from Anne in Adelaide, Australia: what to do? Plant trees …

May 2. Have you watched the controversial, free, Youtube movie, Planet of the Humans with Jeff Gibbs, produced by Michael Moore? This 1 hr 40-minute film was obviously made before the arrival of Covid-19. If the pandemic has made you worried, wondering if you are approaching a state of depression, this film will take you there.

Jeff Gibbs is not a human-induced-climate-change denier. This must be said at the beginning. What he does do is look at the story behind the production of some ‘green’ energy:  solar, wind and biomass fuel. And what he finds may surprise you. The reaction from the environmental lobby has been quick to point the many errors in the film with regard to wind and solar but admit the commentary about the burning of biomass is accurate. What Gibbs also says is that overpopulation is the ‘elephant’ in the room: too many humans consuming the world’s finite resources.

We must all admit it is the western world’s wealthy that are the heaviest consumers. And so it goes.

Trump’s administration has extended the USA’s controls on what can be taught to women world-wide by cutting all funding to any NGO that still offers counselling on abortion:

… under Trump, the net has been thrown wider and pulled tighter than ever. Sexual health organisations have said women will die as a consequence, as they pursue dangerous DIY solutions or “back street” abortions instead.

In March (2019), the US extended the gag, stating that any organisation counselling women on abortion and using funds from elsewhere – even from its own government or a donor in another country – will no longer be eligible for any US funding. The diktat applies to all global health organisations. HIV and children’s charities must sign up to the pledge, alongside those running sexual and reproductive health clinics.”

Coming back to the biomass discussion … after seeing forests being cut down for fuel, Gibbs spoke about how animal fats can be turned into biomass – and there was a brief, almost subliminal, clip showing a whole cow being put through a giant mincer. I could not believe what I had just seen. Shocked is an understatement. It appeared that the cow was alive. I know that animals often are not killed by the bolt in abattoirs and so enter the processing stage still alive.

Some time ago, I read, Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer (highly recommended) and at one stage Foer says that if abattoirs had glass walls, we humans would NOT allow what goes on there to continue.

Two days ago, I read that Tyson Foods, the mega-producer of meat in the USA (yes, the one that recently lobbied Trump to declare meat production factories as essential facilities) is producing biofuels from ‘beef tallow, pork lard, chicken fat, and cooking grease’ – and no doubt getting subsidies for doing this.

A few days ago, citing his authority under the Defense Production Act, Trump declared in an executive order that “it is important that processors of beef, pork, and poultry (‘meat and poultry’) in the food supply chain continue operating and fulfilling orders to ensure a continued supply of protein for Americans.”

So, they must remain open (and Trump said he would seek to shield the meat plants from legal liabilities …)

After all, Americans must have their meat, and the left-over animal bits and pieces will become bio-fuels for us to feel good about green energy.

Something is wrong in the world if it has come to this.

So, try and forget about Covid-19, about Trump and his bunch of crazies, get out and plant a tree or two.

We have had glorious rain – over 3 days about 3 inches fell (about 75ml). The best Autumn rains for years. So, we drove into the hills above Adelaide to buy some native plant tubestock for our bushland. We were not alone; the place was packed.

Belair State Flora Nursery, South Australia

We bought 20 plants: eremophila, banksias, eucalypts, allocasurinas and acacias. Gardening in South Australia is not a simple matter, as it was in my old home town, Durban, South Africa, where gardens blossomed with little care. Our plants have to be tough to survive dry hot summers and droughts. We are the driest state in the driest continent in the world.

I struggled with getting my head around the native plants in South Australia. Did you know that there are 900 species of eucalypts in Australia? They exist in every corner of this complex country. AND they hybridise and they look similar to the untrained eye. Many plants we have bought, planted and cared for over the years have died, but enough have survived to make a difference to our property.

The soil on our land is alkaline, part of the 700-million-year-old Adelaide Geosyncline complex that once was undersea. The land is bent, crushed and winkled: the soil formed before the first land plants, around the time of snowball earth when multi-cellar algae and bacteria developed. Think about it. It makes our current woes a minor blip in life.

So, it is not too late, nor are we too old, to plant a tree and maybe become vegetarian.

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