[DEBATE] : Re: Forcing Africans to 'adapt' to poverty
mfleshman at aol.com
mfleshman at aol.com
Thu Feb 15 19:43:38 GMT 2007
These LM people are hilarious, in a pathetic sort of way. In one of his endless posts of their copy a few weeks back, Russell sent up a Furedi piece about the insensitive animal rights movement comparing seal hunting to the Holocaust. Believing little of what appears on the electronic pages of the Trotbertarians' Spiked magazine, I googled the reference. Only 3 relevant ones turned up. One by a Canadian activist equating not the killing of seals with Jews, Furedi's charge, but public apathy in the face of evil, and 2 references by -- you guessed it -- Frank Furedi. So in much the same way that David Chandler falsely accuses the environmental movement of promoting poverty in Africa (they don't, he made up the charge to dress up yet another LM attack on greens as a defense of Africa) Furedi attacks the animal rights movement for a position they don't hold and that is promoted more by him that anyone else. It helps, when attacking one's opponents, to feel free to misrepresent their positions, and the LM people are famous for it. Straw men (and women) are much easier targets. Not existing, they don't fight back, unlike, say, ITN.
Now Russell, ever the faithful drainpipe for Spike's untreated ideological effluvia into the Debate list, presents us with this latest by LMer Josie Appleton. Reducing carbon emissions is bad because its <boring> is the argument here. Where's the fun in not frying the planet? Migod, taking even the smallest steps to protect the biosphere might interfere with a land speed record! There's a sensible argument (irony alert, russell). The crazy, gloomy, spoil-all-the-petrochemical-fun greens are even threatening the sacred institution of marriage! That sounds familiar.... She shares these enlightened and thoughtful opinion with no less a forward looking and humanitarian fellow than my Vice President, Dick Cheney. He once cheerily dismissed conservation as "a personal virtue."
Actually, that may be unfair. There is nothing in anything Appleton has written about the topic to suggest she finds any virtue in conservation at all -- putting her to the right of Mr. Cheney. Its not easy getting to starboard of the Vice and she should be recognized for that achievement.
How about breaking the Spiked monotony and posting more progressive stuff sometimes Russell, like Cheney's speeches?
From: grinker at mweb.co.za
To: debate at lists.kabissa.org
Sent: Thu, 15 Feb 2007 4:59 AM
Subject: [DEBATE] : Re: Forcing Africans to 'adapt' to poverty
I never assumed that you lived a life of luxury (heaven forbid!) - I was
just (unsuccessfully it seems) being ironical.
I'm beginning to wonder about this debate - it may be too harmful to the
environment to proceed with it any further.
Off to buy a carbon offset.
Life’s too short to be ‘carbon neutral’
Measuring everything we do by how much carbon it produces is a contemporary
form of penance.
Carbon calculators have become the moral barometers for our age. Plug in
what you have done - run a car, heated the house, taken a flight - and the
result will tell you the amount by which you need to atone. No Hail Marys
are required, just a tenner for the plane, or twenty quid for running the
car. Nonconformism is not an option. Tony Blair first refused to apologise
for his long-haul flights, but he soon repented and offset the carbon from
his family’s holidays.
As a measure of virtue, the pluses and minuses of the carbon calculator
indicate a peculiar moral blindness. It apparently doesn’t matter what the
flight was for: whether a drug trafficker or a conman travelling to do a
deal, or a violinist flying to give a concert or a man to see his sick
mother, each and every plane journey is judged in the same way. The
worthiness or otherwise of people’s activities gets pushed into the
background, and the focus shifts to the numbers of carbon dioxide molecules
admitted into the atmosphere.
Nothing is beyond the purview of this method of appraisal. One company,
Climate Care, suggests giving carbon offsets as a gift to loved ones. ‘The
perfect gift for the person who has everything - offset some CO2 on their
behalf. We will send you a certificate with a personalised message that you
can send to your nearest and dearest.’
This includes weddings - presumably so that the couple don’t start out by
living in sin. With an online payment, you can gift the newlyweds peace of
mind by offsetting their nuptials, including the guests driving or flying to
the church, then heating the reception hall and running the disco late into
the night. At the other end of the life-cycle, you are advised instead to go
for a woodland burial with biodegradable coffin instead of carbon-dioxide
Everything that emits carbon is something to apologise for. The human good
that has been added to the world - from a new relationship, to a new
land-speed record - is apparently of little account. We are cast not as
people trying to do things, aiming towards goals and objectives, but as
organisms producing a certain amount of global warming substance. As a motto
for life, this is ‘first, do no harm to the atmosphere’.
‘Carbon neutral’ is the desired state of Nirvana, and many are starting to
take on carbon neutrality as a kind of ethos. Today, Britain’s high street
giant Marks and Spencer has announced a £200m, five-year plan to become
carbon neutral; the G8 held a carbon neutral summit; bands produce carbon
neutral albums; the City of Newcastle aims to be carbon neutral soon; and
schools and colleges in both the UK and USA are working on offsetting their
carbon. Tellingly, the New Oxford American Dictionary chose ‘carbon neutral’
as its word of the year in 2006, commenting ‘It’s more than a trend, it’s a
This way of looking at the world pollutes the social environ - the space in
which we should be thinking about what we want to do and why, and judging
the things we have done. The aim becomes not ‘I want to do something
worthwhile’ but ‘I want to emit no noxious substances into the atmosphere’,
which is a dull and flat way of viewing human existence.
We should chuck out the carbon calculators, and try to focus on more
meaningful ways of judging our activities. Is a school a good school? Is
Newcastle a vibrant and fun city to live in? Was a flight a good use of our
time? Did a summit yield important agreements? The question of whether
something is a ‘waste’ should hang on whether or not it yielded important
results, rather than on some indifferent totalling of the amount of energy
If society requires solutions to a problem such as global warming these
should be as large-scale and administrative as possible, dealing with
methods of energy production, housing insulation, appliance and vehicle
manufacture. These approaches are likely to be more effective than everybody
giving a donation to Climate Care each time they sneeze. More importantly,
it would leave us free to think of more interesting and meaningful ways of
holding ourselves and others to account.
We’ll be carbon neutral when we’re dead, but till then we have places to go
and people to meet.
From: debate-bounces at lists.kabissa.org
[mailto:debate-bounces at lists.kabissa.org] On Behalf Of Mandi Smallhorne
Sent: 15 February 2007 11:25 AM
To: debate: SA discussion list
Subject: [DEBATE] : Re: Forcing Africans to 'adapt' to poverty
The drastic changes I propose and have proposed for the last five to ten
years are for people who are among the biggest GHG (greenhouse gas)
producers per capita in the world - the comfortably-off in South Africa and
the wealthy in other parts of Africa, who live almost exactly the same kinds
of lives as consumers in the North. (According to the recent Living Planet
report, SA is the lone African country in the upper third of a list ranking
countries according to eco-footprint.)
Your assumption is that I'm one of them. Well, I am in my own view when I
compare myself to my friends living in Lawley and other townships - but I am
by no means among the 'super luxurious', as you blithely assume (most
climate change scoffers seem to assume that those of us who lobby, don't
*do*, how insulting to our commitment and intelligence). I don't need to
have lists on my fridge, as I already do many of the things I suggest in my
articles for other people: I (and my husband) drive a small and economical
car (a Toyota Carri, for your info)...
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