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Firewood will save the West Our dysfunctional society must return to the hearth

"There’s a lot of demand this year." Robert Nemeti/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images.

"There’s a lot of demand this year." Robert Nemeti/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images.


December 26, 2022   10 mins

I was chatting to the log man as we unloaded chunks of dried beech into my driveway from his trailer. Usually he brings me ash, but ash is becoming harder to find now that ash dieback disease, imported into Ireland from Europe, is killing many of the nation’s trees. Our little home plantation, laid down five or six years ago, is not yet mature enough to keep us going for the whole winter, and we need help to make up the shortfall. So, beech it is this year.

“Not easy to get it now though,” he said to me, as we threw the logs into the growing pile. “And there’s a lot of demand this year. Everyone’s worried about the winter.” Given the likely lack of Russian gas across Europe, people are getting nervous and stockpiling heating fuel before autumn. We’ve been stocking up on winter logs this way for years. But the log man knows that his days of delivering little loads of cut timber to households like ours are probably numbered.

“I’ll just keep going till they tell me to stop,” he said. “It’ll happen soon enough.”

The Irish government is currently campaigning against households which burn turf or wood, the former on the grounds of CO2 emissions, and the latter on the grounds of air quality. As ever, the campaign is driven from Dublin, and mostly takes Dublin sensibilities into account. Rural households in Ireland have been burning turf and wood forever, with little significant impact on “air quality” — or at least, no impact comparable to that which Ireland’s “Celtic Tiger” modernisation has had. Suddenly, though, the media is full of scientists armed with studies demonstrating how getting a fire going in your cottage in winter will lead to cancer and lung disease on a widespread scale.

This new tilt against household fireplaces is not just an Irish phenomenon: it is suddenly popping up everywhere. Woodstoves are, curiously, becoming the number one air pollution villain. Never mind mass car use, accelerating air travel or industrial pollution. Never mind the emissions caused by the massive increase in Internet server farms, which within just a few years could be using up an astonishing 70% of this country’s electricity. These days, if you want to demonstrate your social responsibility, you should be all aboard with the abolition of the traditional fireplace and its replacement with “green” alternatives.

Speaking as a former green myself, I’m not without sympathy for at least part of this argument. The mass burning of peat in power stations here, for example, has long been an ecological disaster; one which is, thankfully, coming to an end. Many peat bogs in Ireland have been ravaged over the centuries, and some are now being restored for wildlife, and for use as “carbon sinks”. This is certainly no bad thing. Humans recklessly burning anything in sight on a vast scale is not a story to be defended, no matter how hard some are currently trying.

Something else is happening here, though. The campaign against warming your own house with your own fire is not quite what it claims to be. Sometimes it looks more like a displacement activity, as if a government and a nation which has no interest in actually cutting its consumerist lust down to size is going for an easy target. But it is also something with more symbolism, more mythic meat, than any discussion about “carbon emissions” would suggest. The fireplace, whether our dessicated urban authorities know it or not, has a primal meaning, even in a world as divorced as ours from its roots and from the land.

In his short essay “Fireside Wisdom”, the uncategorisable John Michell suggested that the “displacement of the hearth or fireplace” from the home was one of the many reasons for the craziness of the modern world which his life had been spent playfully exploring. The fireplace at the centre of the home, he wrote, was both an ancient practicality and a device of “cosmological significance” across cultures and time: “Conversation is directed into the fire while dreams and images are drawn out of it.”

In the past, the act of sitting staring into the smoky fire with family or neighbours was the genesis of the folk tale and folk song which tied the culture together. Now we stare at digital fires hemmed into boxes manufactured by distant corporations who also tell us our stories. No song we can dream up around a real fireplace can compete with what these boxed fires can sell us. “Thus,” wrote Michell, “the traditional cosmology is no longer represented by its domestic symbols, and a new, secular, restless, uncentred world-view has taken its place.”

Focus, Michell explained, is “the Latin name for the central fireplace. The fire not only warms but, as a symbol, illuminates the corresponding images of a centre to each of our own beings and of a world-centre which is divine, eternal and unchanging.” Lose your fires, and you literally lose your focus as a culture. In this context, a government spokesman telling his population, as one minister here recently did, that they should “get over” their “nostalgic” attachment to the hearth fire and install ground source heat pumps instead is more than just a nod to efficiency. It is an assault on what remains of the home and its meaning. It is an attack on the cultural — even the divine — centre.

Not that you will get very far explaining that to your local MP.

“Not everyone can afford one of these fancy ground source pumps,” said the log man, as we emptied the last of the trailer. He was right, of course, and many of my neighbours, who at this time of year are hauling tractor trailers full of dried turf back from the bog, would be just as dismissive of the new dispensation. But this is not the real significance of the dying out of the household fire. The real significance is that it represents just the latest blow against the home as the centre of the universe: of the domestic as the cosmological, of the parlour as the place of story.

When you can no longer grow your own wood or cut your own turf to heat your own parlour, you are made that little bit more dependent on the matrix of government, technology and commerce that has sought to transmute self-sufficiency into bondage since the time of the Luddites. The justification for this attack on family and community sufficiency changes with the times — in 17th-century England, the enclosures were justified by the need for agricultural efficiency; today they are justified by the need for energy efficiency — but the attack is always of the same nature. Each blow struck against local self-sufficiency, pride and love of place weaves another thread into the pattern which has been developing for centuries, and which is almost complete now in most affluent countries.

Wendell Berry’s 1980 essay “Family Work” is a short meditation on the meaning of home, its disintegration under the pressures of modernity, and how it might, to some degree at least, be restored. Like so much of Berry’s work, it locates the centrepoint of human society in the home, and explains many of the failures of contemporary Western — specifically American — society as a neglect of that truth. The home, to Wendell Berry, is the place where the real stuff of life happens, or should: the coming-together of man and woman in partnership; the passing-down of skills and stories from elders; the raising and educating of children; the growing, cooking, storing and eating of food; the learning of practical skills, from construction to repair, tool-making to sewing; the conjuration of story and song around the fire.

In my lifetime, in my part of the world, the notion and meaning of “home” has steadily crumbled under external pressure until it is little more than a word. The ideal (post)modern home is a dormitory, probably owned by a landlord or a bank, in which two or more people of varying ages and degrees of biological relationship sleep when they’re not out being employed by a corporation, or educated by the state in preparation for being employed by a corporation. The home’s needs are met through pushing buttons, swiping screens or buying-in everything from food to furniture; for who has time for anything else, or has been taught the skills to do otherwise?

Even back in 1980, Berry recognised that the home had become an “ideal” rather than a practical reality — precisely because the reality had been placed out of reach for many. What killed the home? Three things, said Berry: cars, mass media and public education. The first meant that both work and leisure could, for the first time in history, happen a long way from home. The second — “TV and other media” — have played a role, since the mid-20th century, in luring us all into a fantasy world of freedom from obligation, and a limitless, fun consumer lifestyle. “If you have a TV,” writes Berry, “your children will be subjected almost from the cradle to an overwhelming insinuation that all worth experiencing is somewhere else and that all worth having must be bought.” Finally, the school system is designed “to keep children away from the home as much as possible. Parents want their children kept out of their hair.” Schools exist to train children to fit into individualistic, consumer societies; to internalise and normalise their ethics and goals, and to prepare for a life serving their needs.

What could we add to this list now? Supermarkets, for one, and the whole panoply of long-distance shopping and global supply chains that go along with them. Back in 1980, it can’t have been common to buy avocadoes in winter in the northern hemisphere, let alone endless streams of screen-based gadgets put together by slave labour in China.

We could add “careers” too: and perhaps this is the main culprit. What the Luddites called the “factory system” (we should maybe call it the “office system” now that all the factories have been shipped off to China) was the main reason that the home was broken into in the first place. The pre-modern home was, as few homes are today, a workplace. The Luddites, to stick to my example, were handloom weavers running literal cottage industries, and their rebellion against the rise of industrial capitalism was a rebellion in defence of the home as a place of work as well as domesticity. That work was shared by men and women, who would both have their domestic spheres of influence whatever the particular business of the home was.

In this sense there is a case to be made that the pre-modern woman, working in her home with her husband and family, had in some ways more agency and power than her contemporary counterpart whose life is directed from outside the home by distant commercial interests. Certainly the feminist movement, in at least some of its iterations, has been thoroughly hijacked by capitalism. The “liberation” of women has often translated into the separating of women from their self-sufficiency, as men were separated before them, and their embedding instead into the world of commerce, whether they want it or not.

My point is not that women should get back into the kitchen: it is that we all should. Modernity prised the men away from the home first, as the industrial revolution broke their cottage industries and swept them into the factories and mines, where their brute strength could be useful. Later the women, who had been mostly left to tend the home single-handedly, were subject to the same process. The needs of business were sold to both sexes as a project of “liberation” from home, family and place.

The reason this happened is clear enough. Making a home requires both men and women to sacrifice their own desires for that of the wider family — but this kind of sacrifice does not feed the monster. Only by unmooring the human being from his or her roots in community and place can the emancipated individual consumer and self-creator be born. Only by promoting the fulfilment of individual desire as the meaning of a human life, can the selflessness that we once prized as a cultural ideal be transmuted into the selfishness that capitalism needs to thrive. Liberation and profit, as ever, prove a seamless fit.

Maybe this is all misplaced nostalgia; or at least, the shutting of the stable door long after the horse has been turned into dogmeat. Perhaps people leave homes, or don’t make them, because they just don’t want them much anymore. Maybe we are all loving our liberation. When I was a teenager, I certainly wanted to escape my family and its values — and I did in the end. But I suppose I always assumed there would be something to come back to. That I in my turn would grow up to be the thing that was pushed out of the way so that the world could be opened up before the young. This is how it should be, after all.

But I wonder if we can make those assumptions now. I wonder especially if young people can. How does it feel to grow up in a society whose young can barely afford anywhere to live, let alone dream of owning a family home? With a generational fear of the future which leads increasing numbers not to want families at all? With everything pointing, always, towards movement away, towards not looking back, towards progress? I don’t know, but I know it’s not easy.

The loss of the security of a home is, in some way, the loss of the heart of things. But also — and here comes the good news — the war against home manifests on the human scale, which means we can reverse it, at least to some degree, under our own steam. In these times, any blow struck for the survival, or the revival, of the home and the family is an act of resistance and of rebuilding.

Back in 1980, Wendell Berry ended his essay by suggesting some actions that could be taken in this direction. As well as the obvious — “get rid of the television set” took pride of place — he suggested that we should “try to make our homes centres of attention and interest”; to make them as productive and nurturing as we can. Once you rid yourself of the propaganda of the corporate media-entertainment complex (“a vacuum line, pumping life and meaning out of the household”), you will see new possibilities begin to open up. You will see, in Berry’s words, that “no life and no place is destitute; all have possibilities of productivity and pleasure, rest and work, solitude and conviviality that belong particularly to themselves”, whether in the country, the city or the suburb. “All that is necessary,” he suggests, is “the time and the inner quietness to look for them.”

The “all” in that sentence is doing quite a lot of work — more than ever, perhaps, 40 years on. Time and inner quietness are hard to find, now; but perhaps they always were. Even so, they are worth searching out. Home work is, perhaps, the most important work of all, and it will certainly teach you things. Since we moved to our place eight years ago, I’ve learned — sometimes from choice, sometimes from necessity — a whole suite of new skills, from construction to tree planting, chicken-keeping to breadmaking, hedging to unblocking drains. I’ve learned how to know my neighbours properly, how to stay in a place and begin to really understand it. The choice to homeschool our children has changed our lives and theirs. Certainly our children, in their early- and nearly-teens, are more self-sufficient already than I was by the age of about 25.

Home-making, it turns out, is not something to flee from in pursuit of freedom, as I wanted to do when I was younger. It is a skill, or a whole set of them: a set I have come to value maybe above anything else I do. I am still not very good at it; but even so I feel, on my best days, that I could walk with some of my ancestors and be recognised by them as a fully-qualified human being. Maybe this will turn out to be my greatest achievement, in the end.

***

This essay was originally published on 10 August 2022. 


Paul Kingsnorth is a novelist and essayist. His latest novel Alexandria is published by Faber. He also has a Substack: The Abbey of Misrule.


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Cantab Man
Cantab Man
1 year ago

Beautifully written.

Many of society’s leaders today demonstrate a desperate-yet-smug vanity as they reach for easy answers (for them) to ‘heal the planet.’ Those who clamor to remove the burning of a fire to heat homes are the same people who do not need to procure warmth by such means.

These are the same self-important individuals who travel to Davos on private (or commercial) planes when a virtual video conference works just fine but is, perhaps, not as exciting.

They eagerly seek for riches to purchase a beachfront vacation home for themselves even as they tell others that the sea levels are rising to the point of drowning cities and towns near ocean shores.

They cry for the end of nuclear power and gas-powered combustable engines because they can afford to put solar panels on their rooftops with very expensive battery panels to store the power and they purchase $70K Teslas.

Many of society’s leaders today do not seek to implement solutions that require personal, real sacrifice. Instead, they push the concept of ‘forced scarcity’ upon others…in other words, they take away the means of survival for many of their fellow citizens without identifying and implementing realistic substitutes. Sacrifice, in their minds, is for poor people (often in poor countries). This approach is the new-and-improved version of colonization by wealthier societal strata over the poorer classes of the world.

In my opinion, if politicians and other leaders are going to take away the realistic means for people to heat homes, travel to/from work, secure food for ones-self and one’s family, these politicians/leaders are responsible to provide the equal-or-better replacement in advance…this is their job. Their job is not to send their fellow citizens and the poor of the world back 150 years in terms of progress and then tell those citizens to ‘figure it out…and good luck.’ Such laziness in leadership is not acceptable.

John Riordan
John Riordan
1 year ago
Reply to  Cantab Man

Agree 100%.

What amazes me about modern politicians and activists who peddle the climate change emergency myth is that there is no sense, anywhere in what they’re saying, that they themselves have failed. They are basically saying that despite the fact that technological progress itself has not stopped, that all the known channels of wealth creation are still available, and that we have literally millions of years’ worth of artifical energy beneath our feet that we can use with present-day technology, we are for some reason expected to reduce radically our consumption of energy and to tolerate large falls in living standards and personal choice.

Anyone proposing to make decisions affecting the rest of us who puts forward such proposals has by definition failed to a colossal and embarrassing degree. Yet what we appear t be seeing instead is high-handed arrogance and a seemingly limitless appetite for more authority and power.

John Holland
John Holland
1 year ago
Reply to  John Riordan

Firstly, it would help if you provided some meaningful scientific evidence that the “climate change myth” is indeed a myth. If you’re going to dismiss the scientific ‘establishment’, as the new populist terminology has i- as bunk, something more cogent than mere bald assertion would be useful.
Secondly, you are radically opposing the article’s arguments with your promotion of endlessly higher “living standards” (a consumerist article of faith) and the “personal choice”, also a pseudo-religious tenet of the cult of the globalised individual consumer. It would be more interesting if you engaged with that fundamental difference of view, rather than merely finding what you want to find in it and ignoring the meat.

Martin Brumby
Martin Brumby
1 year ago
Reply to  John Holland

Climate change is, of course, very far from a myth. The climate has always ‘changed’ and always will. The ‘myth’ that John Riordan refers to is the completely debunked lie that the driver of warming since the 1980s suddenly became ‘anthropogenic’ – having previously been natural since the end of the Little Ice Age which ended in the C.19th.
Man’s contribution to this ‘warming’ by ‘burning things’ is trivial and entirely beneficial.
If you doubt this, then you have a lot of homework to catch up on. Try visiting the Global Warming Policy Foundation site for a start.

Martin Brumby
Martin Brumby
1 year ago
Reply to  Martin Brumby

And, for the avoidance of doubt, I will continue to burn well seasoned logs in my woodburner, until Drax has been strictly prohibited from burning American wood pellets from clear cut forests (all prepared, processed and transported using “fossil fuels”) and once the perpetrators and the politicians who are paying them almost a Billion of taxpayers’ money per year for this blatant scam, producing twice as much CO2 as burning Yorkshire coal, are all serving long prison sentences for their cynical, corrupt, incompetence.

John Holland
John Holland
1 year ago
Reply to  Martin Brumby

“Twice as much as burning Yorkshire coal”.
I’m not defending Drax, which I think is a terrible idea for various reasons, but you miss the point about CO2 and wood burning. Coal is ancient stored carbon, turned into CO2 when burned. Wood is a renewable resource, that takes out CO2 when growing- this is then released back into the atmosphere when burned, just as coal does. The point being that, unlike fossil coal, the CO2 is largely removed by the next generation of trees.

Martin Brumby
Martin Brumby
1 year ago
Reply to  John Holland

Utter tripe.
A tree takes 40 years or more to grow.
A tree takes about 20 seconds to burn at Drax.
Renewable?
Don’t be daft.

John Holland
John Holland
1 year ago
Reply to  Martin Brumby

Sorry to interrupt your ranting, but I’m not (try reading) supporting Drax. It’s the article above that wants you to burn trees, not me. Take your issue up with Kingsnorth.
As for the rest of it, it’s word salad, in terms of scientific content.

John Holland
John Holland
1 year ago
Reply to  John Holland

Do you know how long it took to lay down the fossilised trees in the Carboniferous Period that we use as coal, compared to the forty years of a tree to mature, or the time it takes to burn the coal?
Think about it. Please. It really isn’t that difficult a concept.

John Holland
John Holland
1 year ago
Reply to  John Holland

Do you know how long it took to lay down the fossilised trees in the Carboniferous Period that we use as coal, compared to the forty years of a tree to mature, or the time it takes to burn the coal?
Think about it. Please. It really isn’t that difficult a concept.

John Holland
John Holland
1 year ago
Reply to  Martin Brumby

Sorry to interrupt your ranting, but I’m not (try reading) supporting Drax. It’s the article above that wants you to burn trees, not me. Take your issue up with Kingsnorth.
As for the rest of it, it’s word salad, in terms of scientific content.

Rob Mcneill-wilson
Rob Mcneill-wilson
1 year ago
Reply to  John Holland

That is an utterly illogical argument.
What you are proposing is that cutting down a living tree which takes out CO2 is fine if you replace it with another tree. There is nothing stopping us burning coal which does not involve cutting down a tree and planting a tree to give a net benefit -which your proposal does not.

John Holland
John Holland
1 year ago

Firstly, of course I’m proposing replacing the cut tree with a new one- that’s the point. That’s how the carbon-cycle works.
Burning coal, however, is a one-time event. The coal was laid down millions of years ago in the Carboniforus period, before fungi could break down lignum. This is a massive, one-off source of carbon. It has remained in the ground for millions of years, the carbon safely sequestered. Now the carbon is release within a few years. Planting a tree won’t offset that, because you’re burning the equivalent of thousands of years of tree growth, and trying to counter the carbon with one tree- or a year’s trees.
I cannot believe I need to explain that (twice) in a remotely scientific discussion.

John Holland
John Holland
1 year ago

Firstly, of course I’m proposing replacing the cut tree with a new one- that’s the point. That’s how the carbon-cycle works.
Burning coal, however, is a one-time event. The coal was laid down millions of years ago in the Carboniforus period, before fungi could break down lignum. This is a massive, one-off source of carbon. It has remained in the ground for millions of years, the carbon safely sequestered. Now the carbon is release within a few years. Planting a tree won’t offset that, because you’re burning the equivalent of thousands of years of tree growth, and trying to counter the carbon with one tree- or a year’s trees.
I cannot believe I need to explain that (twice) in a remotely scientific discussion.

Martin Brumby
Martin Brumby
1 year ago
Reply to  John Holland

Utter tripe.
A tree takes 40 years or more to grow.
A tree takes about 20 seconds to burn at Drax.
Renewable?
Don’t be daft.

Rob Mcneill-wilson
Rob Mcneill-wilson
1 year ago
Reply to  John Holland

That is an utterly illogical argument.
What you are proposing is that cutting down a living tree which takes out CO2 is fine if you replace it with another tree. There is nothing stopping us burning coal which does not involve cutting down a tree and planting a tree to give a net benefit -which your proposal does not.

John Holland
John Holland
1 year ago
Reply to  Martin Brumby

“Twice as much as burning Yorkshire coal”.
I’m not defending Drax, which I think is a terrible idea for various reasons, but you miss the point about CO2 and wood burning. Coal is ancient stored carbon, turned into CO2 when burned. Wood is a renewable resource, that takes out CO2 when growing- this is then released back into the atmosphere when burned, just as coal does. The point being that, unlike fossil coal, the CO2 is largely removed by the next generation of trees.

John Riordan
John Riordan
1 year ago
Reply to  Martin Brumby

Thank you – to be specific, what I am calling a myth is a concatenation of several distinct claims which when taken in total possess no defence in actual scientific evidence anywhere. These are
1) That the climate is changing
2) That it is changing now because of human activity and no longer through the natural forces that have been the reason for about four billion years
3) That this effect is principally the result of human CO2 emissions which are apparently responsible for the rise in atmospheric concentration from 280ppm in 1800 to 410ppm in 2022
4) That this effect is pronounced enough to destabilise the climate and lead to immediate existential risks which at the very least threaten humanity and possibly life itself generally.

5) That the ONLY course of action available to us is to decarbonise urgently even if this causes economic collapse and mass poverty, but for some strange reason this decarbonisation process must not include nuclear power as a large scale replacement for fossil fuel energy.

There is not a scrap of evidence anywhere that supports all these ideas together, and it is this set of ideas that I am calling a myth.

John Holland
John Holland
1 year ago
Reply to  John Riordan

“Not a scrap of evidence anywhere that supports all these ideas together.”
Evidence never supports an entire list of ideas, from the contents of the atmosphere to human political and economic policies, “together’. Even the benefits of nuclear power are a highly contested subject within the ‘Green’ movement.
That’s not how evidence works- it’s how ideology works. You seem rather epistemologically confused.

John Riordan
John Riordan
1 year ago
Reply to  John Holland

It’s you that’s confused. The set of ideas I describe above form the basis for the political consensus upon climate change. I suggest you direct your lecture at the people who maintain that consensus, not someone like me who has more sense than to blindly accept it.

John Holland
John Holland
1 year ago
Reply to  John Riordan

Yet you are conflating two different things. The scientific case for AGW is one thing, putative political responses to it is are another. For example, it seems that Putin accepts the scientific consensus, but rejects the political consensus, on the grounds that he believes the putative warming will benefit Russia. He may be right.
I obviously accept that you personally find various or all of the political and economic ‘solutions’ to planetary warming utterly unacceptable- but this has no bearing whatsoever on the veracity of the claims of mainstream science about the effects of carbon dioxide build-up on the planet’s climate. They are two separate things.

John Riordan
John Riordan
1 year ago
Reply to  John Holland

Once again it is you that’s confused, because I do understand that there is a political consensus that is different from the scientific consensus. Most of my point here is that the scientific consensus, to the extent that there is any factually supported view shared broadly amongst scientists, emphatically does not support the political consensus.

And that’s leaving aside the fact that science doesn’t even work by consensus anyway.

But anyway, the scientific consensus on climate change broadly does support the view that the climate is changing and that human activity is likely to be a component of it. The consensus does NOT support the view that the change is rapid or dangerous, and it does not support the view that decarbonisation is either necessary or that it is the only or the best course of action.

John Holland
John Holland
1 year ago
Reply to  John Riordan

From where are you finding your ideas about this particular “consensus”? It would be useful to know your sources.

John Holland
John Holland
1 year ago
Reply to  John Riordan

From where are you finding your ideas about this particular “consensus”? It would be useful to know your sources.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
1 year ago
Reply to  John Holland

“……on the veracity of the claims of mainstream science about the effects of carbon dioxide build-up on the planet’s climate.”
You are told it is mainstream science, but is it, or are claims of support of mainstream science just rhetoric on the part of extremists?
We saw the way that slight of hand changed the claim that 97.5 % of climate scientist believed in made climate change to 97.5% of scientists.
But if you drill down you find that many if not most the scientific papers cited as support for the original claim do not, according to the authors, evidence that climate change is man made.
Some one kindly went to the trouble of emailing them and the responses came back the climate is changing (as it always has done) but my research does not evidence that current changes are the result of human activity.
You then look at the politicians who are pushing this and who are heavily invested in green technology companies whose products they are forcing us to adopt by law

Martin Brumby
Martin Brumby
1 year ago

Ethniciodo
You need to go further that that.
Originally two questions were asked of self-identifying “Climate Scientists”
Q1 Has the global temperature increased in the last 150 years?
Q2 Has Mankind contributed to warming?.
Two yesses and you are apparently a believer that 97% of “Scientists” think Mankind (and probably even some Womankind) are absolutely responsible for a “Climate Emergency”.
Work out the logic.

John Holland
John Holland
1 year ago
Reply to  Martin Brumby

Again, some citations or references for this stuff would be useful- from where are you repeating all this? Without sources or specifics, it’s just internet noise asking for applause in an echo-chamber.

John Holland
John Holland
1 year ago

Do you get ALL of your information on science from free-market lobby groups and financial market newspapers? The article in Forbes is written by a “construction manager”- not exactly an expert in the field is he?
It might, genuinely, be useful to read some actual science sites, just for interest. If I referenced a claim I made about the science to a Greenpeace newsletter or the Guardian, you’d think I was an idiot. but that’s essentially what you’re doing. Seriously, read some actual science by people doing the relevant research, not political blowhards and newspaper hacks.
Mind you, even your Forbes piece claims that around 90-95% of climate scientists agree with strong AGW. Which means you need to explain why you think at least 90% are wrong, in your expert opinion. And the really funny thing is, the usual cliche trotted out by people like the ones on this thread is that ‘science doesn’t work by consensus, and if they agree then it’s either coercion or ‘group-think’.
So if not all climate scientists agree with strong AGW, it should be ignored because there’s ‘disagreement’, but if they do all agree, it should be ignored because it’s fake ‘groupthink’. It’s a very lame bit of double-think.

John Holland
John Holland
1 year ago

Do you get ALL of your information on science from free-market lobby groups and financial market newspapers? The article in Forbes is written by a “construction manager”- not exactly an expert in the field is he?
It might, genuinely, be useful to read some actual science sites, just for interest. If I referenced a claim I made about the science to a Greenpeace newsletter or the Guardian, you’d think I was an idiot. but that’s essentially what you’re doing. Seriously, read some actual science by people doing the relevant research, not political blowhards and newspaper hacks.
Mind you, even your Forbes piece claims that around 90-95% of climate scientists agree with strong AGW. Which means you need to explain why you think at least 90% are wrong, in your expert opinion. And the really funny thing is, the usual cliche trotted out by people like the ones on this thread is that ‘science doesn’t work by consensus, and if they agree then it’s either coercion or ‘group-think’.
So if not all climate scientists agree with strong AGW, it should be ignored because there’s ‘disagreement’, but if they do all agree, it should be ignored because it’s fake ‘groupthink’. It’s a very lame bit of double-think.

John Holland
John Holland
1 year ago
Reply to  Martin Brumby

Again, some citations or references for this stuff would be useful- from where are you repeating all this? Without sources or specifics, it’s just internet noise asking for applause in an echo-chamber.

Rob Mcneill-wilson
Rob Mcneill-wilson
1 year ago

As just two examples China and India (44% of manmade CO2) are not going to take part in this Net Zero nonsense, so, if there were any truth in the AGW the only option would be to mitigate and live with it.
The climate alarmists at COP27 said a year ago that it would be too late if not everyone signed up to this lunacy. Well, they didn’t, in a big way.

John Holland
John Holland
1 year ago

That’s an ‘interesting’ form of scientific proof;
Concept A (AGW) is proven to be false, by the fact that some political leaders have behaved as if Concept A were unimportant.
For Concept A to be true, all political leaders would behave as if it were so, or, more specifically, behave as if it were both true and they cared strongly about it.
The inevitable follow-up piece of logic is, of course: If political leaders all DID act as if Concept A were both true and important, you and everyone on this site would rant furiously about an evil global conspiracy by the Socialist Elite- or something.
As an exercise in either logic or the scientific method, that does leave something to be desired.

John Holland
John Holland
1 year ago

That’s an ‘interesting’ form of scientific proof;
Concept A (AGW) is proven to be false, by the fact that some political leaders have behaved as if Concept A were unimportant.
For Concept A to be true, all political leaders would behave as if it were so, or, more specifically, behave as if it were both true and they cared strongly about it.
The inevitable follow-up piece of logic is, of course: If political leaders all DID act as if Concept A were both true and important, you and everyone on this site would rant furiously about an evil global conspiracy by the Socialist Elite- or something.
As an exercise in either logic or the scientific method, that does leave something to be desired.

John Holland
John Holland
1 year ago

Right.
Can you give any sources or references for these claims? I mean, you sending a few emails doesn’t really constitute much more than a personal hobby, does it? Even if it does coincidentally bolster your political beliefs.
Something more comprehensive, and even some kind of scientific methodology really would be useful. In the meantime, I’ll stick to the published statements of scientific institutes, and individual scientists themselves.
Thanks. By the way, what if a politician has invested in fossil fuel? Why, I wonder, have you ‘realised’ (i.e., invented the idea) that all politicians have simultaneously decided to invest in wind farms, and not in oil, or coal, or gas? Any serious idea, or is this just story time?

False Progress
False Progress
1 year ago
Reply to  John Holland

Wind turbines are a major ecological farce. They can’t exist without fossil fuels at every step of their construction & maintenance, and they depend on fossil fuels for backup, typically fracked gas.
They ruin vast swaths of land and ocean that used to look natural, and kill birds and bats in growing numbers. Look into their future scale and you may be shocked, e.g. a 2050 map of the U.S. from the Net-Zero America project (Princeton/Andlinger). No sincere environmentalist should want that much acreage developed, but it’s well underway, branded as “clean energy.”
See Kingsnorth’s 2009 article “A windfarm is not the answer.” People should stop casually using rows of wind turbines as mascots for all things green and progressive. Debunking that ruse will advance actual climate/energy solutions, namely small-footprint nuclear SMR and other designs.

False Progress
False Progress
1 year ago
Reply to  John Holland

Wind turbines are a major ecological farce. They can’t exist without fossil fuels at every step of their construction & maintenance, and they depend on fossil fuels for backup, typically fracked gas.
They ruin vast swaths of land and ocean that used to look natural, and kill birds and bats in growing numbers. Look into their future scale and you may be shocked, e.g. a 2050 map of the U.S. from the Net-Zero America project (Princeton/Andlinger). No sincere environmentalist should want that much acreage developed, but it’s well underway, branded as “clean energy.”
See Kingsnorth’s 2009 article “A windfarm is not the answer.” People should stop casually using rows of wind turbines as mascots for all things green and progressive. Debunking that ruse will advance actual climate/energy solutions, namely small-footprint nuclear SMR and other designs.

False Progress
False Progress
1 year ago

Do you understand that without CO2 the Earth would be mostly frozen? It’s the most stable greenhouse gas (water washes in and out) and its triatomic molecular structure makes it trap heat. One needn’t to be a leftist to see that the species burning fossil fuels is releasing ancient stored carbon in far greater volumes than modern contributions from volcanoes, etc. This is only controversial because people’s comforts and gravy trains are being questioned.
Dismissive claims like yours always center around a certain group of people wanting to “control” others, when the real issue is mindless gas molecules that only obey the laws of physics. There was no real debate on AGW for decades after its fundamentals were discovered in the 1800s.
Today’s arguments are just another example of waffling until the last minute to fix man-made problems. It’s not even as political as it seems, since plenty of “Greens” live upscale lifestyles. They just virtue signal a bit more, like trashing the countryside with wind turbines and checking a “clean energy” option on their power bills while oil continues to build the whole mess.

Last edited 1 year ago by False Progress
Martin Brumby
Martin Brumby
1 year ago

Ethniciodo
You need to go further that that.
Originally two questions were asked of self-identifying “Climate Scientists”
Q1 Has the global temperature increased in the last 150 years?
Q2 Has Mankind contributed to warming?.
Two yesses and you are apparently a believer that 97% of “Scientists” think Mankind (and probably even some Womankind) are absolutely responsible for a “Climate Emergency”.
Work out the logic.

Rob Mcneill-wilson
Rob Mcneill-wilson
1 year ago

As just two examples China and India (44% of manmade CO2) are not going to take part in this Net Zero nonsense, so, if there were any truth in the AGW the only option would be to mitigate and live with it.
The climate alarmists at COP27 said a year ago that it would be too late if not everyone signed up to this lunacy. Well, they didn’t, in a big way.

John Holland
John Holland
1 year ago

Right.
Can you give any sources or references for these claims? I mean, you sending a few emails doesn’t really constitute much more than a personal hobby, does it? Even if it does coincidentally bolster your political beliefs.
Something more comprehensive, and even some kind of scientific methodology really would be useful. In the meantime, I’ll stick to the published statements of scientific institutes, and individual scientists themselves.
Thanks. By the way, what if a politician has invested in fossil fuel? Why, I wonder, have you ‘realised’ (i.e., invented the idea) that all politicians have simultaneously decided to invest in wind farms, and not in oil, or coal, or gas? Any serious idea, or is this just story time?

False Progress
False Progress
1 year ago

Do you understand that without CO2 the Earth would be mostly frozen? It’s the most stable greenhouse gas (water washes in and out) and its triatomic molecular structure makes it trap heat. One needn’t to be a leftist to see that the species burning fossil fuels is releasing ancient stored carbon in far greater volumes than modern contributions from volcanoes, etc. This is only controversial because people’s comforts and gravy trains are being questioned.
Dismissive claims like yours always center around a certain group of people wanting to “control” others, when the real issue is mindless gas molecules that only obey the laws of physics. There was no real debate on AGW for decades after its fundamentals were discovered in the 1800s.
Today’s arguments are just another example of waffling until the last minute to fix man-made problems. It’s not even as political as it seems, since plenty of “Greens” live upscale lifestyles. They just virtue signal a bit more, like trashing the countryside with wind turbines and checking a “clean energy” option on their power bills while oil continues to build the whole mess.

Last edited 1 year ago by False Progress
John Riordan
John Riordan
1 year ago
Reply to  John Holland

Once again it is you that’s confused, because I do understand that there is a political consensus that is different from the scientific consensus. Most of my point here is that the scientific consensus, to the extent that there is any factually supported view shared broadly amongst scientists, emphatically does not support the political consensus.

And that’s leaving aside the fact that science doesn’t even work by consensus anyway.

But anyway, the scientific consensus on climate change broadly does support the view that the climate is changing and that human activity is likely to be a component of it. The consensus does NOT support the view that the change is rapid or dangerous, and it does not support the view that decarbonisation is either necessary or that it is the only or the best course of action.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
1 year ago
Reply to  John Holland

“……on the veracity of the claims of mainstream science about the effects of carbon dioxide build-up on the planet’s climate.”
You are told it is mainstream science, but is it, or are claims of support of mainstream science just rhetoric on the part of extremists?
We saw the way that slight of hand changed the claim that 97.5 % of climate scientist believed in made climate change to 97.5% of scientists.
But if you drill down you find that many if not most the scientific papers cited as support for the original claim do not, according to the authors, evidence that climate change is man made.
Some one kindly went to the trouble of emailing them and the responses came back the climate is changing (as it always has done) but my research does not evidence that current changes are the result of human activity.
You then look at the politicians who are pushing this and who are heavily invested in green technology companies whose products they are forcing us to adopt by law

False Progress
False Progress
1 year ago
Reply to  John Riordan

Do you have any idea of why CO2 is the primary heat-trapping gas (hint: triatomic vibrations) and have you ever bothered to study the topic beyond canned right-wing dismissals?
That said, Mr. Kingsnorth has made some wise commentary over the years about industrial wind power, the biggest invasion of nature to ever be cloaked in the word “green.”
AGW is clearly real (west cost U.S. fire witness here) but how various people react to it can still be criticized.
The problem with many quasi-conservatives is they’re so fixated on dissing radical leftists that they ignore warnings about AGW, going back to the 1800s. There was never a real debate until AGW action was finally needed, and people started protecting their gravy trains.

John Holland
John Holland
1 year ago
Reply to  John Riordan

Yet you are conflating two different things. The scientific case for AGW is one thing, putative political responses to it is are another. For example, it seems that Putin accepts the scientific consensus, but rejects the political consensus, on the grounds that he believes the putative warming will benefit Russia. He may be right.
I obviously accept that you personally find various or all of the political and economic ‘solutions’ to planetary warming utterly unacceptable- but this has no bearing whatsoever on the veracity of the claims of mainstream science about the effects of carbon dioxide build-up on the planet’s climate. They are two separate things.

False Progress
False Progress
1 year ago
Reply to  John Riordan

Do you have any idea of why CO2 is the primary heat-trapping gas (hint: triatomic vibrations) and have you ever bothered to study the topic beyond canned right-wing dismissals?
That said, Mr. Kingsnorth has made some wise commentary over the years about industrial wind power, the biggest invasion of nature to ever be cloaked in the word “green.”
AGW is clearly real (west cost U.S. fire witness here) but how various people react to it can still be criticized.
The problem with many quasi-conservatives is they’re so fixated on dissing radical leftists that they ignore warnings about AGW, going back to the 1800s. There was never a real debate until AGW action was finally needed, and people started protecting their gravy trains.

Peter Johnson
Peter Johnson
1 year ago
Reply to  John Holland

The burden of proof lies with the people imposing radical change. They simply have not met it.

False Progress
False Progress
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Johnson

They’ve “not met it” in the opinions of people who don’t want to give up too many luxuries. Most of those opinions are coming from the same types who treat oil as limitless via “new drilling methods” and ignore the fact that Earth is finite.
This is basic math and needn’t echo radical activists who shut down bridges and cause people to waste even more oil idling.

False Progress
False Progress
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Johnson

They’ve “not met it” in the opinions of people who don’t want to give up too many luxuries. Most of those opinions are coming from the same types who treat oil as limitless via “new drilling methods” and ignore the fact that Earth is finite.
This is basic math and needn’t echo radical activists who shut down bridges and cause people to waste even more oil idling.

Martin Brumby
Martin Brumby
1 year ago
Reply to  John Holland

Who cares about what weird things go on “within the ‘Green’ movement”?
The only point of the “Green movement” is as a sure indicator for what you should never do on any account.
Some nice but seriously misguided people.
The ‘hard’ GandGreens are very nasty people indeed.

John Holland
John Holland
1 year ago
Reply to  Martin Brumby

The author of this article itself is (or until very recently, was) a “hard” (i.e., ‘Deep’) Green. You might want to take this up with him, rather than me.
It’s interesting that you don’t question his deeply reactionary, anti-technological ideas. .

John Holland
John Holland
1 year ago
Reply to  Martin Brumby

The author of this article itself is (or until very recently, was) a “hard” (i.e., ‘Deep’) Green. You might want to take this up with him, rather than me.
It’s interesting that you don’t question his deeply reactionary, anti-technological ideas. .

John Riordan
John Riordan
1 year ago
Reply to  John Holland

It’s you that’s confused. The set of ideas I describe above form the basis for the political consensus upon climate change. I suggest you direct your lecture at the people who maintain that consensus, not someone like me who has more sense than to blindly accept it.

Peter Johnson
Peter Johnson
1 year ago
Reply to  John Holland

The burden of proof lies with the people imposing radical change. They simply have not met it.

Martin Brumby
Martin Brumby
1 year ago
Reply to  John Holland

Who cares about what weird things go on “within the ‘Green’ movement”?
The only point of the “Green movement” is as a sure indicator for what you should never do on any account.
Some nice but seriously misguided people.
The ‘hard’ GandGreens are very nasty people indeed.

John Holland
John Holland
1 year ago
Reply to  John Riordan

By the way, no serious scientist has claimed, to my knowledge, that the ‘natural’ drivers of climate change no longer operate, alongside the human-created driver of CO2 and other greenhouse gas build-up.
I’m not sure where you got that idea from, but if you’re talking about ‘myths’, that’s certainly one.

Martin Brumby
Martin Brumby
1 year ago
Reply to  John Holland

Best mug up on what the IPCC’s “Summary for Policy Makers” claims.

A political document with a nice fig-leaf composed of activist “scientists” who find analysing actual measured data much to challenging and concentrate on computer generated prognoses generated by multiplying wild assed guesses together and tweaking the results to attempt to match past data which they have adjusted, ‘homogenised’ and tortured on an industrial scale.

Why do you think that ‘record’, ‘unprecedented’ temperatures are usually measured next to concrete or tarmac airfield runways’?

Why do you imagine that temperatures measured 50 years ago were mistakenly written down a degree or two higher than today’s geniuses predict they should have been and duly reduces.

I suggest you do your homework now, rather than carrying on quoting ridiculae from the likes of that great ‘scientist’ Justin Rowlatt on the BBC.

John Holland
John Holland
1 year ago
Reply to  Martin Brumby

If by “homework”, you mean spending rather too long on paranoid and scientifically-illiterate internet blogs, swallowing a standard screed of half-baked ‘memes’, can I please do something less pointless?
I mean really- “Why do you think that ‘record’ and ‘unprecedented’ temperatures are usually measured next to concrete or tarmac airfield runways” isn’t actually a serious question, is it- any more than asking ‘why do you think Nigel Lawson eats babies out the back of a New York pizzaria’ is a serious question. It’s a daft, entirely unsubstantiated, evidenceless assertion regurgitated unquestioningly from a political blog, pretending to be a question- like all of your other assertions here.

John Holland
John Holland
1 year ago
Reply to  Martin Brumby

If by “homework”, you mean spending rather too long on paranoid and scientifically-illiterate internet blogs, swallowing a standard screed of half-baked ‘memes’, can I please do something less pointless?
I mean really- “Why do you think that ‘record’ and ‘unprecedented’ temperatures are usually measured next to concrete or tarmac airfield runways” isn’t actually a serious question, is it- any more than asking ‘why do you think Nigel Lawson eats babies out the back of a New York pizzaria’ is a serious question. It’s a daft, entirely unsubstantiated, evidenceless assertion regurgitated unquestioningly from a political blog, pretending to be a question- like all of your other assertions here.

False Progress
False Progress
1 year ago
Reply to  John Holland

People who think Man can’t simply be exacerbating the natural (base) greenhouse effect are a puzzling lot. When you explain to them that most of Earth would be frozen without CO2, they tend to clam up about CO2 being a mere “trace gas.” That is, if they don’t duck out of the whole conversation at that point, or rehash their old talking points.
We really have a simultaneous crisis of AGW plus reactionary, anti-environmental “solutions” like covering the last remnants of open space in ugly wind turbines, built and backed up by the same fossil fuels naĂŻve Greens assume they can replace. People have formed tribes and dug into shallow positions, not realizing that both sides have glaring deficiencies.
Even Paul Kingsnorth’s piece on firewood is detached from the amount of logging it requires unless purely random people burn it. Biofuels are the dirty secret majority of “renewable” energy.

Last edited 1 year ago by False Progress
Martin Brumby
Martin Brumby
1 year ago
Reply to  John Holland

Best mug up on what the IPCC’s “Summary for Policy Makers” claims.

A political document with a nice fig-leaf composed of activist “scientists” who find analysing actual measured data much to challenging and concentrate on computer generated prognoses generated by multiplying wild assed guesses together and tweaking the results to attempt to match past data which they have adjusted, ‘homogenised’ and tortured on an industrial scale.

Why do you think that ‘record’, ‘unprecedented’ temperatures are usually measured next to concrete or tarmac airfield runways’?

Why do you imagine that temperatures measured 50 years ago were mistakenly written down a degree or two higher than today’s geniuses predict they should have been and duly reduces.

I suggest you do your homework now, rather than carrying on quoting ridiculae from the likes of that great ‘scientist’ Justin Rowlatt on the BBC.

False Progress
False Progress
1 year ago
Reply to  John Holland

People who think Man can’t simply be exacerbating the natural (base) greenhouse effect are a puzzling lot. When you explain to them that most of Earth would be frozen without CO2, they tend to clam up about CO2 being a mere “trace gas.” That is, if they don’t duck out of the whole conversation at that point, or rehash their old talking points.
We really have a simultaneous crisis of AGW plus reactionary, anti-environmental “solutions” like covering the last remnants of open space in ugly wind turbines, built and backed up by the same fossil fuels naĂŻve Greens assume they can replace. People have formed tribes and dug into shallow positions, not realizing that both sides have glaring deficiencies.
Even Paul Kingsnorth’s piece on firewood is detached from the amount of logging it requires unless purely random people burn it. Biofuels are the dirty secret majority of “renewable” energy.

Last edited 1 year ago by False Progress
George Wells
George Wells
1 year ago
Reply to  John Riordan

Point 5) is key – that we aren’t preparing nuclear power.
6) Fossil fuels are essential for fertilisers and much else beyond power

Julian Pellatt
Julian Pellatt
1 year ago
Reply to  John Riordan

I understand your perspective.
Two points for consideration:
Human population – In November it became official: the global population now exceeds 8 billion! And yet, the overall thrust of Woking Class official pronouncements and reportage was to celebrate this fact! From the end of WW2 to today the total human population has grown by 5-6 billion. That is an appalling statistic, but it explains why there is so much environmental damage in the world. Yet, little or no effort is made to control human fertility and birthrates, especially in Africa which is completely out of control and where the big growth will occur in the decades ahead. Control and limit human population and the environmental problems will reduce. For example, feeling, heating, colling, etc. 5 billion people will have far less impact on the environment than 8-12 billion people! But our world leaders are ignoring the problem.Environmental socialism – the overall thrust of environmental politics is not to save the environment as such, but to transfer wealth from the developed (rich) nations to the developing (poor) nations. This political imperative is driven by Marxist dogma; the struggle of the oppressed against their oppressors. Just consider the recent establishment from COP27, under the auspices of the United Nations, the much-trumpeted “Loss and Damage” Fund for Vulnerable Countries. All this will achieve is the transfer wealth to poor nations and probably the swelling of already-bulging private banks accounts in Switzerland and elsewhere.
‘Climate change’ has become a gigantic global industry. Whole scientific careers are predicated and played out in this context, and depend upon funding from the political elites to pursue their research. But ‘he who pays the piper calls the tune’; and dissenting scientific voices are hardly ever heard, or are discredited and dismissed by the media owned and influenced by the same political class. Anyone who disagrees with the accepted orthodoxy is vilified as a ‘climate change denier’ rather than being listened to and taken seriously.
That is our modern era!

John Holland
John Holland
1 year ago
Reply to  Julian Pellatt

Thank you for your thoughtful, knowledgeable and original contribution.

John Holland
John Holland
1 year ago
Reply to  Julian Pellatt

Except, of course, that no-one has a ‘right’ for their opinions on any articular subject to be “taken seriously”- this is a tenet of ‘woke’ ideology that you seem to have swallowed wholesale.
A person’s views on a complex, specialist subject like science only have the right to be “taken seriously” if they are actually serious; if the person holding forth has sufficient understanding and knowledge of the subject to have earned a hearing. “Taking seriously” the half-baked rantings of every ill-educated internet warrior on complex scientific issues is the fast-track to a relativist idiocracy.

John Holland
John Holland
1 year ago
Reply to  Julian Pellatt

Thank you for your thoughtful, knowledgeable and original contribution.

John Holland
John Holland
1 year ago
Reply to  Julian Pellatt

Except, of course, that no-one has a ‘right’ for their opinions on any articular subject to be “taken seriously”- this is a tenet of ‘woke’ ideology that you seem to have swallowed wholesale.
A person’s views on a complex, specialist subject like science only have the right to be “taken seriously” if they are actually serious; if the person holding forth has sufficient understanding and knowledge of the subject to have earned a hearing. “Taking seriously” the half-baked rantings of every ill-educated internet warrior on complex scientific issues is the fast-track to a relativist idiocracy.

False Progress
False Progress
1 year ago
Reply to  John Riordan

You’re piling a ton of assumptions on the notion that your first 3 points are more than just your unscientific opinion! That’s not how critical thinking works.
There’s also a huge difference between certain reactions to climate change and whether it’s a problem at all. It would be convenient to pretend AGW is just a leftist cause, but CO2 doesn’t care about Man’s fate.

Last edited 1 year ago by False Progress
John Holland
John Holland
1 year ago
Reply to  John Riordan

“Not a scrap of evidence anywhere that supports all these ideas together.”
Evidence never supports an entire list of ideas, from the contents of the atmosphere to human political and economic policies, “together’. Even the benefits of nuclear power are a highly contested subject within the ‘Green’ movement.
That’s not how evidence works- it’s how ideology works. You seem rather epistemologically confused.

John Holland
John Holland
1 year ago
Reply to  John Riordan

By the way, no serious scientist has claimed, to my knowledge, that the ‘natural’ drivers of climate change no longer operate, alongside the human-created driver of CO2 and other greenhouse gas build-up.
I’m not sure where you got that idea from, but if you’re talking about ‘myths’, that’s certainly one.

George Wells
George Wells
1 year ago
Reply to  John Riordan

Point 5) is key – that we aren’t preparing nuclear power.
6) Fossil fuels are essential for fertilisers and much else beyond power

Julian Pellatt
Julian Pellatt
1 year ago
Reply to  John Riordan

I understand your perspective.
Two points for consideration:
Human population – In November it became official: the global population now exceeds 8 billion! And yet, the overall thrust of Woking Class official pronouncements and reportage was to celebrate this fact! From the end of WW2 to today the total human population has grown by 5-6 billion. That is an appalling statistic, but it explains why there is so much environmental damage in the world. Yet, little or no effort is made to control human fertility and birthrates, especially in Africa which is completely out of control and where the big growth will occur in the decades ahead. Control and limit human population and the environmental problems will reduce. For example, feeling, heating, colling, etc. 5 billion people will have far less impact on the environment than 8-12 billion people! But our world leaders are ignoring the problem.Environmental socialism – the overall thrust of environmental politics is not to save the environment as such, but to transfer wealth from the developed (rich) nations to the developing (poor) nations. This political imperative is driven by Marxist dogma; the struggle of the oppressed against their oppressors. Just consider the recent establishment from COP27, under the auspices of the United Nations, the much-trumpeted “Loss and Damage” Fund for Vulnerable Countries. All this will achieve is the transfer wealth to poor nations and probably the swelling of already-bulging private banks accounts in Switzerland and elsewhere.
‘Climate change’ has become a gigantic global industry. Whole scientific careers are predicated and played out in this context, and depend upon funding from the political elites to pursue their research. But ‘he who pays the piper calls the tune’; and dissenting scientific voices are hardly ever heard, or are discredited and dismissed by the media owned and influenced by the same political class. Anyone who disagrees with the accepted orthodoxy is vilified as a ‘climate change denier’ rather than being listened to and taken seriously.
That is our modern era!

False Progress
False Progress
1 year ago
Reply to  John Riordan

You’re piling a ton of assumptions on the notion that your first 3 points are more than just your unscientific opinion! That’s not how critical thinking works.
There’s also a huge difference between certain reactions to climate change and whether it’s a problem at all. It would be convenient to pretend AGW is just a leftist cause, but CO2 doesn’t care about Man’s fate.

Last edited 1 year ago by False Progress
John Holland
John Holland
1 year ago
Reply to  Martin Brumby

“Completely debunked” by whom?
Please give some scientific references to your sweeping claim. And I mean scientific, not an ideological lobby group run by a politician.

Martin Brumby
Martin Brumby
1 year ago
Reply to  John Holland

I recommended that you do your homework and look at some of the Global Warming Policy Foundation’s publications. [thegwpf.org].
Yes they may have a politician as a President, Nigel Lawson, who was almost certainly the best Energy Minister in the last 50 years (OK, not much of a recommendation when you consider the other no-hopers).
But they have 24 Professors of Climate related subjects amongst their Trustees and Academic Advisory Panel.
Truth isn’t necessarily the preserve of large numbers of Scientists, of course. And Einstein’s retort with regard to his theory, when he heard that a book titled “100 Authors against Einstein” was published in Germany, was to point out that “If I were wrong, it would only take one.”
But I don’t think you can just wave away the GWPF as an an “ideological lobby group”.
Certainly an improvement on the Grauniad, anyway. As paid for by Soros and Gates.

John Holland
John Holland
1 year ago
Reply to  Martin Brumby

If it’s alright with you, I’ll do my science “homework” from science sources, not political lobby sites. I wouldn’t seek out the Guardian’s view on science, either- why would I?
As for the old internet ‘Einstein’ cliche,
A. much of the opposition to his theory at the time was ideological and even anti-Semitic, from non-or-anti-scientific ideological sources, and
B. most of the scientific community fairly quickly realised the usefulness of Relativity as a theory to explain various problematic issues, as science generally does. Most outliers in science remain outliers, and are forgotten for good reason. If you support the ‘one’ against the ‘many’, you need bloody good scientific reasons for doing so- simply repeating that cliche isn’t one of them.
Why would anyone with an interest in a scientific issue seek their information from non-science sites, rather than the vast online resources of genuine scientific bodies and scientists? I mean, what made you decide to dismiss every science institute in the world and go with the one (political) source that fits your ideological ideas? That’s a genuine question…

John Holland
John Holland
1 year ago
Reply to  Martin Brumby

If it’s alright with you, I’ll do my science “homework” from science sources, not political lobby sites. I wouldn’t seek out the Guardian’s view on science, either- why would I?
As for the old internet ‘Einstein’ cliche,
A. much of the opposition to his theory at the time was ideological and even anti-Semitic, from non-or-anti-scientific ideological sources, and
B. most of the scientific community fairly quickly realised the usefulness of Relativity as a theory to explain various problematic issues, as science generally does. Most outliers in science remain outliers, and are forgotten for good reason. If you support the ‘one’ against the ‘many’, you need bloody good scientific reasons for doing so- simply repeating that cliche isn’t one of them.
Why would anyone with an interest in a scientific issue seek their information from non-science sites, rather than the vast online resources of genuine scientific bodies and scientists? I mean, what made you decide to dismiss every science institute in the world and go with the one (political) source that fits your ideological ideas? That’s a genuine question…

Martin Brumby
Martin Brumby
1 year ago
Reply to  John Holland

I recommended that you do your homework and look at some of the Global Warming Policy Foundation’s publications. [thegwpf.org].
Yes they may have a politician as a President, Nigel Lawson, who was almost certainly the best Energy Minister in the last 50 years (OK, not much of a recommendation when you consider the other no-hopers).
But they have 24 Professors of Climate related subjects amongst their Trustees and Academic Advisory Panel.
Truth isn’t necessarily the preserve of large numbers of Scientists, of course. And Einstein’s retort with regard to his theory, when he heard that a book titled “100 Authors against Einstein” was published in Germany, was to point out that “If I were wrong, it would only take one.”
But I don’t think you can just wave away the GWPF as an an “ideological lobby group”.
Certainly an improvement on the Grauniad, anyway. As paid for by Soros and Gates.

John Holland
John Holland
1 year ago
Reply to  Martin Brumby

By the way, I like the claim that something is both “trivial” AND “entirely beneficial”.
I’m not sure how this is meaningfully possible, but it certainly covers all bases, which is undoubtedly how the scientific method operates.

Martin Brumby
Martin Brumby
1 year ago
Reply to  John Holland

Well the alleged trivial 1.1ÂșC warming since the end of the Little Ice Age (~170 years) is entirely beneficial. Even in India, far more people die of cold than heat.
And the extra CO2 has ‘Greened’ the planet by an area twice the size of Australia. (Check with NASA).

John Holland
John Holland
1 year ago
Reply to  Martin Brumby

So now you claim it’s NOT trivial at all, but hugely significant?
Just trying to get you to make your mind up….

John Holland
John Holland
1 year ago
Reply to  Martin Brumby

So now you claim it’s NOT trivial at all, but hugely significant?
Just trying to get you to make your mind up….

Martin Brumby
Martin Brumby
1 year ago
Reply to  John Holland

Well the alleged trivial 1.1ÂșC warming since the end of the Little Ice Age (~170 years) is entirely beneficial. Even in India, far more people die of cold than heat.
And the extra CO2 has ‘Greened’ the planet by an area twice the size of Australia. (Check with NASA).

Martin Brumby
Martin Brumby
1 year ago
Reply to  Martin Brumby

And, for the avoidance of doubt, I will continue to burn well seasoned logs in my woodburner, until Drax has been strictly prohibited from burning American wood pellets from clear cut forests (all prepared, processed and transported using “fossil fuels”) and once the perpetrators and the politicians who are paying them almost a Billion of taxpayers’ money per year for this blatant scam, producing twice as much CO2 as burning Yorkshire coal, are all serving long prison sentences for their cynical, corrupt, incompetence.

John Riordan
John Riordan
1 year ago
Reply to  Martin Brumby

Thank you – to be specific, what I am calling a myth is a concatenation of several distinct claims which when taken in total possess no defence in actual scientific evidence anywhere. These are
1) That the climate is changing
2) That it is changing now because of human activity and no longer through the natural forces that have been the reason for about four billion years
3) That this effect is principally the result of human CO2 emissions which are apparently responsible for the rise in atmospheric concentration from 280ppm in 1800 to 410ppm in 2022
4) That this effect is pronounced enough to destabilise the climate and lead to immediate existential risks which at the very least threaten humanity and possibly life itself generally.

5) That the ONLY course of action available to us is to decarbonise urgently even if this causes economic collapse and mass poverty, but for some strange reason this decarbonisation process must not include nuclear power as a large scale replacement for fossil fuel energy.

There is not a scrap of evidence anywhere that supports all these ideas together, and it is this set of ideas that I am calling a myth.

John Holland
John Holland
1 year ago
Reply to  Martin Brumby

“Completely debunked” by whom?
Please give some scientific references to your sweeping claim. And I mean scientific, not an ideological lobby group run by a politician.

John Holland
John Holland
1 year ago
Reply to  Martin Brumby

By the way, I like the claim that something is both “trivial” AND “entirely beneficial”.
I’m not sure how this is meaningfully possible, but it certainly covers all bases, which is undoubtedly how the scientific method operates.

Andy Moore
Andy Moore
1 year ago
Reply to  John Holland

You appear to have missed out the word emergency in your response. Climate change is real, however Climate Change Emergency is the myth.

John Riordan
John Riordan
1 year ago
Reply to  John Holland

Actually, there is nothing that requires me to prove this claim in the context of the specific point I am making. I made the remark about the climate change myth as an aside that adds a further dimension of absurdity to the position taken by climate politics. But if let’s say for the sake of argument that I accepted that climate change is real, presents near-term dangers, and requires an emergency response from humanity, my central point still stands that the climate establishment is a failed agenda because it refuses to offer alternatives to mass-poverty as a solution despite the fact that it is emphatically not necessary and that there are readily available technological solutions that preserve rising prosperity and permit humans to live in balance with the natural world.

On your second point, since I am not required to agree with the article, it’s irrelevant. Nor do I need to defend the notion of any consumerist article of faith, since this is a red herring introduced by yourself: material wealth proves its own point of existence by simply being useful to humans. If there are some of us that prefer an ascetic existence than that is for them to decide for themselves only and for nobody else.

John Holland
John Holland
1 year ago
Reply to  John Riordan

If I claim something is a “myth”, then it’s entirely reasonable that I should be able explain the objective (in this case, scientific) reasons for my claim.
What the solutions might or might not be to AGW is an entirely separate issue to the issue of its empirical truth. If you want to be spoonfed instant ‘solutions’ to the entire problem by this imagined omniscient and all-encompassing notion of “the climate establishment”, whatever you imagine that might be, you will, of course, be disappointed.

John Riordan
John Riordan
1 year ago
Reply to  John Holland

No – wrong. The burden of proof lies with those who claim that dangerous AGW is real, dangerous and requires immediate decarbonisation. There is no proof for this, and it is not up to me to prove the negative in question.

John Holland
John Holland
1 year ago
Reply to  John Riordan

Of course there is no absolute proof for this, partly because you are conflating several different things to simultaneously ‘prove’, and partly because the concept of proof is largely confined to maths anyway.
The sciences of climate, the atmosphere and the workings of the planetary systems generally are largely about probability, not proof. It is ‘proven’, as nearly as anything is proven in chemistry, that carbon dioxide is a ‘greenhouse’ gas, i.e., it has the property of inhibiting the dissemination of heat in proportion to its presence in the atmospheric mix of gases. This has been known for well over a century. Eighty years of research has convinced most scientists that this will very likely have serious effects on the planet’s temperature, which in turn will very likely have all manner of further repercussions.
The question an intelligent person needs to ask is not ‘is this absolutely proven, if not, it must be ignored’, but ‘what is the probability that this will be a problem, and how much do we need to mitigate it’. Just as a reasonable response to a mechanic telling you that your brakes ‘might’ fail because of a fault would surely NOT be ‘either you give me absolute proof that my brakes will fail tomorrow, or I’ll ignore you’.

John Holland
John Holland
1 year ago
Reply to  John Holland

By the way, in what form would this”proof” be acceptable to you, personally?
A full scientific paper is the very least that would be needed- more likely a series given the complexity and breadth of the subject- with the relevant advanced chemistry and physics, complex statistical analysis, probability theory and much else beside. You will, I’m sure, be able to judge the veracity of all this, given your knowledge of the subject, but many less scientifically-minded people might find it a bit difficult to come to a definitive conclusion about it. So it might not actually be the final arbiter you want, even if such a thing as ‘absolute proof’ was a coherent concept in the context.

John Holland
John Holland
1 year ago
Reply to  John Holland

By the way, in what form would this”proof” be acceptable to you, personally?
A full scientific paper is the very least that would be needed- more likely a series given the complexity and breadth of the subject- with the relevant advanced chemistry and physics, complex statistical analysis, probability theory and much else beside. You will, I’m sure, be able to judge the veracity of all this, given your knowledge of the subject, but many less scientifically-minded people might find it a bit difficult to come to a definitive conclusion about it. So it might not actually be the final arbiter you want, even if such a thing as ‘absolute proof’ was a coherent concept in the context.

Ian Morris
Ian Morris
1 year ago
Reply to  John Riordan

Well said. If it were possible to ignore all the climate alarmist propaganda we have been subjected to over the last 20 years, an averagely intelligent man would think it absurd that a trace gas such as CO2 ( four hundredths of one percent of the atmosphere) controls our climate. It is up to proponents of this silly theory to provide evidence. So far they have failed to do this. It is looking more and more like a complete scam.

John Holland
John Holland
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Morris

Since when did an “averagely intelligent man”, with no particular scientific knowledge, form the basis of judgements of the veracity of scientific theories?
An “averagely intelligent man” would have thought Einstein’s Theory of Relativity “absurd” in the 1920’s, and most still would, if they ever bothered reading about it; an “averagely intelligent man” doesn’t have the slightest grasp of nuclear fission- so what? Is this the level of all human knowledge, now? Popular vote?
Votes are for politics, not science.

John Holland
John Holland
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Morris

Since when did an “averagely intelligent man”, with no particular scientific knowledge, form the basis of judgements of the veracity of scientific theories?
An “averagely intelligent man” would have thought Einstein’s Theory of Relativity “absurd” in the 1920’s, and most still would, if they ever bothered reading about it; an “averagely intelligent man” doesn’t have the slightest grasp of nuclear fission- so what? Is this the level of all human knowledge, now? Popular vote?
Votes are for politics, not science.

John Holland
John Holland
1 year ago
Reply to  John Riordan

Of course there is no absolute proof for this, partly because you are conflating several different things to simultaneously ‘prove’, and partly because the concept of proof is largely confined to maths anyway.
The sciences of climate, the atmosphere and the workings of the planetary systems generally are largely about probability, not proof. It is ‘proven’, as nearly as anything is proven in chemistry, that carbon dioxide is a ‘greenhouse’ gas, i.e., it has the property of inhibiting the dissemination of heat in proportion to its presence in the atmospheric mix of gases. This has been known for well over a century. Eighty years of research has convinced most scientists that this will very likely have serious effects on the planet’s temperature, which in turn will very likely have all manner of further repercussions.
The question an intelligent person needs to ask is not ‘is this absolutely proven, if not, it must be ignored’, but ‘what is the probability that this will be a problem, and how much do we need to mitigate it’. Just as a reasonable response to a mechanic telling you that your brakes ‘might’ fail because of a fault would surely NOT be ‘either you give me absolute proof that my brakes will fail tomorrow, or I’ll ignore you’.

Ian Morris
Ian Morris
1 year ago
Reply to  John Riordan

Well said. If it were possible to ignore all the climate alarmist propaganda we have been subjected to over the last 20 years, an averagely intelligent man would think it absurd that a trace gas such as CO2 ( four hundredths of one percent of the atmosphere) controls our climate. It is up to proponents of this silly theory to provide evidence. So far they have failed to do this. It is looking more and more like a complete scam.

Martin Brumby
Martin Brumby
1 year ago
Reply to  John Holland

You will definitely be bitterly disappointed with anything emanating from the “climate establishment” and have been ever since that addled egg cracked open.

John Holland
John Holland
1 year ago
Reply to  Martin Brumby

Not at all sure what that means, but yes, absolutely. That pesky “climate establishment”…

John Holland
John Holland
1 year ago
Reply to  Martin Brumby

Not at all sure what that means, but yes, absolutely. That pesky “climate establishment”…

John Riordan
John Riordan
1 year ago
Reply to  John Holland

No – wrong. The burden of proof lies with those who claim that dangerous AGW is real, dangerous and requires immediate decarbonisation. There is no proof for this, and it is not up to me to prove the negative in question.

Martin Brumby
Martin Brumby
1 year ago
Reply to  John Holland

You will definitely be bitterly disappointed with anything emanating from the “climate establishment” and have been ever since that addled egg cracked open.

John Holland
John Holland
1 year ago
Reply to  John Riordan

If I claim something is a “myth”, then it’s entirely reasonable that I should be able explain the objective (in this case, scientific) reasons for my claim.
What the solutions might or might not be to AGW is an entirely separate issue to the issue of its empirical truth. If you want to be spoonfed instant ‘solutions’ to the entire problem by this imagined omniscient and all-encompassing notion of “the climate establishment”, whatever you imagine that might be, you will, of course, be disappointed.

Mark Pinkerton
Mark Pinkerton
1 year ago
Reply to  John Holland

Not looking too warm in North America just now.

John Holland
John Holland
1 year ago
Reply to  Mark Pinkerton

Well done. Ain’t science great!

John Holland
John Holland
1 year ago
Reply to  Mark Pinkerton

Well done. Ain’t science great!

Peter Johnson
Peter Johnson
1 year ago
Reply to  John Holland

You don’t even have to challenge the consensus science. A good example is ‘extreme weather.’ The most recent IPCC report states that they don’t attribute extreme weather events to climate change. The IPCC reports are the consensus science. Yet we are told by politicians, government agencies and the mainstream media that every extreme weather event is due to global warming. That is literally misinformation – propaganda.

John Holland
John Holland
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Johnson

The IPCC report says that you cannot attribute any specific single weather event to climate change. That’s not the same thing.
Of course one cannot do this- climate is not weather, and no competent scientist would say that one specific event can be definitively attributed to an overall trend. What this trend DOES do is make such events more likely- it is, as usual with any system as complex as the weather, down to changes in probability. Just as normal daily weather forecasts are not ‘predictions’, but estimates of probability.

Benjamin Jones
Benjamin Jones
1 year ago
Reply to  John Holland

Yet the BBC with the aid of its weather forecasters always attribute single weather events to climate change. Floods in Pakistan, climate change. Fires in Australia, climate change. 40C in the UK, climate change and so on.

John Holland
John Holland
1 year ago
Reply to  Benjamin Jones

If they make a simple attribution (I have yet to hear them do this, Ive always heard probabilities being spoken of), then sure, they are being hugely simplistic.

John Holland
John Holland
1 year ago
Reply to  Benjamin Jones

If they make a simple attribution (I have yet to hear them do this, Ive always heard probabilities being spoken of), then sure, they are being hugely simplistic.

Benjamin Jones
Benjamin Jones
1 year ago
Reply to  John Holland

Yet the BBC with the aid of its weather forecasters always attribute single weather events to climate change. Floods in Pakistan, climate change. Fires in Australia, climate change. 40C in the UK, climate change and so on.

John Holland
John Holland
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Johnson

The IPCC report says that you cannot attribute any specific single weather event to climate change. That’s not the same thing.
Of course one cannot do this- climate is not weather, and no competent scientist would say that one specific event can be definitively attributed to an overall trend. What this trend DOES do is make such events more likely- it is, as usual with any system as complex as the weather, down to changes in probability. Just as normal daily weather forecasts are not ‘predictions’, but estimates of probability.

Martin Brumby
Martin Brumby
1 year ago
Reply to  John Holland

Climate change is, of course, very far from a myth. The climate has always ‘changed’ and always will. The ‘myth’ that John Riordan refers to is the completely debunked lie that the driver of warming since the 1980s suddenly became ‘anthropogenic’ – having previously been natural since the end of the Little Ice Age which ended in the C.19th.
Man’s contribution to this ‘warming’ by ‘burning things’ is trivial and entirely beneficial.
If you doubt this, then you have a lot of homework to catch up on. Try visiting the Global Warming Policy Foundation site for a start.

Andy Moore
Andy Moore
1 year ago
Reply to  John Holland

You appear to have missed out the word emergency in your response. Climate change is real, however Climate Change Emergency is the myth.

John Riordan
John Riordan
1 year ago
Reply to  John Holland

Actually, there is nothing that requires me to prove this claim in the context of the specific point I am making. I made the remark about the climate change myth as an aside that adds a further dimension of absurdity to the position taken by climate politics. But if let’s say for the sake of argument that I accepted that climate change is real, presents near-term dangers, and requires an emergency response from humanity, my central point still stands that the climate establishment is a failed agenda because it refuses to offer alternatives to mass-poverty as a solution despite the fact that it is emphatically not necessary and that there are readily available technological solutions that preserve rising prosperity and permit humans to live in balance with the natural world.

On your second point, since I am not required to agree with the article, it’s irrelevant. Nor do I need to defend the notion of any consumerist article of faith, since this is a red herring introduced by yourself: material wealth proves its own point of existence by simply being useful to humans. If there are some of us that prefer an ascetic existence than that is for them to decide for themselves only and for nobody else.

Mark Pinkerton
Mark Pinkerton
1 year ago
Reply to  John Holland

Not looking too warm in North America just now.

Peter Johnson
Peter Johnson
1 year ago
Reply to  John Holland

You don’t even have to challenge the consensus science. A good example is ‘extreme weather.’ The most recent IPCC report states that they don’t attribute extreme weather events to climate change. The IPCC reports are the consensus science. Yet we are told by politicians, government agencies and the mainstream media that every extreme weather event is due to global warming. That is literally misinformation – propaganda.

Peter Johnson
Peter Johnson
1 year ago
Reply to  John Riordan

A case in point – the Canadian government is proposing extreme electric battery car mandates. I have nothing against the technology- they may make sense in the city. I may even get one as a second car for my family. But electric batteries simply don’t work very well in the cold. Much of Canada is very very cold in winter – think -30 for weeks on end. Much of Canada remains rural as well. So you may need to travel 50 km to the nearest town centre to get groceries. And of course these vehicles are very expensive. To force this technology on people simply makes no sense at all. Yet they still want to do it. Why? None of it makes sense unless you start to entertain hidden agendas.

Last edited 1 year ago by Peter Johnson
John Holland
John Holland
1 year ago
Reply to  John Riordan

Firstly, it would help if you provided some meaningful scientific evidence that the “climate change myth” is indeed a myth. If you’re going to dismiss the scientific ‘establishment’, as the new populist terminology has i- as bunk, something more cogent than mere bald assertion would be useful.
Secondly, you are radically opposing the article’s arguments with your promotion of endlessly higher “living standards” (a consumerist article of faith) and the “personal choice”, also a pseudo-religious tenet of the cult of the globalised individual consumer. It would be more interesting if you engaged with that fundamental difference of view, rather than merely finding what you want to find in it and ignoring the meat.

Peter Johnson
Peter Johnson
1 year ago
Reply to  John Riordan

A case in point – the Canadian government is proposing extreme electric battery car mandates. I have nothing against the technology- they may make sense in the city. I may even get one as a second car for my family. But electric batteries simply don’t work very well in the cold. Much of Canada is very very cold in winter – think -30 for weeks on end. Much of Canada remains rural as well. So you may need to travel 50 km to the nearest town centre to get groceries. And of course these vehicles are very expensive. To force this technology on people simply makes no sense at all. Yet they still want to do it. Why? None of it makes sense unless you start to entertain hidden agendas.

Last edited 1 year ago by Peter Johnson
John Holland
John Holland
1 year ago
Reply to  Cantab Man

I think you would find that the author would have a profound disagreement with your notion of “progress”.

Jonas Moze
Jonas Moze
1 year ago
Reply to  Cantab Man

”These are the same self-important individuals who travel to Davos”

I am afraid you totally misunderstand the Davos group. Yes, Green energy is the tool of their global conquest – by undermining how the globe handles energy they take control of every economy, and also every individual. Consumption of energy has always been directly, and lineally, aligned with GDP and wealth. By altering this they can break societies to their will; destroy pensions, savings, economies. Watch the World Economic Forum – ‘The Great Reset’ is entirely based on energy reduction and redistribution. King Charles gave some of the WEF’s main speeches, and is aligned with them – please check youtube to verify all I say, it is all there right from WEF themselves.

Anyway, the Davos group is not

”They eagerly seek for riches to purchase a beachfront vacation home for themselves even as they tell others”

about such petty things as wealth. They are the leadership of the world’s top 1000 companies, which in fact are all owned/controlled by the 4 largest hedge funds who control all management of wealth, from controlling the voting on the stock of all the corporations.

Davos are so far above wishing wealth for beach house as Nero was above wanting money to have a good Chariot team – they play in Global Power – they are in a whole different reality from us, one of sheer power as Alexander the Great, Napoleon, Louis XIV, Gengas Khan, Darius of Persia, Caesar, and so on….Only it seems certain they will conquer the world, and with technology, keep it enslaved for all time.

And ‘Green Energy’, with Carbon Credits and sustainability, and so on are their weapons of conquest – and they have almost finished their plans to own the world.

Jerry Mee-Crowbin
Jerry Mee-Crowbin
1 year ago
Reply to  Jonas Moze
Jerry Mee-Crowbin
Jerry Mee-Crowbin
1 year ago
Reply to  Jonas Moze
Jeff Cunningham
Jeff Cunningham
1 year ago
Reply to  Cantab Man

You can’t eat in five star restaurants or stay in five star hotels if you attend Davos via zoom.

Peter Johnson
Peter Johnson
1 year ago
Reply to  Cantab Man

The Obamas recently installed huge propane tanks under their property in Martha’s Vineyard. Propane is very good for prepping because it doesn’t degrade during storage. So they will be fine when the power grid fails. Doesn’t bode well for the rest of us.

Jerry Mee-Crowbin
Jerry Mee-Crowbin
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Johnson

The house the Obamas recently bought is apparently only 1.5m above sea level so I guess he managed to stop sea levels rising at least!

John Ramsden
John Ramsden
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Johnson

Propane isn’t as good as butane for indoor use, as its combustion releases prodigious amounts of water vapour. On the other hand, because of its considerably lower freezing point (-42 deg C vs -2 deg C for butane), propane is better for outdoor storage.

Last edited 1 year ago by John Ramsden
Jerry Mee-Crowbin
Jerry Mee-Crowbin
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Johnson

The house the Obamas recently bought is apparently only 1.5m above sea level so I guess he managed to stop sea levels rising at least!

John Ramsden
John Ramsden
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Johnson

Propane isn’t as good as butane for indoor use, as its combustion releases prodigious amounts of water vapour. On the other hand, because of its considerably lower freezing point (-42 deg C vs -2 deg C for butane), propane is better for outdoor storage.

Last edited 1 year ago by John Ramsden
John Riordan
John Riordan
1 year ago
Reply to  Cantab Man

Agree 100%.

What amazes me about modern politicians and activists who peddle the climate change emergency myth is that there is no sense, anywhere in what they’re saying, that they themselves have failed. They are basically saying that despite the fact that technological progress itself has not stopped, that all the known channels of wealth creation are still available, and that we have literally millions of years’ worth of artifical energy beneath our feet that we can use with present-day technology, we are for some reason expected to reduce radically our consumption of energy and to tolerate large falls in living standards and personal choice.

Anyone proposing to make decisions affecting the rest of us who puts forward such proposals has by definition failed to a colossal and embarrassing degree. Yet what we appear t be seeing instead is high-handed arrogance and a seemingly limitless appetite for more authority and power.

John Holland
John Holland
1 year ago
Reply to  Cantab Man

I think you would find that the author would have a profound disagreement with your notion of “progress”.

Jonas Moze
Jonas Moze
1 year ago
Reply to  Cantab Man

”These are the same self-important individuals who travel to Davos”

I am afraid you totally misunderstand the Davos group. Yes, Green energy is the tool of their global conquest – by undermining how the globe handles energy they take control of every economy, and also every individual. Consumption of energy has always been directly, and lineally, aligned with GDP and wealth. By altering this they can break societies to their will; destroy pensions, savings, economies. Watch the World Economic Forum – ‘The Great Reset’ is entirely based on energy reduction and redistribution. King Charles gave some of the WEF’s main speeches, and is aligned with them – please check youtube to verify all I say, it is all there right from WEF themselves.

Anyway, the Davos group is not

”They eagerly seek for riches to purchase a beachfront vacation home for themselves even as they tell others”

about such petty things as wealth. They are the leadership of the world’s top 1000 companies, which in fact are all owned/controlled by the 4 largest hedge funds who control all management of wealth, from controlling the voting on the stock of all the corporations.

Davos are so far above wishing wealth for beach house as Nero was above wanting money to have a good Chariot team – they play in Global Power – they are in a whole different reality from us, one of sheer power as Alexander the Great, Napoleon, Louis XIV, Gengas Khan, Darius of Persia, Caesar, and so on….Only it seems certain they will conquer the world, and with technology, keep it enslaved for all time.

And ‘Green Energy’, with Carbon Credits and sustainability, and so on are their weapons of conquest – and they have almost finished their plans to own the world.

Jeff Cunningham
Jeff Cunningham
1 year ago
Reply to  Cantab Man

You can’t eat in five star restaurants or stay in five star hotels if you attend Davos via zoom.

Peter Johnson
Peter Johnson
1 year ago
Reply to  Cantab Man

The Obamas recently installed huge propane tanks under their property in Martha’s Vineyard. Propane is very good for prepping because it doesn’t degrade during storage. So they will be fine when the power grid fails. Doesn’t bode well for the rest of us.

Cantab Man
Cantab Man
1 year ago

Beautifully written.

Many of society’s leaders today demonstrate a desperate-yet-smug vanity as they reach for easy answers (for them) to ‘heal the planet.’ Those who clamor to remove the burning of a fire to heat homes are the same people who do not need to procure warmth by such means.

These are the same self-important individuals who travel to Davos on private (or commercial) planes when a virtual video conference works just fine but is, perhaps, not as exciting.

They eagerly seek for riches to purchase a beachfront vacation home for themselves even as they tell others that the sea levels are rising to the point of drowning cities and towns near ocean shores.

They cry for the end of nuclear power and gas-powered combustable engines because they can afford to put solar panels on their rooftops with very expensive battery panels to store the power and they purchase $70K Teslas.

Many of society’s leaders today do not seek to implement solutions that require personal, real sacrifice. Instead, they push the concept of ‘forced scarcity’ upon others…in other words, they take away the means of survival for many of their fellow citizens without identifying and implementing realistic substitutes. Sacrifice, in their minds, is for poor people (often in poor countries). This approach is the new-and-improved version of colonization by wealthier societal strata over the poorer classes of the world.

In my opinion, if politicians and other leaders are going to take away the realistic means for people to heat homes, travel to/from work, secure food for ones-self and one’s family, these politicians/leaders are responsible to provide the equal-or-better replacement in advance…this is their job. Their job is not to send their fellow citizens and the poor of the world back 150 years in terms of progress and then tell those citizens to ‘figure it out…and good luck.’ Such laziness in leadership is not acceptable.

Malcolm Webb
Malcolm Webb
1 year ago

If this essay had been restricted to using the example of the wood fire to exemplify the dangers of an ever more powerful ( I would say Socialist) State increasingly controlling the way it’s citizens go about their daily lives it would have been fine. Sadly however, it turned into an anti Capitalist rant against modernity coupled with a Panglossian plea for a return to rural self sufficiency.

I can only say to this author “wake up and smell the coffee”. In the U.K. today everyone is immeasurably better off in mind, body and spirit than the 90 per cent of the population who lived in abject and absolute poverty before the Industrial Revolution. Furthermore, Capitalism has lifted billions of people across the world out of hopeless destitution – and continues to do so.

It is also sadly too typical of a man ( and the author is such) to have this idealised view of the industrially undeveloped world. Go to the more undeveloped parts of Africa ( unfortunately there are still many of them) and see the women – always women – walking miles each day to collect large bundles of wood and ferry heavy containers of water to their families living in rural hovels with no potable water supply, no sewers, no electricity but only wood fires and maybe a kerosene lamp. Then try to persuade yourself of the nobility, dignity and spiritual benefits of subsistence living.

The author’s attack on modern society industrial goes way too far and throws the baby out along with the bath water.

By the way, in my childhood home we had no running hot water and each of my family of five took one bath a week in a tin bath set before the fire. Frankly it was a difficult, time consuming process which was not without its dangers ( pots of boiling water carried from stove to bath) and somewhat humiliating for all – bar me. As the youngest I was first in the queue and enjoyed clean water. Apologies if that sounds a bit like the Yorkshire “ You we’re lucky..” joke – but please don’t preach to me about the good old days of rural working class life and ritual around the domestic hearth.

Bruce Luffman
Bruce Luffman
1 year ago
Reply to  Malcolm Webb

I did not read the article in the way you have. I think the author was using the focus of the wood fire to say so much more about, for example, the loss of the women’s position in the family as the matriarch. Contrary to what the 1960s feminists thought, woem had the power because they ruled the house.
He was writing about the loss of the home as a unifying base and how the woke liberal left have undermined society by breaking the fundamental basis of family to cause unrest and unhappiness by focusing on accumulation of ‘things’, criticising Christianity and and anti male and female marriage legislation. This unrest is caused so that power can be in the hands of the few like WEF billionaires, secularists, pushers of trans nonsense and those provoking false racist propaganda and who are anti families and community so that they can maintain power through division.
Surely, we need to maintain the figurative fireplace at the centre of our lives to succeed as rounded and……….free human beings.

Malcolm Webb
Malcolm Webb
1 year ago
Reply to  Bruce Luffman

Thank you for your thoughtful observation. Maybe I did go overboard – possibly triggered by what I saw as clear anti Capitalist rhetoric. However I am also very suspicious of somewhat uncritical appreciation if former times – which, speaking from my own experience ( I was born in 1949) were no where near as happy and contented for ordinary folk as some people – including I thought the author of this piece- would have us believe. But again maybe that my particular prejudice showing through!

Malcolm Webb
Malcolm Webb
1 year ago
Reply to  Bruce Luffman

Thank you for your thoughtful observation. Maybe I did go overboard – possibly triggered by what I saw as clear anti Capitalist rhetoric. However I am also very suspicious of somewhat uncritical appreciation if former times – which, speaking from my own experience ( I was born in 1949) were no where near as happy and contented for ordinary folk as some people – including I thought the author of this piece- would have us believe. But again maybe that my particular prejudice showing through!

John Riordan
John Riordan
1 year ago
Reply to  Malcolm Webb

I agree with you wholly on the matter of what living standards were really like prior to modernity. But I am not sure the article argues for a return to self-sufficiency in principle, it rather points out what the costs of system dependency have been and, in particular, the potential dangers we’re exposed to as a consequence in the potential for State overreach.

Malcolm Webb
Malcolm Webb
1 year ago
Reply to  John Riordan

Thanks. A good comment. I did acknowledge the commentary on State overreach – but it was the anti Capitalist stuff that really set me off! Coming from a working class family I am also always in the lookout for misunderstanding of and condescension towards people like my very hardworking parents, who so much wanted better for their children- and who, through loving example and encouragement, helped us to achieve it at some cost to themselves.

Malcolm Webb
Malcolm Webb
1 year ago
Reply to  John Riordan

Thanks. A good comment. I did acknowledge the commentary on State overreach – but it was the anti Capitalist stuff that really set me off! Coming from a working class family I am also always in the lookout for misunderstanding of and condescension towards people like my very hardworking parents, who so much wanted better for their children- and who, through loving example and encouragement, helped us to achieve it at some cost to themselves.

Alex Tickell
Alex Tickell
1 year ago
Reply to  Malcolm Webb

I think you are being a little unfair Malcolm, I’ve lived through the transition and the loss of motivation and self sufficiency has resulted in the weakening of society and family in a way that can never be compensated by “higher living standards”. In fact it seems we are witnessing the end of both. as men become emasculated drones and women jettison their femininity.

Malcolm Webb
Malcolm Webb
1 year ago
Reply to  Alex Tickell

Thank you for the comment – I wasn’t meaning to imply that raising living standards is a panacea to all ills but I did find the article’s anti Capitalist rhetoric rather annoying and its pretence that rural self sufficiency could be a helpful model for the future to be delusional. It started well in decrying State overreach but then it seemed to me to go meandering rather steeply downhill.

Malcolm Webb
Malcolm Webb
1 year ago
Reply to  Alex Tickell

Thank you for the comment – I wasn’t meaning to imply that raising living standards is a panacea to all ills but I did find the article’s anti Capitalist rhetoric rather annoying and its pretence that rural self sufficiency could be a helpful model for the future to be delusional. It started well in decrying State overreach but then it seemed to me to go meandering rather steeply downhill.

Wim de Vriend
Wim de Vriend
1 year ago
Reply to  Malcolm Webb

I gave up on his meandering musings halfway through.

Malcolm Webb
Malcolm Webb
1 year ago
Reply to  Wim de Vriend

Yes I agree that it didn’t improve as it “progressed”.

Russell Hamilton
Russell Hamilton
1 year ago
Reply to  Malcolm Webb

I agree with your comments about the drawbacks of the simple life of yore. The other thing is that human beings are always looking for independence and new experiences, the lure of city life.

People may wonder why girls in less developed countries work long hours in factories and live crowded in dormitories to earn a pittance. Independence. They may be able to save a little to send to their families, but, given the choice, they don’t go home for the pleasures of living in some rural hamlet. They choose independence, variety, stimulation, fashion, change.

Malcolm Webb
Malcolm Webb
1 year ago

I agree. It is also the reason people flocked from rural drudgery (and penury) to the cities of the British Industrial Revolution. Life was still tough – but better there.

Malcolm Webb
Malcolm Webb
1 year ago

I agree. It is also the reason people flocked from rural drudgery (and penury) to the cities of the British Industrial Revolution. Life was still tough – but better there.

Russell Hamilton
Russell Hamilton
1 year ago
Reply to  Malcolm Webb

I agree with your comments about the drawbacks of the simple life of yore. The other thing is that human beings are always looking for independence and new experiences, the lure of city life.

People may wonder why girls in less developed countries work long hours in factories and live crowded in dormitories to earn a pittance. Independence. They may be able to save a little to send to their families, but, given the choice, they don’t go home for the pleasures of living in some rural hamlet. They choose independence, variety, stimulation, fashion, change.

Malcolm Webb
Malcolm Webb
1 year ago
Reply to  Wim de Vriend

Yes I agree that it didn’t improve as it “progressed”.

Bruce Luffman
Bruce Luffman
1 year ago
Reply to  Malcolm Webb

I did not read the article in the way you have. I think the author was using the focus of the wood fire to say so much more about, for example, the loss of the women’s position in the family as the matriarch. Contrary to what the 1960s feminists thought, woem had the power because they ruled the house.
He was writing about the loss of the home as a unifying base and how the woke liberal left have undermined society by breaking the fundamental basis of family to cause unrest and unhappiness by focusing on accumulation of ‘things’, criticising Christianity and and anti male and female marriage legislation. This unrest is caused so that power can be in the hands of the few like WEF billionaires, secularists, pushers of trans nonsense and those provoking false racist propaganda and who are anti families and community so that they can maintain power through division.
Surely, we need to maintain the figurative fireplace at the centre of our lives to succeed as rounded and……….free human beings.

John Riordan
John Riordan
1 year ago
Reply to  Malcolm Webb

I agree with you wholly on the matter of what living standards were really like prior to modernity. But I am not sure the article argues for a return to self-sufficiency in principle, it rather points out what the costs of system dependency have been and, in particular, the potential dangers we’re exposed to as a consequence in the potential for State overreach.

Alex Tickell
Alex Tickell
1 year ago
Reply to  Malcolm Webb

I think you are being a little unfair Malcolm, I’ve lived through the transition and the loss of motivation and self sufficiency has resulted in the weakening of society and family in a way that can never be compensated by “higher living standards”. In fact it seems we are witnessing the end of both. as men become emasculated drones and women jettison their femininity.

Wim de Vriend
Wim de Vriend
1 year ago
Reply to  Malcolm Webb

I gave up on his meandering musings halfway through.

Malcolm Webb
Malcolm Webb
1 year ago

If this essay had been restricted to using the example of the wood fire to exemplify the dangers of an ever more powerful ( I would say Socialist) State increasingly controlling the way it’s citizens go about their daily lives it would have been fine. Sadly however, it turned into an anti Capitalist rant against modernity coupled with a Panglossian plea for a return to rural self sufficiency.

I can only say to this author “wake up and smell the coffee”. In the U.K. today everyone is immeasurably better off in mind, body and spirit than the 90 per cent of the population who lived in abject and absolute poverty before the Industrial Revolution. Furthermore, Capitalism has lifted billions of people across the world out of hopeless destitution – and continues to do so.

It is also sadly too typical of a man ( and the author is such) to have this idealised view of the industrially undeveloped world. Go to the more undeveloped parts of Africa ( unfortunately there are still many of them) and see the women – always women – walking miles each day to collect large bundles of wood and ferry heavy containers of water to their families living in rural hovels with no potable water supply, no sewers, no electricity but only wood fires and maybe a kerosene lamp. Then try to persuade yourself of the nobility, dignity and spiritual benefits of subsistence living.

The author’s attack on modern society industrial goes way too far and throws the baby out along with the bath water.

By the way, in my childhood home we had no running hot water and each of my family of five took one bath a week in a tin bath set before the fire. Frankly it was a difficult, time consuming process which was not without its dangers ( pots of boiling water carried from stove to bath) and somewhat humiliating for all – bar me. As the youngest I was first in the queue and enjoyed clean water. Apologies if that sounds a bit like the Yorkshire “ You we’re lucky..” joke – but please don’t preach to me about the good old days of rural working class life and ritual around the domestic hearth.

David Simpson
David Simpson
1 year ago

Brilliant. Another critical factor is how most people have become debt slaves to the financial system, through mortgages and easily accessible credit.

Greece is a particularly horrible example. Until they joined the euro zone, Greece had some of the lowest levels of personal indebtedness in the developed world. And many of them owned their own homes outright. But once in the euro zone German and French banks saw their chance and flooded the Greek economy with cheap credit. With the disaster of the GFC many Greeks were left high and dry, although the clever bankers got their money back from the Greek government. The Greek economy shrank by 25%, and Greece is saddled with a debt that it can never repay.

David Simpson
David Simpson
1 year ago

Brilliant. Another critical factor is how most people have become debt slaves to the financial system, through mortgages and easily accessible credit.

Greece is a particularly horrible example. Until they joined the euro zone, Greece had some of the lowest levels of personal indebtedness in the developed world. And many of them owned their own homes outright. But once in the euro zone German and French banks saw their chance and flooded the Greek economy with cheap credit. With the disaster of the GFC many Greeks were left high and dry, although the clever bankers got their money back from the Greek government. The Greek economy shrank by 25%, and Greece is saddled with a debt that it can never repay.

Jeremy Poynton
Jeremy Poynton
1 year ago

Lares and Penates.
Before the City, the family house and hearth was the core block of society.
Excellent article by an excellent writer
We love our wood burner. And our log man.

Jeremy Poynton
Jeremy Poynton
1 year ago

Lares and Penates.
Before the City, the family house and hearth was the core block of society.
Excellent article by an excellent writer
We love our wood burner. And our log man.

Andrew Buckley
Andrew Buckley
1 year ago

Wow, deep! Beautifully written and so much resonates with me.
Each paragraph seems to bring in another complexity. I started thinking about heating a home inexpensively and then you hit one of my bug bears (a London centric one, not Dublin centric) about rural living and heat pumps and electric cars not being the answer for everyone.
Then more to follow!
Very simplistically the group that has benefitted from changes from the old style “home makers” scenario are the financial institutions. Freeing women from non-chosen child birth changed us all from one parent “working” to two parents having to work irrespective of desire. And the beneficiaries are not individuals where the choice to work or not has been replaced by the necessity to work and to the advantage of financial institutions. A two wage family allowed house prices to rise exponentially and the benefactor is those providing mortgages, not, I would argue, even boomers with high notional worth.
Similarly with disposable income; just something for the marketeer to focus on with an endless “you must have X, Y, or Z or you are a failure mantra.
One important freedom of choice (contraception) has removed so many other freedoms from too many people.
Follow the money is a decent mantra to work out what benefits most scenarios. Who benefits from banning wood burning? Well, those who can charge the most for the alternative.

Andrew Buckley
Andrew Buckley
1 year ago

Wow, deep! Beautifully written and so much resonates with me.
Each paragraph seems to bring in another complexity. I started thinking about heating a home inexpensively and then you hit one of my bug bears (a London centric one, not Dublin centric) about rural living and heat pumps and electric cars not being the answer for everyone.
Then more to follow!
Very simplistically the group that has benefitted from changes from the old style “home makers” scenario are the financial institutions. Freeing women from non-chosen child birth changed us all from one parent “working” to two parents having to work irrespective of desire. And the beneficiaries are not individuals where the choice to work or not has been replaced by the necessity to work and to the advantage of financial institutions. A two wage family allowed house prices to rise exponentially and the benefactor is those providing mortgages, not, I would argue, even boomers with high notional worth.
Similarly with disposable income; just something for the marketeer to focus on with an endless “you must have X, Y, or Z or you are a failure mantra.
One important freedom of choice (contraception) has removed so many other freedoms from too many people.
Follow the money is a decent mantra to work out what benefits most scenarios. Who benefits from banning wood burning? Well, those who can charge the most for the alternative.

Jimmy Snooks
Jimmy Snooks
1 year ago

Superb article, full to the brim with insight of the best kind. A credit to this magazine.

Jimmy Snooks
Jimmy Snooks
1 year ago

Superb article, full to the brim with insight of the best kind. A credit to this magazine.

Barbara Manson
Barbara Manson
1 year ago

Good King Wenceslas went out on the Feast of Stephen (that’s today), when the snow lay ’round about, deep and crisp and even. Brightly shone the moon that night, though the frost was cruel, when a poor man came in sight, gathering winter fu.. el.
Blessed holidays to all from frosty USA. Very glad I have a wood stove for times of power grid failure, and my own little tract of woods to supply it with. I acquired these with proceeds from the sale of my condo in town. At 72, a retired school music teacher and choir director, the physical work is a bit tough, but it is a lovely way to exercise the mind.
Bravo for this article encouraging the development of sustainable self-sufficiency, to the extent we each can. And may family life prosper again, raising children inspired to people a flourishing future for all.

Andrew D
Andrew D
1 year ago
Reply to  Barbara Manson

So true, and Merry Christmas by the way

Andrew D
Andrew D
1 year ago
Reply to  Barbara Manson

So true, and Merry Christmas by the way

Barbara Manson
Barbara Manson
1 year ago

Good King Wenceslas went out on the Feast of Stephen (that’s today), when the snow lay ’round about, deep and crisp and even. Brightly shone the moon that night, though the frost was cruel, when a poor man came in sight, gathering winter fu.. el.
Blessed holidays to all from frosty USA. Very glad I have a wood stove for times of power grid failure, and my own little tract of woods to supply it with. I acquired these with proceeds from the sale of my condo in town. At 72, a retired school music teacher and choir director, the physical work is a bit tough, but it is a lovely way to exercise the mind.
Bravo for this article encouraging the development of sustainable self-sufficiency, to the extent we each can. And may family life prosper again, raising children inspired to people a flourishing future for all.

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
1 year ago

On a somewhat incidental note, it bugs me how there is such an assault on ICE engines in cars, while ICE engines in planes are not subject to any compulsory end date, despite being responsible for way more pollution – even though cars are way more important to most people than planes are.
If I gave you a choice – you can either never fly again or never drive again, most people would choose their car. The vast majority of flights – business meeting junkets that easily could be done over Zoom in most cases, going to Malaga to get trolleyed, etc – are simply not necessary. But, for a rural dweller with non-existent public transport, going to the shop or taking your kids to school is necessary.
Yet airlines (owned by billionaires) get a free pass while cars (owned by members of the hoi polloi) are hammered. 
Go figure.

Michael Meddings
Michael Meddings
1 year ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

Very good point. Too bad you spoiled it with that horrible yankism at the end.

Simon Blanchard
Simon Blanchard
1 year ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

Compare and contrast the the levels of tax applied to aviation spirit with petrol. If they were even remotely comparable, no one would fly anywhere.

Michael Meddings
Michael Meddings
1 year ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

Very good point. Too bad you spoiled it with that horrible yankism at the end.

Simon Blanchard
Simon Blanchard
1 year ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

Compare and contrast the the levels of tax applied to aviation spirit with petrol. If they were even remotely comparable, no one would fly anywhere.

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
1 year ago

On a somewhat incidental note, it bugs me how there is such an assault on ICE engines in cars, while ICE engines in planes are not subject to any compulsory end date, despite being responsible for way more pollution – even though cars are way more important to most people than planes are.
If I gave you a choice – you can either never fly again or never drive again, most people would choose their car. The vast majority of flights – business meeting junkets that easily could be done over Zoom in most cases, going to Malaga to get trolleyed, etc – are simply not necessary. But, for a rural dweller with non-existent public transport, going to the shop or taking your kids to school is necessary.
Yet airlines (owned by billionaires) get a free pass while cars (owned by members of the hoi polloi) are hammered. 
Go figure.

Alex Tickell
Alex Tickell
1 year ago

I install “woodburners” usually into homes that went “all electric” in the 80s and 90s, I Remember the open fires of the fifties before the power came through and the activities my large family engaged in. My aunties knitting, embroidering and quilting. My uncles sharpening tools, toy making, printing tickets on an old Adana hand operated press. In our bedroom we had a huge paraffin fuelled incubator full of goose eggs, when the goslings were hatching we couldn’t sleep for the noise of chipping eggs, but it was always a joy to see the young geese toddling about on the wire shelf in the morning.
The hearth was indeed the centre of the home in these days and our extended family had an unspoken strength that is almost never seen today in our sanitised new world. We may be better off economically, but spiritually bereft.

John Riordan
John Riordan
1 year ago
Reply to  Alex Tickell

I don’t accept the forced choice between economic wealth and spiritual wealth in the manner you imply. There is nothing in the modern world stopping families continuing to choose to live the way you describe here. The modern world has simply offered alternative choices that, for the most part, we freely accepted.

There is a proviso here of course in the form of the fact that an increasing number of people now cannot get onto the property ladder at all and therefore can’t create the conditions for traditional family life – that I do accept. But it does nonetheless appear, from the behaviour of the majority of people possessing the choice, that having multigenerational families living in the home is not an attractive prospect.

Alex Tickell
Alex Tickell
1 year ago
Reply to  John Riordan

“But it does nonetheless appear, from the behaviour of the majority of people possessing the choice, that having multigenerational families living in the home is not an attractive prospect.”
Thank you for you response John, but it does appear that alongside our relative affluence, we have acquired a selfish streak which demands absolute freedom from any responsibilities and has resulted in “the family” having a lifespan of under 16yrs in many cases.

John Riordan
John Riordan
1 year ago
Reply to  Alex Tickell

I agree with what you’re saying in terms of the observable social trends in question. I am less sure that we can fairly ascribe it to selfishness.

Take the situation of young adults who want to spread their wings and live the full life of a twentysomething. They cannot do that in the same home as their parents and grandparents, nor would they want to even if permitted, and the parents anf grandparents would never put up with it anyway.

Is it selfish for a young person to want to live that life? I would say rather that it is a rite of passage, and that any society that either refuses to allow it or cannot afford it is a poorer place, both materially and spiritually.

And it leads to an interesting idea: maybe what we need to bring families back together is to be so much MORE wealthy that we can afford generational proximity and separate houses at the same time? Perhaps we’re just in a period of socioeconomc catharsis and we’ll eventually straighten it all out in the end?

Last edited 1 year ago by John Riordan
Alex Tickell
Alex Tickell
1 year ago
Reply to  John Riordan

Well we had many “Rites of passage” even encompassing my working life in the sixties in the building trade. They were of the utmost importance in developing a sense of self worth, but in the home the elders were given a respect that is absent today in many cases. Our home was small and as said earlier we were a large extended family single rooms were out of the question, I shared a bed with my grandfather and uncle till i left school, much to the consternation of my teacher who’s modern ideas hadn’t quite caught on …thankfully.
The experience of sharing a home with three generations of wonderful, generous and practical people, was unforgettable and they had earned all the respect accorded to them by neighbours and family alike.
My grandfather BTW who died in 1960, had been Round the horn of Africa under sail twice before his seventeenth birthday and survived to fight with the Black Watch on the Somme and various other battles before marrying and fathering 9 children. What stories he could tell!
Much enjoyed our conversation John, Good New Year to you and yours.

Alex Tickell
Alex Tickell
1 year ago
Reply to  John Riordan

Well we had many “Rites of passage” even encompassing my working life in the sixties in the building trade. They were of the utmost importance in developing a sense of self worth, but in the home the elders were given a respect that is absent today in many cases. Our home was small and as said earlier we were a large extended family single rooms were out of the question, I shared a bed with my grandfather and uncle till i left school, much to the consternation of my teacher who’s modern ideas hadn’t quite caught on …thankfully.
The experience of sharing a home with three generations of wonderful, generous and practical people, was unforgettable and they had earned all the respect accorded to them by neighbours and family alike.
My grandfather BTW who died in 1960, had been Round the horn of Africa under sail twice before his seventeenth birthday and survived to fight with the Black Watch on the Somme and various other battles before marrying and fathering 9 children. What stories he could tell!
Much enjoyed our conversation John, Good New Year to you and yours.

John Riordan
John Riordan
1 year ago
Reply to  Alex Tickell

I agree with what you’re saying in terms of the observable social trends in question. I am less sure that we can fairly ascribe it to selfishness.

Take the situation of young adults who want to spread their wings and live the full life of a twentysomething. They cannot do that in the same home as their parents and grandparents, nor would they want to even if permitted, and the parents anf grandparents would never put up with it anyway.

Is it selfish for a young person to want to live that life? I would say rather that it is a rite of passage, and that any society that either refuses to allow it or cannot afford it is a poorer place, both materially and spiritually.

And it leads to an interesting idea: maybe what we need to bring families back together is to be so much MORE wealthy that we can afford generational proximity and separate houses at the same time? Perhaps we’re just in a period of socioeconomc catharsis and we’ll eventually straighten it all out in the end?

Last edited 1 year ago by John Riordan
Alex Tickell
Alex Tickell
1 year ago
Reply to  John Riordan

“But it does nonetheless appear, from the behaviour of the majority of people possessing the choice, that having multigenerational families living in the home is not an attractive prospect.”
Thank you for you response John, but it does appear that alongside our relative affluence, we have acquired a selfish streak which demands absolute freedom from any responsibilities and has resulted in “the family” having a lifespan of under 16yrs in many cases.

John Riordan
John Riordan
1 year ago
Reply to  Alex Tickell

I don’t accept the forced choice between economic wealth and spiritual wealth in the manner you imply. There is nothing in the modern world stopping families continuing to choose to live the way you describe here. The modern world has simply offered alternative choices that, for the most part, we freely accepted.

There is a proviso here of course in the form of the fact that an increasing number of people now cannot get onto the property ladder at all and therefore can’t create the conditions for traditional family life – that I do accept. But it does nonetheless appear, from the behaviour of the majority of people possessing the choice, that having multigenerational families living in the home is not an attractive prospect.

Alex Tickell
Alex Tickell
1 year ago

I install “woodburners” usually into homes that went “all electric” in the 80s and 90s, I Remember the open fires of the fifties before the power came through and the activities my large family engaged in. My aunties knitting, embroidering and quilting. My uncles sharpening tools, toy making, printing tickets on an old Adana hand operated press. In our bedroom we had a huge paraffin fuelled incubator full of goose eggs, when the goslings were hatching we couldn’t sleep for the noise of chipping eggs, but it was always a joy to see the young geese toddling about on the wire shelf in the morning.
The hearth was indeed the centre of the home in these days and our extended family had an unspoken strength that is almost never seen today in our sanitised new world. We may be better off economically, but spiritually bereft.

Alan Thorpe
Alan Thorpe
1 year ago

It is part of the general trend against self sufficiency. But the biggest problem with wood burning is amongst the poorest in the worlds who do suffer health issues from burning wood in badly ventilated homes.

Andrew Stoll
Andrew Stoll
1 year ago
Reply to  Alan Thorpe

The worst ventilation in the world is in the ultra insulated houses of Europe. Without opening a window, the fire would probably go out. Very unsuited to log fires – and humans burning bodily energy!

John Holland
John Holland
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Stoll

So these houses would be bad for health issues from wood burning, because you can’t burn wood in them as they are too well insulated.
Right. Logic not one of your specialisms, is it Andrew? Thanks anyway.

John Holland
John Holland
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Stoll

So these houses would be bad for health issues from wood burning, because you can’t burn wood in them as they are too well insulated.
Right. Logic not one of your specialisms, is it Andrew? Thanks anyway.

Andrew Stoll
Andrew Stoll
1 year ago
Reply to  Alan Thorpe

The worst ventilation in the world is in the ultra insulated houses of Europe. Without opening a window, the fire would probably go out. Very unsuited to log fires – and humans burning bodily energy!

Alan Thorpe
Alan Thorpe
1 year ago

It is part of the general trend against self sufficiency. But the biggest problem with wood burning is amongst the poorest in the worlds who do suffer health issues from burning wood in badly ventilated homes.

John Holland
John Holland
1 year ago

Or, perhaps, it’s simply an empirical fact that wood-burning in the home very often causes long-term respiratory problems. This simple fact is not dependent on a slavish adherence to the ‘industrial/Captitalist hegemony or the ‘war against the family’- it’s just a medical fact. Sometimes, as Freud didn’t say, a cigar is just a cigar, and demanding that science fits one’s ideological outlook is daft.
Having said that, I continue to burn logs, because they are free and I love a fire; life is about balances and choices.

Tony Orchard
Tony Orchard
1 year ago
Reply to  John Holland

Freud died of throat cancer and knew it was down to his cigars. I love fires and feel they are an essence of what the Germans call ‘Heimat’ but as a City dweller, I know that I should not be lighting them (and even my Dyson tells me that) but I still love it and our (old) house demands sitting in front of a living fire (and closing off the radiators). Balances and choices as John said.

Tony Orchard
Tony Orchard
1 year ago
Reply to  John Holland

Freud died of throat cancer and knew it was down to his cigars. I love fires and feel they are an essence of what the Germans call ‘Heimat’ but as a City dweller, I know that I should not be lighting them (and even my Dyson tells me that) but I still love it and our (old) house demands sitting in front of a living fire (and closing off the radiators). Balances and choices as John said.

John Holland
John Holland
1 year ago

Or, perhaps, it’s simply an empirical fact that wood-burning in the home very often causes long-term respiratory problems. This simple fact is not dependent on a slavish adherence to the ‘industrial/Captitalist hegemony or the ‘war against the family’- it’s just a medical fact. Sometimes, as Freud didn’t say, a cigar is just a cigar, and demanding that science fits one’s ideological outlook is daft.
Having said that, I continue to burn logs, because they are free and I love a fire; life is about balances and choices.

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
1 year ago

‘Making a home’ is truly underestimated as an important route to contentment & sanity today. It’s actually a skill which luckily an be learned but so many seemingly give it short shrift. Years ago, after I left the corporate world to raise kids (and start a home-based business), a friend, an art dealer, said to me that she was surprised we remained friends as I was ‘at home’ now. It was as if I had given up membership in a special club of a newly evolved group of women who had found affirmation and somehow, could no longer relate to us stay-at-homes. Decades later looking back, I don’t think I made the wrong decision and it was a calculated one; I felt my husband would be making enough money without necessarily having another income, although I did do well for a while writing books, designing, etc. I do think that the Feminist Movement in all its vigor thwarted too many women from learning how to be a ‘homemaker’ and many just didn’t want to do what it entails (yes, it’s it’s own kind of work, some of it drudgery). The opening up of the economy for women did create two camps of those who worked outside the home versus those who chose be at home. It’s a broad topic and one worth debating going forward; How much of our family life do we want to give over to corporatism, to the greater economy?

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
1 year ago

‘Making a home’ is truly underestimated as an important route to contentment & sanity today. It’s actually a skill which luckily an be learned but so many seemingly give it short shrift. Years ago, after I left the corporate world to raise kids (and start a home-based business), a friend, an art dealer, said to me that she was surprised we remained friends as I was ‘at home’ now. It was as if I had given up membership in a special club of a newly evolved group of women who had found affirmation and somehow, could no longer relate to us stay-at-homes. Decades later looking back, I don’t think I made the wrong decision and it was a calculated one; I felt my husband would be making enough money without necessarily having another income, although I did do well for a while writing books, designing, etc. I do think that the Feminist Movement in all its vigor thwarted too many women from learning how to be a ‘homemaker’ and many just didn’t want to do what it entails (yes, it’s it’s own kind of work, some of it drudgery). The opening up of the economy for women did create two camps of those who worked outside the home versus those who chose be at home. It’s a broad topic and one worth debating going forward; How much of our family life do we want to give over to corporatism, to the greater economy?

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
1 year ago

“In the past, the act of sitting staring into the smoky fire with family or neighbours was the genesis of the folk tale and folk song which tied the culture together.”
So true – I’m old enough to remember this. Many tall tales were told lol – but there was a cohesion.

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
1 year ago

“In the past, the act of sitting staring into the smoky fire with family or neighbours was the genesis of the folk tale and folk song which tied the culture together.”
So true – I’m old enough to remember this. Many tall tales were told lol – but there was a cohesion.

Andy E
Andy E
1 year ago

What’s wrong with the idea of “warming your own house with your own fire”?
Arithmetic calculation might show what’s wrong. It might show that there are simply not enough trees and forests for ALL the Europe’s population. I mean — in Europe. Of course Canada or Sweden or Russia have a lot. But Central/Western Europe has lost almost all forests during the last millennium.