Our functioning democracy is skin-deep

“Our political system has the outward appearance of democracy, but it is largely controlled by undemocratic forces. We find ourselves on the wrong side of the portcullis, watching helplessly as crucial decisions are taken about us, without us. If there’s one thing the coronavirus fiascos show, it’s the need for radical change.” This article by George Monbiot is about the UK political system, but there are obvious parallels with the Australian system, … Read more

Who will challenge Trump?

In mid-July we will learn who will run against Donald Trump. On current indications, it looks as if it will be Joe Biden. I bet Trump is hoping so. I’m not a fan. He’s too close to the corporate elite, and has a chequered history on women’s rights (voted against Roe v. Wade, for example) as well as supporting cuts to Medicare and social security. As Sanders said yesterday, his presidency would … Read more

Corruption on a gargantuan scale

I cannot describe my feelings on this while I’m living through the worst bushfire season we’ve ever had, with 1000 homes already destroyed, but the influence of the coal lobby in preventing action to ameliorate the adverse effects of global warming can only be described as criminal. Please watch the video (15 minutes) to understand the severity of this issue. Dirty Power: Big Coal’s network of influence over the coalition government   … Read more

A Modern Christmas Story

Santa Claus gathered his dozen or so elves together late one Friday afternoon and said, “No need to come to work on Monday, fellas. I won’t need you anymore.” The shocked elves turned to each other in disbelief. “Why not?” asked Shinny Upatree. “Because over the weekend I shall be installing a shipment of robots. They will do your jobs faster and be so much cheaper, too. Unlike you lot, they’ll also … Read more

Looking Forward to Christmas

As a turkey, I have mixed feelings about Christmas. On the one hand, I’ll get to be a significant part of the festivities, but on the other I’ll be leaving my brothers and sisters behind and all the friends I’ve grown up with. Today is the day the farmer told us we would be picked out and carried away to our new homes. Not all of us, though; just the fattest and … Read more

How many humans can Earth sustain?

“Population-dynamics science tells us two things broadly about invasive animal population trends. Typically, the population of an invasive species that moves into a new area and is freed from predation will boom — it expands beyond what is called the “carrying capacity”, and diminishes the food and resources it needs to sustain itself in the process. In the case of humans, modern medicine and technology have facilitated that boom. Things that used … Read more

Close Encounters of the Hanson Kind

I had the great privilege to be present in the Legislative Council chamber during the opening of the NSW Parliament today. The highlight for me was the Presentation of the Message Stick by representatives of the Aboriginal Languages community, who spoke eloquently and movingly in their language and in English. The lowlight was the Governor’s Opening Speech, which was nothing more than a prolonged and tedious political party broadcast. Why this is … Read more

Show me your climate solution

Greta Thunberg is the Swedish teenager who so dramatically made the world take notice with her candid, incisive calls for action on combatting global warming. Here is a part of Greta Thunberg’s speech that she gave to the British Parliament in April 2019: “Many people say that we don’t have any solutions to the climate crisis. And they are right. Because how could we? How do you “solve” the greatest crisis that … Read more

Extinction Rebellion

I became a member of this group not long after it was formed in the UK. At the time I thought it, like so many similar movements, might prevail on the margins of political action, but I liked its objectives and so added my name to its small list of supporters. This past week has been quite an eye-opener. The demonstrations, especially in London, by ER have raised not only the group’s … Read more

Will we survive?

When I was young our existential fear, despite the doctrine of Mutually Assured Destruction, was nuclear annhilation. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, this fear evaporated and for a while we enjoyed a period of relative safety. Only recently have we woken up to an even greater threat to our future wellbeing, namely that of global warming. There is no doctrine to assuage our fears this time, rather we’re faced with … Read more