[Coral-List] Re. The real problem

James Moore james.ay.moore at gmail.com
Wed Sep 12 21:19:23 EDT 2012

Dear Listers,
I am relatively new to the thread concerning coal fired power stations in
Germany, worldwide energy use etc. so I apologise if I am repeating
sentiments already aired.

I feel compelled to post as this thread distils very personally motivating
themes. I hope there is groundswell to continue the discussion as I think
it is crucial and highly pertinent to contemporary issues. Already many
worthy points have been raised, and I commend everyone in this discussion
for opening the debate. In particular, I echo Thomas Webler's sentiments,
that "all scientists have a professional and moral responsibility
to...speak..about climate change." And also John Ware for averting to "the
REAL PROBLEM" - i.e. us. Humans.

It is absolutely our responsibility as educated, mindful, humans - who may
or may not be scientists - to be leading the public debate and pushing the
case for change. It is simply not good enough to point fingers at whichever
individual, or whatever country, is or isn't doing something. To borrow
from the elegant Desiderata, we should "not compare ourselves to
others..for always there will be greater and lesser persons than
ourselves." The buck stops with us. Individually. Each and every one of us
is a single point-source of demand. A unitary nucleus of consumption. The
 system simply feeds what we demand. Consider the German coal-fired power
station case: if, hypothetically, every German decided overnight that they
didn't want or need electricity, demand would be zero. Supply would be
zero. Emissions: zero!

I wholeheartedly agree with Gene Shinn that what we do may be "drops in the
ocean" in isolation compared to super trawlers or open cut mines. However
hopelessness breeds inaction. And every day we are bombarded by
disempowering messages from the media about how individual actions are
ultimately futile. Case in point, the heavily right leaning articles
inciting finger-pointing at Germany's proposed power supply expansion
plans. Rubbish! We are demand! We can all make a difference. Each and every
one of us. In Australia just yesterday, enormous pressure from individuals
supporting grass-roots campaigns started by community petition lists such
as GetUp! and Stop the Super Trawler forced Federal Government action to
ban the 142m long factory-freezer super trawler the FV Abel Tasman from
fishing Australian waters for two years (

Many of us are inextricably tied to the ocean be it professionally,
recreationally, emotionally or whatever other way you wish to do it. We are
all also educated, informed, concerned about issues that not only damage
coral reefs, but oceans in general, biodiversity, ecology and ultimately
the planet. Many of us, like myself, work on climate change issues - some
even on pan-global transboundary issues such as ocean acidification. Put
simply we know too much not to be at the vanguard of action. And again I
commend John Ware's call for contemplation before back slapping. It is time
for serious, robust, critical and objective introspection. Are we making a
difference? At what cost? Am I doing everything in my power to live better,
more ethically, more aware? Can I tread lighter and breathe more gently?
Conscious living is not an optional extra. It is an integrative component
of living in this age and complementary to profession, education,

We are demand - singularly and collectively. We can drive this demand up or
down. We in the affluent world especially. Almost every second provides a
bifurcation in the demand cycle. Every moment an opportunity for decisions
- up. Or down. Chicken. Or the fish. Or better, mung bean. There are
enormous challenges ahead and as Alina Szmant points out, we are "not
really ready to abandon our comfortable lifestyle." Why not? Many of us
enjoy unprecedented levels of comforts and convenience. We must be brave
and strong enough to stand up and say enough is enough. To lead by example
and strip back some of the excess, to pare back the consumption - even if
it means going alone in the beginning. Given our lifestyles in the west, we
have ample leverage to pull in the reigns. Every aspect of living affords
an opportunity for change. A channel for communication. Talk to your
family, your friends, your neighbourhood, working group. The ripples of
change radiate from a drop on the ocean!

Respectfully yours,


Interesting reading:

*James AY Moore*
30 Randell St
P +61 413 609 659 | E james.ay.moore at gmail.com

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