rubbish, etc. etc. All of this is absolutely essential, but we could be 100% successful with it and still head for extinction with a lot of misery in the way. This is because we still have an indefinitely growing cancer within a limited system. We need degrowth.

And that will not happen while everything people do, everything you hear and read including fiction, all rewards and encourages greed. The answer is for all of us to live simply, so we may simply live. It is compassion for all living beings, and judging actions by their long term consequences.

As for recommended books, all my writings since 2000 have focused on this issue. 🙂

Good news

Chubb insurance adopts sanity

If I were running an insurance company, I’d stay clear of the fossil fuel industries. This is not for environmental reasons, but sheer good business sense.

One of America’s largest insurance companies is divesting from carbon.

I hope all the others follow.


Helping a victim of bullying
What do children think about climate change?


Helping a victim of bullying

This article in Huffpost gives excellent advice on how to help a child being bullied in school.

However, the information will work as well in a workplace bullying situation, domestic abuse, sibling conflict and the like.

What do children think about climate change?

Please read this brief report of a research study. A psychotherapist went to several countries, and talked with children. Their responses are illuminating, and quite wonderful.

Here is one:

“Climate change is like the bug spray of nature, and people are the bugs.”

Deeper Issues

Global economy

This is the best, and most amusing, explanation of economics I’ve ever read. Charles Eisenstein explains why we need economic growth, even though it is killing us, why wealth has concentrated into fewer and fewer bank accounts — and how we could do it better.

All this is in very simple language even I could understand, and normally I find writings in economics to be bizarre.

This is a must-read.


Clean your carpet without poisoning your home

Here is how.

It’s a short enough article, but I’ll cheat: equal parts of white vinegar and water, left on the spot overnight. Adding borax and salt may work better.

Look over a writer’s shoulder

How to pitch for freelance writing

Editors are busy. If you want them to accept stuff from you, you can’t do better than first read this article in Freedom With Writing magazine.

I approve of these announcements

Frugal Book Promoter in third edition
Friends of the Earth in Melbourne turns 45


Frugal Book Promoter in third edition

Carolyn Howard-Johnson has self-pubbed her books, largely from principle, but also convenience. For the first time, she has gone with the publisher — the immensely helpful Victor Volkman of Loving Healing Press through their imprint Modern History Press, which is for everything non-therapeutic.

They may have made a mistake. Carolyn’s book The Frugal Book Promoter is a sort of therapy for writers.

I can personally recommend it.

Friends of the Earth in Melbourne turns 45

If you happen to be in Victoria, Australia on 25th October, 2019, you are invited to a celebration.


Book tickets here


From Depression to Contentment, reviewed by Lyndon Medina
Love is the Answer, God is the Cure, by Aimee Cabo Nikolov
His Unexpected Muse, by Victoria Chatham
Peter Gibilisco’s Six and a Half Years on a Dunghill: Life in Specialist Disability Accommodation reviewed by Frank Stilwell


From Depression to Contentment, reviewed by Lyndon Medina

Bob’s book offers a great deal, in the journey from depression to contentment, from scientific psychological strategies to spiritual nourishment, and age-old common wisdom. What this book does not give however is ‘guarantee’, and nor should it. Lao Tzu has said that “A journey to a thousand miles begins with the first step.” Bob has certainly has done this and his book is worth reading.

Love is the Answer, God is the Cure, by Aimee Cabo Nikolov

Let me start this review with a warning. If you are the survivor of severe abuse, only read it if you have had effective therapy for it. Otherwise, go and get that therapy — and then read this book.

The lesson is, if Aimee could survive what she has gone through and still have faith in God, then you can survive whatever the world throws at you.

Two timelines are interwoven within this autobiography. One is Aimee meeting the man she happily grows old with. The other is horror: it reminds me of the story of Job in the Bible.

Thanks to the ending, presented as the start of the story, I could endure reading her childhood and youth until that point, and then the further horrors.

Aimee’s childhood was famous at the time as the “Case from Hell.” Her stepfather sexually abused her. When this was found out, her mother mounted a vigorous media campaign to besmirch her teenage daughter’s name, in order to protect the perpetrator.

But Aimee survived. I “met” her, because she interviewed me on her radio show, God is the Cure. I found her to be wise, with a sense of humor, and very supportive of me in my task of talking to perhaps thousands of listeners. Naturally, after that, I needed to read her book.

It is not a story for the fainthearted, but as I said at the start, it is immensely inspiring.

His Unexpected Muse, by Victoria Chatham

People have a fascination with the lives of the super-wealthy. During the Regency era of Britain in the early 1800s, “the ton” were the equivalents of the billionaires of our times. Since I don’t value wealth, I don’t share in this particular interest, but I enjoyed Victoria Chatham’s light-hearted romp among their number.

She brought the times and culture to vivid life, and created likable characters I could cheer along their way. Tension came from a Terrible Mother, and some unscrupulous underlings, and there was lots of humour, some obvious, other gems subtle, like Lord Peter’s secret hobby (which I am not going to disclose).

I did think the men in particular imbibed too much, but then that’s true to the times. So is everything else.

Peter Gibilisco’s Six and a Half Years on a Dunghill: Life in Specialist Disability Accommodation, reviewed by Frank Stilwell

At a time when public policy for people with disabilities is much in the news, this is a timely book. It is a real insider’s view of what it is like to be dependent on policies that determine, for example, the accommodation and services provided to people with disabilities. The author has a particularly severe disability – Friedreich’s Ataxia – that began its debilitating effects during his teenage years. The disease has progressively limited his capacity for physical movement and destroyed his speech. He is now also suffering loss of vision. Yet his disability did not prevent him from completing two degrees at Monash University, followed by a PhD at the University of Melbourne that was awarded when he was 43. During his doctoral studies, although consigned to a wheelchair, he travelled inter-state, interviewing prominent Australian social scientists such as Hugh Stretton, whose political economic views strongly influenced his thinking about social justice and public policy issues. He adapted his thesis for a book called The Politics of Disability, published in 2014.

Peter’s new book takes its title from the years he has spent living in shared supported accommodation in Melbourne. It details problems such as the high turnover of carers, a process that requires each new worker to be taught by the people in their care about their individual needs. This is tough on everyone concerned, not least the people with disabilities themselves. Peter writes positively about the principle of choice which are embedded in the new NDIS policy, but he also points to the limitations of the ‘medical model’ of disabilities that has for a long time being the dominant frame for provision of disability services. He also presents, especially in chapter 5, a strong critique of the influence of neoliberalism in public policies and it impact on people with disabilities. He weaves in some interesting, ethical economic reasoning. For example, he draws attention to the crude misinterpretations of Adam Smith’s views that produce the alleged case for basing society solely on self-interest. The nexus between poverty and disability gets similarly strong emphasis. The result is a powerful blend of analysis and ‘down to earth’ personal experience.

Bruce Wearne, a former academic who has been supportive and helpful to Peter over many years, says in the book’s preface that it should be read as the author’s ‘pushing back’ against his debilitating condition and seeking ‘to keep his own responsibility as an advocate for social justice on his and our horizon’. Indeed, the very existence of the book is a tribute to the author. More than that, it is a courageous and commendable contribution to broader thinking about public policy in this difficult area, blending progressive social policy concerns with an insider’s view of how even quite well-intentioned policies can fail if they are insensitive to personal needs.

This is not standard political economy but, of course, that is just the point. Applying a universal standard, even one nominally centred on freedom of individual choice, can be catastrophic where people have inescapably different abilities and disabilities. NDIS policy-makers and all care-providers, please note.


Truth is stranger than fiction

I live with my ex-girlfriend. We are related by marriage.

A bank makes its profits by charging interest on nothing. (It is allowed to lend 10 times as much as it owns.)

A motor drives an electric bike, but not a motorcycle. (The gizmo is an engine.)

A great deal of what we know about human psychology is from research that used rats as subjects.

A secretary reveals secrets by producing minutes that record hours.

Australia’s Prime Minister thinks that mining, exporting and burning coal is a great way to address climate change. And the way to work well with China, his country’s primary trading partner, is to join in with some idiot’s attack on that country.

Posts during September


Why is Brazil on fire?
In a word, it’s greed.

You can SEE climate change here
A glacier is disappearing.

Bayer/Monsanto is killing birds, too


Wake up! Your house is on fire!

Recruiting youngster power
Your advice and suggestions are needed, please.

A picture is worth a thousand words. But pictures can lie.


Paddle from California to Hawaii?

A plumber with a heart

Arguing over money


Dealing with difficult kids: a podcast


Are we just delaying the inevitable with climate change?
A Quora answer that poured out of my heart.


White crocodiles
How to stop an infection.


More about Anikó

The Plot Thickens: my contribution to the September Rhobin’s Round.


Claire Dunn on saving a (near) future


Victoria Chatham reviews Anikó: The stranger who loved me

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About Dr Bob Rich

I am a professional grandfather. My main motivation is to transform society to create a sustainable world in which my grandchildren and their grandchildren in perpetuity can have a life, and a life worth living. This means reversing environmental idiocy that's now threatening us with extinction, and replacing culture of greed and conflict with one of compassion and cooperation.
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