Ken Boddie

6 months ago · 6 min. reading time · visibility ~10 ·

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Because There's No Planet B

Because There's No Planet B

I read more than I retain, but nevertheless, I've always had the approach that if you spend enough time reading, then something will always stick.  Furthermore, when you get to my age, it would be fair to think that perhaps a lot has stuck, except for the indisputable fact that with age comes an increased propensity to forgetfulness.  It's not that we oldies have necessarily completely forgotten the facts and figures, biases and boguses, tantrum triggers and tolerances ingested (often subliminally) over way too many decades, but it's more that our recall mechanisms need a spray of WD40 now and again to efficiently connect to the decayed parts of our archived memory recesses.  

Hence, in recent years I've supplemented my more selective reading with blogging.  If I make notes as I read, and make use of electronic storage as I go, I can then summarise selected data in the form of a blog.  This not only permits me to share some entertaining (and not so entertaining) facts and fiction with all you fine folks, but provides me with a handy place to go when I wish to recall certain subject matter. Such is the modus operandi for the blogs I have written to date on environmental matters, as some of you may remember from the links below:

https://www.bebee.com/producer/@ken-boddie/let-s-talk-garbage  

https://www.bebee.com/producer/@ken-boddie/mangroves-mud-and-myopics 

https://www.bebee.com/producer/@ken-boddie/have-you-seen-my-drain-socks-dear

https://www.bebee.com/producer/@ken-boddie/so-whadya-want-me-to-do-about-it-smarty-pants

https://www.bebee.com/producer/@ken-boddie/let-s-untie-some-reef-knots 

https://www.bebee.com/producer/@ken-boddie/plastic-man-goes-green 

https://www.bebee.com/producer/@ken-boddie/starfish-enterprise 

https://www.bebee.com/producer/@ken-boddie/dreams-to-sell-fine-dreams-to-sell 

This brings me to the topic of this particular blog ... our birth, life and potential death on this planet as homo sapiens.

If this is not your cup of tea, then fair enough, go back to whatever tickles your fancy, and no hard feelings. If, however, you feel the time has come to try and get a better grip on all the damage we've done to date and what homo sapiens really needs to do in order to remain surviving on this planet, then I'd highly recommend you invest some time reading the following:

  • Sapiens, A Graphic History (1)
  • Fight for Planet A (2)
  • A Life on Our Planet (3)
But hey, no rush. We've still got a couple of years or so to get things sorted before homo sapiens goes down the gurgler in a descending and irreversible vortex of extinction.  Still, if you have difficulty reading multiple books, then perhaps start with the last one by David Attenborough (3).

But first let's look at a little historical timeline:

17fbdccf.jpgIt seems that until about 50,000 years ago, or so, there were six different species of humans (that we are aware of) on the planet as follows:

  • Homo Erectus - Commonly known as Upright Man (and nothing to do with the male member's prowess between the sheets, or indeed with the male 'member').  This species survived from 2 million to 50,000 years ago, were the first to use fire, and reportedly made the same weapons repeatedly without change.  Perhaps if they were still here instead of us, there's be no need to worry about nuclear weapons?
  • Homo Neanderthalensis - This Neanderthal species survived from 300,000 to 30,000 years ago, survived the ice-age climate, but had a very poor public relations profile, still to this day being the butt of many a dad joke.
  • Homo Luzonensis - The Species from Luzon Island survived from 700,000 to 50,000 years ago.  although well adapted to tropical climate he/she is little known as a species and obviously did not take any time out to build a Facebook profile.
  • Homo Denisova - Although this species was reportedly around from 300,000 to 50,000 years ago, they were originally identified solely from a single fossilised digit.  It seems pretty obvious that they should have gone to a few more footy matches and hence had their finger in a few more pies.
  • Homo Florensiensis - So named after the island of Flores, near Bali, and surviving from 800,000 to 50,000 years ago. Although they were reportedly good at hunting dwarf elephants and giant lizards, they had a disastrous social life and never left Flore. I can't blame them really, since they probably heard about the Balinese being overrun by Aussie Homo Sapiens behaving badly.
  • Homo Sapiens - That's us folks, more commonly known as 'Wise Man', although we all know that our woman folk are generally much wiser. Although we've been around from 300,000 years ago till now, I wouldn't take any bets that we'll still be around in the twenty second century, unless we get rid of most of our politicians, industrial capitalists, carbon polluters, and the like, and start acting like grown ups. Besides who are we going to trust to hold the stake money till then?

Talking about the mistakes that the above various species made before popping off the planet, I found that David Attenborough (3) in particular seems to have a good handle on the mistakes that we now, as the only surviving human species, have made, and how these catastrophic errors have crept up on us so slowly that many of our so called 'Wise' species are still either not aware of the dangers we face, or are choosing to ignore them, while cocooned in a smoke screen of self indulgence.

So just who is this David Attenborough (for those of you who've been living under a rock for the last 94 years) and what gives him the right, do I hear you ask, to be an expert on the planet and our effect on it?

0c1c9815.jpg

Sir David is undeniably "Britain's best known natural history film-maker' with his career as a naturalist and broadcaster spanning almost seventy years. I remember my parents buying me his colourful book on Birds of Paradise in the late fifties when I was very young, a fitting first introduction to the then wild people and fauna of PNG. The memories of his many landmark travel series have been with me for most of my life. He was knighted in 1985 and received the Order of Merit in 2005, is a fellow of the Royal Society (as were Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, Michael Faraday, Albert Einstein, and Stephen Hawking) and "stands at the forefront of issues concerning the planet's declining species and conservation". If you need any further convincing then please read the section titled "My Witness Statement" near the front of his latest book A Life on Our Planet (3).

Perhaps one of the things that got my attention most was Sir David's introduction to the Planetary Boundaries Model. This is summarised in the table below, can be accessed via links (5) and (6), and explained in Rockström and Klum (4):

cb345b08.jpgThe yellow highlights in the above table indicate that we have already exceeded 4 out of the 9 planetary boundaries, as explained further below from Attenborough (3):

  • "We are warming the Earth far too quickly, adding carbon to the atmosphere faster than at any time in our planet's history."
  • "We are causing a rate of biodiversity loss that is more than 100 times the average."
  • "We are polluting the Earth with far too many fertilisers, disrupting the nitrogen and phosphorus cycles."
  • "We are converting natural habitats on land - such as forests, grasslands and marshlands - to farmland at too great a rate."
So, in summary, it appears that we have a set of 9 inter-related guidelines to enable us to work towards a sustainable future.  If we keep our impact within these planetary boundaries then we can maintain a sustainable future. As we have already overstepped 4 of the 9 boundaries then we need to stop fluffing around and get on with the job of invoking change for the better.  More specifically from Attenborough (3):
  • "We must immediately halt and preferably start to reverse climate change by attending to greenhouse emissions wherever they occur."
  • "We must end our overuse of fertilisers."
  • "We must halt and reverse the conversion of wild spaces to farmland, plantations and other developments."
  • "We need to keep an eye on - the ozone layer, our use of freshwater, chemical and air pollution, ocean acidification."
  • "If we do all of those things, biodiversity loss will begin to slow to a halt, and then start to reverse."

But the final and equally important point is that almost 50% of our impact on the planet is attributable to the richest 16% of humanity (Dasgupta Review (7)). Hence we need to learn not only to live within our planet's finite resources in a sustainable fashion, but also to share these resources, globally, in a much more even fashion.

The aim of this post is to act as a wake-up call for those who are still sitting on the climate change fence and oblivious to our future (or lack of it) on this planet, in the hope that you too will take to reading up more about the many problems we face as Homo Sapiens and hence live up to our name of the Wise species, rather than going the way of the dinausor and our other 5 or so hominid species. You will then be in a much stronger position to lobby your politicians and to ask them more knowledgeably what they are intending to do about climate challenge.

Rather than finishing on a gloomy note, let me just say that both Attenborough (3) and Reucassel (2) have presented credible working plans on how we can reverse our present situation. Here are some topics on this from Attenborough (3):

  • A Vision for the Future: How to Rewild the World.
  • Moving Beyond Growth.
  • Switching to Green Energy.
  • Rewilding the Seas.
  • Taking up Less Space.
  • Rewilding the Land.
  • Planning for Peak Human.
  • Achieving More Balanced Lives.

And here are some positive suggestions from Reucassel (2):

  • Energy for Australia: Be the minister for a day.
  • Energy at home: Reduce and renew.
  • Transport: What can government do?
  • Transport: What can we do?
  • Food: Reducing your carbon hoof print.
  • Buying and throwing stuff out.

I'll sign off with another quote from Sir David:

We often talk of saving the planet, but the truth is that we must do these things to save ourselves.  With or without us, the wild will return.  Evidence of this is no more dramatic than that to be seen in the ruins of Pripyat, the model city that had to be abandoned when the Chernobyl nuclear reactor exploded" ... "The wild has reclaimed its territory."
David Attenborough in A Life on Our Planet

References:

(1) Harare, YH (2020), Sapiens, A Graphic History, The Birth of Humankind, HarperCollins, New York.

(2) Reucassel, C (2020), Fight for Planet A, HarperCollins, Sydney.

(3) Attenborough, D (2020), A Life on Our Planet, My Witness Statement and a Vision for the Future, Witness Books, London.

(4) Rockström, J and Klum, (2015), Big World, Small Planet, Yale University Press.

(5) https://www.stockholmresilience.org/research/planetary-boundaries/planetary-boundaries/about-the-research/the-nine-planetary-boundaries.html 

(6) https://www.carbonbrief.org/explainer-nine-tipping-points-that-could-be-triggered-by-climate-change 

(7) https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/final-report-the-economics-of-biodiversity-the-dasgupta-review

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246986a9.jpgWhen not researching the weird or the wonderful, the comical or the cultured, the sinful or the serious, I chase my creative side, the results of which can be seen as selected photographs of my travels on my website at:

http://ken-boddie.squarespace.com

The author of the above, Ken Boddie, besides being a sometime poet and occasional writer, is an enthusiastic photographer, rarely leisure-travelling without his Canon, and loves to interact with other like-minded people with diverse interests.

Ken's three day work week (part time commitment) as a consulting engineer allows him to follow his photography interests, and to plan trips to an ever increasing list of countries and places of scenic beauty and cultural diversity.






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Comments

Ken Boddie

5 months ago #23

Allan Latimer

5 months ago #22

I'm with ya, man! I've read Sapiens and really liked it. I'll have to check out the rest of the books on your list! You should consider joining my new group, Loving Outdoors. I wrote a blog about camping t hep get things started.😜

Ken Boddie

6 months ago #21

#20
I grew up on Mars, Louise ... bars that is. 😂🤣😂

Louise Smith

6 months ago #20

#18
I love those Mars bars with nougat and toasted almonds, coated in milk chocolate I first had them in Japan before they came to Aus I think "Power of Suggestion" not Gestation is the reason !

Louise Smith

6 months ago #19

#18
I would like a choice of Vac I don't trust the current Federal Gov to tell the whole truth I have a Veteran client who served in East Timor - First in with no Support He "had" to do a drug trial each time & he went twice 20 y ago "Veterans involved in the trials continued to experience long-term side effects linked to the anti-malaria drugs, including psychosis, anxiety, depression & memory loss" Banned from prescription to US Special Forces in 2013 but still used in Aus My client has PTSD, Anxiety & Depression for 20 y https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-05-18/fears-defence-coronavirus-drug-trial-repeating-malaria-mistakes/12253714 https://www.canberratimes.com.au/story/6278281/health-checks-for-soldiers-part-of-trial/

Ken Boddie

6 months ago #18

#17
If the powers that be don't give us our jabs soon, Louise Smith, does it really matter? The only Mars that I am keen on is a sweet bar, with nougat and toasted almonds, coated in milk chocolate. Now you've set my taste buds off and I have this sudden yearning for one. Do you think I may be pregnant?

Louise Smith

6 months ago #17

I do the same thing with organising my blogs Ken Boddie My Mother's maiden name is Campbell - maybe it's a Scottish thing ! Research & travel to Mars is referred to as Planet B I do not like this as it will take eons if it's possible at all to live there And Elon Musk's rockets explode just after take off Such a waste of $ that could be used to alleviate current human suffering on Earth right now I am just waiting for Aus Pollies to decide that Climate Change is not to be prioritised as well don't you worry about that 'cause we'll go & live on Planet B How good is Planet B ?

Ken Boddie

6 months ago #16

#15
Indeed, Franci\ud83d\udc1dEugenia Hoffman, beBee Brand Ambassador, Mother Gaia will rewild her planet with or without us. It’s time we Homo Sapiens lived up to our name and wised up before we share the fate of the other hominids.

I wouldn't blame our planet for being annoyed with the world. The world is a human construct that is making a mess of our planet. Mother Earth has her ways to wreak havoc.

Lada 🏡 Prkic

6 months ago #14

#12
I am a huge fan of Attenborough and found “A Life on Our Planet” in the city library. I look forward to a good read. :)

Lada 🏡 Prkic

6 months ago #13

#11
Yes, Ken, but one of our goals, as Attenborough believes, should be using less land even in our cities (houses tight-packed together and smaller in size). About eating less meat, how to convince Americans to give up hotdogs and hamburgers. :) Joke asides, it is not just consuming less meat, but also stop buying products tied to meat production, such as leather. Being a conscious consumer by purchasing products from sustainable sources is not an easy task but can make a huge impact.

Ken Boddie

6 months ago #12

#10
Further to my space and farming comments below, Lada, I’m sure you’ll be impressed by the technical astuteness of Attenborough’s writing. I strongly recommend that you obtain and read a copy of “A Life on Our Planet.”

Ken Boddie

6 months ago #11

#10
Attenborough’s concept of “Taking up Less Space,” Lada, is on a much bigger scale than house size. It’s about the way we farm. We’ve gone from farming 1 billion hectares of land surface to 5 billion in 300 years, tearing down seasonal forests, rainforests, woodland and scrub, and draining wetlands in the process, releasing massive amounts of previously stored carbon. Like the innovative and sustainably smart Dutch, we need to be smarter and get more food from less land. He covers such topics as regenerative farming, urban farming and vertical farming, but, most of all, he maintains we need to change the food we eat. Since 80% of the world’s farmland is used to support meat and dairy production, we need to be heading towards a more plant-based diet with considerably less meat. Our transition from omnivore to herbivore may be helped by biotechnically manufactured alt-proteins and clean meats grown from animal tissue. With such improved farming and diet efficiencies we may be able to feed ourselves on just half the current farming land area.

Lada 🏡 Prkic

6 months ago #10

Good morning, Ken! Great article to read while sipping my morning latte before going to work. We discussed environmental issues many times, but it is never enough talking about what to do to reverse our present situation. One topic from Attenborough's working plan caught my attention, "taking up less space." In one of my previous articles, I asked why people build larger houses than they need. We all talk about the importance of taking care of the environment while at the same time not thinking about the environmental footprint of building new, unnecessary large houses. Recent research in the US showed that Americans who live in overly large houses are responsible for 25% more emissions on average than those living in smaller houses. Living in a larger house requires more energy, and more energy generates greater climate-warming emissions. The conclusion of the research is, "only if homes are smaller and more tightly packed together would affect reductions in carbon emissions." But it requires a huge shift in thinking. I don't believe it will happen. We all became captives of heavy consumer culture to a greater or lesser extent.

Lada 🏡 Prkic

6 months ago #9

Good morning, Ken! Great article to read while sipping my morning latte before going to work. We discussed environmental issues many times, but it is never enough talking about what to do to reverse our present situation. One topic from Attenborough's working plan caught my intention, "taking up less space." In one of my previous articles, I asked why people build larger houses than they need. We all talk about the importance of taking care of the environment while at the same time not thinking about the environmental footprint of building new, unnecessary large houses. Recent research in the US showed that Americans who live in overly large houses are responsible for 25% more emissions on average than those living in smaller houses. Living in a larger house requires more energy, and more energy generates greater climate-warming emissions. The conclusion of the research is, "only if homes are smaller and more tightly packed together would affect reductions in carbon emissions." But it requires a huge shift in thinking. I don't believe it will happen. We all became captives of heavy consumer culture to a greater or lesser extent.

Ken Boddie

6 months ago #8

#7
Well said, Pascal Derrien, and like all messy guests/tenants our eviction notices has been served ... but we appear to have misplaced it.

Pascal Derrien

6 months ago #7

Indeed I have said it before we are mere guests we don 't own the planet even though we arrogantly think we do .....

Ken Boddie

6 months ago #6

#4
Thanks, Debasish. I hope you will also read David Attenborough’s inspiring work.

Ken Boddie

6 months ago #5

#1
#2 Thanks for commenting, Joyce.

Debasish Majumder

6 months ago #4

lovely buzz Ken Boddie! enjoyed read and shared. thank you for the buzz.

But sometimes you need a respite from all this carnage, so I thought I would leave you this wonderful comic: Letting Go Of God https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C74-f4ZV-ss

2 of 2 We were led by the nose into consumerism so that those at the top could make more money. Who knew? I didn’t, but I do now. Better still I’ve learned we are essentially a conglomeration of collaborates of bacteria and bacterial origins. That’s right; for those of you who have heard the phrase: We’re nothing but a big bag of bacteria—it’s true. An Evolutionary Network of Genes Present in the Eukaryote Common Ancestor Polls Genomes on Eukaryotic and Mitochondrial Origin https://www.molevol.hhu.de/fileadmin/redaktion/Oeffentliche_Medien/Fakultaeten/Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche_Fakultaet/Biologie/Molekulare_Evolution/An_evolutionary_network_of_genes_present_in_the_eukaryote_common_ancestor_polls_genomes_on_eukaryotic_and_mitochondrial_origin_.pdf We’ve got to stop these industries from devastating what’s left of the planet—what’s left of us. [Refernce CRISPR] https://joyce-bowen.blog/2021/02/26/the-horrible-magic-of-crispr/ These shots we are being told are so good for us will alter bacterial components within us. As such, they are not vaccines at all.

1 of 2 I so agree. When I first learned what was happening here I looked for some safe place on the planet to which to run. Imagine my surprise and dismay when I learned there was no place on the planet to hide and that I would need a spaceship that might have nowhere to go. Industry with its deference to stockholders and not to our planet are destroying what we have and what we are. And the very people making aaaaaalllllllll that money are blaming the common man. Vanishing Breeds Worry Prince Philip, but Not as Much as Overpopulation https://web.archive.org/web/20150925185848/http://www.people.com/people/archive/article/0,,20080998,00.html It has been a shock-fest, these past three years. I had gone with the flow created for us by Edward Bernays. Edward Bernay [the coiner of the term public relations was Sigmund Freud’s nephew.] : Edward Bernays : on Propaganda and Public Relations :: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V0OrT-8gXMs

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