Two Shootings Is Not A Mass Extinction

I am so, so, tired of writing posts about the latest slaughter of innocent people by maniac shooters in America. Two within twenty-four hours is probably not even a record for the United States of Lunacy.

In fact, that’s all I’m going to write on the subject (at least for today) because there are more important happenings in the world right now, though to view the media reaction you wouldn’t think so.

Instead, let’s consider:

MASS EXTINCTION

There’s been a lot of talk over the last few years of what needs to be done to combat the climate emergency. If there’s one thing that stands out as having been achieved in that direction, it’s – nothing. Oh, sure, some countries have managed a few wind turbines; the sunnier climes i.e. Arizona, have knocked up a solar generator or two, and some car producers are busy turning out  expensive electric vehicles, but the fact is that carbon emissions, which did flatten out slightly for a year or two, have begun climbing steadily again and in 2018 they reached an all-time high.

Electric cars seem to dominate the thoughts of politicians when climate catastrophe is mentioned, but in truth they are not environmentally friendly – they need charging and that means power stations to supply their needs.

It’s estimated there are 1.4 billion cars/buses/trucks on the world’s roads today. But that’s only 8% of saturation point. It’s expected vehicle numbers will double within the next twenty years.[1] Even if they were all electric, the amount of energy needed to keep them charged and running would be colossal. How much electricity would a 48-ton articulated truck have to store in its batteries to move that weight any distance?

The earth is changing rapidly. While China and India are now using more coal than ever before to keep up with energy demands, the Arctic and Antarctic are melting at a rate that’s alarming scientists. Sea level rise is already causing havoc in many low-lying parts of the world, and is set to rise considerably over the next century. Scientists are rightly loathe to make any real commitments on sea level rise, but looking back three million years to the last time the planet was warming to the levels it will rise to in the foreseeable future, an increase of twenty feet (six metres) is quite likely.[2]

The politicians want to bring CO2 emissions to zero by 2050. Unless someone can perform a miracle of technology and suck a lot of CO2 out of the atmosphere, (and it would need to be an awful lot as the total weight of CO2 in the atmosphere right now is = 2.996×1012 tonnes, or 5.1480×1018 kg.), then if my maths is any good, which it usually isn’t, I think that works out in real figures to 299,600,000,000 tonnes. If I’m wrong perhaps some mathematical whizz kid can let me know. Of course, it wouldn’t all have to be sucked out, but still an astronomical amount. Even if it were possible, the act of doing so would cause an enormous shift in the equilibrium of the climate with likely catastrophic results for us all.

While caring individuals do their bit to help the environment, it’s never enough. Unless 7.7 billion earthlings change their whole way of life there’s no way we can reverse what is happening to the world today.

The hard truth is there are far too many of us for this planet to sustain. We are adding 82 million of us every year. We all have to be fed, clothed; we need wood for furniture, housing, fuel (the Amazon rain forest (our very lungs) is being ripped up and destroyed at the rate of 150 acres EVERY MINUTE, or by 20,000 square miles every year. 20% of the Amazon has already been destroyed. Our planet has the lungs of a smoker who’s consumed thirty cigarettes a day for fifty years.[3]

The metal cancer cells are clearly visible, doing their deadly work:

Frankly, while some politicians posture and pretend to be concerned about our climate crisis Trump, Bolsonaro, Salvini, Xi Jinping, and others show little interest in saving the planet.

To stand any chance of surviving this critical time the changes to our behavior need to be so radical that it’s almost certain capitalism would collapse. A system based on ripping stuff out of the earth and converting it into saleable goods cannot survive the actions necessary to reverse global warming.

The thought of persuading the world’s population of 7.7 billion people to change so radically is beyond comprehension. The logistics would be near impossible.

After much soul-searching, I have come to believe the unbelievable. We cannot reverse what is happening and eventually, within the next 100 – 200 years, this planet will become uninhabitable for Homo sapiens and most of the creatures we share it with.

We are already seeing the beginning of the end. Human migrations are on the rise and causing an upsurge in fear-induced nationalism. Heatwaves with record high temperatures are fast becoming the norm, coupled with shifting rain patterns and more frequent and deadlier storm systems.

When asked recently in what he intended to invest his vast fortune, Jeff Bezos the founder of Amazon responded, “Space travel.”

Perhaps he and his friends are expecting to ‘step off’ this planet at the right moment somewhat as rats might leave a sinking ship.

 

[1] How many cars are there in the world?

[2] Sea Levels Could Rise At Least 20 Feet

[3] About the Rainforest

 

 

John Oliver On Boris Johnson

It’s sad that an entertainer as talented as John Oliver should feel the need to lower his sights to the level of crude penis references and vulgar sexual images, particularly when the object of these innuendos is an animal, as was the case in his latest,  otherwise excellent, offering.

‘Last Week Tonight with John Oliver’ does great work in uncovering much of the sordid goings-on in our societies that would otherwise possibly miss the headlines, and his exposé of Britain’s latest apology for a prime minister this week left nothing to be desired…

…except perhaps the wish that the foxes could be left to their courtship in private.

Personally, a fox would be more acceptable than Boris Johnson  as prime minister of the UK.

Unless, of course…

…his first name was Liam!

 

Gun Disease – A Terminal Illness

The gun situation in America has always been a source of contention between those who believe the Second Amendment sacred, and the rest who see it as it is – an outdated document designed for a time before the fledgling nation had a proper military or police force.

After every major killing event there’s the usual anger and desire for change, parried by authority’s hypocritical “thoughts and prayers” to the victims and bereaved, before heading down the shooting range for their next dose of adrenaline high.

After numerous frequent gun assaults one might expect the situation to begin to show improvement. Instead, it grows steadily worse.

Only today we read of two US police officers sacked for writing a Facebook post stating congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez should be shot.[1]

There was a time in America’s past when the gun nut lobby was ostensibly right-wing and Republican. Not any more. A report by Kim Kelly in today’s Guardian tells of armed left-wing antifascists on the move against right-wing white supremacists.

‘If others have rifles, we’ll have rifles’: why US leftist groups are taking up arms

The [America’s Pacific] north-west has been at the center of tense political clashes over the last two years. The area is an adopted home base for far-right groups like Patriot Prayer, Identity Evropa/American Identity Movement and the Proud Boys, who have organized numerous marches that have ended in violence. In response, a range of leftist groups have organized self defence groups and, in doing so, present gun ownership as a way to protect themselves and others…[2]

Sickness without cure is a terrible thing to suffer and usually ends in death. The firearm disease in America has no cure. It continues to infect all who have contact with it. Unless a cure is found it will one day bring the nation to its knees. It is a precursor to civil unrest and possible civil war.

Maybe that’s just what it will take before a cure is eventually found.

[1] Ocasio-Cortez: Officers sacked for post suggesting lawmaker be shot , BBC, July 23rd 2019

[2] https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/jul/22/if-others-have-rifles-well-have-rifles-why-leftist-groups-are-taking-up-arms , Guardian, July 23rd 2019