Category Archives: Risk and Terror

Maybe system change will just be funny …

It sometimes difficult to be aware of what’s going on in the world because they’re not happy thoughts.

This time last week I was hearing about the dark web and bad pharma from a friend, Howard.  He runs a small cloud computing business with 30 million units invested in the technology and deals with a more severe IT security threat than your bank or insurance company.

Bad pharma is the unethical behaviour of your favourite pharmaceutical provider.  The big names, with the big drugs and the big money at stake.  Ethics get bent.

Dark web is the activity on the web by large, powerful organisations operating outside normal society – arms dealing, drugs, slavery, that sort of thing.  It happens.

Then there’s the ongoing wars mixed with greed, where people get killed.  Iraq, Iran, Syria, Israel, Palestine, …

Of course  civilian shootings (sometimes by cops)  and other crimes …

And, rather mundane, the financial crisis continues to confound most of us.  We are ok without growth.  But distortions continue in the way resources end up being shared.  Corruption abounds.

On Tuesday, my awareness was raised by an insightful address by President Higgins on the role of speculation in distorting the livelihoods of people who grow food.  It was unusual to hear a head of state talking about actual system change.

Generally, those at the top continue to turn a blind eye to lies.  So everyone feels the pressure.  Technology allows everyone to live without fear, yet most humans fear hunger daily.

It can seem sad.

So, let’s hope the change in the way we behave will seem funny, as we laugh at ourselves waiting so long to make teh change.  Then we could enjoy moving away from hierarchy, moving away from fear.

Education will be important.  Technology will help.  But if we are to outlive “the singularity”  we must choose a natural world over a virtual reality.  Let’s feel holarchy and enjoy nature.

 

Big money thinks Doomsday is coming. Think about it, and change your behaviour.

So the seeds are starting to arrive in the “Doomsday Vault”, an arctic store for seeds sponsored by big names with big money, like Gates, Rockefeller, Dupont, Syngenta, FAO of UN, Moore Foundation etc.

The trouble is, it doesn’t really work.  Nature is not like that.  The vitality of seeds declines over time, however they are stored.  The whole point of “life” is that it changes.  Seeds are part of a cycle and need to be used to grow plants to produce new seeds.  Otherwise they are just a dead museum piece that might be used to examine DNA but are not going to be any use in reproducing ecosystems.

The money, people and other resources backing the vault would be better spent preserving living nature now.  That means consuming less of it and educating rich people about the damage they do to the planet and themselves.

And we can all help by using a bit of common sense:  Eat better, travel less and spend more time with people and in nature.

Svalbard Global Seed Vault

Global Crop Diversity Trust

1% own more than everyone else by next year: a decadent milestone in the implosion of civilisation.

 Oxfam research shows that the share of the world’s wealth owned by the richest 1% increased from 44% in 2009 to 48% last year.  Each adult on average has $2.7m.  On current trends the wealthiest 1% will own more than 50% of the world’s wealth by 2016.

Today the 80 richest people have the same wealth as the poorest 50%.  20% of people (including you – sorry!) own 94.5% of wealth.  The average wealth of the poorest 80% is only $3,851 (€ 3,320) per adult.

The wealth at the top is not just from hard work and prudent asset management.  That would at least be honest.  Much of it has been accrued through tax avoidance (even tax evasion), collusion, corruption and confiscation by force.  It’s not just the wealthy that cheat – many people game the system and take housing and unemployment benefit while having jobs – though of course they are not the bulk of the problem.  And overall, humanity has taken too much from nature.

The imbalance will not last.  The longer it takes for fairness (not equality) to dominate our systems, the more likely that rebalancing of wealth will occur by violent revolution, destroying much of the wealth, rather than humane evolution which might preserve wealth.

Systems are clearly breaking down.  Economic systems remain confusing and stagnant despite at least 6 years of patching.  Employment opportunities are shrinking as technology continues to automate production from food, to cars to banking.  Everyday there is another report of environmental disintegration, whether from climate volatility, species loss, or water shortage.  And people are not any more fulfilled.

System change is still possible and increasingly urgent.  Everyone can make a difference by choosing how they invest and spend their money.  But those at the top must lead change or expect to be swept away in violence as society disintegrates in the coming decades.  This is becoming more certain.  The Limits to Growth have been passed.

BBC: Richest 1% to own more than rest of world, Oxfam says

Astraea: Data shows global growth now past tipping point. Global collapse occurring. Whole systems change imperative.

Wikipedia: Limits To Growth

DMI: A Synopsis: Limits to Growth: The 30-Year Update

Club of Rome: Limits To Growth

 

Yes Pope Frank, we can mock faiths

This is straight from David Webb.  No need for editing. I think Pope Frank is awesome and has ignited a sense of hope for the church, but, sadly, on this point he must reevaluate his position.  There might be an appropriate and an inappropriate channel or audience, but without other cause, mockery is no reason for violence.  Who was it that said “turn the other cheek”?

David is right.  There will never be peace if opinions become illegal and cause for murder.

Pope Francis says its OK to punch someone who insults his mother, and we cannot make fun of faith. No, it’s not. No insult justifies an assault, whether it’s an insult against you, your mother or Muhammad, and whether it is a punch, a massacre or a state-sponsored flogging. Laws against blasphemy, insult and mockery have no place in an open society and incentivise intolerance of free speech. (17-Jan-2015)

Webb-site Reports

Yes Pope Frank, we can mock faiths

If you are offended by criticism of religion, or of your religion, then either close your browser now or be duly warned, because we are going to exercise more freedom of speech than you might like.

Pope Francis (the professional name of Jorge Mario Bergoglio) has been buzzing around Asia this week on a promotional tour for his organisation, the Catholic Church. In between visiting franchises in Indonesia and the Philippines, Pope Frank chatted with reporters on the plane. In the context of the recent massacre of the staff of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and of the police who were protecting them, a reporter asked his Chiefiness:

“yesterday at mass you spoke about religious freedom as a fundamental human right. But in the respect for the different religions, up to what point can one go in freedom of expression? That too is a fundamental human right.”

To which he pontificated in part:

Continue reading Yes Pope Frank, we can mock faiths

COP out? Yes! Sadly as expected, but what else could happen …

The 20th Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change treaty ran over by a couple of days as delegates from over 190 countries “negotiated” the language of resolutions to control carbon emissions.  Rich countries don’t want to pay for past emissions; emerging economies don’t want their opportunity for the luxuries enjoyed by rich countries to  be jeopardised.  The consensus was that results were unsatisfactory.

The confrontational nature of discussions means they will not develop new systems that save humanity from growing environmental pressure and related economic problems.  No viable solution can be found until everyone recognises the common goals which are underpinned by the interconnectedness of people to planet and its biosphere.

Can you do anything?  Yes!  It never seems to be enough but taking a step in the right direction does make a difference.  Changing consumption habits and changing what you say to your friends is what changes culture and behaviour of a population.  Every little bit you do to make a difference, DOES make a difference.  The more people that take a step in the right direction, the sooner we’ll have more attractive options than environmental implosion, economic volatility and social violence.

So even if they don’t “cop on”, we can all make a change for good.

At a recent book signing for Common Sense, I was asked questions about what can be done.  The consensus was to cut back on beef consumption because it’s simple and has a huge impact.  Once you’ve done that it’s easier to cut back on other gratuitous consumption like packaging, cosmetics, detergents, and travel and easier to spend more time with friends and family.  Enjoy them and the planet while you can.  🙂

What we need to do if we’re to have a future.

Future Earth, a global initiative bringing together scientists across different disciplines, has launched its strategy to identify key priorities for sustainability.  The eight objectives are:

  • Deliver water, energy and food for all
  • Decarbonise socio-economic systems
  • Safeguard the terrestrial, freshwater and marine natural assets
  • Building healthy, resilient and productive cities
  • Promote sustainable rural futures
  • Improve human health
  • Encourage sustainable consumption and production patterns
  • Increase social resilience to future threats

It is an attempt to help coordinate policy with science.  It has taken over 30 years since the Bruntland Commission release the report Our Common Future.

We need to move much more quickly at the personal level if we’re to avoid growing serious problems.

BBC: ‘Future Earth’ platform outlines global change strategy

 

Ignorance, bigotry, Islam, Christianity – a wasteful formula of terror, pain and suffering that we don’t need.

CNN pushed an interview with Reza Aslan which helped show how ignorant the media treatment of culture is.   His commendably calm response to the interview’s thoughtlessness elucidated many of the issues that raise political tensions needlessly.

Here’s an extract:

Female Genital Mutilation is NOT a “Muslim” problem – its a central African problem. Eritrea has a 90% FGM rate – and is a CHRISTIAN country, Ethipia has a 70% FGM rate and is also a Christian country.

The Saudis, our allies, won’t let their women dri
ve.

Yet, Muslim countries have elected SEVEN women as Heads of their States – and we have yet to have a Female President.

Our vision of Islam here is wrong. Saudi Arabia (and perhaps Iran now) are restrictive, but they are the minority among Muslims around the world. Saudis ARE the extremists. THEY HAVE BEHEADED 19 PEOPLE SINCE ISIS DID THE ONE. No one talks about that because they are in cahoots with our oil men.

This comment by Jeanette Kramer gives further perspective:

Equating genital mutilation problems to Islam is like equating gun problems to Christianity. If the media spoke about the gun problems in the USA like they did so many other topics, they would be reporting 24/7 on the Christian violence in the US.

Some guy once said:

Take the plank out of your own eye so that you can see clearly to take the speck out of another’s eye.

Someone’s watching you. And it’s not just Big Brother.

A  Russian website is offering thousands of feeds from private webcams around the world.

If you have a webcam with remote access enabled (did you check?) it could be on their list of feeds.  The site has accessed feeds by using default passwords which are often left unchanged by their owners when they enable remote access.  This is made easier because most people are using the same software (Windows) to operate their system.

Most of the feeds are rather dull, such as security monitors on infants cradles.  And maybe this is insignificant compared to the level of snooping of private emails, web browsing history and internet chat that is done by governments in the name of “security”.  But if you have a revealing webcam with remote access enabled, you might want to change the password!

Webcam website

BBC:  Breached webcam and baby monitor site flagged by watchdogs

 

We’re ALL living next to slaves. 36 million of them.

Walk Free published the 2014 Global Slavery Index which makes for sad reading.  167 countries have them, including some which really shouldn’t:

Japan 240 thousand
South Africa 110 thousand
Singapore 5 thousand
USA 60 thousand
Italy 11 thousand
Germany 11 thousand
France 9 thousand
UK 8 thousand
Ireland 300

The report defines slaves as people subject to forced labour, debt bondage, trafficking, sexual exploitation for money and forced or servile marriage, none of which sounds like it should be acceptable in the countries above.

What can you do?  Be aware that it happens.  Don’t turn a blind eye.  And if you see signs of it, tell someone in authority.

Global Slavery Index Report – findings

Walk Free

BBC: Almost 36m people live in modern slavery – report

 

 

Data shows global growth now past tipping point. Global collapse occurring. Whole systems change imperative.

Economic research published by the University of Melbourne analysed the predictions made in the ground breaking 1972 book Limits to Growth, and notes that the actual trajectory followed in the four decades since has followed the worst case scenario.

The 1970s computer model has proved remarkably accurate in predicting developments in the world economy, population and resource consumption, according to the study published by the Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute.

The Limits To Growth business-as-usual scenario foresaw the beginning of “overshoot and collapse” in about 2015, predicting a death rate rise would start about 2020, with the half-billion-per-decade population declines kicking in from about 2030.

As average standards of living fall at rates faster than they have historically risen due to disruption of normal economic functions (note the global financial crisis) enormous social tensions will rise, especially where wealth inequality is greatest.

Recent data shows that the life span in developed countries is already declining, principally because of diseases caused by over eating.  Surely that is decadent.

Sadly, cynics, like me, can point to a silver lining – that reducing the population is the cure for a planet being consumed by humanity.

The opportunity to enlighten global management systems is waning.  I strongly urge leaders to adopt integral and holonic thinking in renovating systems and policies.  Common Sense must be applied.

University of Melbourne: “Is global collapse imminent? An updated comparison of The Limits to Growth with historical data”  PDF

EU- Environment: “Limits to Growth” predictions borne out, analysis finds