Monbiot on UN report and the BBC

31 10 2007

Never one to hold back, the British author and intellectual discusses the latest UN environment report and decries BBC self-censorship.

Buried on page 148, I found this statement. “If present trends continue, 1.8 billion people will be living in countries or regions with absolute water scarcity by 2025, and two thirds of the world population could be subject to water stress.” Wastage and deforestation are partly to blame, but the biggest cause of the coming droughts is climate change. Rainfall will decline most in the places in greatest need of water. So how, unless we engineer a sudden decline in carbon emissions, is the world to be fed? How, in many countries, will we prevent the social collapse that failure will cause?

and later,

Who will persuade us to act? However strong the opposition parties’ policies appear to be, they cannot be sustained unless the voters move behind them. We won’t be prompted by the media. The BBC drops Planet Relief for fear of breaching its impartiality guidelines: heaven forbid that it should come out against mass death. But it broadcasts a programme – Top Gear – that puts a match to its guidelines every week, and now looks about as pertinent as the Black and White Minstrel Show. The schedules are crammed with shows urging us to travel further, drive faster, build bigger, buy more, yet none of them are deemed to offend the rules, which really means that they don’t offend the interests of business or the pampered sensibilities of the Aga class. The media, driven by fear and advertising, is hopelessly biased towards the consumer economy and against the biosphere.

Read the whole article here.

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8 responses

2 11 2007
Ruth

Hiya Verdurous,
Have you been sending any videos to SMH’s blog “All Men are Liars”? If yes, nice work. If no, a very nicely argued piece – have a look at video number three.
Ruth

2 11 2007
Verdurous

G’day Ruth,

As soon as my download limit clicks over (7th Nov) I’ll take a look. Paying 30c/megabyte now I’m over the cap – ouch! One of remote living’s nice surprises. Keen to have a peek though. Good to hear from you.

2 11 2007
Aseem Naphade

hello!, you had given me an idea on John’s blog, thank you!!

7 11 2007
Verdurous

Ruth,

Wow, he’s a good communicator. The argument is one that I’ve thought of but not seen put into simple terms like that. Critics will say – “oh but you can use that argument for any environmental action at all, no matter how unlikely”. This misses the fact that anthropogenic climate change is a near certainty, and that action is likely to be far less expensive than we have previously estimated. Part of the reason for this is that economists believe that the economy is at or near an “equilibrium” and any change comes at a cost. Modern critics of neoliberal economics argue that the economy operates far from equilibrium and oligopolies and other factors are responsible for large scale inefficiencies. The net result is that much of the change will SAVE us money. Spread the word!! I can sense an activist in you Ruth!!

8 11 2007
Magne Karlsen

http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/aha/thesunalwaysshinesontv.html

“Believe me. The sun always shines on T.V.”

– a-ha

8 11 2007
Verdurous

Thanks for those lyrics Magne. Maybe I should watch more TV!

8 11 2007
Magne Karlsen

http://trinifar.wordpress.com/2007/03/04/the-cia-saving-the-world/

From Response #2: “On the one hand we recognise an increasing flow of information that may potentially provide us with more knowledge about the world around us. On the other hand we also identify a growing information overload causing confusion and disorientation and an increasing tendency on misuse of information and information channels, obscuring the premises of the public and private decision-making and increasing to public ignorance.”

– The Club of Rome. 2004

15 11 2007
Magne Karlsen

http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/bobdylan/tvtalkingsong.html

“It’s all been designed he said to make you loose your mind. And when you go back to find it there’s nothing there to find. Every time you look at it your situations worse. If you feel it grabbing out for you send for the nurse.

– Bob Dylan

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