Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Green Agenda

Fukushima may yet be a name we all learn to speak, not because it is the surname of a Japanese politician, the current chair of the Social Democratic Party of Japan, but because of its impact on the green agenda here in the UK!

Fukushima, an atomic power electricity generating station on the east coast of Japan, is built on bedrock, just as such complexes are in the UK. There the similarity ends as the UK does not have the range of active tectonic plates off and around Japan but this will not be relevant in the debate on government proposals to expand the UK's nuclear generating capacity. Bedrock, intended to be the factor which makes the nuclear facility "safe", has proved a liability in an earthquake zone just as other factors, maybe remoteness of location or sophisticated technology will prove ultimately to be the failings of the UK model.

Everything man-made is fallible; everything natural has its day. Harmony between the two is possible, even likely, but never eternal, As we say, every dog has its day, and nature has a way of proving its omnipotence …… it always bites back .... in the end!

Nature strikes back?

I guess Aborigine, Maori or other indigenous peoples of "under-developed" regions would make the connection between natural disaster and dramatic changes in the equilibrium of the world's resources? I have to ask if there is a connection between today's earthquake and tsunami and the speed of the North's consumption and abuse of our finite world.

Maybe this question is conceived in my belief that blame for the world's failings can be mostly laid at the feet of capitalism (there are instances of the combination of nationalism and socialism having similar failings!) However the unity of nature, the Earth at peace with itself, the sort of allegory which the film Avatar portrayed, these are long-held traditions of animist belief ... that the gods must be assuaged if pestilence and disaster are to be minimised.

So where do BP and the supranational companies stand? What of the increasing influence of the political right? How about the domination of the media by Murdoch and his friends? Will these groups question our trusteeship of this world? Or will they continue to spout ideological platitudes about trickle down, ending poverty, the development cycle and the morality of the market?

Meanwhile nature confirms its ambivalence about when and where it challenges humankind; and the West has been asked the question more in the last year or so than for some time ...... from New Orleans to New Zealand, from Queensland to Japan.

Like the gentle breeze, my words are lost in the ether, but we have to answer the question, not simply ask it!

Friday, March 11, 2011

An Empty Tube?

Vauxhall to Waterloo takes just eleven minutes on a good day but to look at my fellow travellers during the rush hour this evening, few had had a good day! From their silence, the lack of conversation, the total absence of eye contact, the unhelpfulness of those with no regard for fellow travellers looking for a space to stand not sit, or somewhere to place a bag, it's clear that Cameron's "big society" has little chance in the south-east where the prevailing isolation and apparent self-reliance of my colleagues on the Tube is a foundation of quicksand for his brave new world!

I'm told that the human race is gregarious; not much evidence of this on the London tube. In fact, the very opposite may be true, a race of isolates, maybe the consequence of generations of inbreeding influenced by the political bigotry of the right wing media?

Yes, I do that see that link as logical, that years of living on a diet of the abuse of society, selfishness, and intolerance of the less fortunate leaves communities bereft of spirit, afraid of teamwork and prisoners of intolerance.

We reap what we sow said the prophet. Well, it will take more than eleven years of reflection to begin to challenge my eleven minute judgement on those who travel by tube. By then I will be seventy-nine years young and I Hope still taking an alternative view.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

The Graveyard of Ambition

Ambition is a young person's game; it fills their minds, hearts and days with dreams of what might be and how to change the world. For the middle-aged, ambition is reality, success or failure! Where am I? In what job? At what level? Living with whom? And the kids!! Wow! What have I done ..... or should it be what I have done? And what did I not do, what omissions, what pain inflicted, how many hurtful words uttered on the plank of ambition? Such questions become increasingly pointless with advancing age. And so it was that ..........

...... today I bought a grave, mine, my home to be! A grave is a refuge, a hiding place in which a body resides, slowly and securely decomposing and returning to whence it came, a painless process requiring no energy, no activity and no ambition. A grave is also a retreat for and from those who love you, somewhere where they can keep you safely while their emotions cool.

My grave was sunny and warm today with the noise of a motorway just a short distance away. Just 900mm wide and 2500mm deep, there will be no escape, just the certainty, not of eternal rest, but just seventy-five years before anyone is allowed to disturb me. So what ambition is this, to lie comfortably in my grave? Ah, think on reader; this is the ambition of someone who cares, who dares to have a view about life at and after death.

I want to be buried; it is a safe departure, a comforting transition from death to memory. I want family and friends to enjoy the cartharsis of burial rather than the avoidance of reality in the escapism of cremation. Not only should I be lowered gently into my grave but those who mourn me and even the inquisitive must each must take a spade and backfill that grave, enjoying the resonance of clay on coffin, the echo of an empty box. Those who are there to check that I really am dead, they too can turn a sod or two and get their satisfaction. I do not care!

So my ambition on this Ash Wednesday is not to penance and wish misery on those around me; my ambition is to live life to the full so that when my day comes and the grim reaper grips me by the shoulder, I will simply say, "Peace friend, I'm ready to say hello to my future."