oBike, Where Art Thou

What does the oBike say about us?

Our city and inner suburb streets seem awash with oBikes. The concept sounds very progressive and timely, being the acceptance of the shared economy and concepts like active travel. Even the inclusion of a helmet with the bikes seems very thoughtful and convenient, learning the lessons that hamstrung the Melbourne Bike Share and our helmet laws.

To take advantage of the “idle capacity” of a bike when you need to get from point a to point b and not have to worry about taking it back to a station or having any duty of care for the bike sounds very convenient.

Too convenient it seems. One in every dozen or so I see seem to have already suffered vandalism (a completely unscientific estimation to which I will gladly correct if someone has data!). The vandalism ranges from the minor annoyance of busting off the mud guards, to twisting seats the wrong way, right through to full bending of the wheels and tossing into rivers.

 

But what is the consequence of the user damaging the oBike? How would the company or any concerned party (council, police, oBike service rep) be able to prove who did said damage? Doubtful the last person to ride the bike would dispose of it in the Yarra, for fear of losing their $69 deposit.

One wonders if these were designed for a market in which such behaviour is less prevalent? Our vandals may be purely opportunistic, drunk, otherwise undesirable characters that would just as soon trash a wheelie bin but now have a fully portable, unaccountable, unloved item to throw about.

If there is nobody there to secure it, nobody that seems to value it- why should people care about the conditions to which they are left?

Even those that have signed up to the scheme, the deposit is a modest amount for a user compared to buying a bike and all of its accessories- buy yet a valuable amount in aggregate for the company. As covered in this ABC article (http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-09-19/bike-share-schemes-economics-makes-sense-the-conversation/8957404), the oBike scheme could be a wonderful loss-leader in disguise but a valuable market data harvest and interest capture venture.

So the signed-up oBike rider gets their infrequent use of the bike, doubtless in an ever degrading condition across fleet of bikes, that which you would not want to ride very fast I would suggest (just in case!).

The company gets a range of highly disposable looking bikes out into the market to collect some customer data to sell to advertisers and a lump of cash to run away with when they decide that the cost of sustaining the maintenance and retrieval of bikes becomes too labour intensive.

I hope I am wrong, but the sight of these trashed and carelessly thrown about bikes around town is a sad reminder of how little people value things, that an object of freedom is now a care-free disposable item.

The price of a ride is $1.99 for 30 minutes. The time taken for someone in China or Taiwan to make the bike, the environmental cost of that material being made, discarded into the Yarra, pulled out, taken back to base to rebuild or recycle… probable makes the venture look really flippant and short sighted. But only if you factor in the whole of life cycle cost of the product, to which we generally don’t- to the future distain of our descendents.

The fact that when you are done you really can leave it anywhere you like, be that around a blind corner on the street, an alley way, in bike parking that owner-riders use, means that they are inviting people to disrespect them. The app/service encourages you to do the right thing… But really?? Where unregulated, many people just don’t.

The oBike feels like a good idea, with a society just not ready for it, or a system unable to deal with the concept. It is “someone else’s problem” that the bikes are broken, discarded, rusting in our lakes and rivers… an attitude that needs to change.

The Qantas we deserve?

Qantas is a microcosm of so many things wrong about our priorities and attitudes at the moment.

Big business bullying workers and threatening to off-shore their jobs if they don’t accept poor conditions. It bullies Governments with the same off-shoring threats if they introduce necessary changes like carbon taxes, yet demand protectionist market conditions and favourable access to energy and infrastructure in the same breath. Companies like Qantas and the big carbon emitters pay huge amounts of money to lobby groups to generate support for protection of their profits.

Profits all the same continue to rise for these companies despite dire warnings of extra taxes killing their competitiveness. Shareholders are told by the company leaders that business is strong and will survive external threats due to the extreme cleverness of their Board and Management Team. While the same time sending out dire messages to the press and to politicians via lobby groups that conditions are “uncertain” and changes to policy or taxes will kill their competitiveness.

Again, we have the greedy CEO rewarding himself with grotesque pay increases. A company with the desire to off-shore Australian jobs for cheaper asian labour. A $552 million full year profit, yet no money to pay its staff. Qantas’ excellent safety record is barely holding up with the many documented near-misses due to reduced standards at off-shore maintenance facilities. Despite this, the desire is clear for more off-shoring as a long-term plan to reduce costs! A business plan to cut deeper into cheaper markets and the busier routes with Jet Star and their ilk, rather than carving and improving a tactical niche with the established Qantas brand.

So hell bent on pulling out of Australia as a base for employment for its operations, Qantas CEO Alan Joyce is throwing away it’s only remaining competitive edge- its dedicated and motivated workforce and its loyal customer base. This is not to suggest that all overseas operations are dodgy, however conditions and staff wellbeing are closely linked to performance and safety, this was Qantas’ edge, now jeopardised by short-sighted profit taking agenda. Just like the home consumer wanting cheap and nasty goods from China rather than those made closer to home by people with proper working conditions, now our national airline wants to cheapen its own supply line and staffing costs.

The promise of greater efficiency and huge windfalls for governments from the proceeds of privatisation have shown yet again how short-sighted “listed companies” become. Qantas is now just another soulless entity bent only on making profits for shareholders, millions for its Board and Management Team and cutting every corner and every job they can find to extract another petty cent out of the public. The short-term mindset of the “shareholder interest” and opinion poll-driven media ask of our governments to sell once great companies like Qantas. Look where this had got us, how petty and petulant this company has become.

We must reflect on the standard of debate in the media and community and recent policy changes. We have mining companies are making sensational record profits and dont want to share that profit with the Australian tax payer through resource rent and carbon taxes. Gambling-reliant clubs don’t want to accept terms that would make problem gamblers take notice of their habit and change for the good of their families. Airlines complain about workforce demands and expect government policy to change so that they can further exploit or replace the workers.

An irresponsible and reckless Coalition in Opposition make deliberately misleading headway from ongoing fear campaigns on all of these matters, supported by a stupidly short-sighted sensationally media. The Coalition and their mouth-pieces in the media claim to be working in the interests of the people, yet plainly. as the exorbitant profits show- they are working exclusively for the 1% like Qantas CEO Alan Joyce.

To claim this is just a matter of tall-poppy syndrome is to deliberately distort the truth that the rich are pulling the wool over our eyes with their influence on policy and the media. So greedy in their desire that they will ground an entire airline as a knee-jerk reaction as a bullying tactic, inconveniencing thousands of travellers all across the world.

Joyce grounding all Qantas flights is a child’s temper tantrum and has all the dignity of an Alan Jones speech outside parliament house.

In this profit-now culture in Australia we must ask- is this the Qantas we deserve?

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The wrong target

Two years of Government for Labour and we have seen no progress on the most important issue of our civilisation. Elected on a mandate for real action on climate change, among other things, yet we have not made progress. Kevin Rudd looks around for someone to blame, but he need not look far. He just needs to find the nearest mirror.

We know he has his sights firmly set on keeping Government for as long as Howard did. He will use each and every issue to manoeuvre them into a political advantage for himself by either carefully wedging his opponents or by bribing the electorate with another billion-a-day handout, designed only to manage the day’s headline issue.

Rudd’s CPRS has been designed to be so abhorrent to the far left and the far right of the political spectrum that neither the Greens not he Coalition could support it. Not that they had a chance to negotiate, at least for nearly two years negotiation was off the table, it was “take it or leave it” for as long as it was politically necessary.

The government cut out all negotiations with the Coalition until the bitter end of Malcoml Turnbull’s tenure. This was completely orchestrated to steer Turnbull into a position of weakness within his divided party on the issue. Any press conference for two years with any Labour representative contained little explanation of the policy itself, no substance beyond merciless abusing of the opposition on every point they made.

Two years to explain the scheme to the public, two years to negotiate an effective scheme with either the Coalition or the Greens and the Independents in the senate. The Government chose only to negotiate with the Coalition in order to force them into a position that their fragmented base could not accept and would yet again plunge them into internal anarchy.

Rudd calls this mission accomplished, for it means that the opposition is again hurt, his job more secure, our planet more ah, rooted? The Government could have negotiated a scheme that would actually, reduce emissions by negotiating with the Greens and Independents in the Senate. Sure nutcase Fielding would vote no, however a mere handful of Coalition Senators crossing the floor (which did happen!) and we would have been on an effective scheme -it was possible!. It could have been the real deal, not the appalling deal that was chewed through between Wong and McFarlane in the dying days of Tunbull’s opposition.

But alas, Rudd instead chose to sacrifice two of the most pivotal years in our history for nothing but political games with the opposition parties, to the detriment of Australia’s environment and place in the civilized world. Fortunately China and the USA have made some progress over this time, maybe even enough to save the world.

Both China and the USA had for a long time been the favourite excuses for Rudd and others of similar lack of conviction to use for stalling, or apportioning blame for the lack of global agreement and progress on this issue. When Rudd could only see the opposition as his target, other leaders saw targets like… reducing emissions and creating new-tech “green” jobs.

Well, through a massive investment of political strategy in a CRPS policy of such utter disaster, Rudd has watched the rest of the world enter Copenhagen with progress made. Rudd only has the scalps of Nelson and Turnbull as his and Australia’s progress, unless we consider Abbott as an alternative PM as “progress”?

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What sort of Australia do we want?

When a country is at the crossroads in deciding its future path, policy makers should be putting this question to us: What sort of Australia do we want?

To frame it better, it might help to think of it as: How would we like to be seen when we retire? One way to measure this, in a qualified way would be to ask the young what they think of our life’s work, our choices, our legacy?

If you ask an elderly Australian this same question about their life, in most cases you will get some pretty impressive responses. Be it building huge projects, fighting wars, hardship and sacrifice- these themes are common and deserve praise.

What exactly would be impressive to our future citizens about what we are doing in this country now? Let us cut to the chase, Australia is barely more than a huge quarry. We dig dirt, chop down trees and send it to overseas, mostly to Asia. Then, using largely slave labour, they convert into houses and infrastructure for their use, for building unnecessary consumer goods to export and to fuel industrialisation (inseparably coupled with emissions growth).

Australia’s largest investments are all in extracting minerals, gasses and oils as fast as possible in fuelling the world’s unsustainable appetite. Simultaneously, ensuring our future citizens will not have access to these materials AND will have to deal with another 13 Million locals, hotter average temperatures, more bush fires, less water, less arable land for food production.

We are on the path that ensures the destruction of the Great Barrier Reef and the Murray-Darling basin, probably other key treasures that our grandchildren will see crumble before their eyes- and for what? our greed? We need to have good answers if we are committed to allowing it to happen…

Politicians justify our path as ensuring jobs, growth and prosperity. Hard to blame them when they only care about being re-elected and their coffers are filled by companies with investments in these big industries, which need government backing and shareholders to lie to.

Our leaders are programmed to deliver one-dimensional policy that is benchmarked only by the budget balance sheet and the polls. Our morale compass is ignored, our leaders claim it is not their role to provide that, it is up to our own “free, democratic choices” to determine our lives. Politicians believe they just need to defend our right to buy stuff (including education- no longer an entitlement) and have emergency services.

Our out-dated mantra is that growth is good- it is our only measure of success for western politicians. What are we? Unfunny Ferengi?

I would like to know when I am much older that I am not embarrassed to the core in what the young have to say about my life and my generation.

I do not believe it is a good enough response to say that I lived only to make my life more comfortable and buy more things or take more happy snaps to try and convince everyone else how good I am. I accept my views goes against current convention where we are expected to “live our lives to the fullest, in our own way, our own goals” and other libertarian themes.

Those themes are no longer justifiable when our footprint is so large, yet our overall mental, physical and psychological health so poor.

What Australia do we want? Not the one with 35 million of Kevin Rudd’s consumers… no thanks.

Response to The Australian’s endorsed article – Beware the greenies

http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,25667725-7583,00.html

To quote: “We don’t need to rein in the “human footprint” but rather stamp it even more indelibly on our planet, and in the future, on other planets too.” – Brendan O’Neill

Mr. O’Neill, you may be shocked to learn, just like Steve Fielding, that a human invention- science, has told us we have indeed overreached our grasp and are plunging the world to the point where we threaten our way of life. These same infallible, luminous beings called humans, who magically turn the world in a “place of abundance” have through our divine cleverness decided to think about what is happening around us and use our communities to pool our learning. Amazingly, we come to the conclusion that there is some connection between the consumption activities of billions of people and the shape of our world’s resources and climate.

Clever humans looked ahead for once, saw the earth isn’t flat and along the way, found that supplies are not limitless and greed and laziness (the cause of most emissions) have put us on our own path to well, hell. Little wonder the rest of the world finds Australian’s arrogant when we think we can be some sort of exception to the natural forces of the world and should be entitled to emit, “stamp our footprint” further as Brendan suggests.

Humanising our planet might sound like some devine entitlement and stewardship, but what are you hoping this leads to Brendan?

Do you mean Waterworld or Mad Max? What would you prefer?

Live for the moment sure, but govern for the future

Many clichés cover the subject of living for the moment, follow your dreams, you only live once, youth is wasted on the young and so on. All wonderfully motivational and can be a good reminder of our mortality, thus making sure we don’t procrastinate too much and do things we feel must be done before it is too late. We are inherently short-term thinking creatures, if something happens around you unsuspecting, you react initially in self-interest.

If something is announced by a government to spend more billions on a wasteful, short-term initiative, most will immediately wonder if and how it benefits or costs us. How does this effect my goals, my way of life? I need to do and see everything, I am special and need to feel I’m being protected as such and that my government empowers me to toil with the world as I see fit. I would like to examine what this sort of thinking means in the context of our legacy, our recorded legacy.

We are going to be the most highly documented century in history- while it could be argued all successive societies bring new technology an sophisticated means of recording it, none had such means for widely distributed and individually participated content as that which I am using as I type this tirade. The internet is now a mind-bogglingly huge record of our individual and collective thoughts and ambitions, our activities and achievements, our news- real and manufactured stories. Hopefully, it will be preserved for those in 2100 and beyond to open up, review and discuss just as do with a history book.

We need to be mindful that our way of life, our priorities, our debates and our work is being documented and distributed so widely that any retrospective view of our society will be highly accessible. What will they see? What will they think of it? It could be argued that it doesn’t matter, we are here to live for the now, it is the natural course of history to look back with scorn or amusement at past societies. But when a new generation faces the sort of legacy that we, the industrialised world leave in our wake, there will rightly be much to answer for. Will we just blame the government? probably.

Governments will tell us that they govern for the people, they make decisions to enhance and protect the quality of lives (usually they say our economy, but we assume humans are involved somehow). As governments feel their mandate is to protect our living standards they work tirelessly to do so only for the current generation of voters. Why wouldn’t they? What point is there in inflicting any pain, sort term or otherwise, on a current crop of voters, no matter how critical it may be to anyone 10, 20, 50 years from now?

Unless the positive effect (or absence of negative effect) of drastic action can be felt now, it must not be acted on. Where the change in policy or expenditure may effect profitability or affulence of the voters now or in the next 3 years, it must not be done unless they are guaranteed to see the benefits and thank the government at the next election. Why should a government take that risk?

Why should a politician alienate the interest groups of business, unions, their department, their electorate, their undeclared personal share portfolio or their future directorships? There is no incentive for a government, elected on short terms and funded by interest groups hell bent on maintaining the status quo, to take any brave action beyond the tokenistic PR or political wedge stunts. The federal governments ETS bill will become a case study on dirty politics played with an issue of vital importance.

I see no way around the issue of conflicted interest of any elected government of Australia, our cultural nuances mean that we are unable to take a long-term view in taking any sort of sacrifice now for the benefit of the future, even if it means our retirement age is played out in a quagmire of resource depletion, famine and chaotic weather.

I won’t pretend this is my idea, you can thank Mr. George Monbiot for this; we need to have some means of overseeing all of the policy and spending decisions to ensure they do not unduly burden future generations. The oversight group would have to ensure that in 10, 20, 50 and 100 years the decisinos can be justified against what we can project would be a reasonable state of affairs.

Some might say the Senate is meant to provide such checks and balances, except they are from the same crop of political parties, with the same biases and conflicts of interest that cloud decision making and render it largely an exercise in frustration and back-room dealings benefiting only marginal groups of society.

From what I can observe of the political decisions for the past 15 years in Australia, it seems that the best strategy to get re-elected is to follow this recipe:

  1. Sell assets to the private sector, give public assets to shareholders to top-up government coffers now, future profits go to those that manipulate the markets- but you will deliver much on election promises from a once-only sale
  2. Spend the proceeds of decades of public investment to benefit voters now on short-term election promises, baby-bonuses, hand outs, bail-outs of dead industries, duplicate gym buildings for schools scheduled to close in the next year etc.
  3. Allocate funding for a decade to come to initiatives to be spent over the next 2-3 years, ensuring that benefits are felt by the people that don’t have to fit the bill for them now, you will never be held to account as the cost is born by others and you’ll be out of office by then
  4. Be seen to be busy by taking rash spending decisions to stimulate the economy, you are not seen to be indecisive, you are responsive and people won’t think of you as reckless until it is too late to hurt you at the voting booth, maybe you’ll have bribed them with more one-off payments by then
  5. Never ever take a courageous step by investing the 100 billion or so needed in re-shaping the economy to a sustainable one, just try and make it look like you tried, create a scheme no-one likes, creates a false permit economy, insulate everyone from actually paying anything more for their high-emission lifestyles, exempt every industry that you already subsidise to make competitive on an international stage, then blame the opposition and the greens when it is voted down

We need more than that, therefore I propose to the Governor General, the Queen, the Pope, Ban, Ki-Moon, Barrack Obama or whoever can get rid of Australia’s abominable political dynamic, gets around to putting a governance panel that can ensure we don’t steal everything from the future to profit in the now.

Let’s start the veto-power controlling entity with broad terms of reference measuring any policy against effect in people in the future, a “Future Committee“. There you go, our saviour might be another committee- what have we come to…?

Our time is now

We face a number of challenges at present, some real and some perceived or exaggerated. Chief among those we hear most about are the credit crisis which, initiated by greed is now being seen as a reason to nick money from the future to convince people to keep being greedy. The most greedy act we can do is surely to deny others their entitlements by stealing it from their future and calling it something benign like “economic stimulus”.

Let us put things into perspective, what are the first world’s biggest challenges? I mention the first world as the problems started there and have their highest long-term impact as distinct from the under-developed world. A quick cross section of counties and issue counts reveals common threads:

  • Depression in urbanised societies, leading to abuse of alcohol, drugs, gambling or indeed abuse of each other
  • Anxiety caused by many factors, chief among these a bombardment of too many messages, positive and negative, and a disconnect from the natural world for prolonged periods
  • Obesity and sedation among the young, the middle aged, the growing majority of the population, leading to dubious quality of life
  • Education standards reducing for most and investment in public sector education dropping
  • Heath care facilities improving but only for those wealthy enough to buy it
  • Job insecurity as a result of the credit crisis, often opportunistic sackings by investor-oriented companies looking to use the crisis as an excuse for cutting excess staff
  • Infrastructure meltdown through congestion as a result of over-reliance on fossil-fuel driven urban planning and investment
  • Rate of consumption of raw materials and foodstuffs out-stripping supply creating food crisis for the poor and inflation in product prices
  • Collapse of ecosystems and predictable weather patterns that have been established for several millennia, as a result of human-induced global warming

In response to these issues governments of the world have spent trillions of dollars:

  • Propping up dead investment banks to reward gambling failures
  • Frantically appeasing big business and corrupt governments by refusing any protectionism and keeping globaised trade open by sending cheap goods thousands of kilometers (and billions of tonnes CO2) round and round, only to find the goods are also produced locally- but cost 5 cents per rationed more
  • Bailing out archaic motor companies that produce 3 tonne personal vehicles to move fat individual Americans from a home internet terminal to a work internet terminal, via a drive-through, then running over someone else’s child as they drop them off their own at school which is 20 meters down the road from home so that the children can have a “safe” arrival
  • Delay and water-down emissions reduction policies and infrastructure developments which would only employ people long into the future rather then employ them for the next year or so in high-carbon industries which failed to modernise and help only to perpetuate unhealthy lifesyles
  • Splashing out one-off payments to people with orders to go out and spend it IMMEDIATELY on retail goods made in another country to then stick on the shelf at home and occasionally admire
  • Slash interest rates to near-zero in the hopes of solving a credit-fueled crisis by having MORE debt and CHEAPER credit

Makes sense anyone?

Hope is not all lost, after all Mr. Obama has declared $115 billion for renewable energy in his economic stimulus package. Despite the over-hyped media frenzy around him, he has at last planted the seeds for a slowly more progressive America and through media saturation, slowly the world gets his message too.

Australia? Hey we have our stimulus package too. Go spend it now! Enjoy your future tax payments now- why wait!?

Somehow, this does not seem responsible… Is there nothing else more worthwhile we can plunge ourselves into collective debt for?

Great things have been achieved in far more difficult times. The British build an unprecedented floating harbor in the height of WWII, lugged it across the channel, connected it in northern France and had it up and running on the coast of an occupied country in a few days. It stood working for 18 months supplying goods through Normandy and was critical to ending the war that shaped the modern world.

The Sydney Harbor bridge was also built during war, through great political upheaval and the biggest depression of the modern times. Its construction plunged the state and the country into massive debt- but it employed masses of people, provides an key piece of infrastructure to a great city created an icon of national pride.

What these demonstrate is our capacity to adapt at times of difficulty and that we can and should take leaps of faith and turn the looming economic and environmental ruin of our current trajectory on its head. We can spend our taxes, our labor, our ingenuity and imagination on building meaningful things of practical, sustainable use and national pride.

Right now, we could power our economic recovery by building Solar panels in the outback, unobtrusive tidal power on our coast, hydro with reversible pump stations (to deliver base load at night from the surplus solar energy for when the solar is dormant at night), renewable-electrified rail network linking all population hubs in place of carbon-intensive and noisy flying.

We don’t need to reinvent anything, we can build this all now. We could employ many people, reconnect with the rural areas we build in, leave a worthwhile mark on our time and inspire people.

Or we can collectively spend those billions on one-off purchases down at the mall. Who will remember us for that?… I wonder.

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Limited choices

Survival is about trusting your instincts, tempered by experience and knowing limits and your abilities.

In Australia, for the majority of people, survival is not usually under immediate threat. Risk always present, accidents a possibility, external threats perceived but not real nor imminent. We live fantastically easy lives compared to most people in the world and most people throughout time. We plan to hold onto our borrowed time no matter what it means down the line.

Most people seem content to gloss over the climate change problem and tell everyone how good their weekend was, what they plan to cook that night, or discuss how Brad & Angelina’s relationship is going. While all very important to our own needs & intranets, at a time when pivotal decisions are upon us and consequences so great, it is important not to live in denial. It is not someone else’s fault, our actions will be judged.

Ignorance might be bliss. But unless the world does better than Australia did today with a meaningless 5% target- then children born today will know very little bliss. What give us the right to deny them the things we take for granted.

Assuming the rest of the world adopts a similarly short-sighted posture on targets then we’ve committed ourselves to runaway climate change.

Where does this leave us as individuals with a desire to survive?

Two choices only. One- Lobby hard & relentlessly for change against the selfish instincts that reign in a fearful culture. Or Two- Prepare for the inevitable frenzy & find somewhere that can support yourself & your loved ones and be self-sufficient and unteathered to the world soon to collapse in on its own greed.

The Incas, The Summarians, The Mayans, The Romans… Write the next fallen chapter, the First World of the 21st century.

Easy targets

Greed makes us do strange things. A so-called global credit crisis and associated stock market crash has made us seek to point the finger at someone. Anyone. Anyone except for ourselves.

CEOs of big companies certainly do pocket attractive salaries, these usually mask the real value of their earnings which are obscured in a deliberately elaborate series of calculations to hide the real value. Base salary is usually peanuts stacked up against other incentives.

It is also true that they do not loose out on much when the company fails to do well, or completely collapses. CEOs never loose money when the company or they themselves under-perform, they can only earn slightly less than the maximum possible, never will they actually feel the pinch. Departure packages are often insanely generous, albeit legal and gross in hindsight-so why exactly do shareholders allow companies to hire these people on these stupid contacts?

Which brings me to the main point. Aren’t these CEOs and other Executives rather obvious and easy targets for us to complain about? Big salaries, packages, travel, company-funded entertainment and no purpose for being other than to generate profit for the shareholders.

Take a fictitious bank for example. The oft-criticised companies that charge excessive fees for their accounts, interest rate above the reserve values, quick to pass on increases, slow to trim cuts in rates. Quick to follow up when you owe them, slow to process things when they owe you. You hate them, but when you are a shareholder- you asked for it, you in fact demanded it of them to rip you off.

Shareholders demand growth, dividends, transparency (on occasion) and a board that will fight in their interests to extract the maximum returns in the fastest possible time cutting as many corners that they can. This insatiable desire for a growth momentum empowers boards to make decisions “in the interests of shareholders” and can rationalise anything in their name.

Safety, health, environment, ethics, customers, all are secondary compared to an increasing trajectory of profits. Shareholder give the board an excuse to do anything at all to grow the company and have their puppet CEO sing and dance for the media and all under the guise of acting in shareholders interest.

So, whilst the CEO battles through all those difficult conversations with his tax accountant on how he can avoid paying any tax- can we really blame the CEOs when they get these high salaries to fight on your behalf?

Shouting at executives as being undeserving of their high salaries is little more than professional jealousy and a cop-out for those among that either don’t understand their mission statement or would prefer to hide behind the same excuse that the board uses- the shareholders.

Investors greed has driven the crisis we now find. So we bail the companies out to the tune of may billions and indeed trillions across the world. Effectively a wealth transferral from the tax payer (the many) to the shareholders (the wealthy few).

We are a bunch of suckers for bailing them out. In 5 years time they will laugh at us as they profit from our panic and bail them out for their incompetency.

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Economy irrelevant

Call it simplistic, but there simply is no economy without the environment. Blaming others for our own inaction is not the work of a mature mind. Setting business, lifestyle or jobs first ahead of the climate is not an option. Short term economic gains cannot be rationalised against long term viability of agriculture, water and known ocean borders.

Any person with a view to the survival of the world as we know it must embrace change. I for one choose to have no car, travel in a car very rarely and instead walk, cycle or take public transport everywhere and have become vegetarian to reduce my carbon footprint.

If I get cold I put on a jumper, I jump on the spot to warm up (try it!). If I get hot I take myself to a cool spot or wear less clothing. I don’t turn on heating or cooling unless it is sub zero or above 40 degrees- and you know what people can survive a few hours in sub-optimal temperatures. If I can survive on a low-meat, low-diary lifestyle, why can’t all adults?

I would make only one exception- pensioners and the disabled should be able to have greater carbon credit and other transport allowances. The rest of us need a wake up call. If we are fat, it is because we are lazy, we simply live a sedative life.

If the climate is under threat then join the dots and take out the bad things, plan trees to allow the planet to repair itself. Deep down people know when what they are doing is to excess and they feel bad for it, the thing is to never dismiss it and become apathetic.

Look to other countries for blame only if you wish to make the lives of your grandchildren akin to nomadic refugees. This is not a joke. Our excuses for inaction however most certainly are a joke.