GrandPa’s Practical Guide to Climate Change Action

My daughter in law said to me recently when I came up with a pearl of wisdom when dealing with a fractious grandchild, “can I have a series on GrandPa says” to help with the kids. So while I am writing my Picture book on GrandPa says I woke up with some thoughts on how to tackle one of the big hot button questions in life, Climate Change.

As one of the over 60s in Australia I have seen a lot in this world. I have seen mankind at its best, with amazing advances in medical science. Amazing leaps in “Star Trek” technologies. Self sacrifice and selfless service at multiple levels of society.

I have also seen mankind at its worst. Multiple wars. Terrible crimes against humanity and individuals.

Over the years I have seen multiple horrendous bushfires take life and property with the latest bushfire disaster becoming highly politicised and the community polarised by this disaster. The chants of “We want action and we want it now” grow louder.

But what does this call for action actually mean? How does Australia with a contribution of 1.3% to Co2 levels make a difference to the world wide climate? How do we take action that doesn’t destroy our economy sustain our nation and our children’s future and with it our ability to fund the research needed to make the great advances in knowledge?

So let’s look at some hot button issues.

Coal

The “Climate Extinction” mantra is to close all coal fired power stations and ban all coal exports.

So don’t let facts get in the way of an emotional argument but to close all our power stations in 2 years would put us literally into the dark ages considering our electricity is 75% dependant on Coal

(Reference: Australia’s primary energy consumption is dominated by coal (around 40 per cent), oil (34 per cent) and gas (22 per cent). Coal accounts for about 75 per cent of Australia’s electricity generation, followed by gas (16 per cent), hydro (5 per cent) and wind around (2 per cent). https://www.ga.gov.au/www.ga.gov.au › scientific-topics › energy › basics Basics | Geoscience Australia)

But that doesn’t mean we can’t do something. So here is a step by step plan to reducing our coal dependence without turning the lights off.

  1. Replace all “dirty” coal powered stations with “clean coal” technology. Victoria has ageing coal generators as well as in the Hunter Valley. Replace them now. This has the immediate result of reducing our Co2 levels while we find the “long term” solution.
  2. Make all of our coal export licences linked to a “clean coal” power station. Example, India has a growing need for cheap electricity generation (coal). Insist by contract that their new power stations (which are being built every 9 days) is using “clean coal” technology.
  3. Lift all bans on gas exploration. Our gas generation for electricity is just 16%. Victoria is sitting on potential gas fields in Bass Strait and on land. Let’s make it happen. Set a goal to replace 25% of coal generation with gas powered sites. Again, we reduce our Co2 levels.
  4. Lift the ban on Nuclear power generation. Before everyone’s brain melts, nuclear is the “cleanest” base load power you can produce. Solar and Wind are weather dependant and whilst contributing to our reduction in Co2 levels, they can never truly replace base load power. Nuclear is a long term project. It will take 20 years to build one. We should build two or three in parallel using the best modern technologies and safety features and with it, build state of the art disposal/storage centres of spent fuel rods. In 20 years, we will reduce our coal powered electricity component by at least 50% if not more. If we plan it right, we could be coal free in 30 years and still have “cheap” electricity to make our industries highly competitive.
  5. Expand BioMass solutions. Utilises burning off Methane from rubbish dumps. Put our piles of rubbish to good use.
  6. High Temperature waste-to-energy incinerators. Europe have a number of these plants that due to the high temperature completely destroys all the waste and generates substantial power. Solves two problems. Decreasing rubbish into landfill and cheap “green” power.
  7. Encourage self funding of solar. The current subsidies is distorting the power market and creating enormous problems in the maintenance of the grid as well as problems for Solar installers. Removing subsidies does not remove individual capacity to “self fund” solar on the roof. The economic benefits stack up. We are planning to “go solar” this year and it will pay for itself in about 8 years. Our power bills in the mean time will drop substantially.

Oil

Australia is a vast country and our dependence of motor transport (especially trucks) is indispensable. So we need to triple our research funding into new technologies for replacements to oil dependant fuel.

  1. E Vehicles – considering the large distances we travel, only inner urban drivers “love” these vehicles. To sell these to the broader market a few things need to happen.
    1. Better battery technology – longer lasting. Higher torque. Here is the test, can you drive off road for 8 hours in the middle of the bush and still have enough reserves to get home. At the moment. No. If you are doing a 1 hr city commute and then plug in it is probably doable.
    2. Cheap in home charge points linked to Solar /Wind and battery systems. One of the downfalls of an EVehicle is that you are charging from the grid (coal fired electricity) so it becomes yet another virtue signalling exercise without making any practical difference. Charge points need to be not connected to the grid.
  2. Hydrogen – this seems to be a viable replacement for diesel (example California buses seem to run okay on them). How do we make Hydrogen a nation wide (world wide) source of cheap and clean fuel for cars and trucks?
  3. Uber E Vehicles – we all love our cars. But do we all need one in the garage? If we had access to cheap E Vehicles via Uber (or whoever the company is) that can take us to the shops, drop us off and pick us up (and our shopping), all possible.

The Little Things

We can all do little things to make a difference.

  1. Walk/Cycle to school rather than get dropped off in the car.
  2. Walk to your local shop rather than drive
  3. Replace your old inefficient dirty car
  4. Recycle your rubbish. (Do you have a compost bin at home?)
  5. Don’t waste power. (see list below)
  6. Save water. (There is a whole website about this)
  7. Do you need to buy the latest phone if your current phone still works?
  8. Turn off the TV and devices and talk to one another for an hour.

A final message about hope. The world is not going to end anytime soon. For someone who has seen “Star Trek” technology become reality, mankind’s ability to create, innovate and solve problems is enormous. No doubt there are challenges around our drought/fire cycles but together we can make a difference doing our little bit and the big stuff as well. I don’t need to superglue myself to the road to provide some answers that will help.

There you have it.

GrandPa says …

Use energy wisely — and save money too!

  • Change to energy-efficient light bulbs
  • Unplug computers, TVs and other electronics when you’re not using them
  • Turn off the lights in rooms you are not using
  • Wash clothes in cold or warm water (not hot)
  • Stop using clothes dryers and Hang-dry your clothes instead
  • Install a programmable thermostat
  • Look for the Energy Star label when buying new appliances
  • Winterize your home to prevent heat from escaping and try to keep it cool in the summer without an air conditioner
  • Get a home or workplace energy audit to identify where you can make the most energy-saving gains
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The Lost Path of Masculinity

In the ongoing debate around good or bad masculinity, this has mostly been couched in “secular” terms. This article brings to mind the lost vision for masculinity, that is one based on the Christian Man. Here are 5 “P” words to help in that description:

Persistence in Faith A Christian man is one who stands firm in their faith. Not tossed to and fro by the eaves of post modernism, doubt or the temptations of the world. The Christian man provides the example to his family through his life of faith. A life of bible reading. A life of Prayer. A life of Service. A life of Good works.

Prayer A Christian man is a man a prayer. One who stands in the gap for their family in spiritual warfare and bringing the needs of their family before the God of the Universe.

Provision A Christian man is one who knows his call from God. A call the ensures his family is cared for. Ensuring their physical needs are met. They don’t have to be the sole bread winner, or may choose alternative parenting paths with their wife, but their responsibility is to ensure that the housing, schooling, sustenance and clothing needs are met between them. They are a man that ensures that their wife and children’s emotional needs are met. And they do this by being the ‘present’ husband and father, not someone always absent or distant from the family. A man who knows how to deal with tough times through faith in God, trust in His Word and Prayer. By ensuring his leadership as a Christian man shines through in his home, his relationships and his workplace.

Purposeful A Christian man’s life is one that is purposeful and planned. Planned by God for good works. Not a life that is focussed on self, sin and worldly pleasures.

The list of “P”s can go on into a variety of character virtues, patience, peace but hopefully as you read this you may find a better view of masculinity through the eyes of a “Christian” man. And if you are not a Christian and you are finding things tough out there … today is the day of salvation. “He who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved”

For the studious readers, some scriptures to review on each topic:

Persistence – 1 Cor 16:13; 2 Chron 20:17; James 1:12 Rom 12:11-12; 2 Thess 2:16-17;

Prayer – Phil 4:6; 1 Tim 2:8; Eph 6:18; Col 4:3;

Provision – 1 Tim 5:8; 2 Cor 9:8; 2 Peter 1:3; Matt 6:33; John 10:10;

Purpose – Eph 2:10; Jer 29:11; Col 1:16; Eccl 3:1; Rom 8:28;

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The Evil in our midst

I first wrote this article within days of the horrors of the Christchurch massacre when they were foremost in our minds. But I reflected that emotions and opinions were too raw so I held off to just now.

Since the Christchurch Massacre much has been said and written trying to make sense of how this horrific act of mass murder could have come about. There was much blame for one group or another but what became clear is that the murderer came from a very average Australian family. So the question continues to be asked  … how did this young boy grow up to be this monster?

Some have trod the low path and dragged “identity politics” into the mix, whether it is from a left leaning or right leaning perspective and I won’t give their arguments any further traction by repeating them here. But politics does not adequately explain the why and how.

In a post-Christian, post-modern society, objective truth and objective right and wrong values have been mostly thrust aside. And with it is the concept of “moral evil”.

When we try and digest Christchurch, we also need to digest the 15 women who have been murdered by their partner or former partner just this year in Australia (as at April 2019). Many try and explain this as a failure in upbringing, a failure in culture but when we consider the “why” that causes someone to commit murder (and murder someone they once claimed to love), the notion of “evil” needs to be also considered.

Jesus talked about this 2000+ years ago, when he said,

“For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭15:19‬ ‭NIV‬‬

The evil of the Christchurch murderer is not just the influences of the world, it is something that comes from within. As a former Policeman, I saw this all too much, with unexplainable acts of evil in murders, rapes, savage beatings.

If we accept that evil comes from within, what is the answer to that evil?

From a Christian perspective, we understand this all too well as each of us have had “fallen short” of God’s standards for life and come to the place where we have “confessed our sins”, asked God for forgiveness and “surrender our lives to Christ”.

There is a well known scripture that speaks about this:

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
‭‭John‬ ‭3:16‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Paul called himself the “worst of sinners” having stood by when the Apostle Stephen was stoned to death. (‭‭1 Timothy‬ ‭1:15‬ )

And like Paul, the words of the Psalmists talks about that salvation.

“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭51:10‬ ‭NIV‬‬

And with that heart cry, we see the answer from the prophet Ezekiel.

“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.”
‭‭Ezekiel‬ ‭36:26‬ ‭NIV‬‬

So in the face of the “evil in the heart”, the hope of the  Christian life points us back to Jesus Christ and his example.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.”
‭‭Galatians‬ ‭5:22-24‬ ‭NIV‬‬

So for the evil in the heart, there is hope.

A look at the ideals of the Christian life

The Christian walk is based on love.

“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭4:32‬ ‭NIV‬‬

““Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.””
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭22:36-40‬ ‭NIV‬‬

This love includes our enemies

““You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭5:43-44‬ ‭NIV‬‬

The Christian walk is based on forgiveness

“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭4:32‬ ‭NIV‬‬

“Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them.””
‭‭Luke‬ ‭17:4‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Being a Christian doesn’t make us perfect and our old lives and old ways of thinking want to drag us back into the “sin” place. This is compounded by the internet world we are constantly bombarded with messages that want to drag us back into that place of temptation and evil. Pornography abounds. Violence abounds. Selfishness abounds. Online bullying, trolls and vindictive attacks are common place. The tribalism of left and right wants to puts us at war with each other and it is oh so easy to do.

Though written thousands of years before the internet was ever thought of, the ancient wisdom from scripture speaks into our current life experience and problems. Consider these warnings,

“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭12:9‬ ‭NIV‬‬

“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭4:23‬ ‭NIV‬‬

“reject every kind of evil.”
‭‭1 Thessalonians‬ ‭5:22‬ ‭NIV‬‬

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
‭‭Philippians‬ ‭4:8‬ ‭NIV‬‬

But there are those who reject the path of confession, cleansing and surrender to Christ. Those who choose instead the “evil”.

The Psalmist describes this human condition well

“In his arrogance the wicked man hunts down the weak, who are caught in the schemes he devises. He boasts about the cravings of his heart; he blesses the greedy and reviles the Lord. In his pride the wicked man does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭10:2-4‬ ‭NIV‬‬

“They close up their callous hearts, and their mouths speak with arrogance.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭17:10‬ ‭NIV‬‬

So as we consider the “evil in our midst” know this:

“I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.””
‭‭Jeremiah‬ ‭17:9-10‬ ‭NIV‬‬

There is a God who is just and for those who walk the path of evil, a day of account will come … in this world … and in the next.

 

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E = Encouragement

As part of the Acronym for R.E.S.P.E.C.T let’s go to E = Encouragement

There are plenty of knockers in the world. One of the things that Aussies are noted for (and not in a good way) is we are the best at “cutting down the tall poppies”, pulling down anyone who dares to step out of the masses and declare their independence and differences.

In the family violence services and prevention space this appears in two forms. You must comply with the current orthodoxy on how to prevent family violence or you are virulently opposed to the “man haters” and attack! We see both at work on social media (and in mainstream media) and none of it is particularly edifying.

Which is why I am writing “The Real Men Challenge” which is taking a “strength based approach” to the problem of family violence. I don’t have any problem calling I out bad behaviour when I see it or challenge faulty logic or thinking. Correcting someone or offering a counter argument is a long way from the personal abuse and “labelling” that seems to be the primary weapon on social media.

Which is why “Encouragement” should be a central part of RESPECT.

When we deal with victims/survivors of family violence we want to encourage (and another E word, empower) them to make positive decisions to get out of their controlling relationship or to seek help. And stand with them and encourage them on the journey. Words like “you can do this” and “we support you” are so important (especially when they have been robbed of their self worth and confidence).

We also need to encourage friends and family to rally around the victim/survivor as they work it all out and support them.

We need to encourage the community to not give into “family violence fatigue” but instead maintain the determination to keep doing something about it. Hold White Ribbon Fund Raisers, education sessions, use music or art to get the message across.

We also want to encourage everyone to “Stand Up, Speak Out and Act” to prevent family violence.

And finally we want to encourage men.

Encourage men to use their God given positive qualities of courage, strength, justice, determination to call out bad behaviour when they see it. To call out their mates when they are just plain wrong. And for those men who recognise they need to change, to admit they need help and then get the help. We can create a better world by not pulling these men down but lifting them up to attain the higher qualities of manhood.

And, encourage men to be the positive role models to their children, to their families, in their workplaces, in the community.

Men, be a leader of good. People are watching and take notice.

 

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R = Red Flags

As part of the Acronym for R.E.S.P.E.C.T let’s start at R = Red Flags

At the core of family violence is power and control. There may not be violence present and the perpetrator may present as charming, affable and on the surface “a really nice guy” (or gal). There are no threats, no verbal abuse but under the surface, there is this sinister controlling behaviour at work. Behaviour that is not immediately obvious but the Red Flags are there.

Here is an example from a couple we know. The wife is away with a friend for a weekend end away. On the day they are to return, he uses the smart phone “Find my Phone” feature to track her journey and make sure she is home on time. He calls it “caring”, we call it a “Red Flag”. When my wife is away somewhere I might get a call to say she’s arrived safe or when she is leaving and when she expects to be home. I wouldn’t think about trying to track her journey. After all she is a smart, intelligent and self sufficient woman and a good driver in a safe car.

Here are some more “Red Flags” to think about.

The “Red Flag” of social isolation. Where the controlling partner decides who their partner can see and when.

The “Red Flag” of financial control. Where the controlling partner controls all of the finances.

The “Red Flag” of fear. I will have to ask “Bill” if that’s all right. “Bill” may not like that.

The “Red Flag” of guilt. “It’s your fault”. “You are such an idiot”. “Why do you do that all the time” and so it goes on.

What are some of the “Red Flags” that you have witnessed?

Have you called them out?

 

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