Amazing Cloud Formations

July 10, 2009

They really are.


Harping on again?

May 30, 2008

It’s been a while since I mentioned the reality of the effects of our huge meat production line, but a story in this mornings papers has made me decide to bring it back into focus here.

The Guardians article “More Wealth, more meat.  How China’s rise spells trouble.”  highlights a very simple yet enlightening fact about our meat eating environmental economy.

To produce a kilogram of beef farmers need 8kg of feed; for pork about 6kg; for chicken 2kg. Worldwide, 700m tonnes of grain are needed to fatten animals each year.

When you think about that it raises many questions.  Food prices are rising, many people around the world are starving.  Now what would feed more people?  1kg of beef or 8kg of grain.  The answer is self explanatory in my opinion and although I am simplifying using the above quote the facts are not much more complicated.

Our meat industry is hugely inefficient when it comes to the amount of food we get out of it compared to the amount of energy put in and the environmental impact created is also hugely underestimated and misunderstood.

The impact of the global meat industry with regards to green house gasses is larger than the worlds car or automobile footprint.  Yes, that’s right.  The meat industry contributes more green house gasses to our atmosphere than the total impact of cars, motorbikes and lorries.

It’s definitely something to think about.

And as the worlds population rises at an unprecedented rate, so does the impact of the meat industry.

On average Americans eat 129% more meat than the Chinese; Europeans consume 83% more. But in China’s case the fear is not of individual consumption, but of the multiples of scale and speed of 1.3 billion people growing richer at a rate of more than 10% a year.

I haven’t even touched on world food prices and the treatment of said animals, but I believe, pardon the pun, that there is enough food for thought above.


The Climate Change Myth

May 28, 2008

This myth has been doing the rounds since the first time global warming surfaced as a possibility.  People who believe that the human race has nothing to do with the climate change or, even more unbelievably, that climate change is a myth altogether, can often spout an array of ‘facts’, ‘figures’ and studies to back up this insistence.

There are plenty of reasons why these misguided and misused facts and figures surface to be used by the naive.  A huge reason these misguided people have this ammunition is companies with a vested interest in the further proliferation of fossil fuel usage plow cash into ‘scientific’ studies to protect their interests.

The oil giant ExxonMobil has admitted that its support for lobby groups that question the science of climate change may have hindered action to tackle global warming…

…shareholders including the Rockefeller family will urge ExxonMobil to take the problem of climate change more seriously. Green campaigners accuse the company of funding a “climate denial industry” over the last decade, with $23m (£11.5m) handed over to groups that play down the risks of burning fossil fuels…

…A survey carried out by the UK’s Royal Society found that in 2005 ExxonMobil distributed $2.9m to 39 groups that the society said “misrepresented the science of climate change by outright denial of the evidence”.

Source: The Guardian

The reality is crystal clear I think.


Conservative Blast

May 28, 2008

People on the right wing of politics around the world annoy me.  The further right the bigger the annoyance.

It seems to me that the conservatives of this world, by their nature, veer off into a closed bubble of self.  The very nature of conservatism is to be introvert.  Amass wealth and superficial sundries.  Look after nobody but yourself.

The further people drift left the more they see the injustice on this tiny planet, the socialist tendency allows facts like:

“Richest 2 Percent Own Half the World’s Wealth.”

…to sink in.

I would go so far as to say most conservatives are so consumed in their own personal bubble that they are beyond caring for anything or anyone who doesn’t in some way come into contact with them.

Superficial actions do not count.

Most people vote based on a surface tension layer of understanding, formed from tabloid red top head lines for the most part.  Xenophobes who think that people worse off than them should not be allowed in to their respective country.  They of course forget that if the positions were reversed they would leave their nation of birth and seek something better.  That of course is irrelevant to them.  Xenophobia creates many of the worlds issues and ruins many lives.  But I again refer to the ‘bubble’.

Let’s not be silly and say everything that is proposed by right wing parties or organisations is sensible.  But the essence of the philosophy is correct.  The morality at the core should speak to a society based on ethics, morality and the good of mankind.

I have little faith in the human race as a whole.  Not to say I haven’t been in my own bubble of self indulgence, but I like to think that I learn from mistakes and evolve in my own understanding of this small planet we all inhabit.  I suppose my urge to study the arts, philosophy and politics in relative depth rather than showbiz, soap and tabloid news stands me in a better stead and I think that is where the general population of the western world falls down.  But I generalise.

I suppose I can sum up by saying that I wish the population of our wide ranging societies would spend less time looking in their own wallets, at their own selfish desires and more to the bigger picture.  You may only have £50 in your bank, but someone else only has £1.  You may want that bigger house or other belonging that you don’t really need. Someone else wants for the means to survive.  Even in your own country.

I recently listened to a podcast that made an impression.

It focused on spending an hour thinking about what you could do without and still be happy.  I think if most people were brutally honest with themselves it would be a lot more than they would initially realise.  We live in an ultra capitalist society here in the west.

Is it really good for us as a species, individuals, on a planet of limited resources?


Trouble around the world

May 14, 2008

A cyclone in Burma and an earthquake in China.

Natural disasters are just that.  Natural.

It doesn’t mean that we should be any less sympathetic or charitable.  Luckily China has, in it’s own ways, the resources to deal with a disaster of this scale.  However, with possibly hundreds of thousands dead or dying and damage to infrastructure beyond comprehension hopefully they will be more open to outside help than the dictatorship that is Burma.

I have been reading in newspapers, online and hearing over the radio how this secretive state is blocking foreign aid at almost every turn.  Either simply not letting aid and aid workers in, or placing unreasonable conditions on the aid agencies involved.  The ruling military power is taking the abuse of human rights to new levels and we as a civilised world should not take their ‘no’ for an answer.  Forcing aid in via peaceful means should be considered.

The world is at a stage in it’s life, with us as the dominate species, where nobody should go hungry, nobodies human rights should be infringed on and we should be looking after our fragile planet.  Even more so in a time where millions of litres of water has to be shipped in to Spain, just for people to be able to drink, due to never before seen levels of drought.  Sceptics beware, global warming may just be rearing it’s head enough to bite.

Sadly, even in times of desperate need, lives that could be saved through the goodness and charity of others is refused and the human race suffers needlessly.

Our evolution stutters in the face of adversity and our right to call ourselves civilized should be called in to question more often than not.

We fail to act over atrocities like genocide in Africa.  Yet fall over ourselves to initiate a wars over oil and imaginary WMD and terrorists, killing those we profess to save.

I hope with all my heart that the influential Super Powers of the world are subject to the political changes necessary to rip up the rotten foundations of our political morality and that grass roots voters open their eyes and minds to the reality of our existence.

We are one species, one human race on one small planet.


Moscow or Mordor?

February 12, 2008

“One does not simply walk into Moscow”

Yes, this really is a recent picture of Moscow not Mordor.

Yes, global warming is a reality.

Yes, this is one of the reasons it is happening.


Crabs

January 28, 2008

Christmas Island Red CrabsMother nature amazes as always.


10 Reasons to Be A Vegetarian

January 26, 2008

Richard Dawkins on Vegetarianism
What I am doing is going along with the fact that I live in a society where meat eating is accepted as the norm, and it requires a level of social courage which I haven’t yet produced to break out of that. It’s a little bit like the position which many people would have held a couple of hundred years ago over slavery. Where lots of people felt morally uneasy about slavery but went along with it because the whole economy of the South depended upon slavery.

Former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop has said bad eating habits are the main cause of 70 percent American deaths. Consuming more fresh fruits, vegetables, and grains are the best source for living a healthy, more enjoyable life.By being a vegetarian you are not only helping your body but you also help the environment by reducing pollution created from animal agriculture. Also, you may appreciate your healthy meals even more knowing that no animals suffered along the way.

There are literally hundreds of great reasons to green with your diet but here are our top 10.

1. Live Longer
A study from the Loma Linda University has found that vegetarians live about seven years longer, and vegans live about 15 years longer than meat eaters. These studies are further supported by the Chinese Health Project (the largest population study on diet and health to date). They found Chinese people who eat the least amount of fat and animal products have the lowest risk of cancer, heart attack and other diseases.

Further proof comes from a British research that tracked 6,000 and 5,000 meat eaters for 12 years to find that vegetarians were 40 percent less likely to die from cancer during that time and 20 percent less likely to die from other diseases.

2. You’ll be more “regular.”
Vegetables are the ultimate source for fiber, which pushes waste out of the body. Meat contains no fiber. Studies done at Harvard and Brigham Women’s Hospital found that people who ate a high-fiber diet had a 42 percent lower risk of diverticulitis. People who eat vegetable rich diets also tend to have fewer incidences of constipation, hemorrhoids and spastic colon.

3. Have a good heart

Fruits and vegetables are full of antioxidant nutrients that protect the heart and its arteries. Plus, produce contains no saturated fat or cholesterol.

Cholesterol levels for vegetarians are 14 percent lower than meat eaters. American diet that’s filled with saturated fats and cholestrol from meat and dairy has made cardiovascular disease the number one killer in the United States.

4. You’ll avoid toxic chemicals.
95 percent of pesticide residue in our diet comes from meat, fish and dairy products (according to EPA estimates). Fish, in particular, contain carcinogens (PCBs, DDT) and heavy metals (mercury, arsenic; lead, cadmium) that cannot be removed through cooking or freezing. Meat and dairy products are also laced with steroids and hormones.

5. You’ll give your body a spring cleaning.
Fruit and vegetable juices contain phytochemicals that help us detox naturally. Giving up meat helps rid the body of toxins (environmental pollutants, pesticides, preservatives) that overload our systems and cause illness.

6. You Will Look Better And Skinnier
On average, vegetarians are slimmer than meat eaters. Vegetarian diets are much lower in calories than the standard American diet. Vegetarians are also less likely to suffer from weight-related disorders like heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

7. Think of The Money You Will Save
Replacing meat, chicken and fish with vegetables and fruits is estimated to cut food bills by an average of $4,000 a year.

8. Help the environment
You’ll help reduce waste and air pollution. Circle 4 Farms in Milford, Utah, which raises 2.5 million pigs every year, creates more waste than the entire city of Los Angeles. And this is just one farm. Each year, the nation’s factory farms, collectively produce 2 billion tons of manure, a substance that’s rated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as one of the country’s top 10 pollutants. And that’s not even counting the methane gas released by cows, pigs and poultry (which contributes to the greenhouse effect); the ammonia gases from urine; poison gases that emanate from manure lagoons; toxic chemicals from pesticides; and exhaust from farm equipment used to raise feed for animals.

9. More Efficient
Right now, 72 percent of all grain produced in the United States is fed to animals raised for slaughter. It takes 15 pounds of feed to get one pound of meat. But if the grain were given directly to people, there’d be enough food to feed the entire planet. In addition, using land for animal agriculture is inefficient in terms of maximizing food production. According to the journal Soil and Water, one acre of land could produce 50,000 pounds of tomatoes, 40,000 pounds of potatoes, 30,000 pounds of carrots or just 250 pounds of beef.

10. Its The Right Thing To Do
“Our task must be to free ourselves… by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty. Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances of survival for life on earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.”
Albert Einstein

Did you know 22 million animals are slaughtered to support the American appetite for meat? Its a great feeling to finish a health meal knowing that no beings have suffered.


The 5 Most Horrifying Bugs in the World

January 20, 2008

There are about 10,000,000,000,000,000,000 insects on earth at any given moment. Seriously, that’s a real number. For every one of us, there are 1.5 billion bugs. But some of them are so horrifying, just one is too many. Here are five you want to avoid at all costs.

read more


A Review of My 2007

January 1, 2008

Like most peoples years, mine has had it’s fair share of ups and downs. Plus the usual personal issues and quirks.

January was the month I found out my daughter CJ was to be arrive in September later in the year.

A little later on I had spent a lot of time reading and researching the current state, future prospects and how I can do my bit towards preventing the current march of man made global warming. This led me to becoming vegan, and joining the Green Political party of the UK. You can see more about this on my about me page.

What about technology? I got my PS3, and it kind of revolutionized my living room as a media center. I continued my linux march forward with a switch from PCLinuxOS to Kubuntu. I only now use M$ products / software on my old laptop, and that’s mainly for itunes. I built my new Desktop, a Core 2 Duo 4gig monster, and purchased the amazing little Asus EEE.

Towards the end of the year I began reading some books on Buddhism. After some extensive research I decided to pursue this ideology as something of a person philosophy, and as I continue my studies, this is one aspect of my life that I really want to improve and learn more about in 2008. I already have feelers out for a possible teacher. You can find info about this in my Buddhism is a Philosophy page

The two most important events of my 2007 were the birth of my daughter CJ and the death of my Gran. CJ came into the world on the 23rd of September and I can honestly say this was the happiest day of my life. She has changed my life in so many amazing ways and given me so much in her short time here. She is the light of my life. On the other side of this coin, my Gran passed on the 29th December. She will be missed so very much. Things will never be the same again.

I opened my ebay store. Added numerous books to my collection. Started my film review site, Chewed Celluloid. Celebrated the first birthday of my blog. Saw my Dad for Christmas for the first time in three years. Did the compulsory change about of my blog, including the move to this domain name. Started my Ecology diploma. Had the usual ups and downs in my personal life and health. Watched the amazing Six Feet Under and Dexter. Watched the world and our race come closer to implosion. But in the end, I have to say that the year just gone was revolutionary in lots of ways. There are plenty of things I missed out here, but the important things must be those that sprang to mind.
Bring on the variety of last year, this year, the sweet and sour, rough and smooth.

Hello 2008.