Laudato Si – Introduction

Pope Francis’ 2015 encyclical on Climate Change. Paragraphs #1 to #16

The encyclical letter of Pope Francis deserves a full read. Roasted Elephant is providing ‘Laudato si ‘ in audio book mp3 format so you can listen to the entire document while you drive to work, exercise at the gym or relax in your home.

The recordings are ‘as written’ in the official english language version of the encyclical. Note that each paragraph is numbered from 1 to 246 in the written text and spoken in these recordings.  These numbers are being referred to in various online discussions about the content.

Find more here:

“Sell me this pencil”

I can pinpoint the moment school went from being fun and enjoyable to stressful. It was just a single small moment, the change from pencil to pen. With a pencil you can always just rub out your mistake and try again, with a pen, you have to scribble it out, leaving a mark that reminds you that you were wrong. Pens don not create a fear of failure, but are a part of the change towards being afraid to fail.

My teacher used this graduation from pen to pencil as a reward for good handwriting. If you had handwriting that was clear and neat you would get that reward quicker than if you had messy hieroglyphic handwriting like mine. Looking back I can be proud of 10 year old me for getting that reward and continuing to use a pencil anyway, the reasoning being “I feel more comfortable with a pencil” having gotten to a point where I was happy with my handwriting, one of the biggest challenges for a primary school student. The class really responded to this reward system and many tried really hard to improve their handwriting, everyone really tried, which is great, reward based challenges work, but when the message behind it is shrouded in the promise of “comply and be rewarded” it’s not a good thing to teach kids.

As an adult I realise that pencils have more flexibility. They are better for drawing as you can shade with them, where pens only have one shade. If they snap in half you have two pencils, not a broken pen. And you can erase your mistakes and not have to sweep it under the carpet of tipp-ex or white out. But the point is that why do we force kids to take the worse option, why do we force compliance on them. Who uses pencils in their adulthood? Engineers, builders, artists… astronauts. Creative jobs that require you to make mistakes in order to learn. We are telling kids to use pens instead of pencils to avoid changing their answer on a test to get a better grade. We punish mistakes for the benefit of statistics and ruin creativity in the process.

If you ever get asked to “sell me this pencil” in a job interview, here’s your pitch. You’ll certainly be remembered one way or another 🙂

Extreme Heatwave to Hit Central Europe Starting Thursday

Computer weather models are showing the buildup of an extreme heat wave for Central Europe and Russia at the end of this week. Temperatures over large areas may hit 45C in places that normally experience much milder summers. The charts below from the US Navy’s supercomputer models show the areas affected. Please use caution during the heat wave. Infants, children, the elderly and people with chronic or long-term medical conditions, such as a heart condition or breathing problems are most at risk and should not be left unattended for any length of time.

USE EXTREME CAUTION when handling fire as forests are likely to be tinder dry and susceptible to the kind of massive wildfires seen in Russia in 2003 and in Canada this year.

In August 2003, more than 30,000 people died after a record-breaking heatwave left Europe sweltering. That heatwave was thought to be the warmest for up to 500 years, and many European countries experienced their highest temperatures on record. Thousands died in France as the temperature rose to 40C. This heatwave may be worse as temperatures could reach 45C as the effects of this year’s El Nino event and the effects of global warming are likely to have increased the severity level substantially.

The NHS in the UK Advises:

  • Avoid unnecessary travel.
  • Visit or phone people who are vulnerable, such as older people living on their own or people with health conditions.
  • Stay inside and in the coolest room in your home as much as possible, and splash yourself with cool water.
  • Keep rooms cool by using shade or reflective material outside the glass; if that’s not possible, have light-coloured curtains and close them (metal blinds and dark curtains can make the room hotter).
  • Keep the windows closed while the room is cooler than it is outside, and, if it’s safe, open the windows at night when the air is cooler than the room.
  • Help others: check up on neighbours, relatives and friends who may be less able to look after themselves (for example, if they have mobility problems).
    It is more important to keep yourself and others cool if you or they have a heart or respiratory condition. If symptoms become worse, seek medical advice.
  • Drink water or fruit juice regularly.
  • Avoid tea, coffee and alcohol, and if you do drink alcohol make sure you have water or other non-alcoholic drinks too.

Other tips for staying cool in a heatwave can be found at

For the symptoms and treatment of Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke, see:

These are the forecast charts showing the approximate areas that may be affected over the week. Also be aware that further heatwaves are possible as the summer progresses.

Europe-Thurs 23 June 2016

Europe-Fri 24 June 2016 Europe-Sat 25 June 2016

Europe-Sun 26 June 2016

Europe-Mon 27 June 2016

Europe-Tue 28 June 2016

Remember, this may be the first of several extreme heatwaves to hit Europe this year. Be prepared.

Cambridge University sinks to new low


The Guardian (UK) is reporting that Cambridge University has refused to divest its ÂŁ5.9 Billion endowment in fossil fuels. It has been under pressure to do so by students, academics and even by the Archbishop of Canterbury. The University argued that it was better to keep a relationship with fossil companies as a way of maintaining influence on their decision making. As if. Those who dwell in ivory towers often have their heads in clouds. But more often illogical decisions are based on pure greed and dirty, oil soaked money.

The Cambridge financial Dons have displayed their colours and it’s a black as the oil they protect. They should be remembering what happened to the Welcome Trust last year when they lost $175 million due to plummeting share prices in the energy sector.

Which makes one wonder why would Cambridge University, which ranks itself the most prestigious university in the world, not want to protect their ÂŁ5.9 bn bag of gold by moving it to something more sustainable? Do they know something we don’t?

Perhaps they know of the details in the very controversial TTIP treaty (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) that is being secretly negotiated between the US and EU. It’s the latest plan by US corporations to control any country that can be lured into signing trade deals. “TTIP is about reducing the regulatory barriers to trade for big business, things like food safety law, environmental legislation, banking regulations and the sovereign powers of individual nations.”

Leaked details say it includes a ‘corporate’ court that has jurisdiction over the courts of sovereign nations. “Investor-State Dispute Settlements (ISDS) provisions, allow companies to sue governments if those governments’ policies cause a loss of profits. In effect it means unelected transnational corporations can dictate the policies of democratically elected governments.” Fossil fuel companies could sue governments over any actions to limit use of their products – no matter what destruction it causes to the environment.

Is that what Cambridge university is counting on to maintain their own endowment profits? Is that why oil companies are so keen to find new reserves and why British lawmakers and their paymasters are so anxious to sink fracking wells all over the UK to prove reserves? Do the fossil companies and their enablers expect to empty the treasuries of Britain and other European countries by claiming that climate change legislation has denied them the profits and capital they outlayed on ‘stranded assets’?

Has Cambridge University chosen the ‘dark side’ of climate change by choosing profit over common sense? If so, it will be the beginning of the end for this 800 year old institution. Activists within the university vow to continue the fight. This is going to be a tight race between divestment and TTIP. If TTIP backers win then we will enter a new global order where democracy is a thing of memories and the official ‘corporate-state empire’ becomes a reality. It won’t last long because that new empire is determined to destroy all life on the planet – or at least all life that they deem as surplus to requirements.

Is it time to demand complete transparency in ALL public and private institutions?

It’s long overdue. And, it’s a very big elephant in the room.




Quotes from: The Independent Newspaper, 
6 October 2015

“Surrounded by Humans” – Help!

DesertBreaking News! Australian Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce is coming out of the darkness according to last week’s newspapers from down under. He rose to power as a vociferous climate change denier. But, miracle of miracles, he’s now changing his mind. The newspapers down under tell the story of Joyce going to visit his boyhood home in the wilderness and seeing the destruction that has occurred due to the extreme drought caused by climate change. He said: “When I look at this, I start to wonder whether climate change might really be happening.” Walking around in a setting that he grew up in, he suddenly realises that his ‘climate denial’ stems from being detached from nature in Australia’s capitol city. “When you’re surrounded by humans, you believe the world is all human, all man-made,” he said. [1]

Now most Australians according to the latest opinion polls, want their government to get hot on slashing the amount of the green house gas emissions that cause climate change. There’s a federal election there in about a month. So the Deputy PM’s conversion might be considered ‘suspect’. Time will tell.

No matter. His ‘reality’ is quite different from another news story last week that 50 Million Africans face starvation as crops fail from continuing drought. No rain for two years in a row.  Southern Africa is in a desperate state. “Malawi, Mozambique, Lesotho, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Madagascar, Angola and Swaziland have already declared national emergencies or disasters, as have seven of South Africa’s nine provinces.” [2] Botswana and the Congo have also been hit hard. Half of the population of Malawi will be without food this year.

And, more news stories: “droughts and heat waves have ravaged much of India, Latin America and parts of south-east Asia”; while heavy rains have caused deadly landslides in Sri Lanka. This is exactly what the climate scientists told us would happen. Extreme weather: crops are destroyed by high temperatures and drought, or by torrential rains and floods. Just when you think the weather is getting back to normal after a drought, you get hit with floods which wash away your new crops and precious topsoil. Vast food producing areas of mother earth are being destroyed. They may never recover. [3]

So, one Australian politician says ‘maybe it’s real’ while 50,000,000 Africans, and most of the world, know climate change is very real and happening right now.

This story isn’t about one silly little politician. He is completely forgettable. It’s about the self-harm that we humans are inflicting on ourselves. Within a year we may see more death and destruction than was committed by our species in all of World War II.

Why are we so silent? What are we waiting for? Do we really think the politicians who signed the UN Paris Climate Agreement are going to stop climate change? Are you willing to bet your life that they will? Or maybe, you are hoping that some great political leader will emerge from the shadows. A leader who is NOT owned by rapacious corporations and the super-rich 1 percent? This is no game; climate change is ‘now’. Maybe you haven’t felt the full impact yet but it’s going to happen – much sooner than you suspect.

Political ‘leaders’ follow what people do. It’s time for all of us to ‘do’ everything we can to combat climate change.  We start by taking control of our own lives – limiting our own carbon footprints. Then we get our neighbours to do the same. Then “leaders” will follow.

We have the tools and technology we need to solve the climate crisis. Let’s get on with it. The fate of everyone on this earth depends on you and me starting to ‘DO’. That’s the way it is.

[Join us at – Sign up for the free courses and learn as much as you can about climate change and how to fight it starting in your home and neighbourhood. Those courses are designed and written for everyone of all ages. No previous knowledge required. ]

[3] FREE Course CC102: Understanding Climate Science.