What do I do now?

When you have read a lot of this website, you may want to think next about what you can do about the grim situation that is described.  It is very clear that these frightening changes and destructive forces have been developing over a very long period and that it will take a massive collaborative effort to alter the way things are going.

But you may say “What can I do to try and stop a complete catastrophe?  I am just one person with very little power to influence.”  But all changes come about because people talk to other people; they have discussions; they discover the facts; they come to conclusions; they create common opinions; they influence people with power; they vote for better policies; they take actions together like stopping buying drinks sold in plastic bottles; so they use their economic power to buy or not buy, to take this job not that one, to vote for this politician or support that campaign, to become persuasive with their friends and family.

But all this has to start with being very honest with ourselves – are we really doing as much as we could to stop the destruction?  Are we supporting people who do the right thing?  Are we really trying to understand all the facts, the science, the psychology, the politics and the world around us?

So we have put together some ideas that might help to get you started.

HOW DO YOU USE THE POWER YOU ALREADY HAVE?

  • How do you spend your money?
    • Clothing – new fast fashion? Pre-owned? Quality and style that lasts a long time? – What impact does your buying have? Can you really afford it? What about the people who make it?
    • Food and drinks – do you know where it comes from?  How many food miles did it travel to get to you?  How many manufacturing processes did it involve?  What impact do various ingredients have on the planet? How is it packaged – plastic or recyclable/ how many layers?  Again what about the people involved in making it?
    • Holidays and travel – what impact do you make with your journeys?  What sort of emissions did your travel create? Do you feel that your holidays are making things better or worse for the planet?
  • Are you old enough to vote yet?  If so, do you really find out about candidates?  What policies have they supported?  If you don’t know, find out how you can discover this.

IS IT WORTH TRYING TO INCREASE THE INFLUENCE YOU HAVE ON OTHERS? 

  • Do your friends vote?  Do you support reducing the voting age in the UK to 16?  How could you persuade people to take this idea seriously?
  • Why do you think there is a lot of evidence that more women than men support environment-friendly policies and parties?  What are the implications of this? Does it suggest anything that you should be try?
  • Do you get into discussions with your friends and family about environmental and climate issues?  When somebody expresses an opinion that seems wrong, what do you do?
  • What do you read to keep you informed?  Do you regularly try to find out the facts rather than just agreeing or disagreeing with other people’s opinions?
  • Do you join groups that are doing positive and useful things?

WHAT DO YOU THINK MAKES PEOPLE HAPPY?

There is now quite a lot of research that explores this subject and here are 2 particular animated cartoons that explore this:

See these and try to work out what you understand about people, happiness and human behaviour.  You will find that some of the things that are commonly believed are simply not true.  Celebrity and great wealth do NOT make people happy.  So what does?  Make up your mind after watching these short films.

Once you get going on thinking and talking about this, you won’t need somebody else asking you questions.  You will have many questions of your own.  You may be talking seriously to friends and family about this enormous subject.  Keep talking!  Keep asking! Keep thinking!  Keep trying to change the world!  It won’t change without your help!!

Name & shame

Let’s get real!

Climate Change facts;

Test yourself!

  • Which are the biggest polluters?
  • How do polluters get their own way?
  • How do big companies influence governments?
  • How does informal political influence work in Britain?
  • How to tell the difference between “Good” and “Bad” businesses?
  • What are the effects of Global Warming?

Please help US!!

Top 5 most polluting countries

  1. China (30%) The world’s most populated country has an enormous export market, which has seen its industry grow to become a serious danger to the planet. …
  2. United States (15%) The world’s biggest industrial and commercial power. …
  3. India (7%) …
  4. Russia (5%) …
  5. Japan (4%)

The top six largest coal-producing countries in the world

  1. China – 3.7 billion tonnes. …
  2. India – 783 million tonnes. …
  3. United States – 640 million tonnes. …
  4. Indonesia – 616 million tonnes. …
  5. Australia – 550 million tonnes. …
  6. Russia – 430 million tonnes.
  7. China leads the way among the world’s top coal-producing countries by far, but several other regions account for significant output of this much-used resource
The Mt Arthur coal mine in New South Wales, Australia (Credit: BHP)

The world’s largest coal-producing countries have delivered a  resource to global markets that has powered industrialisation, through thermal electricity generation and as an ingredient for manufacturing processes like steelmaking.

While climate concerns and efforts to decarbonise the global energy system have diminished coal’s stature in recent years, it nevertheless remains the biggest source of the world’s electricity generation – accounting for 38% of the overall share in 2019, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).

Coal production has risen year-on-year since 2016, and global coal reserves have been measured at more than one trillion tonnes.

IEA data indicates total world coal production topped 7.9 billion tonnes in 2019 – its highest since 2014 – growing at an annual rate of 1.5%, which was half the rate of recent years. Thermal coal and lignite made up around 86% of this production, and the remainder was metallurgical coal.

Latest estimates for 2020 suggest a 6.5% annual decline in global output as a result of lower demand during the coronavirus pandemic, although a rebound to 7.6 million tonnes is expected in 2021.

Fast fashion produces over 92 million tonnes of waste a year, study finds
Twenty firms produce 55% of world’s plastic waste, report reveals

 A recent report reveals for the first time the companies who produce the polymers that become throwaway plastic items, from face masks to plastic bags and bottles, which at the end of their short life pollute the oceans or are burned or thrown into landfill.

It also reveals Australia leads a list of countries for generating the most single-use plastic waste on a per capita basis, ahead of the United States, South Korea and Britain.

ExxonMobil is the greatest single-use plastic waste polluter in the world, contributing 5.9m tonnes to the global waste mountain, concludes the analysis by the Minderoo Foundation of Australia with partners including Wood Mackenzie, the London School of Economics and Stockholm Environment Institute. The largest chemicals company in the world, Dow, which is based in the US, created 5.5m tonnes of plastic waste, while China’s oil and gas enterprise, Sinopec, created 5.3m tonnes.

Eleven of the companies are based in Asia, four in Europe, three in North America, one in Latin America, and one in the Middle East. Their plastic production is funded by leading banks, chief among which are Barclays, HSBC, Bank of America, Citigroup and JPMorgan Chase.

The enormous plastic waste footprint of the top 20 global companies amounts to more than half of the 130m metric tonnes of single-use plastic thrown away in 2019, the analysis says.

Top ten largest oil-producing countries in 2019

1. United States – 17 million barrels per day

The US is also the world’s top natural gas producing country, a status again helped by the emergence rise of shale fracking technologies.

 2. Saudi Arabia – 11.8 million barrels per day

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia occupies second place on this list of top oil-producing countries, with a national output of around 11.8 million bpd in 2019 – 12.4% of the global total.

 3. Russia – 11.5 million barrels per day

Russia produced around 12% of the world’s oil supply in 2019, measured at just above 11.5 million bpd.

Like Saudi Arabia, the country is a significant exporter of oil to global markets, and is the de facto leader of a group of countries allied to Opec,

Most of its exports are sent to China, as well as key European markets including the Netherlands

4. Canada – 5.6 million barrels per day

Most of Canada’s oil – around 97% of it – is contained within oil sands in the western province of Alberta. After Venezuela and Saudi Arabia, Canada has the world’s third-largest known oil reserves.

Almost all of the country’s exports are sent to US markets – roughly 3.7 million bpd in 2019.

 5. Iraq – 4.8 million barrels per day

Iraq pumped just under 4.8 million bpd in 2019, taking fifth place on this list of the largest oil-producing countries. It is a founding member of Opec.

6. United Arab Emirates – 4 million barrels per day

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has grown in stature as a global oil producer in recent years, and in 2019 hit an output of around four million bpd.

The state-owned Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) controls much of the UAE’s oil reserves, although partners regularly with foreign, private-sector companies in upstream operations.

Oil exports – many of which head to Japan – account for around 25% of the UAE’s gross domestic product (GDP), and the country has been a member of Opec since 1967.

7. China – 3.8 million barrels per day

China produced slightly above 3.8 million bpd in 2019, accounting for a 4% share of the global total.

Production in the country is dominated by large, state-owned companies, including China National Offshore Oil Corporation, Sinopec and China National Petroleum Corporation. 

8. Iran – 3.5 million barrels per day

Iran, which is a founder member of Opec, accounted for around 3.7% of global oil production in 2019, with national output totalling more than 3.5 million bpd.

Despite holding almost 10% of known international oil reserves, strict economic sanctions imposed in response to its nuclear weapons programme have prevented the country from maximising the commercial potential of its oil wealth.

 9. Kuwait – 3 million barrels per day

Sandwiched between Saudi Arabia, Iraq and the Persian Gulf, Kuwait is among the world’s most significant oil-producing countries, despite its small size. 

10. Brazil – 2.9 million barrels per day

Brazil is the only Latin American country on this list, and accounted for around 3% of global production in 2019 with an output of around 2.9 million bpd. The country ended the state monopoly of its exploration and production (E&P) industry in 1995, and its proved oil reserves and rate of production have increased steadily since. State-backed company Petrobras remains highly active in Brazil’s domestic oil industry.

Control of the Media

These 6 corporations control 90% of the media outlets in America. So much for the illusion of choice and objectivity…..

Nickie Louise

POSTED ON SEPTEMBER 18, 2020


Elite is a word we use in our daily conversations but few people probably know the origin and the history of the word. Elites (French élite, from Latin eligere, to select or to sort out) are a small group of powerful people who hold a disproportionate amount of wealth, privilege, political power, or skill in society.

This elite class, which also includes the Big Tech companies, now controls what we read, watch, or listen to. There is even a new browser extension tool that shows how the Big Tech giants are invading your privacy by tracking your every move online.

Today, their impacts are more felt in our online news intake and media consumption habits. 37 years ago, 50 companies control the media in America. Fast forward to 2011, American news outlets are controlled only by 6 powerful corporations. Back in 2018, Jim Morrison, a singer, songwriter, and poet, who served as the lead vocalist of the rock band, once said: “Whoever controls the media, controls the mind.”

He was right. Today, Americans think they have an unlimited variety of entertainment and media options right at their fingertips. But it is all a lie. This illusion of choice was fabricated by the media elites. In the early 90s before the mainstream adoption of the Internet, the media landscape used to be simple and straightforward. Today, 6 media giants control a whopping 90% of what we read, watch, or listen to.

Objectivity in journalism is an illusion created by the elite class to give the appearance of balanced news. However, there is no such thing as unbiased news. Journalists who work for these six corporations answer to their owners and ultimately serve their agendas. For example, no logical thinking person will expect Washington Post to write a fair and objective story about its owner, especially a story that Jeff Bezos reportedly cheated on his wife. The point of all these is that the media outlets don’t necessarily serve the interest of the people they control, instead, they serve the interests of their owners.

Lobbying and “Chumocracy” – a British Disease

What does a tax-avoiding, polluting, privatising corporation have to do to get its way with the British government? “We all know how it works,” said David Cameron of lobbying. But do we? Lobbyists are the paid persuaders whose job it is to influence the decisions of government. Typically, they operate behind closed doors, through quiet negotiation with politicians. And the influence they enjoy is constructed very consciously, using a whole array of tactics.

Lobbyists operate in the shadows – deliberately. As one lobbyist notes: “The influence of lobbyists increases when it goes largely unnoticed by the public.” But if the reasons why companies lobby are often obscured, it is always a tactical investment. Whether facing down a threat to profits from a corporate tax hike, or pushing for market opportunities – such as government privatisations – lobbying has become another way of making money.

“Chumocracy”

The great global hope raised this week by news of successful trials for a Covid-19 vaccine interrupted a very British row about the head of the UK’s own vaccine efforts, who was appointed in May and reports directly to Boris Johnson.

As Kate Bingham, chair of the vaccine taskforce, came under sustained scrutiny over the £670,000 budget she had allocated for public relations consultants, attention switched from her suitability for the role to her connections to the Conservative government.

Managing partner of a private equity firm, SV Health Investors, involved for 30 years in pharmaceutical investment, she is also married to a Tory MP, Jesse Norman, who was at Eton College at the same time as Johnson, and she went to private school with Rachel Johnson, the prime minister’s sister.

Bingham’s appointment shares similarities with that of Dido Harding, to head the NHS test and trace operation in May. She was made chair of NHS Improvement in 2017 after an open recruitment process, her CV gleams with executive experience, and also opens a window to a small world of Conservative connectedness. Married to the Tory MP John Penrose, she was given a peerage in 2014 by David Cameron, a friend, and sits in the House of Lords as a Conservative.

Neither Bingham nor Harding are being paid for their roles, but critics complain that two central pillars of the pandemic response, vaccines and testing, are being led by two well-connected executives appointed without an evident formal process.

A racehorse owner and keen rider, Harding was in 2004 appointed as a member of the Jockey Club, which gave the local Newmarket MP and current health secretary, Matt Hancock, another horseracing enthusiast, honorary membership of its prestigious rooms, shortly after he was first elected, in 2010.

The anti-establishment claims of a government led by Johnson and Dominic Cummings were always audacious, and in the appointments and contracts awarded during the pandemic, the shape of a Tory establishment has come into focus. Critics are calling it a “chumocracy”.

A Quick Guide to help tell Good Enterprises from the Dangerous ones…

First, be suspicious of enterprises or businesses that:

  • Make money out of speculating with money, for example currency and money dealers
  • Enterprises that buy organisations to strip them down , load them with debt and sell them on, for example Private Equity
  • Financial enterprises that aim to maximise their profits in the short term
  • Organisations that reward their owners or managers excessively eg pay more than 20 times the average pay of employees

These kinds of organisations and enterprises are likely to be good for Society and the Planet:

  • Enterprises whose primary purposes are to enhance the well-being of the Community and which Re-invest most of their profits – for example Social Enterprises
  • Businesses whose stated and practised primary purposes are to serve their Customers, Staff and the Community before their financial investors


Greta Thunberg: ‘Only people like me dare ask tough questions on climate’

And at the 2019 UN climate summit in New York, an infuriated Thunberg told delegates:

“People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are in the beginning of a mass extinction, and all you can talk about is money and fairytales about eternal economic growth. How dare you!” 


Helga’s Introduction

Dear Readers……

I know this diagram is very complicated, but it is important to understand how Climate Change and Global Warming work and how they are Destroying the Planet. It starts with:

  • Fossil fuel consumption, coal; and oil
  • The effects of intensive agriculture and
  • Deforestation

Then: Creation of VERY NASTY Greenhouse Gases

  • Carbon dioxide, Methane, Nitrous Oxide, Water Vapour,

Giving rise to Global Warming and Climate Change.

This in turn leads to Highly Negative Environmental effects:

  • Destruction of habitats, killing animals, trees, seas
  • Collapse of ecosystems, which support us all
  • species extinction and loss of biodiversity and
  • Reduced sunlight reflection,
  • Melting permafrost, ‘specially in the Arctic

And an intensification of extreme weather events

  • Heat,
  • hurricanes,
  • floods,
  • droughts and
  • wildfires

Causing Glacial and ice sheet melting, freshwater loss and desertification, (deserts where there was once farmland); Coral bleaching, sea level rises and coastal submersion – and serious declines in fish stocks

Then, an increase in pest propagation, and disease carriers.

All of this has in turn disastrous Effects on Humans

  • Direct impacts on Health
  • Flooding of cities and farmland
  • Crop failure and loss of farmland
  • Starvation, migration and conflict
  • Direct physical harm caused by extreme weather events

So, dear readers, you can go on to browse the section which has lots of interesting and terrifying pictures!!

What can be done


“I’m putting a lot of my introduction in capital letters and underlining some because I feel so strongly about it. And maybe some people will listen.” If they don’t “HOW DARE THEY”…..

The FREE MARKET:

  • STOPS GOVERNMENTS FROM REGULATING THE ECONOMY
  • ALLOWS BIG BANKS, RICH PEOPLE AND COMPANIES TO DO AS THEY LIKE

So; INEQUALITY GROWS:

THE RICH GET RICHER

THE POOR GET POORER

  • People live in squalour, eat bad food or suffer gross hunger, have terrible housing, lose the ability to participate in political policy
  • BUT EVEN WORSE,  the rich support Growth economics on the “Theory” that when the rich get richer , some will ”Trickle Down” to the poor and less fortunate.
  • ECONOMISTS AND MANY POLITICIANS MEASURE SUCCESS BY GROWTH.
  • This is completely wrong: Constant growth will wreck the planet. It causes greenhouse gases, excessive waste – and climate change will destroy agriculture.
  • The only long term solution is to make the super-rich give some of their wealth to a world fund that will even out living standards without needing  excessive economic growth. A balanced world economy will be a healthy one.  

To Start, some relevant poetry:

Wordsworth

The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;—
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon;
The winds that will be howling at all hours,
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers;
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
It moves us not. 

Awareness About Our Environment,  By Sylvia Stults

Broken bottles and charred pieces of glass,
Wadded up newspapers tossed on the grass,
Pouring of concrete and tearing out trees.
This is the environment that surrounds me?

Poisons and insecticides sprayed on our food,
Oceans filling with thick oil crude.
All sea life destined to a slow, awful doom.
These are the things we are to consume?

Mills pumping out iron, expelling yellow fumes,
Airlines emitting caustic gases from fuels,
Weapons of destruction tested at desolate sites.
And this is the air that’s to sustain life?

There has to be something that someone can do,
Like raise the awareness to those around you
That if we don’t heed the problem at hand
It’s your life that’s at stake, the destruction of man.

Global Warming – What can be done about it?

First: Links:

This website has its origins in “Having Their Cake”, which has a different style, being concerned to explore issues affecting human society in considerable length and depth.

A link to this site for those who are interested in reading in more depth is: www.havingtheircake.com  

Well worth looking through are:

Climate Change is Real” and “The Planet under Stress; we live in interesting times

Climate Change Guidance

Most advice aimed at individuals seems to concentrate on advice that is fine for relatively wealthy middle-classes: people with cars, houses and a large domestic budget……BUT : What about the super-rich and the poor and needy??

Continuous Economic Growth is unsustainable
• It mainly benefits the rich
• The planet will not support any more

The richest one percent of the world’s population are responsible for more than twice as much carbon pollution as the 3.1 billion people who made up the poorest half of humanity during a critical 25-year period of unprecedented emissions growth.  Annual emissions grew by 60 percent between 1990 and 2015.

So, put simply, the rich part of society created most global warming, the poorer parts of humanity, which includes many younger people, suffered from it!

Here are some underlying factors that will need to be addressed:

The Free Market

Under the leadership of President Ronald Reagan and Premier Margaret Thatcher, Britain and America embarked on a long experiment to use the Free Market run the economy and for government to be shoved to the background. To some, this seemed like a new paradise, but progressively beneath the surface, a number  of sinister trends emerged:

  • The rich grew richer and the poor became poorer
  • The banking and finance sectors grew to be dominant
  • The ability of the State to be a partner with finance and industry was severely diminished
  • Climate Change became pushed back in the queue behind making money

Thus Britain and the United States, the two countries which have severely diminished abilities to tackle the Coronavirus pandemic and climate change are also two of the countries most afflicted by Free Market dogma.

Free market economics is killing
The Planet:
Causes gross inequality
Fuels unsustainable growth
Undermines good government

He believed that if he supported the banking and finance industries, then the growing taxation take would enable him to spend more on social services, education and health. Alas, the feral nature of banking meant that the sector grew stronger and stronger, eventually leading to the global financial crash of 2007/8, the fall of his government – and a programme of “Austerity” under the following right wing- government which destroyed everything that Brown held dear!!

The Free Market is failing. Governments are Crucial if we are to defeat Global Warming!!

What should governments DO?

Hard Lessons from Coronavirus

The Coronavirus Pandemic has had the most devastating effects in those rich societies that depleted the capacity of government to lead a national response and co-ordinate actions to protect the population. Thus the United States has been almost overwhelmed and Britain is not far behind. It is not by chance that they have been led by free market ideologies.

Democracy and Climate Change

The United States
Just think…….
If the richest 1% of
people and organisationspaid 05% more tax, it
would create 120 million
Jobs in Care, Education
and Health

The Coronavirus has taught many in Democracies about the ability of governments to act to protect the population. In America, a sort of Democracy, probably overridden by the free market, it seems impossible to induce many in the population to even wear a face mask, to protect themselves and others from airborne viruses.

Now imagine vast government led programmes to reduce inequality, radically improve public health, regulate agriculture, especially red meat consumption, build safe houses for the poor!! In America, civil war would be a real risk!.

So, what can be done?? For a start:
  • Allow matters to become so bad and publicise the effects on fellow citizens
  • Hope for the election of Social Democratic, middle of the road governments, which are capable of providing thoughtful, insightful leadership. Wish granted!!? The Biden Democratic Party has been elected!!
  • Amend the Constitution to recognise that climate change is a contemporary challenge, not experienced in the eighteenth century (maybe consider gun ownership too, to reduce the slaughter of Civil War!!)
  • Recognise that international action is necessary and that countries which act to reduce global warming are rewarded/ punished by strong international bodies
Things that need to be done to make a start
  • Build millions of Secure, well- insulated homes. This can only be done with massive government support, as was done in Continental Europe and Britain after World War Two. The private sector and free market will never cope.
  • Elect/appoint more women to positions of authority. Women are generally more likely to create collaborative eco-friendly environments
  • Give young people the vote from the age of 16. Young people are more likely to understand how the Planet is being destroyed and , how wars are making a contribution to that destruction
  • Educate, educate, educate, educate  – and make sure education systems enable people to apply critical appraisal to the problems of the Planet and the words and actions of people of power
  • Recognise that strong, executive international action is necessary. Reward those nations that contribute towards saving the planet – apply sanctions to those that will not
  • Massively invest in renewable energy, create international renewable energy market – with international “grids”
  • Ban coal-powered energy generation, close and seal coal mines and open-cast quarries
  • Clamp down on fast-fashion and disposable clothing. Promote simpler lifestyles, smaller electric cars, less foreign air travel, for work and leisure
Hope lies with young
People. They should
Be empowered

Give them the vote
At 16 years of age
  • Encourage community activities: growing food, fruit and vegetables, giving support to the more needy
  • Establish Community Investment funds, and make sure that the rich put in a proportion of their wealth
  • Devolve real authority to regional and community governments to build Climate Change strategies and plans
  • Give massive support to Social Enterprise and Charities which are some of the best able organisations to foster local and community activities
  • Expose Climate change deniers, and individuals/ governments that negatively affect the environment
  • Act to make the rich make a full contribution through rewarding involvement in community service
  • Clamp down on tax evasion and hiding wealth from society. Create strong and executive agencies with international powers
  • Constrain diets in rich countries: promote better diets in poor countries – make the rich contribute
  • Limit numbers of children – educate women
  • Contain the powers of huge corporations. Clamp down on political contributions from corporations, wealthy institutions and individuals

The Most Important and Most Challenging Task of All….

Destroy the Growth Obsession. The world has been in the grip of a deeply held obsession for several centuries – that Economic Growth is an overriding Aim of mankind.

In the 21st Century, this obsession is having a wide range of evil effects:

  • It fuels the illusion that growth will enrich the world, and that wealth will “trickle down” from the wealthy to poorer elements in society, thus reducing poverty.

What growth actually does is cause environmental destruction, and the growth promoters’ partner in crime, the Free Market discourages effective regulation of economic activity and environmental destruction.

The combination of obsessions with growth and letting the rich and powerful free of constraint has actually had the reverse effect of “trickle down”. In fact; it has created whole communities of deprivation in rich countries such as the UK and USA, as has been seen in the recent US Presidential election.

Growth and “Trickle Down” will have to be replaced by “Living within the Planet’s Means” and radical rebalancing of economic wealth within developed countries and across the World. This is the huge challenge facing mankind if we are to steer away from Destroying the Planet and many of its lifeforms, including humans.


LAST WORDS to Younger People who hold the future in their Hands…..

“There is good evidence to show that many, many young people are suffering from the Covid Pandemic and all the bad side effects on education, social life and employment. Many younger people want to see a different sort of society emerge from the Pandemic. With more caring for friends,neighbours, poorer people, and those who are suffering from social exclusion. Connected to this is a growing disgust with fast fashion, big money, greed and ruthless competition to “Win”. We must make our voices and values heard across the world. This is absolutely important, because endless growth and a lack of care for the natural environment will end up creating a world which is disgusting to live in and will “Destroy the Planet”.”

“Helga”, a friend of Greta


Why Do We Do It?


Why do We Do it?

Why do we humans behave so that we are likely to “Destroy the Planet” as a place where people can live in peace and have good lives? Why do a small number of people have lives of plenty, some gross over-indulgence – whilst a majority live in conditions of near starvation?

I will try to explore “Why We Do It” as clearly as I can, but it may get a bit complicated. At the end of this website, there will be some questions and challenges which you might discuss with your friends – and your teachers, parents and other “adults”.

In this section we will explore human psychology and behaviour and what lies behind our actions (or in-actions).

Just to summarise:

  • There are many, many good people in the world, who want to do the best for the planet, but can become confused about how they can do it
  • There are also many BAD people, organisations, politicians AND ADVERTISERS, which want to serve their own interests, be they making obscene amounts of money, telling lies, pretending they are doing good, whilst hiding their evil deeds; setting out to persuade other people to lead lives of gross indulgence, taking power from the mass of the populace – and causing confusion.

When the Bad people interact with the GOOD majority, we can end up with a sort of “Pretend” state in which we believe that good things are happening, whilst behind it all, hidden from view, not much is changing at all.

I will give you an example:

Many big oil and gas corporations, banks and others pretend that they are dedicated to reducing their carbon emissions – but hidden from view are involved in producing Massive amounts of throw-away plastics. Just 20 organisations are supporting the production of more the half the plastics in the world. Think: ExxonMobil, an oil company, is dedicated to reducing carbon emissions BUT produces just under SIX Million tons of plastics

From their annual report 2020: “ExxonMobil said today it plans further reductions in greenhouse gas emissions over the next five years to support the goals of the Paris Agreement and anticipates meeting year-end 2020 reductions. 

So let’s go forward with good intent – but retain a healthy scepticism about what we are told by companies, advertisers, politicians, media and people on the make…..

I hope you find these cartoons interesting. They may help you understand a bit more about

  • Why Free market Economics is causing so much damage; Also
  • How loads of money is not a Motivator for most people (only for freaks!!)
  • What happens to people when they have too much Choice
  • Why people left to their own devices and not forced by bad leaders or too much money will naturally come to want to help their fellow humans
  • Why many people will be generous to others if they have a choice

The reason they are important is that we need to understand human psychology and human nature if we are to have any chance of avoiding Destroying the Planet

Crises of Capitalism by David Harvey

Smile or Die (The cruelties of positive psychology) by Barbara Ehrenreich

Drive, The Surprising Truth, by Daniel Pink

Choice (is a two-edged weapon)

The Secret Powers of Time (how our behaviour is influenced by culture)

The Empathic Civilisation (If we don’t collaborate and be generous towards others, the human race is in danger)

Superfreakeconomics (how economists misunderstood human nature)


Do you know?

0%

What proportion of climate change commitments made by governments around the world will be met?

Correct! Wrong!

Quiz

Between a Quarter and a half of them”!!

Elsewhere on this website, we have seen how global warming and wars have terrible effects on the health of the Planet and everything on it.

Now it is of crucial importance to understand the Human behaviour that causes Global Warming.

To do this, we can start with a person, who we can call ME

ME and US

(I have portrayed ME as a man or woman)

ME will have a lot of Needs;

  • Enough to eat and drink
  • Shelter: Somewhere to live
  • Family and other people to satisfy social needs
  • Something to DO
  • Possessions, playthings and objects of desire

For some people, their social needs are met by friends and a community of some sort. And many people also have strong feelings of attachment to a larger community, like a faith group, country or even region. Many people can be influenced by a confusing range of Wants and Needs:

These come from early experience, family and social groups, education and cause feelings of right and wrong, and sometimes confusion about the differences between the two.

As this seems quite simple, let’s complicate matters by the fact that there more than SEVEN BILLION ME’s on the Planet, all with wants and needs.

Most people gain much satisfaction from their relationships and the ability to clothe and feed themselves and their families.

But a very large number live in poverty, and/ or are beset by wars and famine, without the ability to have any influence on what happens to them. A growing number of people in rich countries are also struggling with poverty and being excluded from the good lives of the majority

Then, at the fringes of Society a small number of people have a need to control the world around them – at its extreme, these people are called Psychopaths. Some of these become very dangerous to the health of the planet if they get into positions of political power.

Others have driving needs to become rich, to possess a huge number of artefacts to demonstrate their wealth to others.

But the majority of people prefer to feel that that they are part of a community – which we can call US – and gain great satisfaction from helping and being good to others.

History….

Population growth, Industrialisation and Intensive agriculture

Over the centuries, small human activities grew into industries and huge factories, producing goods of all kinds. Rapidly growing populations also started to consume more and more of the earth’s resources – metals, oil, coal and efficient production of burgeoning amounts of food – meats, grains. And great advances in transportation enabled trade in industrial goods to be shadowed by huge increases in the movement agricultural foodstuffs.

After the Second World War, huge industries created to serve war needs drove a need to consume their products. New and different industries grew on the back of producers – aimed at persuading people (at first in rich countries) that they Needed more and more goods and possessions:

  • Based on the thinking of psychiatrist Sigmund Freud’s nephew EdmundBernays, Advertising has come to play on peoples’ emotions to persuade them that they have a huge range of needs beyond the basics necessary for a good life. This has become a plague, bombarding people with messages on TV and social media
  • Fashion acting in conjunction with advertising  – to make people uneasy if they were out of line with the latest trends
  • Communications and more recently Social Media have made it almost impossible for the majority of people to avoid a tide of advertising and propaganda

AND SO: Vast numbers of people consumed huge quantities of the earth’s resources, to the point that the planet was being depleted and the poison created by consumption of the oil, gas and coal used to power industry and the huge towns and cities used to house population growth. Efficient Intensive agriculture has enabled the greater part of the human race to avoid starvation.   NOW…….Industrialisation and Intensive agriculture have clearly become part of the pressures that threaten the health of the Planet.

Some of these industrial organisations have grown so big and powerful that they can control the leaders of whole countries to do their bidding.

They often use hundreds of specialists to Lobby politicians and others, using monetary and temptations of many kinds

These organisations can also be described as Psychopathic – in that their leaders and those that influence them are driven to meet their own needs regardless of the wider society they purport to serve.

Often these Psychopathic organisations form unholy alliances with Political leaders who are mainly driven to satisfy their own needs regardless of the ”public” good. Thus: These unholy alliances are some of the underlying causes of the forces that are destroying the Planet.

Definition of Psychopath

A person having an egocentric and antisocial personality marked by a lack of remorse for one’s actions, an absence of empathy for others, (and at the extremes criminal tendencies)

Several world leaders can be described as having Psychopathic tendencies. This means that they have an overriding need to control others, to damage those who stand in their way, and have little regard for what happens to others as a result of their actions. In many cases, they deny that Climate Change is destroying the Planet, the scientific evidence of climate change is dismissed as “only the views of scientists”.

A few of such dangerous people can be found in the Picture Gallery attached to linked website “Having Their Cake”.

Let’s return to the beginning…….

Now back to ME/US

What about ME? And US? Why don’t WE do more to save the Planet??

More and more people are becoming very concerned, and are trying to change their lifestyles to become more eco-friendly. But there are huge barriers to acting in time and forcefully enough to avert disaster.

Firstly, international bodies like the United Nations keep meeting and issuing Bulletins that sound great, but do not lead to action…..

Inequality is a Plague that is ruining the planet. It could be a plus:
By re-distributing Gross Wealth, it is possible to create a good level of living for all, whilst maintaining modest growth

But for many people one very important reason is:

DISSONANCE:

  • In the field of psychology, Cognitive Dissonance occurs when a person holds contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values, and is typically experienced as psychological stress when they participate in an action that goes against one or more of these beliefs
  • Emotional Dissonance occurs when we are sorely tempted to do something that we believe is going to do harm, like buying fashion clothing or a large shiny gas-guzzling car, but do so because people will think better of them.

Quite simply this means that we are beset by a confusing range of influences

  • We know that our consumption is having negative planetary effects,  But

our strong desires to accumulate lots of possessions cause us to ignore that first knowledge

  • We know that we should do the right thing by the community at large, but our desire to be rich and famous cause us oi ignore the plight of less fortunate people

Here is another range of Reasons (Sometimes Excuses)

  • “I can’t understand Climate Change and its effects, it’s too complicated so I don’t bother”…
  • “I’m just a small cog in an enormous machine, “little me” can’t have any influence….”
  • “I’ll change later, but right now I need to enjoy my life”…
  • “I have worked hard to earn the good things of life”…
  • “My friends and peers will think less of me”…..

“It’s all I can do to survive each day, wars and starvation are bigger threats.” Tragic but entirely understandable reason.

But Apart from the last Reason; It’s really up to US –

  • We consume the products of Big Oil to power our cars, the planes we use for travel
  • We also drive gas-guzzling cars, follow fashion, buy too many clothes
  • We eat too much, especially red meat, and the other products of intensive Agriculture
  • In many cases, we can comfort ourselves by supporting “bad” politicians who deny climate change (Exception being people in dictatorships, who have no choices.)

Now

A Bit of History: A Man who foretold the future, but more than 200 years too early.

Thomas Malthus was an 18th-century British philosopher and economist noted for the Malthusian growth model, an exponential formula used to project population growth. The theory states that food production will not be able to keep up with growth in the human population, resulting in disease, famine, war, and calamity.

His Theories proved to be inaccurate at the time, and were overtaken by the Agricultural Revolution and the invention of intensive agriculture, which enabled massively growing populations caused by the Industrial Revolution to be fed

But now, it seems that Malthus was right, only 300 or so years too early!!!

Wars and Arms Manufacturing

Armaments and Warfare also “Destroy the Planet”

“Mention ‘destroying the planet’ to most people and they quite rightly think about Climate Change. But did you know that warfare and arms manufacture is nearly as destructive? For example, there have been ONE MILLION deaths from wars since 9/11, including 300,000 in the dreadful Yemen conflict. Also, the horrible Syrian civil war has caused 14 MILLION to flee from their communities. So, dear readers, whilst Britain and America dedicate themselves to zero net carbon emissions, we should realise that the three largest manufacturers of weapons of destruction are American, followed by Britain and France!!”

Many people believe that Global Warming and Climate Change are the main or only causes of Destruction of our Planet. Or maybe, they believe that wars and destruction are caused by climate change, shortage of food or migration due to starvation.

These things are of course true, but behind the scenes are wars caused by national rivalry, the actions of psychopathic leaders, desire for conquest, struggles for power, religious conflict and a whole raft of causes which have little to do with climate change. But what such wars do is almost as bad for the Planet as the effects of excess carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

THE DAILY SLAUGHTER
Post 9/11 One million deaths from war
– Refugees from Syrian war 14m
– Deaths in Yemen from 2019 300,000

At any one time in the last 50 years, since World War Two, there have been armed conflicts between nations, tribes and psychopathic leaders. Oppression of whole populations caused by violent groups and individuals have caused endless misery and yes, destruction of the planet.

Times of Poverty
– Number of people displaced by war since 9/11 90 million
– 70% of refugee families live in poverty

If we look under the surface, an even more horrendous scenario begins to show is ugly face. Here is a quick count of the nations that possess Nuclear weapons, capable of wiping out whole nations, most of which make the American obliteration of Hiroshima and Nagasaki seem rather puny:
United States, Great Britain, Russia China, France, Israel, India, Pakistan, North Korea all possess nuclear weapons capable of causing massive long lasting damage.

And equally horrific, but maybe a small touch less destructive, are poison gases, some of which can also wipe out whole populations.

And a bit further down the “Food Chain” of destruction are so-called “conventional weapons”, bombs, rockets, guns, military aircraft and high explosives.

Most of these weapons of destruction are traded between nation states quite legally. But behind the legal flow of weapons of destruction is a vast trade in illegal weapons, which fuel countless wars and insurrections.

All of this can validly be called DESTROYING THE PLANET just as much as burning coal, oil and gas – owning and using gas-guzzling vehicles, over-eating red meat. Maybe the main differences are that most commentators are fixated on the more conventional aspects of global warming and have not realised that there are many ways of destroying the planet.

So, I will have a look a the array of weapons of destruction  – and maybe more interesting, who makes and trades them

Flooding and Fire

World’s largest weapons Manufacturers

Here are the top 5….

1. Lockheed Martin Corp. (USA): $44.9 billion

The largest arms manufacturer in the world, Lockheed Martin specializes in everything from global defence, security and aerospace.

2. Boeing (US): $26.9 billion

Boeing, which is one of the most well-known manufacturers in the world, focuses on selling everything from aeroplanes to rockets, satellites and telecommunications equipment.

3. Raytheon (US): $23.8 billion

Raytheon is the world’s largest producer of guided missiles.

The American company focuses on weapons and military and commercial electronics.

4. BAE Systems (UK): $22.9 billion

The company is the largest defence contractor in Europe.

The British company specializes in multinational defence, security, and aerospace technology. Its arms trade revenue was $22.9 billion in 2018.

5. Northrop Grumman Corp. (US): $22.3 billion

Northrop Grumman Corp. has over 85,000 employees.

The company also focuses on defence and aerospace and is also one of the world’s largest weapon manufacturers.

Here are some of their and other arms manufacturers Products…….

5. Disastrous Effects on Humans

Direct impacts on human health

Climate change and Global warming have many effects on humans (as well as other creatures). In  particular, the effects of smoke often created by forest fires and burning fossil fuels, creates a poisonous atmosphere, thus causing lung damage. Excess heat and sun also causes burning of habitats and skin damage, including cancer. Locations such as Death Valley are almost impossible for human life. Too much heat and cold also drastically increase electricity usage for heating and air conditioning. In California lately, such was the burden on electricity supply, generators could not cope, causing supply failure and “brownouts”.

Flooding

Crop Failure, starvation and conflict

Climate change has many effects on the natural environment. But agriculture and farming practices are causes of global warming, as well as being affected by it. For example, intensive cattle farming results in high levels of methane gas, caused by cattle farting and belching!! (The world’s 1.5 billion cows and billions of other grazing animals emit dozens of polluting gases, including lots of methane.) 

In turn, greenhouse gases and global warming are having an increasingly devastating effect on crops, grazing land for cattle, and the quality of agricultural land. And, in turn, these factors cause reduction in food for humans.

Starvation, migration and Conflict.

A side effect of global warming is crop failure, increasing starvation and hunger, which in turn leads to refugees from desolated areas. The plight of poor and starving people causes exploitation by violent criminals, who are often part of armed insurgent groups. The increase in violent conflict increases the number of refugees.

4. Pest Infestations

Changes in Climate, especially changing conditions of heat and wet, encourage the proliferation of animal and insect pests, which when they swarm cause huge damage to crops, foodstuffs and domestic animals

3. Intensification of extreme weather events

Extreme heat

The effects of global warming on the climate has resulted in increasing incidents of extreme heat, such as the 119 degrees Fahrenheit recorded in California recently. Extreme heat and associated droughts have sparked wildfires in Australia, the USA and other countries. Human health and that of other fauna has also been adversely affected. It was estimated that more than 3 million wild animals  were killed by wildfires in Australia in 2020.

Storms and hurricanes   

Flooding

Droughts and Wildfires

Ice Sheet Melting

2. Negative Environmental Effects

Destruction of habitats

Habitat destruction is the process by which a natural habitat becomes incapable of supporting its native species. The organisms that previously inhabited the site are displaced or die, thereby reducing biodiversity and species abundance. Wikipedia

Species extinction.

Human activity, the consumption of fossil fuels, the acidification of the oceans, pollution, deforestation, and forced migrations threaten life forms of all kinds. It is estimated that one-third of corals, freshwater molluscs, sharks, and rays, one-fourth of all mammals, one-fifth of all reptiles, and one-sixth of all birds are heading towards extinction”.

Melting permafrost

Early spring temperatures in the town of Deadhorse, on the north coast of Alaska, average -17 degrees Celsius. But with global warming affecting the Arctic more than anywhere, things are changing fast. At the end of March 2019, temperatures in Deadhorse hit 3C, a whole 20C warmer than the long-term seasonal average.

When permafrost is frozen, plant material in the soil—called organic carbon—can’t decompose, or rot away. As permafrost thaws, microbes begin decomposing this material. This process releases greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and methane to the atmosphere.

Melting Sea Ice

Sea ice is frozen water that forms, expands, and melts in the ocean. It is different from icebergs, glaciers, ice sheets, and ice shelves, which originate on land

While sea ice exists primarily in the polar regions, it influences the global climate. The bright surface of sea ice reflects a lot of sunlight out into the atmosphere and, importantly, back into space. Because this solar energy “bounces back” and is not absorbed into the ocean, temperatures nearer the poles remain cool relative to the equator.

When warming temperatures gradually melt sea ice over time, fewer bright surfaces are available to reflect sunlight back into the atmosphere. More solar energy is absorbed at the surface and ocean temperatures rise. This begins a cycle of warming and melting. Warmer water temperatures delay ice growth in the fall and winter, and the ice melts faster the following spring, exposing dark ocean waters for a longer period the following summer.

Changes in the amount of sea ice can disrupt normal ocean circulation, thereby leading to changes in global climate.  Even a small increase in temperature can lead to greater warming over time, making the polar regions the most sensitive areas to climate change on Earth.