He’s a sexist redneck bigot I could never vote for, but America’s President has got a few things right

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President Trump goes Gothic

Notes from a deep green conservative

I was on a long drive with an old acquaintance recently when the conversation turned to politics.

It’s a topic I usually avoid with this person because of his voluble support for wacky conspiracy theories favored by the extreme right.

When he announced a fulsome endorsement of Donald Trump I was not surprised.

What did surprise me were the reasons for his support, and the fact that I agreed with some of them.

It was a long road-trip, and what I distilled from our rambling conversation were five disruptive, but essentially positive initiatives liberals should heed from Donald Trump’s presidency. …

The poor and elderly in rich countries are the main victims, which raises uncomfortable truths about the western cult of longevity at any cost

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Photo by Benjamin Suter on Unsplash

IT’S EASY to see the current pandemic from an exclusively ‘developed world’ point of view.

We’ve resigned ourselves to the fact that the mobile and healthy are spreading the disease to the old and sick. End of story.

Except it’s not. Because the developing world, the poorer countries, are generally suffering less than wealthier nations from Covid-19.

Western media tends to blame it on under-reporting, as if this is an obvious conclusion to draw about the third world. …

Donald Trump and other western leaders are desperate to wrest a white male, monocultural narrative for the pandemic from the World Health Organisation

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Photo by Mick Haupt on Unsplash

Notes from a deep green conservative

I RECENTLY read a novel called Fever by well-known South African author, Dean Meyer. It describes the aftermath of a coronavirus pandemic which wipes out 95 percent of the world’s population.

It’s a good read, if somewhat technocratic in its view of a post super-pandemic utopia.

It turns out that the virologist mother of the surviving hero manufactured the virus, then distributed a vaccine to her family and a few essential comrades in a heinously narcissistic attempt to reduce the planet’s human population.

The really chilling factor, however, is Meyer’s acknowledgement at the end of the book that such a deadly, human-engineered virus and vaccine, could already be a reality. …

The good and bad of modern travel

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Photo by Sebastian Grochowicz on Unsplash

I’ve really burnt up my flight miles recently. I’ve been truly “flygskamed” as the Swedes say, jumping on an off big jets to have a holiday with family on the other side of the planet.

Had we been acquainted, Greta Thunberg would have given me a right dressing down. She has a certain way about her that girl!

She’s onto something though. The Swiss bank UBS recently reported that air travel numbers could halve if present ‘flight shaming’ trends continue. I bet the airline industry didn’t see that coming.

Mind you, we’d only just be arriving if we’d sailed on a yacht. But I am with Greta on this. I loathe flying. Crammed in a hollow aluminium tube at the mercy of a couple of young pilots and an overworked cabin crew serving stodgy food is not my idea of fun. …

In an era of exponential and uncontrolled growth we need a new kind of politics that give pause to humanity’s role on the planet

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Photo by Charlotte Coneybeer on Unsplash

OCCASIONALLY, on a good day, I’m asked what a deep green conservative actually is.

I say occasionally because many people I encounter just assume it’s a political witticism.

After all, labelling oneself ‘deep green’ is associated with the radical left, whereas conservatism is about resistance to change and nearly always the preserve of the right.

So ‘deep green conservatism’ doesn’t really fit a contemporary political definition.

But the world is changing, and traditional left/right political lines are becoming blurred, sometimes inverted.

Aspirational wealth is stretching Earth’s resources far beyond her ability to provide

For me deep green conservatism just makes sense. In essence it’s about putting the environment first. Without a healthy environment we won’t have life in the future. Nature should be our guide, not an enemy to be conquered. …

Climate disruption and biodiversity loss are our biggest global challenges. But our smallest governments hold the key to doing something about it

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Photo montage by Louis Denton

Notes from a deep green conservative

IN THE LATE 1860’s a Harvard College mathematics professor, Benjamin Peirce, undertook a curious study.

He estimated that a prominent elm tree near his office had a crop of seven million leaves that, if laid next to each other, would cover a surface of 2 hectares (five acres).

Peirce’s study has recently resurfaced as a touchstone for local and regional urban planners keen to illustrate the vast potential of a single tree’s foliage to absorb carbon dioxide, emit oxygen and provide shade.

Yet local and city governments are still often characterised as political backwaters dealing with the three R’s of provincial life — roads, rates, and rubbish. …

We learnt from the 1969 moon shot that Earth is special and vulnerable. Yet we seem determined to ignore what astronauts have been telling us for years

Random notes from a deep green conservative

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Photo by History in HD on Unsplash

I DON’T LIKE to rain on anyone’s parade.

But as I am sure many people have realized, it’s rather contradictory to be celebrating the 50th anniversary of the moon landing when it took half a million gallons (1.9 million liters) of concentrated fossil fuel and additives to blast three men to that little exoplanet and back.

I’m aware, of course, that it took great courage by the astronauts to sit on top of all that fuel and go where no human had ever been before.

It was also a great technological achievement.

But so was the motorcar. And look where that got us — global warming, clogged freeways, urban sprawl, oil wars, status…

The idea of humans subduing the earth is fast losing ground to more inclusive views

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If or when Moses sat down to inscribe Genesis 1:28 he obviously had no idea of the trouble he would cause around 3000 years later.

For just as we now know that Moses probably wasn’t the author, we’re also coming to realize that giving humans ideological dominion over all other species was probably a bad idea.

Yet the words are quite beautiful: “And God said to them ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.” …

Our obsession with growth is ruining the planet. There are better alternatives.

Notes from a deep green conservative.

What would happen if the world experienced a long period of deliberate zero economic growth?

It happened briefly after the Great Depression, although it wasn’t deliberate.

My grandfather, then an Australian public servant, began working a compulsory three day week.

He had enough time to build a family holiday cabin on the coast, and spent a lot of time fishing. He lived to a ripe old age and often described those years as the best of his life.

Yet modern governments avoid economic slowdown like the plague. …

Sorry guys! We just don’t have the environmental resources for everyone to live like us

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Photo by Rick Tap on Unsplash

Random notes from a deep green conservative

How often do you see advertising or news reports about westerners spruiking their latest technological gizmos to third world villagers to save them from abject poverty?

From corporations to nonprofits, the aspirational intent and missionary zeal are a core part of the marketing plan.

The message is that if we can share enough of our western affluence (usually in the form of western products) then the world will be a much better place.

The big problem is that with nearly seven billion people on the planet, we simply don’t have the resources to offer everyone a western lifestyle. …


P. K. Denton

Author, journalist and mentor. I call myself a deep green conservative.

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