Jul 2006

Back again

That was a slightly longer holiday than anticipated. Well. No, that’s not true. The actual “holiday” bit was precisely as long as anticipated. And lovely it was too. The three weeks since then, however, haven’t exactly been a holiday.

I’ve had precious little opportunity to spend very long at the computer though. So I suppose from your perspective, dear reader, they may as well have been.

Sorry about that.

As Paul so rightly berates me, “A few days my arse. Does this mean that when you say ‘Peak oil will happen by 2008’ it will actually occur in 2947?” It’s a fair cop. You can all relax really. Claims of an imminent crisis are merely the global equivalent of setting my alarm-clock 10 minutes fast to give me that extra jolt and get me out of bed in the morning.

Sadly though, I read a line from Richard Heinberg recently that probably better sums up the truth… “Peak oil isn’t a hypothesis. It’s an observation. We’re writing history, not predictions. And policies that don’t recognize that are creating a tragedy that our children and grandchildren will pay for.” (cit. “The Day After Peak Oil”).

A few things came to my attention over the past couple of weeks that I consider worthy of remark though. So what better return-from-a-break post than the old-faithful “round-up of interesting links with a paragraph of comment on each”? It’s cheap, easy to deploy and allows for expansion and follow-up posts at a later date (containing a sentence that begins, “As I mentioned earlier this month…”)

The first thing you should probably check out is Merrick’s recent piece on Greenpeace over at Head Heritage. There’s a line in Nietzsche’s Twilight of The Idols that always gets called to my mind when I think about Greenpeace… “Liberal institutions cease to be liberal as soon as they are attained: later on, there are no worse and no more thorough injurers of freedom than liberal institutions.” That line encapsulates a major strand of my political thinking, and the truth I believe it expresses explains my tendency towards anarchism.

The things people find in Nietzsche, eh?

Anyways I’ve long mistrusted Greenpeace, and Merrick’s piece explains why my blind prejudice is arguably justified. Not only do members of the Greenpeace Executive Board live on an exclusive diet of whale meat and baby seal eyes, but Greenpeace as an organisation is – bizarrely – directly responsible for 96.4% of all global pollution and deforestation.

Carbon Neutral flights to be won

OK. That’s not true. But seriously people… we live in a world where flights from London to Dubai cost a tenner but a train from London to West Sussex costs 25 quid… there’s definitely some alternative reality weirdness going on… so who knows what the hell is true anymore? Actually though, ten pound flights to Dubai are entirely predictable. In fact, if ever we need a masthead for our criminal wastefulness then The Independent have provided one. “Mum? When you were flying to Dubai for a tenner, did you know at the time that you were building a world where my daughter wouldn’t have enough to eat? What about you Dad? Did you know?”

Tattoo it on our foreheads kids… I flew to Dubai for a tenner! It’s my fault!

As for why I’ve highlighted the carbon neutrality of the flights, check out Carbon offsets are a fraud over at Bristling Badger.

Fresh off the blog servers this week came some tangentially related Dreamflesh musings on the subject of “reclaimed” land. Muddy water’s taking back the land is a reminder of the absurd egoism of the human race as we talk of “creating bird habitats” as though The Environment is something we can parcel up and allocate. And on that subject, this “flood map” application would really worry me if I were Dutch.

That the sea appears poised to swallow vast tracts of land is perhaps some kind of weirdly appropriate cthuthulesque redressing of balance. Reading a recent George Monbiot article (Mass medication with Omega 3 would wipe out global fish stocks) it struck me that our treatment of life beneath the waves has been unspeakably violent and barbarous. Of course, our treatment of much of life above the waves has been pretty damn unspeakable too. But in the oceans, because the destruction has been hidden from us beneath the surface, we’ve not even had the ineffectual prickings of conscience to hold us back.

Imagine hunting deer by drag-netting forests. Talk about your collateral damage. The fishing industry has visited absolute devastation to 7 tenths of the surface of the planet. True, it’s been done to meet a consumer demand. But if you’re looking to use that as a justification then you’ve come to the wrong blog.

Actually I can’t be quite so blithe about this issue. I was a strict vegetarian for many years, but a couple of years ago – for health reasons – I began eating fish again. It’s a constant battle with my conscience. I do my best to buy organic when I buy farmed, and I try to stick only to packaged fish that bears the MSC seal of approval. Though it annoys the hell out of me that New Zealand hoki gets the “sustainable” thumbs-up when sold in Irish supermarkets. It comes from a sustainable fishery, you see? The fact that it’s then transported to the other side of the planet in a giant fridge is ignored.

Arguably not the most energy-efficient way of feeding the Irish population. As always though, it’s important to give a shout out to Fishonline whenever the fishing industry is mentioned.

So yeah. I’m back. I’ve got a lot of emails to catch up on, and then I’m planning on installing a new hard-drive and reinstalling Windows… but later in the week should see some kind of return to normal blogging, whatever ‘normal’ might mean in that context.

Normal is the watchword, as Ms. Mars would say.

Missing Comments?

Incidentally, during the couple of weeks I was AWOL I received an awful lot of comment spam. It seems some casino spambot has discovered The Quiet Road and made a little nest for itself. Over nine hundred attempted advertisements for online gambling! This didn’t, sadly, discourage my regular visits from the purveyors of cialis and cheap mobile phones. All in all I had almost two thousand pieces of comment spam to delete. It’s vaguely possible that some first-time commenter got deleted in the purge. So if you posted something recently and it’s still awaiting approval, I’m afraid it probably got thrown in the trash by mistake.

Sorry about that. But if you try again, I’m sure you’ll get through.

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