March 2, 2015

Radicalised by the state

Filed under: Climate Change,Politics,Poverty,War on Terror — ken finn @ 11:40 pm

The more I hear figures from the establishment talk of the need to tackle radicalisation the more it seems I feel a sense of empathy towards those who it deems to have been radicalised. Not since Margaret Thatcher’s premiership have I found myself ranting at the radio or the news with such regularity. As the experts and ministers speculate on the  causes and remedies I hear not once an admission that perhaps the corruption of our system has any part to play in the disillusionment of our young people. I’m not Black, Muslim or Asian but by god I’m angry. I am sick of the lies and corruption of a ruling class that steals with impunity whilst celebrating in PR speak of the virtues of hard working families.  In the calculation that we will identify with this hard working family tag but also in the calculation that we will not bother to see that the House of Commons is near empty for most of the time.  It tells the poor that £57 per week is enough to live on but that it’s unrealistic to expect an MP to work for £1,300 a week plus expenses.

Its a truism that if you know anything about a news story you will know that most of what you read about it or see in the media is either distorted or wrong. Our government wants us to accept its view on its foreign policy, on energy, on the environment, immigration and terrorism but if you care about these issues you will probably have an informed alternative view. If you’ve studied the West’s involvement in the Middle East and Asia you will know that it’s a story of meddling and scheming. It’s mostly lies.  The government it seems support the vested interests that control the media who make the news or filter out what it deems needn’t be news. Today thousands will take part in a demonstration in support of action for the Climate. Virtually all of the media will ignore the story. Climate Change is perhaps one of the most important issues that we face and it’s not even a news story. David Cameron even argues that an alternative view is dangerous and that the likes of those who consider that there are questions to be answered about 911 should be silenced. When we are lied about, ignored and denied a voice our response is anger and frustration.

It’s lies that radicalise, it’s a corrupt system that excludes those who see the truth. The lies that we’re all in this together, that we go to war for freedom.


May 3, 2011

Paddle without a Canoe

Filed under: Climate Change,Environment — ken finn @ 10:43 pm

“Up Shit Creek Without a Paddle” is a saying which most of us are aware of, it describes a hopeless situation. The origin of the term may be disputed but I believe it refers to a human and environmental disaster from Victorian London. On the 3rd of September 1878 the Paddle Steamer The Princess Alice carrying around 750 day trippers returning from a day out collided with a heavy iron ship the Bywell Castle on the Thames below Barking Creek at Galleons Reach. In minutes over over 550 people perished in a foul mixture of Raw Sewage, Chemical Waste and river water in what is still the heaviest peacetime loss of life in the UK.

Just before the disaster struck a little up stream the Barking Creek sewage outfall had just discharged thousands of tons of sewage to be flushed out to sea on the tide and to make things worse this mixed with industrial waste from factories further up river which dumped their waste directly into the water. It was into this toxic brew that Victorian ladies in their finery floundered in their heavy frocks, kissed their children and sank. Records show that up to 550 men women and children drowned within 8 minutes.

The prospect that  flowers of Victorian society should perish in such filth was to outrage Parliament and new measures to deal with effluent were put in place and it could be said that this was the event that first moved government to introduce environmental legislation.

While it seems that we have progressed, our rivers and waterways have been restored and our countryside is protected our ‘out of site, out of mind’ mentality persists. The Victorians built parks and gardens and beautified London while pumping their effluent down river out of sight to pollute the lives of others. Now the developed nations do much the same. Our countryside is pristine while we export our waste to make ‘Shit Creeks’ of other less fortunate lands and expect the natural world to cope with the pollutants we pump into the atmosphere.
Just like our Victorian ancestors we are heading to towards another collision and another rude awakening. While nations argue who’s shit is causing the problem and even if shit is a problem anyway we drift inexorably towards catastrophe.
Even as the ice caps melt and the effects of our lifestyles are plain as the receding ice shelves and rising temperatures we choose to steam onwards.
If you care about your children and grandchildren then prepare a lifeboat for them now. Make sure they know how to grow their own food and give them practical skills for it may be too late to turn the boat about.
To underline what may be around the corner listen to the BBC’s ‘From our Own Correspondent’ Richard Wilson’s account (18 mins in) of a recent visit to Antarctica and how unexpected changes are hastening a major melt of ice that could increase sea levels dramatically and very quickly…

Ken Finn

November 19, 2009

Carbon Pumping Label Junkies

Filed under: Climate Change,Human Rights — ken finn @ 11:39 am


We await the latest round of climate negotiations to begin in Copenhagen as if some great contest is about to begin. Who will blink, who will win the advantage? How far will they go and what is politically possible?  Somehow the whole concept is like a bunch of people in a hot tub arguing over who gets to defecate in the water and with what regularity.

At the heart of problem is the belief that we are separate from one another, that as individuals we are islands of consciousness that operate in an environment that begins at the outer layer of our skin. What’s inside is self and what’s outside is other. To navigate this world of separateness we attach labels to everything even the intangibles like faith.

Inside our skin we have labels for our sensations and the feelings they invoke and we have a mental map of how our body works too. We  know that our beating heart is separate from the functioning of our bowel or the workings of the brain but there is an understanding that all this is connected and interdependent.

Inside the body as far as I know there are no negotiations going on; the brain needs blood and the heart delivers. It’s in our nature to understand the interdependence of the system, that without a functioning brain our heart would also die. This service the heart offers to the brain may described as a transaction but it comes without condition for benefit of mutual survival.

Outside our body it seems that we have lost sight of our part in a larger interdependent system.  As a species we spread across the earth evolving along the way to meet the conditions that we found, we developed language and cultures to make sense of it all but a human heart is still a human heart. We have accepted the borders placed upon us that create countries, nationalities and differences but with human ingenuity a white man’s heart can be made to beat within a black man.

As humans we depend on one another for all sorts of services and we have an elaborate way of conducting them and negotiating advantage has become the prime motivator. Creating profit is king and separateness allows this to system to function, winners and losers are just more labels.

When it comes to saving our planet, using a system based on seeking advantage through ‘negotiation’ for our mutual survival  is bound to fail. It might be possible for rich countries to continue pooing in the hotub for a little longer at the expense of the developing world but at this rate we’re set to join the Dodo. Its pretty clear that the only process bound to succeed is one where a safe level of global emissions is set and we all get a carbon allowance.

In times of peril our perceptions of differences diminish and in the past we have come together to pitch for a common cause.  Its at moments like this that we should see beyond the borders of label and country and touch our commonality, the hopes for our children and grandchildren and the future of our world. In Copenhagen we need leadership not prevarication; cooperation not negotiation.

April 2, 2009

A view from a Dead Planet.

Filed under: Climate Change,Environment — ken finn @ 11:19 am


I wonder just why it is that we don’t heed the warnings on climate change, why we don’t see the havoc we’re wreaking?

Perhaps it’s because most of us live on already dead parts of the planet. Surrounded by tarmac, concrete, brick and glass, dead stuff,  it’s difficult to see the important changes taking place in the living world.

In our man-made environment much seems the same year in, year out.  For instance, apart from the predominance of replacement plastic windows the road I grew up on 50 years ago remains largely unchanged. We’re more likely to notice a new shop front than the changes to our urban trees which, are already under attack from alien insects migrating Northward with the warmer temperatures.  From this aspect it’s easy to see how the ‘climate change skeptics’ can make plausible assertions that the whole global warming thing is a conspiracy by government to create Green taxes.

Yet our existence here in our dead zones relies entirely on the remaining living world, the great forests, oceans and last wildernesses. Whilst we very rarely and in some cases never see them we have them to thank  for moderating our excesses and for the air we breath.

In the coming days for the G20 our government will mobilise great numbers of police to protect ‘property’ in the dead zone, they will commit all the funds needed to ensure that edifices that represent a failed system are safe. Yet while the attention of the world’s press is focused on the ‘anarchists’ anarchy prevails in the living world. Chainsaws  untroubled by such attention will continue their destructive business as usual, unwatched the oceans will be plundered and the earth ripped for minerals.

* I feel angry that our governments can find money for banks but little to save our precious planet. *  See http://www.wefeelfine.org/

April 1, 2009

“We Have to Act with Urgency”

Filed under: Climate Change — ken finn @ 12:10 pm

We borrow the future from our children

“We Have to Act with Urgency” (President Obama addressing the G20 meeting)

Yes we do have to act quickly but the financial meltdown is Not the most pressing issue our leaders must address. Another meltdown and which now seems certain is far more important.

Nicholas Stern, the man Gordon Brown hired to put a cost on climate change has cast doubt  on our ability to pin a 2 degree rise in global temperatures, a rise not without consequence but something future generations could adapt to. We have missed our chance.  He joins Scientists who have been reluctant up until now to loudly voice their concerns, many who are saying that rises of 4 or more degrees are now unavoidable. Irreversible changes to the eco-systems that support our life are likely to be subject to major shock, many will not survive. LINK

So while they run to the support of the financial system the eco-system can burn

We must demand that our leaders look into the eyes of their children… of all our children to see that we cannot deny them a future. This really is the last chance to preserve something that is worth handing on. If they can find billions of pounds and dollars to support a system that is unsustainable then they must find the funds to build a sustainable way of living in our world.

I feel sad when I see little babies and worry about what what kind of planet we will leave them

May 15, 2007

A Thousand Words and Millions of Tons

Filed under: Climate Change — ken finn @ 9:48 pm

The Carbon Cost of Deforestation

There are times when an image changes our understanding, speaks a thousand words.

I came across this graph the other day (1). It shows the carbon emissions of the major polluting countries verses the carbon released through deforestation. The image speaks for itself.

Today and every day thousands of hectares of ancient forest are trashed. When just one hectare of forest is cleared up to 200 tons of carbon is released into the atmosphere (2).

Something which, when intact is a positive carbon sink becomes through it’s destruction a hugely negative contributor to climate change. Carbon emissions from forest destruction out weigh even what the US pumps out.

It would be too simplistic to suggest that “Avoided Deforestation” could completely mitigate the emissions of the US or China but one thing is clear. Cutting down ancient forests to grow palm oil for bio-fuels is folly of the highest order. Yet this is the outcome of the west’s current affair with so called green fuels.

We need quick, cheap solutions to mitigate our impact upon the atmosphere. Clearly the first on the list is to stop cutting down the very thing that’s saving our arses. Extending the World Bank’s BioCarbon Credits scheme to include Avoided Deforestation would provide the incentive to developing nations and landowners to protect their forests and our climate.

Sign the petition to Say No to Deforestation

(1.) http://www.environmentaldefense.org/documents/5051_CF%20Forestry%20article1.pdf
(2.) http://news.mongabay.com/2006/1031-deforestation.html

March 17, 2007

Their way or the highway

Filed under: Climate Change — ken finn @ 1:26 pm

Carbon on yer head

OK so I slag the government off for not doing enough the day before they release their Climate Change Bill!

Well as far as it goes the new bill has to be aplauded but … as per my last blog they’ve got a job on their hands to meet the targets while they continue to bulid roads, runways and depend on economic growth to meet their policy plans.

Lobby your MP to make the their new climate bill fit for purpose!

The Climate Change Swindle seems to have wound people right up and I can understand why people feel so suspicious, i.e. it looks like Climate Concern is a government rouse to raise more taxes. It is exactly the above contradiction that feeds these doubts, if you apply taxes to apparently change one behaviour (frequent flying) but support the action (build more runways) it does indeed look like a neat fundraising opportunity.

Responses to the swindle

The Ecologist - George MonbiotThe IndependentThe Guardian for C4

March 12, 2007

Faulty Watt Tony

Filed under: Climate Change — ken finn @ 7:30 pm

Dim Outlook

I’ve been avoiding my blog. It’s just every time I start to write I’m just too overwelmed by the stuff that goes round in my head to be able to put something down that isn’t a complete doom laden rant.

But I’m beginning to feel brighter. Apparently I don’t really have to worry about climate change after all. According to Channel 4 and “The Great Climate Change Swindle” it’s all a load of old tosh dreamed up by scientists to get their hands on juicy funding. Mind you Channel 4 seem to be on a bit of mission to find ways to raise funds themselves and what better way to boost ratings than a bit of climate controversy or minority bashing aka Jade Goody and her well chosen words on racial harmony.

But probably the best news is that the outlawing of incandescent light bulbs in favour of low energy bulbs is the key to cutting CO2 and saving the planet. It’s going to be a toughie and already there’s a row over light bulb subsidies but I’m sure we’re ready for the sacrifice.

I wonder then is that it? Is this the extent of our politician’s grasp of what is required to save the planet? No wonder things are moving apace on global agreement. Bio fuels and lightbulbs it is then; as long as we can get em cheap.

The one thing nobody inside government is talking about is zero growth. While taxes on air travel are being touted as a way to curb emissions no one is talking about abandoning airport expansion. Taxing motorists for road use is put forward as a way to raise green taxes and restrict the further growth of car journeys but the UK government is still wedded to a huge program of road building. Surely the easiest way to curb the growth in carbon producing journeys is to just not build any more runways or roads.

As I’ve said elsewhere on my blog the sums simply don’t add up for the environment and the things that live in it while we continue to avoid the simple truth that there isn’t enough planet to go round.


February 5, 2007

Bad news is good news … sometimes

Filed under: Climate Change — ken finn @ 7:50 pm


It was a moment to cheer the bringer of bad news, the consequences of Climate Change as judged by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was all over the news at the weekend. Any shred of dubious science for the sceptics to justify denial was blown away. From now on it’s a matter of ‘when not if’ and ‘actions not debate’ on climate change. Well sort of…
Just as the world’s scientists agree on the vital role the world’s remaining forest will have in moderating greenhouse gases the oil industry is bidding on the Amazon.

This weekend the BBC reported on the Peruvian government’s plans to grant oil exploration rights for an area the size of California.   (link)

The Peruvian economy has its problems and poverty has increased over recent years. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has persuaded the Peruvian government that free market rules are the way to promote growth and address poverty. No doubt selling oil licenses gets brownie points with the IMF.

Despite what the IMF say’s growth doesn’t cure poverty (link), furthermore economic growth is linked to climate change through increased burning of fossil fuels. It’s time we rewarded developing countries like Peru for protecting their forests rather than grabbing their natural resources on the cheap.

December 31, 2006

A Convenience Truth

Filed under: Climate Change — ken finn @ 1:09 am

A little over 60 years ago in Eastern Europe the Nazi’s were experimenting with ways to achieve ‘The Final Solution.’

Their early attempts though crude were effective. Before moving on to industrial scale gassing and incineration in purpose built crematoria the ‘Solution’ entailed loading people into box vans, attaching a pipe to the exhaust which vented into an airtight and locked cargo hold and taking a ride. It was a neat and convenient process; load up live Jews, Gypsies and homosexuals, make the short journey to the disposal site and unload the now deceased undesirables. Exhaust emissions in service of the Reich and the holocaust.

Tyndale Climate Change Projections

Today the developed nations of the earth hold the ignition keys to another genocide in the making. Climate change created by the economic activity of the wealthy nations is set to wreak havoc upon the poor.

The Stern Report, a government sponsored review of the likely economic impacts of climate change spells out in no uncertain terms the disaster that awaits us if we fail to act. It appears certain that large tracks of Africa will be uninhabitable scorched earth, low lying countries like Bangladesh will disappear as sea levels rise. Food scarcity will increase by up to 60% and millions and millions of people will die.

Tyndale Climate Change Projections

Gordon Brown gave Nicholas Stern the job of finding out the cost of combating climate change; according to Stern it’s 3% of global GDP. The alternative is perhaps the end of civilization. The job he say’s must start now; there is no time to loose. Yet we are bogged down in a war in Iraq that makes for as much distraction as the war on terror. All the time the earth warms and the options shrink.

Our leaders must act on the big projects but the keys are in our hands too. Our life styles are so connected to the causes of climate change that every time we drive to the supermarket we might just as well be driving a gas filled hearse to dump African babies in a convenient grave.

See the Stern Report
The Ecologist Review of the Stern Report