Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Valid Nutrition

A great charity with a different approach to helping 3rd world countries ...

Monday, March 22, 2010


I'm currently reading the latest installment from James Lovelock; The Vanishing face of Gaia. Lovelock is an independent scientist and inventor who first put forward his Gaia theory in the 60's. Broadly speaking, Gaia theory purports that both the living and non-living parts of the earth work in a complex system to regulate the planet's climate.

Lovelock crticises exisiting climate theory and the International Planet on Climate Change in the first instance by suggesting that by their very nature, scientists should find it difficult to come to a consensus. He further criticises exisiting attempts to model and predict climate change on the basis that the approaches are too singular in their focus; that atmospheric physics or other single-disciplines are too restrictive in their application.

He argues for his theory that acknowledges the role of the biosphere in regulating the Earth - and in particular the role of the oceans, describing them as akin to the mercury in a thermometer that rises according to what he refers to as 'global heating'.

What is so refreshing about Lovelock's approach is that he is an Environmentalist but is intuitive and creative in his approach. He is not afraid to challenge the green consensus; which, as he points out, has now become part of a much bigger machine motivated by commercial gain.

He shuns the modern day approach of modelling and laments the lack of experiment, measured analysis and observation - in short, it seems, he believes that the approach to climate change has come to mirror modern life in a way; the dominance and desire for a 'quick fix' and the inevitable political aspect to it - the emergence of a hegemony around climate change.

He is an advocate for nuclear energy, the small scale use of biofuels and a future with genetically modified food sources -and he makes some compelling arguments in favour of these controversial energy sources. Perhaps even more controversially, he dismisses as folly attempts by the UK, Ireland and others to supplement the national grid with power derived from renewable sources and wind energy in particular.

And the figures are shocking - a windfarm of twenty 1MW turbines requires over 10,000 tonnes of concrete; and it would require 200 of those farms to equal the power output of a nuclear power station while remembering that 75% of the time winds are either too high or too low to produce an output.

Lovelock is of the view that we are too far gone and the planet has become over-occupied and over-consuming to reverse the effects of global warming. He argues in favouring of preparing so called safe-havens in a manner to provide food and energy in a sustainable manner.

The Vanishing Face of Gaia some times reads like a conspiracy theory - but Lovelock writes with passion, intelligence and erudition - his suggestions for geo-engineering solutions to aid the planet in its self-regualtion are logical, intuitive and perhaps most importantly non-politically motivated.

Unfortunately I've started with the last of his series but I'm already looking forward to getting stuck into his earlier works.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Lack of Leadership

The budget is another glaring example of the kind of incompetent, short-sighted economic mis-management that brought us the banks bailout and NAMA. I'm concerned that this current crop of 'politicians' now run the risk of jeopardising not only my future, but that of the next generation.

We need poiltical change in this country - we need thinkers who can challenge the dominant ideology of the current staus quo (if there even is one). We need a new political party.

Unfortunately, I genuinely think that many of those figures who really care about the state of the nation are so disillusioned with the political system that they would be fundamentally opposed to becoming involved in party politics in this country as we know it.

I worry that we’re that far gone that anybody who cares enough or who can see past the constructs of the political elite are just steering clear and withdrawing in the hope of self-preservation.

I don’t know what it would take for a group of similarly minded people to a) make a decision to collectively enter the political fray b) garner the necessary support c) challenge the hegemony that has ruled the political roost in this country since the civil war??

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Raising Cork

I'm supporting a fantastic event in Cork next Monday - www.raisingcork.com ; I spoke to one of the organisers earlier and asked her how it came about; she told me that they were in the office last wednesday and heard mention of humanitarian aid for Cork, it hit home for them at that point that we are constantly asked to donate to humanitarian causes all over the world, and when a crisis lands on our doorstep then we all should step up. I commend them; it just shows us how we can pull together when we need to. Looking forward to a good night on Monday.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Follow the Money?

I've just finished reading David McWilliams latest treatise on the state of the Irish nation - Follow The Money; in analysing the decline of the Celtic Tiger, I think he has has captured the zeitgeist of a country in crisis. In his previous books he has predicted a multitude of predicaments that have combined to create the current mess.

While his current book is at times a 'haha, I told you so' pointed towards the 'establishment', he does once again go further and provide us with his opinions on where we are headed. What McWilliams doesn't always provide us with is perhaps a closer examination or exploration of just why we find ourselves in the position we are in. Yes, he points to causes and reasons for various problems; i.e the ridiculously easy flow of credit that fed the bubbles; but what he hasn't addressed and what interests me is just why, as a nation or people, we allowed this agenda to be set?

Why have we seen outside influences become so pervasive in Ireland? Why has our poltical culture been riddled with corruption, cronyism and incompetence? Why does such a proportion of the population either a) still not believe this to be the case or b) believe it and accept it? Why is there such political apathy amongst our younger generations (generation Y)? Why does there seem to be a collective sense of resignation and cynicism amongst these same generations? Is it justified?