I’m reading Noam Chomsky’s Failed States.

Its a great book, in the vein of that sort of thing. But it does leave one feeling tremendously frustrated, angry and very ineffectual.  In fact, I could summarise a good portion of my angst as a mind numbing lethargy as I can’t see a way to win.  And by win I mean not some overarching scheme to rule the world, though that of course is an option, but to somehow see my way through this life without helping destroy the world.

I won’t reguritate Chomsky, you can read the book or there are a good many blogs out there who are far more outraged than me, but suffice it to say that, essentially, the worlds greatest military power, is, in many respects, one of the ‘Failed States’ that it so violently and virtously claims to oppose.  Which is obviously to those with some degree of sanity, not really a teneable or desirable position to be in.
So we have the United States actively trying to destablise the world, and ironically providing the perfect training ground for new terrorists in Iraq, Australia is following with our head up the US’s arse – putting back the ideas of democracy with lovely new laws curtailing civil liberties (and we, Australia are particularly vulnerable to this as the only democratic country without a national bill of rights, instead relying on the good sense of the parlimentary process. And we all know how well that is working), both the US and Australia ignoring global warming its all looking really quite bleak.

The insidious rise of religious bollocks such as Intelligent Design being a science and the fact that our education minister actually considered it as a viable thing to be taught in Australian Schools as science.  Sure, lets chuck out rational thought, in fact, we can do as the US and redefine science so that ID can be taught.

The environment – So we’ve decided carbon is bad.  Fossil fuel is bad.  But then solar is ineffecient, requiring highly toxic chemicals to manufacture and regular replacement.  Hydro isn’t bad, but then it requires damming of rivers which leads to tremendous environmental damage – see Lake Pedder and the 3 Gorges in China.  Nuclear is quite a good option, but will take 10 – 20 years to save the carbon it took to create the bleeding thing, plus all the associated risks with it.  Wind isn’t consistent enough, meaning we have to run coal as backup (and coal is very ineffecient unless its running full pelt) and other studies have shown that building wind farms on peat bogs (common enough) releases a stupid amount of carbon trapped in the peat bog.  Carbon Capture and Sequestration, touted by Al Gore just seems stupid to me.  A large, costly exercise in burying your head in the sand.  But please inform me more on this matter.
Biofuels – given a big boost by everyones favourite billionaire, Richard Branson.  But then, where are we going to plant the vast quantities of grain to make our biofuels? And doesnt it seem slightly daft to plant hideous amounts of crop (in the processes likely destroying rainforests and useful things like that) and then mashing it into fuel when so much of the world goes hungry?
We’re arsed.

In my on-going spew about Art – I find this very difficult to reconcile, most artists I know are incredibly concerned with the environment. Its kind of our thing as loud opinionated sorts.  But ask most any artist what they want to do, and more than likely it is to travel – to take their show international, to see international shows/galleriers.  Galleries are swapping their collections around the world, shows fly around the world. But then this is all, of course a tremendous cost of resources.  What are we going to do about it? How to reconcile the politic regarding the environment and our practice?  I mean, I can’t help but feel excited that the Paris Opera Ballet is coming. But thats an entire plane load of performers, support and scenery. Ok its probably a more worthwhile cause than idiots who fly from london to new york for a spot of shopping because the pound is so monstrously overvalued, but still…

Pitifully ineffectual…