Archive for the ‘climate change’ Category

Drill Baby Drill – Spill Baby Spill – Kill Baby Kill

It’s tediously typical that instead of focusing on the problem at hand, people are bickering about Obama’s perceived anti-Brit rhetoric.  Obama is defending his own ass, never mind trying to decide who’s ass he needs to kick, but excuse me, while people squabble and take offence, the deadly serious ecological and social catastrophe is still happening.

The Prime Minister rushes over to Obama to (suck up) try and limit potential diplomacy failures but why are we more concerned about how this is affecting relations between Britain and America?  People who are feeling offended by the rhetoric should be more offended (and ashamed it has to be said) by the relentless assaults on our dear precious Earth?  What matters is that yet again the dirty industry has messed up big time, on so many levels that it’s hard to know where to start.  But as Monbiot implied in his recent article, it will just be cleaned up, swept under the carpet, moved along and oil will remain triumphant:

BP’s insurers will take a hit, so will the pension funds which invested so heavily in it, but, though some people are proposing costs of $40 or even $60bn, I will bet the price of a barrel of crude that the company is still in business ten years from now. Everything else – the ecosystems it blights, the fishing and tourist industries, a habitable climate – might collapse around it, but BP, like the banks, will be deemed too big to fail. Other people will pick up the costs.

BP is trying to reduce the extent of its own accountability while Obama is putting the whole of the blame on BP.  The Mayor of New York is indefensibly defending BP’s CEO who, poor lamb, just wants his life back.  Well there’s more than one punch-bag and those throwing some of the heaviest punches are simply diverting the attention away from their own involvement or inaction.

But for me it’s simple.  I blame the whole of the oil industry.  No-one involved at high levels in the dirty oil business is without blame.  They are all up to their necks in it.  I can’t think of a single oil company who hasn’t cut corners, took major risks, disregarded their environmental and social responsibilities, exploited whole communities, green-washed their activities, destroyed wildlife, or abandoned their pledges to the people whose lives they affect.  All because ultimately, their only concern is to fill their barrels and make unimagineable profits.  Nothing else matters.  Hell, whole countries have been blown up for oil.

As for BP and Deep Water specifically, sure, BP is mainly responsible but not unilaterally.  To paraphrase a guy called Mike Abbott who wrote here, it also stems from years of greed, environmental denial, weak regulations and governments defending big oil and drilling rather than showing some courage.  Mike Abbott also interestingly (and not without merit) calls to account the end user, that’s you and me folks.  He said in his article which is worth quoting in its entirety:

“Ultimately, blaming the entirety of this disaster on BP is like blaming the dealer for the user’s overdose. America’s addiction to oil has made it necessary that we continue to drill for oil in the Gulf to maintain our extravagant energy demand. BP is simply the unscrupulous pusher supplying an unhealthy demand. The cure for this addiction will be unpalatable for many who are loathe to put the environment before profits, cultivate less fossil fuel dependence, and admit the need for regulation by the despised federal government, who the Gulf Coast communities will now expect to force BP to “make them whole.”

It doesn’t need me to tell you that the Deep Water spill is an absolutely tragic and catastrophic man-made event on so many levels that it’s hard to know where to start.  The extent of the damage is unknown, probably limitless and it begs the question, how many more of these disasters are we willing to cause before it’s too late?

We all know how much we’ve come to depend on the black stuff but oil drilling is inherently dirty and dangerous and if we fail to see the catastrophic Deepwater disaster as a message that we need to move past fossil fuels then we are a bigger bunch of lazy, greedy, selfish morons than I thought possible.


Happy 101 Sweet Friends – a meme moment

The delightfully gruff PaddyK has tagged me and right proper chuffed is how I’m feeling about it.  I mean Paddy is one of my very top favourite writers and his dry wit and pragmatic wisdom has me laughing out loud and spluttering into my coffee many-a-time.  So to be tagged by such a force can only be interpreted as a compliment and I thank the good and lovely man for that.  My only problem is that I have to tag ten blogging friends too but I don’t actually have ten friends who blog regularly so five will have to do.

What you do:  List 10 things that make your day and then give this award to ten (five) bloggers.  So here goes:

Ten things that make my day (or made my day once):

1. Hearing an old favourite song played on the radio when I’m alone in the car and it’s played early on enough in my journey so that I get to hear it in its entirety before I get to where I’m going and I don’t have to sit in my car pretending to chat on the phone or look for something till it finishes.

2.  An act of kindness.  As touchy-feely as it sounds, I mean it.  For me it’s the little things in life that uplift, inspire and quite simply make the world seem better.

3.  Hearing me laddie play a piece of guitar music perfectly after weeks of struggling with it.

4.  Watching me laddie score a try at rugby.  His position is hooker and he’s great at that but he rarely scores a try so when he does, my mad  inner-madwoman is usually released and I can be seen jumping,  yelling and whooping on the sidelines like a, erm, mad madwoman.

5.   Morning cup of coffee brought to me while I snooze in bed.  I get this treatment every Saturday and it’s often the best part of my day.  Usually goes pear-shaped from then on due to boring stuff such as laundry, cleaning, mopping, shopping and squabbling kids then picks up again in the evening, which brings me nicely to my number 6.

6.  A glass of white wine, a bowl of green olives and my feet up while hubby cooks dinner.  Another regular Saturday treat.

7.  Seeing three deer jump out of the woods and run across our path right in front of us.  This happened last weekend when we were hiking on Great Gable in the Lake District.  It was one of those heart-stopping moments and it definitely made my day.

8.  My middle daughter getting in from school and telling me all about her day – word for word.  Never a dull moment for this girlie.  Her life is full of sunshine because that’s just the way she is and I love listening to her.  Sometimes I’m busy and I only half listen but that’s my loss.

9.  Coming home from work to a clean and tidy house.  This is a rarity.  Every now and then one of my girls has a rare attack of domesticity and gets stuck into the dishes and the dirt.  Only the women will understand just how wonderful it feels to come back to a tidy home.

10.  Getting a Green MP in Westminster at long last.

There you go.  And the five friends that I am tagging are my other favourite bloggers.  Feel free not to take part:

The romantic Mysoul whose makes me think and writes beautiful poetry and prose.  Her blog is a haven.

The wise and witty Zhisou who is very clever with words.  He makes everything simple.

The lovely Helen who has a warm compassion for humanity.  She’s also a published poet.

The sweet and loyal Jose who has encouraged and supported my blog since I began writing here.

The unassuming and tolerant JimJay from The Daily (Maybe) whose blog has been a great source for Green party information and interesting links.  As a dedicated Green party member I suspect he will be too busy to take part in this.  Fair enough.

Of Shameful Shell and dirty profits

When shareholders meet for Shell’s AGM on 18 May, you can bet there will be a lot of talk about their $9.8 billion profits. Less talked about will be the human cost of their activities in the Niger Delta – such as the 23 million people drinking poisoned water.

Amnesty International has launched a fund-raising campaign against Shell and its dirty dealings in the Niger Delta and seing as not much has changed since I last wrote about this, I think I’ll dig up a post that is still highly relevant to the issue.

Delusional Shell oil company prides itself on its progressive Green initiatives and like other big energy companies, Shell likes to put on an ethical mask and pretend to do good in the world.  But the world isn’t stupid and the company has been slated more than once by environmentalists for its blatant greenwash.

Anyway, for years now Shell has been making monster profits in the Niger Delta and as the Niger Delta is characterised by vital wetlands, freshwater swamps and much much more, it’s not hard to imagine the implications of intense activity by oil companies.  And it’s not just the environment that is suffering.  People are being affected too.  In typical corporate mentality, it’s simply a matter of profit before people and Shell, one of the biggest companies there, is not averse to exploiting people and dodging accountability.
Basically, the Delta is being polluted and the people who have lived there for years are bearing the burden of decades of oil leakage, pollution, water contamination and utter devastation.  Livelihoods are being ruined, rare species are under dire threat, crops are being damaged and all in all, tensions are high resulting in conflict and instability within the region.  Don’t take my word for it.  According to this article, WWF conducted a report about three years ago which concluded that “the impact of oil and gas drilling was a “significant contributor to the current violence, sabotage of pipelines/installations and instability in the region.”
It won’t be a surprise to know that the oil guys haven’t done much to improve things since the report was released.  Amnesty is specifically targeting Shell and, rightly crying human rights abuses, they are asking us to make Shell clean up its act:

On Voting

Because of the ridiculous voting system we have in place in Britain, I can’t vote for the Green party at the general election because the ward that I come under doesn’t have a Green candidate.

I don’t believe in voting tactically but the voting system such as it is, is forcing me to.  Seeing as we are going to have a government without a majority,  electoral reform is a key issue at these elections.  I’ve been looking at my voting choices and in the parliamentary elections there are have eight candidates standing in my constituency:

Labour: I played about with the idea of voting Labour, you know, under the dire circumstance and all and I absolutely acknowledge that they’ve done some really good and positive things that have been beneficial to many of us.  But –  so – many – disappointments.  Their loony loyalty towards Trident bewilders me, their attack on our civil liberties pees me off, their support for torture angers me and Iraq remains forever unforgivable.  And I think Gordon Brown is being dishonest about much-needed electoral reform.

Lib Dems: I’ve given this party a lot of thought lately too.  They have good green policies and a decent  social conscience.  They’ve also been promising us electoral reform for years but I worry that if they do become one of the main parties, they will renege on those promises because lets face it, as a main party, they will benefit  more from the current system . . . or the AV (Alternative Vote) which they’ve hinted at, both of which favour big parties.

Conservative: a couple of doorstep visits and lots of glossy leaflets but despite the dedicated efforts they are putting in, none of it detracts from the inevitability of social injustice and inequality under a Tory government.  A Tory Britain would be a – very – bad – thing.  And what’s more, a vote for the Conservatives is a vote for Rupert (flip-flop) Murdoch and who wants his biased empire influencing UK policy.  He owns enough souls already.

Impact party: no idea who these guys are or what they pledge to do so they have no chance with me.

Independent: ditto the above.

National Front: I’ve no desire to elaborate on this one.

English Democratic Party: had no visits nor any leaflets from these people so I don’t know anything about them but the clue is in their tag-line – Putting England First – so I’m guessing that they fall somewhere between Ukip and the BNP.

Ukip: well apart from being a single-issue party with silly Xenophobic ideas and undercover racism, I just wouldn’t be able to tolerate irritating laughing boy Nigel Farage.  I mean, it’s bad enough having to put up with him on Have I Got News For You and Question Time.

So.  Not looking good is it.  On May the 6th there’s no way we are going to have a majority government.  We certainly won’t see a truly  representative Parliament but we never do.

Yes folks, reality bites and it’s looking more and more likely that the Tories will win and in a few days time, to use Zhisou’s superb description . . .

it’s looking ever more likely that the inflatable slimy bandwagon-jumping salesman that is David Cameron, will be the next PM.

Basically, I have no idea who to vote for.  And the outlook is bleak.

Empty skies and an offshore wind farm

Poignant don’t you think that environmentalists have been fighting for years to have most flights grounded and in the wink of an eye . . . or the splutter of a volcano,  the lovely planet has took it upon her good self to ground them without our help.  Well of course it’s not really the Earth fighting back but let’s face it, she’d be doomed if she waited for humans to stop their procrastinating and take drastic action.

Flippancy aside (and I hear you shouting well what about the emissions from the volcano so to save my precious time, just read here), I can see how it’s caused much distress and disruption and I feel genuinely sorry for some of those affected.  I’ll admit that Paddy’s take on the natural occurrence had me laughing out loud (even his title is clever and makes my one here look stupid in comparison) but the situation itself is serious . . . on many levels . . . and although I don’t rejoice in the grounded flights, I can’t resist pointing out that it may serve to act as a taster of how the world will be if we fail to find renewable alternatives in time.  In this globalised world, perhaps it will become clearer as to just how much we have come to rely on air travel for our food imports and maybe we will realise that our globalised system is not as sustainable as we’d like it to be.   Something to think about anyway.

Speaking of renewables, here are some more pictures of Thanet offshore wind farm where my husband is currently working.  It’s set to be the worlds largest offshore wind farm and should, once it’s up and running, significantly help the government to reach its renewable energy targets.

Green Party 2010 Election Broadcast

WWF’s Earth Hour – a huge success

Email from WWF:
Our night was a huge success – thank you so much!

On Saturday night WWF estimates that over a billion people across the world united in switching off their lights for one hour to show they care about climate change.

Earth Hour’s success is down to you – individuals and families switching off at home, or companies large and small, local government, schools and community groups. And of course thanks to all WWF’s regular supporters and volunteers.

The statistics are still coming in, but the latest news is that over 4,000 cities and towns in 126 countries took part in WWF’s Earth Hour 2010. Global landmarks switching off included Big Ben and the Palace of Westminster, the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the Great Pyramids, Rome’s Coliseum and Forbidden City in China.

n the UK, other landmarks included Buckingham Palace, Piccadilly Circus, Tower Bridge, the National Gallery and National Theatre and Wembley Stadium Arch in London; the Senedd, The Wales Millennium Centre, and Millennium Stadium in Cardiff; Stormont, City Hall and the Wheel in Belfast, Edinburgh Castle, the Scottish Parliament, Wallace Monument and the Falkirk Wheel, to name just a few.

Earth Hour was all about spreading the message that we care about our world, and we received great support from global and UK press, TV, radio and the online community.