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noggin

We all want a cleaner world......

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Apropos my witterings on another thread, I thought I'd start a new one as this really is an important matter.

We can argue until the cows come home about the degree of mankind's affect on the environment, but when it all boils down to it, what we all want is a cleaner, nicer world in which to live.

Whilst governments and individuals have different views on the causes of climate change, and whilst a consensus will pobably not be reached, surely it would be better if we (that is a gobal "we") worked TOGETHER to make a better world. But we are all too busy fighting amongst ourselves, both on a global scale and a smaller, NW enviro threads scale, rather than working together to make things better. If goverments spent our money on measures to make a cleaner world and we all did our bit to help, even if it means some sort of sacrifice, would that not be better? Can it happen? Will it happen? What would be required to make it happen? Am I living in cloud cuckoo land?

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I agree that there could be nothing better. However, I am of the opinion that nothing of significance will happen until it is too late. How can we expect George Bush to clean up America when he makes a fortune from oil? What we need is a united, global movement to pressure governments more than ever before. We need to educate people so that no matter what their stance, they encourage a clean environment.

:rolleyes: We need a revolution!

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Given social inertia, problems of differing cultures, religions, etc the only way this can work is through existing economic forces.

Will things like the TREC project ever get full funding? Perhaps money can be made from managing the distribution of solar power but its not quite something u can own or possess in a tangible way like oil or natural gas.

We do need a more altruistic philosophy in the world; capitalism but with a redistributive and socialist conscious. Problem is that people will always be mostly selfish, dogmatic and culturally backward to accept this altruistic philosophy.

I have written to MP's, funded to cleaner-energy charities, etc....but it seems I alone can only do so much.

:rolleyes:

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I don't think wanting to live in a better world is cloud cuckoo land at all. It might however be cuckoo territory if we wait for governments to achieve it for us; there's way too much money and power involved for governments or corporations to want to do anything more than token gestures.

I think the biggest change which needs to happen is the mind set of bigger, better, newer - want it and I want it now.

I know I'm going to sound like an old fogey here but I was brought up with the mantras of make do and mend and if it aint broke, don't fix it. I'm sure I'm not the only one who grew up with that post war mentality. We weren't poor but we weren't wealthy either, and there was no way on earth money was going to be spent on things you didn't need. If we were cold, we put a jumper on, washing was done on dry days so it could dry outside or if not, hung up on a ceiling airer. Cars were kept until they no longer worked, appliances replaced on the same terms; my family wouldn't have bought a new fridge just because it was de rigour to now have a stainless steel one.

We're drip fed consumerism from the cradle to the grave; people are measured by the stuff they have rather than who they are. Until that changes, until the world wakes up to the idea that stuff is just stuff, an old white fridge is as good as a new stainless steel one and a 52" plasma will show the same programmes as the perfectly good tv they already have, then I don't see us making much progress.

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Patience is something that is often overlooked in many of the excellent posts in the environment section. That is fully understandable when you bring a wide range of people together who all believe passionately about something as is the case here. The younger members have somewhat idealistic views and want global action yesterday. The older members with slightly more patience have a more 'realism based' view of how to proceed but still hold said ideal views to heart and are frustrated by the seemingly selfish and apothetic attitude of society at large when it comes to such important issues. The mix of this leads to a vibrant and lively debate but leaves all of us with a feeling of 'well its fun to debate all this but it's not going to make a difference.' (just my personal observation - no offence intended to anyone regarding the age and belief assumptions that I have made :) )

Given social inertia, problems of differing cultures, religions, etc the only way this can work is through existing economic forces.

Yes - the biggest driver in all this imo will be the point when the economics relating to fossil fuel extraction tip in favour of the use of clean and sustainable power generation. In the meantime lets hope that scientific development and political and economic pressure moves with enough pace to make a ) clean energy a viable alternative and, b ) retro-fit technology for cleaning up existing methods viable.

Will things like the TREC project ever get full funding? Perhaps money can be made from managing the distribution of solar power but its not quite something u can own or possess in a tangible way like oil or natural gas.

We have the technology but it does not yet fit the economic and socio/political models that we currently have. It will be interesting to see just how much the recently anounced nuclear program in the UK will hurt the labour party. A few years back a decision like that would have been political suicide imo but so far it seems to have been met with relative indifference. I'm not a great fan of wind farms (pun intended :D ) but again it shows a slow drift in the right direction on the basis that no one sustainable/renewable/clean source will serve our current power needs. Things wont change overnight but we are moving forwards. ( A little too slowly imo but forwards none the less )

We do need a more altruistic philosophy in the world; capitalism but with a redistributive and socialist conscious. Problem is that people will always be mostly selfish, dogmatic and culturally backward to accept this altruistic philosophy.

Agreed but I do think that more and more people are slowly coming round to something approaching this - again a painfully slow process but happening imo. It is significant that we now have more information to hand and are getting a bit fed up of being told what is best for us. Granted that happens in both directions - the Jeremy Clarksons of this world will rebel against this green movement with increased vigour but my hope is that the meek shall indeed inherit the earth and that common sense will prevail.

I have written to MP's, funded to cleaner-energy charities, etc....but it seems I alone can only do so much.

:rolleyes:

So true, there is only so much that we can do as individuals. It was this line that prompted me to think about the patience and frustration comment I made at the head of this post. It ultimately boils down to having faith in the fact that you are not alone. I hope forums such as this and many others around the world help us to keep our faith. The way I see it is that having these debates, regardless of the apparent stalemate, will touch other people who happen to stop by and allow them to become more informed about what the reality of this situation is. If each of us can touch just one person in our lifetime on this forum and allow that person to make a better informed decision instead of being carried away by the media hype then we have achieved something worth a million standby LEDs and long life bulbs.

Wysi :)

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I think the biggest problem in this is definitely social inertia- most people like to keep things the way they are, and maintain a comfort zone rather than delving out into the relative unknown.

I agree with much of what has already been said, and I, too, think the best political way forward would be, as PP put it, "capitalism but with a redistributive and socialist conscious". I mentioned in another thread of a belief that we are in such a strongly capitalist society that we're seeing too much of a good thing, and the obsession with maximum consumption and profits is at the expense of other factors.

The above said, I also agree the use of economic forces will almost certainly be necessary to some extent, esp. the fact that sometime in the future, fossil fuels will cease to be economically viable as they become scarce. Governments may be able to apply tax incentivising as well, to try and push the balance in favour of a move to cleaner production sooner rather than later.

One problem with the whole issue is blame-shifting, where the government says "it's up to the public to make changes" and the public say "it's up to the government to help provide us with the means to make the changes". The reality is that it's going to require co-operation, not just from the general public and the government, but also on a global scale.

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Would be a good idea if mankind pulled together, but until USA and China get a grip on things, what we do as a tiny little country is worth a pittance in the grand scale of things. Unfortunately, the shortsightedness of money and power will always come before the good of the whole re mankind. Sad really, but a truth at that.

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Patience is something that is often overlooked in many of the excellent posts in the environment section. That is fully understandable when you bring a wide range of people together who all believe passionately about something as is the case here. The younger members have somewhat idealistic views and want global action yesterday. The older members with slightly more patience have a more 'realism based' view of how to proceed but still hold said ideal views to heart and are frustrated by the seemingly selfish and apothetic attitude of society at large when it comes to such important issues. The mix of this leads to a vibrant and lively debate but leaves all of us with a feeling of 'well its fun to debate all this but it's not going to make a difference.' (just my personal observation - no offence intended to anyone regarding the age and belief assumptions that I have made :rolleyes: )

I am a younger member and have idealistic views (where would we be without ideals?!) but I openly admit that they are completely unachievable. I know what I think should happen, but I know it never will happen.

Part of the problem with a cleanup is the sense of whom to blame. The public blame the companies; the companies blame the public; the government blames the companies; the public blame the government - and so it goes on. Almost all of Britain, with the single exception of Jeremy Clarkson, would sit here and talk about what a fantastic idea it is to reduce our footprint, but a minority would actually put their views into effect. Many simply say "It's the government's fault" or "there's only so much I can do".

In essence this is true. We can all cycle/walk, turn off lights, buy green electricity and turn down our heating, but individually this has almost no effect. This is a case that demands a united action with everybody taking part. Ultimately, we elect our government and if enough people truly care about the environment in which we live, there is (theoretically) nothing preventing us from having a green government. In Germany, the Green Party is a major governmental force (perhaps equivalent to the Lib Dems) and whenever I am there (or in Austria) I am always struck by a sense of care for the environment - recycling, wind farms and solar power abound.

The inevitable problem with reducing our footprint is that there will always be a section of society that does not sign up to the ideology. There will always be those who cheat the system (and this is where social inertia has its roots). To make any cleanup viable, I think that we need to make "cheating the system" leave people worse off. Tax incentive is key here - tax breaks ought to be applied to those who drive low emission cars (and here I mean significant breaks as the current system is pathetic), to those with a low electricity usage per head etc.

If people were awarded money for green activity it might make them less angered towards higher tax on petrol and air travel. I think carbon "credit cards" are a fantastic idea but they are unlikely to sell in my opinion; I feel instead that significant tax manipulation could produce similar results by going through the back door. It is all very well to say that people should buy less and endorse a more socialist and less capitalist society - and this would be the "best case" scenario - but it simply would never sell in the current climate (no pun intended) of material comfort and wealth.

As a bare minimum I think that recycling should be implemented as it is in Germany (to refer to it again). There, people sort their rubbish into different bins - the number of which depends on the state - and rubbish is simply not collected by binmen if it is not sorted correctly. I also think the government should put caps on companies' emissions (perhaps again by taxation) and introduce much more rigorous efficiency standards in power production. Renewable energy should be absolutely essential, and much more money needs to be invested in producing 40% renewable energy by 2020. This is still lower than it currently is in some other European countries. On an international level, Britain needs to distance itself from America until the US signs up to a similar plan of action. America is very keen on maintaining Britain as an ally as it hates most of the EU; acting less like a designer pooch to them may encourage them to think.

I think I have outlined here a potential course of action which is not at all ideological and perfectly achievable considering the selfish human mindset. It might not be the best action we could take, but it is at least realistic and salable to the British public (in my opinion). I would be interested in your views to see if you agree, or if indeed the public might not be so leniant towards a controlled capitalist economy.

P.S. PP - I am writing to my MP (Lib Dem in Harrogate) about introducing a ban on wild boar hunting. The animals have returned to Britain after their extinction due to hunting 700 years ago and already their fragile population - several hundred - is being hunted. It remains a "dangerous animal" according to British law despite their popularity and success abroad in their shy and retiring nature. Attacks by boar are much less common than by bulls and yet bulls are fully endorsed by the government due to their revenue. It makes me so angry to see people boastfully hunting them and it will be interesting to see what effect the letter has.

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How will we cut CO2 emissions? How will we cut pollution? Simple - just keep on heading the way we are already. Soon the amounts of fossil fuels we can extract will start to fall, as oil is already doing, cutting CO2 emissions whether we want to or not. Dwindling fossil fuel production will also have serious economic consequences, reducing demand for resources across the board. It is very naiive to think we will voluntarily "save the planet" - not going to happen in my opinion. Forces outside our own wishes will do it for us.

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I am a younger member and have idealistic views (where would we be without ideals?!) but I openly admit that they are completely unachievable. I know what I think should happen, but I know it never will happen.

Don't be so defeatist :rolleyes: . True change comes from those with the strength and persistence to make it happen. It is their own faith in their ideals that makes them stick to their guns in the face of ridicule from the apothetic masses. As I said in my opening salvo of my previous post - as you get older you just accept that you cant change things overnight and you have to accept that despite your beliefs, you do not in isolation have enough strength to deflect a huge inertial object. Its probably fair to say that your ideals will not happen in your lifetime but dont give up hope that they will ever happen.

Regardless of the uncertainty that is evident amongst the scientists there is imho a groundswell of action that, whilst not yet able to alter the inertia of the money blinkered world, is a sound platform that itself has a little too much inertia of its own to be snuffed out. Remember that inertia does not always imply stopped - it can also imply moving but at a steady state.

Your idealistic views underpin your very practical (imo realistically attainable) views as to what can be done to increase the speed of change. None of them in the present political climate will be very popular but our political state is a transient one and I keep faith that enough will happen in time to make a difference. Indeed it is already happening as you alluded to in your examples from Germany. Keep the faith!

@Wolfspirit - fair point if you measure our tiny country's contribution in quantifiable terms (less CO2, cleaner atmosphere etc). However, I think its value in terms of example setting is much higher in terms of a relative contribution to how the rest of the world acts and certainly should not be an excuse for apathy based on 'well no-one else is doing it' (although I agree that sadly as you stated this does seem to be the case at the moment)

How will we cut CO2 emissions? How will we cut pollution? Simple - just keep on heading the way we are already. Soon the amounts of fossil fuels we can extract will start to fall, as oil is already doing, cutting CO2 emissions whether we want to or not. Dwindling fossil fuel production will also have serious economic consequences, reducing demand for resources across the board. It is very naiive to think we will voluntarily "save the planet" - not going to happen in my opinion. Forces outside our own wishes will do it for us.

Couldn't agree more - so the challenge becomes how we politically and socially manage these changes in a responsible and peaceful manner (a very big challenge). Also we have to be a little careful that we don't let potential apathy lead us down a road where we replace one polluting energy/technology with another yet to be discovered one.

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I don't think the policy "just keep the way we're going, and wait for fossil fuel reserves to dwindle to an un-economically viable position" is a very good road to aim for. We could, for instance, find an equally pollutive alternative resource to use to replace the fossil fuels with, developing that technology once that time arrives- thus finding even more emissions to pump out of the atmosphere. Or, we could end up burning the fossil fuels at such a rate that the climate system can't cope in the short term, and lurches.

It may be naiive to believe that we can definitely save the planet on our own, but it's certainly not 'naiive' to have an open mind to the possibility that the 'laissez faire till fossil fuels become uneconomical' might not be completely into the "can't be helped" category. It's not a desirable scenario, so why accept it as a fact of life and therefore specifically aim for it, when if we put in some effort to avoid it, there's a possibility we might end up with a scenario not quite as bad?

There were all kinds of social values in past centuries that stifled people, where no doubt people thought "oh, they can't be changed, social inertia reigns, it's life because it's unavoidable because it's life". Yet, as we can see today, society ultimately moved beyond those values. It was a slow process, but it happened. It's a similar scenario facing environmental issues- it may, given enough will and effort, be quite possible to shift the current brand of social inertia- but history does suggest that such a change is unlikely to happen instantly, more likely over several decades.

The main reason for starting the move towards less consumption and pollution now is to reduce pollution and slow the rate at which greenhouse gases are pumped into the atmosphere. If we use up all of the fossil fuels over, say, 400 years instead of 100 years, the climate system is less likely to lurch.

Where I do agree with the defeatist stance is that it's unlikely that we will save the planet through altruism alone. The tax incentivising and emissions capping policies will be necessary to prevent abuse of the system, and the finite nature of fossil fuels is a great asset to helping accelerate future changes in behaviour.

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Where I do agree with the defeatist stance is that it's unlikely that we will save the planet through altruism alone. The tax incentivising and emissions capping policies will be necessary to prevent abuse of the system, and the finite nature of fossil fuels is a great asset to helping accelerate future changes in behaviour.

Nice post TWS - I think it was me who hinted at, and first used the word defeatist here. My point was that altruism and strong idealistic values wont change anything but that history has shown that the greatest 'movers and shakers' were driven by their strong commitment, idealism and altruism to push hard to change things and that is why we shouldn't abandon these idealistic views.

Wysi :lol:

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Nice post TWS - I think it was me who hinted at, and first used the word defeatist here. My point was that altruism and strong idealistic values wont change anything but that history has shown that the greatest 'movers and shakers' were driven by their strong commitment, idealism and altruism to push hard to change things and that is why we shouldn't abandon these idealistic views.

Wysi :lol:

I think the one problem with our situation can be demonstrated by history. When people revolted in history, it was almost always because of oppression - consider Luther King and the black community; Mandela and Apartheid; Gandhi and the Indians; Wat Tyler and the Peasants' Revolt; Che Guevara and the Cuban Revolution. In all of these cases the ideals were driven by oppressed people whom the governments had evidently and visibly neglected.

In the case of AGW, there is no "oppressed" group - just a few people who can see the world for what it is. The American "Dream" (which I incidently view as a nightmare) remains an immensely popular philosophy in much of the world and there seems to be no clear group of people that suffers at the hands of GW/a dirty environment. All of this may change, but until it does the ideologists who campaign for a clean world are unlikely to gain much support or attention.

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I think the one problem with our situation can be demonstrated by history. When people revolted in history, it was almost always because of oppression - consider Luther King and the black community; Mandela and Apartheid; Gandhi and the Indians; Wat Tyler and the Peasants' Revolt; Che Guevara and the Cuban Revolution. In all of these cases the ideals were driven by oppressed people whom the governments had evidently and visibly neglected.

In the case of AGW, there is no "oppressed" group - just a few people who can see the world for what it is. The American "Dream" (which I incidently view as a nightmare) remains an immensely popular philosophy in much of the world and there seems to be no clear group of people that suffers at the hands of GW/a dirty environment. All of this may change, but until it does the ideologists who campaign for a clean world are unlikely to gain much support or attention.

Very valid points that I admit I hadn't considered. Now you mention it - and I have thought a bit more - regardless of the motivation they all were able to change something by a small group of people with passionate beliefs swinging a largely ignorant central group of contented apathetics against a few in power. Not unlike what we face with the campaign to save the planet. I fully acknowledge your point though that it's easier to swing that apothetic central mass with a highly moral and unjust human argument than it is with an ecological argument. It's rather sad that someone will probably have to suffer as a direct result of climate change before the attitude swing gathers any pace.

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Reduce the human population to no more than 250 to 500 million.

Problem solved.

*You know, there are people high up working to achieve such an aim.

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Whilst I am no "feminist", indeed I believe in the traditional male/female roles as generally the "best", I must say that I have always found it distressing that, in some parts of the world, having a baby girl is seen as a disappointment. Sometimes, baby girls are literally thrown away.........

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Reduce the human population to no more than 250 to 500 million.

Problem solved.

*You know, there are people high up working to achieve such an aim.

Logically, one way or another, we will, eventually, and as the Club of Rome hypothesised, reach the limits to growth.

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Logically, one way or another, we will, eventually, and as the Club of Rome hypothesised, reach the limits to growth.

Like many population explosions before us we have already exceded these 'limits' of growth due to recent climatic (favourable) conditions and technological advances. Sadly if we remove one or other of these 'exceptions' population will fall back to more sustainable levels. We seem to be aiding climate into a change and our world ecconomy may well be underwriting the stagnation of technological expansion.

Either way we have had our 'glory days'.

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Logically, one way or another, we will, eventually, and as the Club of Rome hypothesised, reach the limits to growth.

Stratos, could you elaborate on the hypothesis, please. (for us numpties, you understand!) I ask because I have thoughts regarding Nature "controlling" (for want of a better word!) the human population.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Not apropos the above, but.........

Whilst the East is East and the West is West, I cannot see the world's governments and populations working together for a cleaner world. All would probably come together, albeit briefly, if the world was subject to an "Independence Day" style attack, but the old bad habits would probably return after a while.

But on the other hand, I do recall reading an essay written by a young Chinese girl (early teens, IIRC), in which she wrote of the distress of herself and her peers at the filthy polluting ways of her own country.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

When the fossil fuels run out, there will probably be massive worldwide social unrest on a scale never seen before. It's quite frightening, actually. It really is imperative that clean fuel is "found".

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Whilst I am no "feminist", indeed I believe in the traditional male/female roles as generally the "best", I must say that I have always found it distressing that, in some parts of the world, having a baby girl is seen as a disappointment. Sometimes, baby girls are literally thrown away.........

This post has actually given me a fairly sleepless night, on the basis that I only referred to the poor little girl babies and not to the poor little disabled babies too. Cultures which put a lesser "value" on any innocent person are incomprehensible to my mind, as I presume to imagine it would be to any of us on here.

But, however wicked we think it is, it does serve to illustrate the differences in the cultures of the world and how very difficult, if not impossible, it would be for the whole world to work together.

It really is very grim.

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This post has actually given me a fairly sleepless night, on the basis that I only referred to the poor little girl babies and not to the poor little disabled babies too. Cultures which put a lesser "value" on any innocent person are incomprehensible to my mind, as I presume to imagine it would be to any of us on here.

But, however wicked we think it is, it does serve to illustrate the differences in the cultures of the world and how very difficult, if not impossible, it would be for the whole world to work together.

It really is very grim.

Look at the amount of female infanticide in India; once revered for its upholding of the divine feminine. Really is very bad at the moment.

Then again, they used to kill female babies in Arabia too before their spiritual and social recovery; not just China and India.

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Don't know whether to laugh or cry at this report. By nature, I'm an optimist but I'm finding it increasingly difficult not to turn into a cynical old bag. Everyone knows, where there's money, there's corruption but surely to goodness, this should be monitored more carefully. Grrrrrr :drinks:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2008...t.carbontrading

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Don't know whether to laugh or cry at this report. By nature, I'm an optimist but I'm finding it increasingly difficult not to turn into a cynical old bag. Everyone knows, where there's money, there's corruption but surely to goodness, this should be monitored more carefully. Grrrrrr :drinks:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2008...t.carbontrading

Its all one big scam...you must have suspected that? I know I did. Next they'll be telling us that there is an oxygen reduction and we must breathe less.

BFTP

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