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Peter Reynolds

The life and times of Peter Reynolds

Posts Tagged ‘planet

The Oil Spill. The Bottom Line. What Obama’s Forgetting.

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BP hired them so it is taking responsibility but…

Catastrophe

…the oil rig was American.

…the crew was American.

…the blowout preventer and other safety equipment that failed was American.

…six of BP’s 12 main board directors are American.

…40% of BP’s shareholders are American.

So when the first black American president suddenly starts calling it “British Petroleum”, a name it moved away from 12 years ago because it simply wasn’t accurate anymore, what is it but blatant racism?

This is shockingly grubby behaviour from a man who I was trusting on his platform of integrity.

He’s blown that idea just as sky high as Deepwater Horizon.  He’s also forgotten who are his and his country’s most steadfast friends in the world.

If the Yankees, who squander the world’s resources and pollute the environment more than any other nation on the planet, think they’re going to stick this one on us, they need to think again.  They need to get their collective brain into gear and start doing something useful.  The anti-British rhetoric that has been coming from the States, from whining journalists and politicians as well as Obama,  is ludicrous, disloyal and not worthy of them.

We are entitled to expect much, much better from those with whom we stand shoulder to shoulder.  When the chips are down we are the only ones you can always rely on.  You are a young nation in the history of the world.  Now is the time to grow up and take responsibility.  Stop passing the buck.

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Facebook – It’s A Snide, Snide World

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I don’t know the name of the geek from Facebook who said that he wanted everyone on the planet to become a member of his website but he follows Adolf, Joseph, Benito, Francisco and other tyrants in having ambitions that must be thwarted at all costs.

Let me be clear, yes, you can find me on Facebook.  It’s true, with nearly half a billion members it is difficult to ignore it.  I use it to publicise this blog to as wide an audience as possible.  You can call me a hypocrite if you want but I don’t and won’t participate in the snide, puerile and thoroughly unhealthy relationships and lifestyle that it promotes.

Is This The Real Life Or Is It Just Fantasy?

If there are nearly a half a billion members on the site there must be at least a billion virtually identical photographs that consist of two or three faces (usually inane blondes at a party) pressed together cheek to cheek with vile grimaces or smiles.   If it’s supposed to be about individuals why does everyone look exactly the same, talk exactly the same and behave exactly the same?

There are now an extraordinary number of sad, dysfunctional people who live their life, vicariously and actually, on Facebook.  This, I believe, should be of great concern to all of us.  More than that, the site encourages behaviour that is dishonest, underhand and snide.  It’s not a force for good.  It’s a force for evil.  It’s a perversion and abuse of the internet, probably mankind’s greatest ever invention.

You know the sort of person who’d rather text than make a phone call?  It’s often very dishonest communication, the ideal way for a coward to make excuses, lie or deceive.  It’s said that 80% of communication is non-verbal and you certainly get a lot of that extra meaning over the phone.  You get none at all by text.  It’s just the bare, badly, carelessly or deceptively chosen words. Facebook goes even further, it encourages members to post messages and pictures so that they’re seen by third parties as well.  In fact, often the message or picture is posted mainly for their benefit, to embarass or annoy.  This is the real wickedness.  It’s already led to murders and countless, countless, arguments and disputes which have ended in violence.  Of course, it depends on you.   You or your friends can behave badly through any medium or face to face.  The point is Facebook encourages you to be snide.  It’s not nice.

I don’t know what the answer is.  I certainly wouldn’t be encouraging children to use it.  For many it’s already become a substitute for real life.  Its most well known deficiency is the way it makes you collect an ever greater quantity of friends with no regard whatsoever for quality.  My sons and all their real world friends have in excess of 1,000 Facebook friends.  I have 24 so that must make me – what?

There’s no doubt that there are business opportunities presented by Facebook. With that many members there’s bound to be.  In that context it’s not surprising that Cheryl Cole has 1,698,477 friends.  Mind you, Paul Macartney only has 11!

So I’ll be staying on Facebook but I won’t be participating in it.  I think it should have a big warning flash up on the screen every time you log in: “GET A LIFE”

Village Idiots Or Village Idiocy?

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We are very fortunate in Great Britain to have clearly defined borders.  Our status as an island has enabled us to avoid much of the evil and wickedness that has plagued continental Europe.  Throughout history neighbour has turned upon neighbour and viciousness and persecution have been rife.  Hitler did not start the persecution of the Jews.  Particularly in France and the low countries, they were persecuted across the centuries. Between Poland and Romania there is an enmity that defies belief.

Much that is great in Britain has evolved from our island culture but we have not escaped the darker side of human nature.  Much that is worst in Britain can be seen in the petty jealousies and behaviours of village life.  Just as insidious and cruel as the persecution of the Jews is the way that gossip, resistance to change and selfishness runs deep in British village life.

You Know Who You Are!

You Know Who You Are!

They nearly always start with “I’ve lived in the village for more than X years…”.  X needs to be at least 20 and for real seniority you need to be able to boast of 30 or 40 years residency.  Then, according to this idiotic doctrine, you have some sort of right to impose your view of the world on your neighbours.  Just because you were there first?

It is to the eternal shame of rural villagers in Britain that the Vestas wind turbine factory on the Isle Of Wight is to close.  There is simply no market for onshore wind turbines in Britain because the “NIMBYs” (Not In My Back Yard) object at every stage and shove the problem of energy and ecology onto someone else.

I won’t be actively campaigning for, say, 10 wind turbines along the top of White Horse Hill but what right would any of us have to object?  If you want to switch your kettle on or watch TV or enjoy a hot bath in the depths of winter, you need to be prepared to compromise, particularly if you want your grandchildren to enjoy a future on this planet.  In any case, wind turbines have a beauty and elegance of their own.  Look at the way that we now revere some of the great aqueducts built in the 19th century – before the days when the small minded, selfish, blue rinse brigade were able to resist any and all change.

It’s not just about planning and environment though.  It’s a more general problem about attitudes towards others and our own selfishness.  Gossip, whinging and a failure to welcome and include others and the change that they bring are the symptoms of this British disease.  So next time you hear them start with “I’ve lived in the village for more than 40 years”, be careful.  The chances are that what comes next is going to be selfish, small minded rubbish.

Paradise Valley

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I’ve lived in Sutton Poyntz for six months now. A mile to the south is the sea. A mile to the east is Osmington and half a mile to the north but up a very steep hill is the “top of my mountain”. Walking my dogs around this wonderful area has fulfilled every dream that I dared hope for when I first arrived.

The Mysteries Of the East

The Mysteries Of the East

We have perhaps half a dozen standard walks that we’ve learned, each one of which can be varied with diversions, extensions or shortcuts. Usually we walk for about and hour and a half. The one delight that is always there is a succession of dramatic and quite beautiful views. I never tire of these wonderful vistas across the valley, to the sea, the Isle of Portland and beyond.

I believe that being able to see some distance is fundamentally good for your psyche. Even in the midst of our ghastly capital city on the 12th floor of a vile 1970s tower block there was some consolation to be gained from

Go West Young Man

Go West Young Man

the view. In Paradise Valley the views move me every day as they change and develop with the seasons. Quite why just looking can make me well up and seems to touch my soul, I do not know but it fascinates me that the dogs will do the same thing. We reach the peak of a hill or come round a corner and they will stand on a wall or look over a hedge – and just look.

After one false start, spring is here. In the great national blizzard we got off lightly with merely an inch or so. A fortnight later though and we had our own intense Dorset storm and we woke up to four inches and twelve hours without power.

Taking In The View

Taking In The View

Another fortnight on and the daffodils and crocuses are out. There is already some intensity in the warmth of the sun and all around gardeners are beginning to dig and to sow, to dream of runner beans and strawberries. Up on the hill they were burning the gorse. Quite why I’m not sure. Then this week they brought in a formidable machine which seemed to crawl up and down the sides of the mountain completely demolishing the gorse bushes  and leaving an apparently smooth and fresh sward of pasture.

This required immediate investigation and so the dogs and I struck out for the top. Up closer we discovered a compact bulldozer on caterpillar tracks with a vicious flail mounted on front. The driver told me that it weighs bulldozer-workingsix tons and guiding it across the slope sometimes it would slip andbulldozer slide and nearly give him a heart attack. He explained that the gorse needs to be cut back simply to keep it under control. He’s a braver man than me. Perhaps he doesn’t know that others deliberately throw themselves off the mountain underneath paragliders.

So in a deepening wamth, for the first time since winter took hold, I find time to sit. With the absence of movement, without having to worry about negotiating the hills and the fields, with time just to sit and contemplate, the valley bursts into life. It’s like sitting in a huge and magnificent amphitheatre but there’s not just the single focus of a sport or contest. Every single part of the valley throbs with activity. A family of deer watch the dogs in trepidation.carla-watches-deer1 Countless beautiful, big, brown buzzards soar and swoop. A pair of kestrels hover over the gorse bushes. The biggest rabbit warren I have ever seen, a city full of bunnies, teems with bobbing white tails. The trees are developing that slightly misty look as millions of buds begin to swell and fill. The insect population is burgeoning and heading towards a total that must surely be in the billions, surely exceeding even the number of humans across the whole of our world.

Paradise Valley is blossoming and as it blooms with it will come ever more intense beauty and experience. This, surely, is one of the most beautiful places on the planet and I live right here. For me it truly is paradise.

kestrels1