Category Archives: Climate change

Goodbye, farewell and amen

Dear all,

As you may have noted the posts have slowed down, so thanks for your patience.

I’m working on other projects at the moment, which means there’s no more room for WtD.

It has been a wonderful few years of blogging, and I’ve had the chance to meet some terrific people.

Thanks for the support, comments and debate.

I’ll announce new projects on here when the time comes, and I hope you’ll follow me then.

All the best. Keep up the good fight guys.

Signing off for the very last time.

Mike @ WtD

IPCC says future in doubt if we don’t act know: time for climate disobediance

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My most recent piece for Independent Australia, please share:


The warning cannot be any clearer:

“Australians, and the rest of the world’s citizens, must prepare to cope with a world that will be hotter than at any time in the history of the human species.”

That’s according to Professor Lesley Hughes at the Department of Biological Sciences at Macquarie University and lead author of the most recent IPCC report.

The just released report details both current and anticipated impacts of climate change (Working Group II).

Summarising some of the anticipated impacts, Professor Hughes stated:

“We will continue to see an increase in the impacts of extreme events such as heat waves, cyclones, droughts and bushfires, changed rainfall patterns, increased ocean acidification, and rising sea levels.

“The real fear is that at some point in the next few decades, without serious reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, we will pass a tipping point in the earth’s climate system.”


 

The full story is here!

 

Birth of a progressive coalition: 30,000 march in Melbourne for climate and social justice

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My most recent article for Independent Australia:

The March in March was a stunning success for the grass roots organisers, writes Mike Marriott, who says the sentiments shared by the marchers were remarkably similar.

“I’m devastated by what the Abbott is doing without debate. It’s getting worse. The ignorance of science is hard to fathom!”

That’s Richard.

He is standing on the steps of the State Library of Victoria, brandishing a sign in which a cartoon version of Prime Minister Abbott declares ‘Climate Change is Crap’.

He was among the 30,000 Victorians who marched in protest on Sunday in protest.

The March in March was a stunning success for the grass-roots organisers — a rival to the Vietnam Moratorium marches of 1970.

This wasn’t merely a small gathering of the disenfranchised. In attendance, one could find a true cross-section of the community.

Read the rest here!

Please tweet share and email!

Thanks,

Mike @ WtD

30,000 March for climate and social justice: more images

And some more. What an amazing day, I was a privilege to share it with so many other concerned citizens:

MARCH IN MARCH 008 MARCH IN MARCH 009 MARCH IN MARCH 011 MARCH IN MARCH 024 MARCH IN MARCH 036 MARCH IN MARCH 047

30,000 march in Melbourne: more images

And some more:

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30,000 march in melbourne: images of ordinary Australians fighting for climate justice

I’ll be doing a post for Independent Australia, and commenting. But I took part in today’s march against the Abbott government’s assault on our society:

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To see so many people expressing their concern, willing to give up their time and 

Conspiracy theorist (not) appointed Tony Abbott’s climate science adviser [UPDATE]

Another “What th…” moment in the climate debate.

News coming in, need to verify and confirm (note original post has been taken down):

The elevation of Dr David Evans as a climate science adviser has a ring of familiarity.

Evans, a mining engineer with a PhD in mathematics, is not only a prominent climate change denier but subscribes to the conspiracy theory that “climate change is merely a cover for a massive power play”. His standing as a climate science expert is thus odd, but he is well enough credentialed for Tony Abbott. He is the person most likely to tell Tony Abbott what he wants to hear.

Yes, David Evans of the “Climate change is a global conspiracy” fame.

UPDATE

I’ve been seeking verification from various sources, and at this stage it would appear Evans has not become an adviser in any official capacity.

It was reported in various sources (hence my decision to comment), but without an official press release or confirmation from the Prime Minister’s office we can disregard what was reported. Initially I had some scepticism, hence the use of question marks and noting it needed to be verified in the original form of this post.

The best any of us in both the traditional and new media can do is verify facts and get confirmation. When we need to correct or clarify, we do so. The new media environment of Twitter and blogs is an exciting and fast paced. It is often the place where news is first reported. Just like traditional journalism what we do is the “first draft of history”.  This means there are times when an error is reported. When this is the case, we fix it. 

Many thanks.

Mike @ WtD

 

 

 

(Edited to reflect updates 11.2.14)

 

 

 

Lock the gates and take to the streets for climate change justice (my first article as a citizen journalist)

Dear all, I’m very proud that I managed to get a piece published with Independent Australia.

Its called “Lock the gates and take to the streets for climate change justice.”

If those of good conscience and moral courage do not act now, then we leave the fate of future generations to men like Abbott… 

We need to shake-the-tree and rouse the Australian public from its present indifference. We need to pierce the walls of apathy and the pacifying effects of infotainment that currently cocoon the public from the challenge of climate change.

 In order to achieve this we must, out of necessity, engage in acts of dissent and non-violent protest. 

It is time to embrace all forms of civil disobedience. 

Fortunately we do not need to wait for a leader of Martin Luther King’s or Mahatma Gandhi’s stature to inspire or instruct us. 

There are three things you can do today ‒ right now ‒ that will help this campaign of civil disobedience.

Got to their site to see the full article – every click helps me!

And please, spread via social media.

Thanks!

Stunning NASA images of Victorian fires: why we are choking on smoke

Some stunning images that give you an idea of the scale of the fires we are currently experiencing in Victoria:

And:

The paranoid tradition and climate change: where crisis, paranoia and politics collide

[See introduction here]

Why is it that people continue to believe Jews, international bankers and socialists are conspiring to destroy Western civilisation? And how is that those beliefs have become entwined with the climate change debate?

Some months ago I was struck by the thought we may be looking at a tradition within our culture that goes back centuries.

That at moments of crisis this tradition can exert a powerful influence on individuals and politics.

Indeed, I will be putting forward the following hypothesis:

Deeply embedded within political and cultural tradition is a parallel tradition of looking at the world in a very specific way. It divides the world into good and evil, and offers a universal explanation for events that satisfies the needs and prejudices of individuals. I call this the paranoid tradition.

It has its own rules of evidence and reasoning, its own rich history and litany of writers and thinkers who have shaped the course of conspiracy culture – and by extension “mainstream” culture.

We have ignored the paranoid tradition in politics, dismissing it because it is irrational to our scientific and “rational” world view. We dismiss the ideas as fringe, and their proponents as cranks. We call followers of the paranoid traditional ignorant and irrational.

But in doing so we have ignored its influence throughout history.

Indeed, look at the climate change debate and ask yourself how central have claims of conspiracies been to the sceptic world view?

So what is the paranoid tradition?

It is the intersection between individual and group psychology, political crisis and culture. These influences create and shape the paranoid tradition. For long periods of time the paranoid tradition it can be safely ignored. However in times of great crisis and profound social, social and political change it can exert an influence on politics and society.

The paranoid tradition within our culture has come alive once again in the climate debate.

The origins of the paranoid tradition

In the late 18th century politicians and ordinary individuals were gripped by the strange fear that the Illuminati and secret societies were behind the revolutions, banking crisis and wars of the period.

They argued there was a pattern behind all these events, and that there were groups looking to profit from the chaos and reshape the world.

Nearly three centuries later we once again find voices arguing that secret societies are behind the wars, banking crisis and climate crisis of today. They also argue there is a grand conspiracy in play, and that there are those working to both create and profit from chaos.

Cycles of paranoia and the shock of the new: climate change made the emergence of the paranoid tradition was inevitable

Looking back we can see the paranoid tradition breaks into the mainstream on 15-20 year cycles, profoundly influencing politics, culture and society.

I would argue the conspiracy laden world view of climate sceptics is merely a recent example of this “cycle of paranoia”.

This is why find it hard to accurately place the sceptics in their proper context.

Are they conservatives who simply fears change, or slaves to ideal of the free market? Do they believe what they say, or are they merely the paid hacks of fossil fuel interests. How did climate change become part of the culture war?

Given the epoch defining nature of climate change, a re-emergence of the paranoid tradition was inevitable.

If we look back we can see the paranoid tradition coming to life at pivotal points of history:

  • the millenarian craze of the 1990s that provoked a rash of apocalyptic conspiracies
  • the McCarthyism of the Cold War
  • the Nazi belief Arians and Jews were locked into a bitter fight for global dominance
  • the infamous Show Trials of the Soviet Union during the 1930s
  • fears of the Illuminati in the 18th and 19th centuries
  • the rich tradition of conspiracy beliefs held in Europe and the US in the 19th century.

As we go in history we see nearly each decade yielding a fresh bout of conspiracy mongering in response to the events of the day.

Consider the ideas being put forward by arch-conspiracy theorist Lord Christopher Monckton:

…the U.N.’s anti-irrigation, anti-pesticide, anti-farming, anti-business, anti-environment, anti-population, anti-human, anti-Western, anti-capitalist, anti-everything Agenda 21 program…

Monckton’s arguments are no different from the same claims put forward over two centuries ago. They’ve been updated to include climate change, but is the same narrative employed by conspiracy theorists for centuries.

I would argue that during moments of crisis that the paranoid tradition flourishes, escaping the political and cultural fringes.

Because of the political and societal crisis climate change is creating, it was inevitable paranoid tradition would once more come to life.

Drivers of the paranoid tradition: the influence of psychology, political crisis and culture

We struggle to find explanations for the strange views of conspiracy theories and the sudden popularity of their ideas.

Are these views the product of a form of psychosis or weird psychological ticks? Does religion play a part?

Do the inbuilt cognitive biases we all possesses somehow shape the world view of a conspiracy theorist?

To all of this, I would say yes.

But it is the intersection between individual and group psychology, political crisis and culture that creates and shapes the paranoid tradition.

It is this fusion of events, human nature and crisis that Age of Paranoia that I’m hoping to explore.

Many thanks for your thoughts and comments on this topic.

Mike @ WtD

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