Sunday, October 28, 2007

Women on Top... [updated... and updated again]

... of the Realm that is. Or at least striving to.

In key elections around the world, female candidates are making strides and causing stirs among the general population in their countries.

Hillary Clinton - U.S.A.

In the race to win the ultimate prize, POTUS (President of the United States), Hillary has raised the biggest amount of campaign funds in the history of U.S. Presidential elections. The mainstream media in the States assumes that she is the Democrats' frontrunner from the very beginning, despite the many dissenting voices from within the party's rank-and-file members, who see her as playing too safe and being too much in the pocket of corporate America to be a true progressive, not to mention her much-maligned voting record on the war in Iraq, when she actually supported the motion to go to war. Within the blogosphere it is in fact very hard to find any keen grassroot supporters of Clinton, but nevertheless, money has been pouring in from all sides, (including surprisingly enough according to the New York Times, Fujianese Chinese immigrants from New York City's Chinatown).

The fact that she has had presidential ambitions from the very beginning is seen as both a positive and a negative - some pointed to her illustrious campaigning past when she was a bright young College student, when her passion and ideals were matched by her no-nonsense charms and keen intellect; others recalled her "two for the price of one" slogan in Bill Clinton's campaign, and have serious concerns about the idea of creating a Clintonite dynasty at the White House, which represented more of the "politics as usual" when many are desparately searching for a break with the status quo.

The most noise created about her in the U.S. media however, centred on her gender. Questions are continually being raised about whether America is ready for a female president (in a similar manner to the questions raised about whether America ia ready for a black president in Barack Obama's case). Such questions are not too bothersome if not for the fact that they are meant to be rhetorical, with the presumed answer being, No. The fact that such questions were even raised, points to the deeply conservative nature of Americans' psyche, in spite of all the protestations to the contrary about how sexually progressive Americans are and how much they respect women when compared to Muslim countries.

Benazir Bhutto - Pakistan

Another controversial female political figure, Harvard- and Oxford-educated Benazir Bhutto's recent return to the Pakistani political stage sparked major fireworks, literally, when suicide-bombers set off explosions right next to her tour bus as her convoy progressed through one of the major thoroughfares of Karachi, Pakistan's former capital city, in what was meant to be her triumphant homecoming after her eight years of self-imposed exile. The result was a bloody mess, with the deaths of about 130 people which shocked the nation.

Benazir Bhutto however is no stranger to controversy. She has impeccable political pedigree, being the daughter of the late Pakistani leader Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, who ruled the country from 1971 until 1977. Benazir herself served two terms as prime minister of Pakistan, in 1988–90 and in 1993–96. At the age of 35, she was the youngest and the first woman Prime Minister to lead a Muslim nation in modern age, and more importantly, her P.P.P. party was elected through proper democratic process, winning seats through securing enough popular votes rather than through coup d'etat as has been the modus operandi of the military government, from which the current President, Pervez Musharraf, got his job.

Thus the portrayal of Bhutto as the representative of all things democratic was not without justification, and during her terms in office she had instituted several progressive measures. For instance, during her first term, she started People's Program for economic uplift of the masses, and also lifted a ban on student and trade unions. However, severe governmental corruption was left unabated during her terms in office, and indeed, she and her husband were under corruption charges themselves, which led to her self-imposed exile in 1999 when her government was dismissed on renewed charges of corruption, economic mismanagement, and a decline of law and order. However, Bhutto maintained that the corruption charges against her were politically-motivated and without grounds.

Suicide bombings aside, the reactions to her return to Pakistani politics were muddled by her secret talks with President Musharraf, whose troubled presidency led him to strike a deal with her to come back to Pakistani politics, with the likely effect of basically having Bhutto contesting his own job. By colluding with Musharraf, some saw this move on Bhutto's part as a sell-out of her democratic ideals, and a confirmation of her corrupted nature in their eyes; others see this as a necessary and brave step for her to bring democracy back to Pakistan, bravery that was proven when she came out with confidence and defiance after the Karachi bomb blasts. Either case, now that she is back in Pakistan, the only loser is Musharraf - she is no longer beholden to him, and as long as Musharraf wants to be taken seriously as a democratic leader rather than as a militarily-imposed lame duck who is himself losing the support of the military, he cannot force her out again, at least not in public. His strong condemnation of the Karachi bombings demonstrated this dilemma he found himself in. So far, Bhutto has outsmarted her male opponents, again. [Scroll to see Update below]

Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner - Argentina

"Don't cry for me Argentina" The movie and musical on the life and times of the former Argentinian first lady, Eva Peron (left), has warmed audiences the world over to this legendary female political figure. It is a potent legacy that Cristina Kirchner (right) is tapping into, even as she officially tries to distance herself from it. For Cristina herself is the wife of the incumbent Argentinian President Nestor Kirchner, who stepped down to allow her to run for the current presidential election, bequeathing her with a country that is enjoying impressive levels of economic growth compared to its other Latin American neighbours.

Unlike Hillary, who tries to assert her masculinity in a male-dominated U.S. presidential race, Cristina's nearest political rival is another female candidate, Elisa Carrio, an "obese chain-smoker" whose image is poles apart from Cristina's ultra-glam image. At 54, she could easily pass for late 30's/early 40's, and has the kind of effortless personal charisma that compares well with the legendary Evita. Despite her "botox face", Cristina has been described as politically-accomplished, a Peronist senator with serious diplomatic skills that have been said to smooth over her husband's political career in his dealings both at home and abroad. Like Bill and Hillary, Cristina and Nestor were also college sweethearts, and both went on to become political power couples.

With a huge lead in the polls - a comfortable 25% between her and her nearest rival - Cristina is set to become the first female elected President in Argentina's history. Her sources of support came not only from the descendents of Eva Peron’s descamisados (“the shirtless ones”), but stem in large part from her husband's economic track record, whose government engineered an economic recovery for Argentina at a time when other Latin American countries are languishing. Her success at gathering electoral support is precisely because she represented economic continuity and stability and advocated a "no change" policy, in stark contrast to both Hillary and Benazir who are trying to present themselves as change agents for their countries.

While it would be interesting to see if any of the above women will eventually come out on top [scroll to see Update below], it would be a tragedy if the Presidential elections in these countries came down to a candidate's gender, rather than his/her credentials for doing the job well. It is of course hugely inspirational to see women in positions of power, but it is how she uses her authority and privilege that would be the test of stateswomanship*. Would any of these women be another Elizabeth or Wu Zetian, who managed to achieve stability of the realm in spite of their ruthless struggle for power? Or would they be like the Empress Dowager of China, who caused the beginning of the end of the state that she once held in the palm of her hand?



* Of course, here in Ireland we already have a female president - in fact, we have two successive female heads of state since 1990: former President Mary Robinson (1990 - 1997, left) and the current President Mary McAleese (1997 - present, right).



Both have law backgrounds and both concentrated their terms in office on humanitarian work, since the Office of the President in Ireland is a non-political one (such a delineation in the roles of the President and the Taoiseach - the Prime Minister - was made famous when Mary Robinson defended herself for her handshake with the Sinn Fein Party leader Gerry Adams in 1993 by reiterating that the gesture was non-political. In any case, history has proved that engagement and dialogue were far more effective in defeating terrorism than repression and violence, at least in the case of Northern Ireland). Former President Mary Robinson was particularly much loved by the Irish public, and who went on to become the UN Commissioner for Human Rights (1997 - 2002), and who remains active in public life through her work with the voluntary sector. In fact, it was the popularity of Mary Robinson as the first female President of Ireland that caused all three major parties to put up female candidates for the subsequent Irish presidential election in 1997, proving that, if done well, a female head of state could be a trailblazer for other women to follow in her footsteps.


Image credits: Various stock photographs from Google image search.


Update [Sunday, 4 November 2007]:

The political fortunes of two of the above female political figures have markedly different turnouts since the above was posted exactly a week ago, proving the old adage that a week is indeed a life time in politics. Cristina Kirchner became the first female President of Argentina, completely conforming to popular pre-election expectations; whilst Benazir Bhutto returned to Karachi to visit her family, and shortly after President Musharraf declared Pakistan to be in a state of emergency, rounding up political protesters, opposition leaders, human rights activists and even judges. Bhutto can still move about freely as of this date, and denounced Musharraf's interventions as a "power grab". According to Indian news media, the emergency rule was prompted by Musharraf's wire-tapping of a Supreme Court justice' phone calls which revealed that a majority of judges are going to invalidate his attempt to stand for presidential election while holding onto the post of the Army chief. It is clear that Musharraf is realising that he has little chance of winning a general election even with Bhutto on side, and is reverting to the tried-and-tested tactic of might-is-right. There are talks that the originally-scheduled elections in the coming January would be postponed by a year at least, and the sight of a pregnant female protestor being pushed about by armed police added disgust to this disgraceful state of affairs. The clampdown on broadcast media is rather reminiscent of the Chinese Communist Party's behaviours during the fateful summer of 1989; fortunately, the Pakistani state injunction to not publish anything that might be critical or even potentially embarrassing to Musharraf has as of today been ignored by the newspapers, one of which boldly described this state-of-emergency done in the name of preventing terrorism as "Musharraf's second coup" in its main headline. Thus, it seems the only saving grace is that it is clear Pakistan has a much more vibrant civil society than China (it is also apparent that many of these activist groups are headed by articulate and battle-worn female leaders). I can only pray that, with Western scrutiny and Musharraf's preference for at least a veneer of democratic respectability (evinced by his Prime Minister's statement that Pakistan is still committed to democracy), that these protestors and activists would have no more harm come to them than very temporary stays in state jails before they are released again. Or am I again being a starry-eyed idealist?

[Updated again]

It turns out that I was indeed a stary-eyed idealist at the time of writing the above update. Benazir Bhutto's just been assasinated by gunshot by suicide-attackers today [27th December, 2007]. See my tribute post.

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Saturday, October 20, 2007

A favourite number by Faye...

After the storms there's no guarantee that the sky would be clear
Just because it's sunny doesn't mean there'd be a rainbow
Just because you may look naive
Doesn't mean that you're slow

Not all relationships have a beginning and an end
Fear doesn't necessarily lie at the end of loneliness
But life can never avoid
The very first pangs at birth

Just pray that your eyes
Will only ever meet smiles
Just pray that every drop of your future tears
Will touch someone's heart
Just pray that every dream you're going to have
Will never be for nought

Heaven on Earth
If it's really to be celebrated
It's only because you're here
To make the world a happy bustling place

The whole wide world
Is more complicated than you could imagine
I can't bear to lie to you
Just hope that you'll come to your own understanding

After the storms there's no guarantee that the sky would be clear
Just because it's sunny doesn't mean there'd be a rainbow
Just because you may look naive

Doesn't mean that you're slow

Not all relationships have a beginning and an end
Fear doesn't necessarily lie at the end of loneliness
But life can never avoid
The very first pangs at birth

Just pray that your eyes
Will only ever meet smiles
Just pray that every drop of your future tears
Will touch someone's heart
Just pray that every dream you're going to have
Will never be for nought

Heaven on Earth
If it's really to be celebrated
It's only because you're here
To make the world a happy bustling place

The whole wide world
Is more complicated than you could imagine
I can't bear to lie to you
Just hope that you'll come to your own understanding


Heaven on Earth
If it's really to be celebrated
It's only because you're here
To make the world a happy bustling place

The whole wide world
Is more complicated than you could imagine
I can't bear to lie to you
Just hope that you'll come to your own understanding

Just hope you'll eventually figure out, your own way through the world

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Song dedication...

Please don't assume I know
That everything you've ever done were all because of me
Why such selfless sacrifices were never appreciated

What good am I to you when I didn't say a word
There was only once when I remember holding on tightly
To your back as the two of us sat together on the bike

Leaving is so hard; I'd rather hug tighter
As I wander through life's wilderness
Like a child leaning against its father's shoulder.
Who would want to get off the bike?

Leaving is so hard; there's always something
Natural about the way things are that can't be denied
No matter how cold and cruel the world gets, just thinking of the bike
Helps me bring back a bit of happiness

How could I not see what you have already given me
Even though it is quite difficult to take on your role
Being used to giving each other space; why not give each other a hug?

How could you expect me to understand this particular approach
Of loving me deeply yet didn't want me to know
It makes me miss our old bicycle, for it gave us
The only hug we'd ever know

Leaving is so hard; I'd rather hug tighter
As I wander through life's wilderness
Like a child leaning against its father's shoulder.
Who'd be afraid of the long steep road?

If you love me, show me
So that one day I can be strong enough to leave you
The kind of love that you gave me
Who else would be kind enough to spare?

Leaving is so hard; I'd rather hug tighter
As I wander through life's wilderness
Like a child leaning against its father's shoulder
Who would want to get off the bike?

Leaving is so hard; there's always something
Natural about the way things are that can't be denied
No matter how much the world blames me for being bad
You are the only one who could really stand my craziness

For Ba Ba. Happy Belated.

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Monday, October 15, 2007

Going Green...

So, apropos again of Blog Action Day, and following what I posted yesterday, it is clear that the debate has now finally moved onto the much more constructive questions of: What can I do about man-made climate change? What can we collectively do something about it?

What I found helpful is to not listen to those who say that green living has to be a huge change and involve enormous sacrifice/nuisance, the kind that the No Impact Man and his family are putting themselves through (thanks Laichungleung for the NYT link, though the report of which would put every sane person off green living immediately, and if that's the kind of press green living is getting in the States, even by apparently progressive papers like the NYT, then no wonder Americans in general are extremely wary of the Green movement. I would too if faced with similar media coverage).

I'm very glad to say that we have a much better approach in Ireland, and that although our Government is defective in its policies in quite a number of areas (the public transport system, the healthcare system, etc.), in a few areas we have managed to get it right (e.g. smoking ban, plastic bag tax). In particular, compared to the UK next doors, we run a much more informed Green education campaign. It started off under the simple injunction to get people to "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle", to the present much more comprehensive "Power of One" campaign.

The key message is that it is not about changing and adopting a whole new different lifestyle, but about being more aware of the impact that you're having on your environment by going about your everyday business, and see if there are ways to go for greener options. And Make. One. Change. Today. For me, green living manifests in the following mundane ways: like using energy-saving CFL light-bulbs in my apartment instead of your typical halogen/flourescent bulbs (which have been popular in HK at least a decade before it caught on here in Ireland); like printing on both sides of the paper in the office when it's not necessary to have it on single-sided page (and better yet, don't print/copy unless I have to); like turning off lights when I don't need them, both at home (like mother always says) and at work, and making good use of the timer for my heaters; like always having a cloth bag with me so that if I need to do a spot of grocery shopping I don't have to buy plastic bags; like reusing my plastic bags at home; like taking showers instead of baths; like using the "economy" setting on the dishwasher and the washing machine and only starting it when it has a full load; like buying local produce; like always using public transport/walking (easy for me, as I haven't learnt how to drive and don't own a car)....

A lot of these didn't mean I was making a big huge sacrifice, not at all. They simply made good sense (and of the last, pure necessity), and I think the long-forgotten virtue of thrift has finally come into fashion again with the Green movement. What used to be frowned upon as anal-retentive behaviours like unplugging your appliances when you finish with them (like what one of my ex-roommates used to do, as he unplugs even appliances like microwave and water kettle, which drove me insane!), now actually made a lot of sense (though I have to admit, I still don't unplug my microwave, but my guilt is somewhat assuaged by the fact that my microwave LED timer is off when it's not in use - a green feature that drastically reduce energy consumption).

But as I wrote the above, I realised that individuals like me are helped into doing a lot of the above sensible green behaviours, not only by the availability of green products (e.g. electrical appliances now all have ratings according to how environmentally-friendly they are, taking into account a range of parameters, from energy and water consumption to waste impact), but also by the overall cultural vibes at our workplaces and high-street shops. For example, the fact that there is a huge recycling drive at my workplace, where paper recycling bins are placed in all offices and emails are sent at the end of each year regarding how many tonnes of papers we managed to recycle (I think the overall figure to date, since this drive started a few years ago, has been 9 tonnes if I remember correctly) really help us believe that individually we all made a difference even just by throwing our paper waste into the right bin, and also help to legitimise new greener office behaviours like sending correspondences on double-side-printed page for internal mail, and having non-private paper memos sent without envelopes (just a tri-folded page with an address sticker to "seal" it).

And using non-plastic shopping bags, as I explained at length to Raymond Poon on a previous post, is a no-brainer for us Irish shoppers not only because the Government instituted a low plastic bag tax, but because all shops provided viable alternatives - from high-end luxury boutiques with their gorgeous paper bags, to supermarkets with their cheap cloth tote-bags, and corner newsagents with their cheap paper bags from recyclable materials. It makes me feel grateful that I am living in a country where our national government is encouraging people to be a bit more responsible to the environment, although I must say we're still quite far behind countries like Germany where they have sorting waste bins that divide one's litter into paper, glass or metal as a matter of course in all public places.

I think it's most important, for those who are not familiar with the concept of green living, to not fall into the trap of the win-lose mentality - going green doesn't necessarily mean that consumerism is dead. Far from it. From smart cars to VOC-free wall paints, it simply means we can now have (and should demand) greener products as not only alternatives but as desirables. For example, my favourite favourite home store Laura Ashley (and those of you who have visited my other blog know how I wax lyrical over this store), prides itself on ensuring its products, from furniture to bedding to ornaments to wall paints, including its product catalogue and shopping bags, are using recyclable / sustainable / environmentally-friendly materials as much as possible. And they are not just good for the environment, they LOOK and FEEL really good, too. For example, I chose their water-based wall paints for my apartment, not only because they are less harmful to the environment than oil-based paints, but also because they have the most gorgeous pale duck egg blue shade that I was looking for. I didn't have to sacrifice quality for green.

In fact, it may surprise people to know that quite a lot of times, green products mean far superior products. Goods can be green in a variety of ways, from being made from recyclable / biodegradable materials, or materials from sustainable sources, to those that involve the least amont of impact on the environment in their manufacturing processes and transportation logistics as well as in waste disposal. By paying attention to what we buy and how we dispose of things, we can all be a green consumer. In fact, those of us who are avid collectors of antique items and like second-hand books or vintage clothing are already doing our bit in green consumerism. Buying green certainly shouldn't, and doesn't, mean that one would end up only with sweaters made from hemp!

Another way of buying green is buying local, which has been a key trend in retail grocery in this country. Buying local means that you are getting the freshest, seasonal ingredients (and have the added benefit of supporting local businesses). More importantly, you know where your food comes from, which is important especially in light of the foot-and-mouth disease and the recent bird flu scare for turkey meat in the UK, which made people here in Ireland want to ensure that they are buying Irish and know the precise source of our meat and poultry products. Food traceability programmes, with catchy slogans like "From Farm to Fork", have been adopted by many supermarkets here primarily to restore consumer confidence, but it also has the unintended benefit of ensuring that people are buying local too. Not only is it really reassuring to see the name of the actual farm printed on my pack of steaks, but I also like the fact that my meat doesn't have to travel in refrigerated containers by sea or air to arrive at my supermarket. People now pay a premium to buy locally-produced, natural, organic products, and businesses know this of course. The appeal of the Green Consumer is evident by the recent opening of several upscale organic foodstores in Dublin.

Of course, we have quite a bit of ways to go yet. I still can't find energy-saving spot-light bulbs in shops. And personally I still leave my lights on longer than they really should, and I quite often forget to unplug my mobile charger. But I'm getting there. And I do believe we in Ireland are getting there too, by helping to elect the Green Party into Government at the last general election (I say helping, because the final decision was down to Bertie as to which party he chose to form a coalition government, and thankfully he chose the Greens over Labour or the PDs. But we did our bit by ensuring that the Green candidates have enough seats to be a "king-maker" in coalitions).

It takes 21 times to solidify a new habit, and taking a light green baby-step one at a time, we can all get there. Even if, in the end, it doesn't avert man-made climate change to the degree we hope, it doesn't mean we have wasted our efforts, because we would have made our livelihood on this planet just that little bit more sustainable and that little bit less destructive, which is always a good thing.

(and Phew! Just made it in time for the Blog Action Day to post this!)

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Sunday, October 14, 2007

"Peace on earth depends on our ability to secure our living environment."*

As part of the Blog Action Day campaign, I'm picking up again on my recent series of green posts (scroll down to the ones posted in August). I have had several ideas about what I'm going to write about on this day since I've signed up for the campaign last month, but am so glad that a recent news item gave all of us environmentally-concerned bloggers a huge reason to cheer.

I am so thrilled that Al Gore and the IPCC (Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change) have been announced as joint winners of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize.

Congratulations Al and IPCC!



New York Times Report (a balanced commentary on the win, citing how scientists see the award as both "honoring the science and the publicity [for climate change]")
BBC News Report (an article which actually undermines the important message of this Nobel Prize of focusing the world's attention on climage change, by mistakenly stating that there are only "hundreds" of scientists working with the IPCC when they number in the thousands, and by mistakenly reporting a UK judge's view of the Inconvenient Truth movie as "alarmist", and also by high-lighting a typical climate-change denier response in its "readers comment" box).
Fox News Report (surprisingly lengthy report with detailed and unbiased commentary, including lengthy segment on the UK case - making me feel as though the BBC and Fox reports have been switched by accident and that I've been reading the Fox report on the BBC site and vice versa! Though it did focus a lot more on Gore's probability of running for the U.S. President in 2008)
Report from the Washington Post (which has balanced reportage of reactions to the award from politicians and scientists from around the world)
Report from Treehugger.com (this green site first broke the news of Gore's win, but Google actually cites a climate change denier's comment on its search page, making it looks like Treehugger is disappointed with Al's win of the Nobel Prize, when the truth is that all environmental groups are delighted that Gore and the IPCC won. In fact, Treehugger turned off comments on one of its pages on this notable occasion for the Green movement to stop the knee-jerk Gore-bashing: "for once give the man some credit")
Editorial Comment by the Times newspapers in the UK (finally, a balanced commentary on the so-called controversy by one British judge who pointed out errors in Gore's film "An Incovenient Truth" in his ruling on allowing the film to be screened in secondary schools in the UK, when most media reporting pointed only to the judge's criticisms rather than the High Court's overall ruling which states that "the essential message of An Inconvenient Truth was backed up by a wealth of science").
Comment by Salon.com (which eloquently and powerfully articulates the links between climate change and global conflict and thus why Al Gore deserves to win the Nobel Peace Prize).
Comment by Scientific American (which named Gore "policy leader of the year", and talked about the unapologetically political nature of the Nobel Peace Prize, and who want to "let our grandchildren at least note that Scientific American did not shrink from taking a stand")
Report by Reuters (on how the head of the IPCC patiently rebuts accusations of bias by U.S. climate change deniers)

This prestigious award strikes a blow against all the climate change deniers who try to portray man-made climate change as a big conspiracy theory, many of whom do not bother reading the actual scientific reports (like that "eric" guy who commented on the Times editorial) from the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (a UN organization which brings together more than 2000 scientists from 180 countries around the world, and whose latest report combined evidence from decades-worth of a range of environmental studies which concluded conclusively that climage change is happening and is caused by human activities - see my links to IPCC reports in my previous blog posts).

In the words of the Head of the IPCC on receiving the prize, such a ringing endorsement from the Nobel Prize committee shows that "science has won over skeptics". Mr. Pachauri said, “The message that it sends is that the Nobel Prize committee realized the value of knowledge in tackling the problem of climate change.”

Of course, there are still plenty of climate change deniers who would cling desparately on to their "skeptical"** position until the end of the world literally happens. I at first did not understand the mentality of these people, whose stubbornness in denying mankind's responsibility for the state of the Earth is akin to the socio-pathological stubbornness of those die-hard conservatives who would use all their connections and influence to protect their class privilege and the status quo. Later, of course, I discovered that the two are often the same. Having engaged in enough online debates about this subject, I think I can begin to classify these climate change deniers as stemming from several key archetypes (all of which, unfortunately, you would find within the Republican camp in American politics):

A. "The Intellectual Sociopaths" - Those who simply do not have a social conscience in their constitution, and whose intellectual outlook encompasses only self-interest. They take as Gospel that humans are born selfish, because they are prime examples of this specimen themselves, and fervently believe that altruistic behaviours are against human nature, simply because it is against their own nature. They believe in simple dichotomies (e.g. win for environment means loss for industry) and that free-market capitalism a la Milton Friedman is the only way the world should work, despite objective realities to the contrary. Those who believe in positivistic science, who follow the doctrine of Ayn Rand, and who are die-hard advocates for neo-liberal economics fall into this category.

B. "The Neo-Conservatives" - Those who are only slightly less socio-pathological than the ones in the A-type, in that they are not bothered about anything or anyone beyond their own immediate circles of friends and family. These people are often highly-intelligent and well-educated, but their bone of contention against climate change is less the intellectual kind that underpins the A-type, but stems rather from their concern - nay, fear - about protecting their "way of life" (read upper/middle class privileges). Often these people may accept that climate change is happening and might even accept that they are caused by mankind, but then would think up any excuse (like "it's too late to do anything", or "why aren't other people/countries doing more", or "the government shouldn't be involved in forcing people to change") to shirk their own responsibility to do anything about it, so as to avoid having an iota of their ways of doing things being challenged or even questioned. Those who are to the far right of the political spectrum, including some of the self-styled libertarians, fall into this mould.

C. "The Religious Wingnuts" - Those who are not by their nature socio-pathological, in that they often wear their hearts on their sleeves in trumpeting their alleged concern for fellow humans, but their conscience does not extend to incorporating Nature, which they see as something that belongs to mankind, for humans to do as they see fit as a God-given right. They often adopt a fatalistic view towards life and the world, and if humans destroy the planet, then it's simply par for the course, as it is all part of God's plan, and that the Apocalypse is inevitable. In fact, they might secretly rejoice at the idea of the end of the world, believing that they would be the chosen few who would move on to heavenly bliss when the end comes. Those who are in the fundamentalist Christian camp fall into this mould.

D. "The Contrarian Conspiracists" - Finally, there are those who are neither socio-pathological by nature, nor are they religious wingnuts. However, they have a very high regard for their own opinions and views on all subjects, irrespective of whether they have the expertise demanded by a particular subject. Whether they are actually dim-witted high-school dropouts or highly-intelligent and well-educated people, they have all developed a taste for being contrary and like being able to argue against the mainstream, whether or not the mainstream is actually correct at a given time. They relish having "unique" insights over the average person, and indulge in conspiracy theories as these stroke their egos and confer on them expert power they would not otherwise have on a given subject. Those who adopt the "smarter than thou" stance when they clearly know very little, such as those Republican talking heads employed by media corporations to provide "balance" in this climate change "debate" when scientists from all over the world have in fact reached consensus on the issue of climate change, fall into this category.

To all of the above climate-change deniers (and a person could have characteristics of more than one archetype), I'd say: Whichever type of climate change denier you are, just know one thing: your BS is having less and less currency in today's world, thank God!

And yes, there IS a moral equivalence between climate change denier and Holocaust denier: you are equally despicable in your bare-faced hypocrisy and sheer disregard for human and natural suffering. And yes, I am referring to that idiot talking-head employed by Sky News to talk down Al Gore and the IPCC's achievement the other day. It's not up to you to decide on what to "believe", you moron, especially when you yourself admitted that you are no science expert.

Click here to read a calmer rebuttal to climate change denials from the David Suzuki Foundation.

*The quotation on this blog post title is taken from the Nobel committee's words upon awarding the Peace Prize to Gore and the IPCC.
**The Scientific American distinguishes the climate-change deniers (the modern-day "Flat-Earthers") from the genuine climate-change skeptics who "prompted good science". To the former stick-in-the-muds, SA says the Nobel Prize Committee was in effect telling them that "Your mother was a hamster and your father smelled of elderberries." (this insult was apparently borrowed from Monty Python, but which to me is actually an insult to hamsters and elderberries! More appropriate terms that came to my mind for these climate change deniers were "scum" and "skunk"...)

Photocredits: Reuters and Treehugger.com

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Viewfinder...

Where are you from?

Que sera sera...

Feed my pet!

Currently getting stuck in...

Have just finished...

Me, Anime...

A bunch of snowdrops by any other name...

SNOWDROPS
S is for Sweet
N is for Natural
O is for Open-hearted
W is for Worldly
D is for Dedicated
R is for Romantic
O is for Original
P is for Perfectionist
S is for Special
What Does Your Name Mean?