I found this really relaxing. Exactly what I needed right now!

Marconi Union – Weightless

My blogging’s been slacking of late
My excuse: I’ve a lot on my plate.
I’d apologise for being so out of line
But I’m sorry, I just don’t have the time.
I’m in quite the bight
There’s no end in sight
Oh, wait: here’s one

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We are getting close to it being too late!

Gaia, swirling heaven.
Mankind blossoms, then explodes;
the end: just deserts?

Learning from Dogs

As in we humans living on this planet.

Next Saturday I am giving a talk to our local Freethinkers and Humanists group on climate change. As a result of this I was doing some research on the subject and I thought that I would share what I found with you.

But first may I say that the new King of the United Kingdom, King Charles III, may not have ages and ages on the throne but he is a committed environmentalist. In a recent VoA article the Prince of Wales, as he was then, reported that when Charles opened the COP26 climate summit, held in Scotland last year, and gave the opening speech, urging world leaders seated in front of him to redouble their efforts to confront global warming, he warned: “Time has quite literally run out.”

It is us!

The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)…

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Posted in ... wait, what?, Climate, Communication, Core thought, Education, Environment, GCD: Global climate disruption, perception, Reblogs, Strategy | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

There are far too many people on Spaceship Earth

… who lack basic essentials such as water, food, shelter, friends – and empathy.

Especially that last.

(Human) population is a serious problem; mainly because it’s crowding out the other residents of ‘our’ planet. The more serious issue, though, is overconsumption – and of course I mean by humans, and mostly by a small fraction of the total (now approaching eight billion). The other beings with whom we ‘share’ our world tend not to do that to the same extent; when they do transgress, they pay the price. We, even with our (allegedly) greater smarts, are not immune to the consequences of our actions.

We’ve been in overshoot since the early nineteen-seventies. If that is not corrected, and soon, we’ll live to regret it. But, in all likelihood, probably not for long.

If you have an hour and a quarter to spare, please watch the documentary ‘Breaking Boundaries‘, the trailer for which is below. Sadly, it’s only available on Netflix; in my opinion it should be on every channel across the world – and played at prime time every night until everyone gets the message.

Breaking Boundaries: The Science of Our Planet

Professor Johan Rockström: The science is clear, and has been communicated for the past 30 years; but still we’re not moving in the right direction. I don’t get depressed, I get angry. What are the systems that determine the state of the planet? This is about us. It is about our future.

Sir David Attenborough: All is not well with our planet. As we increase our pressures on Earth, we are now crossing irreversible tipping points.

Dr Anne Larigauderie: Nature is being degraded at a rate and a scale that is unprecedented.

Professor Terry Hughes: When we emit CO2, about a third has ended up in the ocean.

Dr Daniella Teixeira: There’s no sign of any wildlife at all.

Professor Veerabhadran Ramanathan: Based on the seven and a half million deaths, we have already crossed the boundary as far as aerosols are concerned.

Professor Terry Hughes: As we manipulate the planet’s climate, we’re literally playing with fire.

Professor Carlos Nobre: Are we concerned about fighting the climate crisis? The window is still open for us to have a future for humanity. We still have a chance.

Professor Johan Rockström: What we do between 2020 and 2030, it will be the decisive decade for humanity’s future on Earth.

Dr María Neira: Human health, animal health and environmental health – the three are so much linked.

Professor Johan Rockström: We’ve covered the whole planet with knowledge. The future’s not determined. The future is in our hands.

Sir David Attenborough: It’s a remarkable time to be alive. You may never look at the world in the same way again.

The transcript above was made with the help of Sonix, which did most of the donkey work for a tiny fee (I did have to spend some time tidying it up). Note that I do not have the copyright owner’s permission to publish this transcript here. I’ve investigated the copyright rules regarding transcriptions (more about that here), and one thing I’ve learned is that it’s no defence to make a disclaimer like “these aren’t my words, no copyright infringement intended.” However, I offer the transcription here as a service to society (especially the deaf community). I do hope the copyright owner won’t object. And I hope that you find this video as interesting as I did.


In a time of crises, proper choice of priorities is crucial. Perspective is all-important.

And now, a return to the ‘far more important’ matters that dominate the *cough* news *cough*.

The Queen is dead.
All hail King Charles III.
God save the king!
:\

Posted in ... wait, what?, balance, Biodiversity, Core thought, Environment, Health, Strategy | Tagged , , | 13 Comments

This page is intentionally blank

I find myself today bereft of time
The words refuse to respond to my call
Much as I would prefer to make this rhyme
I fear I've set myself up for a fall

The trick'ry I've employed to hide this verse
Has not fooled you (because you're reading this)
Kudos, my friend; though you may swear and curse
My composition will not disburse bliss

And so, I think that I should now foreswear
Continuation of this futile thing
I'll leave you now and offer up a prayer
Today's remainder better things will bring
Posted in ... wait, what?, Just for laughs, Poetry | Tagged , , | 39 Comments

Good news: wa’ mIn has been reunited with his family!

I was going to simply add an addendum to last week’s wibblette to announce the good news… but then I realised that a better choice would be to make a separate post about it, as this would make it more likely that those of you who were kind enough to show you cared would get the news.

My stock of scheduled posts for Wibble’s usual Tuesday slot having long since run its course, I am obliged (admittedly by my own CDO tendency) to create a new post each week. As my imminent move leaves me little time for anything not related to it, this is fortunate: it kills two birds with one stone, and I always like doing that. †

Interlude

The Internet:
facilitating miscommunication at the speed of light since the late twentieth century

Me, 2006

There have always been pitfalls in human communication (it seems to me that other animals don’t suffer from that – but maybe they do; I’m no animal behaviour expert).

The advent of the Internet and the rise of ‘social [sic] media’ have made matters far worse. My attention was drawn recently to a trailer of a movie that I’ve put on my must-watch list:

The Social Dilemma | Official Trailer | Netflix

Back to the plot

Since wa’ mIn the black one-eyed cat sat on the mat outside my back door several days ago I’ve been trying all sorts of things to locate his owner, but none of them were bearing fruit. Several people suggested putting a post on Facebook; but I deleted my Facebook account in disgust a year and a half ago. I was invited to join ‘nextdoor‘ a while ago, and, fearing that it might just be a faecesbook wannabe clone (it is, pretty much), I gave it a shot. My post there went unremarked (not even a ‘like’).

So, feeling very much the hypocrite, I got in touch with someone I knew was on a local neighbourhood Facebook group and asked if she would post a message appealing for help. She did so, and it apparently generated a flurry of activity that resulted in enabling me to reunite wa’ mIn – his name, I now know, is actually Horatio – with his owner just two days later.

Qapla’!

† I actually don’t like killing birds at all. They’re very pretty. (Well, most of them are.)

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It would seem that <wa’ mIn> has adopted me…

Is this your cat?

A black one-eyed cat

… because it’s not mine.

I made a mistake a few days ago (yep; another one).

I’d better start at the beginning…

I’ve seen this one-eyed black cat around the neighbourhood for some time now. It’s always been skittish in the past; I’ve tried making friends with it several times, but it didn’t want to know.

Now, I don’t like wasting anything (especially food). And my cat, vIghro’wIj (Klingon for ‘my cat’) is a bit of a fussy eater. He rarely cleans his plate. And so, I’ve got into the habit of taking yesterday’s dish into the garden every morning when I feed him (yes, I know that could encourage rats, but there are enough cats around here to keep them under control). Something (probably not a rat; I’ve only ever seen a few of those around here, and always cat-mauled dead ones) was eating those leftovers, as the plate would always be clean later in the day. I was beginning to think it was an invisible something, as I never saw it.

And then, a few days ago, I saw the black one-eyed cat in the garden again. And, this time, it responded well to my friendly overtures. It allowed itself to be stroked; it purred; it even stropped my legs.

I named it wa’ mIn (‘one eye’).

Here’s where the mistake came in: I gave wa’ mIn some kitten food (that vIghro’wIj will no longer eat for some odd reason, even though he’s not yet two years old; still a kitten, really). A whole pouch. And wa’ mIn wolfed (er, ‘tigered’?) it down. And, since then, it won’t leave. It sits by the back door. All. The. Time. When I open the door to go outside, it tries to come in. It. Won’t. Leave.

This wouldn’t be a problem, except that vIghro’wIj is clearly afraid of wa’ mIn. When wa’ mIn tries to do the usual cat protocol, sniffing vIghro’wIj’s backside, vIghro’wIj backs off – and sometimes even hisses and growls, which is most unlike him. When he’s out, he won’t respond to my calls as he usually does. He’s still returning each morning after his nightly prowls, but has to negotiate his way past wa’ mIn, dashing through the door when he figures he has enough room.

I don’t know how to encourage them to be friends.

wa’ mIn’s fur is very clean, and he (or she?) has clearly been eating well (more than the scraps I’ve been leaving out). In fact I suspect that it’s overweight. It must have an owner (not that cats have owners, of course; they have staff). I’ve asked my neighbours if they know whose cat wa’ mIn is. No luck so far: I’ll just have to keep trying.

One problem is that I have to move soon. (The house-hunting is the reason for my absence in the blogosphere of late; I’m sorry I’ve not been visiting my blogging friends’ sites as usual, I simply don’t have time at present.) When it comes time to move, I’ll have to abandon wa’ mIn. I’m sure it’ll survive, but, even so, I’d like to find its owner – assuming it has one – before I leave. So… if you can help, I’d appreciate it.


Update 31Aug2022

Good news: wa’ mIn has been reunited with his family!

Posted in ... wait, what? | Tagged , , | 22 Comments

Nature’s wonders are truly magnificent

Can you identify this fascinating creature?

This beautiful flutterer visited me recently
It arrived (and left) quite silently
Remarkably regal
I’ve never met its equal.

Coincidentally, I learned a new word today: cynosure.

Something that is the center of attention; an object that serves as a focal point of attraction and admiration.

Fairly inconspicuous… until provoked!

It could be a butterfly, but perhaps it’s a moth (I’m not clear on the difference).
*shrug* It’s a member of the Lepidoptera (though that’s harder to say).

Can you identify it?

(Isn’t nature wonderful?)

Posted in ... wait, what?, Biodiversity | Tagged , , , | 13 Comments

Who wants to be an unpaid billboard?

The fashion industry made a canny move in persuading millions to buy clothing that boldly bears brand names. I wish I knew how they managed that. I for one decided long ago that the only way I would wear such items is if the brand were to pay me for promoting their product (something that, naturally, would never happen).

When I was in the pub for my mid-litter-patrol reward pint last Wednesday, the young lady tending the bar complimented me on the T-shirt I was wearing. It was one of these:

Friends of the Earth ‘No Planet B’ T-shirt

While supping my pint, I pondered this. I looked up the ladies’ version of this T-shirt on my dumbphone, and then returned my empty glass to the bar. The young lady was still there, so I showed her the web page, and offered to send her the link. I left it at that, as she would need to give me her phone number for me to do that. She didn’t offer it (unsurprisingly; at a guess she was about a third of my age). But she did look up the Friends of the Earth website on her own dumbphone while we were chatting about it, so, who knows, maybe next week I’ll see her wearing one.

So, I set off on the second half of my weekly litter patrol… and pondered some more. And the final scene of V for Vendetta came to mind, in which a mass crowd, all wearing Guy Fawkes masks, surges towards the Houses of Parliament:

V for Vendetta – Great scene (finale)

Now, the problem with those masks is that they provide a measure of anonymity, and while this spectacle works well in a movie, it would be all too easy for such an event to be infiltrated and perverted by troublemakers.

But a T-shirt is a different matter. Imagine if enough people could be persuaded to wear this one as they go about their business. In the UK, our government recently revealed more of its fascist tendencies by implementing a law that allows them to punish, and even imprison, peaceful protesters. But while wearing a T-shirt with a specific message can be considered a form of protest, I’m pretty sure that there’s no law forbidding it. At least, not yet….

Enough people walking around wearing such a shirt would send a powerful message. I still hold out some hope that we can change such that we don’t consign all the residents of Spaceship Earth to an unhappy end.

So, might I ask you to consider buying one of these ‘No Planet B’ T-shirts from Friends of the Earth? They’re made from organic cotton, printed in the UK in a renewable energy powered factory, and a snip at just twenty quid each. You’ll be supporting a good cause.†

In fact, I’ll go one better than that: I’m willing to buy one each for the first five folks (it would be more but I’m not made of money!) to contact me (with name and address – I’ll obviously need that to get the shirt to you) to say you’ll have one. Because I’m not entirely stupid, there’s a catch, however: you have to agree to accept my gift under the terms of ‘ye Oath of Giftiness‘:

ye Oath of Giftiness, image

† There’s a megacorporation I won’t name that sells cheaper shirts than the Friends of the Earth one bearing the same ‘No Planet B’ message (though not the same design), but I can’t vouch for whether or not those are mass-produced in overseas sweatshops. (My guess is they probably are.)

Posted in ... wait, what?, Communication, crowdsourcing, memetics, Phlyarology, Strategy | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

The Grassroots Manifesto, by Don Lubov

Don Lubov’s words here ring true, at least to me. It’s way past time our civilization took the next step into a brighter future. Is it too much to ask, too much to hope, that humans can grow up?

Bobbing Around


After many years thinking about this manifesto, it’s time to write it down and to share it with others.

How a society treats its least capable and most dependent members is an accurate measure of its greatness. How it cares for its least fortunate and most needy citizens reveals its worthiness to be called advanced.

Technological invention, development, and production indicate a narrow area of evolution. The built environment, while impressive at first blush, shows a degree of success, and cooperative effort. This effort. too often, is an insight into the surface, physical success only. It seldom translates into high moral values.

Opportunities offered on a universal level are clearer indicators of a society’s humanitarian structure. For example: Is it meeting the five basic needs of all of its citizens? Does it provide adequate food, clothing, shelter, medical attention and education to all? Not superior, but simply adequate.

When these…

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Don’t trash our future

It’s not just the big things; the little things matter, too.

The UK is suffering from a litter epidemic.

  • 226 million cigarette butts are discarded in England every year.
  • £1 billion – the estimated cost of picking up litter in Britain in 2015.
  • 11,212 bottles and cans were collected in 2018’s month-long CPRE Green Clean Campaign.
  • 2.25 million pieces of litter are dropped on the streets every day [source: Symphony Environmental].
  • 180,000+ sacks of litter are cleared from motorways and major A-roads each year by Highways England [now National Highways].
  • £2.3 million is spend by Network Rail annually to clear fly tipping from its land.

Litter statistics source: Countryfile Magazine 11Dec2019

Laws exist to help keep our country clean but they are either flouted or not enforced on a massive scale – as recent scenes at beauty spots across the UK only served to prove. InYourArea, a UK local news platform, has joined forces with the national behavioural change organisation Clean Up Britain to push for changes they believe will force littering to be taken far more seriously.

They are calling upon the government to increase the fixed penalty notices for littering in the UK to £1,000, or 100 hours supervised community litter picking, and for the government to make it compulsory that every local authority in Britain has to enforce the law. They have a petition to urge those responsible not to ‘Trash Our Future’ – I’ve just signed it; the total number of signatories stands at 62,485. Can you make it 62,486?

If you live in the UK and, like me, care about our country and are appalled by litter louts turning it into a rubbish tip, can I ask that you please consider signing the petition too? You will need to register on the site in order to sign, but that’s a small price to pay, no? (You could use Firefox Relay to hide your email address from them, and block their emails if they became too ‘spammy’ for your taste – more to come on that in a future wibblette!)

‘Don’t Trash Our Future’ tweet by Clean Up Britain
Posted in ... wait, what?, Core thought, Culture, Environment, Health, Phlyarology, Strategy | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments