Energy Crisis & Going Full Thanos
There’s a certain pull to tackling planet sized problems; a gravity, to break out the puns early. Going ‘full-Thanos’ isn’t entirely dismissible, yet other resolutions include one-child policies, renewable and clean energy, and carbon dioxide collectors, which were called trees at some point, am sure. Even if we #EatTheRich, there’s generally not enough to go around - even when taking a more literal stance of all the ‘Richards’. Time to test out my new cologne, eau de wasabi-marmite-dogshit! (Ed-you’ve been wearing this for years, no?)
Over the years I’ve taken great inspiration from Tim Flannery’s The Weathermakers and Vanishing Face of Gaia by the late yet wonderful James Lovelock. Bill Gates’ How to Avoid a Climate Disaster is the latest in the line. When discussing emissions, the usual scapegoat is the third world trying to improve standards of living, or just living in general, yet we can’t deny them the same privileges we enjoy. Clean energy is the answer. Solar and wind are great, but intermittent, relying upon batteries, and we’d need A LOT of batteries. I’m only halfway through the book, but for reliable, twenty-four-hour energy, atom-splitting nuclear fission is going to be tough to beat. Australia’s risk-averse, get-lost-you-mongrel, standpoint remains steadfast though: no nuclear here, thank you for asking! It hasn’t stopped them buying eight nuclear subs from the gun-lovers south of Canada, but they can park those waaaaaaayyy offshore and pretend they don’t exist. Or park them in Adelaide, which no one likes anyway.
On a global emissions scale, it’s interesting to actually see where things sit: making things (cement, steal, plastic, fuel etc) account for 31%; plugging in (electricity generation) is 27%; growing things (plants, animals etc) is 19%; getting around (planes, trucks, cargo ships) is only 16%; heating cooling and refrigeration 7%. Even if you’re bamboozled by figures, that is fascinating. When we buy electric cars, we’re reducing the getting around % and the making things % (fuel), yet at the same time increasing the making things % (batteries, steel), and increasing the plugging in % (electricity).
But I know what you’re thinking: a) it’s hard to take in the complexity of a fifty-to-hundred-year view when day-to-day life is already a struggle, with surging fuel costs, food shortages, and if you’re in Ukraine, getting shelled the shit out of too b) who is this Thanos character and can he be worse than Britain’s current leadership options? Ladies and gentlemen, Liz Truss at her finest. Making Britain Grate Again?
Living Life Gloriously
Many years ago, a friend asked if I could do anything I wished knowing that I wouldn’t fail (drown all Brexiteers?) and there were no negative repercussions for others (goddamn it!), what would it be? The same question cropped up recently in The Authenticity Principle by Ritu Bhasin – artfully reading her own book on her own website, the vane swine! As Jimmy Carr recently put it, it’s not about doing something better than everyone else, it’s about doing the thing that you do best. And it could take a lifetime to figure that out. For me perhaps a writing, travelling, making friends kind of comedy suits perfectly. . . tickets for my ‘hilarious ways to hold a pen whilst chatting’ roadshow will undoubtedly be very much available. Get them while they’re tepid. It’s either that or save humanity.
I’m gently mulling over How to Avoid a Climate Disaster by Bill Gates, flying off on the occasional tangent as I go. Bear with me! Our polar caps are white, and white reflects heat; the more the caps melt, the less heat is reflected, the hotter the planet gets, the more the polar caps melt etc So, if we had more white reflective surfaces, that would reduce the heat, right? This led me down the rabbit warren of the Albedo effect (reflective surface coefficients), and if there is the blackest black, can there be the whitest white? The answer is yes. If we painted roofs super-white in a small hot town in Australia or erected fields of white reflecting panels, would that cool the immediate area or would the next town along be fu**ed by firestorms? No idea. Any climate geeks out there?
As you may know, I don’t have a television, but I am a sucker for Star Trek – neeeerdddddddd! Pointed to one recent episode, they had a line about living life gloriously that draws on the same leadership books I imbibe concerning life direction. Effectively, you imagine your own eulogy, and work backwards. Is what they are saying at your funeral reflective of the life you wanted to lead? As Bonnie Ware’s incredible Regrets of the Dying, no one reaches their end of days and wishes they worked more. I meet so many people that are envious of the life I lead, dreaming of visiting Australia or simply to work and travel . . . things I am forever grateful for. The grass is always greener. Use the knowledge of your own death to make the best version of yourself that you most aspire to be...and I’ll leave you with this: right up until the last moment of our lives, we don't believe our story will end. Our last emotion before we die is of surprise.
Heat, Albania and Albo
I envisaged writing more when I was away for 10 weeks in the Balkans, but alas I seem to have existed in perpetual states of sleeping, working, sleeping again, exercising and sightseeing, then sleeping more. I say goodnight three times a day. Almost a week passes in two days! But now being back in Wales with my folks - instead of sweating on buses or hiking up hills to fortresses – I can slow down a bit, trawl through photos, and write. Don’t get me wrong, the sightseeing was wonderful, but that 38-degree malarkey ain’t no jokes, I tells ya! <Brace yourself Britain!>
Unbeknownst to many, when I do I travel, I go as a genteel Australian. It has a less ‘I am here to invade your country’ feel about it than being British, whilst remaining exotic and distant. So distant, in fact, Australia is inconsequential. Our leaders are, at best, instantly forgettable. Do we even have one? Is it Crocodile Dundee? In fairness to the world, we’ve had a string of fatuous, egoistic useless bastards, the last a charmless, happy-clapping Presbyterian climate-denier. He was so forgettable that Biden struggled even when talking to him. However, there is a new Sheriff in town, and unbeknownst to many, he’s 1000% Albanian. Or at least that’s what the Albanians think.
A proper country write-up will come, but the highlight was probably Albania: picturesque; mountainous; lots of unused concrete bunkers in preparation for a Cold War that never happened; the first declared Atheist country; rich Roman history; Turkish Islamic influence; and an odd knowledge of Australian Prime Ministers. The new man is Anthony Albanese, the surname from Italian-Albanian origin. To Australians, he’s simply Albo (of course he is!). The newb is a clean break from tradition: of the last 30 leaders, 29 have been the stereotypical white, middle-aged, religious straight male, but in a sweeping change, we’ve plumbed for a white, middle-aged, straight male that is semi-religious. Viva la revolution! Yet he is pro-LGBT, pro women’s right to choose over abortion, a fan of renewables and supports voluntary euthanasia. The appointment of the sane Penny Wong as our Minister for Foreign Affairs, our first female openly-lesbian Australian federal parliamentarian, has been met with a round of applause by at least me.
But, for now, all hail, Albo! Please don’t be as crap as the last lot. It comes to something that instead of hoping for, well, hope, we wish them to be less shit. Giddy heights! What a campaign ticket that would be! ‘I solemnly swear, I may be fu**Ing useless, but not as fu**Ing useless as those other guys, ammarite?! Pass the yard of ale!’ My standing invitation to Obama to take over as some kind of benevolent dictator, working 2/3 months a year, chilling in the Whitsundays for the remainder, is still on offer. Why do we let good leaders go to waste? Suppose it’s the complication of deciding who is best. Sure, Boris has his detractors, but who could have predicted that a bumbling, fu** the poor, fu** everything that moved bowl of jellified hopelessness would have been a bad Prime Minister? When Jacinda Arden is done in New Zealand, we should start bidding. If she could smuggle in some air-conditioners as Britain braces for a heatwave, we could usher in a cooler New Great Britain.
Writing and writing...