An interesting film and website. My concern is that this like so much of what has grown up to become the disaster response industry is about treating the symptoms and not the problem. The problem is population, population and population. And the problem gets worse because as that population grows they all expect (and why should'nt they), to use a flush toilet, have an electric dishwasher, nice cars, air con and or central heating! What we saw in the video was a lot of people who have those things talking about people who dont, funded by countries that have low population densities funded by a yes, how appropriate 'WAR STUDIES' department. This is becoming an all too familiar story!
Having now had my little morning rant, getting people to talk is marginally better than nothing at all so I suppose we should mildly applaud this initiative. I do believe population growth on this planet needs to be checked, the alternatives are unthinkable in terms of food, energy and even the sustainability of this planet for our habitation. We need to find a morally acceptable way to have this debate about population otherwise we will continue to miss the point!
regards from the south coast
>>> A&M Meikle <[log in to unmask]> 14/06/2010 17:48 >>>
I watched the film, which doesn't really say much, does it? Other replies have touched on 'the truth' - a huge topic in its own right. I'm reading Dorothy Rowe's Why We Lie - highly recommended - title says it all really (it's about psychology, not morality). Everyone has their own view of reality and truth and people are really good at sticking doggedly to their truth if the truth of others blows away their personal beliefs (e.g. technology will save us, humans are the most important species, God won't let anything bad happen to good people etc.). My personal belief is that we need to protect the planet and that technology will not save us in the long run (or even the short term, the way we're going) - others differ, some wildly. I believe that the planet will survive without us but we won't survive without the planet. But not everyone does & we have to accept that.
I do not believe that the energy of fossil fuels can be replaced without reducing energy demand, nor that we can feed nearly 7bn people without the inputs from oil & gas. Maybe we can, but I'd like to see the plan where each & every one of us has exactly the same amount to eat! There are some hideous questions to be asked - yes, easy from here, sat in front of my PC, knowing where my next meal will come from. A classic example is concentrated solar power, which I think should be primarily for the countries where the sun is (Africa, tropics etc.) yet we see it as a way to power Europe - that's not new thinking (not to me, anyway), it's just another resource we intend to plunder from Africa. Here in Scotland, we supposedly have the most ambitious climate targets in the world yet there's an application for a new coal-fired power station at Hunterston. There are environmentalists who used to be against nuclear power but are now for it - did they change their minds about the waste, the economics, the fact that uranium is also non-renewable, not to mention the relatively low energy returns?
We're not changing our mindset, we're just trying to keep the myth of growth economics going without fossil fuels. The system was set up because of the energy from fossil fuels, not because it is the only way. But now it's all so complex and there are so many of us, that we'd rather deny our folly and imagine that we're smart enough to achieve the impossible. The laws of thermodynamics can't be broken in the hopes that no one notices & we get away with it!
I searched the HFP site for 'oil' and 'energy' - 1 and 2 hits respectively. Humanitarian aid, human 'rights' and so on are luxuries afforded by a society with surplus. There is no equity today, when there are still surpluses to go around. How important will feeding others be if we can't feed ourselves? I feel I should add that I am not some eco-fascist either! I have no answers to these questions but that doesn't mean they shouldn't be asked. We stick our heads in the sand too readily when the future stops looking rosy - understandable but not useful.
Highly unpopular sentiments, I know. I've started a blog to try to get some debate going on such things. We really do have to get real - but then, maybe my reality is wrong (I certainly hope so!!)
Energy is the one true currency, it always was and always will be.
- Chris Shaw
----- Original Message -----
From: Cromwell D.
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: Monday, June 14, 2010 9:20 AM
Subject: The Humanitarian Futures Programme?
I'd be interested in seeing what anyone on this list thinks of the Humanitarian Futures Programme. There's a little film here and links to further info:
Perhaps you've even got experience with the HFP - please share it here or contact me off list.
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