No pain: No gain!

The truth is always our friend.

The last couple of weeks of Posts seem to have been rather dominated by the risks to the planet’s biosphere from the highly probable actions of mankind.  I feel a little uncomfortable about this as Learning from Dogs is not a single issue Blog.  Well not in the sense of a tightly defined issue.  But in another sense, it is about the issue of integrity; about raising the values of truth and openness so that it’s clear how we are to move forward as a species and pass through these ‘interesting times’ with hope and confidence.

Dogs are such pure creatures, as I try and explain in the Dogs and Integrity sidelink.  As I wrote in the Vision,

  • Our children require a world that understands the importance of faith, integrity and honesty
  • Learning from Dogs will serve as a reminder of the values of life and the power of unconditional love – as so many, many dogs prove each and every day
  • Constantly trying to get to the truth …
  • The power of greater self-awareness and faith …

So that’s the issue!

If we don’t embrace the truth of what is happening to our planet, then we can’t embrace change.

With thanks to the Yale Forum on Climate Change for promoting this video.

16 thoughts on “No pain: No gain!

  1. I do hope you are not putting off any readers, Paul, as the wide-ranging nature of the posts on this blog is undoubtedly one of the reasons for its popularity. Therefore, I commend you for your bravery and intellectual honesty in pursuing this particular issue (i.e. the refusal of many people to admit that humans are responsible for the majority of the climate disruption we are now witnessing).

    I recently tried to watch the video of the August 1 (2012) hearings of the U.S. Senate Committee on the Environment and Public Works but, for me, the volume was too low. Fortunately, the same web page has links to the prepared text of both the opening statements of Senator Boxer and Senator Inhoffe; as well as to PDFs of the written testimony from all six Witnesses.

    Reading these has left me feeling very disillusioned and disturbed because, just as they did in that hot summer of 1988, truth and integrity seem to have become lost in a partisan farce of political posturising:
    — Before listening to any witnesses, Boxer and Inhoffe make two completely mutually-contradictory statements (of their views on climate change) containing numerous conflicting truth-claims.
    — Both Democrats and Republicans call Witnesses that will tell them what they want to hear.
    — Witnesses are cross examined by Senators from both parties but no-one changes their opinion.
    — No prejudices are challenged or dislodged; and truth remains in the eye of the beholder.

    However, given the completely opposite views stated, some of the Witnesses must be wrong. Furthermore, truth is not whatever you want it to be; it is what it is and… If we cannot discern what it is, then we should act according to the balance of probability; not according to our prejudice. Therefore, with regard to the evidence presented in Panel 1 of these Hearings (PhDs Christopher Field, John Christy, and James McCarthy), the choice is as follows:
    — John Christy is probably right and everything the majority of climate scientists tell us is wrong.
    — The majority of climate scientists are probably right and everything Christy says is wrong.
    If you need help deciding which of these is most likely, I think the Skeptical Science website may be able to help you:

    If the system is like it is in the UK, the Committee will have zero chance of influencing policy unless it issues a single non-partisan Report. In this case, that is clearly not going to happen. So, the question remains, what is and was the point of these Hearings? If they are simply staged for the TV cameras, does this have any effect other than eroding public confidence in the political process of government?


    1. Martin, your long and insightful reply to my mind misses a key point. That is that any expectation that change will be driven by our political leaders is crazy. It strikes me that politicians of all ‘democratic’ Nations respond to their perceived opinions of the people and very, very rarely are opinion makers. Politicians want to be liked! They feed on making themselves likeable to whatever group they hope will get them into power.

      I am convinced that until the peoples’ overwhelming demands are for change, change that pulls us back from the ever-approaching environmental crisis, then we will have no relevant political involvement.

      Ergo, as I recently wrote on the One in a Billion blog, “Any successful attempt at reversing and correcting the perilous journey humanity is on has to focus on the nature of change, how humans change, why the change required in this case is psychologically complex, and how the reward feedback process has to work. In my opinion these are the core issues to be tackled.

      That was the motivation behind my recent LfD post, Changing the person: Me.


      1. Yes. Thanks for that. I did rather wake-up with a bee in my bonnet and have since used the text of my previous comment as the basis for an email. An email, that is, sent to Lord Monckton (SPPI), Rev Philip Foster (Repeal the Act) and Dr Benny Pieser (GWPF), appealing for them to be reasonable and – admitting we are all equally prone to being prejudiced – suspend their disbelief long enough to determine what is the most-likely explanation and the most-sensible course of action. I could not have tried harder to be more polite and courteous; and pleaded with them to respond in like manner…


  2. Co-incidentally, Mark Mardell, BBC North America Editor, published a news item around the time that this Post was released that underlines in spades the situation we could all be facing as a result of the unprecedented temperatures, that have been experienced this year, together with the lack of rainfall.

    Mark’s article is called US crops tell story of future world food prices and should be read by every person who is uncertain as to what we are doing to the planet.


    1. Thanks for providing the link to this piece by Mark Mardell. Despite the conversation we have just had Paul, about being positive, I could not help but post the following comment on the BBC site.
      “The governor of the Bank of England may be telling us to have patience, and other BBC correspondents may be telling us inflation has come down because commodity prices have come down but, where are they going next…? The Arab Spring of 2011 was caused by the failure of Russian harvests in 2010… So what I wonder is going to happen next year?”

      Also, although I can’t now find the blog post with shocking photo I saw before but, I was recently horrified to hear about the 40,000 sturgeon killed as a result of water reaching 97oF in Nebraska – how much more of this are we going to hear about…?

      This is another example of non-linearity in nature, or tipping points if you prefer, water goes over a certain temperature (or acidity) and suddenly lots of things die… This is exactly the sort of thing that happens when people listen to voices telling there is no cause for alarm…


      1. Martin, I agree totally with you that there are some very disturbing occurrences now happening on this planet, and many more ‘locked’ in. But wringing our hands and carrying on more or less as normal has to cease. Better that each one of us says ‘enough is enough’ and reaches out to embrace a new way of living. This can only happen with positive and inspirational leadership – know anyone that could provide that? 😉


      2. You mean, apart from Bill McKibbin and Rob Hopkins, clearly…!

        That reminds me, will Transition Town Payson outlive your emigration from it?


      3. To be honest I don’t see the likes of McKibben, Hopkins, Hansen offering inspirational leadership. Yes, they are doing a fabulous job of getting to the truth of what we are doing to the planet.

        And Transition Town Payson is now an official Transition US initiative so the answer to your question is a firm ‘yes’!


  3. This is what I most enjoy about your blog Paul, the diversity. As I mentioned a year ago when you first introduced me to your blog, I so enjoyed the many subjects you touched on, a world of knowledge at my fingertips. I thanked you then and I thank you again. I find your blog unique, informative and always interrelated to LFD. All your issues lead back to integrity and the unconditional love and selflessness for our mother earth and fellow human beings.

    Unfortunately, the majority of our politicians only see what major corporations will do for their next election without consequence to our environment. As you so stated, “They feed on making themselves likeable to whatever group they hope will get them into power.” An extremely sad state of affairs; and I agree, I don’t see it changing for the better. Therefore, blogs such as yours Paul are crucial to keeping the lines of communication open, we are fortunate to have people such as yourself and your colleagues who care sufficiently to take the time to keep us informed on these major and most pressing topics.


    1. Merci, what a beautiful compliment you pay to me. But really you pay a compliment to all those that read this Blog and follow the new Posts as without them I would have lost heart a long time ago. Thank you, Paul


  4. I beg to disagree respectfully with Per. The eco-nomy has NOTHING to do with risk taking. Nothing. It’s all about the house (eco) and managing it (nomos). That’s it. The philosopher-general-horse breeder Xenophon invented the term. Philosophers defined it, and the fact some people who are paid to present themselves as economists have forgotten the definition, does not make it any less so.

    The casino should be removed from the bridge steering the planet. And in particular the casino of financial derivatives.


    1. Maybe in the broader, historical meaning of the word ‘economy’ your correction to Per’s comment is correct. But reading Per’s latest posting on his own Blog one might assume that Per had the banks in mind. If so, then retail banks, as with individual shareholders, are a vital source of venture capital without which many great entrepreneurial ideas would have withered on the vine. So in this context risking capital is a fundamental aspect of a capitalist economy.

      But the derivatives scandal has nothing to do with risk, a healthy economy or any aspect of an open and honest society. That scandal is all about greed, corruption and power.


      1. Well, OK, at this point experience teaches that “one might assume” only the worst from bankers. Carefully RESTRICTING “risk” to the REAL economy ought to be a law. I need to find Per’s blog (I used to have it).


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