Nobody likes hurricanes or floods, fires or droughts. We offer up prayers to those affected, whether traumatised or killed. Sadly, prayers are completely useless in the face of nature. Nature doesn’t care about gods. It’s chemistry, biology and physics. Nature is what we constructed our god myths around. You could say that nature is our gods. So, are our gods angry?
What is climate change and what does global warming have to do with it?
If the climate is a god, we’ve made it angry by adding heat. Hotter oceans have more energy, so release more water vapour into the air. Hotter air holds more water. Hotter air melts ice caps, leading to higher ocean levels and more devastating storm surges. The melted ice cap water heats up and so the water cycle on steroids continues. This is very basic science, something that most 10 year-olds can grasp. But many older men in positions of power are unwilling or unable to grasp this inescapable, scientific truth. This is bad.
Jesus wept. What a decade. While a ton of nasty shit went down in the 2010s, we must resist the temptation to wrap our minds up in binge-watched box sets. We can work harder to understand why things are the way they are, and actively embrace the ideas and actions that can make the world better at scale.
9/11 and the Long War
The Saudi regime has benefited most from the September 11, 2001 attacks on the USA. That nearly all the 9/11 hijackers were Saudi is pure coincidence. From Iraq to Syria to Libya, all its regional rivals are now in tatters. Only Iran remains, so expect that rivalry to keep getting hotter. The Arab Spring kicked off the decade, a groundswell of hope leading to only one successful transition to democracy: Tunisia. The Syrian War began in 2011, leading to the Islamic State (IS or ISIS) declaring a ‘worldwide caliphate’ in 2014. The caliphate lost its last pocket of territory in Syria in 2019, and its leader al-Baghdadi was also killed. Who funded and inspired IS? The finger has been pointed at Qatar, Turkey and Saudi Arabia. As is usual in these cases, follow the money, look at who has benefited most from Islamic State’s despicable, hardline Sunni Islam philosophy and the current disarray in the Middle East.
“Climate change is the defining issue of our time and now is the defining moment to do something about it. There is still time to tackle climate change, but it will require an unprecedented effort from all sectors of society. To boost ambition and accelerate actions to implement the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, UN Secretary-General António Guterres is asking leaders, from government, business and civil society, to come to the 2019 Climate Action Summit on 23 September with plans to address the global climate emergency. The Summit will spark the transformation that is urgently needed and propel action that will benefit everyone.” – UN Climate Action Summit 2019
It’s impossible to disagree with the ambition. But we are fast-approaching the point of no return precisely because our leaders have failed spectacularly. The problem with ‘leaders, from government, business and civil society’ is that they have completely different goals from the UN, or from the normal, caring, increasingly worried people who depend on said leaders. As our current leaders gather in New York, 23 September 2019, there has never been a more urgent need for climate leadership.
Here’s the rub: our ‘leaders’ have different needs
Our government leaders care most about getting re-elected, and can’t see past the four or five year election cycle. Perks, pensions and bribes or lobbyist cash float their boat. Literally. The big oil companies spend $200 million a year lobbying in denial of climate change.
Our business leaders care only about maximising profit for shareholders. That is what corporations exist for. Nothing more. Often, business leaders are ambiguous when it comes to sustainability. A position on climate change is now a PR essential, but often just masks organisational disdain. Some businesses do practice what they preach, so it is positive to see some major corporations embracing greener business models operations.
Civil society is everything that isn’t government or business, and that’s where people like Greta Thunberg comes in. A teenager sees the potential world out to a distant horizon, much further away than the jaded ‘leaders’ who feel every second ticking by. Ideally, a teenager has the joy of living free from the daily grind of an economic madness that sees forests destroyed so that money can be fabricated from thin air on the other side of the world to fund the burger chains that demand over 300 million cows slaughtered every year.
What is leadership?
A possible definition is that leadership is the art of motivating a group of people to act towards achieving a common goal. The goal is clear and those seconds keep ticking. The UN must try harder to lead globally, while encouraging more climate leadership in our schools, our homes, our businesses and our governments.
Are you ready to step up, like Greta, and show climate leadership?
GENEVA, Aug 8 2019 – “Land is already under growing human pressure and climate change is adding to these pressures. At the same time, keeping global warming to well below 2ºC can be achieved only by reducing greenhouse gas emissions from all sectors including land and food,” the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said in its latest report.
Our increasing population places more pressure on land to produce food, from crops to meat. Meanwhile, agriculture is a major producer of GHGs (greenhouse gases) while paradoxically also a potential planet saviour, as plants absorb CO2 from the atmosphere. Meanwhile, climate change is causing desertification and erosion in many parts of the world, so we’re losing land as we speak. We’re between a rock and a hard place. Literally!
In what looks like a clear vote for hemp, the IPCC stated: “Land must remain productive to maintain food security as the population increases and the negative impacts of climate change on vegetation increase. This means there are limits to the contribution of land to addressing climate change, for instance through the cultivation of energy crops and afforestation. It also takes time for trees and soils to store carbon effectively. Bioenergy needs to be carefully managed to avoid risks to food security, biodiversity and land degradation.”
We need to get serious about using the planet’s finite land in a way that is fair, sustainable, and for the benefit of all mankind.
Photosynthesis is pretty incredible when you think about it. Using the power of sunshine, plants absorb CO2 (carbon dioxide) from the air, then combine it with water to create the carbohydrates – glucose – that they use to grow, emitting an exhaust gas in the process. Thankfully, that exhaust gas is oxygen. Because of plants, we exist. All our food is powered by plants and photosynthesis, and the oxygen that we need to survive is generated by plants. Oxygen rules, and your body is 65% oxygen!
Plant for life!
There is a growing awareness that plants hold the key to solving the climate crisis. Why risk tampering with the atmosphere (will we ever learn?) or waiting for some new technology to be invented, when plants and trees are already working hard to pull the planet back from the brink. Trees are a great strategy, so let’s plant billions of them, everywhere possible. They take a few years to get going, though, and time is of the essence. That’s where hemp comes in. One acre of hemp absorbs 10 tons of CO2 from the atmosphere, pumping out the same amount of oxygen. Hemp grows real fast, with two crops a year easily achievable in hot climates. Our plan is to enable the planting of hemp all over the world, funded by the sale of sustainable and hemp products from our online marketplace.
The hemp plant multiplier effect
So hemp absorbs carbon dioxide and pumps out oxygen, but this story gets even better. As hemp has so many industrial uses, it can also displace the oil and oil-based plastics that are causing so much damage. Hemp fuel – biodiesel and ethanol – can power vehicles instead of petrol, and hemp concrete – hempcrete – can displace cement as a building material. Cement production is a major source of CO2 emissions. And hemp plastic is, well, plastic that is completely biodegradable: it’s made from a plant, not from poisonous Saudi or Russian oil.
Readathriller.com will work with you and partners all over the world, harnessing the power of hemp to save the planet, and here are three things you can easily do to help plants stop climate change:
1 – Remember Johnny Appleseed? When you eat an apple, try to bury the core in soil somewhere. When you eat cherries, stick the cherry stones into the ground, or start them off in a pot until established.
2 – In the autumn, gather seeds from any trees that you can, including chestnuts and acorns. Plant them in nature or stick them in pots until you can take them somewhere that will give them the opportunity to grow into the giant CO2-absorbing machines that they are destined to become.
3 – Share these tips on social and when in conversation. Encourage everybody to start actively planting trees. Put pressure on your government to embark on large-scale tree planting.
Wisdom from China
An old Chinese proverb says:
The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The second best time is today.
Plants stop climate change by making more oxygen. Here’s how we’re doing it…
The sad irony of sitting in Dublin’s morning traffic congestion is that we are causing the unnecessary emission of tons of CO2 and other greenhouse gases (GHG) while making ourselves miserable. It’s clearly a lose/lose situation. Just look at the EPA’s (Ireland’s Environmental Protection Agency):
Here are 3 ways to cut morning traffic congestion, stress and unnecessary GHG emissions in Dublin
1. Free school transport
Here’s the deal: morning traffic congestion in Dublin is world-class nasty. Except for the three months of June, July and August. All schools are closed in July and August. In June, just secondary schools are closed. This leads to the conclusion that secondary school children being driven to school, in cars that would not otherwise be on the road, is the key cause of morning rush hour congestion in Dublin.
Let’s give FREE public transport to all schoolchildren, all day, Monday to Friday.
Let’s reconsider school hours. Research has proven that teenagers are genetically designed to rise later, so why do they have to start school when everyone else is starting work?
2. No bullshit on traffic routes
You really need to empty those bins into your truck at 8.30am, so you block the road for everybody? No, you don’t.
You really think you can park on a double yellow at a junction to make that urgent delivery of plastic bags to that shop? No you can’t.
You really think that just because you’re ‘a builder’ that you can arrange for all your sand and gravel and shit to be delivered at 8am? Fuck no.
The Garda traffic division needs to clamp down on bullshit route blockers during peak hours.
3. Joined-up thinking meets vision
Are the people behind the disastrous Bus Connect plan (a Dublin scheme that wants to bulldoze neighbourhoods for dedicated bus lanes that might see a bus every 15 minutes) talking with the people planning new cycling infrastructure? Are Dublin Bikes (a city bike rental scheme) talking with rail operators so that bike supply always meets demand at obvious places like rail stations? Are the new app-based bike and scooter rental businesses talking to anybody else? Can we just build a hyperloop from the west coast to Dublin city centre so people can live cheaply in wide open spaces and commute to work in 10 minutes?
Where’s the vision? What do we want our cities to be? What matters most and why? Without a clear vision and a connected approach to resolving transport problems, we will continue to get stressed out every single morning from September to May, needlessly producing GHGs, damaging our atmosphere and health.
When Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg decided that she couldn’t wait for the adults to take climate change for the existential threat that it is, and started a school strike to draw attention to the issue, did she imagine the scale of what would come? It was a truly impressive butterfly effect to see schools across Ireland close early so that 10,000 students of all ages could converge on the houses of parliament in Dublin, with dozens more protests across the country.
System change not climate change
In time with a deep drumbeat, the good-natured crowd marched in spring sunshine, from St Stephen’s Green, down Dawson St, and took over all of Molesworth St in front of the Dail, Ireland’s houses of parliament (yes, we kept the British colonial structure after independence in 1921). The placards were many, with some catchy slogans used again and again: There is no planet B. System change not climate change. Even this: F$ck climate change.
The students have called on the Irish Government to declare a climate emergency and have issued a list of six demands to lawmakers:
A transition to 100% renewable energy by 2030 and a pledge to leave all Irish fossil fuels in the ground.
A climate emergency declaration – including a national information campaign.
A socially fair transition to a carbon-neutral society, preventing need for regular citizens to carry the economic burden.
The climate solution is hemp. Whatever the deniers may claim, the devastating fires in California are a result of climate change. Carbon dioxide is the biggest problem in climate change. We produce it by burning coal, petrol and gas in electricity production and transportation. Agriculture is another big source of CO2, as are deforestation and cement production. The CO2 that’s released by human activities helps to warm up the atmosphere. This is called the greenhouse effect, and CO2 and other contributing gases, such as methane, are called greenhouse gases, GHGs. A warmer atmosphere has more energy, which unsettles weather patterns and causes more severe weather events. Hurricanes, droughts, forest fires, ice storms are all caused by our GHG emissions.
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