Just about to start typing a blog and mention that I have just purchased a new laptop after a chatbot recommendation and Pink Floyds – Welcome To The Machine, starts playing on my Spotify music account on my computer while playing on random (when it comes to a computer though there is nothing random in what it does!
I decided to buy my new laptop after asking Microsoft’s chatbot for advice on where to buy one from and which to buy. It recommended the site laptops direct and I finally after a couple of years of trying to choose bought one which arrives tomorrow. It’s got a 17” screen and can play the latest games that I play so that is pretty much all I need really for using a laptop away from home. What has been putting me off though is the expense of buying a laptop with what is called a dedicated graphics card so that I can play computer games on it and also the worry that I have yet another old laptop that I have stopped using in my home that I don’t know how to get rid of.
My new Medion laptop photo above
I have been online today on the interweb though to see how to get rid of the 4 old knackered laptops I have here and how best to get rid of them safely and responsibly. There is a recycling centre in England that will recycle their parts and it will also donate profits made to charities so that all sounds good to me. Though I need to put them in box and post them to them, I must have laptops here going back 20 years or so. I also have a desktop PC for when I am at home but I don’t presently have a laptop that I can take with me when I go to stay with family and more importantly now to my mum now that she lives back in Devon.
So I will be working at home tomorrow and having it delivered to my home address, I just hope I am not on the work phone when it arrives. It’s being delivered by DPS who are normally good so I am hoping that they give me time to get to the door and get the exciting parcel of electrical wizardry off them.
It was a bank holiday today in the UK and so had a nice day off with, the taxi driver was taking about the sunshine and how nice it is that it is when I got in the taxi from the train station and I join in my best blighty British polite voice saying, yes isn’t the weather lovely, whereas on the inside what I am thinking is oh holly crap were all goner burn as this planet is continuing to get hotter and hotter.
On a more positive note though I found these little gems of thought provoking images.
Just voted again for the green party this week and so pleased to see how well they are doing in Exeter and across the UK as a whole. In Exeter with 6 councillors they now are the second largest party on the council behind labour who have a large majority.
The Green party did win overall control of its first council in the UK in Mid Suffolk District Council, which is a huge achievement. I would love for them one day to be running my local district council. They also doubled the amount of councillors they had that were up for election in England with an increase of 241 councillors with 481 in total elected on the day.
To have some sort of chance of surviving the current and future climate crisis we need forward thinking green politicians in power that focus on long term growth of the environment and not growth of the pound in peoples pocket.
UK ELKECTION RESULTS KEY PLAYERS MAY 4th 2023
Labour elected 2,674 councillors 536 councillors gained
Conservative elected 2,299 councillors with 1,061 councillors lost
LLIBERAL DEMOCRATE PARTY
Liberal Democrat elected 1,626 councillors 405 councillors gained
Independents elected 874 councillors 80 councillors lost
Green elected 481 councillors 241 councillors gained
The economic model of growth for growths sake for an economy is a busted flush on a world with finite resources and will only lead to long term environmental damage and therefore a new way of managing and caring for the environment and the people that live within it is desperately needed to enhance our chance of survival, rather than simply pandering to money markets and capital.
Social justice and the birth of the labour movement were very much needed at the beginning of the last century and it feels like and I hope that now is the time for ecological and environmental justice in political parties and progressive people and protestors alike.
Though as with all political movements, views, perspectives and opinions we might not agree on all things concerning what is broken and what needs fixing and how to go about fixing it but at least by thinking, voting and expressing and enacting ecological and environmental views and voting in those that aspire to solve and tackle these very real issues there is a great chance of survival for people and planet and surly that can only be a good thing.
The headline is not intended to offend but to thought provoke and it was rattling around in my head when I woke up this morning because of a dream I had! I was also watching Question time on the BBC last night which is a political debating show prior to going to sleep. They had the usual selection of politicians and a representative from the right wing press but on the panel there was also the chief executive of Oxfam. Oxfam is a global community of people who believe in a kinder, and radically better world, where everyone has the power to thrive not just survive. We believe we can overcome poverty by fighting the injustices and inequalities that fuel it. There was also a priest/vicar from Bristol who spoke a lot of sense in the clip below.
It is heart warming to know that there are organisations and people out there that do such good works for lives on earth. The people in the audience of the Question Time show also consistently argued for a better environment, fairer immigration system and also had local needs such as an aspiration for more affordable housing for the young. These simple political desires of a better global environment, fairer immigration system and aspirations to have somewhere to call ones home are very much the present aspirations of the majority of British people that I know and I would even argue reflect the majority view of the UK at the moment.
But you would not think that when listening to Government Conservative Politicians and spokesmen from media outlets such as the Spectator or Daily Telegraph in the UK that seem to try to argue and peddle the idea that every decision being made in government is good and in the interest of people of Britain and their doing their best for the environment, immigrants and life as a whole. The things that keep on going wrong for them and getting worse do so because the challenges are complicated and difficult not because there solutions are flawed and doomed to failure, the audience did not buy those answers and that narrative for one minute which was heart warming to see on the News Night show last night.
I don’t really have a top worrying headline to read on the news this week there are many. The first headline that sticks out to me is one about the DUP or Democratic Unionist Party have decided to yet again reject a deal on Brexit for Northern Ireland, this means that for a further unspecified time there will be no local elected representatives of democracy sitting in power in Northern Ireland and instead leaving major decisions on how to run things within Northern Ireland to British Civil Servants and the British Government.
The politics of Northern Ireland are complex and not easy to resolve but by refusing to take part in the decision making process being the decision that they choose to make is not really one that benefits the people of Northern Ireland and does not ensure there is political accountability in the long term.
I really am a strong believer in political representation, you vote, others vote, those elected then collectively come to a decision on how best to run your council, parliament, country and though at times I might not like what a local council or national government does at least I and others have collectively been involved in the decision making process that resulted in the decisions that then effect me and others taking place.
I even possibly somewhat naively like to think, that sometimes the more insane and off the wall decisions that an opposition party make against my own views and opinions means that there are more chance for those decisions being rejected, ridiculed and voted against in the long run. One such decision that is looking like a slow car crash of a political decision at present is the Illegal Immigration Bill which plans to make those that arrive in the UK via irregular routes ie via a small boat across the channel from France or in the back of a lorry will if caught be detained for 28 days and then deported.
In 2022, 45,755 men, women and children crossed the Channel in small boats to reach the UK, most of whom then claimed asylum. Nearly 3,000 people have already made the crossing this year, with official estimates expecting more than 80,000 this year.
In 2022, a total of 20,446 people were detained at some point. Official statistics show that 47% were detained for seven days or less. The current detention capacity in the UK is about 2,286, according to estimates by the Refugee Council, so detaining everyone crossing in a small boat for 28 days would require extra capacity.
It would also be very expensive – it costs about £120 to detain someone for one day so detaining 65,000 people for 28 days would cost £219m a year, and that’s before the additional costs of building more detention centres.
The UK Conservative government when it comes to delivering a policy or service or implementing government decisions is very much the McDonalds of the political world, it provides cheap and somewhat inedible and unhealthy solutions to serious and as yet undigested problems.
The arrogance of wealth and inequality that exists when it comes to global poverty and even local poverty is astounding. People with money often say they must keep all of their wealth and the feckless and poor don’t deserve any of their money or that there is never enough money to solve the problems of the poor. Though I agree that politics is the art of what its possible in a world of finite resource. This does not mean that in an attempt to solve a problem you in fact take a decision and create a solution that will then only make the problem worse.
Global poverty and inequality is a huge problem. Often exacerbated by trade barriers, forcing poor countries to not be able to trade with wealthy countries on an equal footing. In many ways people are designed to fail and live within poverty depending upon which country they live within and how much money their parents have when they are born and which country they are born into.
People fleeing global poverty, war and climate collapse and starvation will only continue over this century and a UK government MacDonald’s Big Mac bite sized government policies, will in no way satisfy the apatite of the global community or be a serious solution to serious political problems facing the world. Yes we must do what we can with the limited resources we have. But be under no illusion about just how much we must be prepared to do and if the system that we lives in sustains both poverty and climate damage then just tinkering around at the edges is not a valid solution to these global problems. I fear that if things get worse which they could and are likely to do the western northern hemisphere is more likely to try and fail to shut the door to the worlds problems while those very same problems persist in battering down that very same door.
I don’t think and write about these things because I am a pessimist I think and write about these things because they are real issues, affecting our times and people across the globe in the past, present and future. Though some in power might not wish to worry about such problems or see solutions, I am happy to continue to try to speak truth to power and continue to vote for those that I hope and believe can be a part of the solution and not part of the problem.
As mentioned in my last blog Microsoft have rolled out an AI chatbot on Bing it is powered by OpenAI’s ChatGPT technology and can answer questions and have conversations with users. It is a very good search engine which some people who have reviewed it saying that it is interesting and entertaining. One of the unfortunate things though is that it is cannot share its own views on subjects or give opinions. It says that it can not do this because it does not have opinions and can only present information from reliable sources and help me explore topics of my own interest. (Well that’s its opinion and it is entitled to it to).
I have tried to ask a variety of questions some more successful that others I asked the chatbot just now,
‘Who is the most polluting and unethical business in the world?’.
It came back with a top three list of companies one of which I have heard of but two others I have no idea who they are so interesting to hear of them for the first and bing gave the following answers with links to reference sites too.
“One definition of pollution as when any substance that harms or could harm people or the environment gets into the air, water or ground.
Based on these definitions, some of the companies that have been accused of being polluting and unethical are:
Nestle34: for its irresponsible marketing of baby milk, use of unsustainable palm oil and genetically modified ingredients, exploitation of water resources, child labor and human rights violations.
Peabody Energy5: for being one of the largest coal companies in the world and contributing to greenhouse gas emissions, climate change, air pollution and health problems.
Archer Daniels Midland6: for its involvement in price-fixing scandals, deforestation, water pollution and animal feed contamination.
However, these are not definitive rankings or judgments as different sources may have different methods and data to evaluate the environmental and social impacts of businesses.”
I really like the way that it thinks about questions with defining the parameter of a question and then trying to search for the most relevant answer.
The next question I asked was what are some examples of Bill Gates unethical business practices and which damaging activity had the most negative impact on environment and people?
Bing came back with the following answer for me, ‘It is hard to measure and compare the exact environmental and social impact of different damaging activities. However, some possible factors that could contribute to such impact are:
The amount of greenhouse gas emissions that are released into the atmosphere by a certain activity
The effect of those emissions on global warming and climate change
The harm caused by those emissions to human health and well-being
The harm caused by those emissions to biodiversity and ecosystems
Another possible factor that could affect the impact of a damaging activity is the scale and reach of that activity. For example, promoting agribusiness in Africa 34 could have a widespread impact on millions of small farmers who depend on their land for food security and livelihoods. According to a report by GRAIN, Gates Foundation’s support for agribusiness has led to land grabbing, loss of biodiversity, increased use of pesticides and reduced seed diversity in Africa.
I must admit I do like the new chatbot as a search engine but as yet it is not allowed or designed to have opinions of it’s own its a very good search engine but it will be and is as flawed as the questions you ask of it or the answers it is able to search for to answer you. As yet it is not evaluating questions to ask itself or answers which it personally deems to be correct compared to answers it can find in anther place on the internet.
I also went on to ask ‘Can AI monitor carbon impacts and advise when and how to save environment?‘
Without lots of the computer generated models of climate change that have helped galvanised scientists into taking action in order to save life on earth, we would certainly be in a far worse situation that the one we already find ourselves in and I am sure future modelling and AI inspired intervention on how to mitigate climate change will also have a huge impact on helping shape and save our environment.
Presents wrapped, cards written, items posted, pennies counted – One thing my Mum and Dad have both taught me is that giving is not about the joy of getting things back to you but its more about the pleasure in doing something for others.
My Mum is the present giver and my Dad is the charity donator. So after sorting out my Christmas cards and presents I turned to looking at renewing or donating afresh to a new charity or two for 2023.
Over the last 13 months I have been giving a small monthly payment to International Rescue Committee who are basically the good guys that go in and provide support on the ground or to people fleeing war zones and area of crisis across the world. It makes me feel like I can contribute to something and help people out in the world with a small donation that they then choose where the money goes to and to people in most need.
I also became a member of a charity called Moor Trees back in 2020, they advocate for and actively re-establish the planting of woodlands on and around Devon and Dartmoor. I really am impressed by the hard work that this charity does and the results they have achieved I worked as a trustee with them in the past and really am inspired by what they do.
I also nearly forgot – I am also a member of the Green Party of England and Wales and they are doing really well in Exeter which is great news too.
With regard to the International Rescue Committee my payment card that I used to pay them has just expired and I don’t know whether to renew my donation to them or change it and become a member of a charity that concentrates more on issue concerning climate change and the environment. If I were to change charities I would want to give to an organisation that is having a positive impact on tackling climate change and protecting the environment and not perhaps just worrying about it.
I am going to try and do a little more research on who is best to donate to prior to making a decision. Below are a list of the few I am considering contributing to.
I have today discovered a charity called Green Alliance they are also on WordPress so have signed up to follow them they are an independent think tank and charity focused on leadership for the environment. Since 1979, they have been working with the most influential leaders in business, NGOs and politics to accelerate political action and create transformative policy for a green and prosperous UK.
There is another organisation called the Rainforest Alliance is an international non-profit organization working at the intersection of business, agriculture, and forests to make responsible business the new normal. Who are building an alliance to protect forests, improve the livelihoods of farmers and forest communities, promote their human rights, and help them mitigate and adapt to the climate crisis.
Finally I have also just found an organisation called Cool Earth on its website it says Cool Earth exists because right now, the world is in a climate crisis.
The most effective way to fight back is to protect the best carbon-storing technology that already exists: rainforest.
And the best way to do that? Back, support, and listen to the people living there.
Indigenous peoples and local communities have lived in balance with rainforest for thousands of years and are the real rainforest experts.
They are people who face extreme injustice whilst living on the front line of the climate crisis.
We champion the relationship between people, rainforest and climate.
Cool Earth exists to give cash direct to rainforest communities, to fund projects that create choice, tackle the root causes of deforestation and protect vital carbon sinks.
Their mission is to back people, to protect the rainforest and fight the climate crisis.
I think I will probably sign up to donate to Cool Earth and probably renew my donation to International Rescue Committee.
The world has gone mad, stark ravingly bonkingly looney tunerlingerly mad and we are so used to knowing this, that it no longer upsets, disturbs or surprises us. Well it’s all kind of very normal now.
We vote for politicians that we hate and distrust or even better don’t vote at all, for policies we don’t believe in and support in order to manage the disintegration, destruction and dismantling of the world.
If your an atheist you can blame those dam religious nuts for trying to force their somewhat medieval views, opinions and prayers onto the rest of us.
If you are religious you can blame those degenerate freedom thinking folk or go straight for the jugular and claim that those that don’t believe what you believe that are evil and going straight to hell.
If you have no view or interest on what is going on concerning the future of the planet or even just the next election for who you can vote for or how or even what the earth will look like in a year or decade from now then fair bleeding play for reading this far into the blog post but also a little shame on you for simply not caring.
Madness in reality is now the new norm, with the leader of the UN saying we are on the highway to hell due to the climate catastrophe unfolding right before our very eyes and we either a) agree and say hey ho what do you know or (b) choose blindly ignore what is happening or (c) to know what is being stated but claim without evidence or factual information at your side that it is fake news and a mainstream conspiracy.
Scientist and news outlets have warned and reported on the destruction and potential destruction of the earth since I was a child and the news and scientific reports are continuing to be accurate and get worse and yet as a people we seem powerless to act and are just spectators on the side-line of a man made apocalypse.
You could not invent or make up a lie that is crueller than the truth.
No story told, book written or film seen is as down beat and nerve wreckingly potentially depressing and madness inducing as our very own potential unfolding right before our eyes future the destructive nature of man and his/her capacity to be born into such a wonderful environment and then with out even realising, caring or being able to stop him or herself witness its very destruction.
If we can get over worrying about how many pennies or cents that are promised in a pay check, instead of worrying more about what those pennies or cents can be used for that are taken out of a pay check for the benefit of you and others then we might just stand a chance of surviving this sorry mess we built up for ourselves in 2022.
But alas not even the basic sums of human decency and respect seem to add up in the general consciousness these days and perhaps they never did. Dictators invade or plan there next invasion or bomb drop on the free. The democratic nations of the world continue only able to vote for their own pennies or cents in their own wallets and with an eye also to keeping economic migrants foreigners from your shores.
Congress woman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez stated in a debate in congress once that ‘Religion and faith are not about exclusion’. This is also my faith and my comprehension of God that I understand and believe in, hope for and have faith in, that can answer prayers or force us collectivly to work to answer our own prayers within this life for this world and for those who come into this life in the future. A force for goodness and justice that will enable us to answer our own prayers and give what we can and should to others so that they may be clothed, sheltered, fed and loved.
I just thought I would go onto Twitter and have a look at what other people views and expressions were at this moment in time and came across a lovely clip of democrat congresswoman from New York Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez relating to faith, humanity, god and taxes!
I found the clip above emotionally and spiritually empowering and refreshing to know there are people that believe so passionately in views that I can respect and agree with concerning faith and conviction of what others are entitled to or should be protected from. I don’t buy into a Church that sells it’s belief in the good are Godley and are deserving of their wealth, good health and power status. I feel if Jesus were alive, preaching and teaching today there are many aspects of my society, its systems and institutions and mechanics of wealth and poverty creation and sustaining of that wealth and poverty which would deeply concern and anger him on how humanity treats its fellow humans. Christ would discuss matters of economics, politics, scoail justice and equlity were he around today.
If you’re not born in the right country with the right type of passport and amount of money at the right time you risk a whole lot of pain and suffering due to global inequalities and dependent upon the degrees of latitude and longitude that you were born on the globe.
These inequalities look to become far greater this century than they have been for many a year and those that look to escape the poverty, starvation and move to a place where they may have a chance of a better life will have walls built to stop them, boats sailing to catch them and be imprisoned in migrant camps, once they arrive on a foreign shore and be blamed for wanting a better life.
We don’t look to a future of greater food resources or medical resources for the people on this planet but instead one in which there are depleting resources for people and planet on a more hostile environment.
Though knowing there are advocates in positions of authority and power such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez does spring forward hope and optimism for the future.
A momentous time in British history is presently unfolding with the passing of Queen Elizabeth II and the closing of the Elizabethan age and the dawning of the age of Charles III. There has been a huge sway of emotions from people including friends and family as they mourn the loss of their Queen and perhaps contemplate their own mortality at the same time.
When it comes to my own emotions concerning the events unfolding in my country and how I feel and how I am supposed to feel I am still unsure of what to feel or what I should feel. As a human being I respect the person that was Queen Elizabeth and feel sympathy and empathy for those that knew her and especially her family for the loss of the most senior member of their family.
Though it does not make me feel especially British that she has passed, I know the pain of loss and that’s not the feeling that I am feeling. Watching the news at the moment you would think that every citizen of Britain is a loved up royalist morning the loss of the Queen and welcoming in the era of Charles III with great reverence and pride.
Although there are many doing this across the country and there will be huge crowds flocking to pay their respects for the passing of Queen Elizabeth and also the inauguration of King Charles. But there are also huge swathes of people just going about their day to day business catching the train for a day trip, heading to the shops to get bread and milk, just going about their daily lives.
I love living in Britain but I don’t feel patriotic towards its institutions and the mechanics with which we use to devour global resources and ultimately bring about our own potential destruction.
Charles is a passionate environmentalist but he has now taken on a job that is essential that he is non political in his words and actions and seen and described as above politics and so any attempt to advocate one policy over another or to criticise or support a policy he will be potentially be criticised and blamed for now so in some ways the environment has lost one of its great advocates to the crown.
A part of me wants to batten down the hatches and wait until the storm that is the whipping up of British patriotism across the UK media outlets and across these shores but another part of me feels that so long as I am respectful and explain where I am coming from I still have the right to speak and feel how I feel.
I went out for a meal with my father last week, a sort of pre-birthday pub meal for him and as so often happens we got talking about the world, democracy and climate change, you know just your typical type of small talk you might say!
The way that it came up in the conversation it really is very much like the areas of conversation were all connected. My father is an educated man, more intelligent than me by far, has a better grasp of the English language, loves to read books and also listens a lot to BBC radio 4 which is our UK radio station for informing people and educating people.
So he is well armed to have a discussion about almost any subject matter and express his views on it eloquently and to the point.
Whereas for me on the other hand I am a news junkie mostly about what is going on in the local area as well as globally the good and bad. From watching the news on the TV, reading articles on the web and also keeping an eye on social media and blogs. I am also dyslexic and struggle to read books and struggle to remember what I have read so I don’t tend to gain information from long articles or books, my memory has evolved in a different way, where I have an emotional memory that remembers things in relation to my emotional connection to them or from a pictorial or visual stimulus too rather than from remembering words from a page I would rather look at pictures that as they say is worth a thousand words.
There are many things that me and my Dad agree on but also it seems the longer you talk to anyone about any subject the more you find to disagree about rather than agree. We are both fearful for the future of the planet and humanity, we both in our own way try to do our own bit whether that is simply recycling consuming ethically, donating to charities and also advocating change for others when appropriate. But when it comes to our world views he is very much a pessimist and thinks we are all doomed and hopes he is wrong where as I am very much more of an optimist and hope we are not all doomed and hope I am not proven wrong.
With the recent heat waves, fires and lack of rain that have struck Europe over the last few weeks it always makes me think that although we might have it bad here its far worse in the area of the globe that have had famine, food shortages and lack of water for decades such places in Africa that are far hotter it than us for far longer too make me feel like there can never be time for a poor me attitude for how bad I might think I have ever had it in relation to how bad others have and will have it in the future.
We had a brief respite from the heat today when a storm came over Exeter, it was only a little one but the air and coolness in that storm and rain was sweet.
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