Thursday 29th of October 2020

don't gamble the future — don't shit on the children...

casino  This picture by Gus leonisky of the new casino (tallest building on the foreshore) being built in Barangaroo, Sydney, is possibly the new look of a city under siege from bush fires. The air becomes "dangerous" for old people and babies. One can argue that these fires are due to mismanagement of forests that are not burned during the winter months, and deny that the changing climate due to global warming is responsible for the fires. But the sum-total of happenings, including the INCREASING higher temperature averages, the dryness of the countryside, the low levels of dams, to the reality many country towns HAVE RAN out of water, point to a changing dynamic in our future sustainability. Gambling with global warming is dangerous.


Here, Roger Hallam, the controversial co-founder of Extinction Rebellion, has drawn attention to himself for comparing climate change to the Holocaust and his movement to the White Rose. He tells us why in a DER SPIEGEL interview.


'We Are Engaged in the Murder of the World's Children'

change can be sudden — climatic and political...

Roger Hallam, 53, is not free to travel far from his farm in Wales. He was arrested in September 2019 for planning to fly a drone near Heathrow Airport as a way of protesting against the construction of another runway. He is now required to report to a nearby police station every day.

Hallam worked for many years as an organic farmer, but he ceased operations after, as he says, several harvests were spoiled by heavy rains. After that, he intended to get his Ph.D. at King's College in London, with a focus on resistance movements, but he never finished his dissertation. Last year, he was part of the group that founded Extinction Rebellion, a movement that seeks to use peaceful blockades and attention-grabbing actions to force governments around the world to lower their greenhouse gas emissions. In Germany, "XR" activists chained themselves to the Chancellery fence in June and in October, they blocked several large intersections and bridges in Berlin.

Our interview with Roger Hallam took place by video conference and was completed before Hallam's controversial comments about the Holocaust were published by the German newsweekly Die Zeit. Hallam seemed to downplay the Holocaust in those comments, leading his German publisher, Ullstein Verlag, to cease deliveries of his book just days before it was to go on sale. 

DER SPIEGEL subsequently submitted written questions to Hallam about his Holocaust comments. On Thursday afternoon, after this interview was finalized, he apologized for his comments on Facebook, saying it hadn't been his intention to downplay the Holocaust.



DER SPIEGEL: You claim that in the next two generations, billions of people will die as a result of climate change. But that's nothing more than scaremongering!

Hallam: Predictions by the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) say we'll hit four to five degrees of global warming by the end of the century if we don't reduce our CO2 emissions. Add to this a bigger weather variability due to the collapse of the jet stream, the global strong winds at high altitude and you won't be able to grow grain at scale. Yet, our civilization is based on storable grain. The consequence is mass starvation, which leads to mass death and eventually to social collapse. The consequence will be genocide or mass migration -- or some combination of the two.

DER SPIEGEL: Are you not making too many predictions at once? The claim that there won't be enough grain is far-fetched on its own.

Hallam: Really, that's your responsibility as journalists to go and do the math. What I am responsible for is organizing a rebellion against governments. I mean, why don't you do an article on climate change and rape?

DER SPIEGEL: Excuse me?

Hallam: What's going to be the biggest implication of climate change for women around the world? The ecological collapse. Ecological collapse means social collapse. And what does that mean? War, the slaughter of men and the rape of women.

DER SPIEGEL: You can't blame the climate change for the rape of women during war.

Hallam: No, climate change is just the tubes that the gas comes down in the gas chamber. It's just a mechanism through which one generation kills the next generation.

DER SPIEGEL: You're comparing climate change to the systematic murder of millions of Jews in Nazi Germany? You can't be serious.

Hallam: A lot of XR activists don't agree with my Nazi comparisons. I am not the speaker of the movement. But it's my personal opinion that the elites have made the conscious decision to destroy the next generation in order to maintain their power.

DER SPIEGEL: Nobody deliberately planned climate change in order to harm someone. It's simply a consequence of our way of life.

Hallam: But the elites have the possibility to do something about it. The politicians are fully aware but continue to emit CO2 into the environment. Take the Nuremberg trials, where Nazis were put on trial after World War II. The population of Germany wasn't hanged because it was assumed that it did not have sufficient agency in the project of genocide. However, the people involved in government did have the free will to take one decision or the other. They were complicit in the genocide project.

DER SPIEGEL: Do you think it helps your cause to constantly compare the way policymakers are dealing with climate change to the horrors of the Nazi regime?

Hallam: I do believe that they are comparable.

DER SPIEGEL: In an interview with the German weekly paper Die Zeit, you said the Holocaust was "just another fuckery in human history." Now, German Extinction Rebellion groups are distancing themselves from you and you seem to be increasingly isolated. Is it really worth it?

Hallam: Extinction Rebellion was set up to tell the truth about the climate catastrophe in plain, everyday language. To tell the truth is the first virtue, as the English political philosopher John Locke put it. And the truth is: We are engaged in the murder of the world's children.

DER SPIEGEL: Your German publisher Ullstein Verlag not only distanced itself from your statements, but even stopped the delivery of your book just days before it was to hit the shelves. What are you going to do now?

Hallam: My resolve is to tell the truth as well as I can and what will be will be. If publishers choose not to publish my book, obviously that is their choice.

DER SPIEGEL: More and more countries are setting increasingly ambitious reduction goals. The democratic process seems to be working. Why do we still need a revolution?

Hallam: If you're driving a lorry towards a concrete wall at 50 miles an hour, and you reduce your speed to 48 mph, then it's obviously not enough to avert the catastrophe. Everybody is ducking responsibility. The politicians are worried they might not be re-elected. The climate campaigners (environmental NGOs) won't take effective action because they believe it won't lead to anything, and the public isn't voting because they don't think the politicians will do anything about it.

DER SPIEGEL: Can you be a bit more precise with your accusations?

Hallam: Of Course. Some time ago, I went to the chief executive of Greenpeace and told him about the plan of fighting the climate crisis with mass civil disobedience. He said: "Roger, the climate crisis is too abstract, and you won't be able to create A mass mobilization around it." He was being pragmatic. Everyone is waiting for the next guy to move. It's what I call the death spiral of pragmatism. Civil disobedience breaks through the death spiral.

DER SPIEGEL: And leads to what?

Hallam: We want to put the government in a dilemma. They either arrest you, which provokes sympathy from others and brings even more people onto the street. Or they put up with disruption of the public space. If both of those options become intolerable, the politicians have to opt for the third choice: negotiations. That is our theory of change, based on the work of the American academics Erica Chenoweth and Maria Stephan on civil resistance. According to their research, nonviolence in the past century has been successful 54 percent of the time, with violence only working 25 percent of the time. The strategy of non-violence has been used successfully dozens of times, such in Eastern Germany 1989.

DER SPIEGEL: You, on the other hand, have been put out of action.

Hallam: I would have gone to prison for the Heathrow thing, even if no one had known about it. It's like the White Rose movement that handed out leaflets against the Nazis. They weren't doing it because they were going to win, but because they couldn't live with themselves as moral beings if they just stood by and did nothing.

DER SPIEGEL: Isn't this just another questionable comparison? The members of the White Rose movement were beheaded by the Nazis.

Hallam: Of course, their sacrifice was so much greater than mine. But the point I am making is that one should act on what is morally right, regardless of whether you think you will be successful. This is the virtue ethics position taken by most rebels in history.

DER SPIEGEL: If the elites, as you call them, won't do anything, will there come a day when violence becomes an option?

Hallam: I've given you the numbers. Non-violent protest is more promising! In terms of making a sociological prediction about what could happen, then obviously there is a high probability of descending into violence once you start experiencing serious social collapse. Research into protest movements shows that once you engage in violence, the violence pushes out the non-violence. This is why all successful non-violent movements have to have a zero-tolerance policy regarding violence, because once you allow violence, a society starts sliding towards civil war. You can see this sort of thing happening in Hong Kong at the moment.

DER SPIEGEL: Let's imagine for a moment that you will succeed in forcing governments to the negotiating table. Do you really believe they would give up power and hand it to citizens' assemblies, as you are demanding?

Hallam: Before 1789, people didn't believe that the French aristocracy was going to give up its power. Come on, guys. Have some historical imagination!

DER SPIEGEL: If you have to go back more than 200 years ...

Hallam: Was there anyone at DER SPIEGEL predicting in 1988 that the Berlin Wall was going to come down?

DER SPIEGEL: How is your idea of citizens' assemblies supposed to work?

Hallam: It's a national citizens assembly that has sovereign power over what government action is required to minimize the probability of climate chaos and social collapse. The members are selected randomly, and the government has to do what it says.

DER SPIEGEL: Why do you think a citizen assembly would make better decisions than existing parliaments?

Hallam: There's a whole body of political theory and research that says that the highest level of human rationality is attained when free individuals come together to deliberate on a subject of common concern.

DER SPIEGEL: What happens if the citizens' assembly doesn't care much about climate change?

Hallam: The probability that people will send their own children to their deaths is fairly minimal.

DER SPIEGEL: Even if a citizens' assembly does the right thing from your perspective, it's still possible that some people will still want to continue driving SUVs and eating meat.

Hallam: I was going to make a joke and say: "Yeah. They're all going to be shot." But you might quote me and make out that I'm an extremist as well as an antidemocrat.

DER SPIEGEL: You once said: "When a society engages in morally corrupt activities, democracy is irrelevant."

Hallam: I assert that I am a genuine and passionate democrat. A real-world, existing democracy is not an absolute value. What's an absolute value is moral law.

DER SPIEGEL: How do you define moral law?


HALLAM: It is unjustified to destroy the lives and livelihoods of others for no good reason aside from advancing your own interests. In other words: Don't shit on your children!

DER SPIEGEL: Mr. Hallam, thank you very much for this interview.


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something is going on with the climate...

The founding father of the New South Wales Rural Fire Service believes large fuel loads are to blame for the state's unprecedented fire season, and that climate change is also making it worse.

Key points:
  • Phil Koperberg served as RFS Commissioner from 1997-2007
  • He fears Australia will end up with bushfires year-round, like California
  • He is calling for the creation of a specialist group to examine bushfire and climate trends


Phil Koperberg was the first commissioner of the Rural Fire Service (RFS) — appointed when it was created in 1997.

He led the organisation for a decade, leaving to become a politician for the Labor party, and was replaced by the current head of the RFS, Shane Fitzsimmons.

"Never before has there been such a concentration of fire, spread almost evenly across all the jurisdictions, before the fire season's even started," he told the ABC.

"So unprecedented is not an inappropriate description," he said.

It is the first time Mr Koperberg has spoken publicly about this year's fire season, which at its worst a few weeks ago saw 17 emergency warnings issued — a record for New South Wales.

Six people have died, more than 600 homes have been destroyed and almost 1.5 million hectares of land have burned in the state this bushfire season.

Mr Koperberg's comments follow that of five other former fire chief who earlier this month urged the Government to take more action on climate change.

They also follow claims by Prime Minister Scott Morrison that there was no link between Australia's level of greenhouse gas emissions and current bushfires.

"Something is going on with the climate, and therefore we need to take that into account — we can't just ignore it," Mr Koperberg said.

"We just can't respond only by putting on more and more resources to put the fires out.

"We can't do that. Because somewhere we're going to find that we don't have enough."

'When are we going to talk about it?'

Mr Koperberg fears Australia will end up like California, which has experienced wildfires burn all year round.

He blasted politicians for what he described as their inaction and called on them to do more.

"If we're not going to talk about it now, when it is happening, when on earth are we going to talk about it?" Mr Koperberg said.


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Not in Australia. We always put the economy at the top of the list. Immigration came in third in 2019, nominated by 6% of us. In second place on the list, after an abrupt rise, is the environment and climate change.

Markus has never seen such a sudden surge. The last was after the the Lindt cafe siege, when for a few years about 10% nominated national security and terrorism as the great problem facing the nation. “But this year climate change went not to 10, it went to 19,” says Markus. “And that’s so far ahead of the third issue. There’s a lot of daylight there.”

The importance of the shift is underlined by the discovery that climate sceptics have all but lost traction. In 2011, when 11% of us said climate change was our biggest worry, another 6% nominated overreaction to those fears as the great problem facing Australia. The following year, the sceptics outnumbered the climate worriers almost two to one.

Not any more. Against the 19% nomination for climate change in 2019, the sceptics could muster, at best, a contrary 1%. Markus sees this shift as an acute challenge to Canberra. “Morrison has got an opportunity to actually rebuild some capital in effective government,” he says. “But he’s got this issue of climate change. If he doesn’t deal with that, which is emerging as a major issue, that could very seriously damage this government.”


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But for some oldies:


A ground-breaking study of 6,000 Australians is assessing whether diet and exercise can dramatically reduce a person's risk of developing dementia — and potentially reverse some of its symptoms. 

Key points: 
  • The Maintain Your Brain study is understood to be the largest trial of its kind in the world
  • It is assessing the impact of exercise and diet on dementia, and follows on from a similar study in Finland 
  • Experts say there is a 'dementia tsunami' coming, but certain lifestyle changes can reduce the risk of diagnosis by 40 per cent


The Maintain Your Brain study is assessing people across New South Wales aged between 55 and 77 in an attempt to help prevent cognitive decline, and eventually dementia. 

Participants are required to improve their nutrition by eating a plant-based Mediterranean diet and keep active with a series of simple exercises, as well as practise brain training and mental health exercises to improve cognition.

Henry Brodaty, from the University of NSW, is leading the trial at the Centre for Healthy Brain Ageing and said its goal was to find proven ways to prevent memory loss. 

"People are frightened by this," Professor Brodaty said. 

"If we do surveys of people over 65 what are they most worried about in the world? 

"It's not the economy, it's not the climate, it's about their health.


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"If he doesn’t deal with that, which is emerging as a major issue, that could very seriously damage this government.????" Scumdung could not care less. He's got god and coal on his side forever after, till the Raptures when we, the statistically deficient plebs, go to hell...



catamaraning to lisbon...

Climate activist Greta Thunberg has arrived by catamaran in the port of Lisbon after a three-week voyage across the Atlantic Ocean from the United States.

Key words:
  • Greta Thunberg arrived in the port of Lisbon before heading to neighbouring city Madrid
  • Ms Thunberg was on track to attend the climate negotiations in Santiago until the meetings were moved
  • The activist broke the news of her late arrival to the conference on Monday


The Swedish teen arrived with her father in the port of the Portuguese capital on Tuesday [local time] and was sailing toward the quay, before heading to neighbouring Spain to attend the COP 25 UN Climate Change Conference taking place in Madrid.

Ms Thunberg told dozens of reporters and activists she felt "energised" after the journey and plans to keep pressing political leaders to make climate change their top priority.

She said she wants senior officials gathered in Madrid to "finally understand the urgency" of climate change and cooperate internationally.

"People are underestimating the force of angry kids," she said.

She says she travelled by catamaran instead of plane to "send a message it is possible" to live a sustainable lifestyle.

Ms Thunberg was to be met in Lisbon by local dignitaries and other activists.


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