Backyard Birds

After moving into my house more than 12 years ago I’ve been keeping a list of the different birds I’ve seen either in our garden or from our garden. It’s been several months since I’ve been able to add a new one to the list: until Sunday morning.

rainbow lorikeetx2.jpgOn Sunday I was walking around outside and heard an unfamiliar bird chattering away. In a neighbour’s tree I saw a once familiar sight – a pair of rainbow lorikeets.

They were a frequent visitor around my previous home in Sydney. They would sit on the window sill, or on the balcony table, and were “tame” enough to be handfed. However, they’re not supposed to be native to more inland areas like the town where I now live.

According to the two bird field guides I own, their habitat should be closer to the coast. However, changing climate seems to be having its effect on the movement of wild life, and the range of some birds (rainbow lorikeets included) is expanding.

rainbow lorikeet

Both photos were taken from my back garden.


Naomi Klein’s Message to the Media

Please don’t overlook Klein’s article from The Intercept (“Harvey Didn’t Come Out of the Blue. Now is the Time to Talk About Climate Change” ) accessible via a link at the bottom of the page.

The World Meteorological Organization on Tuesday announced that Hurricane Harvey’s devastation is linked to climate change. All past U.S. rainfall records have been shattered, and the devastating storm is expected to bring even more rainfall to Louisiana and Texas in the coming days. And yet, the corporate networks have avoided linking the record-breaking storm to climate change. We examine storm coverage with Naomi Klein, best-selling author of several books, including “This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate.”

Click this link to access video:

Naomi Klein’s Message to the Media

…in the midst of a storm that they’re saying, over and over and over again, is unprecedented. I mean, you turn on any coverage, and you hear that word over and over again, but what you don’t hear, or you hear very, very rarely, is an explanation for why the word “unprecedented,” “record-breaking”—why these words have become, you know, meteorological clichés. We hear them all the time, because we’re breaking heat records year after year. We’re seeing record-breaking wildfires, record-breaking droughts, record-breaking storms, because the baseline is higher

More here:

Naomi Klein’s article of The Intercept is here:

Unless it changes, capitalism will starve humanity by 2050

I’m posting the reference to this article because it touches on issues I’ve addressed recently in other posts.

Unless it changes, capitalism will starve humanity by 2050
By Drew Hansen
climate changeProfessors Christopher Wright and Daniel Nyberg published Climate Change, Capitalism and Corporations last fall, arguing that businesses are locked in a cycle of exploiting the world’s resources in ever more creative ways.
“Our book shows how large corporations are able to continue engaging in increasingly environmentally exploitative behaviour by obscuring the link between endless economic growth and worsening environmental destruction,” they wrote. (my emphasis – Tim)

More from the article:

Capitalism has generated massive wealth for some, but it’s devastated the planet and has failed to improve human well-being at scale.
Species are going extinct at a rate 1,000 times faster than that of the natural rate over the previous 65 million years.
Since 2000, 6 million hectares of primary forest have been lost each year. That’s 14,826,322 acres, or just less than the entire state of West Virginia.
Even in the U.S., 15% of the population lives below the poverty line. For children under the age of 18, that number increases to 20%.
The world’s population is expected to reach 10 billion by 2050.
How do we expect to feed that many people while we exhaust the resources that remain?

Human activities are behind the extinction crisis. Commercial agriculture, timber extraction, and infrastructure development are causing habitat loss and our reliance on fossil fuels is a major contributor to climate change.

see complete article here:–capitalism-will-starve-humanity-by-2050-014619431.html

Man sees what he chooses to see.

I mentioned in an earlier post that Christian climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe has noted: “We are being told things by people who don’t like the solutions to climate change and have decided that it’s a lot better and a lot smarter to deny the reality of the problem than to acknowledge it exists but say you don’t want to do anything about it.”

Naomi Klein has pointed out something similar, that acceptance of climate change realities would demand actions that some find politically unpalatable – so they choose to reject evidence pointing to the reality of climate change.
Rather than accept the findings of the majority of climate scientists, they prefer to hunt out a few scientists (often not involved in climate science) who deny it.

In other words, their stance is determined by what they PREFER to believe rather than by the validity of evidence.

I was talking to Gloria about this last night, and she very astutely pointed out that it’s the same situation when it comes to belief in God.
People choose to deny God, not because of lack of evidence, but because they don’t like the inevitable consequences of recognising Him. An acceptance of God requires a response; a consideration that He might require changes that will take us from the path we want to follow.

Some prefer to blind their eyes and block their ears than to see or hear a truth that requires a short-term price to be paid to gain a long term benefit.

You cannot serve God and mammon.

In recent weeks I’ve become increasingly interested in political attitudes, but not because I have any hope in political solutions. My interest is in the way that clear political injustices are increasingly, (and sometimes unknowingly) supported by professing Christians, who have been seduced into endorsing ideologies that in various ways can be inconsistent with the gospel of the Kingdom.

Firstly there are policies that favour the ultra-rich over the poor.

In an earlier post I gave links to information about the changes in taxation rates that Ronald Regan introduced in the 1980s that reduced Tax on the richest by around two thirds. The resulting shortfall in revenue was recouped through cutting welfare expenditure.

Unsurprisingly, and not coincidentally, those massive tax and welfare cuts were followed by a skyrocketing rate of homeless rate within the USA.

Regan’s practices were echoed after the 2008 economic crash. The financial catastrophe created by unethical and immoral banking practices led the US and other governments around the world to pay 100s of billions of dollars to bail out the offending banks, while the victims of the bank’s immoral practices continued to be made homeless through foreclosures.

[One only has to google “home foreclosures” to see how the heartbreak of many families is still being exploited as a profit-making exercise by opportunistic business people].

Ultimately THAT is the kind of political practice that many Christians are endorsing when they offer support to the right wing political parties they seem to favour.

A second example is the incredible support given to gun ownership by many American Christians. That’s something else I’ve recently addressed with a link to a video interview with a minister whose ministry lost support when he spoke out against the American love affair with guns.

One only has to see some of the gun-supporting arguments raised by Christians to see how quickly irrationality can strike in relation to this issue.

A third concern is the overwhelming denial of Climate change within the political ideology supported by so many Christians. It’s a denial that Christians have often echoed without giving the matter much thought for themselves.
I’ve read remarks from a few people recently who point out that the denial doesn’t come from an assessment of the available evidence; it comes from an unwillingness to accept the essential political changes that will be required to address the implications of climate change.

As Christian climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe has said: “We are being told things by people who don’t like the solutions to climate change and have decided that it’s a lot better and a lot smarter to deny the reality of the problem than to acknowledge it exists but say you don’t want to do anything about it.”

Again I’ve posted a video interview with Hayhoe in a previous post.

I’m concerned that these things (and similar issues) undermine the credibility of Christians and  the gospel they may try to promote. Some of the policies associated with these issues directly contravene central aspects of the gospel: exploitation of the vulnerable, trusting in violence and denial of the truth when the truth becomes costly.

When I’ve considered all of these things, I’ve come to a conclusion that in summary illustrates a choice between two paths – a choice that at heart is related to a warning Jesus gave; something about the impossibility of serving two masters.

Climate Change: Fact and Faith

An EXCELLENT interview – primarily on the issue of climate change, but also revealing the reality of political influence shaping the beliefs of Christians, as well as the motivation behind those influential political ideologies.

Caring about climate is entirely consistent with who we are as Christians, but over the last several decades we have increasingly begun to confound our politics with our faith to the point where instead of our faith dictating our attitudes on political and social issues we are instead allowing our political party to dictate our attitude on issues that are clearly consistent with who we are.

[Katharine Hayhoe]

We are being told things by people who don’t like the solutions to climate change and have decided that its a lot better and a lot smarter to deny the reality of the problem than to acknowledge it exists but say you don’t want to do anything about it.

[Katharine Hayhoe]