Monthly Archives: March 2010

James Lovelock: it’s too late … we’ve pulled the (environmental) trigger

James Lovelock said that while the earth’s future was utterly uncertain, mankind was not aware it had “pulled the trigger” on global warming as it built its civilizations.

The human species is but a bit-player in the long story of the planet Earth. What we do affects little of the overall narrative. But nonetheless we have unwittingly pulled the trigger and shot ourselves in the foot. So enjoy the rest of your life because that is all you can really do. Enjoy it even if you have to limp for the rest of the time.

So do you want to Farmville … or farm?

“Mooney [vice president and general manager of the company that created Farmville] says the game has had other positive benefits, like generating an interest in real farming.”

If I was the maker of a popular game like Farmville I too would probably say this.

But does generating interest in farming translate into people actually doing real farming?

The funny thing is these people who do play the game, at the end of the day, would still prefer to play the game than to farm, because it is easier, less dirty, you get points or gain levels, and you can beat your friends or “neighbours” at it. This something something real farming cannot give you.

Having said that though what real farming can give you is this:

  • a better sense of the natural cycle of the seasons
  • physical exercise
  • food

So you don’t have to ask me which – Farmville or farming – do I prefer.

Farming may be harder (in my opinion, only just), dirtier and without points (but not pointless) it is definitely more satisfying and a lot more rewarding. And you have actual neighbours that are nice.

Think about this: less people now produce food than any time in human history.

That is not to say we are producing less food, but less people are producing more food. For example, in a developed nation like America less than 10 percent of its population work on farms to produce food for its 300 million. One has to ask what does “developed” really mean and why the rest of the world should aspire to their ideals if these very ideals are the ruination of of our kind and the planet.

I mean, I think it is important to work but not all work is good. It seems we are putting our efforts into the wrong type of work when all we really want need, at the end of the day, is food, shelter and clothing.

And what about those less fortunate? We produce enough food to feed every person on the planet, yet we have starvation and obesity, sometimes within the same nation. Is something wrong here or not? I can go on but I won’t.

I think I’ll finish this post now and get back to my composting or to something more productive.

Seals take refuge in Peru from global warming

It seems human beings are not the only refugees from global warming.

The Organisation for the Research and Conservation of Aquatic Animals (ORCA) have reported that a colony of fur seals from the Galapagos Islands – its natural habitat – have migrated to Peru some 1,500km away.

The BBC and other news sources say temperatures around waters have consistently risen from 17C (Peru’s average) to 23C (temperatures similar to the Galapagos Islands) in recent years. ORCA has suggested that with this rise in temperature other non-native marine species may begin to come to Peru soon.

So how much longer will it take for us to get the hint from nature that something is happening to our planet.

My Dharma resolutions

And since I made sustainability resolutions it would be appropriate to make Dharma ones also.

I pledge to meditate once a week at least. Last year I pledged to meditate more … and I did. But not much more than before. So this year I will make it more concrete with a target.

I also pledge to memorize The Heart Sutra (Hannya Shingyo). I should be able to remember it by now but I haven’t.

Two is enough I think. I shouldn’t overcommit myself as I have other resolutions also to keep.

My sustainability resolutions

Over two months of 2010 have already gone by but there is still plenty of time to start a list of resolutions.

This year I pledge to reduce my garbage output. Right now, as a family, we put out one full bag a week of burnables and plastics each per week. When David Suzuki is said to put out only one bag a month there is definitely room for improvement by myself and everyone.

My second pledge is to start composting. Our kitchen garden would be complete if we can just make our own compost. We use commercially bought chicken manure as fertiliser right now. And learning to compost would also help my cause in achieving my first resolution.

Reduce Reuse Recycle – the order of the 3Rs according to Google

In my last post a friend commented that isn’t that the order we all know.

So I decided to put it to the test in Google.

In Google if you quotation marks ” ” around a search term it returns the results as if the separate words were one word. So by putting in every possible combination of ‘reduce’, ‘reuse’ and ‘recycle’ I should get a good idea of how the English speaking world orders them. Below is the result:

Interestingly, the absolute opposite order of ‘Recycle Reuse Reduce’ came in 1st but its “pair” starting with ‘recycle’ (Recycle, Reduce, Reuse) came in last. The proper order of Reduce Reuse Recycle is ranked 4th of six. The order and number of hits are certainly a mixed bag with some reaching only low 5 digits. Well worth looking at in more detail, I think.

Even more amusing is Google Fight (put in each pair to see “the fight”) where the proper order is maintained. The problem is though the words are not linked to each other but rather it is about frequency without context. Not very scientific but fun to say the least.