Project Omelas - Finding a cause
On a daily basis there are louder and louder calls for us to begin to act on Climate disruption. With stories about sea-ice almost completely gone, Australia's food bowl continues to dersertify, temperature rise threatening the Barrier Reef one could get overwhelmed with the sheer scale of these challenges to even contemplate doing anything at all. Couple this up with the denialosphere and its easy to get paralyzed in fear.
I have a different idea.
How can I tell you about the people of Omelas?
They were mature, intelligent, passionate adults whose lives were not wretched.
In the middle category, however--that of the unnecessary but undestructive, that of comfort, luxury, exuberance, etc.--they could perfectly well have
central heating, subway trains, washing machines, and all kinds of marvelous devices not yet invented here, floating light-sources, fuelless power, a cure for the common cold.
In a basement under one of the beautiful public buildings of Omelas, or perhaps in the cellar of one of its spacious private homes, there is a room.
In the room, a child is sitting. It could be a boy or a girl. It looks about six, but actually is nearly ten. It is feeble-minded. Perhaps it was born defective, or perhaps it has become imbecile through fear, malnutrition, and neglect.
The people at the door never say anything, but the child, who has not always lived in the tool room, and can remember sunlight and its mother's voice, sometimes speaks. "I will be good, " it says. "Please let me out. I will be good!" They never answer. The child used to scream for help at night, and cry a good deal, but now it only makes a kind of whining, "eh-haa, eh-haa," and it speaks less and less often. It is so thin there are no calves to its legs; its belly protrudes; it lives on a half-bowl of corn meal and grease a day. It is naked. Its buttocks and thighs are a mass of festered sores, as it sits in its own excrement continually.
They all know it is there, all the people of Omelas. Some of them have come to see it, others are content merely to know it is there. They all know that it has to be there. Some of them understand why, and some do not, but they all understand that their happiness, the beauty of their city, the tenderness of their friendships, the health of their children, the wisdom of their scholars, the skill of their makers, even the abundance of their harvest and the kindly weathers of their skies, depend wholly on this child's abominable misery.
This is usually explained to children when they are between eight and twelve, whenever they seem capable of understanding; and most of those who come to see the child are young people, though often enough an adult comes, or comes back, to see the child. No matter how well the matter has been explained to them, these young spectators are always shocked and sickened at the sight. They feel disgust, which they had thought themselves superior to. They feel anger, outrage, impotence, despite all the explanations. They would like to do something for the child. But there is nothing they can do.
There is but one part of this which I would rewrite to make it describe the modern world we live in today.
The section is this line in the second last paragraph above:
know have been taught that it has to be there.
For in our society based on ever expanding consumption of finite resources, whilst ignoring the negative impacts of this system, that is where we find ourselves. The way I look at this, the girl locked in a room is representative of the planet we inhabit, the torture and maltreatment the price we have been taught we must pay, we must accept as necessary in order to continue relying on the industrial processes the way we designed 100 years ago - consuming fossil fuels at an ever increasing rate.
In the story the children seeing this for the first time see it how it is, some of them cannot understand how the truth of this situation, that this is in fact inhumane, despicable, unconscionable treatment of a human being could be let stand. They know also that the grown-ups, the adults, have become numbed to this abuse, will turn a blind to it as they have many times before. They have in fact been convinced and have taught others that as long as this one child suffers, their lives will be easy. The children see this and know it would be pointless to argue.
Yet, the ones who see this for the first time see it for what it really is "they feel anger, outrage, impotence, despite all the explanations. They would like to do something for the child. But there is nothing they can do."
And so it is with the planet we live on and our modern society that many of us have made that choice, accepting the price that 'someone or something must pay' in order for us to live as we do. Most of us accept this and then move on, putting it to the back of our minds. It is indeed much too hard to question our conscience, recognize just how wrong this is, to step back and think about how to change things so we do not have to do it this way, stand up and do something about it knowing how hard it will be to go against that which our entire society, from a very young age, has been convinced is necessary.
The scientific community released a report which proves, beyond a doubt that the earth is getting warmer.
This Global Warming is caused by things you grownups do, and by the things you dont.
If drastic measures aren't taken soon by the time I grow up there wont be any fish left in the sea.
Rainforests and clean air will be a thing of the past
Polar Ice caps will be gone,
oceans will rise,
entire countries will disappear.
Life will change in ways you cant even imagine.
It could be famine.
World wide epidemics.
Life expectancy will be lower.
And We're not just talking about the future.
We are talking about my future.
But this is no surprise. You adults have known about this for years.
And Though you could have done something about it, you haven't.
You can say its not my problem. You can say
I wont be around in 50 years.
But from now on, you cant say I didn't know.
Starting today, the lines are drawn.
You have to choose sides
Either you're for my future, or you're against it.
Your a friend or your an enemy.
I may just be a kid today, but tomorrow will be different.
This is the last time I will be talking to you adults.
You've had your chance to fix this problem, now we have ours.
We wont be cute. We wont be patronized.
We will not be denied our future.
We were warned by the United States best scientists.
A shadowy scientific elite codenamed Jason warned the US about global warming 30 years ago but was sidelined for political convenience
In 1979 they produced their report: coded JSR-78-07 and entitled The Long Term Impact of Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide on Climate.
Jim Hansen’s now famous congressional testimony given in the hot summer of 1988, he showed GISS model projections of continued global warming assuming further increases in human produced greenhouse gases.
The fossil fuel industry did its own research and discovered it was real.
….But a document filed in a federal lawsuit demonstrates that even as the coalition worked to sway opinion, its own scientific and technical experts were advising that the science backing the role of greenhouse gases in global warming could not be refuted.
“The scientific basis for the Greenhouse Effect and the potential impact of human emissions of greenhouse gases such as CO2 on climate is well established and cannot be denied,” the experts wrote in an internal report compiled for the coalition in 1995.
The coalition was financed by fees from large corporations and trade groups representing the oil, coal and auto industries, among others. In 1997, the year an international climate agreement that came to be known as the Kyoto Protocol was negotiated, its budget totaled $1.68 million, according to tax records obtained by environmental groups....
Now the science is accepted that emissions of C02 must be tackled by many industry leaders.
Shell Oil : “...any debate about whether climate change is real is over. “
BP : Human activity, largely through greenhouse gas emissions, is an important factor in this warming, although some scientific questions remain.
BHP : "BHP Billiton has recognised that our company, as well as society generally, must make real behavioural changes and accelerate technological progress if we are to achieve a meaningful reduction in energy use and greenhouse gas emissions.
Exxon : Priority issues - Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions.
The science is clear when you look at these numbers.
The burning of fossil fuels sends about 26 gigatons of CO2 per year into the atmosphere, which sounds like a lot. Yet the biosphere and the oceans send about 440 gigatons and 330 gigatons of CO2 per year into the atmosphere
The difference - that 26 Gigatonnes is stored carbon, locked away which we are digging up and ADDING to a system which has been in balance, supporting life for millions of years. 770+26+26+26+26.... and you see that pretty soon things get out of balance.
The Carbon cycle
Just imagine what one effect, ocean acidification caused by the ocean absorbing CO2, which is changing the pH level of the water making it more difficult for the base of the marine food chain, phyto-plankton, will do not just to the worlds fishing stocks, but potentially to oxygen itself.
Thus phytoplankton are responsible for much of the oxygen present in the Earth's atmosphere – half of the total amount produced by all plant life.
Acidify the ocean, kill the phytoplankton, inhibit O2 production what happens?
20.9-23.5 percent: Maximum permissible oxygen level. No effect. 20.9 percent: Percentage of oxygen found in normal air. No effect. 19.5 percent: Minimum permissible oxygen level. No effect. 15-19 percent: Decreased ability to work strenuously. May impair coordination and may induce early symptoms with individuals that have coronary, pulmonary, or circulatory problems. 12-15 percent: Respiration and pulse increase; impaired coordination, perception, and judgment occurs. 10-12 percent: Respiration further increases in rate and depth; poor judgment and bluish lips occur. 8-10 percent: Symptoms include mental failure, fainting, unconsciousness, an ash-colored-face, blue lips, nausea, and vomiting. 6-8 percent: 8 minutes - 100 percent fatal; 6 minutes - 50 percent fatal; 4-5 minutes - recovery with treatment. 4-6 percent: Coma in 40 seconds, convulsions, respiration ceases - death.
But it is not just this which is an overwhelming threat to the ability of society to keep functioning, in other areas changing what worked to what simply looked good on paper inflicting even more burden on the next generation.
The unemployment rate for young Americans has exploded to 52.2 percent
The number of young Americans without a job has exploded to 53.4 percent — a post-World War II high, according to the Labor Dept. — meaning millions of Americans are staring at the likelihood that their lifetime earning potential will be diminished and, combined with the predicted slow economic recovery, their transition into productive members of society could be put on hold for an extended period of time.
And in Australia the youth unemployment rate is accelerating.
Currently it's sitting at 17.2%, up from 12% eighteen months ago, and there are concerns it could take years for the numbers to decline.
Where at the same time skilled immigration is escalating as a direct result of government neglect of Australia's youth training programs.
These videos below show how instead of ensuring the industrial and manufacturing base was strengthened when it needed it in Australia and the US, it became something to be broken up and sold off along with people's jobs, communities and lives. Opportunistic speculation, even intentionally causing organizations to fail, given more credence in the business world than those who work hard to start and keep organizations operational. The reason for banks existing - finding investments which would provide jobs and produce value, thus making sure the majority of a countries citizens benefited from its economy, was forgotten, ignored, marginalized.
For much too long now a short term 'fire sale' mentality won over long term hard work to lead to prosperity.
It's good to see so many familiar faces, so many old friends.
Some of you I haven't seen in years.
Thank you for coming.
Bill Coles, our able president, in the annual report, has told you of our year, of what we accomplished, of the need for further improvements our business goals for next year and the years beyond.
I'd like to talk to you about something else.
I want to share with you some of my thoughts concerning the vote that you're going to make in the company that you own.
This proud company, which has survived the death of its founder,numerous recessions, one major depression and two world wars, is in imminent danger
On this day, in the town of its birth,
There is the instrument
of our destruction.
I want you to look at him in all of his glory.
"Larry the Liquidator."
The entrepreneur of post-industrial America
playing God....with other people's money.
The robber barons of old at least left something tangible in their wake.
A coal mine, a railroad, banks.
This man leaves nothing.
He creates nothing.
He builds nothing.
He runs nothing.
And in his wake lies nothing but a blizzard of paper to cover the pain.
Oh, if he said, "I know how to run your business better than you"...that would be something worth talking about...
But he's not saying that.
He's saying, "I'm gonna kill you because at this particular moment in time you're worth more dead than alive."
Well..maybe that's true, but it is also true...that one day this industry will turn.
One day when the yen is weaker, the dollar is stronger or when we finally begin to rebuild our roads, our bridges the infrastructure of our country,
demand will skyrocket.
And when those things happen, we will still be here stronger because of our ordeal, stronger because we have survived.
And the price of our stock will make his offer pale by comparison.
God save us if we vote to take his paltry few dollars and run.
God save this country if that is truly the wave of the future.
We will then have become a nation that makes nothing but hamburgers...
..creates nothing but lawyers
and sells nothing but tax shelters.
And if we are at that point in this country
where we kill something....because at the moment
it's worth more dead than alive..
...take a look around. Look at your
neighbor. Look at your neighbor.
You won't kill him, will you? No.
It's called murder, and it's illegal.
Well, this, too, is murder,on a mass scale.
Only on Wall Street,they call it maximizing shareholder value...
..and they call it legal.
And they substitute dollar bills where a conscience should be.
A business is worth more than the price of its stock.
It's the place where we earn our living, where we meet our friends...
..dream our dreams.
It is, in every sense, the very fabric that binds our society together.
So let us now, at this meeting..say to every Garfield in the land...
..here, we build things, we don't destroy them.
Here, we care about more than the price of our stock.
Here we care about people.
Instead embraced was this attitude adopted by Wall Street.
Instead embraced was this attitude adopted by Wall Street.
We can't, because we have a responsibility...
...a responsibility to our employees, to our community.
What will happen to them?
I got two words for that:
Care about them? Why?
They didn't care about you.
They sucked you dry.
You have no responsibility to them.
It is not just me however who sees it how it really is. Please, if you have the time, watch this episode of 'Addicted to Money' which covers finance and in particular the lack of sustainability of our current lifestyles.
Or simply go see Capitalism.
Michael Moore need not make this movie his last.
Battling the demonization of individuals the media creates
Having had a year to think which not many people can afford to do, I have on frequent occassion had the television on Fox News Network. More than any single person in the history of the world, and I am not singling out corporations as they have changing leaders, but Rupert Murdoch is the largest media magnate with more influence than any other and has been for many years. I have written many articles on the use of his empire to influence the political machinations of a country, but also his determined efforts to poison the respect that people have for each other. Belittling great achievements and demonizing great leaders which do not fit his meet his view of the world.
Murdoch's outlets always seem to seek out the one thing they can use against a person of otherwise sound character, and demonize them to the point they become monsters. Encouraging hatred of others almost with the intent of incitement of violence. Artificial amplification of hatred directed at arbitrary targets whom Murdoch wishes to destroy. It is harming the citizens in the countries wherever he operates, this propaganda intended to whip up fear, and even I was seriously affected by it.
Its intent is to have the viewer or reader
a) agree with the presenter, article or story and thus create an ally of you
b) challenge these preconceptions and thus find yourself somewhat debilitated at the lies and distortions knowing as an individual you can not really have any pushback on this. It is protected 'free speech' after all.
I was reminded of a story from folk lore about the tribal elder telling his grandson about the battle the old man was waging within himself.
He said, "My son it is between two wolves.
One is an evil wolf: anger, envy, sorrow, greed, self-pity, guilt, resentment, lies, false pride, superiority and ego.
The other is the good wolf: joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, generosity, truth, compassion and faith."
The boy took this in for a few minutes and then asked, "Which wolf won?"
His grandfather answered, "The one I feed."
So, too, America's public life. The wolf that wins is the wolf we feed. Media provides the fodder.
From Bill Moyers Journal
See I get it. Murdoch is about invoking irrational fear of the 'other', particularly of other human beings within our own societies. That they are going to take something away from us, our jobs, opportunities, money in government handouts, or hurt us, or our kids. Without rationale the tactics organizations like Newscorp employs by labelling all Muslims, or all gays, or Mexicans, or all Democrats, in Australia Aboriginals, dole bludgers or boat people, asylum seekers as groups to be very, very afraid of in order that you, if you buy into this bigotry and stereotyping, will pre-emptively strike out. He teaches people to hate in order to believe they are defending something from an enemy.
However the enemy is always a media construction and is ever changing. And it is wrong. Not just in theory, but in practice. I have been fortunate to work and interact with people from all walks of life, having lived in a foreign country, Vietnam, for almost 3 years. I can tell you that the irrational fears whipped up by Murdoch, and other hate media, are just that. And I know he is wrong because without tolerance, acceptance, empathy and trying to get along, I would never have improved my life. It is by not being so quick to judge, being tolerant I have :
This also means of course, that I consider many of these people my friends.
There is no brilliance or trick in business that Mr Murdoch played which allowed him to build his empire apart from playing to peoples predjudices, amplifying their fears. By teaching people it is acceptable to hate without good cause, through irrational fear.
Telling them what to dislike so that he was able to control other aspects of their lives or able to paralyze people from taking control of their own lives. For hate is an overwhelming, often debilitating emotion.
Like the tyrants of old, Murdoch achieves what he does by amplifying our minor faults, our differences, by creating new ones, by keeping us divided, ensuring that those who listen and believe think that we don't all make a valued contribution to our societies, but that some people are better than that other person.
Rupert Murdoch's lasting legacy will be that his media empire, in particular that which he calls 'News', has been designed to subtly at times, blatantly right now, 'Feed the evil wolf'.
We really need to stop feeding the evil wolf and start feeding the good one.
I have written an awful lot in the past few weeks on areas where we appear to have immense problems with respect to climate and energy policy and up
until this week believed that despite it all, rationality would win the day. However instead of helping us put things right, we have a situation where those whose help we really need, are fighting tooth and nail to ensure that no action is taken. The strong emotional response wanting to stop what will help us all, is something I cannot understand.
After defeating plans for a small 15 tower wind farm next door to a drag racing track because of the stated potential for noise pollution...
It just shows if you work hard, if you look at all the facts, if you do it fair and with balance, you can get a good outcome (rejected wind farm application).
Of course we're worried about Global Warming.
I mean that's got to be something we're all concerned about. I mean we're all doing our bit to try and conserve. And looking at renewable energy, of course, absolutely, I mean yeh, hahaha, we're part of the Earth hahaha.
How do we move forward when it is always seems to be one man against many, trying to do so much good, only to have people band together to prevent this? If it is always a case where those who see the tortured young girl in the basement and are willing to fight tooth and nail to keep her there, what can we do? How do we fix this problem when so much is preventing against us from acting, from doing anything.
I've tried to work out a solution on this for well over a year and I think the answer is in what the people of Omelas choose to do who cannot live with their conscience, the knowledge of what was happening and the equal knowledge there was little they could do, if they continue to accept the society they live in as having the right ideas.
They leave Omelas, they walk ahead into the darkness, and they do not come back. The place they go towards is a place even less imaginable to most of us than the city of happiness. I cannot describe it at all. It is possible that it does not exist. But they seem to know where they are going, the ones who walk away from Omelas.
I am part of a lost generation
and I refuse to believe that
I can change the world
I realize this may be a shock but
“Happiness comes from within.”
is a lie, and
“Money will make me happy.”
So in 30 years I will tell my children
they are not the most important thing in my life
My employer will know that
I have my priorities straight because
is more important than
I tell you this
Once upon a time
Families stayed together
but this will not be true in my era
This is a quick fix society
Experts tell me
30 years from now, I will be celebrating the 10th anniversary of my divorce
I do not concede that
I will live in a country of my own making
In the future
Environmental destruction will be the norm
No longer can it be said that
My peers and I care about this earth
It will be evident that
My generation is apathetic and lethargic
It is foolish to presume that
There is hope.
Now read this in reverse
Before I took time off work to look at this issue of energy and climate disruption, much of my daytime hours were spent working in control rooms all around the place.
My job would have been to commission the brains of the power station, bring the control systems on line. But I felt taking the time out to spend on this was more important even though there was a lot of money I could have made. To see if there were alternative solutions we could find to achieve essentially the same outcomes. Without the combustion of fossil fuels, producing vast quantities of toxic pollution, wasting water or exhausting and depleting a valuable resource.
It something most of us cannot do with the frenetic pace of our modern lifestyles, taking the time to look at what we are doing in terms of sacrificing balanced environmental/ecological systems using industrial processes designed 100 years ago to create consumable energy. It has changed my priorities in life, made me rethink what is most important.
This truly is a situation where all hands on deck are needed, it is that dangerous to ignore it any longer, that nothing else in my opinion, matters if we do nothing as we are headed over the cliff, we are headed straight at the iceberg and some are preventing us from changing course.
But there are so many benefits to come from looking around and seeking out better ways of achieving the same end result.
Economic savings over time a big one.
Cost of renewable energy 10 times cheaper than ‘business as usual’ fossil-fuelled future, says breakthrough report
Savings of US $180 billion per year predicted in first global analysis of renewable energy versus fossil fuels
Amsterdam/Brussels, 6th July 2007: Investing in a renewable electricity future will save 10 times the fuel costs of a ‘business as usual’ fossil-fuelled scenario, saving $180 billion USD annually and cut CO2 emissions in half by 2030, according to a joint report by Greenpeace and the European Renewable Energy Council (EREC) released today.
Energy Efficiency Could Slash U.S. Energy Bills by $168.6B
The group, ACEEE, analyzed economic and energy data from 2008, and found potential savings totalling some 16 percent more than their previous estimate of $144 billion (based on older data). The most recent estimate, released this week, reflects a scenario in which utilities cut electricity demand by 15 percent and natural gas demand by 10 percent by 2020 — reductions proposed by Democratic lawmakers and backed by ACEEE.
Currently about 2.3 million people worldwide work either directly in renewables or indirectly in supplier indus tries.
1 Given incomplete data, this is in all like lihood a conservative figure. The wind power industry employs some 300,000 people, the solar photovoltaics (PV) sector accounts for an estimated 170,000 jobs, and the solar thermal industry, at least 624,000. 2 More than 1 million jobs are found in the biomass and biofuels sector. 3 Small-scale hydropower and geothermal energy are far smaller employers.
Some of the worlds largest organizations are active in seeking out opportunities in the renewable and sustainability sector.
Löscher (CEO of Siemens): The fact is that the world needs a broad mix of energy sources. We are standing on the brink of a new era in energy production. Electricity that is clean and produced in an environmentally friendly is a major way of tackling climate change. And that involves the whole spectrum of energy sources and innovative technologies.
The proposals are simply staggering in their scope with industrial majors getting behind the commercial roll out and installation of large scale new energy technologies.
An Entire new $22 Billion city in the desert called Masdar.
Masdar is a project in Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab Emirates. Its core is a planned city, which is being built by the Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company, a subsidiary of Mubadala Development Company, with the majority of seed capital provided by the government of Abu Dhabi. Designed by the British architectural firm Foster + Partners, the city will rely entirely on solar energy and other renewable energy sources, with a sustainable, zero-carbon, zero-waste ecology.
Masdar Future Energy Company
A major $555 Billion investment bringing renewable energy to the desert of Africa which will be linked by a supergrid to supply Europe.
Desertec The huge project to build a $555 billion renewable energy “belt” in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, funded largely by German companies, moved another step forward a few days ago.
The articles of association for the DESERTEC Industrial Initiative (DII) were signed by the joint venture group of 12 companies and the DESERTEC Foundation in Munich on October 30.
The current shareholders — ABB, ABENGOA Solar, Cevital, DESERTEC Foundation, Deutsche Bank, E.ON, HSH Nordbank, MAN Solar Millennium, Munich Re, M+W Zander, RWE, SCHOTT Solar, and Siemens — are looking to make a profit.
$34 Billion of solar thermal proposed plants to be built by 2020 in Australia by BHP and Rio Tinto
WorleyParsons, Australia's biggest engineering company, is studying the construction of the world's biggest project producing power from the sun's heat, tapping incentives for renewable energy generation.
An initial 250-megawatt unit may start up in 2011 at a cost of about $1 billion, Peter Meurs, managing director of WorleyParsons' EcoNomics unit, said today in Sydney. Some $34 billion of projects may be built by 2020, by companies including BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto, he said.
Listed for Southern California alone are solar plants totalling almost 12,000 Megawatts. Below is the 64 Megawatt Nevada Solar one.
For a longer video go here
Now imagine building these 180,000 mirrors and 64 Megawatts of power station 200 times over in just one state alone.
Well that is what is being proposed with 12,000 Megawatts of solar installations proposed for the US in Southern California here.
Now think Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, even Texas and the potential for jobs and new industrial base in America is enormous.
But it is the future possibilities which make this idea even more exciting. Take for instance a plan to irrigate and create massive carbon sinks through bio-char and agriculture in Australia's deserts.
Solar power and desalination fit well together for geographic, technological and economic reasons.
Geographically, dry desert areas with powerful sun are ideal for generating concentrating solar power. They also tend to be where water shortages are severe.
Technologically, concentrating solar power generates heat. This heat can be turned into electricity to power reverse osmosis desalination. Or it can be used directly as thermal energy in multi-effects desalination. This increases flexibility.
Economically, water stressed areas results have high water provision costs. This makes desalination attractive for those areas, spurring takeup and long-term economies of scale.
Impossible to do at scale you say? Only if you think the known energy intensive desalination processes are all there is. A new process described by the Economist describes a process using ionic bridges and the heat from sunlight to create a low energy desalination process.
This was written out in much simpler terms by BluePlatypus in this article, and I have also borrowed a graphic from the piece.
Or we are finding that plastics can be grown and harvested in biological processes rather than extracted as we do from fossil fuels.
In many ways plastics are simply synthetic compounds that mimic and try to improve upon substances we find widespread in nature—polymers such as you might find in wood, leaves, seeds and fur. Bio-based plastics (those derived from biological sources other than fossil fuels) have been around for more than 100 years. In fact, celluloid, the first synthetic plastic ever made was invented in the mid 1800s, and—you guessed it—was bio-based.
That for every naysayer we can find people with optimism, for every person saying we can't do these are impossibilities, we can find ways to go around this. That it is indeed possible to imagine a world without the detrimental side effects of living as we do so dependent on ancient sunlight, releasing stored carbon, fossil fuels.
Most of the technology needed to shift the world from fossil fuel to clean, renewable energy already exists. Implementing that technology requires overcoming obstacles in planning and politics, but doing so could result in a 30 percent decrease in global power demand, say Stanford civil and environmental engineering Professor Mark Z. Jacobson and University of California-Davis researcher Mark Delucchi.
A long time ago my original focus was looking for the solutions which we have at our call to sustainably obtain all the things we use today without having to dig up and burn dirt. Below are four research articles which I wrote after looking for as many technologies as possible which were being developed. Please take the time to re-read these are they are filled with not single instances of things we can do to bring in systems which are sustainable, but many many instances where people have taken themselves out of their comfort zones and elected to do that which they believe is the future we deserve.
I have started a soapblox based website with the intent of doing this again. It is the beginning I hope of a site which will exist to discuss those solutions which can make a difference and anyone can contribute.
Please visit and if you wish, sign up to
This idea will develop over the coming weeks as although it has been playing around in my thoughts, only now am I in a place where I am able to start working on it.
The Answers are out there.
So why call something Project Omelas?
It's about walking away from just accepting the processes which do the most damage, have the most unsustainable impact on our planet, by looking for others. The process of always seeking out better solutions where as David Suzuki says, "the answers are all out there, we just have to bring them into our lives."
This clip above was from a show produced a while back, and I may get into trouble with this one, but it demonstrated the remarkable solutions available to us if we open our eyes and our imaginations and just look around. It's about never simply accepting that feeling anger, outrage, impotence, or thinking that you are not able to do anything about something we know is wrong, is reason enough to stop looking.
From the 11th hour there are 5 clips as part of the extended DVD, and I urge you to take the time to watch them as they are truly astonishing.
I don't think there is much point in simply railing against all those that have brought us so close to the edge. Because they have. They sat back and allowed the destruction of economies to happen. They have kept people in fear and continue daily to bleat the same old thing. The ignorance of young people because they have failed to get it right for the older one resulting in the destruction of jobs, of hope. Many have tried and many have failed trying to appeal to our industry and political leaders hoping they'll see sense, to engage their consciences, and make decision to act right now on climate change rather than acting in the interests of greed alone.
A Cause to get behind
I spoke in a diary of the runners travelling on a 6000km run across Australia. Firefighters and police, first responders to the bushfires which ravaged Victoria taking 173 lives earlier in the year. One of the speakers, Peter I think it was, relayed a story of the Australians who fought and died in World War II, personalizing it by telling us about his trip to the Kokoda Track in the Papua New Guinean Jungle. He spoke of the incredible sacrifice these men made for something they believed in, something they believed was worth giving up, risking their entire lives for. That this crisis confronting us in climate disruption, is like that these firefighters had faced on Black Saturday.
I've just read a short piece by a reporter who travelled with these runners and it firmed my resolve going into this.
But the runners did encounter apathy and were disappointed with how few people turned up at the community events.
Many people, they said, did not know much about climate change. ''No one cares, seriously,'' says Senior Constable Hynes. ''They just brush it off.'
These people are trying to do what needs to be done. To find better solutions instead of being happy with the ones we have which cause so much damage, waste so many resources.
When you consider groups from the Manufactured Doubt industry, who exist simply to create confusion about a scientific certainty, receive vast sums of money each year to deceive people.
"This is science for hire, period, and it is extremely lucrative".
I think a group who focuses on solutions is a bright beacon.
So I think that people like this need our support, not just in a small way either. The group they have assembled has completed this run in order to raise funds from the public, to stay non-partisan to find solutions for a sustainable future.
In one of my diaries I spoke of an individual, Ian Stapleton, who had left his employment at a prestigious private college where he had been a hiking master in the mountains of Victoria.
That he did what he thought was right in giving everything he had into building two mountain camping villages in order for young people, city kids, underpriviledged and troubled youths, an experience of what it was like living in the mountains.
So this is my cause and I'm willing to trade what I own, which is just stuff anyway, to see if I can collect a few more dollars to chip in to their kitty. Because I don't want someone to ask me what I did about saving the Great Barrier Reef in 20 years time, and my only answer is, I ignored it, carried on as usual because there was 1% doubt. I ignored it hoping it was not true, despite all the scientists for 30 years warning us it was. I watched while the climate humans have thrived under, started to irreversibly change to one not.
This is one idea on how to stand up for what is right.
Selling my stuff for a safe climate.
Which in the interests of the target of 350, I've started with a listing of 350 items.
For this cause.
Who are raising funds for people wanting to do something positive about finding climate solutions.
And a site you can join up to where I hope people will talk about positive solutions going forward. I have plenty, maybe you have your own.
Oh and one last thing. I've given this the name Project Omelas because in my mind, it also means we don't have to play by the same tired old destructive rules we've been forced to play under. The rules that state that there must be a winner and a loser and the more the loser suffers, the better off the winner must be.
By walking away metaphorically, with the tools we have in social media, we can make our own rules. In fact, I think this is already happening.
"...What I think is, it's never too late...or, in my case, too early,
to be whoever you want to be...
There's no time limit, start anytime you want...change or stay the same...
there aren't any rules..
We can make the best or worst of it...
I hope you make the best...
I hope you see things that startle you.
Feel things you never felt before.
I hope you meet people who have a different point of view.
I hope you challenge yourself.
I hope you stumble, and pick yourself up
I hope you live the life you wanted to...and if you haven't,
I hope you start all over again."
- The curious case of Benjamin Button