This is The ChangeUnderground for the 29nd of August 2022.
I’m your host, Jon Moore
Decarbonise the Air, Recarbonise the Soil!
A varroa update. Saturday 27 August
🐝 Varroa mite emergency response daily update 🐝
🐝 No new detections
🐝 Euthanasia operations continue in the Eradication zones.
Affected beekeepers will be contacted directly by NSW DPI to make arrangements as the operation progresses.
🐝 The response team understands the challenge of this task and thanks the community for working with us.
Almost a classical biosecurity eradication process. Beekeepers outside the eradication zones are still hyper vigilant but things seem to be following the textbook.
A little pre-warning, I had the misfortune to stumble across another piece of polemic from George Monbiot a week ago and the research to refute his obviously “in error” statements is taking me longer than I would have wanted but it will be worth the wait.
In the same vein I mentioned a facebook meme a few episodes back about cows. A picture of them juxtaposed with industrial images and the words: Imagine how much propaganda effort it took to blame cows for climate change.
Well our good friends at Facebook decided to slap a not quite correct warning on the pic. Subtly and the understanding of reality have very little to do with Facebook. I have appealed their decision but are yet to hear back from them. Yes methane is a GHG of far greater intensity than CO2 but I’m yet to be convinced there’s that many more domesticated ruminants now than there were wild ones prior to the Industrial Revolution meaning ruminant methane would be part of the standard background GHGs the planet has been living with for millennia but hey, easy sound grabs about cows are less effort than actual reading and thinking.
We are in the middle of worker shortage here in the Antipodes. As I hear from many news sources, this is not an unusual situation. The thing that’s riled a number of producers is the introduction of minimum standards in the industrial relations setting. So a fruit picker who works more than 38 hours a week has to be paid time and a half for the extra hours. Imagine that, rural workers being treated equally with others. How could such a situation arise? Well, centuries of exploitation of the less well educated, the assumption by growers that they’re doing the workers a favour by employing them at any rate and a sizable power imbalance have screwed non-unionised rural workers since white settlement. The great shearer’s strikes of the 1890s at least put some rules around that industry and wool growers, at least merino ones, didn’t all end up bankrupt. I understand other wool types are worth less than the cost of shearing in many parts of the world. Hence the rise in self shedding and hair breeds, Wiltshire Horns, Dorpers, Damaras and so on. But the point remains, fruit growers, not all of them by any means but too many of them treated workers like dirt for generations and those chickens are coming home to roost.
There is a history of labour shortages following pandemics. The ever gentle English ruling classes passed laws to keep wages low after the Black Death, didn’t work then, probably wouldn’t work now. It is interesting that all the industries screaming for staff, fruit picking, vegetable picking, hospitality, retail, nursing, aged care, disability support amongst others are all traditionally low paid and therefore not under pressure to mechanise. Aged care and Disability support really shouldn’t be mechanised. Fruit and veg picking have their challenges but are ripe for mechanisation. Hospitality and retail have started with self checkouts, online bookings and so on where I need never have contact with another human being. Then there’s the alleged horrors of the Amazon fulfilment centres. People choosing to wear nappies rather than take time to use toilets because their every, and I mean every, movement is tracked for the entirety of their shifts. It is easier to turn humans into robots than to develop the things themselves, it would appear.
Anyway, we are still living in a time of great change. Change that we can shape, with some organisation on our parts. The past forty years since the Thatcherite/Reaganomics cultural revolution was forced upon us, for our own good, apparently, the collapse of civil society whilst not part of any grand conspiracy appears to have been a handy unexpected byproduct of Rational Economics, an oxymoron if ever there was one.
That people are desperate can be seen in the rise of political extremes. We know the social media moguls have exploited that for their profit but it is still upon us. Friends I went to school with regurgitating platitudes from overseas, ok, from the US and when asked to discuss why? Turn into banshees. I’m starting to sound like a grumpy old man and maybe that’s fair but maybe we all need to get a bit grumpy.
The pandemic didn’t so much change things, other than for those who lost loved ones and I am in way negating the suffering that’s caused, on a societal level, it just brought all the weak linkages and pressure points in our cultures and societies to the light of day. And are we all, some countries more than others, waist deep in weak linkages and pressure points?
Again my go to response is grow food and be kind to everyone, even the dipsticks. None of us can know what anyone else is dealing with, hell most of us don’t fully understand our own motivations so be kind and grow something to eat. It really is one of the best forms of self care, planetary care and people care.
Decarbonise the air, recarbonise the soil!
Thank you all for listening and I’ll be back next week.
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Varroa mite emergency response