Category: Environment

Is There a Winner?

Is There a Winner?

Following on from my last blog post about electric cars, the oil sanctions that Biden has put on Russia doesn’t seem like a win-win at all.

And, at the end of the day is it really worth it?

Pull up the horse and let me finish.

I’m all for putting the squeeze on Putin, but the way I see it, all it’s going to do is ramp up oil production elsewhere. For example. One thing you can be certain of, the US oil industry will start producing more as Biden starts looking for ways to plug the gap.

I’ve even heard they’ll get some of the shortfalls from Venezuela and Iran – both countries currently heavily sanctioned by the US.
But I’m sure it won’t stop the ongoing sanctioning of these countries; just the oil trade will open up. Let’s trust that they will get paid for the oil, and if they do, it will be a win for them.

It appears this crisis has been a bit of a dig at the EU to smarten its act up regarding its dependency on oil and gas. They announced they’ll reduce their reliance on Russia by the end of the year. Great. But no doubt they’ll just shop elsewhere. However, there was talk of increasing renewable hydrogen production and improving energy efficiency in households. I won’t hold my breath there will be any huge developments in those areas, going by past results. But, hey, I’m always open to being proved wrong.

It’s a wait and see.

So why do I think that the oil sanctions on Russia are not a win-win? Russia is the world’s third-largest producer after the US and Saudi Arabia. By my reckoning other oil-producing countries will have to ramp up production putting more pressure on the environment. I’ll almost guarantee more licences will given out for exploration and drilling. The rich will get richer, and the poor will keep bearing the brunt of the increased costs to the pocket and environment.

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Simply my opinion.

 

 

 

 

 

 




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The Ever-Increasing Cost of Fuel

The Ever-Increasing Cost of Fuel

Are electric cars the answer to the ever-increasing cost of fuel? Or are they a pipe dream?

It happened again! Out with friends and the rising cost of fuel came into the conversation. One person (who drives an EV) stated that it was good that the price went up and that it should go up even higher.

Now I’ve had this discussion before with electric car owners. So this argument was no different. He believes that the fuel price is excellent and could even be higher as it will force the automobile industry to go electric.

I beg to differ.

So I asked him. “Will you buy me an electric car? Because I certainly can’t afford one along with the majority of New Zealanders.”

The fuel price is only one part of the cost of living and hits the most vulnerable. And those who are ‘comfortable’ have no idea (or lousy memory) of what it’s like to live from one week to the next trying to eke out the rent money, put food on the table and pay the utilities bills.

Yes, the price of fuel is outrageous, and because of it, anything that requires transport is also increasing. Who will suffer the most? Those who are already struggling to stay afloat.

So, those of you who believe we all should be driving EVs – come up with some way that I can trade my vehicle in for an electric without any further cost, and I’ll stand at the front of the line.

I do take public transport when I can, but as I pointed out to my friend (who I do love), where the gang met that evening, I had no alternative but to use my vehicle to get there. And I will add that I used it to carpool (I assigned myself the designated driver). So I was being as environmentally conscientious as possible.

By the way, if you do drive an EV and are thinking how clever you are for doing something tangible to save the environment, let me ask you, “are you vegan?” – No? I thought not. It’s way easier to buy an EV and expect others to do the same when clearly they do not have the funds to do so.

Yet if we all went plant-based, the emissions saved are roughly the equivalent to the entire worldwide transport sector = every car, plane, train and boat on the planet combined.

And it is cheaper! A can of beans or lentils goes much further than a piece of chicken or beef, plus costs way less.

So next time you talk to me about how petrol prices going up is a good thing, remember that, as, throughout history, it’s the poor who end up paying dearly in more ways than just through their pocket.

Rant Over!

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COP 26 a Farce?

COP 26 a Farce?

I must admit that I struggle as to why the powers that be actually take the time to have these COPs.

Let’s face it, this “Conference Of the Parties” (COP) is simply a platform for corporate, politicians and billionaires to pedal their propaganda. And COP26, the farce that it was, was no exception.

I don’t even know where to begin.

Before the conference began, the youth climate activists confronted Joe Manchin (West Virginia US Democratic senator who you could say is funded by fossil fuel) as he stepped off his yacht and chanted, “We want to Live”. He is one of the Senators who blocked the significant investments in climate in the ‘Build Back Better Act’. 

The same chant was heard in Glasgow as the leaders from more than 200 countries flew in their private jets, eating meat meals to the conference’s opening. They didn’t even have the decency to curb their polluting actions and show some sense.

 

effects of global warming
Effects of global warming

Right at the beginning, it seemed that something was actually going to be achieved. More than 40 countries committed to shifting away from coal by 2030. WOW, even major coal using countries like Poland, Vietnam and Chile were in on the pledge. But wait! Where were China, Australia and the US? Yup, they weren’t going to sign any coal agreement.

Some 20 countries (including the US) did sign up to end public financing for “unabated” fossil fuel projects abroad by the end of 2022…. like, not even in their own backyard!

The more the coal deal was worked out, the more loopholes were inserted. Instead of reducing coal emissions to 1.5%, the deal put the world on target to an increase to 3%. And guess who was drafting this? The major polluters and big business!

And just so you know:

The earlier draft called for the phasing out of

“coal and subsidies for fossil fuels”

The final draft was re-worded to say The phase-out of:

“unabated coal power and inefficient subsidies for fossil fuel”

Then there was the question of gasoline and diesel cars and trucks. Six major automakers and 30 governments pledged to phase these out by 2040, BUT Toyota, Volkswagen, Nissan-Renault and Hyundai-kea refused to sign, as did the USA, China, and Japan.

There was another Whoot-Woo moment when the world leaders agreed to halt and reverse global deforestation over the next ten years. YAY, finally, the earth’s lungs will be restored, and instead of emitting around a billion tonnes of carbon a year, it can go back to absorbing it. Reference: Amazon’s co2

And there was not only China and the USA declaring this, but Jair Bolsonaro from Brazil the worst culprit of all.

Hold on! What? It’s not the Amazon they’re talking about?

Nope. It’s the second-largest rainforest. The one that runs from the eastern Siberian taiga to the Congo basin – nowhere near the Amazon.

       🤦

And then, to make matters worse, the one big polluter was not even on the agenda – animal agriculture.

So here’s my tuppence worth. Capitalism drives the climate crisis. 

Capitalism and expanding the pie. “What pie is being expanded?” I hear you ask. It’s the pie of commodity production, not the pie of citizen welfare. 

The environmentalist movements do an excellent job to the extent that they’re able, but they’re limited in several respects. For example, they tend not to have a sufficiently robust understanding that capitalist growth ultimately drives the problem. They think of it in terms of individual consumption and behaviour and believe these must change.

The crises we face is driven by the production system, which is organised around perpetual expansion. Capitalism is constantly overproducing. It then has to find a way to absorb this overproduction to maintain value.

All this comes under the heading of growth. That’s how governments sell it to us. And it’s that growth we buy into.

The problem is that the issues are structural. They’ve been hard-wired into our economies from slavery, colonialism, imperialism to neo-liberalism. The rich are growing richer on the backs of the ever-growing poor.

Sadly everyone knows what needs to be done with the energy and food systems, but no one is willing to take a dramatic stance and say out loud that we need a new economic model.

Many delegates from different organisations, frustrated and fed-up at being locked out of the talks, on the 2nd to last day banded together and did an impressive down tools walk out and walked en-masse out of the building to join the environmental protesters.

One bright spot is that Denmark and Costa Rica have launched the “Beyond Oil & Gas Alliance”. This is the first high-level diplomatic initiative to phase out fossil fuels. It doesn’t surprise me as both countries are very environmentally conscious.

And then to show that the two superpowers are good people!!! USA and China announced an agreement to work together to address the climate emergency. And so they should; they are both the highest polluters!

Although with the tensions between them, how much they can agree on is any ones guess.

It seems to me that these COPs over the years have been a total waste of time and money. Nothing has been achieved. The world has already heated up by around 1.2°C since pre-industrial times. And, according to science, results from a wide range of climate model simulations suggest the average temperature could be up to 5.4°C warmer in 2100 than today.

However, we don’t have to be lost – there is a way forward. Take a look at this video:

Would this be something you could be part of?

 

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What if Rubbish Didn’t Exist

What if Rubbish Didn’t Exist

Our local city council has finally decided to get into 21st-century practices as we have now been issued with new bins to deal with our rubbish.

Can you imagine what it would be like if rubbish didn’t exist? Sadly it is a fact of life, but many countries worldwide have been dealing with their garbage in far better ways than we have here where I live.

Recycling has been a way of life for me for a long time, taking trips to the local ‘transfer station’ for my plastics, cardboard, paper, cans and glass. I even got to know the chap who appeared to be running the show. He would come to the car and assist with deposing the items into the correct containers.

For the past several years, I have had a container with drawers in my shed in which I organised the different types of rubbish. This made it so much easier for me when the trip to the transfer station happened. Surprisingly, the paper and cardboard was the one that mounted up the quickest. I do question why, as most communication is electronic these days.

recycling

Finally, we now have bins, and I will no longer need to head off to the transfer station with the car packed up with all my rubbish. A blessing, you might think, but then again, I’d got to know that guy helping me, got to know about his grandkiddies. One time he told me about his little grandson who was very ill. Thankfully, by the next visit, the boy had recovered. So now I won’t be meeting people and smiling and saying hello to fellow recyclers.

Interestingly, the largest of the bins is dedicated to plastic, paper and cans, in other words, recyclable items. The actual rubbish bin is relatively small. I do believe they are sending a message!!!

The bonus is a compost bin. Yes!!! A compost bin! I have been doing my own composting, but there’s not much need with such a small garden. So the scraps had to be divided between composting buckets and garbage bags.

self made compost bucket

No more! This is a real bonus, and I hope many people take advantage of it.

new compost bin

So even though we now have this recycling system, I’ll rejoice more when either:

  1. All plastic is recyclable (currently here only #1 and #5)
  2. We live in a world without plastic.

And naturally, I prefer the second choice!

We do have to take responsibility for our environment. It doesn’t take much to look after our little patch.

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When is Something Eco-friendly?

When is Something Eco-friendly?

I often hear funny stories, and this one about eco-friendly packaging is undoubtedly one of them.

Have you ever been in a situation when you think, does this person really get the gist of what it means to be eco-friendly? (Or anything else that you may be discussing).

Recently a friend of mine who owns a promotional product company told me how bizarre the whole eco-friendly is. They have a beautiful pen they sell. This pen is made with eco-friendly material like bamboo and recycled cardboard. How cool is that? But wait, unless my friend tells the manufacturer specifically not to, each pen is wrapped in plastic. Huh? Doesn’t that defeat the purpose of the ‘eco-friendly’?

So let’s see – plastic … eco-friendly?

Plastic is a by-product of the oil industry, and there is no way that it is eco-friendly no matter what the industry tells you. The only “friendly” thing would be if the packaging were made from recycled plastic, but it would eventually find its way into the landfill, so what’s the point.

We see it all the time, especially in supermarkets. Who hasn’t seen the cucumber tightly wrapped in plastic film? Or the capsicum in packs of two or three? Then there are the halves of vegetables such as cauliflower or, and this is my pet peeve, half a pumpkin. The problem with the pumpkin is taking the plastic off. It’s sucked on so tight; one has to be very vigilant in getting all the bits because, through my experience, it doesn’t come off in one go.

eco-friendly

Obviously, I am fully aware of the ‘why’… doesn’t mean I like it. Wherever possible, I choose fruit and veg that are loose, and the leftover pumpkin gets cooked, mashed and frozen so I can use it for sauces or soups.

Sadly plastic is very much a part of our world; however, some amazing alternatives are being invented, which gives me hope that maybe one day we will be plastic-free.

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About Me

About Me

Thanks for dropping by, my name is Fee O’Shea. I’m a mother and grandma, an author and an Improver. I’ve got a resource website to help peeps go plant-based, I’ve scribbled six books centred around veganism, and have helped others write and publish their own stories.
But this blog is for my thoughts, my rants, raves, reviews and things that have grabbed my attention. From politics to social media to beauty, health and the environment. Fee’s Ramblings Over Coffee is written to bring you a smile or get you thinking. Enjoy.

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