Friday, January 2, 2015

Take this to Paris...

I am stating right up front that I am an anthropogenic climate change skeptic. I firmly believe that the climate is changing as it always does, but I do not for a second believe that mankind has been the author of any of the change that has occurred over the last 150 years. I also believe that we need to be good stewards of our environment. We should not waste resources or pollute and litter our environment. I believe the answer is for everyone to do whatever they can.

However, I have to say that I have figured out the easiest and most effective way of reducing CO2 emissions. Eliminate all activity that is not necessary for life. That's it! Simple!

Greenpeace in New Zealand has been advocating that New Zealand reduces its greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2020. I can do that for New Zealand TODAY. Stop producing things that are not essential for life.

Here's how it works. If there were no movies produced, no television shows produced, no music produced and no sport and recreation then there would be no consumption and none of the associated greenhouse gas emissions. AND we are all winners.

If governments decided immediately to cease all television broadcasts then in houses across the world there would be less electricity consumed in operating the tv set. There would not be any HF3 emissions associated with the manufacture of LCD screens. The CO2 emissions associated with the production of movies and television programs would cease also. Okay. There would be unemployed actors and film crew and the like, but they are taken care of in this plan. Read on.

Stopping all sporting events would mean that all those rabid sporting fans would not emit CO2 driving their gas-guzzlers to the stadium to watch the events. Since a lot of sports are now played under lights, there's a huge amount of electricity saved. Events like the Rugby World Cup and Olympics attract competitors and spectators jetting from all around the world, emitting vast quantities of carbon dioxide in their travels. As much as it pains me and as much as I will miss rugby, I think that for the good of the planet it has to go. (I'm a real martyr there in case you did not guess).

Bands touring the globe and huge concerts are another example of the sort of thing that will have to go. I won't get to enjoy Nickelback live or see Neil Young again but is it not a sacrifice worth making?

I see some performers adopt the carbon neutral approach to touring. They minimise their emissions and those they cannot eliminate they buy credits for or plant some trees to compensate. Wouldn't it be more ethical to not do the tour in the first place?

Cut off the supply of non-essentials and then there will be no usage that will emit CO2.

Now here's the rub. The people I see on television advertising this "sign on" campaign are people who are in a good place to start eliminating supply. Actors, actresses and performers are all featured prominently. Surely Greenpeace would have pointed out this obvious solution and the part that these celebrities could play in saving the planet. Surely? It is just too obvious.

By eliminating supply each household will have more disposable income. They won't be spending money on powering their television and gaming console. They won't be spending money on music CDs, movies on DVD, tickets to the rugby or travel to other sporting events. Everyone is going to be better off.

One of the negatives we hear about the Emission Trading Schemes and proposed Carbon Taxes is that they will reduce household's disposable incomes. My scheme will increase it.

So with the additional disposable income my household will have, I will be able to hire an out of work actress to tidy the house, and an ex-professional Rugby player will be hired to help out on the farm.

We will improve society in so many ways.
With no professional sportsmen we won't have the spectre of Rugby League celebrities disgracing themselves and being reported in the newspaper (there's a saving of 3 pages of paper and ink a day).

Since non-essential activities will be banned we won't have mountain biking enthusiasts hurtling into trees breaking collar bones and claiming ACC (just saved that fund for the government). I know the mountain bikers will get on my case about their sport not emitting CO2 but you have to think about this holistically. What emissions arose in the manufacture of your bike? Think about that for a bit, and when you are ready to ride around the forest on something made out of a piece of rough sawn 4x2 get back to me.

There are no moral or ethical downsides.
I cannot think of any moral or ethical reason that we should not eliminate all non-essential to life activities in order to reduce CO2 emissions.

If anyone who signed on to the 40% reduction really meant what they were doing then now is the time to act. You can do your part. The power is in your hands.

When I hear this proposal discussed in Paris then I will know that people seriously do believe in man-made climate change. It would seem to me that the solution is so obvious that if it is not implemented then there is another agenda at work. I will leave you to figure that out.

As if to make my point, this morning on television I saw an interview with a person who is a "Professional Gamer". This person's breathing offends me. When there are people in primary industries, producing food and resources that sustain life, who are just eeking out a living being threatened with increased costs because of the AGW hoax, while people who do nothing productive "swan" around the world like this person, I just despair. What a waste of carbon.

Basic Education

Over the past few months I have become alarmed at what a waste of time Primary and Secondary Education is in New Zealand.  Don't get me wrong.  I value education.  I value the skills of reading, writing and numeracy.  But I think we send children to school for far too much time.  The net result is that we have a group of adults who are entertaining, rather than educating, the youth of this country.  And the minors have taken a greater importance than the majors.

For example, how often have you heard a teacher justify the use of computers in classrooms with the argument "We are preparing children for jobs that don't exist today."?  And have you analysed the fees (donations??) that you aren't obliged to pay, but are expected to pay anyway?  How much of the cost of schooling your children is on core subjects and how much goes to "co-curricula" activities?

As someone who works in IT my view of "computers in classrooms" is that they don't belong there.  The way they are used in school and even in University does not prepare young people for the workforce.  In my experience, those people who are the poorest at applying IT in their workplace are those who have been born since the advent of the PC.  These are the generation who have likely had a computer in their home and have had exposure to, if not immersion in, IT at school and University.  On the other hand there is a cadre of computer users who have gravitated from the "manual way of doing things" to computers who seem to have the right balance in apply technology to their and their employer's advantage.

My own education did not involve any use of computers until University level.  Back then it was mainframes and PDP-11s.  Now I manage IT and am involved in IT "right up to the gills".  None of my school teachers or University lecturers would ever have imagined the path my career has taken.

But they prepared me extremely well for the eventual path that I took.  And thanks must go to Mrs Crabb and Miss Knauf who laid the ground work.  These two teachers were the ones who gave me the ultimate skill that prepared me for all of life - Reading.  (I must give credit also to my parents who took an active part in my education and even prior to my enrolment at Primary School had done what all parents should).  [When I reflect, I think I have acquitted myself not too badly, considering I was completely deprived of a formal Early Childhood Education.  How did I ever cope?]

Quite simply, the only scholastic ability anyone needs is Reading.  With Reading and reading comprehension, you can self-educate in any discipline. With reading you can learn to write and you can learn mathematics.

So here's what I would like to see.  I would like to see a return to basic education.  The teaching of the 3Rs - Reading, Writing and Arithmetic.  Anecdotally I have heard that Primary School teachers admit that they could deliver the basic syllabus in 3 days a week.  All the rest of the time is taken up in co-curricula activity - art, music, drama, sport etc etc.  And a lot of potentially useful classroom time is consumed with behaviour management of kids whose parents are failing them.  All teachers are frustrated by the amount of administration and professional developmnent they have to undertake.

Why could we not have an option for parent to send their kids to school just for the basics - 3 days per week of intensive education on Reading, Writing and Arithmetic.