Monday, 19 May 2014

Time waits for no man, Has the Longitude prize got it right?

As the Antarctic melts into the oceans, rising it level by a few millimetres a year, and the CO2 levels rising relentlessly we have no time to waste in finding a solution to the problem that the planet faces.

It is with inspiration that NESTA has launches a new Longitude prize to find solutions to some of the effects of Climate Change.

It is with great regret that the vision has not gone further to find a solution to the underlying causes of climate change , rather than ignoring them and concentrating on the effects caused by global warming and climate change.

We all know that the underlying causes are many and include population , overuse and misuse of resources and many other issues,  but we seem bent on concentrating on finding technological fixes for the effects of climate change, when we should be concentrating our efforts on how to prevent it from occurring in the first place.
To this end I have been advocating the search for this solution , which I believe is within the politicians grasp and not of those of individuals or businesses. I mean by this we have to tackle the real reason why mankind is so demanding of the planets resources and if we cannot stop it , how can we reduce it and make a sustainable lifestyle that we can all mankind can enjoy.

My Dream is this

Tax everyone equally without exception based on the damage their purchases do to the planet. If this tax system was used globally and replaced all existing taxes, then the most polluting goods and services would be out priced from the market and the real demand for R&D to make long term resources sustainable, and planet friendly would then drive the new technologies and  systems.

Its all about setting a new baseline on how we all live and do business, instead of greed and profit driven, it should be how we can all live together  with a new way of thinking and understanding.

We are about to starve ourselves,cook ourselves, drown ourselves, what else do we need as proof that the present system of doing things is failing?

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Has Syria shown the world how we all don't care?

Syria is at a point where the world has to take concerted quick action to save its citizens from being murdered by fear and starvation.

How can any sane human , stand and watch what is going on without feelings, and do nothing , especially when it is possible to take action to prevent women and children and indeed all civilians  from being brutally killed.

The UN and all governments from the Security Council have blood on their hands from the lack of action to prevent possible genocide Syria. Members have the responsibility to prevent such atrocities, and they seem helpless at this time of need.

Action to prevent further disruption is crucial, the people have lost everything, from family members to a roof over their head, fear from torture, starvation and life itself, How much more can be lost, before action is taken.

One life lost is one to many , does it have to be millions dead before action is taken , what agenda are these so called decision makers think they are on?  We have lost thousands already.

Our leaders are not up to the task , or is it the advisor's who are so ready to protect their own backs that is at fault, whatever the cause, there is no action until it to late and millions who might die as a result.

 Are we only to pretend we are love they neighbour?  No, then it is up to us all especially our leaders to lead by example and we then can follow with our help to secure a safe future for all.

Do it  not just talk!

Friday, 4 April 2014

House price rise is result of QE?

The cumulative rise in house prices is the direct result of the Quantitative Easing the government has been implementing , It is the amount of excess liquidity that the big investment  houses and banks have in their accounts  and it has the effect of devaluing the currency and as a result the house prices are rising , There is no real increase in value but an uneven distribution in the way the QE money has been distributed, This will no doubt be followed, if interest rates rise, in a dramatic fall in living standards as the value of money in their pocket will fall dramatically.

This will surely be a second collapse in our currency  since 2008,  and will force yet more instability. We must learn lessons quickly and halt this false economy of boom and bust that the governments around the world have said they would do, but events are showing us again that they are failing to see the signals fast enough and then react also quickly enough.

QE has to be stopped quickly and the banks should be restricted in making new money by issuing loans without any reserves.

Economic growth should be produced by sound investments in people and homes, with interest rates that are stable and sustainable, without the need of speculation and gambling .Investments in business and infrastructure should be based on long term feasibility and real return on investment , not only in terms of money but also to the side benefits to society and environment.

Moral ,social, and ethical issues should come first over the materialistic and greed of individuals and corporations, however there must also be flexible enough to allow new ideas to flourish and bear fruit.

R&D should be maintained at a higher level with all education establishments taking an active role in this, so that all the people feel they have an active interest in the way society is being developed and not just an elitist minority calling all the shots.

Universities in particular have a new role to play, in doing real research into real problems in all fields especially at the PhD level, where so often time and resources are wasted in repeating work that is already done or not of any long term use. Real projects for real situation and real problems.

My children are in a quandary of what to do, how sustainable is the present housing situation and if it is sustainable will they be able to feed themselves?  Should they move to cheaper areas or countries , like my older son who is in Canada with house prices nearly half of the UK  or go to Holland  where my wife comes from, and there, there are so many houses for sale its so cheap to live. maybe even the same in other parts of Europe. But our children the same as most I suppose have a poor grasp of language, thanks to our schools and media lack of interest in Europe. Then there is the uncertainty of job security that place more fear behind everyone.

How can anyone live with this fear held above them all the time,I can fully understand that individuals start fighting for their survival , by doing anything . almost , legal, dicey or illegal to be able to live.

Why cant we just live in Britain. work hard , live in a warm uncongested house and feel free from fear of being just incapable and fear of losing everything?

Live the dream . How can we when the goal post keep moving  higher prices  and an uncertain future!

Sunday, 30 March 2014

England is missing out on home tourism

England is such a  green and pleasant land , so say the poets , and I believe it is also. But we are not interested in making it easy for anyone to enjoy it . From car parking to toilets , from  cafĂ©'s to accommodation , I firmly believe we have the potential to be the leading tourist nation on earth.

The main problem  I have encountered during my travels are many and here is a list of the main ones

  1. Few cycle paths  or  short-cuts , some footpaths across fields and beside roads should be made  for schoolchildren and also for cyclists in general 
  2. Footpaths should be more hard surfaced , most people walk 100m then turn round as its to muddy, its only the hardy few who make it to the end.
  3. Car parking is difficult in many places , and unless this is solved the tourist cannot spend time spending!
  4. Motor-homes and day vans need accommodating also in many places and be able to stay overnight , even with a small charge.
  5. General up keep and appearance , this could be put right with some cosmetic painting and general good housekeeping 
  6. More stops on motorways similar to France with more parking space and lay-bys which go off the road a bit  with pick-nick areas and toilets, and maintained.

Friday, 7 March 2014

Soil Management, who is and should be responsible?

Soil Management, who is and should be responsible?
Is it the land owner, tenant farmer, contractor, hose owner, town planner, architect, etc.

There appears to be a huge gap in who is responsible for land and its use and the damage its use will do to the wider environment and climate.

Despite having departments for all sorts of aspects of soil use and management  . there is no one taking the responsibility for the long-term damage that land uses are causing.There is no penalty for denuding soils of its ability to sustain life  caused by over cultivating, grazing, building to many concrete roads buildings etc.

I believe if we were to replace all existing taxes with a single Natural Resource Tax , that is calculated based on the  damage caused by the resources use would solve many of today's problems.

To idealistic say some , but if we look at the alternatives of the status quo , then we have a system which is highly complicated , few understand and many abuse defraud, evade to ensure there nest is lined at the expense of others and the planet.

Having a single tax system with a single issue at its core, that of "sustainability in all we do", then everyone from landowner to consumer will be made so much  more aware of the damaged caused by misuse, over use of all natural resources. Indeed the consumer will only be paying tax for all the damage they cause to the environment and planet and nothing else.

Obviously having such a simplified taxation system that replaces all existing system will mean that other issues will be raised, such as inheritance , so I also propose a death tax that would prevent excessive wealth from being passed on , as gross wealth has probably caused the greater amount of environmental damage in sheer amount and therefore  that inheritance should be taxed to reflect this  and at the same time to help rebalance the social imbalance within society.

So to address the problem of who is responsible. We all are , and it will not really change until we all pay something for the huge clean up and change in the way we all design, manufacture, retail, and consume,the goods and services we all want and need.

With the population ever increasing, there will be an increasing mismatch between mankind and its available resources, to enable a better match a fundamental way has to be found to restrict resource use and enable new technologies to find better ways of recycling and reuse of materials that have so much embedded energy in them, which is wasted.

We need all mankind to take the responsibility  equally,  and only by making each and every individual directly responsible through their consumption habits  will there be any real reduction in environment disasters and catastrophic end to mankind.

I have children and grandchildren and sincerely hope that they can have a life that is sustainable and rewarding, and to that end I feel we must bring an end to a tax system that maintains a policy of cheap resources and expensive labour , it would be bet to reverse this and make labour cheaper to maintain employment and social harmony and make resources more expensive so we don't squander them like we do now.

Monday, 10 February 2014

The great flood - A political and economic lesson to be acted upon.

Floods have been the demise of civilisations past mainly due not to the flood itself but to the lack of timely response both to the actual crisis , but also to planning and maintenance.

We appear to have learned nothing from the past , we spend millions on digging up the past and observing, but we do not learn and act upon what we learn.

This huge discrepancy between what we know and what we actually do from his knowledge, is what will bring down governments and civilizations.

There are to many chiefs and to few Indians to do the work, as the expression goes. Everyone want to do the interesting exploratory and fun work , but few want to do the grinding building and maintenance  especially when the rich are to rich and dictating that we spend less on this building and maintenance which serve not only the rich but the poorer also.

This flood  we are having may or may not be caused by Climate Change , but until we learn that mankind is just one of many species on this planet, and that we should treat the Earth's resources with respect and try to use our intellect to redesign the way we all live together and share them out equally with our neighbours and other species.

The only controlling mechanism  at our disposal is TAXATION, this can enhance or destroy the whole of our current civilization, by awarding the rich to be richer and the poor to remain poor, by building fantastic war machines and wasting huge sums on protocols and red tape , starves the very foundations we all depend upon, that of a warm and safe house with adequate food, health and education.

Taxation must be reformed to reflect the urgency of the problem with fairness, equality and transparency.This reform should fundamentally address our use of all natural  resources and tax them according to the damage there use does to the environment , either directly or indirectly.

Moving tax away from labour and capital taxes to resource taxes will change fundamentally our view of the world as one of profligate use of resources at any price, to one of appreciation and understanding of the over and misuse of all natural resources from fossil fuels, land  and air. It also makes labour relatively cheaper than resources, so will enable more employment to occur . see

This tax shift will fundamentally change the way all business is done , and the new thinking in the way we have to use these relatively expensive resources will change the way we design build, distribute and market all goods and services , whilst at the same time the consumer will change their habits towards buying less expensive and more sustainable goods and services.

Taxation of accumulated wealth should also be addressed , to prevent the rich elite from dominating the market and the direction of political will as we see at present. This could be in the form of a death tax which both Bill Gates Senior and Warren Buffet also support , so its not that we could not do it, its just that there is no real political will, and they appear to be waiting for a revolution from the people before any real action will be taken.

Finally , we have to think long term  as in the Netherlands, since the floods of 1953 , they have actively supported a long term commitment to flood defence , but the real benefit has come in a different form , that their politics are now thinking forward and planning rather than constantly fighting fires as we do in the UK.
This fundamental shift encourages long term solutions to problems and there is much more discussion with all parties to formulate a solution, though this sometimes takes time, the final solution is beneficial to all and everyone can support it. I also believe the Netherlands has also to reform its taxation , as indeed most countries in the world need to also.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Zero Energy Cost .. The Future and consequences.

Zero Energy Cost .. The Future and consequences.

It is great to see that the renewable energy industry is concerned about zero energy cost , but this is a complete enigma.

Everything always costs , whether it is manual labour, or use of other resources, and damage to environment and ecosystems, there is always a cost involved
The biggest cost, is the cost to the planet and its environment and ecosystems which are often taken for granted and abused with pollution and destruction , without a second thought to the subsequent long term problems that may arise.

This was not a problem when there were relative few people on the planet employing relative natural ways of living , but since the 1900's man has become industrialized and using and converting many natural substance into more complex and  highly damaging substances that really do much damage to the planet and to its ecosystems.

We are on earth now reaching a point where we are too clever for us to understand the consequences of our actions , as with nuclear technologies we are prepared to wear gloves and be highly protective of it distribution and use , just in case the technology bites us back , as we see in Iran and Cuba , but even when highly careful about its use we have problems like Long Island  and Fukushima.

The use of all natural resource should be treated with the utmost care , from land use  for building and farming, to   mineral and fossil fuel extraction , and water and air use.

We see today that pollutants are being linked with childhood asthma and dementia, and this is just the beginning of new research that is emerging  by the use of modern methodology and techniques.

It is about time we looked at how the economy really works and how it is controlled to avoid the worst damage to the planet.

The scientific community are at the forefront of technology and it is they who have the tools to quantify the potential damage that may occur from such use of new materials and use of resources.

We must think anew, and reform our base assumptions and start again with a fresh approach to taxation, welfare, equality and fairness.

It is not good enough any more just to think about man and his own wants , we need to consider the broader environment and other ecosystems that are reliant on the planet. fundamental tax reform is required as laid out in previous blogs.