Under my hood

I thought I’d let you inside, to shed light on what someone who campaigns about climate change feels under the hood.  In my last post I mentioned that we can appear to be pleased about climate change and I promised to let you know the true picture.  I’d be interested to hear from anyone reading how much of this rings true for them, or if I am alone.
Me8 for main
How is it that everything we feel we want to do turns out to be bad for us?  I love a drink occasionally, but that’s not good for your health, breath, head the following morning or for avoiding leaving the door open overnight.  Fry-ups, cake, biscuits, pork pies, doughnuts – I’m salivating, thinking about them – but they’re not good for your arteries and processed meat leads to the big C.  Sex before marriage will send you to hell.  Some love to smoke, but that leads to the bigger C.

And it turns out that having bright, dimmable lights that some on instantly; Me7 for mainlong showers; too much heat in the house; open fireplaces; and travelling anywhere more than a few short miles away are bad for the planet*.

I’m not a religious man (I categorise myself as an active agnostic) – but this does all bring to mind the apple in the Garden of Eden.  I often wondered what that symbolised – maybe it refers to everything desirable being bad?

Thing is that booze, greasy food, shagging about and smoking really only hurt the person doing them†.  I’ve no problem with that – do what you like.
Me2 for main
Wasting energy and burning fossil fuels, however, don’t really hurt the person doing them.  They mainly hurt people in other parts of the world (if you are in the developed world while reading this) or in the future, such as our children.  Because of this natural injustice it makes me Angry when people ignore the issue, blame China and the US while continuing with bad habits and make out their opinion on the scientific facts are as valid as 99% of scientific studies.

The other deep emotion I feel is mourning for the lost future.  When I delve deeply to understand the root of this feeling, I realise that it is not only about the potential for world conflict and the loss of the natural world, but also my own personal lost future.  Me1 for mainThe increasing apathy and even antipathy towards climate change makes me realise that I need to devote more and more of my own life to the cause.  As former BP CEO Tony Hayward famously once said “There’s no one who wants this over more than I do. I would like my life back”.

The emotions aren’t all negative, of course.  This resolve gives me a life purpose that is hard to find from any other activity.  As Bill McKibben said “Whatever else you were planning to do next, nothing could be more important”.
Me6 for main
I am also hopeful, even confident, that we will eventually win the argument.  It is almost inevitable.  Nature will not allow us to ignore climate change forever, as it will crank up the stakes and shove it in our face and across our flood plains.

How about others?  When it comes to climate scientists, it seems that those that engage their emotions rather than carry out their duties in a detached way can feel depressed, even suicidal.  A far cry from inventing the issue to get grant money.

How does it make you feel?

John Bell,

Ordinary bloke

* Caveats required here: These days you can get fantastic bright, dimmable low energy light bulbs and you can heat your house with renewable energy sources, such as by capturing the heat from a log fire.  I’ll stick by the others.

† Uh oh, more caveats.  Yes, all these things done to excess can ruin families and cost the health service a fortune.  And there is passive smoking.

Here we go again.  Of course it will hurt your back pocket.  And too much driving means losing out on the opportunity of more exercise.  And there are floods, droughts, crop failures and increased food prices.


13 thoughts on “Under my hood

  1. You’ve been conned by the environmentalists. What they tell you is mostly not true. Climate change is a real threat but the solutions are not those normally stated. The truth is at http://www.350.me.uk
    Almost no one wants to hear the truth, so presumably we’re doomed.

    • I’ve breezed through your website – you’ve certainly been busy! I’m in agreement re: the nuclear option plus reducing our own energy use / emissions – renewables alone will not be quick or comprehensive enough. I’d actually go further in terms of the zero tolerance for emissions – we actually need to reduce the CO2 content from its current level. Timing is the issue, in my understanding. The natural processes will absorb the CO2 over time I believe, so we need to reduce our emissions to net zero over a period of a few decades (and the sooner and more drastically the better from the perspective of the climate).

      Longer term projections of CO2 emissions, even those such as in the relatively recent Shell scenarios, predict that we will have net zero or negative emissions by the end of the century. The Shell scenarios assume a realistic storyline, where there is an outcry in the 2020s which cannot be ignored politically speaking, and the governing bodies finally get round to co-ordinating to reduce emissions in a much more focused and effective manner.

      Problem is that is too late for the worst effects of climate change to be avoided. So I am similarly pro-nuclear (and any other net zero greenhouse gas emission energy source, so yes to renewables, yes to biomass as long as it doesn’t force emissions up elsewhere such as through deforestation or displaced farming). And I’m pro people getting on with reducing the emissions caused by their actions to zero as soon as possible.

      I’d be interested to know what you think those worst effects would be? And who the unnamed “environmentalists” are? And what exactly they have told me that is untrue?

      Thank you for the comment and research!

      • Hello! Thanks for getting back. I suspect you’ve only read the new temporary first page of my site (added after I discovered the eventual nuclear answer) since it is pretty much unheard of for anyone who reads the rest to ever communicate with me again. For the time being, the rest is at http://www.naturals.ukpc.net/tr/home.html and soon it should be at http://www.350.me.uk/tr/home.html instead. In the UK a pro-nuclear grassroots organisation is needed, but I think you are in the US so can’t help. It is clear that the suitability and potential of renewables other than nuclear and some hydro have been massively overstated because it suits everyone’s own interests to do so. And, since nuclear can more than do the job, other unproven non-nuclear generation options shouldn’t be bothered with too much at this crucial stage. All the non-answers prevent reality being faced and waste even more time and money, although they make people look or feel good. I see extinction as the most important effect, although not the most immediately evident. Another thought: even when climate dealt with, extreme consumption restraint will still be needed to tackle global land use. Does this mean vegetarianism? Partial vegetarianism? Veganism? I don’t know. I suppose we can eat some wildlife…..

        Good luck. Do say hello if you’re still communicating after reading the rest of the website!


      • Mate – I am in the UK – Berkhamsted is a town 20 miles north of London.

        You may be right about business and government wanting to appear slightly guilty – too subtle for me to understand how that would come about. What makes you think that?

        I’d like to disagree with you on something, though – you seem to be looking for that! In your open letter to George Monbiot, you mention that Transition groups are not looking to save the world, as they want to exist in perpetuity. That is not my experience or view, as Leader of Transition Town Berkhamsted. In fact, we have scheduled in our own change of purpose, away from transition to stewardship, in twenty years time when we have achieved our aims.

        Extract from the TTB strategy (as it stands – it is constantly evolving):

        Berkhamsted when we’re done

        When we have achieved our aims, Berkhamsted will be a place:
        • That has a vibrant community life and town centre, where residents are proud to live here and feel a strong connection to Berkhamsted and its history; its roots;
        • That is largely self-sustaining to the extent of not materially feeling the effects of a energy, food or water shortage or economic depression;
        • That consumes less energy (for electricity, transport, food and everything else) than it produces;
        • Where the natural environment around us is also thriving and can be enjoyed;
        • Our children are happier to be out and about and safer doing so;

        Stewardship will then be the main focus of TTB once the above is made real.

  2. Oh, whoops – Don’t know what made me think that. Berkhamstead is now famous due to Ed Reardon, of course. (Probably it was quite famous already.) I love the way the BBC’s continuity comments about him (not the trailers) are a magnificent missing of the point, illustrating masterfully exactly what the programme is trying to say about them. Or maybe the Reardon scriptwriters write those bits too. But I’m wandering!

    I won’t enlarge on the looking-guilty government and big business thing now, unless you want me to, as it’s probably not very important right now. Just entertaining.

    Yep – no point in us wasting too much time discussing stuff we agree about! Not so much exist in perpetuity. More pretend in perpetuity to be reacting appropriately to the crisis, in a politics-speak kind of way. “Transition” is the perfect name for a movement that wants to pretend to be working hard at some allegedly huge difficult problem but somehow inexplicably not quite making any real progress (because in truth it doesn’t want to). I am in no doubt that most people within the Transition movement have no intention of cutting their own fossil emissions to any significant degree, so I’m sure that’s what the movement’s name means in virtually all cases. I’ve watched the environmental movement avoid the uncomfortable truth since the days when the uncomfortable truth was quite luxurious by today’s standards. They didn’t want to know when the personal annual sustainable fossil limit was thought to be quite a bit (about a tonne, or something) so they sure as hell won’t want to know now. (I dribbled on about it in Greenline years ago and I think it got onto the web but I haven’t now got a copy.) No doubt there is the odd well-meaning person mixed up in the Transition movement, but their time and efforts are being deliberately wasted by everyone else in the movement who wants the world destroyed for their own benefit and just likes to pretend to be trying to tackle it. I was conned for a long time by a previous generation of quasi-environmentalists, and it took me an embarrassingly long time to understand. Actually, it had been obvious all along to a very few sincere people outside the movement who observed the whole revolting pantomime in dismay, but presumably they thought I was too brainwashed to be worth trying to talk to. You may be being conned in the same way I was. I don’t know.

    Good luck,

    PS: How on Earth do Transition Berkhamstead cope with your pro-nuclear stance?

  3. Thank you for the well wishing – appreciated. Hope you are interested enough to follow my attempts to reduce my own emissions to zero / negative, and to show how that can be done practically. It’s not an instantaneous thing, as I’m sure you appreciate. I could explain why it is difficult to make progress, individually, locally, nationally, internationally, but won’t here.

    What steps have you taken, out of interest?

  4. How am I doing? Terrible! I was making some progress – wood for space and water heating (tiny bit of petrol to cut it up), electric none except panels in summer and generator too expensive to actually use in the winter, transport none, food (including fish/meat/dairy) either from UK or other places I hoped were not too bad, other consumption pretty much nothing. I could have been trying to grow nearly all of my food, but was too unsure of the future to do so.

    Now, even that situation has all gone to pot. Where I was living became too unpleasant (but not physically impossible) so I got a tiny boat on the canal. I also have now not enough to live on, so can’t choose much about food and have to eat whatever is cheapest (palm oil is in nearly all cheap ready food). There’s not enough room in the boat to store or dry wood and the stove is too small for wood, so it has to run on coal and it uses quite a lot. I can’t grow food, and have to keep moving which uses petrol (not much). Bus trips to the house to deal with stuff are frequent but I tend to regard public transport as inevitable at present (although bus emissions are fairly high).

    I’ll now have to do whatever fits with getting money, if I can, so it is unlikely to allow low fossil carbon life. My ambition is to find a bit of land to live on (under tarpaulin) and grow food and burn wood, but more than zero income is necessary as well. I think the petrol for a saw would always be acceptable. However, even milk, for example, has quite a high fossil content. I am the end of my line so at least there will be no following generations to continue for ever to stuff fossil carbon into the atmosphere.

    So, I hope you do better than me!

    • According to the law in England and Wales: “A person commits theft if he dishonestly appropriates property belonging to another with the intention of permanently depriving the other of it.”

      You’d think that would make skip diving legal. “Dishonestly” seems to the layman like a circular argument so doesn’t tell us anything, but if someone has chucked something away, you can hardly permanently deprive them of it by walking off with it, can you?. As so often, judges inexplicably disagree with me!

      In Tokyo in the middle of the night once I was stopped by bored police carrying a very small rusty bicycle that I’d picked out of the rubbish. Eventually several cars full of bored armed police turned up with whizzing round lights on roofs, etc. All the police in the whole of Tokyo, probably. Eventually, a resident was found who was willing to declare that he’d thrown it away (unlikely) and didn’t mind me having it (true). So it was presumably then legal. Police then forced the bike’s handbrake (Japanese push bikes have handbrakes) for me with their telescopic truncheons (innovative nation!) and after shaking hands with all central Tokyo’s police night shift, I was sent home with very small bicycle (which I put back in the rubbish). Not enough crime in Tokyo (none, actually) – that’s the trouble. But very human.

      Good idea. I’ll look out for skips.


  5. Pingback: My name is John, and I’m a denier | John Bell vs Climate Change (currently 10,147-3 to Climate Change)

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