Flooding – Something’s Got to Give

When England and wales experience the wettest summer on record, and the ground becomes sodden, the reservoirs full up and the streams and rivers run deep, any significant autumnal rainfall will create problems, and so it has been this year. November started (as far as rainfall is concerned) as a pretty average month but in the past two weeks many places have had very heavy rainfall and so there has been a catalogue of catastrophe. Continue reading

The loss of rain forest – bad news disguised as good news.

Sometimes bad news is announces as good news. An example is the latest news about the destruction of the Amazon rain forest in Brazil. The rate of destruction has fallen by 27%, which means that “only” 4,600 square kilometres have been lost in the twelve months ending in July 2012, compared with 6,000 square kilometres the previous year. For small mercies we should give thanks but this is not a small mercy, but simply a statement that we are permanently destroying less of the rain forest now than we did a year ago. Continue reading

An Onion is Not an Artichoke

Life is complex. It is a mixture of politics philosophy and economics, which some people study, in an effort to understand. Approaching life as something that needs to be understood is the work of an alchemist; it is complex and results in failure because you cannot understand what cannot be understood. Continue reading

Seven Curses That Inflict Humanity

We have blessings and we have curses. We should enjoy the blessings andf avoid the curses but some curses are impossible to swerve.

  1. Usury, or to call it by its modern name banking, impoverishes the poor and enriches the wealthy. It is necessary for people to be able to borrow, but there has to be some control on the rates charged for borrowing. All semblance of control has vanished and even though interest rates are low most people and businesses are having to pay obscenely high rates for borrowing
  2. Politics and politicians; they start with good intentions but we all know where the road leads that is paved with good intentions. They become so fixed upon themselves that they lose the plot.
  3. Passing the buck; governments often refuse to make decisions unless they can get an independent report to tell them what should be done.
  4. Corruption; all nations suffer from corruption to one degree or another. In the United Kingdom a great and insidious form of corruption is designating the great and the good to highly paid posts. It revolves not so much around the old school tie but the old university.
  5. Control by data collection; walking down the street I can be caught on many CCTV cameras and I see parking officials record the number plates of every car, to check whether the owner has paid to park. The data collected is so large that the Nazis would have been delighted to collect half the amount of data that is collected and recorded today. The scope for abuse is large.
  6. Multinationals; they are so large that they are outside the law (although they pay lip service to it) and outside democratic control. They are the modern gods who control many of our lives.
  7. An obsession with growth; we all want to grow better and stronger but we ignore that the pursuit of growth can lead to the cancerous growths that can kill us.

The Climate Change Conference in Doha will Achieve Nothing

The nations of the world have not displayed much common sense when it comes to tackling climate change. They have regularly met, signed documents, congratulated themselves and then gone about their business as usual. There are targets which are confused, some measures which are ill planned and badly implemented, and a great deal of talking, but the atmospheric concentration of emissions, which is something they all aim to reduce, still grow year by year and the consequences are suffered by almost everyone on this planet. Continue reading

Storms and the Concentration Camp of Gaza

Storms and high winds still rage across Britain. They have caught the attention of the news media with the occasional death and a great deal of damage. This is a natural event, although the seeds of it may be sown by the hands of humans. Four thousand miles away a storm has ravaged the concentration camp that we call Gaza, where people are imprisoned without liberty, where their food and medicine is caught in trade embargoes. The seeds of destruction in Gaza and in Israel are without question sown by the hands of humans. As in Britain, there is a short respite from the storm but it will start again. It seems a never ending cycle of storm. When one storm ends nothing is blown away; the darkness and destruction are simply deferred temporarily until they return to batter the concentration camp with more deaths and destruction.

Did I come from the World?

Did I come from the world? When I was very young I felt that I was irrelevant to the world needed to be protected from it because it scared me with its noise and speed which I never understood. As I grew older I felt that one day I would hold the world in my hand, expecting it to bow to my commands. For a while I then forgot the world, being too immersed in its devices and entangled in its machinery.  Today I know that one day the world will hold me in one of its many arms. Did I come from the world?

On Making Women Bishops

The point of a faith is that you believe in the articles of the faith. Where a faith is based on writing then you have to believe in the writing if you adhere to the faith because the faith holds has the writing is divine. The Christian faith believes that the Gospels are the word of God. The Jewish faith believes that the Torah (the first five books of the Old Testament) was given to Moses by God. The Muslim faith holds that the Quran is the revealed word of Allah. If you are a believer you cannot edit or pick and mix from the writing and even translating the writing can cause problems of inaccuracies. This is the fundamental problem that the Church of England, a branch of Christianity, has to face when it recently considered whether should be permitted to become bishops. Continue reading

Something is Warning Us

Floods are becoming increasingly commonplace in the British Isles. Our buildings, where many of them are placed and how they are built, and our infrastructure has not been designed with regular flooding in mind. Droughts are becoming increasingly commonplace in continental United States. Its economy and the use of much of its land have not been designed in high levels of drought. In Yemen there is a shortage of water. Its development and growth has not been planned on the basis that it can sustain the water needs of its population, as the water table drops and drops making water not only a precious commodity, but also a very expensive one. Continue reading

Greenhouse Gases Reach a New Record

The World Meteorological Organization reports that 2011 saw greenhouse gases reach their highest ever. Carbon dioxide was at 391 parts per million and methane at 1,813 parts per billion. These are trace elements in the atmosphere but nevertheless play an important role in the radiative forcing that leads to global temperature rises.   Continue reading