About davdnz

I now have over 25 years of experience at living sustainably, while buying all my needs. A consumption level above my very ascetic one could also be sustainable. I've had a good life: worked hard at what I can do well and was useful (teaching physics), travelled widely (including taking the family to live in India in 1988), read a lot, sailed on the ocean in our own yacht, scuba-dived, flown sailplanes (Silver "C"), raised 3 great children to independence, and provided companionship for my wife during the last 41 years. ** I don't want more; my life is _enough_. ** {Update on 1-1-2016: Go to my Twitter https://twitter.com/davd - which has: "Had a good life: worked hard @ what I do well and was useful (teaching physics); took family to live India 1988 http://is.gd/DtZbo B:1936. Wife Bera died July2013"}

chooks, pets, children, and long-term responsibility.

· We’ve had pets most years since our kids were pre-school: mouse in a filled terrarium; guinea-pigs then rabbits in a run in the backyard; free-run chook; various cats (one a stray that chose us).
{At bottom is my “cat watching the sunrise” email, which I sent in 1999.}

· A big question is “are you going to look after this pet you want, day after day, for the next fifteen or more years?”

· To me, this is the same question every man and woman must ask themselves before they start a child.

— From my own experience, I have advised against having children for just this reason. The strain on me after they became teenagers (the girl particularly) far overwhelmed any benefit having children gave me; the parental responsibility was too much for me.

· In the case of children there is the extra dimension of needing to have reliable work, at a job which provides enough income for most of twenty years.
(I was forty when our last child was born, and lost my last paid job at fifty-three.)
— In the child’s-pet case, the parents/guardians do have some say in getting a pet, because they supply its food and shelter. This is a major reason why my wife and I encouraged the children to have herbivore pets like rabbits or chooks.
Provided their fenced (and plastic-canopied) run can be moved around to different places on the grassy backyard, they only need supplementary feed in the winter.

· Below are two stories about simply enjoying one’s life right now:
one about a Corsican, the other by me about our “watching the sunrise” cat; ten years ago (June 1999)

I wrote this to a list I was on, on 19 June 1999 04:52 UTC:

What to Do
– by David MacClement

** I think the Earth needs people like this:

The Corsican Fisherman

. . A lone fisherman sat on a stretch of beach. His single fishing pole was planted in the sand.
Along came a businessman on vacation.
“Why don’t you have two poles so you can catch more fish?” the businessman asked.
. . “Then what would I do?” asked the Corsican.
“Then, you could take the extra money, buy a boat, get nets and a crew, and catch even more fish.”
. . “Then what would I do?” asked the fisherman.
“Then,” said the businessman, “you could move up to a fleet of large ships, go wholesale, and become very rich.”
. . “Then what would I do?” asked the Corsican.
“Do whatever you want!” shouted the businessman.
. . And the Corsican replied, “I am.”
Source: Loose Change, 7/8, 1997.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

** This morning I was given a lesson by our cat.

** I get up before dawn, 6 days out of 7. The cat (my daughter’s, actually), came in as usual while I was washing my breakfast bowl, ate his breakfast, and went out again. He has free run, through a cat door, and is quite an able member of our household. Valued.

** By this time, the sun was lighting up the upper atmosphere – any cirrus clouds would have been pink, though the low stratus scraps weren’t – and the birds were well into their ‘dawn chorus’. The male Tui, on his rounds, was announcing his presence from our tall kahikatea. A liquid, musical warble somewhere between a magpie and a bell-bird, but very much his own.

** The cat by now was sitting quietly on the back step, just watching, listening, and taking it all in, while the sun gave a rosy glow to the lower clouds. After twenty minutes, tired after his night out, he came in and settled down and went to sleep on a soft place.

** I think, as I can imagine him thinking and feeling, that our world is a good place. At least, just here, just now.

** I don’t see most human activities as more valuable than what he did, this morning.


-{If such a philosophical post is unwelcome on a Green (political) Party website, just say so, and I won’t post the other one which is ready now.}-
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

(David MacClement) http://davd.i8.com/EFquiz_DsResponses-080515.html#up
davdATorcon.net.nz ZL1ASX Re-Posts: http://davd.i8.com/R/index-all.html#up
http://reocities.com/davd.geo/#earths I’m in Greenhithe North Shore NZ
earth our home: http://www.abc.net.au/reslib/200710/r194556_737903.jpg

-{Last edited/attempted-posted on 18 April, 2009 at 3:15 pm}-

List of DM’s current ethical principles.

Here’s my list of what I currently have as my ethical principles.
Note that I don’t adopt any other person or god’s list of principles, so almost everyone else will differ from me; also that this list isn’t identical with what I would have given even ten years ago, let alone when I was in my late 20s.

Instead of using the word “morals”, I choose “ethics”, partly to get away from the recent American distortion, and partly because it is then connected to the various schools of philosophy in Athens about two thousand three hundred years ago, illustrating that: equally authentic and respectable people can differ in their ethical/moral stance.

· So here’s my list (the order is only as it comes to mind):

v-=# David MacClement’s Ethics list, as of August 31, 2005 #=-v

1) Humans are a different (more complex) but not better species than other primates, other mammals, other animals (including snakes, insects, spiders etc), other living things like big trees, other plants, algae and microbes.

2) In the same way that, in a flourishing ecology, there are niches which come to be filled by whatever species can do that (e.g. Darwin’s Galápagos finches, and NZ’s birds filling ground-dwelling-species’ niches), humans have their own niche, their own *raison d’être*, their own “place in creation” in religious terms; we are fully entitled to that much of the earth’s bounty.

3) Our niche is that of a mobile/sedentary – scavenger/omnivore/cultivator which modifies our habitat, and has an effect on the other species we share this planet with, similar to the modifications/effects other similar-size-and-mobility species have.

4) Like other species of primate, we act occasionally as predator, killing and eating other animals, and preferably doing it ourself, but no further than at one-remove (the hunter or farmer kills and butchers, then we take it from those hands, to cook and eat).

5) Death is not strange, it may even be welcomed, but actively deciding-to, then carrying-out, the killing of another human is abhorrent; just as chimpanzees find it abhorrent.

6) As elements of our ecology (think of elements in a matrix, though an ecology is fuzzy, flexible), an individual person affects the whole ecology:

(a) when they are born,

(b) when they die,

(c) when they decide-to (and actually do) procreate,

(d) when they consume something, whether object, energy or food,

· and when they refrain from doing any of those things.

7) Humans make mistakes (I’m sure other primates and some sea-mammals do too); individually this is a normal part of living, but when mistakes are institutionalised (i.e. a social structure is created to perpetuate the process which is severely faulty), such mistaken institutions can ruin the ecology those people are part of. I consider that the institutionalising of exploitative-and-excessive-production-and-consumption is such a mistake.

· My ethical choice is to have as little contact as possible, with this.

8) My personal *bête noir* is waste. Examples:

· I am increasingly happy as we two throw out (because we’ve bought) less and less;

· I abhor the waste of fossil long-chain hydrocarbon when it’s being broken up ans burned as fuel (either in electric power stations or vehicles: 70 percent of the original energy is wasted in the heat-engine); thermodynamics tells me that such long-chain hydrocarbon should (ethically) be built-on, used to create something which is very useful and has a long life (decades-in-use), like what are currently specialised plastics.

· The majority of crops grown for food and feed is wasted. Unconscionable!

9) I believe that a small number of animal species have an ethical sense.

For this reason I want them treated ethically, so:

(α) either I or someone I deal directly with, should be who kills the sheep or cow (or pet), and:

(β) I choose the nearest to an ethical process for farming, organic, as my source of food. I see almost no reason for pesticides, and very little reason for quite-specific fertilisers (not nitrogen or phosphorus, but probably selenium etc. for element-deficient soils).

^-=# David MacClement’s Ethics list, as of August 31, 2005 #=-^


— David MacClement, http://davd.i8.com/EFquiz_DsResponses-080515.html#up

http://davd.tripod.com/#new1 ZL1ASX http://davd.pip.verisignlabs.com

davdATorcon.net.nz http://davd.4t.com/-/021DsupportsBdownPath768hi.html

http://mitglied.lycos.de/davd/#earths I’m in Greenhithe North Shore NZ

earth our home: http://www.abc.net.au/reslib/200710/r194556_737903.jpg