A huge gouge
Gouging the earth in another country. We’re doing it right here, in our Cayman Brac quarries, and our percentage of resources removed is infinitely more frightening than this.

We just get more efficient at destroying our earth and its bounty. We invent logging machines, gigantic draglines, factory ships, jumbo jets, earth-movers and trucks so tall it takes awhile for the operators to board — if we even employ operators anymore. Diggers for iron ore and bauxite, great ships and docks and hoists to carry this stuff here and there, vast dams and reservoirs to block wild rivers and turn turbines to generate juice to make aluminum. Euclid trucks with tires each lug of which is as big as a boy; rude explosions on the earth to grab aggregate from my small, limestone island and elsewhere, and deep in the earth in other countries to shatter underground rock, releasing ancient gas; phenomenal Erector sets to pick up pre-stressed concrete spans for bridges for mag-lev trains, whisking you along so you’ll never get a glimpse of an actual river with fisherfolk — all these ingenious inventions (let’s face it — they’re fascinating even if gross) using fuel and emitting CO2, unless powered by solar-or water-sourced electricity. Which reminds me: Which reflects more heat into our atmosphere, a forest-sized solar field or the forest it replaced? Don’t answer that. (It’s all too true. Forests have been razed for solar grids. Ugh!) And which one pollutes the earth more, the ridge-line of fantastically large windmills (ghastly sight) or the stand of alpine larch that once lived there and turned gold every October? The larch trees “had to go” for roads used to erect and maintain the oversized spinners — NO ENERGY IS FREE. (Nuclear, anyone?) Nor is transportation: take pipelines, which you might think are hidden, with their turbulent, liquid load— oops, there goes the permafrost. PLEASE, NEVER GIVE US “FREE” ENERGY — Look at the mess we’ve made with expensive energy!

Another oops — there goes the climate. I think we’re into the feedback loop. Everybody except a few throwbacks knows the world is in an existential crisis. And leaving it to our kids. What great adults we’re proving to be!

My father in the fifties and sixties once observed the granite hills of Cape Breton and said “If only those rocks contained iron or nickel,” but I replied, even then at age 15, “Pop, they are useful right now, just being there”.

Big bucket
Big bucket

So the bottom line is humans are the top predator and exploiter of earth and they prefer excess wealth (and permit excess population) to a simpler but richer life. A life with two kids, in a small town, with backyard and dahlias, or acacia and dry-land trees, a few goats in a town called Caprohio-in-the-trees, pop. 2000, and one hundred years from now still like 1950 but without the racial prejudice. But it ain’t gonna happen. They (we) prefer Singapore to Orillia, Disneyland and Busch Garden to canoes on Lettuce Lake (a river), Trump to Trudeau, not that the latter knows what he is doing either, as the livable world spirals downward. (It’s being propelled downward, actually, with old environmental protections reversed.)

a huge open-pit mine
Open pit gold mine in another country. It is a poverty-stricken country in spite of (because of?) huge mineral wealth
Huge dredging machine
Namba 6 Sip in the same country. My then clerk Mote give scale to this shot
Shallow open pit (limestone)
Closer to home. Limestone from here makes concrete for there: two islands screwed up at once

Don’t worry, the engineers will fix everything. The same people who gave us all the equipment listed above! No! You can’t build your way out of this mess. Nor bomb your way out, militarize your rocky outcrops nor weaponize space (good grief, it’s been announced); nor blast, bulldoze, bore, dynamite, extrude, plasticize, pour over rebar or pre-stressed cables; nor even design electric cars to get out of it. Inventions just won’t work. This world challenge needs less, not more. Cannot BUY our way out: Why do we admire the acquisitive bully who doubles his inheritance by means fair or foul … but look down on the humble, frugal man or couple living lightly on the earth?

We may be able to PLANT our way out, re-greening the earth *. Perhaps walk and bicycle our way out, or “neighborhood” our way out of this mess. You can love. Try love. Safely please.

“Global warming” is the correct term, but it doesn’t convey any sense of urgency. “Mass Self-immolation” would be better. You’ll know the world is taking it seriously when you see all the school kids in the world spending a half-day a week planting and tending NEW FORESTS … and learning the language, math, biological and sociological knowledge required to rescue a complete planet. Ours.

At 78 I’ll soon be outa here anyway (only 20 more years, haha). It’s getting too hot and besides, I have no yen to learn Mandarin or hide in a mountain cave until warming cooks us or nuclear winter finally cools down our big ball, spinning in space. To personalize these issues see the afterword here — it’s a table showing what we can do individually – since our leaders aren’t leading. You can score yourself if you wish. The writer has a way to go before being scored as “Good”.


* Speaking of re-greening or re-wilding the world, trying to restore it to a more natural state … It is popular nowadays among some misguided scientists to say there’s no such thing as the natural world, and never was. We’ve messed it up from the day we descended from the trees, sort of thing.

This is so unspeakably wrong. Such enviro-babble must be corrected. When I was born, the world was mostly natural, okay? There were huge, remote fastnesses in all the continents and particularly in “the new world”. I myself have entered trackless jungles and forests where I know no man has stood, nor woman. There’s a place WHERE I LIVE that meets this description — partly because humans didn’t settle my island until very recent history; partly because there was no aboriginal population. This world was natural. And better off for it. The basic premise for the Americas is — try to return the biggest portion to its pre-Columbian state of existence. The other parts of the world must figure out their own low-population nirvana. It’s just better for everything. And is essential to our health — physical, societal and spiritual.

Or if it’s right, we probably do it wrongly
based on the urgent criterion “Use Less Energy”

A/C (do you need it?)

your forebears didn’t; are you wimpish?

Air freight

Two words that don’t belong together

Air travel



It’s meat. The worst meat, ecologically




Are your kids learning “over the top” party culture?

Boat –your boat size and number



Packaged, processes cereals? Don’t be lazy

Car sharing


Car size, type and number



As in Haiti? (no trees)


Every Sunday

Civil defence



High energy to make it

Cruise trips

None? Once a lifetime?


Orange juice? Eat an orange


Try plain water: sugar (cane and beet) takes acres


If at all


Home for Christmas? Spring Break? See Thanksgiving




Try not to use contact poisons please. Or dismembermemt


Along with limited eating, the answer to good health

Family size


Flower arrangements

A posy of dandelions will suffice

Garage — single only?

Or none

Getting to and from work

Walk/bike/bus/car share?


Horrible word anyway. Stop it


Choose one sport


Keeping healthy cuts medical costs and NRG use


Don or doff a sweater

House size

And number!

Kitchen scraps

If at all. No leftovers




Why have a lawn?


OMG, some people drive many blocks for it


Certain sports consume too much NRG


Problem plagued; its time has passed

Packaged cereals

Switch to whole grains



Personal hygiene

See shampoo


Why? Petism is a syndrome, and it’s all about you

Pet food

We are stripping our lands and seas to feed “Muffy”
or “Dinkums”


Eliminate single-use

Public Holidays


Reading and writing


Shampoo, soaps

Palm oil is the destroyer of orangutans’ homes






For your needs? Or your entertainment


One local fruit may fill that void

Special health care

Costly in energy! Avoid by keeping healthy if you can


Schoolyard vs. international.
People brag to me of flying to 600 “away” games!


Consider end-use taxation


Does your whole family NEED to get together?
Is there no “too far away”?

Theme parks

Do we need them? Candidate areas for re-wilding


Budget your breaks — try local. Cut business and
needless travel



Vacation pursuits





Always the best exercise. It’s your right. Lobby for
safe walking


Highly energy consuming! Let’s ban it

War games

Only as a means to peace

White foods (five)

Avoid all of them. Cut them out!


From home, and other innovations


20181212 jwp

Comments are closed.