Monday 17 October 2011

O efeito estufa,

or Put a sock in it!
Up, Down, Postscript.

I trust efeito is obvious, and the whole thing - o efeito estufa / the greenhouse effect - equally so; but estufa ... maybe not so much:

estufa feminine noun: stove, greenhouse, plate-warmer; este quarto é uma estufa / this room is like an oven.

estufado masculine noun: stew.

estufar transitive verb: to puff up (skin), to stuff (a cushion or pillow).

So that, for me at least, a certain subtlety creeps into the linguistic & cognitive network around the phrase. Two tinges enter in, two colours: 1) of sickness, illness, disease (from the notion of the skin puffing up), allergy, and, 2) of lack of breath, of an inability to speak (from the notion of a mouth stuffed with feathers or chips of foam-rubber). Richer than 'greenhouse effect' by far (which does happen to be based upon a somewhat incorrect idea of how greenhouses actually work).

A-and (stretching this whole thing to the point of hysteresis and beyond): a sort of intellectual or mental or even ... (wait for it) ... spiritual - asthma attack.

Why (f'rinstance) has it been such slow and tedious work to convince humanity of what is going on? Or that humanity is itself responsible? We have been at it for fifty years and more. And why are the relations between those who do understand and accept so strained? So tenuous & contingent? And so ineffectual? Why is there no real 'movement'?

The english expression 'put a sock in it' comes to mind.

STFU!   Cala boca!

Robert Socolow & Stephen Pacala.Robert Socolow seems to be wondering about similar questions (but much more clearly & scientifically of course).

I found the latest installment because Real Climate posted a review: The high cost of inaction (good on them!).

Robert Socolow.The initial paper from 2004, Stabilisation Wedges: Solving the Climate Problem for the Next 50 Years with Current Technologies, and the recent one, Wedges reaffirmed, and a more detailed look at certain implications for the IPCC, High-consequence outcomes and internal disagreements: tell us more, please (abstract) and full text.

(A small joke: the abstract came up as a Springer Link so I expected a pay-wall and spent a few minutes fruitlessly looking for a way around it - until I noticed that in this case Springer is providing the full text with no pay-wall.)

In Wedges Reaffirmed he says:
"Familiar answers include the recent recession, the political influence of the fossil fuel industries, and economic development imperatives in countries undergoing industrialization. But, I submit, advocates for prompt action, of whom I am one, also bear responsibility for the poor quality of the discussion and the lack of momentum. Over the past seven years, I wish we had been more forthcoming with three messages: We should have conceded, prominently, that the news about climate change is unwelcome, that today’s climate science is incomplete, and that every 'solution' carries risk. I don’t know for sure that such candor would have produced a less polarized public discourse. But I bet it would have. Our audiences would have been reassured that we and they are on the same team – that we are not holding anything back and have the same hopes and fears."
(my emphasis).

Occupy Toronto."You don't know what you got till it's gone."

Occupy Toronto have abandoned the People's Mic in favour of bullhorns. So much good was coming out of this practice, so many positive dimensions - and they gave it up in favour of the bog-standard. Incredible.

A-and there are two websites, two separate sets of discussion forums (fori is it? fora?). Count them: One for the hoi polloi, here; and another for the insider team, here. I would have imagined that even in Toronto at least one of them would have picked up on such a fundamental misdirection.

People walking around repeating dreck & crap-o-la of various kinds - "There is no 'i' in 'team'," and such like. (There may be no 'i' in 'team' but there is an 'eh?' in 'temperament.)

... oh ... forget it ...

¡Ya basta!The corporate sleveens, the clever ones like our affable Jim Prentice, ex-environment minister and now one of the VPs at CIBC, will be able to read these signs easily. And they will tell the others not to worry; and they won't.

Ai Ai Ai.

I also met a couple who had made and brought down a large home-made casserole of tuna melt and bread rolls and were giving it away. Delish. I wish I had gotten a photograph of them to show you. Not all of the salt has lost its savour; but I am very sorry to report that they were distinctly on the fringe, on the margin.

A-and, there will be no real help from the likes of Maude Barlow and her Council of Canadians, and not from Graham Saul and the beautiful young nubiles at the Canadian Climate Action Network either. They will carry on doing the work they know how to do - and I do not deny that it is good work as far as it goes.

When Maude and Graham put themselves up for arrest in Ottawa a few weeks ago I thought ... Maybe this is a change for the better? and, Maybe something will come of it?

I am sorry, I am sorry to say this ... It quite literally does my head in to say this ... but I don't think so. They are stuck on gradualism, politesse ... Le charme discret de la bourgeoisie ... there's lots that could be said: incompetent management, lack of imagination ... but why bother? (And I'm sorry to say that too.) For the record and to be clear: this is not a nutbar wet-dream, I am not making it up; I have communicated with these people and there have been exchanges; and it has gone exactly nowhere ... or arguably backwards.

Yevgeny Yevtushenko.Yevgeny Yevtushenko.

Oh what a sobering,
what a talking-to from conscience afterwards:
the short moment of frankness at the party
and the enemy crept up.
But to have learnt nothing is terrible,
and peering earnest eyes are terrible
detecting secret thoughts is terrible
in simple words and immature disturbance.
This diligent suspicion has no merit.
The blinded judges are no public servants.
It would be far more terrible to mistake
a friend than to mistake an enemy.

     Yevgeny Yevtushenko, early 60's sometime.

At the first Occupy Toronto General Assembly I attended, at OISE on the 13th, something happened which I will relate:

My question, "How does one go about restraining violent elements should they appear on the scene?" was not answered; but it looked like it would be dealt with the following evening at a workshop for Marshalls. So I was taking careful note of the time and place for this meeting and the young woman said, "... from seven to nine ..." and I piped up, "AM or PM?" and someone said, "PM," and the question was answered and I wrote it down.

A few minutes later, a young man with whom I had shared a bench while taking a rest and a smoke an hour or so previously, asked me what I had said. And I did not remember saying anything. I remembered him, and I remembered chatting with him, but I did not remember saying anything. So I looked at him, mystified, and denied it; and he, equally mystified, moved away (understandably).

That is the first time such a thing has happened - I think (?) - and it was profoundly upsetting. I have been making light of Alzheimer's here from time to time, listing the 'Vantages and so on ... but this incident strikes me as serious.

I don't know where to go with it?


(And yes, there is a musing between those square brackets which I have spared you, gentle reader.)

Be well.


I did plumb the Christian depths a bit today as well; attended the 11:00 service at St. James' Cathedral, or 'The Cathedral Church of Saint James' as they prefer to be called - Anglicans - located directly beside the Occupy Toronto encampment.

(There is quite a good pipe organ in this church and the organist today was using the lowest of the low registers, to the point that you could hear the individual beats. Unfortunately for me his treatment of the hymns was so ornamented that I could not make out the tunes and so could only really sing the last one, which I knew but cannot remember now.)

The protestors were prayed over, and 'those upholding the law' as well, twice.

The Archbishop, The Most Rev’d Colin Johnson, knows nothing about non-violent civil disobedience, or at least certainly didn't in May when I heard him speak (or stammer as the case may be) on the subject. The 'Dean & Rector', The Very Rev’d Douglas Stoute, is married to a Superior Court Judge - nothing wrong in that.

The church owns some of the adjoining park and Mr. Stoute has apparently told the organizers that they will not be evicted - I had this from the man who looked like he was in charge of the OT kitchen. This portion of the park is where both the kitchen and portable toilets are located - fundamental functions as it were.

All water is being brought in bottles - I wonder if the church could not let someone fill five gallon buckets - there must be a tap somewhere to water the grass; issues of freezing coming soon of course but something could be arranged to deal with that - and maybe will be, it is still early days.


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