Be Dutiful, Be Abstinent, Be Happy

Reading my newspaper[i] and having my usual morning coffee at a local café — a strong skinny flat white, for your information – minding my own business, when I discovered that my carbon footprint was on the rise. I say on the rise rather than rising because that’s the way people speak these days and one has to be de rigueur, hence my rather fancy coffee. Did I mention my Versace shoes, Canali jeans and Ralph Lauren jacket? No, I didn’t. It’s so damnably hot in Sydney, undoubtedly exacerbated by anthropogenic global warming, that I’m sartorially slumming it in shorts and T-shirt. Though I do have rather trendy white trainers.

Anyway, back to my carbon footprint, about which I wept after returning home. Apparently, 77 per cent of the carbon-equivalent footprint of a cup of coffee is down to milk (obviously someone good at arithmetic has worked it out). Cow belching and the power needed for pasteurisation, refrigeration and transport are the culprits. Switch to black coffee? Maybe. In any event we need to resolve to do something this year to help save the planet. At the same time, one has to draw lines.

I learnt that countless numbers of obsessive-compulsive people are ordering their takeaway coffees in reusable cups. They take them home. Drink their coffees. Rinse their cups and park them ready for next time. How many times does a reusable cup last? I suppose that depends on how well they’re cared for, which, in turn, depends on how obsessive are their owners about saving the planet. Reportedly, some cups are “well used.”

Now I’m as woke as the next chap and it goes without say that trying to save the planet from a fiery end is laudable beyond words. However, this reuseable-cups business is driving baristas as far round the bend as their overwrought customers. Come rush hour, trying to decide whose cup is whose is a nightmare which perniciously wears down the mental resilience of otherwise level-headed baristas.

Oat milk is touted as a solution. I don’t know. All that extra oat growing would require nitrogen fertiliser, wouldn’t it? And doesn’t nitrogen fertiliser come mainly from nasty natural gas? And then oats don’t get turned into milk without power. Nor does the ensuing milk find its own way to cafes. I’ve got a feeling that oats ain’t the answer.

Oats aside, improving the energy efficiency of coffee machines is described as “mission critical.” Okay, that would certainly make a difference to global temperatures. But, really, if we are going to make a difference to write home about, there is really only one option. Us coffee drinkers have to do the right thing by the planet and embrace abstinence. Pity about baristas being made redundant. What to say but that sacrifices must be made for the common good.

Meanwhile, rooftop solar panels are causing a headache for electricity retailers, which they hope to pass on to their customers via higher prices; reportedly, about 25 percent up from their present elevated level. Jaunting Anthony Albanese might have been asked how this squared with his promise that electricity prices would fall under his watch, but I imagine he couldn’t be found at home.

The problem is that when the sun is shining brightest, energy companies buy excess power off well-off people who’ve bedecked their roofs with solar panels. However, the power is worthless. When the sun is shining and, god-forbid, if the wind is blowing too, the price of power goes to zero or below. Hmm, that’s a bummer.

Sadly, employing devilishly clever schemes to produce clean electricity seems to come with unseen effects, as Frédéric Bastiat would have put it. Untold amounts of unknowable expensive baggage. Chris Bowen would begin to understand that were his mind not completely closed to reality. Yet again, as with coffee drinking, the only real answer is abstinence. I’m only surprised that Bowen hasn’t become an ‘Apostle of Abstinence’.

Our distant relatives lived without modern, new-fangled appliances and gadgets and so can we. Surely that’s not too much to ask; in the dire circumstances. Sceptical doubting Thomases should listen to King Charles – no less – live in Duba1. As His Majesty said, “alarming tipping points” are nigh.

A New Year resolution-cum-slogan comes readily to mind. “Do Without and Switch it Off.”

The parlous times demand that we become self-sacrificially virtuous. Live idyllically as cave dwellers once did. Reminds me of the utopian prophecy emerging from Herr Schwab’s World Economic Forum. “You’ll own nothing. And you’ll be happy.” You know it makes sense!

[i] Paul Garvey, “Storm in a KeepCup” The Australian, January 3

16 thoughts on “Be Dutiful, Be Abstinent, Be Happy

  • ianl says:

    “I’m only surprised that Bowen hasn’t become an ‘Apostle of Abstinence’.”

    Be surprised no longer. Power rationing has been most ably practised for quite some years now, although the rationing has been restricted to those customers that the masses don’t care about … like heavy industries, smelters and so on. And devilishly clever (plagiarism alert) it is too – the lengths of time designated for these customers to be powerless are deliberately calculated to keep them, and their workforces, alive but in perpetual poverty
    Why, even the hordes, domestic customers, are niggled about dishwashers and the like, although again loss of kitchen refrigeration for longer than two hours may cause irritation too widespread for virtue to remain comfortable.
    Bowen et al have developed an abstinence circle unique to Australia in its’ depth of desperation.. No one else in the world has sharpened this as well as they: 1) legislation deliberately aimed at preventing coal-fired generators from selling their product when the sun is out and the wind is fair; 2) legislation to force these generators to provide power when the wind drops at night, so forcing them to veer heavily towards bankruptcy since they have no allowable daytime market; 3) subsidies from general revenue for these same generators to forestall likely bankruptcy (ie. to avoid the result deliberately legislated for); 4) subsidies for those customers subject to rationing so that their workforces don’t vote in anger when these customers shut up shop.
    Subsidies and supply contracts are provided for MSM proprieters to avoid reporting these marvellous virtues at any length; MSM employees are flattered into compliance by designating them as “essential”, so appealing irresistibly to their vanity.
    A true template for a grateful world.

  • David Isaac says:

    Great piece Mr Smith. Your coffee habit is just one of so many other quotidien human activities which are being weighed on the scales of Gaia and found ever so slightly wanting. A chance to repent and be absolved must surely be embraced by our spiritually impoverished fellow citizens.

    I do think the reusable cup thing could be solved with a permanent marker though.

    • john mac says:

      And oh how they’d love to do away with newspapers too (and cash of course) , saving all those trees while while serving up news and history as they see fit on the internet , adding or erasing according to the zeitgeist ! No hard evidence to refute with !

  • brandee says:

    The morning coffee ritual of Peter is much the same as mine “Reading my newspaper[i] and having my usual morning coffee at a local café — a strong [weak] skinny flat white, for your information – minding my own business” and minding the small dog that is on a lead and under the table.
    What a great pleasure to read at 9.30am the complimentary newspaper , the DT. The carbon footprint of paper printed and delivered newspaper must be a concern to some but not to me who has The Australian home deliveredat7am.
    What a wonderfully interesting place the world is, the CO2 exhaling people that is. Both papers have excellent columnists. The oft described ‘racy’ DT has brilliant Andrew Bolt Monday and Thursday and has clever Vikki Campion on Saturday. How clever today that she exposed the hypocrisy of those who decry the optimistic settlement of 1788 but who memorialise 1799 and the bloody revolution following the first Bastille Day.
    It is as hypocritical as decrying Australia’s carbon dioxide output whilst ignoring the hugely greater CO2 output of China.

  • lbloveday says:

    Paul Garvey’s article:
    I liked this comment:
    We make it easy. Any “ keep cup” order is served in a small stainless steel jug and customer can pour it into their own keep cup. If it is dirty, it is their problem

  • en passant says:

    All will be revealed should Quadrant publish my submission on “Moronicity: The New Mental Health Pandemic.” This has lead to evolution passing its high point and now reversing gear that leads us into the next species of Homo Moronicus – as described in the documentary “Planet of the Apes” and Question Time in the Oz Federal Parliament or the word salads of Biden/Harris …

  • padraic says:

    I read an article in The Australian which made the identical point “solar panels are causing a headache for electricity retailers” in the article. Next day AA announces he is going to cure the downstream headache for consumers by subsidising their electricity bills instead of giving them cash payments to assist in the bill payment. How generous – I must vote for him. The commercial reality is that the retailers will put up their prices and the taxpayer then foots the bill for the increase in electricity charges. It is, in effect, a subsidy to the retailers, yet another taxpayer funded subsidy propping up this madness. Talk about smoke and mirrors.

  • CarlChapman says:

    The cow fart thing really annoys me.

    Cows eat grass.
    Cows turn some of the grass into methane.
    The methane combines with oxygen to form CO2.
    Grass absorbs the CO2 when growing more grass.
    Cows eat the grass.

    Round and round, no accumulating effect. Just a cycle. The CSIRO must know it’s nonsense, but they waste our tax money investigating it.

    • padraic says:

      I agree with you Carl about the faux drama over cow farts. Over the past couple of years I have been trying to work out where (and why) all this garbage is coming from. At the risk of being labelled a conspiracy theorist I have come to the conclusion that the cow farts issue has come from the vegan and animal “rights” extremists. Such activist groups support each other in their desire to convert the rest of us to not eating meat and not raising and killing animals so we can eat meat. But because they can’t convince the bulk of society to stop eating meat and instead switch to a yummy diet of dried insects and/or lentils they have to look at another way to get society to do their bidding by everyone espousing a common cause, one of the side effects of which is to stop eating meat. Hence create the idea that humans are destroying the planet and it must be saved through sacrifice. Planet saving is everyone’s duty and most people would agree that “planet boiling” and other horrors should not be countenanced, particularly if there were human methods of preventing it. It is in the DNA of all human societies over the centuries to want to change the climate to the way they want, to prevent famines etc, through prayer, sacrifices of various kinds, including human. This present attempt to control the ever changing climate is a secular version of the more antique methods. None of us want to see the planet destroyed. It all started in the 90s with the conference in Rio that told us the end of the world was nigh if the gas propellants in household aerosols were not banned. Having achieved that to a large degree they then had to find something else to convert Orwell’s 1984 from alleged fiction to real reality. It seems all these minority ratbag control freak activist groups have woken up to this planet destroying lurk and are busy pushing it in schools, media, unis, boardrooms, supermarkets etc. Let’s face it, it is a good marketing gimmick and profitable as well. Other groups, like Herr Schwab’s mob are pushing the line that there are too many humans on earth and this, like a monstrous locust plague, is definitely planet destroying. Unlike the vegans and animal rights characters who pose cow fart methane as the planet destroyer they have latched on to carbon dioxide as the baddie, something all humans exhale to the eternal gratitude of surrounding plant life. One way Herr Schwab’s mob is solving the problem is for humans to migrate to the Moon or Mars and live in yurts – where do I book a ticket? I can hardly wait to go. The other method of reducing humanity is through compassionate concern for the sick and aged, depressed teenagers, people with disabilities and permanently brain damaged drug users whom they regard as a total waste in society (now where have I heard that before?) and must be firmly encouraged to take advantage of having their friendly neighbourhood nurse to pop around and murder them, if any of the recent reports in The Australian re the Canberra situation are anything to go by. There is also synergy between the groups. For example, if we all stop eating meat and switch to lentils the amount of atmospheric methane will far exceed that from cow farts and this in turn will accelerate the need to reduce the human population. A win-win for the activists.

    • STD says:

      Yes, the elitist spectra that is climate change is a broad spectrum antidote for the Davos elites, whose mission as Klaus Schwab elegantly delivered in corporate squib. Paraphrased-our mission is to serve the general public- that is serve the public with our ‘agenda’. Mainstream science has indeed discovered the coexistent power of what can best be termed as something akin to ‘interstellar-Hollywood’- financial black holes – boon.

    • pmprociv says:

      Fully agree, Carl — this mindless mantra has irritated me for years. And the grass that cows don’t eat simply rots in the meadows, to produce methane and CO2! I often also wonder about all the “new” technology being promoted by CSIRO and others, e.g. those magical seaweed products, that supposedly reduce methane production in cattle and sheep guts. So what happens? The undigested fibre then passes out, in manure — which then breaks down in the pasture to CO2 and methane! It’s the full, big picture that is not being examined. Parallel to this is water consumption: we often hear of how many thousands (or is it millions?) of litres go into producing a kilogram of steak — but what we’re not told is that this water isn’t being dammed, pumped and piped, but simply falls out of the sky. Terrible waste! Going vegan won’t have too much effect on how much rain falls on pastures . . . but sure will reduce meat consumption, and hence grass munching by grazing animals, leading to more greenhouse gases generated by rotting grass.

      Getting back to Peter’s morning coffee — has anyone considered the CO2 and methane arising from all coffee production wastes, as well as the belching and farting of the coffee growers and pickers? Must be significant.

      • padraic says:

        Just as bad as the rotting grass are the public health implications of using seaweed as a feed which is high in bromine compounds. After ingestion by the animal bromine will build up in the tissue and when humans eat such meat on a regular basis there will be a build up of bromine in their systems likely leading to a nasty side effect known as “bromism”. You can check it out in Dr Google.


    Charlie and Chris’ carbon footprints are on holy ground dontcha know. Their footprints are there to be worshipped at the alter in the temple of Gaia. Us mere mortals are the carbon footprints that must be sacrificed so that the likes of Charlie, Chris and Klaus can enjoy a new Eden for WEF elites only.

  • Geoff Sherrington says:

    Peter S,
    We peasants are moaning because of many things such as potholes in the roads getting worse when we are too cash-strapped to fix them. Australia is going broke.
    You mention coffee and baristas. In those rare moments when I rant in public places, so do I.
    My canned lecture proposes that too many people are employed to tell others what they can and cannot do. IMO, they should be employed to make goods to sell to increase national income. I see an outcome in which instead of (say) growing numbers of people manufacturing for export, we will eventually have one group of baristas serving another group in mornings, then role reversal for the afternoon shift.
    Of course, while taking coffee, there is ample time to talk of sport. Please do not trigger what I think about Victoria’s magnificent sports obsessions, whereby folk spend money on tickets instead of potholes.
    Geoff S

  • john mac says:

    Yes Peter , I do feel for the poor Baristas , but also spare a thought for those that will suffer from the flow on effect : the tattoo and piercing industry , and the hairstylists too !

  • Elizabeth Beare says:

    The satellite photo map of a very dark North Korea by night, in contrast to South Korea, which was all lit up, was once something used by pundits to explain how much better it was to live in a modern industrialised world. These days of course it is the map of North Korea by night that all aspire too. So there you have it, North Korea is what we should all be aiming at now. A very low carbon footprint indeed. And a life not worth living.
    Toss that filthy cup, Peter, go full cream milk because it tasts better (public health nannies and greenies and Dr. Schwab be damned), and get a double shot in a ribbed cardboard take-away cup because it stays hot longer than in a china mug. You too can be happy. Your way not theirs.

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