Bonus Joules and the Knowledge Economy
The Burning Conundrum: Bonus Joules breathes life into the world of Genesis Energy and creates a mess.
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Chapter Five - Land of the Other- The Burning Conundrum
Bonus Joules and the Knowledge Economy: All content on this site is copyright 2001 and you are free to use it with care.
Blog by Dave McArthur 21 June 2008
Do many of our
“climate” and “energy” experts not make sense to you? Here is a
simple test to separate their science from their self-serving
The beauty of the
test is that you do not need great intellect or formal education to
apply it. Indeed some of the people who are least capable of using it
are those with the highest formal qualifications who earn their income
as experts on the fields of “climate”,
“energy”, “environment” and “economics”.
qualities you need are spiritual – a sense of openness, honesty,
fearlessness and a love for life in general. A sense of humour is useful
too. It is helpful to be able to smile at the great capacity of human
beings to delude themselves about all manner of things. In particular it
is great to be able to laugh at the ingenuity with which we create vast
structures of symbols and systems of rationalisations in our attempts to
delude ourselves that we are not mortal and that we are not stewards of
“energy” experts are no different to the rest of us. Yes, they may
have enhanced knowledge of how the climate works, the limits of some
resources and the ways that human activities are unsustainable. At the
same time if every human being for several generations adopted the
lifestyle of these experts then it would take the equivalent resources
of many dozen planet Earths to sustain their activities.
Deep in their
psyches these folk know they fail as role models and are a living lie.
The disharmony between their talk and their walk generates considerable
dissonance in lives of these experts. This is reflected in their choice
of the symbols they use to communicate climate/energy issues. Thus we
have this fascinating phenomenon where even as our “climate” and
“energy” experts are calling for change and stewardship their use of
symbols actively denies both the change and stewardship they call for.
A recent classic
example was the movie “An Inconvenient Truth” in which Al Gore
became the perfect advertisement for car and jet travel and denied the
fundamental thermodynamics of Earth’s atmosphere even as he called for
us to take greater care of our atmosphere. Several times he wondered why
he has not been able to get his message across over the decades. The
truth is he gets his message across very clearly and it is a reflection
of the dissonance he experiences. In New Zealand there was a predicted
surge in car imports, jet travel and support for carbon trading in the
year or so after the movie.
evaluator enables you to assess the value of the vast array of
“climate change education programmes”, whether they be in the form
of formal school programmes, media articles, movies, books etc. It
identifies some of the key symbols used to frame the discussion of
“climate issues” and indicates how they might be used to promote the
acceptance and the denial of change and stewardship.
underpinning the evaluator is ancient and well proven. It is at least
two and a half thousand years old and is proven by the fact that it has
underpinned some of the most sustainable large-scale societies in
recorded history. These occurred in India and China. It is worth noting
that as the current Government of China observes the increasing lack of
morality and stewardship with the consequent desertification, flooding,
air pollution and soil degradation that is being caused by the adoption
of Euro-American lifestyle it is quietly permitting this ancient wisdom
system in New Zealand, my homeland, reflects and generates one of the
most unsustainable societies on Earth. This is manifest in the car and
jet use, deforestation, carbon emissions, agriculture and dwelling
performance of the nation as well as its status as a world leader in the
promotion of the carbon-trading ethos.
failure as a people does not occur in a vacuum and the evaluator reveals
the fundamental flaws in the education system and almost all of New
Zealand’s institutions. These include all its political parties,
Government departments, universities, NGOs and media. In particular it
reveals the true nature of institutions such as the Energy
Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA), the
Royal Society of New Zealand, the
New Zealand Education Curriculum framework, the Climate
Change Office and many supposedly “green” NGOs and private
companies that describe themselves as “energy consultancies” and
“climate change” educators
You will find the
evaluator valuable in a number of ways. The prime value is that the
evaluator works to restore your confidence in your own capacity as a
scientist. No longer do you need to question your ability to understand
the world when you hear and read these “climate” and “energy”
experts claiming that global warming and climate change are bad and that
we need to conserve energy and power because they are scare and in
crisis. It is not you that is confused and lacking science. Rather it is
these experts, the media and politicians that lack science.
The evaluator is
particularly helpful to you if you are young. It reinforces the state of
science you were born into and you can avoid the confusion and denial
that is endemic to older generations.
It also opens up a cornucopia of possibilities and reduces the
degree of the risks that our current culture inflicts on you. Finally,
but not least, it opens up a wider range of possibilities that will
enable you to experience much greater joy and meaning in life.
From a national
point of view the evaluator enables nations to learn from and avoid the
mistakes of New Zealand. In particular it promotes more sustainable uses
of our carbon, electrical and solar potential and helps people
transition beyond the Age of Cheap Mineral Oil/Gas into a more
sustainable era. Fundamentally it does this by providing symbol uses
that resonate hope and love. These in turn generate more realistic
strategies based in science.
On a general
note, it is helpful to understand that the use of symbols reflects the
deeper nature and state of the individual and at the same time their use
works to transform the being of the individual. Hence there is double
value in conserving the potential of all our key symbols.
resource is the result of tens of thousands of unfunded hours of
Sustainability Principle of Energy, which generated the
evaluator, emerged directly from the analysis of thousands of documents,
hundreds of lectures and countless discussions with a wide range of New
Zealanders. While the lack of funding caused personal deprivation this
was balanced by the freedom with which I could apply science in my
questions and was not limited by the funding, ego, career, lifestyle and
other dictates of our psychopathic institutions.
Two weeks ago the
Director of Environmental Studies of our local university gave a lecture
at the Wellington City Council’s celebration of World Environment
week. Associate Professor Ralph
Chapman of Victoria University spoke of the importance of
understanding the psychology of what motivates people to act and called
for a new morality.
However he did
not provide meaningful insights into what drives human behaviour and nor
did he suggest what the nature of a more sustainable morality might be
change” education programme evaluator identifies the fundamental
drivers of human behaviour and our capacity to develop complex
rationales that deny our mortality and roles as stewards. The evaluator
is rooted in notions of science that have profound roots in a morality
deeply founded in compassioin (see the
Compassionate Curriculum) and proven over millennia.
It could well be
that the insights into our psychology and the morality promoted by the
evaluator are inconvenient, if not antithetical, to our education
institutions. Perhaps our Educators and “scientists” are unable to
enjoy sufficient science to make sense of our climate and the universe
and they continue to model unsustainable lifestyles because their belief
structures are fundamentally flawed? Some have confided to me that this
is indeed true and they are trapped in their institutions by all manner
If true this does
not mean the situation is hopeless. All the great liberation movements
occurred when people got together in their homes and communities and
decided to transform their societies. They occurred because people
talked to each other and shared their dreams.
So if the
evaluator makes sense to you it may be because you are fortunate and
enjoy an enhanced state of science. This means you can be the living
model that liberates our Educators and policy makers. As one of New
Zealand’s leading Educators wrote to me,
“Don’t expect the curriculum to lead a
paradigm shift – it could but only in the hands of inspired teachers
supported by a radical society”
person is saying that it is you and I who will create a sustainable
society. So familiarise yourself with its basic principles if the
evaluator makes sense to you. Alert your friends and acquaintances to
its existence. Our media and education institutions are not going to
embrace the resource for it questions the sanity of their current roles.
The hope of our children resides in you and I.
Foot note: The
cartoon that accompanies this blog illustrates a classic example of the
denial of change and stewardship. Those unfamiliar with my blog should
know that this cartoon was first created in 2001 as I sought to alert
the NZ Royal Society and the wider public that education resources such
as this Genesis Energy education
module, endorsed by the NZ Royal Society, actively destroy science and
put us all at greater risk.
Photo of Genesis Energy education module on my computer.
In the Genesis Energy world of our New Zealand Minister of Energy all you do is pour coal in at a faster rate and the flames go higher, the turbine spins faster and the little electricity arrows zoom down the wires at an ever faster rate - all without any atmosphere.
It is complete serendipity that this panel should accompany this blog several years later introducing the evaluator of “climate change” education programmes. In the previous cartoon panel I showed how the Genesis Energy interactive website model of a thermal Bulk-generation plant had neither an air intake nor a chimneystack. In this cartoon I take this omission to its logical (scientific) conclusion.
Energy symbol is a vast denial of the nature of energy. A large New
Zealand corporation that is legally bound to make large short-term
profits from burning fossil fuels has adopted the symbol, thereby
equating the energy symbol with Bulk-generated electricity. The
corporation is a product of the Electricity
Industry Reform legislation of the 1990s during which hundreds
of “service-minded” New Zealanders in the Bulk-generated electricity
sector were sacked and replaced with “profit-minded” personal. I
know this from intimate experience of two decades working in the sector
and I was one of those sacked in the Reforms.
Energy education module is a natural product of the new ethos and
personal. Here they pretend to an interest in our children’s welfare
while actively working to obscure the role of the atmosphere in the
combustion equation of energy. Thus the education module illustrates in
graphic detail a denial of change (transformations of the atmosphere are
involved in combustion) and stewardship the actions of Genesis Energy
affect the balance of the carbon flows.)
After I showed the Royal Society my cartoon of the airless burner Genesis Energy amended the education resource by adding a chimneystack and a small air intake. However the Genesis Energy ethos naturally meant that the graphics in the revised resource minimised the atmospheric transformation that occurs in huge combustion devices like this. I am not saying this was a deliberate conspiracy against our children. It is just how a bunch of people driven by the profit motive tends to think and work. They are just doing their job, which is to provide a strong flow of dividends for the owners of the corporation regardless of the long term social impacts.
Photo of Genesis Energy education module on my computer.
this model wisps of smoke do exit the chimneystack and a small inlet
pipe exists by the furnace. The incandescent light bulb glows more
strongly as the furnace is fired up. Note that Genesis does not promote
the much more efficient compact fluorescent lamps as they easily could
I then published
a longer cartoon series exposing the Energy Gobbledygook and PR spin of
Genesis Energy. It illustrated how if the New Zealand Government, the
nominal owner of the corporation, really desired then it could use the
education module to educate our children of the impacts of large scale
coal burning plant. The module was eventually removed from the Internet
and Genesis Energy management informed me “It was removed because it
was not working.”
The extra irony
of the education module is that it was created at a time when the New
Zealand Government was mounting a big campaign to create a “Knowledge
Economy” here. From this came the title of the cartoon series
“Bonus Joules and the Knowledge Economy”. Little is heard of this
“Knowledge Economy” these days and the web cartoon strip remains a
rare reminder of this extensive national campaign in the early years of