2008 and all that.

By almost any metric you want to choose 2008 has been a shitty year. Economically, the sub-prime sneeze of 2007 turned into our new reality of the “Global Financial Crisis™” and only looks to get worse in 2009. Politically, despite the ascendency of left leaning governments in many parts of the world, there been fuck all done to address inequality in our society, with the voters of California even turning back the clock by voting to abolish gay marriage in their state. Environmentally, the Murray Darling system threatens to turn back into a series of muddy puddles, while wingnuts continue to deny that humans have a part to play in climate change, if they even admit that it exists.

While the dramatic decrease in the price of oil this year may initially seem to be a good thing, the reality is that price volatility in the oil market is one of the predicted signs of peak oil, so it’s unlikely that we’ll be enjoying petrol at a dollar a litre for very long. Having ignored our looming energy crisis for another year almost nothing has been done to prepare for it, with road spending once again greatly outweighing mass transit investment and renewable energy sources still not making a big impact.

There’s no doubt that our entire planet is faced with some pretty daunting challenges, and I believe that we have the capability to deal with almost all of them, be they environmental, political, economic or religious, but there simply doesn’t seem to be the will to make the changes necessary. I think that 2009 will see more of the same, lip service paid to big problems, while simultaneously searching for magic bullets which will allow us to continue our lifestyles without sacrifice.

The irony in refusing to address difficult problems is that we end up making the consequences worse. We’ve already seen that this year as the hyper capitalists of Wall Street who have for years decried any government intervention have ended up being largely owned by the US Treasury because of their own reckless greed. I don’t think that it’s inconceivable to suggest that Climate Change and Peak Oil denialists actions now will only lead to greater government intervention and regulation once the consequences start to become impossible to ignore; the very thing that they are actually railing against today.

What I’d like to see in 2009 is some actual leadership from governments on issues like energy scarcity and the environment. I think that the looming economic hardships will probably make people more receptive to the message that we need to re-evaluate our consumption based lifestyles and economy and shift to a model where sustainability is a key part of our thinking. For my part, I’m going to get my bike repaired and try to use the car less, and I want to have more edible stuff growing in the garden in the next twelve months.

Goodbye 2008, don’t let the door hit you on the arse on the way out.

21 thoughts on “2008 and all that.

  1. “For my part, I’m going to get my bike repaired and try to use the car less, and I want to have more edible stuff growing in the garden in the next twelve months.”

    Dave’s plan to save the world: ride motorbikes and grow your own weed!

    (I presume you weren’t talking about a bicycle)

  2. On the contrary Ray, I was referring to my bicycle (as if I’d let the Ducati fall into disrepair).

    The problem with most of the issues we face as a populous is that they will require co-ordinated large scale action to solve, it’s not like we can individually save the world. I think that the best thing we can do is to try to educate ourselves and try to understand how our lives may be changed, then see what can be done to make the transition easier.

  3. I’m just picturing Dave and Mrs Dave in a bastardised version of the 70’s TV show The Good Life!

    In better news, your proposed hippie lifestyle should help offset the Grand Prix in March…

  4. I see you’ve removed “latest comments” from the sidebar, Dave. Now we have to click on a post to see if there have been any recent comments, which does wonders for your hits counter!

  5. I can assure you that wasn’t the intent Ray, it just looked too messy and I don’t have the inclination to change the CSS to make the sidebar wider.

    Does this mean that you haven’t subscribed to my comments RSS feed? 😉

  6. Thanks, Ray.

    Dave, please bring back the “latest comments” sidebar. I don’t care if you don’t like it and think it’s messy. I DON’T CARE! BRING IT BACK!!!11!1

  7. No, Dave, Bron’s right. I was on the verge of making a similar ranting demand too, but thankfully Bron did it for me (she’s from Sydney, they’re very demanding up there).

  8. How will no wang pants be for Keri’s benefit when she clearly likes them?

    And we all know Ray absolutely loves them too.

    And thanks for bringing back the latest comments sidebar. How easy that was to convince you! Throwing a tanty never worked with my mum.

  9. Bron, Keri is in the midst of a hormone infused sense of wonder at the moment, her judgement is not to be trusted.

    Ray will have to settle for lunch.

    Your mum probably never worried that you wouldn’t return in time 😉

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