Make a Difference

Category: Environment (Page 1 of 3)

Hating Bill Gates

Bill Gates has been the Emmanuel Goldstein of the anti-vaccination movement for years. But why are so many other people suddenly jumping in?

Boy that Bill Gates is an evil dude. Or so you might think if all you read is Facebook and Twitter. US commentator Candace Owens (whom I otherwise like and admire) has called him a “vaccine criminal,” while conspiracy theorist Alex Jones says he is “Satan’s benchwarmer,” the “placeholder for the anti-Christ.” Gates is hell-bent on depopulating the world so the elite can take over and live in unimaginable luxury while the common folk live as slaves. His chosen method for this depopulation is vaccines, and COVID-19 was created to trick or force everyone into getting the vaccine that will either kill them or track them using microchip implants.

What makes it even worse is that he has publicly announced his intentions, and has been carrying out this plan in plain view, if people would only look. He even owns patent WO (for World Order) 666 for implantable tracking technology, but people are sheeple, and refuse to believe what is right in front of them.

It’s a great plot for a movie. Tom Hanks has to uncover the secret and save the world in the nick of time.

You can’t get much more evil than all that. If all of this is true.

So let’s look at some of the claims being made about Bill Gates, and see how much truth is in them. But first, let’s consider another, related post that has recently done the rounds of Facebook and Twitter. This tells the story of Robert F Kennedy Jnr bravely facing down the CDC and showing that “The CDC is a subsidiary of the pharmaceutical industry. The agency owns more than 20 vaccine patents and purchases and sells $4.1 billion in vaccines annually.”

Hmm.. sounds worrying. Let’s check. First of all though, let’s understand what patents are.

Patents protect a creator’s design, product or process, so that the creator can invest in research and development, and be confident that some ratbag is not going to come along and steal their work and profit from it by using the process or manufacturing the product without having done the creative work and research. For example, there are over a thousand patents which protect the latest iPhone.

Vaccines are hugely expensive to create, and just as hugely expensive to test, then to package and bring to market. In the same way many patents may protect a product like an iPhone, many patents may be needed to protect a single vaccine. These may cover the antigen itself, adjuvants, packaging, manufacturing processes, method of delivery, etc. Patents can be licensed to other companies or individuals. iPhones include technology licensed from other companies, as well as technology developed by Apple itself.

The CDC owns a large number of patents related to medical technology. This is because the CDC does a huge amount of medical research. Some of these relate to vaccines. This is because from time to time a researcher will discover, for example, an antigen that provokes an immune response to a particular pathogen, or a method of inactivating a virus for use in a vaccine, or a new adjuvant.

The CDC lists all of its patented technology which is available to be licensed. Given it is a publicly funded organisation, why would the CDC patent these things? Why not just let people use them? There are three reasons. Firstly, it stops anyone else from patenting the CDC’s research, profiting from it, and stopping others using it. Secondly, licensing this technology protects the integrity of the manufacturing process, assuring end users of the quality of the product. And thirdly, licensing royalties provide a small return to tax-payers for their investment in the CDC’s research.

The CDC owns patents, not on vaccines, but on vaccine technology (amongst many other things), which it licenses to manufacturers and to other research bodies. There are fifty-seven such patents currently listed. So far, Robert Kennedy Jnr is roughly, sort of right. The CDC does own more than 20 vaccine-related patents. Everything else he said in the interview in which he made that claim, and everything else in the Facebook post in which these claims appear, is false. As we go on to consider the Bill Gates conspiracy theories, we will see that this is a very common anti-vax tactic: Make one true, or near true, claim, then by exaggerating, missing context, or simply making data up, proceed to make claims which are completely false, and because false, dangerous. Dangerous because they are an attempt to dissuade people from receiving life-saving treatments and preventatives.

The CDC does not sell vaccines. In fact it spends nearly half its annual budget (in 2017 $4.1 billion out of a total $11.9 billion budget) on buying vaccines. Which it then sells at a profit, right? No. Which it then gives away:

“CDC buys vaccines at a discount and distributes them to grantees—i.e., state health departments and certain local and territorial public health agencies—which in turn distribute them at no charge to those private physicians’ offices and public health clinics registered as VFC providers.”

But it still makes money from its vaccine technology patents? Yes, although it does not manage the licensing of those patents directly. This is handled by National Institutes of Health Office of Technology Transfer (OTT), which is responsible for licensing all of the patents generated from the Department of Health and Human Services, which includes the CDC. If we want to be picky, we should note it is the Department, specifically the Secretary of the Department, which owns the patents, not the CDC itself.

Last year the OTT reported income of $78.2 million for all patent licensing from the NIH, CDC and FDA. Let’s say that half of this was licensing of CDC patents, and half of that was generated by vaccine technology patents. The CDC has another six research areas in which patents are available to license, so this is a very generous estimate. That means the CDC’s income from vaccine-related patent licensing was no more than $19.55 million, and probably less.

There are three things to note about this. Firstly, the CDC does not make $4.1 billion selling vaccines. It doesn’t sell vaccines. It SPENT $4.1 billion on vaccines, which it gave away. Second, the maximum of $19.55 million which the CDC made from royalties on vaccine-related payments is less than one fifth of one percent of its budget. Thirdly, all of those royalties went back into further medical services and research. If you think less than one fifth of one percent of the CDC’s budget is enough to corrupt an entire organisation whose purpose is improving health, whose personnel are there and are recruited because they want to make world a better and healthier place, many of whom put themselves at considerable risk in order to do so, then allow me to suggest politely that you have rocks in your head.

This does not mean the CDC is above criticism. It is sometimes slow to react, and sometimes gives contradictory advice. Like all very large government organisations it has become top heavy and bureaucratic. It has lost focus on its original mandate to research and assist with infectious diseases, and broadened into other medical fields. But there is no evidence to suggest it is corrupt or in cahoots with pharmaceutical companies.

Considering these claims by Kennedy has given us some useful background to the conspiracy theories about Bill Gates, and the venomous rage those stories generate.

Let’s start with patent WO666. Microsoft Technology does own patent WO2020060606A1. That is the little bit of truth in this story. It isn’t owned by Bill Gates. Bill Gates hasn’t worked day-to-day at Microsoft since 2008, and retired from his position as Chairman of the Board in 2014. The WO doesn’t stand for World Order, it is an abbreviation for World Intellectual Property Organization, the largest international patent issuing organisation, and is the preface to all patents issued by that body. The A1 at the end indicates that the patent has not yet been granted; it has been applied for and published so other patent holders can review it before the patent is granted. The 2020 indicates the year in which it was published. The patent number is 060606. These are issued sequentially and have no meaning other than being an index/reference. The number does include three sixes, but you have to ignore the other eight letters and numbers to get “patent 666.”

What is the patent application for? Microchipping humans, right, so they can be tracked? No. There is nothing in the application which suggests any kind of implant or any sort of geo-location or tracking.  It is an application for digital technology which could be included in a watch or fit-bit type device, which would reward users with crytpto-currency for physical activity.

Most crypto-currency, bitcoin is an example, is “mined” using computer GPUs. This process uses considerable electricity, estimated at over 60 terawatt hours per year; more than the entire country of Switzerland.

The Microsoft proposal would reward people with crypto-currency for keeping fit. It is that simple. It is also worth noting that the patent hasn’t been granted yet, and that while Microsoft had a fitness band, released in 2014, it stopped producing them in 2016, and has announced no plans to produce another. If granted, the technology patented in WO2020060606A1 would likely be licensed to other companies like Fitbit, rather than in a new product made by Microsoft itself. A company which in any case, as noted above, Bill Gates is no longer involved in running.

“But Bill Gates and Dr Anthony Fauci sent $7.5 million to the Wuhan lab to research altering bat viruses so they would infect people, and Bill Gates owns the patent for Coronavirus!”

The little bit of truth in this is that since 2014 the National Institutes of Health has granted $3.7 million to a well-respected research organisation called Ecohealth Alliance to fund research into coronaviruses. Since 1984 Dr Anthony Fauci has been director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, one of twenty-seven bodies which make up the NIH. Dr Fauci has never been in Wuhan, and it is not clear whether he had any role in the grant to Ecohealth Alliance. He certainly had no role in The Ecohealth Alliance’s decisions about where that grant money was directed. Bill Gates, incidentally, has nothing to do with the NIH. The Gates Foundation has made one grant of $1.5 million to Ecohealth Alliance, but that was in 2020 and was for agricultural development.

Funds from the NIH grant were divided between the Wuhan lab, and institutes in Shanghai, Beijing, and Singapore. This is a list of published papers based on research partially funded by that grant.

Most of the recent virus scares have come from zoonotic infections, that is, infections which have jumped from animal hosts to humans. Examples include Zika, Ebola, Plague, and West Nile Fever. Research into coronaviruses is important because of their ability to jump from animal to human hosts, often with deadly results. Many ordinary colds result from one of the four common coronaviruses: 229E, NL63, OC43, HKU1. Most people will suffer from one these at least once, with nothing more than a mild fever, a cough and sniffly nose.

However, coronaviruses can also be killers. SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), and MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) are both examples. Because these diseases are highly infectious and have high mortality rates, many health authorities were concerned that the next major pandemic could be a coronavirus, and offered grants for study into their genome and infection pathways. If a new, deadly coronavirus appeared (and it has – that is what COVID-19 is), this research would help us be better prepared.

China’s behaviour in deleting records of the genome, denying the outbreak, and then denying the risk of infection, were reprehensible. China should be held to account. It is possible that the virus escaped from the Wuhan lab. This needs to be carefully and independently investigated. But the research itself was worthwhile and deserved to be funded. There was nothing nefarious about the funding at all. Also, Bill Gates had nothing whatever to do with it.

But then how does he happen to have a patent for coronavirus that dates from 2014? Surely that proves this pandemic was all planned in advance?

The normal anti-vax conspiracy practice, as we have seen above, is to take a little truth, and then add several large lies. In this case, there is no truth at all, just several wild assumptions.

There are many coronaviruses. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation funds many medical services and research organisations. One of these is the Pirbright Institute in England. The Pirbright Institute has received two grants from the Gates Foundation, one in 2013 for research into diseases affecting livestock, and one in 2016 for research into a more effective flu vaccine.

In 2018 Pirbright was granted a patent which covers the development of an attenuated (weakened) form of a coronavirus that causes respiratory diseases in poultry, which they hope might be used be used as a vaccine to prevent respiratory diseases in birds, including avian infectious bronchitis. The vaccine is not owned by Bill Gates, the funding his foundation provided was for completely different purposes, and the weakened avian coronavirus for which Pirbright holds a patent is a completely different pathogen from SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus which causes COVID-19.

In the last couple of months the Pirbright Institute, which has considerable experience with zoonotic and respiratory infections, has collaborated with researchers at the University of Oxford and Public Health England, to try to develop a vaccine for COVID-19. Bill Gates has nothing to with that either.

“But still, everyone knows Bill Gates experimented on African children with untested vaccines.”

The trouble with claims like these is that they are easily made, and easily passed on. Just create a meme with a happy looking picture of Bill Gates juxtaposed with a dying black child, and another child being poked with what looks like a horse needle, and you are guaranteed a viral response. People are less inclined to read referenced articles, or to look carefully for facts in government or local medical reports. It is easier and more fun to repost that story about the horrible Bill Gates, because, like, it’s probably true, and even it isn’t he deserves it because everyone knows he has done so many other horrible things. Then you can feel indignantly self-righteous for a few minutes, be pleased with the number of likes you get, and go back to cat videos and complaining about the government.

Except that Bill Gates Bill Gates doesn’t own any vaccine patents, he doesn’t sell vaccines, and he doesn’t conduct any research into vaccines. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation funds health services and research including sanitation, vaccines, clean water, anti-biotics, birth services, and diagnostic and treatment centres. Mr Gates has no role in the day-today determination of which bodies receive grant funding, and no role at all in determining how grant recipients spend that money.

This experiments on black children story seems to have started with a 2017 non-peer reviewed article on international law and the accountability of NGOs, (non-government organisations).

In that article, the author, Sharmeen Ahmed, claims that several programmes funded by the Gates Foundation resulted in “numerous deaths and injuries, with accounts of forced vaccinations and uninformed consent.” She offered no references to support these claims.

If true, this would show that some organisations which have been part-funded by the Gates Foundation need to operate more carefully and openly, and perhaps that the Foundation needs to vet grant-receiving organisations more carefully. But Ahmed’s claims are not true. They were known not to be true six years before they were published. Sadly, like most anti-vaxxers, Ahmed has no interest in what is true.

Her story related a mishmash of distortions about a trial of HPV vaccination that was funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation which ran in India, Peru, Uganda and Vietnam. Let’s note first off that it was not a trial of an untested or experimental vaccine, as is often claimed in various Farcebook references. Gardasil had been approved for use in the USA in 2006, following many years of research and clinical trials, and Cervarix in 2009. They have been hugely success in reducing the incidence of cervical cancer. By 2010, when large numbers of girls began to be vaccinated through the trial programme, both vaccines had solid research support, had been approved for use in most Western countries, and had been proven in the field to be both safe and effective. The purpose of the trial funded by the Gates Foundation was not to assess the vaccine itself, but the practicalities and costs of  widespread vaccination in very poor rural and densely populated urban areas.

All went well, until a small number of girls in India, seven out of 23,428, died within four months of receiving the vaccine. This story was picked up by local, then national media. A furore was created, and the trial halted. A government review was undertaken. Sharper readers may already be wondering whether seven girls out of 23,428 in impoverished areas of India dying in any four month period was anything out of the ordinary. Sadly, they would be right to do so.

To quote from the official government report:

“There were a total of 7 deaths, 5 from the AP and 2 from Gujarat. A detailed review of death cases were undertaken from the available records in the form of FIR, Clinic/hospital prescriptions/records and the autopsy. Out of the five deaths reported from Andhra Pradesh, two died due to consumption of organo-phosphorus poisoning (autopsy proven) and one died due to drowning in a well.

These three girls died after 45, 97 and 49 days after the last HPV vaccine dose respectively. The fourth case developed symptoms 96 days after receiving the third dose of the vaccine and had died of unrelated disease which cannot be linked possibly to HPV. The fifth case had started symptoms 23 days after the last dose and possibly died of severe malaria after eight days of treatment in health facilities. Similarly at Gujarat, one case died of snake bite and the other case died of severe malaria.

… The background death rates among girls 10-14 years of age in both Vadodora and Khammam districts did not show any increase rate. In fact in Vadodora district the death rate has significantly decreased in 2009 compared to the past years.”

None of the deaths of any of the seven girls was related in any way to the Gardasil or Cervarix vaccines they received as part of the trial. We have seen the same kind of irrational panic over the last month in relation to the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. “It causes blood clots!” No it doesn’t. The rate of dangerous thromboembolism is no greater in vaccine recipients than unvaccinated populations. See the WHO review here:

And my own earlier comments about relative risk and COVID-19 vaccination here:

Just as an aside, another of the programmes funded by the Gates Foundation was MenAfriVac. This programme, which cost $70 million, was one of the most successful African health initiatives ever. Between 2010 and 2019, 315 million people in Africa’s meningitis belt, an area extending across the width of sub-Saharan Africa, received the vaccine. Cases of meningitis A have dropped almost to zero. According to the WHO, the vaccine is “expected to eliminate meningococcal A epidemics from this region of Africa,” Meningitis regularly killed thousands of people during outbreaks. Not any more. Without MenAfriVac, hundreds of millions of Africans would be vulnerable to a disease that can kill within hours and leave survivors paralysed, blind, and intellectually disabled.

If anti-vaxxers cared about the truth, they would be gasping for breath right now. Sadly for their victims, they don’t. They only care about ammunition. Here is the last gasp.

“But Bill Gates has publicly said he intends to use vaccines for population control! He is lulling people into a false sense of security before forcing everyone to be vaccinated with a vaccine that isn’t a vaccine, will permanently alter their DNA, and will kill half of those who receive it.”

To paraphrase Theoden of Rohan, “What can people do against such reckless stupidity?” Is it even worth trying to answer such manifest irrationality? Well, perhaps briefly.

Firstly, just because a vaccine operates in a different way from previous vaccines does not mean it is not a vaccine. The mRNA (messenger RNA) vaccines developed against COVID-19, are designed to provoke an immune response just like other vaccines. They just shortcut a couple of steps in doing so, and this has the potential to make them faster and more reliable. Neither mRNA vaccines, or any other proposed COVID-19 treatment or preventative does or even can alter human DNA.

“Yeah, well, Bill Gates still said he was going to use vaccines to eliminate half the population.”

No, he didn’t. So where the heck did that come from? In 2010 Bill Gates said “The world today has 6.8 billion people. That’s heading up to about nine billion. Now if we do a really great job on new vaccines, health care, reproductive health services, we could lower that by perhaps 10 or 15 percent.”

Does this mean he intends to poison vaccines, or implant tracking devices in them, or slow release killers to be activated by the 5G signal?  I am not going to link to any of the fantastically dishonest or relentlessly stupid and baseless videos which make this claim. You can find them, or friends will send them to you.

Instead, here is a link to Bill Gates explaining exactly what he meant, which is pretty much exactly what it was obvious to me and every rational person on the planet he meant. As infant and youth mortality improves, families have fewer children, so over time the rate of population growth declines, and even becomes negative. This is true of every developed country in the world. There is nothing remotely controversial about this. What this means is that doing everything possible to improve infant mortality and health does not mean unsustainable population growth. The evidence shows exactly the opposite. The healthier we are, the more stable the population becomes.

None of this means that Bill Gates is perfect. He is human. He gets things wrong. His Foundation will get things wrong. They fund some programmes I believe are inappropriate. But this does not make him a monster. Despite the occasional misallocation (in my view) of funds by the Gates Foundation, it is still a huge influence for good. See the MenAfriVac programme briefly described above for one example. What we should be concerned about, and doing everything we can to combat, is the repeated, lazy and vicious misrepresentations of anti-vax lobby groups. Anti-vaxxers kill children. If anyone deserves contempt, it is they.

The Climate Youth Brigade

The history of the twentieth century is replete with radical groups scaring children about the future they are to inherit, and encouraging them to take to the streets to shout slogans they did not understand, to denounce their parents, and to demand political changes they could not comprehend. It is not a happy company.

The reason children cannot make major life decisions for themselves, and cannot vote, is that they do not yet have the perspective or background or thinking skills to understand scientific and political issues, or the long term outcomes of environmental or economic policies. Like greenies, they have difficulty with complex ideas and situations, and are not good at weighing different theories, or the objective analysis of risk. They are impressed by scary stories and scary pictures, and suggestions they will miss out or are being hard done by through the irresponsible actions of businesses, politicians and parents.

Children need to be exposed to a wide range of views, and encouraged to think about them carefully and critically.

Advocacy is a great and necessary thing, most of the time. It can also be a very dangerous thing, when the facts are incorrect, or theories wrong. Think of children in Communist China chanting Mao’s slogans in the street during the cultural revolution. Before taking sides, we need consider the sides carefully. A good education encourages and supports children to do this.

Become emotionally engaged, certainly. But be sure you have your facts right first, or you will do more harm than good. Good intentions, divorced from reality, are a fast track to disaster.

Schools and other authorities which encourage activism in children without ensuring facts are correct, and without encouraging critical analysis of diverse scientific and political views, are using children rather than aiding them, and indoctrinating them rather than educating them.

Have children been indoctrinated rather than educated?

Have they been told that current global temperature is between eight and ten degrees below the average for the last 200 million years?

Have they been told we are still in an ice age (it is an ice age whenever there is ice at the poles), and that there has been ice at the poles for less than 20% of earth’s history?

Have they been told that warming over the last 150 years amounts to less than one degree Celsius – a difference so small you would not even notice it moving from one room to another?

Have they been told half of this minor increase occurred before any significant human output of CO2, and that over the last twenty years, as CO2 output has increased, there has been no measurable change in global temperature?

Have they been told that changes far greater, in both directions, have happened frequently in the past without any human influence?

Have they been told that since the beginning of the current inter-glacial period, it has been both warmer and colder than now, and that the general temperature trend for the last 10,000 years has been downward?

Have they been told that CO2 levels in the atmosphere have been more than ten times higher than they are now, with no ill effects?

Have they been told that CO2 is vital for all life on Earth, and that at the beginning of the twentieth century, CO2 levels were almost catastrophically low, near starvation level for many green plants?

Have they been told that if the atmosphere were a stadium of 10,000 people, only four of those people would be CO2, and only one of those possibly of human origin?

Have they told that this minimal increase in this vital, non-toxic trace gas has resulted in new forest growth, more resilient grasslands, and better crop yields?

Have they been told there is no correlation between human production of CO2 and changes in global temperature?

Have they been told that Tuvalu and Kiribati, islands which were to have sunk by 2015, and from which we were expected to take the entire populations as desperate climate refugees, have actually grown in size?

Have they been told the origin of the media claims that 97% of scientists agree with catastrophic anthropogenic climate change, and given the opportunity to consider the merits of those studies?

Have they been encouraged to consider the work of leading climate scientists, geologists and physicists like Tim Ball, Richard Lindzen, Judith Curry, Will Happer, Murray Salby, Ian Plimer, Bob Carter, John Christy, Willie Soon, Ian Clark, Ernst Beck, or the thousands of others who have raised questions about the computer modelling behind the climate scare, and suggested that the scare is not supported by the data?


Then they are being used rather than aided, and indoctrinated rather than educated.

Flinders Chase. No to More Visitors? Why?

The campaign against the Australian Walking Company’s proposal to build eco-friendly lodges at two locations on the KI Wilderness Trail is a perfect example of the dog in the manger negativity that hurls itself at every new project on Kangaroo Island.

Some of the arguments are beyond ludicrous. One was: A completely different company built some completely different buildings somewhere completely different, and they are ugly, so we all need to unite in opposing this project. Um.. OK.

The lodges will not be visible from the main track. The argument that they might be visible from part of the beach below reminds me of the story of the elderly woman who rang police to complain about her neighbour exposing himself. Although this happened at night, and he was in his own home, the woman insisted he was doing it deliberately to upset her. An officer called and looked through her window as directed. “His curtains are closed. I can’t see a thing.” “Of course not,” said the woman “you have to stand on the cupboard.”

Or there is the theory that this is the “thin edge of the wedge” (time to come up with some new clichés, people) and that the park will be ruined by private development. On the contrary, AWC have a strong interest in maintaining the wild beauty of the park – that is why people come.

This project will bring new people to the island, and create thirty full-time equivalent jobs. Those opposed perhaps need to remember the park is not their private playground. It belongs to all Australians, and new facilities constructed at no cost to the tax-payer which give visitors more choices make it more accessible to ordinary Australians, not less.

If you don’t want to stay at the new lodges, that’s fine. You don’t have to. Just keep walking. Why try to spoil it for others?

Further thoughts on this, which may appear in print over the next few days:

Unlike ninety percent of those who gathered at Parliament House on Wednesday to protest the Australian Walking Company’s proposed eco-friendly accommodation on Kangaroo Island, I live and work on the Island.

The proposed development is not about “privatising the park,” as was claimed. It does not “set a dangerous precedent,” it will not “reduce visitor access to the park.”

Private investment in National parks around Australia is an important contributor to meeting the need for infrastructure and facilities for visitors. Whether for cafes, accommodation, or ski facilities, private investment improves accessibility and user friendliness. The planned new Falls to Mt Hotham wilderness trail, for example, specifically includes provision for accommodation and other amenities along the trail to be constructed with a mix of public and private funding.

Private investment means improved facilities without the need for additional tax-payer funds, and at the same time provides additional income to parks for conservation and maintenance.

Flinders Chase is some 320,000 hectares in size. The proposed development will occupy about 1 hectare (approximately half a hectare at each site). The lodges will not be visible from the main track, nor interfere with anyone’s view or movement along the track.

AWC have a history of building and managing high quality, eco-friendly accommodation along some of Australia’s premier trails. They responded to a state government call for expressions of interest in providing such accommodation on the Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail with a proposal to spend some $4 million on the Island, and to create thirty FTE jobs.

The new accommodation will enhance the accessibility of the Trail, for example for older or disabled people who may prefer to walk in a group or with a guide, and for whom camping is not an option.

I am sure most of those who turned up to protest as instructed thought they were doing a good thing. But we do not need a low-information rent-a-crowd to tell us, nor to tell politicians on our behalf, what development is appropriate for Kangaroo Island.

Dead Fish, The Murray, and Blaming Cubbie Station

The problem with Greens like Jeremy Buckingham and Sarah Sea Patrol is that, being dwellers in an alternative Starbucks-half-shot-low-fat-pumpkin-latte-with-a-dash-of-organic-breast-milk-from-an-Ethiopian-shepherd-girl universe, they are completely unfamiliar with the nature they wish so desperately to save.

When they do encounter nature, they are terrified, for example, Jeremy Buckingham’s horrified discovery that natural gas (swamp gas) is both natural and flammable, and his certainty that this meant we were on the edge of the apocalypse. I can only assume he thought natural gas was made by specially trained Oompah-Loompahs, and served a merely symbolic purpose, gas ovens and hot water supplies actually being powered by organically grown pixie dust delivered in chemical-free hemp handbags.

Or if they are not terrified, they are disgusted. For example, poor Jeremy’s throwing up at the sight of a dead fish.

Jeremy Buckingham vomits at the sight of a dead fish

Jeremy Buckingham vomits at the sight of a dead fish

One of the Groan’s most cherished fantasies is that prior to invasion day, the Murray-Darling was a constantly flowing, ever-clear stream. Anything short of this, therefore, is considered proof of human greed and disregard for nature and also the dangers of capitalism. Also, white people are bad. Especially men.

In reality, before European settlement, the Murray Darling was, for most of its length, a series of interlinked waterholes which, every couple of years after heavy rains, changed into a massive, roaring river, gradually settling to a gentler flow, and then returning to its default; dry riverbeds and muddy ponds and lakes.

Fish died, frogs died, things dried up. Until the next flood. A bit like that poem:

I love a butthurt country, a land of weeping swains,
of plump transgender penguins roaming proud across the plains.

Or whatever.

Jeremy Buckingham says the lack of flow downstream is all the fault of Cubbie Station. They’ve got plenty of water, which they are meanly holding back so everyone downstream has none. Because they are mean, and have paid off the government. Or something.

A summary of Cubbie Stations’ recent water use and water diversions can be found on their website. Cubbie diverts less than one quarter of one percent of the Murray’s flow. That is a lot, but it is nothing like the gigalitres allocated for irrigation downstream. And Cubbie’s allowance is almost entirely taken during the once in ten years or so storms that send massive amounts of flood water down the system. Cubbie’s storage acts as a flood mitigation system, reducing flood damage downstream, and catching water that would otherwise be lost to evaporation.

The water currently in Cubbie’s storage is water that would have been lost if Cubbie were not there. Despite the claims made by Jeremy Buckingham and others, Cubbie Station’s water allocation does not reduce flow lower in the system, nor reduce supplies available to irrigators downstream.

But if Cubbie is not the problem, what is?

The Murray-Darling is no longer a series of muddy water holes linked only in times of flood. By installing locks and pumps, we have essentially turned the lower half of the river into a massive canal and irrigation system.

We have also created a huge artificial fresh water lake system at the bottom of the Murray. Because of evaporation, the lower lakes require approximately 2500 gigalitres of fresh water flow from the Murray every year to maintain levels. This is in addition to local rainfall and inflows.

The simple fact is this: there is enough water to maintain irrigation and steady levels in the Murray, or enough to maintain the lower lakes, but not both.

The simple solution is this: build a weir at Wellington, remove the barrages, and let the Coorong and lower lakes return to their natural state.

This will return 2500 gigalitres per year of water to the Murray, and restore the natural habitat of the lower lakes and Coroong.

All that is need to solve the problem is politicians for whom the future of the country is more important than popularity.

On Jetties and Aquaculture

A couple of news articles of possible interest over the last week or so.

From Portland in Victoria, Yumbah has entered the public consultation phase of its application to construct a new abalone farm in close proximity to the port facilities at Portland in Victoria. The new abalone farm will be approximately the same distance from ships berthing at Portland as ships berthing at Smith Bay will be from Yumbah’s existing farm there. See satellite image below.

Yumbah's Proposed New Aquaculture Facility Adjacent to the Jetties at Portland

Yumbah’s Proposed New Aquaculture Facility Adjacent to Jetties at Portland, Victoria

The jetty at Smith Bay will initially service about twelve ships per year over a three month period, shipping approximately 600,000 tonnes of natural timber each year. Portland facilities include six berths which operate 24 hours per day throughout the year, exporting over six million tonnes of mixed products, plus imports and cruise ships.

As part of the application process, Yumbah is required to estimate effluent flows into the bay. These are expected to be some 5200 litres per second or up to 500 Megalitres per day. For comparison, the entire treated sewage waste output from the city of Adelaide and surrounding areas is approximately 200 Megalitres per day.

Included in the projected waste outflow into Portland Bay is some 660 tonnes of suspended solids per year, including 406 tonnes of abalone faeces. Research conducted so far into the impact of this volume of waste on local marine eco-systems has been completely inadequate. In particular, almost no research has been conducted into the impact on marine mammals of the bacterial load of more than 400 tonnes of faeces dumped into the bay each year, or in the case of Smith Bay, a much smaller and more sheltered bay, about 200 tonnes of faeces per year.

Waste and Faeces Outflow from Yumbah's new Portland Facility

Waste and Faeces Outflow from Yumbah’s new Portland Facility


Waste and Faeces Outflow from Yumbah's new Portland Facility

Waste and Faeces Outflow from Yumbah’s new Portland Facility

Despite busy port activity, the waters around Portland are clear and inviting. Dolphins are permanent residents, and Portland is known as Australia’s whale watching capital. Both Southern Right whales and Blue whales make regular visits along their migration path. Portland’s famous whale viewing platform is about 600m from the Port breakwater, and about half-way between the Port and Yumbah’s proposed new site.

Yumbah's new Facility at Portland will Dump 400 Tonnes of Faeces into the Bay Every Year

Yumbah’s new Facility at Portland will Dump 400 Tonnes of Faeces into the Bay Every Year

I am not sure what the marine wildlife will make of 500 million litres of effluent pumped into the bay every day, along with over 400 tonnes per year of faeces. The abalone farm on KI is about half the size, with about half the waste output.

In other news, last week’s Islander reported that the proposed jetty, which was to have been about two thirds the length of the Kingscote jetty, will now be about the same length. It is not clear why this is news, considering this information has been publicly available for the last six months. There is nothing nefarious about this change. It has been proposed to reduce the amount of dredging necessary, and consequently reduce the impact of the development on the sea floor, and to move the berthing area further from intakes to the abalone farm.

Then there was this, from SA Wilderness Society Director Peter Owen:

“Smith Bay is a completely inappropriate location for another port, both from an environmental and public safety perspective. The coastal vegetation in the area and the pristine marine environment must be protected. Log truck traffic on the long haul down to Smith Bay… creates a tourist hazard and raises serious public safety concerns. Surely there are more appropriate locations than Smith Bay… ”

But wait a minute.. This is being reported by the same people who were telling us only two weeks earlier that the even longer haul down to Ballast Head, using major tourist and school bus routes was great, peachy, much better.

And “surely there are more appropriate locations than Smith Bay.”  Easy to say, but name one. It must be within reasonable distance from plantations to optimise safety and reduce road maintenance. It must have good road access. It must have power on the property or available nearby. It must not be in a marine park. It must drop off into deeper water, 14 meters with minimal dredging, within 100 metres or so of shore. It must have level or near level land adjacent to the jetty so that product can be stored securely and in a way that prevents any runoff. And it must be available for purchase and development.

The objections to Smith Bay have been:

Firstly, that jetties and shipping are incompatible with aquaculture. Half an hour’s research and few phone calls make it clear that this is not the case; ports and aquaculture exist side by side in Australia and around the world. Yumbah’s proposed new development at Portland demonstrates they are not in fact concerned about this at all.

And secondly, that Smith Bay is a pristine marine environment that must be preserved. In reality, from any common-sense perspective, the fact that there is already industrial development at Smith Bay, of a far more visually unattractive and environmentally hazardous type than a jetty loading twelve ships per year with a natural, sustainable native product, makes it a more, not less suitable location. Why add a jetty to a genuinely untouched (that is what pristine means) part of the North coast, when there is a site that meets all practical and logistical requirements, and already has industrial development?

It has been suggested that if I had my way I would see the abalone farm and other local businesses closed. It is certainly true that I regard the abalone farm as an abomination. I was horrified the first time I saw it, and am still dismayed every time I think of the visual damage caused by that hideous construction to what was a truly lovely little bay. It is visual vandalism of the worst kind. The potential damage caused to the local marine ecosystem from the astonishing quantities of waste pumped into the bay is even worse, and make it a perfect example of profit-driven environmental vandalism. If the foreshore could be reclaimed as reserve, or a picnic and play area, as an outdoor exercise course, or even as a camping ground or any other of hundreds of visually attractive and environmentally responsible possibilities, I would be delighted. However, the abalone farm is there, and its needs and concerns need to be taken into account. On the other hand, to suggest a jetty is unattractive or off-putting to visitors is simply silly. Our jetties are some of our most loved and visited landmarks. They would be rare visitors who did not depart from KI with photos of at least one of our jetties in phones or cameras.

I could not feel more differently about other local businesses, which have received great reviews, which are a perfect match for KI, and of which their owners are justifiably proud. I am a little at a loss, though, to know why a few extra trucks each day, turning off out of sight of, and eight hundred metres from, another business’s gate, should have any significant negative impact. However, people are entitled to ask questions, and if concerns exist, to ask for clarification, and that KIPT work with them to ensure positive outcomes for all parties.

Sustainable harvesting of farmed native timber on Kangaroo Island will bring over 240 new jobs to the island. In the end, everyone will benefit.

Save Smith Bay – The Real Story

The Ballad of Jack and Dianne…

Jack and Dianne had lived on Kangaroo Island for a few years, when a shop became available on Dauncey St. They decided to open a coffee shop. Although they had never run a coffee shop before, they had run other successful businesses, and Jack had training and experience as a barista. They prepared a business plan, applied for finance, and set up a website to let people know what they were doing.

A few days later, Dianne logged onto Facebook.

Save Dauncey St: Has everyone seen this proposal? This will wreck Dauncey St. Speak up now!

Curious Resident 1: I think it’s just a coffee shop. Not sure there is much to worry about, really.

Save Dauncey St: We have just discovered they plan to have a roaster in there. So much for being just a coffee shop. Makes you wonder what else they’re not telling us.

Friend 1 of SDS: OMG! Imagine the fire risk, and the risk to nearby businesses, and the smoke pollution. This is just irresponsible.

Friend 2 of SDS: Why is this even being considered? It doesn’t tick any boxes for KI!

F3 of SDS: No one makes any money in retailing. That shop should just be bulldozed and made into residential units. No one needs another coffee shop. We need more cheap accommodation.

F4 of SDS: Just bulldoze it and leave it as a park. It’s time this community started thinking about the children.

F5 of SDS: It’s not just the fire risk with a roaster. Where are they getting beans from? You can bet they are not just organic Australian beans. It’s clear no one has thought about the biological hazard this presents! There goes our clean, green image.

F6 of SDS: Three shops have failed on Dauncey St in the last ten years. Why should this be any different. It’s just another kick in the guts for KI!

Curious Resident 2: Guys, really. I think it’s just a coffee shop.

F1 of SDS: Who is paying you to write this crap? What’s in it for you? Anyway, you’ve only lived here for twelve years. What gives you the right to have a say?

Curious Resident 2: Nothing. I just think it could be nice to have another option.. And it means a few more jobs for young people. Let’s just give it a go.

F2 of SDS: You might not have any vested interest, but it’s clear you have an agenda. How could anyone who cares about the island support this?

F3: I hate it when people come to the island immediately start trying to change it. If you don’t like the island as it is, why come here?

Curious Resident 2: Couldn’t you just talk with them? Negotiate? Try to work out something that will work for everyone.

SDS: There’s nothing to negotiate. This shouldn’t be allowed. Ever. Anywhere.

F1: Why don’t they just go down to that derelict shop at the end of the road where the koalas are? It was good enough for that other shop that didn’t open.

SDS: Yes, good idea. As long as it’s not near my end of the street.

F2: When I opened my shop I didn’t think there were going to be any other shops on Dauncey St. What if people stop coming to my shop now? It isn’t fair.

Curious Resident 1: Have a look at their website. Let’s just wait and see exactly what they are planning, and then object if you really want to.

F4: OMG! Time some people learned to SHUT UP!

F5: My friend who has been helping with the renovations says they have no grease extractors on their exhaust fans. Grease and smoke from their cooking is going be spewed all over the rest of Dauncey St. This will wreck the tourist industry.

F6: My cousin who is a plumber says there are no grease traps on their drains. It was never meant to be a food shop. Grease from cooking will just be washed straight down into the sea.

SDS: You can see why we were concerned. This needs to be stopped now. Imagine all that grease floating under the jetty. No protection for seals or dolphins. There shouldn’t be any waste going into the sea! It is a disgrace this is even being considered!

Curious Resident 2: But wait a minute SDS. Don’t you have a huge drain at the back of your place that goes straight into the sea?

SDS: No.

CR2: But I was there yesterday. I’ve got photos.

SDS: Oh, that drain. Well, nothing comes out of it, and if it does it’s nothing to do with us, and anyway, it’s just water. Or nearly.

F6: OMG, CR2. You should be ashamed, saying such horrible things about a local business. How low.

F1: I had a visitor over the weekend who said she was shocked something like this had been proposed. She said she would never come back to Dauncey St if it was smoky and smelly and covered with grease.

SDS: My friends say the same thing. But it gets worse. What about the leafy sea dragons? How are they going to respond to all this pollution?

F2: I just read on their website they are planning to sell cakes! They want to put everyone else out of business.

SDS: We told you they were not telling us everything. Think about the impact on fishing from the jetty!

F3: I just saw on their website it’s cold drinks as well. Someone needs to put a stop to this out of control project now!

F4: My friend who works for SDS said they were thinking about putting another person on next year, half time, maybe. But now they definitely won’t. So much for new jobs. We are already losing jobs for something that won’t even get off the ground!

CR: But are they are planning to do any cooking there? Why not ask them?

F5: They haven’t been telling the truth about this project from the beginning. Look at all the things we discovered on their website! Why would you trust anything they say?

F2: Of course they are going to be cooking. No one makes money from coffee.

F6: Exactly. They have a vested interest. What is the point in asking people who don’t care about the community or the environment and are just out for money?

Although this was distressing for Jack and Dianne, they were eventually able to open their coffee shop. There were howls of indignation: “How could this be approved when so many of us were against it?” But it was approved because most of the objections had nothing to do with what Jack and Dianne had planned or built. The ones that did, fire safety for the roaster, for example, were well provided for to ensure safety both for the little coffee shop, and for neighbours. They had never intended to do any cooking on site, as their website had made plain from the beginning, so there were no issues with cooking smells or grease.

Eventually, people realised the coffee was pretty darned good, and The Happy Bean soon became a favourite with locals and visitors alike. People forgot all the fuss, and life went on as usual. Dauncey St had another successful shop, a bit more colour, and maybe even a few more visitors.

But no one ever apologised.

Oh, and some real information:

Knagaroo Island Plantation Timber’s Smith Bay Wharf Proposal

Economic Growth from KIPT’s Smith Bay Wharf



Last Word on the Smith Bay Jetty – Kangaroo Island

If you have to lie to make your case, you don’t have a case.

Never has this been more starkly clear than in the determined opposition to KIPT’s proposed new jetty at Smith Bay. This is a project that will bring a massive ongoing income stream to Kangaroo Island, and has the potential to revitalise the island more than any other project since the advent of reliable ferry services. Cue the wailing…

“The Environmental Impact Statement they have submitted is not what they are planning to build!”

OK. Right. In a time-consuming and expensive process, KIPT is seeking permission to build something they do not intend to build, and are not seeking permission to build what they do intend to build. This is so manifestly silly it is just, well, silly.

“Building a jetty on the pristine North coast will pollute the bay and damage whales and dolphins!”

There are four jetties along the pristine North coast already, plus a couple of boat ramps. One of those jetties, at Penneshaw, loads and unloads as many as six boats per day. These carry dangerous cargoes including pesticides, creosote treated logs and other building materials, fuels, and livestock. They travel several times per day directly across the migration path of whales and other marine wildlife.

But one more jetty loading twelve boats a year with a sustainable, organic, native product is going to ruin our tourism industry and ruin the environment.

Right. This is even more manifestly ludicrous than the claim KIPT wants permission to build something they don’t want to build.

“But Smith Bay is pristine!”

You have to wonder at the mental and photographic contortions needed to attempt to portray Smith Bay as anything resembling “pristine.”

With a monstrous barbed-wire fenced industrial facility squatting across almost the entire foreshore, looking like a set from Resident Evil, pumping thousands of litres of waste into the bay every hour, Smith Bay is about as pristine as my arse after a hot curry and dozen beers. Not something I would recommend swimming in.

Smith Bay Foreshore Showing Yumbah's Facility and waste Outflows

Smith Bay Foreshore Showing Yumbah’s Facility and Waste Outflows


Some of the other objections verge on comic absurdity. Or rather, they jump the verge in a manic delirium and charge headlong down the cliff into La La Land. “There’ll be trucks! There’ll be dust! There might be some noise! Tourists won’t like it! I don’t like it! Make it stop!”

What’s next? Demands that we stop growing sheep on the island? “There are trucks! There is dust! There are nasty smells! You know they only grow those things to kill them! It’s inhumane. The trucks run on petrol. It’s ruining the environment! The world’s going to burn! We’re all going to die!”

OK. Put down the bong. Step away slowly. Move outside. Take a few deep breaths… Better now?

Seriously, if there are any real concerns, not drug-fueled paranoia or dog-in-the-manger silliness, but real concerns about environment, or safety, or tourism, and you have talked with KIPT about them, not just had a whinge on Facebook, or complained to the other members of your echo-chamber, but actually talked to KIPT, and you still think your issues have not been properly addressed, let me know. I will be right behind you in seeking answers.

A Bridge to Kangaroo Island

A bridge to Kangaroo Island..

It would be an amazing project, and an amazing feat of engineering. It could certainly be done.

But not everything that can be done should be done. Would it be a good thing?

Firstly, by the time additional required infrastructure is installed on both sides, and provision made for safe passage of tankers and container ships under the bridge, the cost will be $12 billion, not $5 billion.

Secondly, Kangaroo Island certainly doesn’t need any more debacles like the airport. We were promised no cost to ratepayers, and more flights and more passengers. Ratepayers have been left with a $2 million debt, fewer flights and fewer passengers. But we’ve sold some paintings, so that’s nice..

So NO taxpayer or ratepayer funds, unless there is a genuine, independent business plan, as opposed to the in-house fairyland plan that was used to justify the expenditure of $22 million of taxpayer and ratepayer money on an airport. For fewer passengers. But some nice paintings.

Let’s say the bridge makes economic sense even with realistic costing and a rigorous business plan. Economic considerations are not the only considerations.

I have been amused, I have to say, by comments from a few of those who talk loudly about equity, diversity, open borders, inclusiveness, blah, blah, blah, saying this must not be allowed to happen because it would make it too easy for the riff-raff to get here. I’ll just go past that one…

Then there is this: “Nature’s island would be ruined! More people means more environmental destruction.” I can understand that concern, but it doesn’t hold up based on experience elsewhere. The more people who come to visit a place to admire and enjoy the environment, the more incentive there is, and the more money there is, to ensure local habitats, wildlife and scenery are preserved. More people coming to the Island would help to ensure the Island’s unique combination of wildlife and scenery are preserved for future generations, and for their own sake.

“Foxes and rabbits would get to the Island!” Well.. it’s a long walk across a long bridge, which would almost certainly be gated for tolls on one side, so that seems unlikely. Unless a bridge means people are going to start hiding those things and bringing them over over in their vehicles. Well, maybe. I guess. We’d certainly still need some biological restrictions and perhaps random checks.

“The crime rate would go up!” Yes, probably. That’s what happens when the population increases and there are more visitors. We would also have more police, and more available police and other emergency service workers. I think that one evens out.

“We’d need more accommodation, better services, better roads.” Absolutely. We need better roads and services now. One of the ongoing financial issues for KI Council is how to provide services over such a large area for such a small population. Increased population density means more efficiency and better services. Increased population and tourism means more government spending on infrastructure. This would mean most of the population would be both better off, and have access to better services.

There would be less reliance on ferries and planes to Adelaide, and no, or at least far fewer, issues with cheap and easy transport to the Island. This means greater convenience, and greater cost saving for both residents and visitors, even if, as seems inevitable, the bridge was partly funded by a toll.

Possibly, given better insfrastructure, services and accommodation, direct flights from cities other than Adelaide might then be feasible.

A bridge would transform the Island. Would that be a good thing? I would be happy, as long as environmental protections remain in place, and as long as Islanders are not saddled with another massive debt.

More Anti-Energy Silliness

There is no reasons why activists should not be allowed to have their say, as long as policy is based on facts rather than ideology.

A saw a video recently purporting to be of a Norwegian fisherman lamenting the negative impact of the oil industry, and particularly of acoustic imaging, on Norwegian fisheries.

OK. Except that output from Norwegian fisheries has almost tripled over the last twenty years, at exactly the same time as huge growth in Norwegian oil exploration and export.

There is no negative impact at all. Just as there has been no negative impact in Australia, where whale populations in Southern and Western Australia have grown at close to maximum possible numbers at exactly the same time as large areas of ocean floor have been surveyed and new areas opened up for exploration and development.

I am reminded of the pioneering work of Professor Irving Janis on groupthink:

1. A group of people come to share a view or belief without proper refernce to real-world evidence, or wihout weighing other options or risks.

2. They then insist their belief is shared by all caring, right-thinking people. Consequently, people who disagree are perceived as evil or uncaring.

3. Those who adhere to the “correct” view attach themselves so strongly to their beliefs that it forms the basis of their sense of purpose and self-worth. Any disagreement is seen as an existential attack on them personally.

4. Because their view has little foundation in reality, they can defend it only by repeating the same falsehoods over and over, and by making irrational and sometimes savage attacks on anyone with a different view.

Every Day in Every Way …

“Every day in every way, I am getting better and better” was the catch-phrase of Émile Coué, French psychologist and pharmacist, who believed people could be healed and their lives improved through the power of aut0-suggestion.

His theories have long since fallen out of favour. But what is true is that every day, in almost every way, the world is getting better and better; cleaner, safer, healthier, happier.

The driving forces behind this change have been free trade, rule of law and secure property rights.

It is interesting how much of this progress towards a cleaner, safer, healthier, fairer world has been accomplished by three types of industry; pharmaceuticals, oil, and agri-science. Yet, those are the three types of companies the luvvies love to hate.

Free trade, rule of law and secure property rights are a recipe for a better world.

Free trade, rule of law and secure property rights are a recipe for a better world.

Cheap energy and science help too!

Cheap energy and science help too!

To Energy, or not to Energy

Let me make this simple:

If, instead of supporting responsible local energy development, you choose to support undemocratic oil-producing regimes which export terrorism, have low environmental standards, kill gays and oppress women, then I choose not to support you.


Energy Exploration and Development in Australia

Australia’s economic stability depends on reliable supplies of cheap energy, mostly in the form of coal and oil. Members of remote communities would be the first to suffer if fuel became difficult to obtain, or if prices surged. For example, in my community of Kangaroo Island, everything depends on oil. Without oil there would be no ferry or planes to the island. There would be no fishing, no farming, no way for tourists to travel to or around the island, or on boat trips or safaris, no food or furniture transported to the island, no building, no maintenance of infrastructure. In other words, no way to live.

It is in the best interests of all Australians to support and encourage responsible local energy development. Even more so for those who live in remote locations, or in communities dependent on tourism, fishing or farming.
This short survey will help you to review your knowledge of energy development, and your interest in balancing energy needs and concern for the environment.

Question 1
By far the greatest proportion of oil spilled into the ocean, about 45%, is from natural seepage. The highest proportion of human caused oil spills, about 25% of the total, occurs as an accumulation of day to day losses, the oil change tipped into a drain, for example, and minor operational spills like Sea Shepherd’s 500 litre diesel spill near the Great Barrier Reef in 2012. Another 20% comes from major transportation spills. Only about 5% of the total occurs during exploration and development. One key way of reducing ocean oil spills is to reduce the total volume of oil transported over long distances. Would you rather:
a. Continue the present risk of spills from large volumes of oil transported over long distances?
b. Reduce the risk of spills by encouraging responsible local energy development?

Question 2
Most of our current oil supply comes from Middle Eastern states. Most of these states are dictatorships, or ruled by a small elite. Some of them, including Saudi Arabia and Iran, use oil revenues to support terrorist groups. Would you rather:
a. Continue the present system of supporting states which fund terrorism and support undemocratic regimes?
b. Build Australian employment and expertise by encouraging local energy development, and have energy producers pay royalties which help fund local hospitals, roads, schools and pensions?

One of twenty-three oil rigs operating in the Bass Strait.

One of twenty-three oil rigs operating in the Bass Strait.

Question 3
Australia has very high environmental and safety standards for any energy development. Coal mining in China, for example, results in over 1,000 deaths per year from accidents, and a similar number from mining related pulmonary diseases. Pollution from poorly regulated mines and wells in countries governed by dictators or highly centralised non-democratic governments continues to be a major problem. Would you rather:
a. Continue present support for energy sources with a high risk of accident and pollution due to poorly regulated exploitation and transport operations?
b. Reduce the risk of environmental damage, disease and accident by encouraging responsible local energy development?

Question 4
Scientists have expressed concern that constant high levels of artificial ocean noise – noise pollution – may interfere with the migratory patterns of marine species including turtles, whales and salmon. The noise of waves slapping against the sides of an empty tanker is at a similar volume to that of acoustic imaging, which allows energy developers to identify likely sites for further exploration, reducing the need for and impact of exploratory drilling. But acoustic imaging is carefully monitored and takes place in any one location for only a few days. The sound of freighters and tankers plying the oceans is constant. Would you rather:
a. Continue the present system of high levels of ocean noise pollution and risk to migratory marine species?
b. Reduce ocean noise by encouraging responsible local energy development?

Question 5
Many of the states which supply our current oil needs have very poor human rights records. In particular, immigrants, women and gays are frequently treated as chattels or with horrendous brutality. Some of these states would not survive without the income from oil supplied to Western countries. Would you rather:
a. Continue to support regimes which torture and oppress gays and minority groups?
b. Work for human rights and justice by encouraging responsible local energy development?

Terrifying New Data on Sea Level Rise

Terrifying to climate alarmists, that is.

Sea level has been rising for the last 20,000 years, since the start of the blessed global warming that brought us into the light, warmth and buzzing with life bio-diversity of the current inter-glacial period. The most rapid increases in sea level occurred between fifteen and eight thousand years ago. With minor fluctuations, the rate of sea level rise has been declining since then.

Sea level rise over the last 20,000 years

Sea level rise over the last 20,000 years

Despite a modest increase in global temperature over the last one hundred and fifty years, and a modest increase in atmospheric CO2 in the last seventy years, there has been no change in the rate of sea level rise.

Despite shrieks of terror from climate alarmists, there has been no change in the rate of sea level rise 1855 to the present.

Despite shrieks of terror from climate alarmists, there has been no change in the rate of sea level rise from 1855 to the present.

Socialism is as Socialism Does…

And what socialism does is kill people.

Whether it is National Socialism killing off the Jews to usher in the millenial kingdom, the ideal society, the 1,000 year reich, or Stalinist, Maoist, or Venuzuelan socialism killing off the kulaks or bourgoisie to achieve the same end, socialism kills.

Socialism fails because it does not understand human nature. Scientific materialism has a profoundly unscientific view of both nature and society. Because it does not reflect physical and human nature,  socialism cannot work without coercion. And coercion always means violence. The failures must be the fault of saboteurs. The saboteurs must be identified and destroyed.

It is an old joke, and a particularly gruesome one, that Stalin was just one purge away from achieving the perfect society.

Socialism and its cousin radical environmentalism are always just around the corner from achieving a perfect world. There’s just that one last group of people who stand in the way and must be removed to reach the final solution.

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