A Very Ugly Movement

What is the point of Extinction Rebellion? In London there has been demonstrations, arrests, people chaining themselves to objects and similar stunts because Extinction Rebellion wants governments to declare a climate emergency. Extinction Rebellion proposes to persuade governments to do this by non-violent civil disobedience. The movement (and the demonstrations) have been supported by actors actresses, models and other well-known people who all believe that the democratic process has failed to deal with climate change and therefore other measures are required.  

Non-violent civil disobedience is an important tradition of protest. Henri Thoreau refused to pay a proportion of taxes that was used to finance an unjust war. Ghandi use it to bring independence and democracy to India.  Extinction Rebellion is apparently using civil disobedience to achieve three demands:

  1. Governments around the world tell the truth about climate change; this demand is impossible to meet because what is the truth about a topic that is probably the most complex (scientifically) known to humanity?  I expect what Extinction Rebellion really mean is that governments should adopt what Extinction Rebellion states is the truth.
  • Governments must act now to halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025. There is no hint of how governments are to do this. Does anyone know how this can be achieved short of wiping out, directly or indirectly, most of humanity?
  • Governments must create and be led by the decisions of a Citizens Assembly on climate change and ecological justice. I find this demand rather chilling and very frightening.  This reminds me of the justification of all tyrants who have displaces the democratic process. Fulfilment of this demand would mean denying the democratic process and giving power over our lives to Citizens Assemblies, no doubt made up of members of Extinction Rebellion.

Extinction Rebellion seems a very ugly movement.

The Waterfall Built of Rock

I first went toCyprus, the place of birth of my father in 1961, when I was twelve years old. I was struck by the arid and rocky landscape, compared withGreece. We visited the village of my father, Amiandos, which is over a thousand metres above sea level in the Troodos mountains. On one mountain side of the village was what looked to me like a waterfall built of rock. Continue reading

Have you seen the Butterflies of Snowdon?

It must have been in 1965 that my geography teacher and another school teacher took about thirty of us children to Barmouth in what was then called Merionethshire in North Wales. We went to study geography, with clip boards and strong shoes, out of Poplar into the Welsh countryside. As part of the fun we climbed up (or rather I should say strolled up) Wales’ second largest mountain, Cader Idris, and from there and from other parts of our journey around the county we saw Wales’ highest peak, Snowdon which in Welsh is called Yr Wyddfa and which means “tumulus”. Continue reading

The Elephant in the Room, not the Bush

When it comes to managing its environment properly Australia has been a spectacular failure. When you arrive you are given a list of prohibited foodstuffs that you cannot import because to do so may harm the Australian environment or Australian businesses. Unfortunately the rules seem to be about protecting the status of an environment that has already been wrecked by the immigration that started when Britain first settled the island continent hundreds of years ago. Continue reading

Tree Hugging

Timber is big business. In all places in the world where trees grow humanity has cropped the trees for fuel, for shelter for furniture and for the luxuries of life. When humanity was species that was few in number tree cutting had little effect, although some think that many of the great deserts of the world have been created or expanded by whole tree cutting. In my lifetime the extent of trees has shrunk on the map of the world, particularly in the Amazon basin and in equatorial Africa. Continue reading

Farming the Common Carp

In 1986 I visited what was then known as Czechoslovakia at Christmas time. In Wenceslas  Square in Prague there were huge concrete bowls which were empty when I arrived. The next day they were full of water and full of living carp, a traditional Christmas Eve food in central Europe. People arrived to buy the freshest of carp, choosing their living fish, taking it home and some, like my cousin kept it alive until Christmas Eve in the bathtub. Then he could not bring himself to kill the fish, so he gave it to his neighbours. Continue reading

Biomass Power Plant Madness

There are fifteen biomass power plants approved in the United Kingdom. Three years ago the first application for a biomass power plant was being made in Port Talbot; I was against this project then and I am dismayed that so many additional power plants designed to generate electricity by burning wood have been approved. There are dozens more biomass power plants being proposed. Continue reading