07 October 2010

A conference on sustainability

Dr Grumble is not by nature an eco-warrior but if you look at the facts we just cannot go on as we are for much longer. If global warming doesn't get us, running out of materials eventually will. It may not affect Grumble but it will affect Grumble's children and his children's children.

Why it is that Grumble should have received an invitation to a conference on sustainability he has no idea. Perhaps he has been muddled with Mrs Grumble who shows more concern about such matters. Here is the letter Grumble has received:

Dear Dr Grumble

On behalf of the International Advisory Board, I would like to invite you to the:

SEVENTH INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON ENVIRONMENTAL, CULTURAL, ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL SUSTAINABILITY 5-7 January 2011

Now that's nice. A conference to sort out the problems of sustainability. But where do you think it is being held? How many people will be flying there? And how far will they have to travel? Let's hope they have located it somewhere near the main centres of population. You can find out where it is being held here.


Will we never learn? If these people do not understand or care about the magnitude of the contribution of air travel to our energy problems there really is no hope for us.

18 comments:

Dr Grumble said...

To be fair it seems that it is possible to put in a virtual attendance.

Jobbing Doctor said...

Thanks for this. I'm sure the irony of this is lost on the attendees.

Doctor Zorro said...

This is nothing new and medicine is as much a culprit. It should not make any difference where conferences are held if you intend to attend the conference rather than treat it as a jolly. But how many would go to a conference in Scunthorpe.

Sam said...

Will you go Dr G?

... and nice to see you're back BTW :-)

Cockroach Catcher said...

Thought you have gone away! Phew!

Dr Grumble said...

I shan't be going, Sam. Not even a virtual attendance.

Sam said...

No? Can I have the ticket and the invitation then? Hope it's a nice hotel too, eh?

:-)

Dr Grumble said...

Sorry, Sam. I can't approve of your flying such a long way. It's just not right.

Gosh. Grumble seems to be turning into an eco-warrior. Mrs Grumble would be pleased.

Sam said...

"I can't approve of your flying such a long way. It's just not right."

eh? Why???!!!!

@_@

Hypercryptical said...

Hey! You're back! Brilliant!

Anna :o]

Dr Aust said...

Good to see you back, Dr G.

The figures on the energy cost of flying, which I hadn't seen before, are pretty scary. I felt a bit guilty reading them; in my most globe-trotting phase (a good few years ago now) I remember working out that I had flown over 40,000 km in one single 12-month period.

Since the kids arrived I haven't done any long-haul at all, so perhaps they have turned me eco-friendly. Though when I think of all those disposable nappies, and the dryer running almost 24 hrs/day...

Dr Grumble said...

Sam, in all seriousness we just cannot go on flying around the world the way we do now. Read David Mackay's brilliant book and draw your own conclusions. You can get it free online.

Don Cox said...

What we can't go on doing is having kids.

I wonder how much Dr Aust's electricity bill is?

And all these kids will grow up and start travelling by air.

Dr Aust said...

The electricityy bill is substantial, though like all good middle class eco-worriers (I use the spelling advisedly) we have Class A energy-efficient appliances, run the dishwasher on low temp, have double-glazed the house and added extra loft insulation etc. etc

Re the kids, we have two so we are only replacing ourselves, if you want to look at it that way. I can't see many people choosing NOT to have children as an act of eco-consciousness.

Dr Grumble said...

I am not sure why Dr Aust got singled out since two children is, as he says, only replacing himself and Mrs Aust. If we all aimed to do that the population would eventually drop.

Of course, this is a problem that we must address. Unfortunately it is the wealth that comes from energy consumption that leads to falling birth rates.

As far as the insulation of houses is concerned there is a limit to what you can easily do in older housing as David Mckay discusses in his book.

Sam said...

Only Makay has made his assumptions on a flaw very early in that book. He is saying that emmissions from nature balances out itself AND admits that human interference is very small in comparison to nature, but he then goes on to say that that small contribution made by man stays up in the atmosphere as there is no means for balancing that out. Makay here is therefore assuming that nature's emmissions remain 'constant' which is a contradiction to what 'nature' is as it is anything but straight lined or constant!

... fell asleep by page 16, brilliant book ;-)

Dr Grumble said...

The thing I got out of the book is that we can't go on as we are because if the emissions don't get us the loss of finite resources will.

It seems to be that one of these is rather more certain than the other - as you imply, Sam.

Sam said...

Yes Dr G, they are two different things. While the immissions senario has an effect of 'the end of the world is nigh'which scares people to the point, as you can see even from the comments here, that they question, criticise then accuse each other thus causing friction which is not good for anyone - and the fact that we all have to take care of this planet we live in the best way we could. So, it is not only about conserving, not wasting and finding new ways to generate energy, but also how we can all relate to each other and do things that will better life on earth for everybody. Like real efforts to fight hunger, disease, wars and terrorism, etc - how about clearing the oceans of dumped plastic bags and non biodegradable materials for example? What effect does that have on sea life AND the food supply? This and the same materials dumped in land fill sites? Not a 'natural' thing to do; put a layer of something that won't allow the earth to breaze as nature intended. With that, only god know what diseases or other trouble can and will be generated in the long term! because although the projected life of the earth is 4 billion years before the sun turns into a red giant and eats it's outer layers, if we keep at eat other's throats and act irresponsibly the way we do, we will be the red giant that eats our own land even before the end of this century!

Peace and a bit of responsibility is what we need to save guard the future of the planet and of our children Dr G - let's do that and let nature take care of the rest, including the skies, as it has always done ...

:-)