Category Archives: Travel and Transport

Major Tom to ground control

Once a photograph of the Earth, taken from the outside, is available, a new idea as powerful as any in history will be let loose. — Sir Fred Hoyle, 1948.

The mighty genius of man has made steel and chemicals and computers and rockets and bundled these together to fire ourselves into space. The giant phalluses thunder up, unleasing gigawatts of power; shooting life into the void. Nobody has returned the same. As Dr Edgar Mitchell put it:

We went to the Moon as technicians; we returned as humanitarians.

No perspective could be newer then that of an earthling no longer on earth. Suddenly our planet seems small and fragile and the atmosphere a remarkably thin layer. The exceptional book Moondust documents how astronaughts return to earth forever changed.

Sunrise on Earth

Here are some reactions to seeing our home from space:

If somebody’d said before the flight, “Are you going to get carried away looking at the earth from the moon?” I would have say, “No, no way.” But yet when I first looked back at the earth, standing on the moon, I cried. — Alan Shepard

This planet is not terra firma. It is a delicate flower and it must be cared for. It’s lonely. It’s small. It’s isolated, and there is no resupply. And we are mistreating it. Clearly, the highest loyalty we should have is not to our own country or our own religion or our hometown or even to ourselves. It should be to, number two, the family of man, and number one, the planet at large. This is our home, and this is all we’ve got. — Scott Carpenter, Mecury 7 astronaut

For the first time in my life I saw the horizon as a curved line. It was accentuated by a thin seam of dark blue light – our atmosphere. Obviously this was not the ocean of air I had been told it was so many times in my life. I was terrified by its fragile appearance. – Ulf Merbold, Federal Republic of Germany

(For more on the fragility of our atmosphere check out: Climate sceptic!? You do the maths…)

Dr Ed Mitchell had an epiphany (a powerful Savikalpa samadhi experience) in his spaceship on the return trip from the moon and wrote:

On the return trip home, gazing through 240,000 miles of space toward the stars and the planet from which I had come, I suddenly experienced the universe as intelligent, loving, harmonious.

and

My view of our planet was a glimpse of divinity.

Our technology has flung us into space. It is also tearing apart the living fabric of our planet. We must listen to our spacemen. It is time for us to care for our planet as if it was a living being; because that is what she is. And she has a name; Gaia.

For more on Gaia check out: Science is Great but God is Green.

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Lurpak Go Home

Annoying advert

These days I cannot cycle across London without giant advertizing  boards getting up in my grill, hawking Lurpak butter. The posters shamelessly try to link a mass butter product with the complex and rich well-being benefits of cooking. Be happy, buy Lurpak and cook.

The one problem with this cheery narrative is that Lurpak butter  is shipped across a sea to get here releasing unnecessary and dangerous green house gasses into our unbalanced atmosphere. Why are we creating this risk when we have great local butter, produced skillfully within these lands? The only butter I will buy is local butter. So Lurpak get your big, dangerous, stupid adverts out of my face and stick to selling your Danish butter to the Danes.

Another annoying advert

This is just getting boring

Borders divide; frontiers unite

You have to go full screen, dim the lights and sit back for this one.

First seen on: http://halfiranian.com.

UFO sightings in Rio

Mark en route to Rio

I haven’t been to Rio, but I have heard great things about it. When a good friend headed over there 18 months ago I expected to learn a lot more. Instead, my buddy disappeared off the radar. Was he lost in the jungle? Madly in love? Trying to stop an enormous damn from being built in the ‘lungs of the world’? No, he has been communicating with alien intelligences.

I met ‘Marky’ while studying Environmental Technology at Imperial College in London. He made his mark as a laid back guy with big ideas. Despite being on the business module he had strong political ideals and a sensitive nose for the bullshit that sometimes wafted through the corridors. He was in the small minority of people on the course who insisted they didn’t want to ‘sell their souls’ and go and work for an ‘environmental’ consultancy so he surprised us all by working diligently for 4 years for a large ethical fund. 18 months ago he had enough and cut loose. He was last seen heading to Mexico riding a sweet Surly Long Haul Trucker.

There has not been much news since although there have been rumours he had reinvented himself as a conceptual artist and had started a chapter of Critical Mass in Rio… until now. It appears that Mark has been working together with his co-conspirator Thais Medeiros and a group of extra-terrestrials. They are excited by the role of alien intervention in our technological evolution. Now the question on everyone’s lips is “what will their next intervention be?!”

Fellow abductees discussing their experiences

Mark Philipp e Thais Medeiros http://www.educacao-espacial.com

Mark after communicating with the Aliens

A recent Critical Mass in Rio

The Artists post contact

Open Letter to the Costa Rican Ambassador on Shark Finning

Credit: Paul Hilton

Hi Shark Lovers,

Many people have been in touch saying that they would love to join us on the 3rd but can’t and want to know if there is anything else they can do. Well there is!

Costa Rica is a major centres for the shark finning trade and a major tourist destination. Copy and send the text below to their Ambassador to the United Kingdom, Mrs Pilar Saborio at  info@costaricanembassy.co.uk

This approach may work  for other shark finning nations.  In order, the top 10 Shark fining nations are: Indonesia, India, Spain, Taiwan, Argentina, Mexico, Pakistan, United States, Japan, and Malaysia.

Dear Pilar Saborio,

I am writing to express my concern at the practice of shark-finning in Costa Rica.

Costa Rica has an enviable record of conservation, and has a deserved reputation for leadership shown in areas such as action on climate change and the protection of biodiversity. It is therefore a huge surprise that your nation allows itself to be a world centre of an industry which is decimating shark populations worldwide; causing intolerable cruelty to one of the planet’s most ancient and beautiful species and threatening the ecosystems of the oceans on which so many people depend

Every year, over 70 million of sharks are killed for their fins, often thrown back into the sea alive, yet bleeding to death. This unsustainable assault on our oceans and must be stopped. I am aware that Costa Rica has taken legal steps to try and tackle this problem, but there is evidence that laws are not being enforced and that the industry continues unabated.

I therefore ask you and your Government to take urgent and meaningful action to put an end to shark-finning, including the proper enforcement of your laws and the prosecution of those that flaunt them. Until such action is taken, I will not consider travelling to Costa Rica as a tourist, and will do all I can to encourage others to do the same.

Yours sincerely,

Credit: Alex Hofford

Credit: Paul Hilton

www.alexhofford.com

Merry Apocalypse

Termipeitto: The End is Nigh

Christmas is a time for family, tradition, good food and coming together to remember what is important in life. Right? Wrong! Christmas has been hijacked by the Dark Side and now is ‘the retail event of the year’ or, put another way, the peak of the annual consumption calendar, or, put another way, exactly what is killing the biosphere.

We used to bring plants and greenery into the house as part of a pagan nature worship ceremony. Now we chop the tree down, stack imported plastic tat under it and when we are done throw the lot into the bin. Well it seems sometimes you get what you pay for because our perversion of christmas, like our perversion of life in general is a one way ticket to oblivion. We are hungry ghosts and our desperate attempts to be fulfilled by consumption is a drawn out mass suicide.

kaboom1976: Crashmas

“Gather round children, Daddy has re-morgaged the house and bought a bundle of goodies…  stuff your ears with tissues so you don’t hear the wails as we gouge out nature’s eyes. Watch these cartoons so you don’t see us dig up nature’s sacred heart and impale it on the shopping mall’s spire. Stop crying children! This is what we wanted! Wasn’t it!?”

This festive season the suicide economy works like this: disposable products are manufactured in the East; shipped to the West, sold, and then disposed of. Then the vast ships return empty to do it all again, all the while burning millions of tonnes of precious oil .

The relationship between China and the United States says it all. Last year the USA spent $455 billion over christmas. The biggest retailer in the USA is Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart buys 91% of their consumer goods in China (no surprise the US trade deficit is currently $440 trillion). In order to get these across the Pacific Wal-Mart have had built some of the largest vessels this planet has ever seen.

Emma-Maersk: the world's biggest container vessel

These vast, incredibly fast ships (31 knots ) were commissioned by Wal-Mart for the sole purpose of getting all their goods from China . They hold 15,000 containers.  Longer than a US Aircraft Carrier (which has a crew of 5,000) the full crew of these emblems of our era is just 13 people on a ship. These behemoths are emblematic of the consumer culture we have created which is feeding off the living fabric of our planet. They are totally juxtaposed to a sustainable economy.

Christmas presents on route

Globalization has shrunk the mighty Pacific down to an earthly river Styx. Charon, the ferryman of Hades, now uses Maersk to transport death and the money isn’t a coin in the eye but digital transactions wired at the speed of light between banks that would collapse were it not for the billions we pay in tax; handed them by governments because they are ‘too big to fail’ (Check the video below: Taming the Vampire Squid). The whole system is a self-perpetuating rip-off and it is all driven by good-old, trustworthy, consumer demand… so keep watching those adverts… and buy, BUY, BUY!!

This is one of three ships  presently in service, with another two ships commissioned to be completed in 2012. Aside from destroying local, sustainable economies the major catch here is that the annual carbon emissions of Maersk is 40-50 million tonnes of CO2,  which, by coincidence, is the same as its country of origin, Denmark!

Greenhouse gas emissions from international shipping currently account for around 3% of total global emissions and are predicted to grow fast in the future. Indeed, all the world’s governments are working hard to boost this trade because this is how they measure their success… economic growth. You have to feel sorry for the hapless ‘negotiators’ trying to square that circle in Cancun… or perhaps they know the whole thing is a joke. Governments have just found another arena in which to compete for resources.

So, this christmas, think of Jesus and keep shopping like crazed little robots and when the Apocalypse comes early don’t be surprised… we sponsored it.

The 45 Metre Underground Club

Sexy Paris street art

The mile high club is for irresponsible yuppies. The cool kids are getting down and dirty 45m below sea level. A secret and fruity underground society has been spicing up European travel with sexy visits to the water closet while hurtling under the channel tunnel. Is our fast track to the world’s most romantic city fast becoming a giant Tunnel of Love?

The era of mass short haul air travel is coming to an end. Even if it were not for climate change the level of security has now made moving through airports almost as bad as a visit to Dubai. You have to give it a wide berth! Anyway, for us in the UK there really is no need to fly apart from the occasional long haul (if it is highly important).

Le Gare du Nord

The Channel Tunnel has opened up the whole of Europe to the  British low carbon traveller. Within a day you can reach the slopes of the Alps, the beaches of the Mediterranean and all the other sweet things continental Europe has to offer. For the more adventurous a ferry from Marseille opens up North Africa.

People assume that flying will be quicker but actually the door-to-do time can be similar for trips to the Alps and the Med but the time is far better spent on a train. Reading a book, with the world rushing by outside the window is pure bliss. There is far more leg room and opportunities to stretch. The air is clean and at boarding there is far less standing around like a dejected farm animal awaiting castration.

A hot couple at the Notre Dame

Now that the UK’s young, aspirational intelligensia are making use of the Eurostar for romantic breaks to Paris (or further afield) it was only a matter of time before a select new club would form. You’ve done it in a plane, you’ve done it in the back of a church, you’ve done it at your Gran’s… now it’s time to do it hurtling at 200mph through the channel tunnel 45 metres below sea level.

EcoHustler is diligent about staying ahead of the curve and maintaining thorough research so that all information on this site is cutting edge and absolutely verifiable. We had to know if this mysterious club existed; what membership really entailed and any other grizzly details that could be uncovered.  Return tickets to the not-so-gay Paris were purchased. A couple of nights booked in a sweet little hotel in Montmartre overlooking the red light district. Then I simply had to call on my trusty side kick, the beautiful and daring Ms A. Minx to come along for the ride.

Rocking Parisian musicians

It wasn’t until the yawning cavern of the Channel Tunnel approached that I began to explain the true nature of the mission to Ms A. Minx. She was stunned to learn of the 45 m underground club and shared my desire to find out more. I proposed an undercover research mission. Did she consent? Your damn right she did! The EcoHustler is now a member of both the mile high club and the 45 m underground club and I can tell you which one I am more proud of joining.

Free to use bikes

Occasionally life can get monotonous and we need thrills, spills and vacations. As Eurostar and this fruity little club are clearly revealing you can now get what your heart desires for a minimum carbon footprint. So the next time you need a romantic break head to Paris and join the 45 m undergrouns club. Any members are welcome to post word of their adventures below.

Here are some useful low carbon travel options:

The man in seat 61

How to travel by train or ship: Maybe you don’t like flying, or are concerned about air travel’s contribution to global warming.  Or perhaps you just prefer real  travel by train or ship, where the journey is part of the adventure…  Either way, The Man in Seat Sixty-One will tell you how to travel overland comfortably & affordably where you might think that air was now the only option.

The Paris Metro: stylish

Eurostar: Join the 45 m Underground Club!

Lift Share: Find someone travelling your way so you can share your journey – saving money, cutting your carbon footprint and having fun!

Join a Car Club e.g: Street Car or City Car Club or  Whizzgo or Zip Car

Why bikes shouldn’t have to follow the rules of the road

Bike salute at Buckingham PalaceWhen you cycle in London you have to do so using road and traffic infrastructure designed for the car. Traffic lights and lanes are designed for large, heavy, metal box’s to manoeuvre in. The laws too are designed for cars. It is currently presumed that cyclists in London should use the roads like cars and follow the same laws, like cars. In other words bikes should stop at red lights and stay off the pavements.  This is dangerous and disingenuous. It is time for cyclists to make the case for a totally different set of rules to apply for them… to make cycling easier, safer and more popular.

Cars are far heavier and bigger then a person. This means that when they hit a pedestrian things get messy; often involving broken bones and pools of blood. Many incidents are fatal. This is not the case with bikes. The reason why cars MUST stop at red lights is because a miscalculation on the driver’s part and people may die. If a cyclist comes to a red light and looking from side to side sees no traffic there is little risk to her continuing. Indeed if the cyclist has a blind spot and cycles straight into a pedestrian it is likely to be embarrassing but nothing worse. A sincere apology should make amends.

Waiting at a red light is very dangerous for a cyclist. Especially if the cyclist intends to turn left and a lorry comes up behind also wanting to turn left. When the lights change the lorry turns left crushing the cyclist against the metal grill ‘pedestrian protector’. The cyclist is slowly pushed through the grill like scarlet mash potato; a nasty walk to work for the passers by. More female cyclists then males are killed at red lights. The reason for this is that men are more likely to jump the reds.

Cyclists surround a taxi that just rode over a bike on Critical Mass

Cyclists are safer to carefully go ahead of traffic and jump reds because this makes them more visible to cars. Making this illegal endangers lives. If it is legal for pedestrians to cross a road anywhere irrespective of lights… why can’t cyclists? We are of comparable size and shape and weight. The cyclist and the pedestrian are actually interchangeable. Simply by jumping off the bike and pushing it you become a pedestrian. So having laws that insist that cyclists wait at red lights in front of a moaning heap of polluting metal which is itching to spill forward and break your bones seems sadistic at the state level.

Cars have so taken over London’s streets that there are some areas that it is almost impossible to cycle. The cars are backed up spilling out fumes at dangerous levels. The drivers are getting mad and start switching their cars from lane to lane in such a way that a cyclist can be slowly crushed to death at any moment. At times like these the logical and safe response for a cyclist who wants to one day be old is to get off the road and slowly and carefully cycle past the section of road in which death hovers above like a giant stale mist. When completing this action occasionally an anti-progress-pedestrian, probably obese and a proud car owner will block your way and rant in your face about obeying the law. Is this person serious? Are they seriously suggesting that following an inappropriate law is more sensible then staying alive? Who made these laws? Presumably the same people who thought it was a good idea to fill our most densely populated urban settlements with metal machines that kill and pollute.

Cycling culture in London

If pedestrians have issues about not having enough space, which is totally valid, take it up with the corpses riding around in their motorized coffins. They are the ones using up all the space. I might add:

Yo freakoid! I don’t want to ride on the pavement, I want to ride on the road, but if you haven’t noticed it’s full of maniacs who think they look ‘sporty’ sitting in traffic in an SUV. If you are allergic to the odd cyclist getting to work using the pavement, take it up with the people in cars. If we get 90% of private cars off the roads of London, think how much space there would be. We could have more markets, and play grounds and sports pitches. There would be more space for inner city kids to get some exercise. We could grow trees and food, cleaning the air, cooling the city and reducing the city’s eco-footprint. The benefits of taking the cars out of London goes way beyond improving health, reducing congestion and saving lives. It is an absolutely crucial step towards building a climate change resilient city which will still be habitable centuries from now.

Unfortunately by this point the anti-progress-pedestrian has shuffled off to the high street to buy more plastic tat to hoard in their cluttered little warrens before sending it off to landfill and buying more.

Cycling in a group is safer

People who want to ‘crack down’ on cyclists are failing to see that the fossil fuel and industrial era is over (almost). Human powered transport (walking, cycling, scooting, whatever) will become the main way of moving around cities (after mass public transport). Eventually, we will have the appropriate investment in this mode of transport to ensure there are bike lanes and bike traffic lights and suitable infrastructure for the most efficient mode of transport yet invented. Until this point let’s give the people trying to get around London in a clean and safe manor a little leeway. Building a safe and sustainable future for our children is hard enough without having to fight a constant rearguard action against post industrial-luddites who are desperate to cling to their internal combustion engines. Step aside… or go suck a tail pipe, human powered transport is taking over this city!