Tag Archives: sustainability
Snipping the evolutionary line
Way back when I was 20, I didn’t like the idea of having kids. I wondered if that feeling would change. In my late 20s I realised it never would, although as I get older it’s been refined down a bit to not making kids of my own or being around those children too young to talk to. It’s when they start talking and asking questions that I take an interest; most adults have given up on asking “why” years ago. Whether crushed out of them by their education or ground down by a dull relentless job, the curiosity is gone. Not so with children, they can ask why 100 times in a row if you have the patience for it. Usually after I have coffee.
With a world crammed to breaking point with the seething hordes of an endlessly expanding human population, why would anybody in their right mind want to make more? With so many children needing adoption on a global level why the surplus?
We accepted that it’s much better to adopt a dog from a shelter than breed our own dogs or find a breeder, and the uptake shows. But we seem to have an innate need to produce more of ourselves. It makes evolutionary sense , but in this modern century it doesn’t make logical sense.
Not that I wouldn’t mind a clone. Perhaps not a whole clone, maybe just the lungs and liver of one.
What is the cultural reason we all seem to want children and want to encourage others (especially our offspring) to have children? Is it really as simple as our children’s toys we had when we are young or are there forces at work on adults? The tax rebates and welfare available for Australians certainly encourages a lot of people to have more children where it would have been outside their budget to do otherwise.
My doctor has known me over 10 years. He knows I have no children and didn’t so much as raise an eyebrow when I asked for a referral. The receptionist at the clinic’s first question was if I had spoke to them previously. Her second was more poignant: do you already have children? As if that’s a requirement. It’s not: if you do 3 counselling sessions or pre-freeze some future kids. There’s no rules about dumping the semen-sicle later, so it works out a little cheaper. But Counselling is more suited to those of us who love a chat. Notice how there is no counselling sessions for anyone that WANTS kids. It’s as much a decision with permanent implications as choosing to never be able to have them. So why not?
Today I made the booking. It’s not like the process was not started already. My only regret was having to wait almost a year due to my wanting to fly on a week I had off last year. Wearing a paragliding harness was not the kind of thing one can do 3 days after a vasectomy.
So my package turned up in the mail. The usual disclaimer forms (it has some minor risks including a 1 in 80 chance it doesn’t work now, and a 1 in 500 it doesn’t work somewhere years from now). The 1 in 80 can be circumvented via a test 12 weeks after surgery. Its always a possibility that I have 3 tubes not the usual 2, and the easiest way to see is the follow up test.
Interesting things I will have to do now include not taking my vitamins, eating Panadol (acetaminophen) before surgery and buying myself some tighty-whities. My boys are used to roaming free but they will need a house to recover in…. its been over 20 years since I wore anything but boxer shorts.
See how some other people think about having children:
For Simone Alin, an oceanographer focusing on ocean acidification at NOAA’s Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory in Seattle,
Alin’s frank discussion of the looming oceanic apocalypse is perhaps a product of studying unfathomable change every day. But four years ago, the birth of her twins “heightened the whole issue,” she says. “I was worried enough about these problems before having kids that I maybe wondered whether it was a good idea. Now, it just makes me feel crushed.”
Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/the-point-of-no-return-climate-change-nightmares-are-already-here-20150805#ixzz3iLMGvQww
I try to take care of myself and the planet when I can, but like all middle class westerners I’m constantly tempted to consume.
I pay more for food because I choose healthy food. As a single man I have a lot more control over what I eat and buy than I would if I had a family to feed. The lack of sugar and carbs in my diet has the added benefit of being low in calories while making me feel very full. I had a similar diet back in 1999, but I was skinny then and lost too much weight. In my thirties now, I have switched back to it because I now have the weight to lose. I am a vegetarian again, and the amount I pay for food is about the same as when I did eat sugar and meat. It’s because I eat less calories that it costs the same. But it’s hard as an almost live-alone human to be bothered to cook for myself sometimes; after all I’m the only one who is going to appreciate it. Add in my reduced healthcare and it starts to look cheap. The last check-up at the doctor had the doctor sit back and say “whoa”. At first I was worried before he informed me that my blood pressure and resting heart rate was “about the expected numbers for a rather fit 25 year old man”. Your diet determines your health, even the Australian cancer council agrees that your diet is the greatest factor in determining your future cancer risk. Sure the fried chip smell spilling out of a MacDonald’s smells good, but thinking about how I feel after eating it is enough to put me off eating it. It helps to unplug your aerial and stop watching TV. Best of luck to you all, because sugar is harder to quit than cocaine. Growing livestock is one of our largest sources of the greenhouse gas methane 1, as well as our biggest user or arable land that was once forested wilderness with biodiversity. So after everything went “grain fed” I went back to being a “lactovegeterian”, while I enjoy the food I do hate the name “lactovegerterian”. I hope somebody comes up with a better one.
But all this still did not seem like enough of an effort or statement about what I think of the earth and our place in it. There was still one more thing to do….
Science will never be complete. It is the method of expanding knowledge that accepts that we can never know everything yet should still strive to do so.
So it’s earth overshoot day. The day of the year that estimates when we have used up as many resources and made as much pollution as the earth can withstand in a whole year. The rest of the year is borrowed time. I prefer to think in terms of “population overshoot day” if no babies were born between March and December, the earth wouldn’t be so overpopulated. So every baby born after , say, the first of March would be an overshoot baby, and more than the earth could carry.
Bought my first briefs in 20 years today. The cheap ones because they only have to last a week. Especially if I turn them inside out….;)
“Then I grew up and slowly but surely came to the conclusion that EVERY human being is bad/evil in one way or another. BUT, luckily there are ways of trying to distant oneself from the rest of the wicked hoard, two of them is adapting a vegan “lifestyle” and becoming an anti-natalist. And that reminds me of something I have to say. Thinking that humanity sucks, and that life is meaningless and bad (which it is) doesn’t mean that you’re free to impose suffering and violence upon anyone (neither human or non-human people) just because you don’t give a shit any more. If you see the truth, you should try putting it to good use instead; go vegan, don’t breed, be nice.”
The consent forms are signed, the preparations are made. But I am still very nervous.
I would rather let a stranger cut my balls with a knife than have a kid. Literally . But the night before any surgery is always a nervous wait. I suspect this is going to be a lot more painful than grommets, and have wider implications. But I woke my friend up out of bed to sign the waiver (and print it too). Hopefully he can give me a lift home tomorrow, but taxi will work fine too if I can still figure out stairs and locks at that time. It’s an exciting time but to be honest it’s also a fearful one. Kind of like jumping off a mountain in a para-glider , but not knowing where you are going to land, and there is no hope of ever climbing that mountain again, or having to make weekly payments, feed, clothe, educate or explain why the world is in such a bad state to said mountain. Or cleaning the mountains nappy. Actually it’s not like paragliding at all.
Still having a disagreement with my 3d printer about what nylon does and doesn’t want to stick to, hopefully I’m asleep in bed soon. Hopefully it’s the last time I sleep as a fertile reproducer in a world of diminishing resources and freedoms, dooming my offspring to repeat the problems of my species past….
The only people I have told my plans to so far is my doctor, the clinic, the pharmacist selling me codeine/panadol (acetaminophen) and my 55 year old friend signing as witness. I don’t expect it to come as a shock to my friends, it’s my family who might be a bit surprised though.
Doctor: what made you make this final decision?
Me: the state of the planet, it’s not improving and the last thing it needs is more little people, especially ones like me.
Doctor: what is your current method of contraception?
Me: involuntary abstinence.
Now I’m just minutes away. Time to get into the surgical gown. I am nervous and excited, I hope the doctor isn’t having an off day…. Here we go…
Phew! All done. Now I’m home, head full of ether, tighty-whities full of frozen peas. I have now removed myself from the gene pool and am towelling dry on the proverbial sun chairs.
Apparently my “unusually large” scrotum made it easier. Gotta be good for something.
I even got to watch on the big TV. That sort of thing fondles my curiosity, where others just cringe at the thought.
It was almost painless, just 2 pin pricks and the pressure when the tubes were flushed out.
In fact the most painful part so far is the bill. $1,400 just for the surgery, along with all the other associated expenses and time off work I can see this will end up costing almost $2,000 in total. It’s a high end clinic and there are much cheaper places with simpler operations charging just a few hundred, but like I told my doctor: sometimes when it’s critical irreplaceable equipment you want repaired or modified it pays not to go with the cheapest quote.
Fun fact: The sister clinic near Nimbin in northern New South Wales very rarely processes credit cards because ~everyone~ pays in cash. It’s a bit suspicious if you think about it.
So now it’s the day after and I can finally remove the cold pack and have a shower like a normal person. I can’t go anywhere because I can’t stand comfortably for more than 2 minutes and I certainly can’t do any sudden movements that might make me jiggle. so I’ve been taking this downtime to sign up to tinder. Everybody else has already.
Finding partners with no children who don’t want them is a bit hard, but it’s getting easier:
The last steps left to do are to :
7) wear firm fitting cotton underwear day and night for 10 days
8) after dressing is removed, have as much protected sex as possible until you have done your 12 week sperm test and have received final clearance from us.
While it won’t solve all our problems, I’m very happy to not be adding to the problems of this planet, but there’s always more I can do.
Until then, I’m going to keep working on tinder. After all, it’s doctor’s orders, baby.
I thought a vasectomy would stop my wife from falling pregnant again, instead it just changed the colour of the baby…
Girls don’t have the Cohunas to get a vasectomy…
I could have written a few more testicle puns, but I don’t think it would have made a vas deferens…
Each year, Zeitgeist Movement advocates from all over the world come together to learn more, connect with like-minded people and share new ideas to promote global unity, social betterment and a more humane society.
Zeitgeist Day (Z-Day), the annual global symposium for The Zeitgeist Movement, was held for the 7th time this year in several different countries around the world on Saturday 14th March. The main event for Australia was held in Brisbane City at the Brisbane Square Library.
This year was outstandingly successful for the Australian chapter, with a range of inspiring and interesting speakers. Coordinators are working hard to make all of these presentations available online as soon as possible.
I’d like to thank everyone who volunteered their time, money and effort towards making it a fantastic day. The free fruit for our guests was a very special touch!
I had the very fortunate opportunity to welcome our guests and give a brief run-down of the Zeitgeist Movement for guests who may not have heard of us before. This was followed by James Hill, who discussed how an NLRBE would be governed.
After James, Tom Miller from Unlimited You Education set the scene for the day by conducting a very collaborative discussion stemming from the question “Why are we here today?”. This brought about a range of reasons from our very diverse audience, that really set the group up to think about ways in which they could really connect with the group.
Caroline Rentel followed Tom, giving us a very special triple plug on three topics close to our heart: James Pauly’s updates on his electric vehicle conversion, updates on Beyond Zero Emissions and her novel about an RBE set in 2050.
Our audience was then wowed by Roman Spur’s amazing rental property that he transformed into a sustainable living story. In a tiny space in the city suburb of New Farm, Roman provided food including vegetables, honey and eggs for his whole family and neighbours, as well as use recycled materials to create solar power cookers and solar hot water.
After Roman, Simon Cole gave us a run-down of the TZM Australia Community Tours project, where a group of Brisbane Geisters aim to visit a range of communities around the country and beyond, to share our knowledge and discover the best ways we can manage groups in the early stages of developing an RBE. For more details, click here.
After a quick break, John Roles decided to share his vision for Australia as a former candidate for Sustainable Population Party. John was an interesting guest, as someone who was not very familiar with TZM, but he was not only able to share his thoughts on population, growth and sustainability in Australia but connect with many people who think beyond politics.
Before our final speaker, Aaron Hilton the driving force behind this project, and Andreas Huemer, an expert in artificial intelligence and systems management shared their idea for system that can minimise harm and maximise abundance.
Our final speaker was Natalie Lawler, one of the last 100 remaining candidates for the Mars One mission. She shared updates on Mars One and explained her passion and reasons that she wanted to travel to the red planet forever. We were very fortunate to have a lot of question time for Natalie, as many people in the audience were curious about her mission.
Thanks again to everyone who came along to support the Zeitgeist Movement. As stated previously, our local coordinators are working hard to make these presentations available online as soon as possible. An email will be sent to our subscribers as soon as the videos have been uploaded.
A recap of the global chapter event can be seen here. To read more about it, check out the global chapter blog here.
Visiting communities project
I’m frequently inspired by friends I’ve met through The Zeitgeist Movement – not only with their meaningful, witty and thought-provoking conversations, but also with the amount of work they do on projects related to sustainability, science and technology. Regardless of these proactive, energetic personalities, most of these projects are done outside of the TZM Australia organisation.
Our TZM group in Brisbane has grown fairly quickly over the past few months and we’re now excited to suggest an ongoing project for anyone who would like to support TZM in particular.
Many people within TZM also have a vision of buying a large block of land and creating a mini-Resource-Based Economy. To work towards this vision, we feel it’s important to get a good feel for what it’s like for people already living in sustainable communities and to truly understand the ins and outs of what works well and what needs more thought.
To enhance collaboration within the movement, as well as share our knowledge and skills, we’d like to organise trips to a range of sustainable communities and open arcologoy projects around Australia and abroad. Here are some that we would like to visit.
1. Christie Walk, Adelaide
The project consists of 27 dwellings which include linked four three-storey townhouses with full solar orientation, a three storey block of six apartments with east-west orientation, four individual cottages, and a 5 storey apartment block facing onto Sturt Street, with a community room/ kitchen/dining/meeting room/ library, and toilets on the ground floor. Around 40 people live at Christie Walk, ranging in age from very young to over 80 with a strong ethos of ’community’ which has developed over the past ten years.
2. Atamai Village, New Zealand
Still in development, the entire village, as well as individual house sites, are designed on permaculture principles to enhance both the physical and social resilience of the Atamai community. Atamai will have a residential area, a food production area, a forestry area and recreational areas.
3. Masdar City, Abu Dhabi
Masdar City is an arcology project in Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab Emirates which uses solar energy and other renewable energy sources. The temperature on Masdar’s streets is generally 15 to 20°C cooler than the surrounding desert due to its unique construction. A 45-meter high wind tower sucks air from above and pushes a cooling breeze through Masdar’s streets. The site is raised above the surrounding land in order to create a slight cooling effect and buildings are clustered close together to keep streets and walkways shielded from the sun. Public transport initially was designed to use underground podcars. The city reuses its water and functions as a headquarters of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).
If you would like to find out more and make suggestions for communities to visit, please join us for Z-Day in Brisbane next month, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.