Tag Archives: Harry Harrison

Not merely another movie

This is not the now, previously (1-2 years ago) I came up with a new idea for a movie, it is not an action movie and it is not a documentary. In the movie a really wealthy entrepreneur (played by Chris Hemsworth) witnesses an event and it sticks with him, as he goes through the day he sees movies about lobsters, all whilst he eats one, he has half a dozen screens in his office and he is bombarded with data upon data. As this man is considering things, an event sets his mind towards seaweed, in this stage he creates a new seaweed farm outside of Chennai, where he farms seaweed, in his setting he also starts replanting seaweed to keep the balance, but it is during this stage that India gets hit with a massive tsunami, even as he has little damage, the eastern coast is hit harsh and that is when he sets up large crematoria to facilitate for the massive deaths and the people are exempt for payment, the receive the ashes in an urn. It is a few weeks later when the media is getting a breakthrough on affordable seaweed and the drying methods that allows for a setting to feed the world, in the end titles we see the presentation where he presents Soylent Green.

OK the twist is a little naughty, but who remembers Soylent Green, the movie that propelled Charlton Heston in 1973 to even greater heights than ever before. Even as it was merely loosely based on Make Room! Make Room!, the movie had a profound impact on me. And there is a precedence for this. When we consider that seaweed grew from 13.5 million tonnes in 1995 to just over 30 million tonnes in 2016. (at http://www.fao.org/3/ca0191en/ca0191en.pdf), there is more information besides the numbers on page 10, there is a larger impact that seaweed has on corals, as such farming where possible for seaweed is not the worst idea. 

We need to start looking in the outer margins not for what we want, but for what does the trick whilst we find ways to overcome other issues. To see this we need to take heed of the words by Douglas Rasher, who gives us “The important takeaway is that competition between corals and seaweeds can cause dramatic changes in seaweed physiology, both in terms of their growth and their defense”, so even as I take sides with the coral, there is both an upside and a downside. The question becomes, am I on the right side? The coral bleaching gives rise to the fact I am, but nature is a stage of balancing seesaws, you set the balance on one, the others go out of alignment pretty quickly, and messing with them all tends to be disastrous, as such the rule of torts law come into effect, small steps, small steps to the end goal and in case of nature the steps need to be smaller still. 

So as I remember the idea I had on the prequel of Soylent Green, the stage we find ourselves in is not the movie, but the original it was based upon. The book explored the consequences of unchecked population growth on society and what the book envisioned in 1966 ended up being almost here in 2020. There is a rare setting of foresight here, even as the numbers are not on the level yet, the movie played in 2022 and this is not that far away, even as the numbers are still a little off, the need to feed the world remains, the UN gives us “An estimated 821 million people in the world suffered from hunger in 2018”, so even as we need to accept the cannibalism is still way off, the idea of adding seaweed to the global food source is not, and we need to consider it in a serious way to add seaweed to every supermarket there is. Yet we also need to take heed on life in the oceans, when a billion people rely on the same plants that feeds the herbivorous fish of the ocean, something will give way and our record on accepting the consequences is not that good, but all we can do is d the best we can, yet is it enough?

Our lives, our exploitations, our shortages and our needs are not a movie, yet we tend to think it is, because our lives are easier this way, when we blame it on the silver screen, or set the watch towards a reality TV show, but reality is less sweet, has less honey and a lot more vinegar. And our sour setting will come home to roost soon enough, when the hunger facet goes beyond the 800 million mark and hits 1.2 billion, it will pour into the realms where the media actually looks, I wonder how the shortage will be introduced, or better stated how those controlling the media would like it to be explained. 


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How much for just the planet?

This is at the core of what is currently wrong. It is however a serious view that we all must face and we have to face it sooner rather than later. This train of thought started a while ago. I initially saw it on TV, the ‘movie’ was called ‘AFTERMATH, Population Zero‘.

It was a fascinating view to behold. The story is purely fictive; it was all based on the premise that from one moment to the other the global population would suddenly vanish. What would be the consequence? (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sUqHECc5rPo&index=28&list=WL)

It is well worth watching it. So if you have seen the movie the next part will make a little more sense. You see, it is all linked to a few items that have been all over social media and the internet in general since late 2009. It was raised again in February 2013 with the story ‘Nestlé’s Peter Brabeck: our attitude towards water needs to change‘ (at http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/nestle-peter-brabeck-attitude-water-change-stewardship). I once made a prediction that we have 8 generations left, a concept that was not even conceivable when I was in primary school. Yet, now it is a reality that the older generation no longer needs to worry about, but our children will feel the brunt of that idea and it will become a reality for our grandchildren. The article gives us the following: “We’re talking about running out of oil; well it happens that we have 120 years of proven oil reserves“. That could be the case, I made a simple calculation half a decade ago, the calculation gave me the approximation that the amount of crude oil used could fill a cube of 15 by 15 by 15 miles, well over 75% had been used in the last two decades. So, yes, it is extremely likely that we have 120 years of oil left, but the ‘proven’ part is not a guarantee, the growth of oil needed, especially if the price keeps on going down, as fuel becomes cheaper, more people will be willing to drive longer to get a decent job, making the population at large a lot more mobile than ever before. Also, as oil becomes cheaper and cheaper, some will stop delivering and wait for better times. That is not a given reality, but it is a possible one. Yet, the idea that oil will run out in no more than 100 years is not too far-fetched either. The second part is an issue for me “we have 240 years of proven gas reserves” If that was so, than the rush for ‘shale gas’ would not have been so strong. The rush for fracking is not a view that comes from a 240 year reserve; it comes (as I see it) from a proven reserve that is a lot less than 240 years. Then there is coal. Yes, there might be a longer reserve in stock, but with coal comes pollution and lots of it.

It is the last part that gives the most fear “we have thousands of years of proven Uranium reserves and we are running out of water today“. It is all about the water. When we look at water, we see that the planet is 70% water, yet only 2% of that amount is good for consumption. Water is running low, there is no denying that, the issue linked here it that the planet has 7.2 billion people this implies that no less than 12 billion litres of water will be needed EVERY DAY to sustain a population. Several sources give the following: “At the moment, around 1% of the world’s population are dependent on desalinated water to meet their daily needs, but by 2025, the UN expects 14% of the world’s population to be encountering water scarcity” (at http://www.globalwaterintel.com/desalination-industry-enjoys-growth-spurt-scarcity-starts-bite/), so as we see the cost of drinking water to go through the roof within the next decade, the approach of Nestle makes perfect sense, although the implication is not a humane one. All these events give now more and more way to the story Make Room! Make Room! by Harry Harrison, a story written in 1966, it would propel Charlton Heston even further as the story became the foundation for Soylent Green as detective Frank Thorn. The movie is nothing like the story, which was about overpopulation, however Harry Harrison, passed away on August 15th, 2012. As I see it, he likely passed away with the knowledge that both his story and the movie based upon it could become a reality. The story ends with “The story concludes with the Times Square screen announcing that “Census says United States had biggest year ever, end-of-the-century, 344 million citizens”“, consider that the current US population is almost 319 million, that is not so far from the expected number in the book (which was set in 1999), Harry Harrison seems to be off by only 2 decades. The movie gives us another need. The movie is about the unaffordability of food and water, the movie is set in 2022, now we have a ball game. Now we get close to what reality is showing. If water is set to become a product for those who can afford it, then water becomes a luxury, no longer a basic right. This is at the foundation of what Nestle is trying to achieve. As politicians are hiding behind the ‘security’ of desalinisation, we must admit that this will shift the timeline, but the massive need for water to be produced will bring with it an increasing need for a fuel source. Which one? Oil? Coal? Consider that over the next decade the need of growth of desalinisation also implies a growing need for power. The power needed to fuel the need of that what was once regarded as a basic right and plentiful available, an implied growth of 1400% over a decade. Suddenly that 120 year oil reserve does not look that clearly set, does it?

This shows my earlier statement, your children will see the shift (a decade from now), your grandchildren will see the need and the pressure on the cost of living. To survive they will need an income for rent, water and fuel as a major expense of their income. A reality we luckily might not face and over all this we see not Nestle, but we see Financial Institutions as the anchor killing us. That part is seen in the article ‘PwC chief misled us over Luxembourg tax avoidance schemes, claim MPs‘ (at http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/feb/06/pricewaterhousecoopers-boss-kevin-nicholson-misled-mps). How did I get to that part?

Consider the following three quotes “The Guardian’s investigation into PwC’s activities in Luxembourg was made possible by the leak of thousands of pages of confidential tax rulings secured by the accountancy firm, which found their way to the ICIJ“, and then there is “But PwC Luxembourg remains furious at what it calls the “theft” of its documents. Criminal charges have been brought against two former PwC staff members after it complained to prosecutors” and last there is ““Shire has arranged its affairs so that interest payments on intra-company loans reduce significantly its overall tax liabilities … The ‘substance’ of Shire’s business in Luxembourg, used to justify these arrangements, consists of two people … One of Shire’s Luxembourg based staff holds 41 directorships of other companies”“. So, the link here is sizeable reduced taxability. So as these taxations are not achieved, how will desalinisation plants be built? On another credit card? Who pays for that bill and how will that affect the price of water and the subsequent additional taxation?

The final view is given from a Canadian site called Global Research. the quote is “His statements are important to review as we continue to see the world around us become reshaped into a more mechanized environment in order to stave off that pitiless Nature to which he refers” (at http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-privatisation-of-water-nestle-denies-that-water-is-a-fundamental-human-right/5332238). The fact that we let our lives be ruled by politicians who seem to put their own needs first is a massive blow to our chance to survive in an age of humanity. That part is seen as the bulk of nations cannot keep a budget and the overwhelming need that is greed based. So as nations have even less tax revenue, more costs and a slowly but surely growing number of unaffordable needs, we see an escalation into chaos and extremism.

The way we live allows for the approach of Nestle which turns a bad James Bond premise into a reality. The political approach of ‘shove it forward’ will be cast upon our grandchildren, turning their lives into one of working, so that they have a possibility of life. Until we change many ways of our lives and until we change the acts that we consider to be acceptable, we will only end up getting by with less, whilst food, drinks and luxury is left to less than 5% of the population. As time goes buy (pun intended), we see a change of interpretation, we will see politicians to be extensions for whatever, proclaiming on what is ‘actual’ a right and what is not.

So how does the title ‘How much for just the planet?’ and the movie ‘AFTERMATH, Population Zero’ make sense? Consider what is made extinct on a weekly basis for well over a decade? The movie shows that the planet will repair itself over a millennium, so how will the path of our world change if we are willing to get rid of 92% of our global population and impose a stringent rule of population control through birth control? An idea launched in 1966, whilst also demanding existence through sustainable energy. For now, everyone will shoot, scream and give all kinds of emotional response how such inhumanity should not be allowed, which is fair enough, but as Nestle gets a grip on what we regarded as a basic right. So, the emotion of a population will push it forward and will force our grandchildren to make a ruling on getting rid of 95% of the population, very political and what seems to be humanely decent, is in actuality one of the most inhumane acts ever, because this is all for the most due to a cowardly, non-acting generation that started with our fathers, ourselves and our children. A reality ignored within 3 generations, fuelled by greed of big-business and by the acts of all others by playing possum or burying their heads in the sand. Consider that the US consumes 50 billion eggs and 8 billion of chickens each year. They only represent 5% of the global population and this is not including the need for Fish, Meat and vegetables. So how much food is needed and how soon will it run out, because the one part everyone ignores is that meat products are created using water and food.

So, are these thoughts so far reached? Perhaps the next invention is only a year away, an invention that will change everything. This is the hope too many have whilst our lives are no longer driven by innovation, but through iteration for the need of maximising profits. That approach is nice for a boardroom and their needs, but it does not drive forward true technological advancement, that part will slow down more and more. No matter how much we want some cheap and easy solution that does not offend anyone, the chance of finding it becomes less and less likely. Bad News management from governments and big-business alike as well as derived profit through non-taxability from Big-Business, whilst governments are vying for their manufacturing plants and offering too many subsidies offsetting the cost of a labour force. In this environment these governments need to unsuccessfully balance a budget and soon, if the numbers hold true, find ways to produce the one element most never had to produce before, a basic substance always available. I let you work out the math, feel free to be slightly less happy after reading this, but also remember it only takes one mind to come up with that golden idea that will sustain a nation. This has been proven in several cases, for the Dutch Gerard Philips and Frederik Philips stand out, in Sweden there was Lars Magnus Ericsson, Henry Ford in the US and the list goes on a little longer, they shaped industries that would span generations. I have no idea who will be the next name that changes the way we think and live, but as we see the facts, that person better come sooner rather than later.

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