Our best future

By Stephen Fitzgerald 

Worth the fight

April 12, 1961, Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin orbited Earth in the world's first manned space flight. "I saw how beautiful our planet is. People, let us preserve and increase this beauty, not destroy it!"

SCIENTISTS CALCULATED A 'POINT OF NO RETURN' FOR DEALING WITH CLIMATE CHANGE

AND TIME IS RUNNING OUT.

The goal of the Paris Agreement was to ensure global temperatures didn’t rise more than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. If temperatures hit that point, we’ll be more likely to see the worst projected effects of climate change, including rising seas, severe storms, extreme heat, drought, and fires. In fact, we are experiencing the beginnings of those extremes right now.

The world needs to transition to renewable energy fast if we don’t want temperatures to rise that much, according to a new study. In that study, the authors calculated a “point of no return” for acting on climate – and it’s soon. There’s nothing mysterious about what it will take to limit climate change: The world needs to transition away from fossil fuels towards renewable energy. But the timing of that transition is extremely important.

According to a new study published in the journal Earth System Dynamics, we could soon cross a point of no return. After that, it will be almost impossible to keep Earth’s temperature from rising above 2 degrees Celsius. The new study calculates that if the world’s governments don’t initiate a transition to clean energy sources by 2035 – meaning that the share of renewables starts to grow by at least 2% each year – we’ll almost certainly pass that point of no return.

THE WORLD COULD HIT A TIPPING POINT THAT CAUSES WARMING TO SPIRAL OUT OF CONTROL

A SCENARIO SCIENTISTS CALL 'HOTHOUSE EARTH'

We need to take action to restore Earth’s systems back to their natural states as much as possible. That means doing more than cutting emissions. It requires planting and improving forests, managing biodiversity, and potentially creating technologies that can remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere or, amplify Earths natural carbon propagation processes to capture and store atmospheric CO2.

Avoiding a Hothouse Earth scenario requires a redirection of human actions from “Exploitation” to “Stewardship” of the Earth system.

WE ARE AT A CROSS-ROAD

As pointed out in the article “Creating Conflict”, do we continue down the path of exploitation of the planet and destroy ourselves or do we make stewardship of the Earth system our priority?

In the new 21st century democratic dictatorships, that are emerging around the world today, it’s difficult to push for action to contain global warming. Right-wing governments, like dictators, feign denial because there is no immediate benefit to them or those they represent. Ask a billion Chinese and the response is the same. “In China the government controls billionaires but, in the West, billionaires control the government”.

People need to wrestle control of the planet from those who would wilfully destroy Earth for profit and short-term gain. In a manipulated democracy it’s difficult, but not impossible, if good people work together. Governments who push for global conflict and arms build-up, to fight over oil and natural gas, are easy to spot. They are the ones wilfully diverting attention away from the man made reasons for climate change. They are the ones in climate change denial.

Global conflict equates to hundreds of billions of dollars profit to arms manufactures and arms dealers. With $200 billion earmarked for arms build-up, the LNP Morrison government is pushing for Australia to become a war economy and one of the world’s top ten arms dealers. To be a successful war economy, just like America, you need global conflict and perpetual war. You also need something to fight over?

As pointed out, that something is oil and natural gas. The driving force behind the conflicts in the middle east. By embracing alternate energy captured from the sun and wind, we no longer need oil and gas. We take away the need for war in that arena. Those in climate change denial are all about massive profit from fossil fuel and massive profits to arms manufacturers and arms dealers. To name a few, Morrison, Trump and Macron don’t care about you or society, they don’t care about starving children or refugees escaping war zones. They only care about themselves.

Besides inflicting conflict and perpetual war on the world, these megalomaniacs have lost sight on an even greater threat to humanity. If we burn all the oil, coal and gas they are fighting over, that will lead to catastrophic climate change and possibly the end of civilisation as we know it. These pathetic excuses for human beings need to be ejected into outer space so they can ponder our world from afar.

THE COLD HARD FACTS

Half a degree increase in global temperature is a big deal. Half a degree may not sound like much. But as this report details, the difference between 1.5°C and 2°C global warming could expose tens of millions more people worldwide to life-threatening heat waves, water shortages and coastal flooding. Half a degree may mean the difference between a world with coral reefs and Arctic summer sea ice and a world without them.

 

On our current path, if we don’t lift our game we are headed towards a 4°C or 5°C global temperature increase by 2100 and, the consequences are devastating. We are talking catastrophic climate change and sea-level rise in our grand-children's lifetime. Think about it? If we don't do more about cutting green-house gas emissions and reducing atmospheric CO2, this is the future we hand to the next generation, to our offspring, to our family line.

OUR BEST FUTURE

Our best future is a belief founded on the very best of human nature. It is a goal for us to strive towards. For the betterment of mankind and our civilisation. For the betterment of our planet and life itself. We must change from a world ravaged by greed and exploitation of people and the planet. We need to become stewards and caretakers to protect our home planet and the future for our grand-children and beyond.

"For the first time in recorded history we have something solid we can use to stop the wars and fight against exploitation by the powerbrokers and cohort governments. Action on climate change and a move towards renewable energy, gives us the voting numbers to change governments, it gives us people power and, is the vehicle to drive us towards a better future".

Comments (Now Closed)

SteveFitz January 1, 2019 at 8:02 am

Thanks Kyran for prompting a more in-depth look at what drives destructive human nature. As you pointed out: “how could any society fail to recognize that big problems are looming up, and why doesn’t the society take measures to alert disaster” also “Tainter considered it implausible that complex societies would sit by and watch the encroaching weakness without taking corrective actions. But that is precisely what has often happened in the past, and what is happening under our noses today”.

I think what’s important here, in Diamond’s inquiry, is what caused some societies to collapse, such as the Mayan civilisation or the people of Easter Island, while others facing similar challenges managed to survive? I think it boils down to the people at the top, the people who run the country, whether it be the government or the billionaires or, a collective of both.

From my personal observation, and life experience, the fact that we look different is telling us something. We are different. The way we think and behave, and of course, our inherent personalities are fundamentally different. Basically, there are two types of people, those who are "givers and helpers" and those who are "users and takers". Givers and helpers have empathy and a conscience, users and takers are only ever self serving and ignore the consequences. As a relevant example:

After the political assassination of Malcolm Turnbull by Abbott and Dutton, even after what they did to him, they were dismayed and outraged that Turnbull didn’t help them win the Wentworth by-election? They are so profoundly self-centred that they just don’t get it! People like Morrison, Abbott and Dutton have no concept of the consequences of their actions. It’s not in their make-up which makes them extremely dangerous, as we have seen. If we want a future, we can’t have people with seriously challenged self-serving personality traits in government. And, we most certainly can’t have them influencing the gullible to gain backing.

People obsessed with money, power and control fall into this category. The arms industry, the fossil fuel industry and cohort governments are incapable of considering the consequences of their actions, it’s not in their make-up or, they are blinkered to the point of self-destruction and will drag the rest of us down with them. Collectively, all we can do, at this point, is change the government and drive for action on climate change. All out action on climate change will remove the fossil fuel industry and reduce the associated war mongering. If we can do that, we are in with a fighting chance to avoid catastrophic climate change.

Or, if we let our politicians drag us down the path we are on, we could do an Easter Island and use up all our natural resources on a global scale. And, just like Easter Island, that leads to full blown war until there’s nothing left and, we have destroyed the environment and ourselves. This brings us back to the fundamentals: “Instead of exploitation of the planet and humanity, we need to be caretakers of both”.

As already pointed out, people with profoundly self-centred flawed personalities don’t see the consequences of their actions and, that makes them extremely dangerous. Get rid of these people and, do everything we can to keep them out of government.

SteveFitz January 1, 2019 at 8:52 am

Corvus – Fracking the Candomine valley to extract gas to generate energy can only happen once and in the process, the released gasses permeate and destroy waterways and the subterranean environment. It’s a man-made catastrophe!

On the other hand, if we collected the energy from the sun, from the same area, we would have a perpetual source of energy without destroying the environment. There would be no need to move on, like a locust plague, and destroy other areas. So, how fracking stupid are we?

Once again, it comes down to greed and the associated self-serving and blind stupidity that goes with it. As pointed out by Miriam, this is government pandering to corporates or corporates running the government at our expense.

SteveFitz January 1, 2019 at 1:53 pm

Thanks, Corvus – A microcosm of the larger picture. No less disturbing and just as destructive and, serves as a perfect example of what we face

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WE HAVEN’T SEEN THE END OF HISTORY – WE ARE WITNESSING ITS BLOODY RETURN

By global affairs analyst Stan Grant – 6:00am 1st January 2019 https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-01-01/stan-grant-2019-the-end-of-history/10675572

There will be a lot of talk about history this year, so allow me to get in first, pens global affairs analyst Stan Grant. It is 30 years, this year, since a then-little-known US State Department official and emerging political scientist, Francis Fukuyama, declared “the end of history”.

In 1989, he surveyed the crumbling Soviet Union and the final days of the Cold War and penned an essay for the National Interest magazine, where he crowned western liberal democracy as humanity’s high point. It may constitute, Fukuyama argued, the “end point of mankind’s ideological evolution — the final form of human government”.

“As mankind approached the end of the millennium, the twin crises of authoritarianism and socialist central planning have left only one competitor standing in the ring as an ideology of potential universal validity: liberal democracy, the doctrine of individual freedom and popular sovereignty,” he wrote.

THE PAST IS BACK, AGAIN

Despite the much-vaunted summit between President Trump and Kim Jong-un, North Korea has done nothing to denuclearise and the threat — now simmering rather than boiling — remains with a missile capability to deliver its payload as far away as the United States or Australia.

The world’s two biggest nuclear-armed states, Russia and America, are threatening a new Cold War. In 2017, old foes India and China — the most populous nations on the planet — eyeballed each other over the disputed military border of Bhutan. In the Middle East the Syrian conflict rages on. Refugee camps are full. People are risking all to pile on to boats and hope to reach safety on whatever far shore will take them.

In Yemen the two biggest powers in the Muslim world, Iran and Saudi Arabia, are locked in a deadly proxy war — pitting Shia Houthi rebels backed by Tehran against the Yemeni government. United Nations estimates claim as many as 85,000 children under the age of five are thought to have starved to death in Yemen in the past three years. The UN says Yemen is facing the greatest humanitarian disaster of the 21st century — 14 million people are at risk of starvation.

The war on terrorism that began — officially at least — after the attack on the United States on September 11, 2001, rages on. It is the longest war America has fought; it is the longest war in Australia’s history. Nowhere is safe. Terrorists have struck in London, Brussels, Nairobi, Jakarta, Sydney and Melbourne. Elsewhere, tensions continue between Russia and Ukraine. Pakistan and India remain locked in a nuclear-armed existential stand-off.

All of this happening during what is considered to be the longest period of global peace in human history. It hardly feels like it.

THE GREATEST FEAR

Any clash between the US and China would be catastrophic, but as much as we may try to wish it away, right now military strategists in Beijing and Washington are preparing for war.

Across the Western World we have populations up in arms about the failure of capitalism now controlled by the right-wing rich and powerful driven by greed. At the same time, it is increasingly clear that China and Russia want to shape a world consistent with their authoritarian model and, they are poised to jump at the opportunity as western democracy fails.

So, what about us, the good people of the West? What happened to that wonderful dream of liberal democracy and what is it anyway?

“Liberal democracy exists to build and safeguard a fair, free and open society, in which we seek to balance the fundamental values of liberty, equality and community, and in which no one shall be enslaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity. The ideology of the liberal democrats draws from liberal ideas.” Liberal ideas being progressive left-wing ideas and most definitely not those of the Australian LNP usurpers.

Where the west has gone wrong and what has weakened us are our piss-weak and pathetic politicians. As already pointed out, politicians overrun and controlled by the rich and powerful. The people driven by blind greed with no view to the future have put all of western society in peril. Not just western society but our entire planet.

Once again, the biggest money to be made, on the planet right now, is from fossil fuels and the escalating war machine. The arms manufacturers and arms dealers expect to make a killing, literally. Do we hold their hand and go with them to destruction or, do we get rid of out-of-touch right wing elitist governments, like the LNP Morrison government, and take a chance at controlling our own destiny?

SteveFitz January 1, 2019 at 10:16 pm

Kyran – Thank you. What you put forward should be compulsory reading. We need more clear minded thinkers and visionaries. The path forward seems insurmountable at times and so, I break it down to one step at a time. First, change to a progressive government and then pressure that government for what is rightfully ours. A liberal democracy where those we elect are focused on what the people want. Where common sense prevails and there is a view to the future. We need to keep sifting out the political crap until we get what we want. One election at a time and, that’s a lot of elections per generation.

We also need to squeeze a few more election promises out of opposition parties and, today that's Bill Shorten. The federal ICAC was a good start. Now we need action on climate change and an affirmative push towards alternate energy. Also, we don’t want Australia to become an American war machine lap dog at a price tag of $200 billion. Instead, we could work on helping 3.5 million Australians out of poverty.

Work towards that elusive liberal democracy, one step at a time, by removing whatever stands in the way, one step at a time. In the process we can help to save the planet from perpetual war and catastrophic climate change.

SteveFitz January 2, 2019 at 8:32 am

Matters Not – I understand the battle and look towards a generational push to clean up government. The ammunition we have is freedom and democracy, truth, justice and what’s best for all of society. What the opposition has, and that would be the billionaires who corrupt and run the government, what they have is lies, deceit, propaganda, complacency and the blind vote of the ignorant.

We are fighting for what is right and we are fighting for what’s best for our future and, you are part of that battle along with the rest on these pages. We do what we can when we can do it. Politicians need to be reminded that a one-way ticket to the political scrap heap is a breach of election promises. They also need to be reminded that they represent the people who, in good faith, voted them into power and who they need to look out for. And, that’s not corporates or a hand full of billionaires out to feather their own nests.

When the majority speaks at election time the government must listen or they to are headed for that political scrap heap. We have two powerful weapons presented to us in the modern era. One is social media where millions can be pulled together to fight against oppression and exploitation by the elite and the other is global warming. The elite don’t want action on climate change but, good people do so, it has the potential to polarise the best in human nature.

I understand that good people have a fight to win back democracy and, we are collecting ourselves for the battle ahead. Squeeze what we can out of Bill Shorten and if he is found lacking then he to is history. We have the power at the polls to mould the government into what we want and, if that’s a majority of independents then we need to change our political system to accommodate them.

Western democracy today, works only for the rich and the rest of society suffer. If our politicians don’t come to the party, and put the electorate first, then it’s time to change the model. We need to plant these seeds in the right places and forward this observation on to political analysts, observers and academics to get the ball rolling. Put the wind up the pollies and their political parties – Change or be gone!

As a reminder, what we are fighting for is nothing less than our citizens rights in western democracy.

“Liberal democracy exists to build and safeguard a fair, free and open society, in which we seek to balance the fundamental values of liberty, equality and community, and in which no one shall be enslaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity. The ideology draws from the political progressive middle”.

SteveFitz January 2, 2019 at 2:27 pm

Corvus, Kay Lee, Helvityni and Diannaart – Removing trees is definitely a serious problem but, it’s not the root of the problem. The root of the problem is what drives destruction of the environment and, that’s the issue we need to address. With trees as our symbol of hope lets trace the problem back to its source: –

The trees are gone – Fossil fuel companies removed the trees – The government lets them do it – We elected the government – We don’t want corporates removing our trees – The government is against the people – Burning fossil fuel destroys the environment – If we change to alternate energy we don’t need fossil fuel – We can save our trees and we can save our global environment – The government doesn’t listen to us – Replace the government – Transition to renewable energy – Remove the need for fossil fuel and stop the waring over depleting resources – Cut back on the war machine – Divert resources into improving society – Plant more trees – Save the planet, save society and give us “Our best future”.

SteveFitz January 2, 2019 at 5:49 pm

Thanks Miriam – Thoughtful and compelling – I also live as sustainably as possible and there is little I yearn for other than my birth right and that is freedom, a true democracy and the voice of the majority to be heard. A change of government, as you note, is a step in that direction.

SteveFitz January 2, 2019 at 7:24 pm

When I speak of freedom, I look to human rights protection. There is no human rights protection or Charter of Human Rights enshrined in Australian Law. We are told we live in a free and democratic society and it’s just another lie. http://www.gtcentre.unsw.edu.au/node/3071

One of the arguments against human rights protection is that it may undermining the responsibility, and accountability, of members of Parliament in that regard. Which is a pathetic argument when none of our politicians can be trusted to guard a hen house let alone protect our fundamental human rights.

Australia is a co-founder and signatory to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and yet it is supressed and ignored in our country. It’s called oppression and another example of how far we have to go to install a government that puts the people first.

Go to the next article: Pie in the sky

SteveFitz is an artist painting a vivid picture, a humanitarian and activist

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