Friday, 27 March 2009


Jonathon Porrit: "Population growth, plus economic growth, is putting the world under terrible pressure. Each person in Britain has far more impact on the environment than those in developing countries so cutting our population is one
way to reduce that impact."

That isn't a solution, it's a post-mortem!

Porrit is right, of course, about one thing: while
the land available for agriculture competes with housing and industry, to say nothing of the environmental impact of a rapidly rising population, a forecast by the European commission predicts that Britain's population will increase from 60.9m today to 77m within 50 years, making it Europe's most populous country. The same statistics indicate, too, that France’s population went up by 300,000 in 2006 to 63.3m, the highest birth rate in three decades. And the Spanish government, apparently, plans £ 2,000 awards for mothers on the birth of each child. Thus the only possible course as to future demographic intentions is
instantly perverted and in direct contravention of all ecological

Such numbers, too, show the extent to which policies to promote
childbirth, including cash payments and subsidised immigration, have salvaged
what was once assumed to be the elusive fragment of a declining European race.
The population of developed nations was generally expected to remain unchanged
and would, indeed, have declined but for immigration. To wit, Russia's
population is actually shrinking by about 1m a year. However, ministers freely
acknowledge that imposing any kind of immigration quota is taboo in economic
circles, and any attempt to revise established views on pro-creation provokes
fierce resistance. That such lack of insight should exist at so critical a time
seems difficult to imagine, and I must admit even I am surprised at the sheer
vehemence of the opposition one encounters when challenging the pro-creative

In WW2, the tide turned at Stalingrad.

Though neither Hitler, Stalin or Mao had a serious strategy for
improving the fortunes of the human species, they certainly kept the numbers
down. Inevitably, too, while the aspiration is identical, their likes will
return. Nor do I need to elaborate what will happen in a such a scenario, other
perhaps then to stress that ever increasing populations are bound to increase
the risk of conflicts over food and control of the world's resources, including
an increasingly precious commodity – Lebensraum. In addition, more of
us than ever are experiencing a version of the psycho-pathology made collective
by overcrowding. All these psychotic humans, where do they come from? Or more
importantly, how do you spot one?

'I am a child of this age,' said Nietzsche, 'a decadent. But only I
know that!'

And, yes, any notion that carbon technologies are truly concerned about
the fate of humanity, or the planet, or the future, is risible. Forgive the
expletive, but that’s bollocks. It’s tragedy replayed as eco-farce. Just another
illusion for the undoing of mankind. A giant Ponzi scheme, awarding subsidies to
selected emitters or paying new polluters with old polluters' money. No wonder
they don’t seem to be able to stop. So you cut down old trees in order to make
room for planting new ones! Or build Third World factories so western countries
can pay to clean them up. Separating the facts from the myths and the propaganda
is not easy in view of capitalism's ingenuity in milking the carbon markets,
admittedly, but suddenly the world is full of mad scientists who want to combat
pollution rather than apply Ockham's razor and cut populations. Logically, of
course, in the hothouse of daydreams charlatans are inevitable. But for all its
vast reputation, PR and self-importance, you feel that even the Great Green
Movement neither understands the complexity nor acknowledges the inherent
reciprocity of the world's demographic economy any better than anyone else.

Clearly nothing has changed in the relation between economic and
population growth. They are synonymous. One is the flipside of the other. By
contradistinction, a relevant paper from Professor Kevin Anderson, director of
the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research duly noted that: "Unless economic
growth can be reconciled with unprecedented rates of decarbonisation, it is
difficult to foresee anything other than a planned economic recession
being compatible with stabilising the climate."

Elementary, my dear Professor, elementary!

Meanwhile the world's population is continuing to grow by about one
million humans every single week
, and will do so for the foreseeable
future. And that, to me, is the true legacy of our present enlightenment.


Tuesday, 24 March 2009


"Opposition to wind farms should become as socially unacceptable as failing to wear a seatbelt." Ed Miliband, Climate Change Secretary.

'The death of a species,' wrote Charles Darwin, whose view on natural
selection I have no wish to misrepresent, 'is a consequence of non-adaptation of
circumstances.' And whatever else may have been said since, as a statement of
fact, actual or potential, it seems remarkably in accordance with the need for
the species to fall in with the nuclear forces of evolution. And nobody
ever made this more clear than the admirable H.G.Wells when, in The Fate of Homo
, he issued a 'last' resounding warning to mankind: 'Adapt or perish,
that is and always has been the implacable law of life for all its children.
Either the human imagination and the will to live rises to the plain necessity
of our case, and a renascent homo sapiens struggles on to new, a harder and
happier world dominion, or he blunders down the slopes of failure through a
series of unhappy phases, in the wake of all the monster reptiles and beasts
that have flourished and lorded it on the earth before him, to his ultimate
extinction. Either life is just beginning for him, or it is drawing rapidly to
its close.'

These words, at any rate, proclaim the weakness of the ecological
. For if it hopes to salvage the Earth, it has no measures for saving
humanity. Indeed, the first thing to be noted is that 'wind and water power were
the main energy sources of post-medieval industry' (Hoyle, Energy or
), that they represent the least efficient form of energy production,
a form of power in its declension, no less. Perhaps the clearest indication,
therefore, of this declension is to be found in the fact that our "Friends of the Earth" are
actually willing to exchange the prospect of nuclear fusion for the subsistence
of a wind-and-water economy; that, I repeat, they have actually succeeded in
placing fidelity to the Earth before the ability of a highly technological
civilization to master its own central and salving destiny, its conquering
vision and cosmic ambition.

Public opinion, on the whole, has followed the retrogressive judgment
here, but I am not so sure it is right. For if the world's verdict endorsed that
judgment, it would represent a highly improvident depreciation of the skill and
ingenuity offered to it by a technological civilization. One thing, in any case,
is certain, we would be left in no doubt where its spirit resides. For the
pessimism conveyed in the demoralization of an age whose judgements no longer
embrace transcending or even confident standards, is not merely ecological. It
is evidence of deep changes in the orientation of the collective psyche. It is
fundamental to a world lost, in more recent times, in impossible ideas of a new
intellectual darkness. In an illusory nostalgia for a remote and rustic past. A
mellow eventide of butterfly and thistledown as the great concluding age of
peace, or what is held to be the last and most perfect phase of human existence.
Without regret and without ambition. Even though it can accomplish nothing
except the petrifaction of all that which lies at the basis of a healthy and
progressive civilization. And the triviality of much or it, rather than the
propensity for windmills and hydro-electric power, explains why the Great
Green Manifesto which seems to have become a kind of highly charge panacea for
the correction of all social ills, reads remarkably like a repeal of the
principal contents of Magna Carta or the Glorious, the Bill of Rights.

We should, with perhaps equal plausibility, also remember that the
meaning of Life - even in its most ill-conceived moments - is by no means
confined to the extreme monotony of our quotidian existence on Earth, nor
exclusive to the problems of an organic, environmental, or social kind which
have held the stage for so long. That would be utterly to misconceive its
nature. It is manifest with the same decisiveness in the concept of nuclear
energy as one of the most dynamic catalysts of a highly indeterminate stage in
human development and, we may add, of hope. Less dynamic perhaps but none the
less relevant since the whole of human civilization was based on its universal
and redemptive power. Indeed, it may be taken for granted that if we fail to
take the necessary steps to preserve either of these Promethean gifts and keep
alive for all time the two most powerful forces known to man, we might just as
well give up the quest for the stars and enter a period of universal
retrogression. For what it comes to, in the final analysis, is the exclusion of
any reasonable thought about preserving the balance between ecological
prescriptions for a brave new world and the total legislation of human life.

As for the rest, one soon wearies of such prattle. Indeed, the
banalities vary. But whether ecological, pacifist, irenic or activist, and
however irreconcilable in their ideological different ways, we are provided with
no central purpose upon which to extend our future hopes. The initial impetus
spent, clearly and unmistakably they all rest on a compulsory sacrifice of what
is perhaps the most dynamic heritage of human evolution: its transcendent
genius, the true bestower of all our noblest values.


Sunday, 1 March 2009


You’ve been a lousy audience, and I am going fishing. Thank God for that...


PS.: until further notice!