Certain species revert to a non-procreative default position when they sense that their collective life is under threat. But not so with human beings. Against all economic and environmental odds, we seem to be doing the reverse. If statistics are taken at face value we are, by dint of procreation alone, hurtling towards our own extinction.
But this is to oversimplify. China outstrips the US as the world’s fastest growing population (despite its one child policy of 1980), but it could legitimately ‘off load’ a sizeable amount of its carbon footprint on the US which, though growing a little more slowly than China in terms of population, is the main consumer of the goods that China manufactures. It will be interesting to see whether a hidden environmental benefit emerges from increased trade tariffs resulting from the current trade wars between China and the US. Added to this, in terms of the average life span of the individual, the Center for Biological Diversity reports that recent research findings indicate that each child born in the US today will, in his or her lifetime, add 9,441 metric tons of carbon dioxide to the carbon legacy of their parents. These two sets of statistics alone suggest that consumption and economic growth pose as great a threat to the planet’s survival as does the mere fact of more people being born.
Britain votes again today, for Members of the European Parliament – to the dismay of people who hoped to have left the EU by now.
This post is mainly about identity and British exceptionalism. Is being British a way of being European, or is it different? How do we identify ourselves? Do we identify ourselves in helpful or harmful ways? I conclude with a reflection from a liberal Christian perspective.
The British Government has produced a standard response to opponents of fracking. It takes the form of ten pairs of ‘myths’ and ‘facts’. You can read them here. Friends of the Earth has produced a rebuttal.
I have written on fracking before. This post looks at how the rhetorical use of words like ‘myth’ and ‘fact’ is used to suppress major questions of priorities and divert attention to minor details. I focus on this particular document because it is a clear example of an all-too-common tendency in our superficial society. We spend our time tightening up a few nuts and bolts when we should be asking whether we bought the wrong machine.
Local elections today, and in a few weeks we are, after all, to elect members of the European Parliament. Is this anti-democratic, in view of the 2016 referendum, or is it very democratic as it uses a better voting system than the UK’s biased First Past the Post system?
And we may yet get a second referendum on membership of the EU. Would that be a betrayal of the clearly expressed will of the people, or an opportunity for the people to express their will now that we know more about it? Does the welter of conflicting claims about what is, or is not, fair reveal an underlying awareness that our democracy isn’t democratic? Are there better ways for decisions to be made?