Bobbing Around Volume 21 Number 10

Poverty is a political choice.
Senator Janet Rice


In the army, training is the place you’re supposed to make mistakes, so you can learn from them and get it right when it really matters. If anything, you want to make as many mistakes as possible in training, so you learn faster and maximize your exposure to every possible way of doing something — even the ones that don’t work.
Nell Pates


Even the most evil actions are by people doing the best they can, given their low level of spiritual development.
Bob Rich

Bobbing Around

Volume Twenty-one, Number Ten,
April, 2022

Bob Rich’s rave

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* From me to you
Ecological collapse
Guest post at Mustard Seed Sentinel
On the Death Dhamma Podcast
A gas terminal? In today’s world?
REAL Human Nature
I’d love a writing mentor

 

  New content Posts during March
ENVIRONMENT WWF buys safety
Amory Lovins on saving a future
Small country, big step: Panama recognises Nature as a person
GOOD NEWS   Chile: New president, positive direction
POLITICS Tying it together: Ukraine and the climate catastrophe Nine years in jail. His crime? Approaching a criminal government.
She is one of my mob!
INSPIRATION Farm not prison for dementia
An honest politician
A lady to admire: Alanis Obomsawin
Religion and science can be best friends
DEEPER ISSUES   Don Lubov’s 6-step path to inner peace
TECHNOLOGY Toothpaste
Flooded solar farm: so what
How to safely scan a QR code with your smartphone
The zero waste kitchen
HEALTH Alcohol IS a brain toxin
Shoes off!
Tune up your immune system
WRITING  
Massaging the global culture
: March Rhobin’s Rounds.
Does this opening hook you?
ANNOUNCEMENTS LiFE Award recipient has a new logo and tagline
2nd Marriage and Mental Health Conference
 
REVIEWS From Depression to Contentment, reviewed by Rich Henderson
Striking Back From Down Under reviewed by Fiona Lemmon
Mike Muntisov reviews Maraglindi
STORIES   My formidable neighbour
POETRY The Jacket, by Don Lubov War Is Crime, by Laurie Corzett


From me to you

Ecological collapse
Guest post at Mustard Seed Sentinel
On the Death Dhamma Podcast
A gas terminal? In today’s world?
REAL Human Nature
I’d love a writing mentor

 

Ecological collapse

I am a long term member of the Moora Moora co-operative. This past week, one of our members, who is my honorary daughter, wrote:

    I had an alarming and motivating conversation with Adrian Whitehead today. Climate scientists are not wanting to cause panic but we are ‘unofficially in collapse’. Lismore is flooding again and we really need to do some preparation if we want to be able to reconstruct ourselves after fire or resource ourselves when the system can’t resource us anymore. Look at the current fuel situation.

    I know we all know this and that is why we are here!

    Ideas of action include: we need to install a bunker with everything to set up a solar system if we lose all, bows and arrows, water filters, tools for building, fuel and chainsaws, green lentils ( apparently highest protein per size), tinned goods, blankets etc…

    I would hope we never have to use it, and that it’s there for future generations. Anyway what do you think of this idea?

    It’s the best idea I can come up with anyway!

Here is my response. It may well speak to you too:

    Nothing new about this.

    When I joined Moora Moora, I did a similar analysis. I didn’t know when the collapse would come, but was certain it would be during my lifetime. Actually, we have been lucky so far to have got to now.

    In 1978, I joined the Army Reserve and got trained as a soldier, precisely because I wanted to learn relevant skills — not necessarily repelling invading hordes from the city, but firearm use, engineering skills, etc.

    Now, my thinking has changed.

    Moora Moora is part of planet Earth. Its members are part of humanity. It is not our miniscule area and population we need to save, but the whole. And if everything else goes, why not us, too?

    Yes, food and materials self-sufficiency are excellent ideas. However, if I had the last potato in the world and someone knocked on my door, starving, I’d happily make a gift of it.

    When you die doesn’t matter. How well you act does.

    We can die one at a time, or billions at the same time. This makes no difference. A person can die before birth, or 120 years later. That makes no difference. Everything that has a beginning has an end. Homo Stupidens is no different from any other entity or group or being. If it goes extinct, some people must be among the last. We can and should strive to save a future for our children in perpetuity, but if we are the witnesses of the end, someone has to be.

    There is more to life than being attached to a physical body. The real you that has a temporary home here will be all right.

    So, yes, let’s do the best we can to work for survival of life on Earth, regardless of whether we succeed or not. Let us act with compassion and decency to all. But there is no need for desperation, anxiety, hopelessness.

    🙂
    Bob

    PS Bows and arrows need high skill and strength for effective use. Crossbows are much more functional.


Guest post at Mustard Seed Sentinel

J. M. Tropello runs this popular blog, and she has honoured me by publishing a short chapter from my work in progress, If you have lost a loved one.

This is “The Power of NOW,” basic instruction in how to put peace into your heart through mindfulness meditation.


On the Death Dhamma Podcast


Many people have a death phobia. Margaret Meloni is not one of them. As a Buddhist, she is confident that death is merely a transformation, and indeed she talks about major life transitions as a death and rebirth: moving from one phase to another. We had a half-hour conversation last December, and it has now gone live. In the email notifying me of this, she wrote: “Today I edited our discussion from December. It made me smile now, just as it did then. Thank you so much for sharing your time and your wisdom.”

I hope it makes you smile too.


A gas terminal? In today’s world?

Some mob wants to install a gas terminal. Locals are bitterly opposed. Surprise?

No, what is surprising is that a group of investors wants to put money into a guaranteed dead loss.

The relevant State authority has requested submissions. Here is mine:

    We are in the 6th extinction event of Earth, and Australia has one of the worst records on the planet. When we unravel the web of life, we also fall through the hole.

    The climate catastrophe is a major part of this emergency. It is not a threat, but striking us right now, and is already history. Right now, people are suffering in Queensland and New South Wales because of unprecedented floods; not long ago, people were suffering from terrible bushfires in Western Australia.

    As a matter of extreme urgency, therefore, humanity globally needs to transition away from fossil fuels, including fossil methane (“natural gas”).

    Any resources invested in gas infrastructure will be “stranded” in the near future. Those resources need to be invested in replacing gas with renewables, and in measures to significantly reduce energy use.

    Therefore, regardless of the specific circumstances of this gas terminal, it should be stopped on environmental grounds: not so much the local impacts but the global impacts.


REAL Human Nature

This is the working title of one of the books I am working on. I now have eight short stories and rising, all showing that sometimes the people most despised and stigmatised are the decent ones you want on your team. In other stories, the status of the hero is not in question, but the reason may surprise you anyway.

So far, my admirable people are:

  • A homeless man who holds up an 81-year-old;
  • A firefighter;
  • A bridegroom who disappoints his mother-in-law-to-be and dislikes dogs;
  • The local crime boss’s executioner;
  • A nurse too old to work;
  • A green whale
  • A convicted criminal and drug addict.

It is fun, being a writer.


I’d love a writing mentor

Yes, I know, I’ve got published books, and awards, and many five-star reviews, but I have a problem I am unable to solve without aid. Recently, I paid for a trio of beta reads. The best response of the three was lukewarm, the other two dismissive.

You cannot argue with a reader because writing is one-way communication. I need to accept that my story did not enthral these three readers.

This is valuable feedback, so I feel I’ve got my money’s worth. All the same, it is very unsatisfactory beta reading, in that there was no specific indication of what changes would lead to improvement, something I always do in my beta reading and editing.

If you have the skills and the leisure, please earn good karma by advising me. I am happy to do a return service.

Whether you are a writer or not, you are a reader, so I would be grateful to have you respond to a very brief survey. I’ve posted the first approx. 500 words of this story, with a few questions. Please spend 5 minutes on giving me your advice.


Environment

 

WWF buys safety

Over the past few years, WWF has bought gill fishing licences for large areas of the Great Barrier Reef. It has just purchased the LAST ONE! So, now all of the northern Reef is forever protected. People like sharks, dugongs and turtles are safe.

Cooperation beats head bashing. This is the same creative solution as a recent announcement from the Australian Greens that they (actually, we) will push for major funding to transition coal workers to new occupations with safety and dignity.


Amory Lovins on saving a future


Amory was one of my heroes and teachers in the 1970s. A great deal of what I practice and advocate is based on his research. So, I am delighted that he is still around. What’s more, he still demonstrates the validity of one of the messages I keep shouting.

You cannot save the future by replacing one technology with another. The best chance is to use less — very much less.

Do read about how he does it. We cannot all copy his lifestyle, but it can inspire us to modify ours to live simply so we may simply live.

You can find a long list of practical suggestions here. However, such things are not all that useful without first changing our thinking, so please also read, or revise, How to Change the World.


Politics

 

Tying it together: Ukraine and the climate catastrophe

Please read this incisive article in The Revelator tying the war in Ukraine, the major extinction event we are in, and climate change together into a logical bundle.

Just like the tragedy in Syria is directly related to the years of drought before it, the current conflict can only be understood by factoring in fossil fuels.

And that admirable Guardian columnist, George Monbiot, has added some facts about how Russia holds a stranglehold on Europe’s energy needs, and what can be done about it.


Inspiration

 

Farm not prison for dementia

I have worked as a nurse in places designed for people who have lost the mental ability to look after themselves, and, basically, they are prisons, as a matter of safety.

But, since the 1990s, there has been a different model in the Netherlands. Oldies suffering dementia spend time doing a variety of useful work at a “care farm.” This allows them to make decisions, be useful, and slows their deterioration.

Please read this inspiring story.


An honest politician

He used to be a state government minister, as a member of Australia’s most conservative (retrogressive) party. He resigned from that party, and became mayor of Bundaberg, which is within Queensland’s traditional coal country.

He now has a record of opposing practices exploiting Aborigines, and has studied the evidence on the climate catastrophe and is a leader in weaning his area off coal, transitioning into environmentally responsible industries.

If all politicians were like Jack Dempsey, we’d have a future.

Read about his conflict with the fellow he refers to as “Minister for Coal.”


Technology

 

Toothpaste

“Live simply so you may simply live” implies using less of everything, or doing without if possible. No step is too large, and no step is too small.

One viable reduction is in toothpaste use.

You can make your own. Here is an excellent article on the basics, and with several recipes.

At the same time, there are only 8760 hours in a year, and we need to prioritise. Also, I consider my oral health to benefit from some of the commercial ingredients, including fluoride.

So, my solution has been to use less. Obsessives of the world, Unite! I have kept records. A 120 mg (4 ounce) tube of toothpaste lasts me 9 months and 2 days on the average.

Two habits help in this. First, I unscrew the lid instead of using that flip-up top that allows leakage and waste. Second, I wipe the opening along the dry toothbrush while squeezing the tube very, very gently. This results in a thin, even smear on the tips of the bristles, which I find to be perfectly adequate to do the job.


Flooded solar farm: so what

What happens if a fossil-fuelled electricity generator is flooded? You can’t burn under water, right?

What happens if a nuclear power station is flooded? We’ve seen it in Fukushima.

Here is a report about the reaction of a solar farm to the highest flood ever recorded in the area. As I said, so what.


Health

 

Alcohol IS a brain toxin

A very large scale study has shown that even one glass of beer a day dissolves a little of your brain. Each additional dose does more harm.

All my life, I have steered clear of any chemical known to damage the brain, and this is yet another piece of evidence that I am right.

You can read a plain-language description and the journal abstract here.


Shoes off!

Here is a very readable report of a study showing why you should not wear your outside shoes within the house.


I approve of these announcements

 

LiFE Award recipient has a new logo and tagline

This is Magdalena Ball and Carolyn Howard-Johnson’s Sublime Planet.

    “Every day is #EarthDay.”

    Honored by Dr. Bob Rich’s Literature for the Environment award.

    “No dictator can monopolize the sun. No autocrat can control the wind.” ~ Greenpeace
    [and neither can they be used to threaten the planet with annihilation! ~ Carolyn]

    A book from Carolyn Howard-Johnson’s and Magdalena Ball’s multi award-winning Celebration Series.

    Signature art from Carolyn Wilhelm, wiseowlfactory.com.

    Cover photography by Ann Howe.

    Available on Amazon as ebook or paperback.

    Self-Published in the age-old tradition of poets since before the Gutenberg Press.

    Website.

    Sharing with Writers blog.

    Learn more about Carolyn’s fiction and poetry.


    2nd Marriage and Mental Health Conference

    Last year, Erin Ramachandran took a gamble, and organised a conference. It was a success, so is now inviting you to register for the second one.
    Date:Saturday 21 May, 2022
    9 am to 12 noon PDT
    $20 until 20 April, then $30.

    You can read about the 7 speakers and the agenda on the registration page.


    Reviews

     

    From Depression to Contentment, reviewed by Rich Henderson

    This book has honestly made an impact on my life. The mindfulness meditation part really made me sleep without any nightmares. This book not only deals with depression, but with a lot of things that I am dealing with right now, including self-forgiveness, and moving forward.


    Striking Back From Down Under reviewed by Fiona Lemmon

    Striking Back From Down Under is an anthology of short stories in which Dr Bob Rich explores the feelings and actions of bullies and oppressors as well as their victims who strike back subtly or violently. A champion of the underdog, the author presents multi cultural stories in a variety of genres including sci-fi and murder most foul. The content is often cruel and brutal but not lacking in quiet humour. Some stories contain lyrical passages as, like some of his heroes and heroines, Dr Bob has poetry in his heart – not to mention a whole lot of compassion and wisdom. The compilation is a memorable reading experience, one not to be missed.

    Poetry

     

    The Jacket, by Don Lubov

    Don has got rid of his website, but still circulates great stuff by email. This morning, I received three poems from him about the insanity of war. Here is one, just for you.

              The jacket hung on a rack in the back
              It had an air of elegance

              T’was rebel gray with stitching up the sleeves
              More fancies on the collar danced

              The placket was sharp with golden piping
              The waist was tight and very small

              Two rows of buttons, spaced three times three
              Cascaded down like waterfall

              One row kept it closed to all kinds weather
              One row was just there for show

              Gold braid climb each arm from wrist to shoulder
              Intricate designs in a row

              With matching gray pants, they must have impressed
              The lads and the lassies who saw

              Handsome young man who wore this apparel
              Must have left observers in awe

              With sword and pistol to round out attire
              And shiny black boots with high heels

              Could pose for war poster, get boys to join
              They envied his looks and ideals

              In droves, they flocked to get their uniforms
              Blinded by impressive glitter

              Too bad they could not see behind his coat
              Then they might just reconsider

              For the back of this fancy, great jacket
              Revealed the fate of this young man

              They’d see faded red around two large holes
              Signs of battle from which he ran

              He died that day in his fancy jacket
              A well-turned-out corpse – gray and gold

              It’s been passed down for generations
              During which great stories were told

              To naïve young men of varying age
              Who haven’t experienced war

              A hippie bought it in nineteen sixty
              A peace rally’s what it was fore

              It no longer calls to eager young men
              To join a fight that’s not decreed

              Perhaps someday we will all live in peace
              And jackets like this we won’t need


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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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