Subsidising stupidity

IT IS not uncommon these days to witness people walking the streets of any city, apparently fully engrossed in some very important activity on a mobile device.

These folk are oblivious to their surrounds and expect the rest of those who are walking alongside or in the opposite direction to avoid them, not the other way around.

In other words, they expect the rest of the crowd to look after them. Their stupidity in not being bothered to look around and navigate safely along the pavements should be subsidised by everyone else.

There have been cases reported in which people have died by falling into manholes; they were so engrossed in some extremely important activity on their mobiles that they fell down manholes and their sojourn on earth ended abruptly.

Yet we continue to subsidise such stupidity on our sidewalks every day.

A young woman came within an inch of crashing into me some weeks ago and was taken aback when I told her she was stupid and that she should look where she was going.

The next time this happens – and there will be a next time given the number of nitwits who traverse the paths of the city I live in – I will experiment with knocking the mobile device that is the source of the distraction out of the individual’s hands.

It will be an interesting experience if nothing else.

Carbon tax shows Australia in a bad light

ON JULY 1, Australia introduced a price on carbon emissions. As a result of this, around 300 companies will have to pay the tax, based on a price of $23 per tonne of carbon emissions. After three years, the price will be dependent on the market.

The type of reactions from the public at large paint a disturbing picture of the country, showing that people are largely ignorant of environmental issues and are yet to accept the reality that people have to change their lifestyles if subsequent generations are not to suffer.

The effects of climate change can be seen in many countries around the world, but Australians, cosseted and living in a rich country where the government panders to their prejudices in order to buy votes, are seemingly unwilling to realise that changing the energy production cycle will cost a lot and someone has to pick up the tab.

If changes are not made, and people keep burning fossil fuels, then there will be a very sorry day of reckoning. Alternatives have to be found as the world’s stocks of oil keep dwindling and producing energy by burning brown coal aggravates the problem of climate change.

Businesses that are trying to take advantage of the fear generated around the carbon tax and charge customers more – like the bakery chain, Brumbies – are acting like uneducated yokels. Politicians cannot, or refuse to, understand that the change is needed in order that future generations can build on it and make meaningful steps to reduce greenhouse gases.

It is common to see some redneck or the other being interviewed on TV with his grandchild on his knee, and cursing the carbon tax, whinging away that it is going to hit him in the hip-pocket. The man does not seem to realise that the child on his knee may have no future unless painful steps like the carbon tax are brought in, to make a start towards thinking differently about energy and pollution.

And that redneck should also consider that while the 21.5 million Australians, who are among the biggest polluters in the world, produce 1.5 per cent of the world’s greenhouse gases, a country like Britain, with nearly thrice that number, only produces 1.7 per cent.