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Posts tagged ‘environment’

Link: “One percent of the world’s population accounts for more than half of flying emissions”

Original post found at: https://www.lunduniversity.lu.se/article/one-percent-worlds-population-accounts-more-half-flying-emissions

I can’t say I’m surprised; it’s always seemed like those to blame for aviation-related emissions are not really ordinary people who jet off for the occasional holiday,1 but business travellers who fly multiple times a week (and as this article says, especially those with private planes).

Of course, I think wherever possible, high-speed trains should be used ins­tead of planes, being considerably less polluting as well as way more pleasant to travel on. Australia could eliminate the need for sooooo much flying if we had a high-speed line connecting every city from Adelaide around to Bris­bane. But not everywhere is easily accessible without flying (think about islands, or relatively isolated cities like Perth…). Sometimes I see “environmentalists” online basically arguing to abolish aviation, but it’s not really a huge problem if people occasionally take a long-haul flight, or a flight to one of these isolated/island places. The bulk of the emissions are from frequent flyers, who are predominantly concentrated on short-haul routes like Mel­bourne-Syd­ney that could easily be replaced with trains.


  1. Although note, the article also says that only 11% of the world’s population flew at all in 2018 (as a representative, recent pre-Covid year), so this definition of “ordinary people” is definitely skewed towards the “ordinary people” of relatively affluent, developed countries. But still. ↩︎

Link: “The Cuyahoga River Caught Fire at Least a Dozen Times, but No One Cared Until 1969”

Original post found at: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/cuyahoga-river-caught-fire-least-dozen-times-no-one-cared-until-1969-180972444/

Maybe due to my age, I hadn’t heard of this incident until recently. People complain about the Yarra being polluted (which it is) but maybe it’s a sign of how expectations have changed over time that I take it for granted that rivers don’t catch fire.

Link: “The rising threat of eco-fascism: Far right co-opting environmentalism to justify anti-immigration and anti-Semitic views”

Original post found at: https://www.independent.co.uk/climate-change/news/ecofascism-immigration-anti-semitism-b1819718.html

This is worth being aware of. In Australia we hear a lot about “overpopulation”; this article talks a bit about how the far-right uses such rhetoric and a conservative, “back to nature” romanticism to promote their racist ideologies.

Link: “Massive Texas gas failure during climate extremes gets blamed on wind power” by Ketan Joshi

Original post found at: https://reneweconomy.com.au/massive-texas-gas-failure-during-climate-extremes-gets-blamed-on-wind-power/

It’s only been a half year since blackouts spread across California during intense summer heat. Those blackouts were immediately blamed on renewable energy; of course it turned out later on that a string of failures in the state’s gas plants were to blame. In fact, it turned out later on that a major part of those blackouts was an instance of a misheard verbal instruction issued to a gas generator. Instead of turning up as instructed, they decreased their output. And it’s five years since South Australia’s 2016 blackout, in which precisely the same sequence of events occurred. A pattern is now clear.

Major blackout events, usually instigated by grid stress related to climate extremes, become opportunities to attack renewable energy. Media articles, political pronouncements, tweets, Facebook posts, everything – the entire media ecosystem assumes that renewable energy must have done it and runs hard with it. And of course, later, it comes out that fossil fuel failures played a significant or even majority role in the cluster of causes of the event – none of which is covered with the intensity of the original stories.

Native Australian Crops

Earlier this year I read Bruce Pascoe’s Dark Emu, which is a pretty interesting primer on Aboriginal ways of life pre-colonisation. One of the things that stood out to me personally was all the native crops that used to be cultivated here, things like native millet and rice. One of the perennial problems in Australia – getting worse with climate change – is long periods of drought requiring careful water management, something that is not very compatible with growing imported crops like cotton or Asian rice.

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a cartoony avatar of Jessica Smith is a left-wing feminist who loves animals, books, gaming, and cooking; she’s also very interested in linguistics, history, technology and society.