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A nation of fickle fools
April 12, 2011 8:20 PM   Subscribe

We care about climate change, but we hate the idea of having to do anything about it. Professor of Public Ethics at CAPPE, Clive Hamilton (also author of Requiem for a Species and Affluenza), tells it like it is on climate change policy in Australia.
posted by bystander (125 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
Yup.
posted by tumid dahlia at 8:26 PM on April 12, 2011


He apparently is also Chair of the Department for Stating the Blindingly Obvious.
posted by dry white toast at 8:27 PM on April 12, 2011


One of the commenters makes a good point though: perhaps it isn't so much that you or I don't want to do anything about it, it's that we want the polluters to pay. It would take several years of me standing around with the oven open, spraying aerosol straight down the drain, to equal a day's worth of output from a coal power plant.
posted by tumid dahlia at 8:28 PM on April 12, 2011


tumid,

Sure. How much of that plant output is for you? How many energy does it take, not only to keep your lights on, but to fabricate and ship to you all the things around you right now?
posted by effugas at 8:31 PM on April 12, 2011 [4 favorites]


"Polluters For Profit" is the term used. I tend to agree. I use public transport and turn things off at the wall. There's really honestly not a whole helluva lot else I can do. Plant trees, I guess, though the scrub turkeys would just scratch it up if it was in my current backyard. Avoid needless packaging. I work for the Department of Environment & Resource Management in the Waste Reform division, and essentially we're introducing a bunch of legislation that encourages "reduce, reuse, recycle" (we're the only state in Australia that doesn't have a waste levy - it's actually cheaper for a waste generator in Sydney to ship their garbage up to Brisbane and stick it in one of our landfills than it is for them to dispose of it locally in NSW. Hell, even Hobart sends boatloads of waste up here). It feels like I'm doing a little something, at least, but with government, it's rare that you actually are. At least I'm not working for Forest-Crushers Inc. or something.
posted by tumid dahlia at 8:33 PM on April 12, 2011


Yeah, powerplants don't sit around producing CO2 for the fun of it. They sit around producing CO2 so you have electricity for your oven.
posted by Jimbob at 8:34 PM on April 12, 2011 [3 favorites]


effugas: I dunno, six percent? Is that a trick question?
posted by tumid dahlia at 8:34 PM on April 12, 2011


Jimbob: Yeah but when I die, instead of being cremated I'm going to have my body ditched in the bush, or just decompose sitting in a chair, having alienated my loved ones. Instant ecosystem, like whale fall, except it's just body slump. Evens out, see?
posted by tumid dahlia at 8:41 PM on April 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


should read noted Internet censor Clive Hamilton

and people wonder why I'm the only one of my peers not to vote Green. it's the same impulse that tells us not to eat 'junk food', to 'take care of the planet'. and you know what's the horrible thing? the Left STILL loves Clive for his environmental views but ignores his constant assaults on free and open speech
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 8:42 PM on April 12, 2011


should also note that pretty much everyone in Australia, Greens included, opposes nuclear power despite the fact that it reduces emissions. Hamilton's environmental views may be laudable in certain circles but they're another manifestation of the same fear of technology and progress that underpins his censorship effort

Clive Hamilton and his ilk make me so angry I can barely type properly
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 8:44 PM on April 12, 2011


He just wants to ban the hottest pages, LiB.
posted by tumid dahlia at 8:44 PM on April 12, 2011


Well, you're obviously not the kind of person the article was written about, dahlia.

the Left STILL loves Clive for his environmental views but ignores his constant assaults on free and open speech

Here's Lovecraft with his free-speech absolution again. Humans gonna be human. Some of us appreciate ideas, rather than demonizing people because we don't agree with 100% of what they say.
posted by Jimbob at 8:45 PM on April 12, 2011


Here's Lovecraft with his free-speech absolution again.

'free speech absolution'
'Internet libertarian'

Australians, even ones who should be on my side, sure have alot of words to sugar coat fascism
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 8:46 PM on April 12, 2011


we want the polluters to pay

We are the polluters. To say we're not is to be one of those people call work to say they're stuck in traffic, oblivious to the fact that they are traffic. Coal-fired plants don't run for shits and giggles. That we pay Company X to burn it for us is splitting hairs - we burn it, for us.

I've been on a 100% GreenChoice plan for a few years now. I'm a polluter. I'm paying for it. My conscience is clean.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 8:47 PM on April 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


That's okay. I'd love your suggestion about who the hell I, as someone who cares about the environment, conservation and climate change am supposed to vote for if not the Greens. Man, the whole fear-of-voting-for-anyone-but-the-two-main-parties has sure done WONDER for the United States.
posted by Jimbob at 8:49 PM on April 12, 2011 [3 favorites]


but the future head of the Ministry of Truth is correct. I don't really want to do anything. I have no idea what catastrophe will happen to me. I don't know whether I've got a week to live or 80 years. I'd rather spend what little time I have in comfort rather than genuflecting to Gaia.

speaking of recycling I can swear I saw this article last year.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 8:50 PM on April 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


That's okay. I'd love your suggestion about who the hell I, as someone who cares about the environment, conservation and climate change am supposed to vote for if not the Greens. Man, the whole fear-of-voting-for-anyone-but-the-two-main-parties has sure done WONDER for the United States.

I voted for the Sex Party, because they care about Free Speech. I will not vote for a censor, so that includes both the Greens and Labor. Maybe you should realign your priorites and start focusing on HUMANITY instead of nature?

I'm literally shaking here.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 8:51 PM on April 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Then maybe it's time to step away for a while LiB. Humanity isn't separate from nature and it's a mistake to continue believing so.
posted by tumid dahlia at 8:52 PM on April 12, 2011 [7 favorites]


Maybe you should realign your priorites and start focusing on HUMANITY instead of nature?

Nope. Humanity's the problem. I'm reminded of the comment by a member of Regan's cabinet when addressing the issue of ozone depletion. "People can just wear more sunscreen!". Conveniently forgetting that we don't live in a vacuum, that you can't go around coating every plant and animal that we rely on to provide us with resources and keep our little planet livable with sunscreen. Anyone who thinks we only need to focus on humanity has a perverted perspective on what life is, and it's surprising to see such a confused, anti-science attitude coming from supposedly "rational" libertarians.
posted by Jimbob at 8:55 PM on April 12, 2011 [5 favorites]


The fact that the Greens and the Australian left have a deluded fool like Clive Hamilton as one of their spokeman is an indictment on their views.

I've said it before, but I have this vision of the environmentalists (and this includes members of the Labor and Liberal parties - remember, Turnbull sacrificed his career for the Emissions Trading Scheme) implementing laws that cut off Australia further and further. Banning certain types of communication, banning more buildings (there are already height restrictions), banning more airplanes and boats until Australia is cut off from the rest of the world, a Creepy Small Town crossed with Tyler Durden's eco-utopia and ruled by a tribe of Newtown Poison Ivies.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 8:55 PM on April 12, 2011


Anyone who thinks we only need to focus on humanity has a perverted perspective on what life is, and it's surprising to see such a confused, anti-science attitude coming from supposedly "rational" libertarians.

I'M NOT A LIBERTARIAN
In Australia, believing in basic American values like Free Speech makes you a libertarian. I'm pro-welfare, pro-gun law, pro-economic regulation. I hate Objectivists. But for some reason coming out here magically turns me into a Libertarian because I oppose the Internet filter.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 8:57 PM on April 12, 2011


The fact that the Greens and the Australian left have a deluded fool like Clive Hamilton as one of their spokeman

Wtf. Before flying off the handle, LiB, you need to educate yourself a little first. Clive Hamilton is not associated with the leadership of The Greens in Australia, nor has he had any involvement in the development of the green policy.

Certainly some green voters/members think Hamilton is great; many do not - including myself. I personally find most of his editorials like most editorials - poorly thought out arguments that would make bad policy prescriptions written by a dilettante. The only difference is that Hamilton is left wing.

So before you go speaking for everyone in The Greens and the "Australian left" (whatever the hell that amorphous group is), maybe just stick to critcising:

a) what Hamilton is talking about thistime, i.e. address his arguments on its merits, not who he is, and

b) do a little googling around the Australian blogosphere which will unearth plenty of left-wing criticism of Hamilton. Larvatus prodeo is a good place to start.
posted by smoke at 9:04 PM on April 12, 2011 [5 favorites]


Also, look up fascism in the dictionary before throwing it about like that.
posted by smoke at 9:07 PM on April 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


In Australia, believing in basic American values like Free Speech makes you a libertarian.

In Zimbabwe, believing in certain basic Taiwanese values makes you something as well.
posted by tumid dahlia at 9:10 PM on April 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


Okay, so you're ranting and raving about NOT BEING A LIBERTARIAN because your views are disparate and wide-ranging and contradictory...

..whilst at the same time damning someone for one of their beliefs, and claiming that single belief neuters all their others.

Can you see the irony here?
posted by coriolisdave at 9:11 PM on April 12, 2011 [6 favorites]


Okay, so you're ranting and raving about NOT BEING A LIBERTARIAN because your views are disparate and wide-ranging and contradictory...

..whilst at the same time damning someone for one of their beliefs, and claiming that single belief neuters all their others.

Can you see the irony here?


I'm calling him out for a belief only he holds. Only in Australia would having a basic respect for free speech be considered a 'libertarian' position. Given the vitriol libertarians rightly get on this site, I wanted to clarify my views.

But it does indicate my problems with Australian political discourse. It's not just the Greens. Everyone from (some) Liberals to Labor to Greens would sell humanity into bondage if it meant cutting emissions and saving endangered animals.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 9:14 PM on April 12, 2011


A belief only he holds? So he runs the Australian Labor party now? Awesome! Someone might want to tell the faceless men.
posted by coriolisdave at 9:16 PM on April 12, 2011


Back on topic, my problem with Hamilton - in addition to his naive policy proclamations - is revelaed really well in this article: he's a misanthropist of the first order, and he thinks the majority of Australians are venal, credulous idiots, who can barely be trusted to drive let alone think.

What Hamilton fails to acknowledge - and tapping into what Lovecraft is so angry about - is

a) that we live in a democracy not a benevolent dictatorship, so whether you think people are stupid or not, you need to have them on board.

b) those same venal, credulous idiots can be caring, motivated human beings, donating millions to aid tsunami victims, for example, in the majority opposed to the Iraq war, caring families etc etc

c) Talking about feelings etc is redundant when it comes to policy prescriptions. Within reason, selling a carbon tax or CPRS to the public is different discussion to how it should be implemented - despite the best efforts of politicians and special interests to muddy the waters.

d) Nobody knows what a given population wants, or thinks, etc. Hamilton is essentially saying because the public doesn't like carbon taxes at this point in time for these reasons, they will never like carbon taxes. This is so stupid.
posted by smoke at 9:17 PM on April 12, 2011 [7 favorites]


but there is a large vein of misanthropy in environmentalism. people who prefer their dogs to their friends, and who have actually cheered when large numbers of people are killed because it's 'good for the environment'. I may sound like I'm exagerrating, and it is an extreme position, but I see variants of it constantly
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 9:19 PM on April 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


[citation needed]
posted by coriolisdave at 9:21 PM on April 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Is that a joke?
posted by smoke at 9:22 PM on April 12, 2011


Wow. He actually wrote a book called 'Silencing Dissent'. What a fucking hypocrite.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 9:22 PM on April 12, 2011


Stop now.
posted by regicide is good for you at 9:23 PM on April 12, 2011


LiB, I would respectfully suggest that the circles you move in - In Newtown no less - are about as representative of the broader Australian population as the hair on Sean Connery's chest is as representative of the hair on his head.
posted by smoke at 9:24 PM on April 12, 2011 [6 favorites]


First paragraph from the first result for that book title:
Silencing Dissent uncovers the tactics used by John Howard and his colleagues to undermine dissenting and independent opinion. The victims are charities, academics, researchers, journalists, judges, public sector organisations, even parliament itself. Deeply disturbing, Silencing Dissent raises serious questions about the state of democracy in Australia..

So his hypocrisy is in.. supporting an Internet filter, whilst also criticising elected officials for stifling opposing viewpoints? Help me out here, I'm genuinely confused.
posted by coriolisdave at 9:25 PM on April 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


but there is a large vein of misanthropy in environmentalism. people who prefer their dogs to their friends, and who have actually cheered when large numbers of people are killed because it's 'good for the environment'. I may sound like I'm exagerrating, and it is an extreme position, but I see variants of it constantly

Okay, since we're playing Milton Bradley's "Hyperbole", you seem to support the position that we can level the forests, poison the oceans, blacken the skies, as long as no-one tries to stop you buying Mortal Kombat 9.
posted by Jimbob at 9:27 PM on April 12, 2011 [4 favorites]


So his hypocrisy is in.. supporting an Internet filter, whilst also criticising elected officials for stifling opposing viewpoints?

Supporting government censorship he approves up while opposing government censorship he doesn't approve of. That's hypocrisy.

Okay, since we're playing Milton Bradley's "Hyperbole", you seem to support the position that we can level the forests, poison the oceans, blacken the skies, as long as no-one tries to stop you buying Mortal Kombat 9.

That IS my position. I call it Climate Change Nihilism. I've only got about 80 years to live, so I'd rather spend it in relative comfort. And under the proposed Internet filter about a quarter of MeFi and half of AskMeFi would probably be banned...
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 9:31 PM on April 12, 2011


While I would certainly never argue with the idea that we are each our own world, and each of us responsible for our own lives, it's a dangerous delusion to believe that the world around us should conform to our beliefs about it. We may be the most important people in our own lives but we are not important in others, and there can be some difficulty in understanding that being at the centre of our own universe doesn't put us at the centre of anybody else's. Wondering why this isn't the case will be the cause of a great deal of anger for some, or regret for others. Some things may indeed be universally true and we may congratulate ourselves frequently for realising that, to the extent that we wish for others to understand them as well, but the use of language and argument is important in doing so - passion counts for very little. Lovecraft, it's obvious that you are very passionate about matters of free speech, which is commendable to an extent, because many people are unfortunate enough to lack passion in anything, but making free speech the centre of your world will only cause you grief until you come to the understanding that your universe is separate from the universes of others. Personal universes can overlap like a Venn diagram, I suppose, but very rarely through force or passion.

You're going to have a tough time convincing people that free speech is more galactically important than cleaner air or less melty poles, for example, when they have already made their decisions about what is important to them. So while it's admirable that you want others to feel the same way - it is, after all, an important human issue - you aren't going to do it by being passionate. For me, personally, as a, individual with relatively strong concerns about humanity's historical treatment of animals, nature, and itself, in environments both with and without free speech (however that may be defined), I fear it means very, very little. That isn't to say it oughtn't mean a great deal to others, or that it wouldn’t mean a great deal to me in a different context, but it's going to take a long time for arguments about internet filters to override, in a general sense, my concerns about certain other things. The fact that they are wholly separate and non-mutually exclusive issues will in all probability lead to people thinking about them using different logical structures inside their brains. Some may in fact switch themselves to "free speech" or "nature is important" modes, and parsing such disparate arguments in any kind of sensible way is going to be extremely difficult in a case like that. It's one side of the fence hollering about the best place to get takeaway coffee while the other side of the fence was actually trying to figure out where the remote control is. It's not the place for it and isn't going to work. Certainly getting hotted-up and vaguely shouty about it isn't going to help matters either.
posted by tumid dahlia at 9:33 PM on April 12, 2011 [10 favorites]


I've only got about 80 years to live, so I'd rather spend it in relative comfort.

So fuck everyone who comes after me. Yeah, that's a laudably selfish attitude. Tell me, why should we cater for YOUR comfort? You're certainly making no effort to cater to the community-standard discourse here.
posted by coriolisdave at 9:33 PM on April 12, 2011 [5 favorites]


That IS my position. I call it Climate Change Nihilism. I've only got about 80 years to live, so I'd rather spend it in relative comfort.

This is why I assumed you were an objectivist. The selfishness. Going to assume you don't have kids, from this point on.

And under the proposed Internet filter about a quarter of MeFi and half of AskMeFi would probably be banned...

We've been through this before. I have strong respect for the people who designed the internet, and complete faith that it is uncensorable in practice. And on the subject of Mortal Kombat 9, one of my mates has it. Once again, government fails to make a difference.
posted by Jimbob at 9:34 PM on April 12, 2011 [1 favorite]



You're going to have a tough time convincing people that free speech is more galactically important than cleaner air or less melty poles, for example, when they have already made their decisions about what is important to them.


This is a left-leaning site that defends the free speech of Koran-burners and members of the Westboro Baptist Church. I think my view is more in line with community and world norms than are the views of Australians. While I usually oppose Americans imposing their viewpoints on others in this case I agree with it, and hope that soon Australia will share the same values that have animated the USA.


You're going to have a tough time convincing people that free speech is more galactically important than cleaner air or less melty poles, for example, when they have already made their decisions about what is important to them.


Why? What is this strange connection people have with nature? is it because there is so much of it here?
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 9:38 PM on April 12, 2011


Yeah, I dunno. Lates.
posted by tumid dahlia at 9:41 PM on April 12, 2011


powerplants don't sit around producing CO2 for the fun of it. They sit around producing CO2 so you have electricity for your oven.

Polluter pays means the producer gets taxed, they do business as usual and just pass on the cost to whoever is buying the product. So if you waste a lot of electricity, well then you'll foot your share of the bill, and maybe think about wasting less. If you don't waste electricity, you'll barely notice - or could even turn a tidy little profit under some schemes, depending on how the income from the scheme is distributed.

Not only does it give incentives for better power plant technology, it encourages cleaner behaviour all the way down the line, up to and including the end user.

It makes sense because this is one of those threats that is bigger than any one of us and needs massive organised coordinated response. And the tool that we purpose-built for massive organised coordinated response is government (and inter-government agreements)
posted by -harlequin- at 9:41 PM on April 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is why I assumed you were an objectivist. The selfishness. Going to assume you don't have kids, from this point on.


A logical assumption.

I should point out that if I'd posted one of Andrew Bolt's environmental articles the first comment would rightly point out that he's disgustingly racist.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 9:42 PM on April 12, 2011


LiB is it possible you could be the bigger person and stop this needless free-speech/internet censorship derail in a thread ostensibly about climate change and its policy responses? I don't think it's a big ask.
posted by smoke at 9:42 PM on April 12, 2011 [5 favorites]


It might have something to do with the fact that, on the whole, humans rather like the place they live, and want it to be around for their children. And their children's children.

This is, obviously, not your view. So why are you in this thread? For that matter, if you hate Australians as much as your comments suggest, why are you even in this country?
posted by coriolisdave at 9:43 PM on April 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Why? What is this strange connection people have with nature? is it because there is so much of it here?

Maybe because the idea of man dominating and separate from nature is so, I dunno, biblical? 1750?
posted by Jimbob at 9:43 PM on April 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


Good call smoke. Apologies for participating in the derail folks.
posted by coriolisdave at 9:44 PM on April 12, 2011


On topic, I'd dearly love to understand why all the parties are so anti-Nuke. Particularly where there are viable technologies out there that are safe and, in some instances, actually consume toxic waste rather than producing it.
posted by coriolisdave at 9:45 PM on April 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


It might have something to do with the fact that, on the whole, humans rather like the place they live, and want it to be around for their children. And their children's children.

I feel exactly the same way about my home, the Internet.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 9:46 PM on April 12, 2011


Oh you mean nuclear power plants, which are exactly the same as the exact same things that flattened Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the science and safety of which has not progressed one inch since Chernobyl and Three Mile Island? Nice try, General Zod!
posted by tumid dahlia at 9:48 PM on April 12, 2011


[Couple comments removed. Skip the "most people from country X are shitty generalization Y" stuff.]
posted by cortex at 10:27 PM on April 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Whenever I see discussion about energy, there seems to be this insistence that the solution must solve every possible issue, otherwise it can't be considered.
In Australia we have abundant solar, so it would seem a useful replacement for some coal generation. Yes there are cloudy days (but few that cover the entire eastern states grid), but peak loads are on hot, sunny days.
Nuclear probably has a place too, although it does have dangers, and produces difficult waste, and I reckon it will be hard to build new reactors of any design after Fukushima.
And gas for some power and directly for industry and home use, and it would be nice to see more CNG in transport.
posted by bystander at 10:52 PM on April 12, 2011


That's the thing, bystander. Alternative designs to the current light-water reactors don't produce the 'difficult waste'. Molten salt reactors can in fact BURN the waste from the LWR's, which should surely make them attractive as an option for disposing of waste from the existing plants.

But, apparently not. And so instead we stick with coal, and kill the planet more every day. Why can't the Greens take a lesser-of-two-evils approach here?
posted by coriolisdave at 11:06 PM on April 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


There's your answer right there coriolisdave: because of the existence of ignorant people like tumid dahlia? =p
posted by xdvesper at 11:16 PM on April 12, 2011


Sorry I was in the backyard burning a big pile of Styrofoam. Did you want me?
posted by tumid dahlia at 11:19 PM on April 12, 2011 [3 favorites]


tumid, how could you be so stupid as to burn styrofoam!!


Don't you know you could've turned it into napalm instead? ;)
posted by coriolisdave at 11:23 PM on April 12, 2011


And I'm perfectly disignorant (!) about how these things work. Problem is:

1. I pay for electricity from coal power plant, operator makes money, I feel bad
2. I pay more for "green" electricity from coal power plant, operator makes more money, I feel slightly better
3. Carbon tax is passed on to me. I pay more. Operator makes same amount of money.

Absolutely no incentive to reduce emissions there. More of an incentive for me to use less electric, but how, if I'm already roaming about switching things off already? Turn off the fridge before I open it? Suspend the TV face-down from the ceiling and lay beneath it, so it doesn't have to fight gravity quite so much to get the electrodes to the top of the screen in your more traditional configuration? Juice oranges manually like a spaz? I could reduce my power consumption down to just a smidge above zero and have no impact. But the massive fuck-off power plant down the road could at least put a HEPA filter over the smokestacks, and they don't.
posted by tumid dahlia at 11:27 PM on April 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


Don't you know you could've turned it into napalm instead?

Ain't no napalm gonna get me this fuckin' high.
posted by tumid dahlia at 11:29 PM on April 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


tumid, you're missing the key final part of option 3: Carbon tax is paid by operator, passed on to you. The government REFUNDS YOU the amount they collected (plus some, it currently seems), but the operator is still out of pocket.

Every bit of carbon they save directly saves _them_ money. So I suspect you'd see the HEPA filters then. Ultimately (and admittedly, ideally) a carbon tax isn't a revenue-raising exercise (no matter how much the opposition bleats to the contrary).
posted by coriolisdave at 11:34 PM on April 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


While tumid might need to juice by hand to make any difference in his lifestyle, the vast bulk of the population could use a little more incentive to turn off the damn lights when they leave the room. I doubt a carbon tax will do much, but if it encourages my mum to buy the 5 star fridge instead of the 2 star next time she is shopping for an appliance I'll take that little victory.
posted by bystander at 11:38 PM on April 12, 2011


Something the QLD government does is a $50 'Climate smart home service'. This means a sparky comes to your house, swaps out up to 15 incandescent lights for energy-efficient CFL's, installs a water-efficient shower head (if applicable) and installs a power meter.

The power meter is super-cool, as it gives you instant feedback on how much power that ceiling-hung television is using. It would be interesting to find out how much of a difference these are really making to people - if it's as successful as I suspect, it might be worthwhile rolling out nationally.
posted by coriolisdave at 11:44 PM on April 12, 2011


In NSW we had some guys come around and replace incandescent for CFL bulbs for free. I think they would do the shower head free too, if you had electric hot water.
It got a bit out of hand, as multiple mobs competed to give away stuff (all so they could get RECS certificates to sell to the power companies).
It knocked about 3kWh per day off my power bill, so about $200 a year in monetary terms.
posted by bystander at 12:26 AM on April 13, 2011


The power meter is super-cool, as it gives you instant feedback on how much power that ceiling-hung television is using. It would be interesting to find out how much of a difference these are really making to people - if it's as successful as I suspect, it might be worthwhile rolling out nationally.

I've got barely any money for a TV. Gotta worry about size, resolution, and now energy efficiency? one more thing to get neurotic about? fuck that
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 12:34 AM on April 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Something to be aware of with those schemes you're discussing - they tend to give you pretty cheap and nasty CFL globes. Don't expect them to last very long, and get used to them taking 2 minutes to "warm up" when you turn them on.
posted by Jimbob at 12:51 AM on April 13, 2011


Protip for people with "barely any money". Energy costs money. Buying things that are energy efficient is a great way to help you retain your money.
posted by Jimbob at 12:53 AM on April 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


one more thing to get neurotic about?

You'll have more money for TVs if your electricity bill is lower. Doing a little something is really this simple.

On preview: Hi, Jimbob!
posted by Wolof at 12:56 AM on April 13, 2011 [4 favorites]


Yeah we had the ClimateSmart guy in, it was awesome, still got like ten of those bulbs left even after moving house. Gives you an idea of what's sucking the most juice. Turned out, for us, it was the electric kettle, of all things, though I guess in truth that isn't much of a surprise. Bringing two liters of water to boiling point in under five minutes takes some calories. Protip: if you have gas hot water, fill the kettle with that before boiling to save a quarter of a cent per cup!
posted by tumid dahlia at 1:16 AM on April 13, 2011


I feel exactly the same way about my home, the Internet.

Jesus, seriously? Is it that you don't understand the relative scarcity of food, water, air, energy, and natural resources, or are you really so selfish and narcissistic that you don't give a fuck about anyone else in the entire world? I'm asking in all seriousness, I can't even begin to understand where you're coming from here.
posted by dialetheia at 1:41 AM on April 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


Besides, if energy efficiency is regulated (using the star rating system currently on fridges, etc) then you don't have to worry about it. Government can just assume that no-one wants to spend extra money on electricity if they don't have to, and ratchet up the efficiency requirements over a decade or so. They've done the same in Japan, and a tv purchased there now is way more efficient than an equivalent model from 5 years ago.

Plus this gets around Hamilton's point that very few people will pay attention to it anyway. Why make individuals fiddle with the little details when you can just deal with the problem at the source?
posted by harriet vane at 1:41 AM on April 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure LiB realises that 'the environment' means more than just kangaroos, and actually includes things like the air we breathe and the water we drink. Sadly, he's not alone. Many people think humans couldn't possibly mess up the environment enough to hurt themselves.
posted by harriet vane at 1:46 AM on April 13, 2011


Why? What is this strange connection people have with nature? is it because there is so much of it here?

It's because some people actually have a basic understanding of science and realise it is not the infinite source of miracles often presented in popular opinion and thus are aware of various natural limits which shouldn't be overshot for too long to avoid permanently compromising the standard of living you so enjoy.
posted by Bangaioh at 1:48 AM on April 13, 2011 [5 favorites]


Jesus, seriously? Is it that you don't understand the relative scarcity of food, water, air, energy, and natural resources, or are you really so selfish and narcissistic that you don't give a fuck about anyone else in the entire world? I'm asking in all seriousness, I can't even begin to understand where you're coming from here

The amount of attention Australians pay to environmental issues far outstrips the attention they pay to free speech issues. Attacks on the Internet are often the first sign of worse abuses - see Egypt. I'd like to have my freedom - OUR freedom - secure before I worry about environmental issues.
Again, if climate change is such a problem why not support nuclear? The Greens here are anti-development. Hamilton is just frightening.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 2:48 AM on April 13, 2011


What use is your/our freedom if we've fucked up the world so much that it's unlivable? I think you've constructed a strawman here, though - sure, freedom of speech is great, fight the good fight. But this thread isn't about freedom of speech (or at least shouldn't be!), and isn't the place for ranty fighty freedom-uber-alles.

It's myopic, and self-defeating.
posted by coriolisdave at 3:05 AM on April 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


Oh my fucking god, you're comparing the state of free speech in Australia to egypt. Jesus christ on a pogo stick you don't need a reality check; you need a reality bank, mate. That's the kind of shit you see on libertarian blogs all the time.

Again, if climate change is such a problem why not support nuclear? The Greens here are anti-development.

Well if the Greens are anti-development because they oppose nuclear then so are the other three political parties in the house of representatives, all of which oppose nuclear. Why? Because something like 90% of the Australian public oppose it, making it political suicide of the first order.

Frankly, you're coming off as a self-entitled, ignorant blowhard in this thread, who cares about nothing but themselves, and sadly confirming a lot of (unfair) stereotypes Australians have about Americans.

You are displaying absolutely no knowledge about climate change, about Australian politics, about Australian culture, about the Greens and their many, complex policies, or much of anything else. What was it Twain said about opening one's mouth and removing all doubt? You should be taking this opportunity to learn a thing or two instead of chucking off like a spoilt teenager on topics you know nothing about.
posted by smoke at 3:19 AM on April 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


I've got barely any money for a TV. Gotta worry about size, resolution, and now energy efficiency? one more thing to get neurotic about? fuck that

One way I can find that information is on the stickers that companies are required to have on their appliances which let consumers know how much the appliance costs to run (read: energy efficient), as well as how water-wise it is. This information has been on appliances in Australia as long as I remember, and is certainly not placed on appliances in Harvey Norman for Lovecraft to get his(?) paranoid knickers in a twist about. Neurotic? I think you're both misguided as well as completely ignorant about the pay-offs about more energy-efficient appliances. A lot of people in Australia are more than happy to try "doing their part" to help the environment in small ways (eg recycling), but get confused and baulk when they think it's going to cost them money.

LiB, you sound like a recent rant of American politicians crying that they have been forced to change their lightbulbs to more energy efficient ones. Forcing people to choose only energy-efficient lightbulbs I'm sure can be reframed as a free speech issue - in LiB's deft hands.

I do so love the fact that any Australian thread of a vaguely political flavour sees me clicking on it immediately to wonder what one-note drum LiB is going to be banging on about - regardless of the actual post topic. Discussion about the climate tax? Quick, get the Bat Signal - LiB needs to tell all us Aussies how we don't value freedom of speech instead. The last ten Mefi threads that you threadshat in to lecture us on freedom of speech didn't hint that Aussies clearly don't value that as one of our pressing 21st century issues - for the love of god get a clue this time. You're really pissing a lot of people off.

I'm only one person, and therefore I can only do so much about the environment myself. Holding larger polluting corporations more accountable is a solution I'm more than happy to at least try - even if it costs me more in the short term.
posted by chronic sublime at 3:50 AM on April 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


pretty much everyone in Australia, Greens included, opposes nuclear power despite the fact that it reduces emissions

My own opposition to nuclear power is based on the fact that directing capital to the construction of nuclear power plants diverts it from other things that will reduce emissions much, much faster. Nukes are too expensive to build and too slow to come onstream. Replacing end-of-life coal-fired generators with gas-fired plant while pursuing energy-efficiency measures to drive aggregate demand downward until we complete a transition to a proper industrial ecology powered by fully renewable energy would work far better.

he thinks the majority of Australians are venal, credulous idiots, who can barely be trusted to drive let alone think

Before I found out that there was 75% popular support for locking up "terrorist suspects" without charge and making it illegal to report incidents of same, I would have disagreed with him.

Turned out, for us, it was the electric kettle, of all things, though I guess in truth that isn't much of a surprise. Bringing two liters of water to boiling point in under five minutes takes some calories. Protip: if you have gas hot water, fill the kettle with that before boiling to save a quarter of a cent per cup!

If you intend to drink what comes out of your hot water service, make sure you have one with a stainless steel tank, as opposed to a glass-lined mild steel tank with a sacrificial anode. Those anodes are put there specifically to dissolve slowly into your hot water, and the metals they're made of are not necessarily food-safe.

But you'd be better off simply paying attention to how much water you need to bring to boiling point. If you're making two cups of tea, put only two-and-a-bit cups into the kettle instead of reflexively filling it to maximum capacity. 500ml of water boils four times as quickly as two litres, and costs a quarter of the energy.

This is actually a fairly typical pattern for energy efficiency improvements: they generally work better as well as costing less.
posted by flabdablet at 3:57 AM on April 13, 2011


I'd also like to put on the record that I believe Conroy's proposed Internet filter is so mind-bogglingly stupid, and so unlikely to fix the child porn issue it's allegedly intended to help with, that it's unlikely ever to get implemented. Not that the idea will ever be officially shelved; doing that would cost too many votes from the "family values" lobby. So it will just hang about forever, like the farty smell that wafts out of the Gents. Yes, we could clear the air with a public education campaign, but until there's some other pressing issue we need to distract public attention from, it's not really worth the effort.
posted by flabdablet at 4:05 AM on April 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Lovecraft, try freecycle. They are regularly giving TVs away as people upgrade their 48cm CRT to a 40inch LED. The older TVs don't use too much power. Use the dollars you save to pay for green electricity. And if you have little money because you earn a low income, you are likely to receive compensation under a carbon tax, so if you try to reduce your carbon footprint you'll have more money for free speech proselytising. (Try Electronic Frontiers for Australians fighting against censorship www.efa.org.au)
posted by bystander at 4:07 AM on April 13, 2011


Before I found out that there was 75% popular support for locking up "terrorist suspects" without charge and making it illegal to report incidents of same, I would have disagreed with him.

75%, measured by whom and by what method? Cos I can tell you this - out of the sample space of all my friends and relatives, not a single person would agree with that. I get really annoyed when news outlets take a little survey, or do a self-selective "phone-in poll" (channel 10 news, I'm looking at YOU) and then take the non-representative result as some sort of incontrovertible fact.

Replacing end-of-life coal-fired generators with gas-fired plant
My question to that is -where's the gas coming from? Seems to be a big push up here for coal-seam gas, which doesn't seem to be all that nice to the environment either...
posted by coriolisdave at 4:07 AM on April 13, 2011


Actually, you may be interested to learn that I boil a jug and stick the contents in a thermos. It's a super-thermos that keeps stuff tasty hot for hours. Saves getting up and going to the kitchen!
posted by tumid dahlia at 4:08 AM on April 13, 2011


bystander, lovecraft isn't interested in anything other than lovecraft's freedoms. He's already stated he sees no reason to reduce his carbon footprint.
posted by coriolisdave at 4:10 AM on April 13, 2011


If you intend to drink what comes out of your hot water service, make sure you have one with a stainless steel tank, as opposed to a glass-lined mild steel tank with a sacrificial anode.

Also how do I do this? Rap my knuckles on the side and wait for the distinctive sound?
posted by tumid dahlia at 4:35 AM on April 13, 2011


No, you look for the words "stainless steel" written on the outside, or look it up on the manufacturer's website.

Most Australian hot water services are in fact glass-lined mild steel with sacrificial anodes.
posted by flabdablet at 4:42 AM on April 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's dark outside though.
posted by tumid dahlia at 5:32 AM on April 13, 2011


I'd just like to say that "sacrificial anode" is my new favourite expression.

Also, my understanding of the carbon tax is that the really big effect it will have will be as a side effect of the way the national electricity market (NEMMCO) works.

Basically, electricity generators sell big chunks of generated electricity on an open market. At the moment, coal-generated electricity is the cheapest so it always gets bought up first, followed by gas. Renewables, being the most expensive in pure financial terms, always get bought last and the lack of a reliable market for them is a real discouragement for investment. A price on carbon will push the price of the dirtiest coal up far enough that all renewable energy will be cheaper than a large amount of baseload electricity supply and all of it will always be bought. Hopefully this increase in the reliability of demand will be enough to induce a great big tipping point in renewable energy investment.

(this is how I've had it explained to me, anyway)

On the Greens and the Internet filter:

Yes, Clive Hamilton made a complete idiot of himself by supporting the filter then abusing everyone who pointed out in detail how he was wrong as a bunch of angry loser nerds then, after he finally realised how untenable his position was, backing cautiously away from Conroy's specific design while reciting his support for some unspecified magic technological solution that would bring civility back to Internet discourse. I've basically ignored him since then.

But Hamilton is not representative of the Greens' position on the filter. Senator Scott Ludlam is the actual Green communications spokesperson and he has been one of the most vocal detractors of the policy in Parliament (Kate Lundy, an ALP senator for the ACT, has been excellent as well and earns extra points by being willing to speak out against her own party when they are engaged in utter stupidity). Anyone who refuses to vote for the Greens just because Clive Hamilton is a bit of a fool is not thinking clearly.
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 5:51 AM on April 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


On the article, I can only presume Hamilton is demonstrating his amazing telepathic abilities that allow him to tell the reader exactly what the little folk of Australia want and think. Why else would he write a text free of any statistics, figures, references to studies or evidence from polling data? This is not "telling it like it is" on climate policy. However, it could be "apparently Fairfax Ltd. will pay me the same amount no matter the quality of the article I give them". Or maybe I'm confusing it for "I've got a new book so I better write some opinion pieces to help advertising it".

An example of doing it better can be found here (why is Crikey the only online Australian news source that is consistently worth a damn...).
posted by kithrater at 6:02 AM on April 13, 2011


You know, I read that Clive Hamilton piece in this morning's paper, and it gave me a chuckle. It's kind of nice to see an anti-Andrew Bolt getting some print space.

I mean, regardless of what you think of the quality of his argument, I think you'd have to concede that
How easily the public's penny-pinching is exploited by a handful of ranting shock jocks. "The carbon tax is a terrible injustice, foisted on the battlers by out-of-touch elites," they fulminate, before turning off their spittle-flecked microphones to return to their harbour-side penthouses
is some of the finest rabble-rousing you've read today.
posted by flabdablet at 7:40 AM on April 13, 2011


Well how about that? Australians aren't as stupid as I thought. I missed the correction; apparently locking "terrorist suspects" up without charge for two weeks in complete secrecy only seemed like a good idea to two-thirds of us at the time, not three-quarters.
two-thirds of voters back life imprisonment for funding a terrorist organisation, a fortnight's detention without charge for suspected terrorists and seven years' jail for supporting insurgencies where Australian troops are deployed. Three-quarters support putting suspects under house arrest or fitting them with tracking devices and 57 per cent believe in restrictions on who suspects can meet and where they can work.
posted by flabdablet at 7:53 AM on April 13, 2011


By the way: all it takes to be a "terrorist suspect" in this country is having brown skin and a dodgy cousin.
posted by flabdablet at 7:56 AM on April 13, 2011


In NSW we had some guys come around and replace incandescent for CFL bulbs for free. I think they would do the shower head free too, if you had electric hot water.

We have something similar in the UK, if memory serves they gave away a total of 200million CFLs before thatwas declared to be a technology that would no longer be accepted under the scheme. It has been quite a useful way to get the utilities to install new technologies, familiarise people with them and as a large fraction of the policy is directed at 'vulnerable' households so it helps address fuel poverty to some extent.
posted by biffa at 8:53 AM on April 13, 2011


Basically, electricity generators sell big chunks of generated electricity on an open market. At the moment, coal-generated electricity is the cheapest so it always gets bought up first, followed by gas. Renewables, being the most expensive in pure financial terms, always get bought last and the lack of a reliable market for them is a real discouragement for investment. A price on carbon will push the price of the dirtiest coal up far enough that all renewable energy will be cheaper than a large amount of baseload electricity supply and all of it will always be bought. Hopefully this increase in the reliability of demand will be enough to induce a great big tipping point in renewable energy investment.

Maybe, it depends how much the level of the tax is. A rising carbon tax will tend to stimulate energy efficiency first as this will cost less than renewables. Though of course, there are buckets of energy efficiency measures which are money savers now, without any extra incentive needed to alter the economics (look up marginal cost curves for energy to see examples). There have been fantastiuc results with carbon taxes, for example the domestic building sector in Denmark saw massive cost reductions after a high tax was imposed.
posted by biffa at 9:03 AM on April 13, 2011


Yeah I've been wondering how exactly the carbon tax would effect electricity prices here in Tasmania. Most of our electrical generation is from hydroelectricity. But we now also have the Basslink cable that puts us on the national grid, so a lot of the time despite generating from hydro, we're buying coal electricity from Victoria.
posted by Jimbob at 2:34 PM on April 13, 2011


Well it really doesn't matter where we want to "do anything" about climate change or not. Either way, it's happening.
posted by chance at 3:45 PM on April 13, 2011


In my limited understanding of Australian politics, the Internet Filter looks like a classic can't-let-it-be-resolved issue. If the filter gets implemented, voters will be realigned. If the filter gets dumped for sure, voters will be realigned. Keeping the issue open is the only way to keep the electorate vote-neutral on the issue.

In democracies, this often happens when a significant proportion of the electorate has strong opinions on issues that in reality are quite trivial. Such issues can be resolved when something else captures public imagination in a big way (the issue gets quietly forgotten), or when a Court settles the issue in a politically neutral judgement (it allows all parties to save face).
posted by vidur at 4:36 PM on April 13, 2011


Well if the Greens are anti-development because they oppose nuclear then so are the other three political parties in the house of representatives, all of which oppose nuclear. Why? Because something like 90% of the Australian public oppose it, making it political suicide of the first order.

Well, yes. That's my point. ALL the political parties are too anti-development and pro-environment. I pointed this out in most of my posts.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 5:01 PM on April 13, 2011


Anti nuclear is not "anti development".
posted by smoke at 6:25 PM on April 13, 2011


ALL the political parties are too anti-development and pro-environment.

And yet our economy seems to be churning along quite nicely. Envy of the world, I hear. What you want us to become China, or something?
posted by Jimbob at 6:26 PM on April 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Thankfully the overwhelming majority of Australians (and I think most Americans) resile from LiB's strange anti-environment views. That's why we continue to vote to support national parks and marine parks and State forests and recreational assets and the CBD and Ramsar and JAMBA/CAMBA/ROKAMBA and national heritage and wilderness and many many things that have been formally recognised and institutionalised over the last century. Hooray for sanity.

Yet people haven't quite made the connection between their consumption activities and the imminent threat to all of these precious things. Why? Lots of reasons, a few of them in Clive Hamilton's article.

Jimbob, with basslink, hydro is more dispatchable so runs more as a load following device. This is a good thing. Hydro as baseload isn't necessarily wise. Also, Tassie had declining rainfall through the 00s, and was at risk of brownouts. Also Bell Bay was running at capacity (fed by Vic gas). A breakdown at Bell bay could have been disastrous.
posted by wilful at 8:24 PM on April 13, 2011


Anti nuclear is not "anti development".

It's part of the same mindset that opposes high rise buildings, attacks the Internet, and privileges the rural over the urban.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 10:14 PM on April 13, 2011


And yet our economy seems to be churning along quite nicely. Envy of the world, I hear. What you want us to become China, or something?

No, I don't want us to become China. That's why I'm opposing a Chinese-style Internet filter.
I have seen many photos of Shanghai, though. If you could have a city like that without all the oppression I'd move there in a second. My brother is as pro-freedom as you can get and even he was charmed by it. It's gorgeous!
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 10:16 PM on April 13, 2011


privileges the rural over the urban.

You really have no idea.
posted by wilful at 10:47 PM on April 13, 2011 [6 favorites]


I think I've just come up with a new rule for myself. LiB is nothing but a troll, and I will not rise to the bait. It's either that, or people exist who really are that self-centred and clueless, and I'd rather not be morally compelled to go a shooting rampage. If anyone wants to join my in my boycott, I'll be in the bar.
posted by coriolisdave at 11:09 PM on April 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


You sound like a younger version of me.

Unfortunately I am now old enough to have accepted not only the existence of people that self-centred and clueless, but the fact that they are in charge of things. It's a selection pressure thing.
posted by flabdablet at 2:20 AM on April 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


I have seen many photos of Shanghai, though. If you could have a city like that without all the oppression I'd move there in a second.

You realize that in order to feed, clothe, make Shanghai work there is a massive amount of environment out there it relies on? Massive areas of ocean that needs to be kept pollution free and not over-fished in order to supply its seafood? Massive areas of forest to generate oxygen for the people who live there? Air kept breathable? Catchments collecting fresh water for it? Water kept drinkable? Huge agricultural areas that have to be managed to produce food and clothing for the occupants? Energy generated to power it? Waste products that have to be disposed of somewhere without messing something else up? Building supplies have to come from somewhere - steel, concrete, glass. The ecological footprint of such a city is difficult to imagine, and extends from under the earth to the sky, from the forests and mountains into the deepest oceans.

It's fine to look at a city like Shanghai and think "Wow that's nice, why can't we all live like that?", but surely you can't believe it exists in a vacuum.
posted by Jimbob at 3:48 AM on April 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


You realize that in order to feed, clothe, make Shanghai work there is a massive amount of environment out there it relies on?

Heh. I was in Shanghai last year and I remember standing on the Bund (the strip next to the river) at night watching barge after barge full of coal drifting past.
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 4:21 AM on April 14, 2011


Heh. I was in Shanghai last year and I remember standing on the Bund (the strip next to the river) at night watching barge after barge full of coal drifting past.

Probably direct from Newcastle...
posted by Jimbob at 8:17 PM on April 14, 2011


It's part of the same mindset that opposes high rise buildings, attacks the Internet, and privileges the rural over the urban.

[citation needed]

Hamilton aside (and he's not in any elected position), the Greens in Australia are opposed to the internet filter, and strongly support net neutrality. They opposed the ACMA blacklist and when it went through anyway they campaigned for it to be made a transparent and open process instead of the behind-closed-doors method it has now.

Worldchanging (a site for 'bright green' thinking: pro-technology and design) is full of articles about how environmentalists are working to transform our urban areas into vibrant, sustainable places to live for the 21st century, so that the rural areas can be left clean.

Your idea of what environmentalists are like is drawn from 1962. Your idea of what nature is like is drawn from 1862. Queen Victoria would be proud, sir! Doff your top hat and grow a bushy beard, then read about Darwin, for goodness sake. Rid yourself of this idea that somehow humans sit above nature and don't rely entirely upon it for our well-being.
posted by harriet vane at 3:26 AM on April 17, 2011


I live among environmentalists and hippies.
Your idea of what nature is like is drawn from 1862.

Bit more modern than I assumed but not bad.
We evolved and now we're at the top of the food change. I doubt the spiders would treat us better if they were in charge.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 4:32 AM on April 17, 2011


The thing about animals at the "top of the food chain" - it is a basic ecological rule that population dynamics in such animals is strongly constrained by resources. There are few of them. They have large home ranges. Slight changes in the population of prey animals can have dramatic impacts on the population of the "top predators".

You would do well to remember that when discussing development proposals that impact the "environment" that you consider so distant - the environment that is the source of the resources we rely on.
posted by Jimbob at 6:00 PM on April 17, 2011


We evolved and now we're at the top of the food change. [sic] I doubt the spiders would treat us better if they were in charge.


Oh my fucking dear. Leaving the spiders aside, are you really that fucking clueless, that you think nature is simply there for our pleasure and dominion. If you just want to argue on economic grounds, the ecosystem services provided through food and agriculture, clean air and water, bio-prospecting etc etc etc are irreplaceable. No we cannot feed ourselves and keep ourselves healthy through hermetically sealed factories. We do not live outside of our environment, we are part of it.

Ethically, I wouldn't put your views back in 1862. Guessing that you're late twenties, I'd put your views as somewhere late 1980s - you stopped developing at the pre-operational stage, at about age 7. Your strange views are really quite at odds with pretty much everything everyone worth reading has said about this topic in the past fifty years.
posted by wilful at 7:04 PM on April 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh my fucking dear. Leaving the spiders aside, are you really that fucking clueless, that you think nature is simply there for our pleasure and dominion. If you just want to argue on economic grounds, the ecosystem services provided through food and agriculture, clean air and water, bio-prospecting etc etc etc are irreplaceable. No we cannot feed ourselves and keep ourselves healthy through hermetically sealed factories. We do not live outside of our environment, we are part of it.


That's still an argument for exploiting it. The language people use tells me to RESPECT it. I sometimes need to eat at McDonalds but I don't respect McDonalds.

I have friends constantly arguing against genetically modified foods. Against nuclear power. Against meat eating. For anything that will benefit trees and dogs and pigs and all those things. Of course I'm a bit extreme, but I need to deal with people who keep (potentially) dangerous dogs and allow plants in their cars.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 9:57 PM on April 17, 2011


Of course I'm a bit extreme, but I need to deal with people who keep (potentially) dangerous dogs

Wow. You have something against kids and dogs. Cats? How do you feel about them? Guinea pigs? It is certainly bizarre to hear "keeping dangerous dogs" equated with extreme Greenies. You should take a trip out of Newtown and come visit my suburb down here in Tasmania some time. "Dangerous dogs" go hand-in-hand with V8 muscle cars and people burning piles of plastic in their backyards.

and allow plants in their cars.

Wot.
posted by Jimbob at 10:39 PM on April 17, 2011


That's still an argument for exploiting it

yeah I know that, I was just trying to get down to your level as to why there is a logical "rational" anthropocentric claim for the protection of the environment.

As to whether or not you should have a conservation ethos, I haven't ever told anyone how they should feel, no one ever told me how to feel about nature. I think the chip might be on your shoulder, you have raised it a lot, come across as defensive.

I don't think that Thoreau or Ness are going to get through to you any time soon, you're never going to move from deep-seated human exceptionalism and a belief in the Great Chain of Being. You just need to be aware that for most people, most of history, and right now, your disdain for nature is a very odd, narrow world-view that you've constructed for yourself.
posted by wilful at 10:51 PM on April 17, 2011


I don't think that Thoreau or Ness are going to get through to you any time soon, you're never going to move from deep-seated human exceptionalism and a belief in the Great Chain of Being. You just need to be aware that for most people, most of history, and right now, your disdain for nature is a very odd, narrow world-view that you've constructed for yourself.

That's part of the attraction. The other is that Greens make my life harder with things like height restricions and could end up hurting people by restricting genetic modification and animal testing and all that. Plus, it's a matter of priorities. Carbon taxes get more inches than people trying to impose a classification scheme on art or chop up the Internet.

Jimbob: not a fan of any animals. Can't trust dogs any more than I can trust people. Cats tend to scratch me. The 'transporting plants' thing was a bit tongue and cheek, but my dad was hauling dirty plants in his car this weekend. Gross.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 11:07 PM on April 17, 2011


dad was hauling dirty plants in his car this weekend. Gross.

Same planet. Different universe.

*Goes to wash the mud from his fingernails after digging for potatoes in his vegie patch*
posted by Jimbob at 11:14 PM on April 17, 2011


The other is that Greens make my life harder with things like height restricions

I should say that I agree with you on height restrictions. There is a trend, in Australian inner cities, of replacing the existing trees with natives. Lots of areas in inner cities have been planted with European trees like oaks and plane trees - they pulled them all out along North Terrace in Adelaide, and there is discussion about doing the same thing in Melbourne, and replacing the European trees with Eucalypts. I can't see the point of this - cities are cities. They aren't natural environments. Pulling out trees that have been there for a century so you can put in some natives that will take another century to be useful impresses no-one. The only native mammals that live in the city, possums, don't give a shit what sort of tree it is - they're happy to grab half-eaten McDonalds fries from rubbish bins. I'd much rather effort was put into preserving real native habitat than spending big money replacing trees in the CBD. And, thus, I have no objections to them building things as high as they like in the city - it seems like an efficient use of scarce land.

Carbon taxes get more inches than people trying to impose a classification scheme on art or chop up the Internet.

For the 9,000th time, I think this is only fair. A carbon tax is going to affect people's lives. It may affect them in a negative way, in terms of the cost of things they purchase, petrol, energy. It may affect them in a positive way, in terms of preserving the climate, ensuring the world's ecosystem continue to function in a way we are evolved to cope with. Art classification schemes, however? Doesn't matter a shit. People will look at what they want to look at. From a pragmatic, practical point of view, I'd like to see the Australian government try to stop them. You are most likely aware of the illegality of hosting or viewing information on euthanasia in Australia - appalling, I know. In response, a number of groups have started operating to teach terminally ill people how to use Tor. If you believe in the power of the individual, as you seem to, I don't know why you fear the government so damn much.
posted by Jimbob at 11:27 PM on April 17, 2011


For the 9,000th time, I think this is only fair. A carbon tax is going to affect people's lives.

The filter isn't going to affect our lives?
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 11:34 PM on April 17, 2011


No. I can't see how it will affect mine. I've got Tor. I've got a SSH server overseas. There are proxy servers. The Internet can't actually be censored. Any censorship attempts will simply serve to make the population more technologically savvy. You are aware that most forms of online gambling and viewing pornography are both allegedly illegal in Australia? How's that working out for the majority of the populace?
posted by Jimbob at 11:37 PM on April 17, 2011


It'll also slow down the Internet. My Internet is slow enough as it is, since I mostly live in places where I used mobile broadband. Slowing it down will make things much worse.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 12:19 AM on April 18, 2011


Since you're in need of remedial education: evolution isn't a ladder leading to humans at the top, as they used to think back in the 19th century. It's a tree with all the existing animals in the world at the top, each one of them the product of years of adaptation to their environment (except for pandas and koalas, dopey bastards are too picky in their diets). Or take a look at the for dummies version.

You're so terrified of animals and plants you're determined to squish them before they do anything scary to you. It's really weird. I mean, we joke about Australia having all the poisonous animals but it's not *that* bad. Bilbies are nice, so are gum trees. Where did you grow up? In a prison?

I'm with you guys on the height restrictions, for environmental reasons :P If we want to stop urban sprawl, we've got to go up. Bring on the towers, I say.

Also, the internet sees censorship as damage and routes around it. I'm surprised you don't know this already. The Streisand effect, archive.org, TOR, darknets, there are hundreds of different ways that mean information can't be stopped once it's online. It's why Assange goes online instead of to the newspapers.
posted by harriet vane at 1:03 AM on April 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


You're so terrified of animals and plants you're determined to squish them before they do anything scary to you. It's really weird. I mean, we joke about Australia having all the poisonous animals but it's not *that* bad. Bilbies are nice, so are gum trees. Where did you grow up? In a prison?

Nah, I just never had pets. I can barely interact with humans. You want me to interact with animals?

Also, the internet sees censorship as damage and routes around it. I'm surprised you don't know this already. The Streisand effect, archive.org, TOR, darknets, there are hundreds of different ways that mean information can't be stopped once it's online. It's why Assange goes online instead of to the newspapers.

Well, yeah. But besides it slowing down the Internet it's the 'slippery slope' thing. The government having that kind of technological and political power is terrifying.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 1:20 AM on April 18, 2011


I can barely interact with humans

Is that problematic for you? Why do you think it might be so?
posted by flabdablet at 1:26 AM on April 18, 2011


It'll also slow down the Internet.

Give me convenience or give me death!
posted by Jimbob at 3:25 AM on April 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


But if people are only barely inconvenienced by the filter, it's hardly a lot of technological and political power, is it? It's the power to say they're going to censor things without the ability to make it so. I can announce I'm going to stop Barnaby Joyce from saying anything stupid ever again, but I don't think there's a power in the 'verse that can actually stop him.
posted by harriet vane at 3:50 AM on April 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


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