My son-in-law sent through a photo of a bear raiding their rubbish bin one night, and it got me thinking.
The first thought when I saw the images was that, thankfully, everyone (including the cat and dog) was inside. Then I started to think about why the bear raided the rubbish bin in the first place. It was frequenting the neighbours’ bins as well.
It’s not the first time my daughter’s family has had visits from bears, and I’m pretty sure it won’t be the last. They live in a forest area in Northern California, so it stands to reason they live with wildlife around them.
Thankfully, only the recycling was tipped as they are very careful about what rubbish they put out.
In the grand scheme of things, humans have multiplied exceptionally quickly, and in doing so, we’ve encroached into the wildlife’s home.
We are diminishing their world by destroying forests and laying waste of the land with chemical fertilizers that have excessively polluted the environment.
We’re the only species (to my knowledge) that don’t regulate the number of offspring we produce. In the wild kingdom, the animals reduce their numbers when food is scarce. When food is plentiful, the numbers increase.
There is also a balance in nature when animals, insects and plants, are allowed their freedom to live as they should.
Humans, on the other hand, do not follow nature’s laws.
It doesn’t seem to matter to us that food is scarce. We keep breeding. We also don’t have predators to control our population, and we live a lot longer than we should because of modern medicine, so there are more of us. It doesn’t help the balance.
We are encouraged to have children. Don’t get me wrong, having children is beautiful, and I’m not suggesting we stop altogether. What we need to do is reduce the numbers. Of course, governments don’t want this simply because of capitalism. But what is it doing to our environment?
It’s bad enough that animals must try to adapt to urban sprawl encroaching. But they also have to live with fires and floods destroying their homes, all due to climate change we have exacerbated.
We have to live in harmony with nature. I certainly don’t have the answers, but I’m heartened when I see countries helping to re-establish ecosystems, such as shown recently by India. They are about tointroduce Namibian cheetahs into their wildlife reserves as the Indian cheetahs went extinct 70 years ago. It is hoped that these big cats will help to balance the ecosystem. Of course, humans and their cattle will have to be kept out of the area.
Now, just think about what we could achieve with nature if we didn’t have such a massive reliance on animal agriculture.
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.
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.
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:
Now more than ever, people are using coupons and discounts wherever they can as the cost of petrol increases beyond reasonability
What are the hidden costs of petrol? As we all know, the base price at the pump is loaded with taxes of different sorts. And there is the cost to the environment. Trouble is petrol affects people in different ways.
One of the taxes is the Petroleum or Engine Fuel Monitoring Levy (PEFML), which on July 1st 2021, went down from .61c to .59c per litre. Not that it’s made a jot bit of difference at the pump!
It is now 9th August, and petrol prices are higher than I’ve ever seen them. Ten years ago, we had one of the lowest pre-tax fuel costs in the OECD, and now we have the second-highest.
I don’t have a problem with having a fuel tax (even more than one!). Sadly though, once again, those at the bottom of the economic pile are the ones suffering.
I talked with a friend the other day who said he wouldn’t have a problem if petrol doubled in price. He argued that it would force people to use public transport, bike, or get e-bikes/cars. Here’s where I believe this argument fails.
Most of us cannot afford e-cars or e-bikes at the current prices. The excellent incentives that the government has come out with to encourage the purchase of e-cars still makes the price totally outside the realms of reality for the majority.
Public transport is terrific if you’re going to destinations that are on the bus route. The irony was that my friend and I met in a café far removed from any public transport stops, meaning I had to travel by my petrol car! Most of New Zealand is abysmal when it comes to buses and trains. As a kid, I can remember the passenger trains hurtling beside the road as they navigated the Karangahake Gorge. There was a criss-cross of tracks all over the country, and now there are just remnants of grass-covered rails. Or, as in the case of the Gorge, they have been turned into bike trails.
If the cost of petrol keeps going up, it may just become like cigarettes. Crime associated with tobacco is on the rise. The black market is doing a brisk trade, and perhaps it will begin to include gasoline as well????
I don’t know what the answer is. I do know that making the ‘peasants’ pay has been the way of the elite for centuries. Perhaps keeping the plebs occupied just finding ways to live will keep them too busy to wonder what the upper echelon folk are up to.
Do you even know what the G7 event is? And who are they?
The 2021 G7, held in Cornwall, was an abysmal failure, in my opinion. It ended with the usual empty promises and the leaders patting themselves on their backs (and each other’s backs), believing they’d done an excellent job.
My opinion doesn’t matter much when it comes to the ‘business as usual’ these turkeys offer, but subjects that should have been priorities seemed to have gotten lost in the ambiguity of underwhelming agendas.
So who and what is the G7?
The Group of Seven is an inter-governmental political forum consisting of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States. (Wikipedia)
They are the leaders from the seven most powerful countries… well, Western countries, because it doesn’t include China or Russia. All like-minded in their capitalistic and democratic views. Or, as I like to call it, The old boys club.
(Even the one woman is one of the boys!)
Here they are in all their glory.
Jo Biden – USA
Boris Johnston – UK
Justin Trudeau – Canada
Angela Merkle – Germany
Emmanuel Macron – France
Mario Draghi – Italy
Yoshihide Suga – Japan
Ursula von der Leyen and Charles Michel represented the European Union.
Also invited (yes, you have to be asked!) were:
Scott Morrison – Australia
Moon Jae-in – South Korea
Cyril Ramaphosa – South Africa
Narendra Modi – India who attended virtually – like none of the leaders wanted the virus to come as well!!!
“to reach major new agreements to help the world fight, and then build back better from coronavirus and create a greener, more prosperous future.”
So did they succeed in getting anything concrete done?
Greta Thunberg said on Instagram:
“The climate and ecological crisis is rapidly escalating. G7 pours fantasy amounts into fossil fuels as CO2 emissions are forecast for 2nd biggest annual rise ever.
But, the G7 leaders really seem to be having a good time presenting their empty climate commitments and repeating old unfulfilled promises.
Of course this calls for a steak-and-lobster-BBQ-celebration while jet planes perform aerobatics in the sky above the G7 resort!”
So the short answer is, No.
Oh, they did come up with ideas like a minimum global 15% tax (no tax havens) targeting large corporations, which should have been way higher! Supposedly enacting measures on the Covid-19 vaccines for those countries needing it and they ticked off China asking them to:
“respect human rights and fundamental freedoms, especially in relation to Xinjiang and those rights, freedoms and high degree of autonomy for Hong Kong…”
as if that’s going to work!
The “boys” reaffirmed the Paris agreement and committed to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, vowing to eliminate most coal power. “MOST” coal power? Well, there’s a dangling vine they can cling onto if need be.
Nick Dearden, director of the campaign group Global Justice Now, said:
“After a weekend of diplomacy, all they have done is repeat their own inadequate climate targets and fail to meet their own inadequate targets for global vaccination.”Source
I could see absolutely no urgency from them in making any progress on fundamental issues such as refugees (war & climate), aid promises, climate crises and vaccine apartheid.
The whole weekend seems to have been an opportunity to take selfies and parade around showing themselves off and leaders of the “free world”.
The next big meeting will be the COP26 (United Nations climate change conference) in November this year. Read about it.
Will policymakers deliver on promises made in the past? Doubt it! We haven’t seen any real urgency from them since Greta’s famous “House on Fire” speech.
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 bookscentred 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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