“Oh my ears and whiskers, how late it’s getting”

The quote that forms the title of this article is from Alice in Wonderland and is spoken by the Rabbit.

It's getting late!

At first, that quote seems quite mundane. However, most find ‘Alice’ quotes are rich in truisms and life’s great philosophies.  How about this?

Alice: “It would be so nice if something made sense for a change.”

So what drew me to these two illustrations from Lewis Carroll’s magical pen?  Just this sample of a few days of stuff coming into my email box!

1. Our environment.

From a recent piece on the BBC website.

Ice loss from Antarctica and Greenland has accelerated over the last 20 years, research shows, and will soon become the biggest driver of sea level rise.

From satellite data and climate models, scientists calculate that the two polar ice sheets are losing enough ice to raise sea levels by 1.3mm each year.

Overall, sea levels are rising by about 3mm (0.12 inches) per year.

2. Running on Oil

A recent email in my in-box from John Maudlin was all about Japan and oil.  But there were some stark messages about our use of oil across the planet.  Try this:

There are multiple sources for many of the metals Japan imports, so that if supplies stop flowing from one place it can get them from other places. The geography of oil is more limited. In order to access the amount of oil Japan needs, the only place to get it is the Persian Gulf. There are other places to get some of what Japan needs, but it cannot do without the Persian Gulf for its oil.

This past week, we saw that this was a potentially vulnerable source. The unrest that swept the western littoral of the Arabian Peninsula and the ongoing tension between the Saudis and Iranians, as well as the tension between Iran and the United States, raised the possibility of disruptions. The geography of the Persian Gulf is extraordinary. It is a narrow body of water opening into a narrow channel through the Strait of Hormuz. Any diminution of the flow from any source in the region, let alone the complete closure of the Strait of Hormuz, would have profound implications for the global economy. [My italics.]

3. Energy rethink

From Rob Dietz of CASSE, Centre for the Advancement of the Steady State Economy.

As if we really required more prompting, the unfolding nuclear accidents in Japan are confirming what we must do.  When a disaster strikes, the most urgent response is to help those who are suffering, prevent further calamities, and clean up the messes—it’s a time to get busy.  But the next critical step is to figure out what we might do differently—it’s a time to take a step back and contemplate how we got where we are and where we might go from here.  With each passing day, it is becoming increasingly clear that we need to rethink where and how we get our energy supplies.

And later in this article:

New York Times article provides an astonishing description of what happened at the Fukushima nuclear power plant where the backup generators failed to cool the overheating reactor:

The central problem arises from a series of failures that began after the tsunami. It easily overcame the sea walls surrounding the Fukushima plant. It swamped the diesel generators, which were placed in a low-lying area, apparently because of misplaced confidence that the sea walls would protect them.

The key phrase in that description is “misplaced confidence.”  Misplaced confidence sums up how we got to this point in history when it comes to selecting sources of energy to power our ever-expanding economy.  Regardless of what smooth-talking P.R. professionals say, a nuclear power facility has been the site of a serious accident about every 10 years: witness Three Mile Island in the U.S. in 1979, Chernobyl in Ukraine in 1986, Tokaimura in Japan in 1999, and now Fukushima in 2011.  “Safe nuclear power” is an offensive oxymoron.

Misplaced confidence also describes our failure to take big strides on phasing out fossil fuels.  We have misplaced confidence that we’ll find a technological solution to climate destabilization, that the market will take care of the problem, and that Mother Nature will continue to warehouse the emissions from our economy with no consequences.

Maybe millions of us should be adopting the same query as Alice; It would be so nice if something made sense for a change.”  Because continuing as we are without understanding the urgent need to make ‘sense’, to take heed, of the living, conscious planet that is our only home is utter nonsense!

Back to Mr Rabbit, “Oh my ears and whiskers, how late it’s getting!

Yes, Mr Rabbit, how late it’s getting!

2 thoughts on ““Oh my ears and whiskers, how late it’s getting”

  1. Some say that tsunami walls helped, others, more astute, say that they hurt. They created misplaced confidence. A 40 meter wave (highest wave!) was not going to be stopped by a 10 meter wall (highest wall!).

    At Fukushima the wave was apparently 14 meters, the wall, 5.5 meters. The back-ups to the back-ups were in… Florida (out of tsunami range!).


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