No signs of intelligent life!

Sometimes one just has to scratch one’s head and wonder about life!

I can’t recall when and where I first heard the muse as to why Planet Earth has not been visited by aliens, but I recall the answer: “Because alien passers-by have not found any signs of intelligent life!

The reason that this comes to mind is that the damage that we are doing to our planet, nay to life on our planet, if we don’t embrace the reality of climate change is truly ‘gob-smacking’!

The evidence for this statement is over-powering.  Just last Friday, I republished a recent essay from Tom Engelhardt under the title of ‘The more it changes, the more it’s the same thing.”  Tom’s essay focused on the lack of any change that came out of the recent Presidential election.  That essay closed, thus:

But stop waiting for change, “big” or otherwise, to come from Washington.  It won’t.  Don’t misunderstand me: as the residents of the Midwestern drought zone and the Jersey shore now know all too well, change is coming, like it or not.  If, however, you want this country to be something other than its instigator and its victim, if you want the U.S. to engage a world of danger (and also of opportunity), you’d better call yourself and your friends and neighbors to the colors.  Don’t wait for a Washington focused on its own well-being in 2014 or 2016.  Mobilize yourself.  It’s time to occupy this country before it’s blown away in a storm.

An inciteful comment from reader Jules was this:

“Don’t count on anyone doing the obvious: launching the sort of Apollo-style R&D program that once got us to the moon and might speed the U.S. and the planet toward an alternative energy economy, or investing real money in the sort of mitigation projects for the new weather paradigm that might prevent a coastal city like New York — or even Washington – from turning into an uninhabitable disaster zone in some not so distant future.”

A pity. Americans can do some things very well, the kind of stuff that merits some of the hyperbole of being the greatest nation, the ability to mobilise a nation and lead the world being one of them. We need heroes maybe it’s time for you lot to don that cape and be one.

Americans have such a potential for positive change – I just can’t imagine why this Nation isn’t leading the world to a more Earth-friendly environment.

This then came into my ‘in-box’ on Friday: Could NDAA be the Death of Biofuels in America?  The article opened thus:

The US military is one of the most important developers of new technologies leading them to a point where they can be released onto the market for public and private use. Currently the Department of Defense, led by the Navy, is attempting to reduce its dependence on oil by as much as 50% by 2020, by producing US-made biofuels.

and the author concluded:

Nicole Lederer, the co-founder of E2, despaired that, “the military often leads major economic transitions in our country. Yet right now in Washington, some shortsighted lawmakers are poised to block a potentially major transformation of our national energy supply – and also hold back the significant economic growth and job gains that would come with it.”

Russ Teal, founder of the biorefinery builder Biodico, warned that, “the military is the biggest driver of the biofuels industry right now. If Congress stops the military from doing what the military knows is best, Congress also could threaten the growth of the Made-in-America biofuels industry.”

By. Joao Peixe of

Then more or less the same time as I read the piece above, in came the latest from, an essay by Naomi Klein.

Naomi Klein: Do The Math, The Fossil Fuel Industry Is Destroying Our Future

Naomi Klein was out in the shattered neighbourhood of Rockaway Park Queens last weekend, participating in the Occupy relief efforts there. In this interview she underscores the importance of both increasing local resilience as a response to our changing climate and addressing the fossil fuel industry’s business model directly. As’s Do The Math campaign makes clear, the fossil fuel industry’s business plan will destroy the planet. Bill McKibben reminded the “Do The Math”audience in Seattle this month that the global warming math is quite simple: we can burn 565 more gigatons of carbon dioxide and stay below 2 degrees of warming. Anything more than that risks catastrophe for life on earth. The only problem? Fossil fuel corporations now have 2,795 gigatons in their reserves, 5Xs the safe amount. And they are planning to burn it all, unless we rise up & stop them.

So is there any hope?  So easy to think not.  But in terms of hope the answer is “Yes, yes and yes!”  Because the decent peoples of the world are way ahead of their politicians.  Take the transition movement.  I used to live in the village of Harberton, just 3 miles from the town of Totnes, Devon, in the South-West of England.

Totnes High Street

Totnes was the site of the world’s first transition movement: Transition Town Totnes.  But as the Transition US website reveals, there are now:

126 official US initiatives
437 official initiatives worldwide
33 US states
34 countries
13 languages

One of the latest has just been formed in the city where Jean and I were living until just a few weeks ago, namely Payson, Arizona.  Here’s a reflection from John Hurlburt in Payson, one of a group of committed citizens who, like so many millions of others around the world, just can’t wait for governments to ‘lead’ and was one of the founding members of Transition Town Payson.

Keep it Simple

We share a living planet as a living species. Corporate finance fuels political hate and denial. The divisiveness of global and national politics reflects an unprecedented escalating global crisis. We live in a world of constant sorrow.

Our stubborn ignorance is the greatest threat to the objectives of peace and well-being. We have become so entrenched in the ‘ruts’ of our conditioned opinions that any semblance of balanced responsibility is immediately numbed by the deliberate stupidity of well-paid spin-doctors across a global electronic media.

The recovery process is truly simple. Surrender to the scientific facts of our inclusive reality, clean house, and have compassion for each other.  The good news is that a basic natural instinct of all life forms is to survive through adaptation.

John Hurlburt

So, on reflection, I was wrong to open with the degree of irony in my ‘voice’ that I had.  This is now a world of wonderful and amazing communication channels, many of them directly ‘person to person’.  The views of the world’s peoples are now so much louder than in previous times.  I am confident that right, rather than might, will prevail.

2 thoughts on “No signs of intelligent life!

  1. Well, if this wasn’t just too insightful! As I’ve been saying since I started reading your blog Paul, it’s been a great learning experience on so many levels! Thank you! Because I live in Payson I went to the “Transition in Payson” site and learned so much; I will make every effort to attend the meeting scheduled for 12.11.12. Wishing you and Jean a beautiful and blessed Thanksgiving, not to mentioned tons of happiness in your new home.


    1. Merci, you are too kind to this crinkly blogger! And thank you for your generous thoughts – amply reciprocated by Jeannie and me. Give us a call soon, Paul


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