Renewables are part of the problem

September 1, 2019

This was a comment to Facebook. I’ve reproduced it here, because I think it encapsulates everything about the problems we face (and have thoughtlessly brought down upon ourselves).

“Renewables are part of the problem unless combined with Degrowth.

Because:

1. The growth economy (with or without renewables) is a death sentence for the planet. Continuous growth on a finite planet is impossible.
2. The growth economy is fueled by three things; fossil fuel, our consumer culture, and extraction industries – timber, minerals, fish, topsoil (destroyed by industrial agriculture or paved over). Removing one alone is not enough.
3. Renewables offer false hope. They divert attention from the fact that we cannot continue the growth economy. Many well meaning people think that renewables, EVs and recycling is all we need to save the planet. People don’t realize renewables are being used to continue the growth economy.
4. There is insufficient time to tackle FFs first then tackle the growth economy sometime later.
5. There is insufficient time to scale up the use of renewables before collapse.
6. Fossil fuels are used in the mining for, and manufacture and construction of renewables.
7. Moving to 100% renewables would use a large chunk of our carbon budget to remain below 1.5ºC i.e. not enough left for transport, manufacturing, food production, etc.
8. Renewables require enormous areas of land, much of which comes at the expense of farms or natural areas.
9. Renewables will do nothing to reduce Deforestation, Water scarcity, Topsoil loss, Biodiversity loss, Species extinction, damaged Phosphorus and Nitrogen cycles, Plastic pollution, Mining pollution (some of which is for renewables), and other Pollution.
10. Renewables will do nothing to reduce child and slave labour, some of which is for mining minerals for renewables.
11. Renewables will do nothing to reduce mineral scarcity, eg some rare earth minerals needed to maintain a modern lifestyle. In fact renewables are depleting some minerals.
12. We tend to focus just on our lives and those like us in the developed world. Billions of others have every right to aspire to a better life, but the planet can’t support everyone living our lifestyle, with or without renewables.
13. Convergence is necessary as our consumption decreases while that of developing countries increases. If every house on the planet had enough renewable energy for one reading light per person, a battery charger, a small fridge and not much else then there would probably be more people moving up the lifestyle ladder than down.”

For the permaculture enthusiasts out there

August 25, 2019

This is looking like an interesting video from Verge Permaculture (It’s long and I’m only just into it). It’s about the benefits of swales in dry climates. We should be doing more of this in Australia.

From the notes below the video (read the rest, too) :

Rob and Takota explore the Tucson swales, an “oasis” in the deserts outside of Tucson, created in the dirty 30’s as part of a Federal make work project, and the swales are still functioning today! Take a detailed video tour of this amazing swale, and learn how to maximize available water even in an extremely dry climate.

Searching for Bill Mollison: Exploring the Tucson swales

 

There’s nothing we can do

August 10, 2019

I agree with Paul Kingsnorth. Watch the video and see what you think.

http://www.wrongkindofgreen.org/2019/06/30/watch-the-battle-against-climate-change-by-paul-kingsnorth/

Rethinking Renewable Mandates

August 1, 2019

via Rethinking Renewable Mandates

Reblogged from Damn The Matrix

Why stimulus can’t fix our energy problems

July 11, 2019

via Why stimulus can’t fix our energy problems

Reblogged from Damn the Matrix

A Year of Deep Adaptation

July 8, 2019

Jem Bendell’s paper on Deep Adaptation is a year old and has been downloaded half a million times. It attempts to help people come to terms with the inevitable collapse of society— “the uneven ending of our current means of sustenance, shelter, security, pleasure, identity and meaning. Others may prefer the term societal breakdown when referring to the same process.”

Professor Jem Bendell

One year ago this month, our Institute at the University of Cumbria released my paper on Deep Adaptation to our climate tragedy. It has since been downloaded over half a million times, been translated into many languages, inspired Facebook groups (one with over 4000 people), many events, and been credited by commentators and activists as helping the Extinction Rebellion movement. Not bad for what one journalist suggested to me was a “career suicide note.” compendium

Over the past year I have sought to do what I could to channel the shock, anger, fear, despair, and passion of so many people who got in touch with me, into networks of solidarity, contemplation, inquiry and action. That has included the launch of the Deep Adaptation Forum for people who want to work through what this means for their day jobs – or whether to quit. I have also sought to…

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My new toy

June 28, 2019

As the owner of a bush block, I do a lot of burning off. When summer comes, bushfire is an ever-present worry, so keeping the bush free of fire fuel is a priority. A lot of pruning and raking of litter gets done on a regular basis throughout the year. I’ve always felt guilty about all that CO2 going back into the atmosphere when it should be sequestered in the soil and stored there.

Enter biochar. Some of you might have read about its value as a soil amendment and a means of keeping carbon in the soil. Here’s the Wikipedia entry on it. Making my own seemed like it wasn’t going to be easy, because of the need to burn material without oxygen to produce pure carbon and not CO2. So I gave the idea a miss.

Then I discovered you can actually buy a kiln in which to burn the material.

https://www.longleyorganicfarm.com.au/biochar-cone-kilns

I checked out the video at the site. It looked easy, so I took the plunge and ordered one. (Note: I wrote this draft a couple of weeks ago and couldn’t do any burning off to try the kiln, because it wouldn’t stop raining! When the weather finally dried up, I went back to the site to check out the video again and got a message saying it was unavailable. I’ve emailed the company to ask why, but if you can’t see it, there are plenty of still photos)

It came in a flat(ish) pack of four bent sections of heavy steel with a bag of nuts and bolts. It weighed a ton! I couldn’t lift the package! But all was OK; I opened it and put the panels one at a time into the wheelbarrow. It was obvious it was going to have to be put together at the final burning-off site.

I managed to do it without having to ask a neighbour for help (it’s awkward to deal with because it’s a cone, but I propped it against a tree).

Finally, I got to try it out.

Here’s the fire just about died down. I only managed to half fill it :

I added the water. A lot of steam….. :

…..and kept adding till the steam and the sizzling noise stopped :

It really is charcoal! It crumbles :

I’ll be using this as a soil additive in all the wicking boxes and tubs and the raised beds I’ve bought for more veggies.

Quite happy with my new toy!

THE END OF SUPERGIANTS: And What It Means

May 17, 2019

Reblogged from Damn the Matrix.

The Anthropocene

May 15, 2019

Very disturbing video from Ian Angus :

A couple of important videos

May 14, 2019

The first is an interview with Guy McPherson, who writes Nature Bats Last blog. In it he mentions ‘global dimming’. I’d seen it referred to but wasn’t really up to speed on it. It’s what happens when particulates from the burning of fossil fuels (which is actually pollution) collect in the atmosphere and reflect incoming sunlight back into space, providing a cooling effect to oppose the heating effect from CO2 in the atmosphere, also caused by the burning of fossil fuels. It’s a catch 22 situation—one cools, one heats. If we stop burning fossil fuels we lose the dimming/cooling effect and the earth cops the full brunt of the warming caused by CO2. If we continue burning fossil fuels, we add more CO2 and we get more warming.

Here’s Guy :

https://archive.org/details/PBCInConversation042GuyMcPherson

The second is a documentary on global dimming itself :

https://topdocumentaryfilms.com/global-dimming/