This blog explores the intersection of my local environment and my understanding and experience of climate, ecology, my impact on the natural world and how I relate to it.
My local environment happens to be in Australia, on the far south coast of New South Wales, an area not yet over populated, close to bushland, subject to wild fire, drought and heavy rainfall all of which are predicted to become more severe as climate change progresses. It gets hot from time to time but rarely over 40degC it is also quite cold in winter although I live in a particularly sheltered spot and I have yet to see a frost here.
Before I moved to this rural area I had a city based small business. Always interested in science I followed the emerging story of climate change from the late 1980s. I gradually became seriously concerned about the threats it posed and our failure to take remedial (or any) action to avert the dangers. This concern together with some personal changes in my life precipitated the move. My income is a fraction of what it once was but I have no debt and while I try to tread lightly on the earth I do know that I am still part of a deeply flawed system.
My efforts mostly go into supporting Not For Profit associations and ventures that are working to ameliorate the impact of climate change, establishing local food security and strengthening community resilience. This last I see as the best, and perhaps only chance we may have to effect change, maintain civil society and prevent run-away global warming. There is of course talk of geo-engineering and proposals to shoot sulphur particles into the atmosphere, drop iron filings into the ocean and shade the earth with massive mirrors that reflect the sunlight. These suggestions are fraught with unseen or unrecognised dangers. Some of us can remember the impact of acid rain on the forests in the northern hemisphere, what is more these proposals don’t solve the problem – they just mask it and give the fossil fuel industry, the major source of the pollution that is destroying our world, a few extra years to make the problem worse.
We have less than 10 years to make the changes to our economy that will turn around our CO2 emissions. Lets not blow it by spending money where it won’t do any good. We know the things that will work. The things that will work are replacing our coal & gas fired power stations with renewable energy, protecting all our forests from logging and using them as a carbon sink, stopping all new coal mines and oil and gas exploration and rethinking the way we live in the cities.
The economy is plundering the environment and yet the economy is in fact a sub-set of the environment. No environment, no food chain, no economy.
On the subject of food, in July 2012, Jeremy Grantham, (Chief Investment Strategist for Boston based Asset Management Fund Grantham Mayo Van Otterloo) drew attention to the danger of a global food crisis. He wrote “Even if we could produce enough food to feed everyone satisfactorily the continued steady rise in the cost of inputs will mean increasing numbers will not be able to afford the food we produce” The inputs into agriculture that he speaks of are of course oil and phosphate, both finite resources and both becoming less common and harder to extract or obtain.
No environment, no food chain, no economy, no future.