Some of us, maybe all of us to some extent, like our principles to be pure, unsullied by the messiness of reality.
This was a very graphic thought that came to me the other day, which looked like an X-rated party political broadcast, though shot on a Hollywood blockbuster budget. The camera glides around a city, eavesdropping on bits of conversation. We’re drifting upwards, passing through clouds, seeing the coastline of Britain through the gaps, then seeing the curvature of the earth, fuzzy at the edge. The Earth gets smaller as we move further away, until it’s a small blue disk in a vast ocean of black. The moon comes into shot and we see what the Apollo astronauts saw and photographed…
Not the kind of God that most people imagine. Not the kind of God listens to your prayers and maybe answers them, not the sort of God who might tell you to do certain things, like strap explosives to yourself and blow up a bus full of people. That kind of God couldn’t exist in an infinite universe in which everything that can exist does exist. In such a universe, God is the one thing that can’t exist. There could be gods though. If we were to go to another planet and terraform it, make it like Earth, introduce advanced…
Friends of the Earth is no longer fundamentally opposed to nuclear power and neither is the Green party of England and Wales. They still oppose nuclear power, but now because of its cost and how long it takes to build, but they’re quite happy to keep existing power stations running. They no longer see them as inherently dangerous and needing to be shut down at the first available opportunity.
This is what The Professor told his mother a few weeks ago. She blames me.
There’s a mouse in my kitchen. The ethical mousetrap I bought in the local hardware store a few weeks ago hasn’t worked. Despite the bait, the mouse won’t go in it, or it has gone in it but managed to avoid triggering the trap door. Maybe a larger Lego mouse house filled with cheese on a seesaw is set so that when the mouse hits the cheese the seesaw flips and triggers the trap door that imprisons the poor mouse.… That was the idea. But it wasn’t so easy in practice. I could get a draw to come down and…
When I started playing some music the other day The Professor (5) tried to sing something he wanted me to play. Can you play that one, Daddy? It’s my best. They’d played it at the school assembly. After a while I realized what it was and found it.
Suppose you have a very simple society consisting of just three citizens: Mr Poor lives in a bedsit in Peckham and is very poor. He doesn’t cook, just lives on cereal, biscuits and Dorritos but very occasionally treats himself to a kebab. He gets around by bike or takes the bus. His carbon footprint is 3 tonnes CO2e per year.
Back in 2002/3 when we were demonstrating against the war it seemed so much simpler. Now, though I can see the case for air strikes, that to leave those fleeing IS without air cover could result in massacres which will be filmed and shown to us, it feels like we’re trying to put out a fire with parrafin.
You don’t often see badges or bumper stickers with slogans like that. The antinuclear ones are all over the place. If future historians look back on this era perhaps they’ll conclude that a major factor influencing our failure to decarbonise rapidly enough was that the environmental movement put its resources into campaigning against the wrong power source. Though other future historians would say nah, don’t be silly. The greens were never that influential.