Friday, 31 December 2010

Vive la Frank

Got a text message from Frank this morning saying he's holed up in an abandoned tin mine somewhere in Cornwall until the festive madness is over. I imagine this means he will be back sometime in the new year. But you never can tell. His family is still very worried about him. Even his borderline-idiot of a long lost son turned up out of the blue - which is useful, because he'll be starring in a new cartoon strip to be launched in mid January, and I needed to get his likeness down on paper . What a coincidence. Happy new year to you both

Sunday, 26 December 2010


Still no Frank. We sent out a search party this morning and found his slippers and cardigan in a snowdrift by the motorway, alongside a scattering of empty gin bottles and some syringes. Zorro is currently hibernating and is unavailable for comment

Monday, 20 December 2010

All Gods and none

Whatever your reasons may be for celebrating at this time of year - may it be peaceful and joyous

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Instant Messaging

The Astro-turf phenomenon isn't new, but George Monbiot's recent article, and the recent Fox-leaks non-shock put it back in my mind

Elsewhere - Polar bears move inland and begin to assimilate, sound advice is offered on risk management and our persistent buggering of the soil takes its toll


Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Where art thou, Frank

I'm a bit worried about Frank. He went out in a snow storm a few days ago after 12 solid hours of economics research. He may be some time.

Oh well - plenty more where he came from

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Whispering Fire on a Crowded planet

As Cancun winds up without collapsing, we are obliged to heave a reluctant sigh of qualified relief and await further developments. Low expectations make for happy campers

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Carrots and Sticks

Does it seem like I'm studiously avoiding the Cancun conference and snarking on matters financial instead? That's because I am. Last year Marc Hudson and I went elbow deep into the Copenhagen debacle and I'm not going to go over all that ground again. Others are doing a fine job of picking out the new and the nuance from that particular can of worms, and Ill leave it to them for now. Besides - it all comes down to money in the end, and to how we decide to re-arrange our economic priorities to reflect the realties we are facing in the twenty first century. Like everyone says - follow the money...

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Squids in

A shameless, unasked for and completely unauthorised plug for the New Economics Foundation initiative

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Burning the Candle

Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar

Of course it can all be very upsetting, and there's a world of shit going on behind the scenes, but ordinary people can do extraordinary things with remarkably little. There are always reasons to hope.
So bollocks to the zombies, and the liars, we are a creative species

Further Lost in Translation

A system that relies on tomorrow being much, much bigger than today flies in the face of the reality of (soon to be) 9 billion folk on a finite planet.
They call them bubbles for a reason
Improvements are possible

DeGrowth, anyone?

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Modernising Cantankerous Frank

Reversing this sort of madness is the key to a sustainable culture.

We're all aware by now of how low expectations are realistic ones - what with one thing and another, and we all know that money can buy almost anyone, but, with a little understanding, and a bit of good will, who knows

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Shouting Fire on a Crowded Planet

Frank and Ern's kitchen is a highly combustible place - that's 3 times now. Must be the wiring.

As the American negotiators talk tough and warn the world to expect a walkout, the Amazon prepares to dry up and blow away

On a more positive note - aren't Earthships brilliant?!

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Taking the high road

David cameron seeks to harness the profit motive, Stephen Chu calls the move to sustainable energy a "Sputnik moment" and UN food experts call for a Green Marshall Plan
Some things change and some things stay the same

Oh - and Scientists suggest that the adults ignore the squeals of the children and just get on with it

Monday, 29 November 2010

Keeping it real

As thre Cancun COP kicks off, we are reminded of what's at stake

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Lost in Translation


Saturday, 27 November 2010

Half a League Onward

The Metropolitan police confidently predict an increase in public order problems

Friday, 26 November 2010

Coal hole and Normal Service

Developed World Coal production is on the up to fuel the fires of China and India. It doesn't count in our emissions total. Neat, huh?

and another thing...

Now that the recession is, allegedly, starting to recede somewhat, we're back up to full speed as he hurtle towards the rapids.
Rich nations are still reneging on half-arsed "commitments" made to those on the front line

Thanks to Dwight Towers

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Reality Checks

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Illogical Progression

Strange how folk don't carry their distrust of scientific consensus over into other specialist areas, isn't it?

Monday, 22 November 2010

Mr Brightside's Modest Proposals

This is a few days old now - a musing on the Berkeley research that explored people's fear of fear and their peculiar evidence-averse just-world view. This left me in something of a quandary. Does one tell the tale with all its' sorry implications, and run the risk that the audience jams down the shutters? Or does one ease up on the implications and give folk the opportunity to feel that there is nothing that needs to be done? What peculiarly unhelpful psychology we are blessed with.

In the end I plumped for doing what I do. It seems strange and willfully perverse to insist that a movement as broad and internally argumentative (not to mention overwhelmingly voluntary) as environmentalism should have one voice and one message and that it is somehow the sole responsibility of environmentalism to find the tiny chink in the public's psychological defenses that will miraculously overcome the foibles that evolution has left us with. You know - the one thing that'll turn it all around? Do you know it? I dont.
We could do with some help here. Hello? We. Could. Do. With. Some. Help. Here. It's a job of work that needs doing and will not be accomplished without the participation of every slice and nuance of the population.
Hmm. I feel a rant coming on so I'll stop. Although...

I get the impression that when the shit does hit the fan it will be the environmental movement that will be blamed - in glorious isolation - for failing to rally the planet, for failing to successfully herd cats and teach elephants to tap-dance. Fence-sitters are probably already drafting the charges now.

Monday, 15 November 2010

Alms and the Man

Thanks to Craig Mackintosh for this link

Friday, 12 November 2010

Inundation Nation

From an idea by Marc Hudson, for the final MCFly, I guess it plays on the long list of unheeded documents over too many years. I may be getting a wee bit cynical. Here are a few more that may go the same way, what with us being such arses and so bad at sums

Thursday, 11 November 2010


In the US -A candidate for the House Energy and Commerce Committee gets his science from the ranting tracts of a bygone age

More on narrative, this time from RealClimate

Adam Corner on Geoengineering

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Facts of Life

This one stems from a DotEarth story about epidemic rises in incidences deformed beaks amongst the birds of Alaska and elsewhere

Burning Bridges

This could be the new paradigm for gated industrial communities - imagine the hungry clamouring at the fences. Lots of uncertainty here, considering the problems of food supply for a growing population.
Meanwhile...the military pitch in, as do scientists, to tell a more convincing tale

Thanks, as ever, to Glenn Barry at Climate Ark for sterling work generating the links

Monday, 8 November 2010

Crop Circle

This sprang from a nice overview of the issue from AP, and from the poorly examined coverage in the latest Channel 4 hack-fest

Yes, I know there's no punch-line

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Tea=Party on, dudes

This, too, shall pass

Sunday, 31 October 2010

Prize the Lard

The US mid term elections continue to fascinate. It seems to me that the astroturf phenomenon that is the tea-party is a scary slice of willful ignorance that panders to the spooky defeatist delusions of the Christian right.
Bur then I'm probably going to Hell.
Oh - we all are!

Apologies for the gratuitous cut and paste of earlier drawings

Saturday, 30 October 2010

In the Psychiatrist's chair

Thanks to the tireless Andy Revkin for the link

If you will indulge me for a moment. I've been trying to assimilate my recent trip to Boston ( a heavily footprinted week to attend a climate change symposium to which I was inexplicably invited). I've been trying to put the affects and effects together in my head. Some first impressions:-
The "take home" message I came away with was rather pessimistic, but curiously liberating. I was duly impressed by the comprehensive command of the issues displayed by so many, and by the genuine concern and dedication to the process of communicating the dangers, challenges and opportunities of global climate change. But I was also struck by the insularity of the whole process. I felt alienated by the sheer professionalism of the participants (apart from myself, obviously) and was constantly aware of the gulf between that world and the "reality" of my everyday experience.
On such brief experience of a nation it would be foolish to judge, (that's never stopped me before) but the impression of deep polarisation is hard to discount. So I was left with a feeling that the contrarians are far more more skilled at manipulating the discourse and that the reliance on honesty and integrity on the part of the climate-aware is poor competition to the cynicism and nous of the forces of (prideful) ignorance. This does not suggest any comfortable solutions.
I was also strongly affected by the sheer wealth of the place. The land, the infrastructure, the environment. No wonder they don't feel the potential for calamity. No wonder the American dream continues to seduce.
The curiously liberating part? Well, that's a hard one to pin down. But it boils down to an unavoidable impression that the US (and where the US goes, so goes the western world) is a generation away from addressing what it needs to address. can turn on a dime once it feels it has been granted permission to do so (thanks, Mike Bonano). So in the meantime. we keep going. When the table tips there must be nets in place to catch the crockery and that, in itself, is a noble, worthwhile and unavoidable endevour. If we conceive of that net as a cultural re-imagining, then it is possible to keep putting our shift in; to keep turning up and walking into the tide..
And the American work ethic - so honourably manifested in Mr Revkin - has a potential that a stranger cannot really calculate.
On the whole - weird, expensive and enlightening, in an "oh shit" kind of way.
Ho hum - Back to the drawing board.

On an entirely unrelated matter - Frank would just like to say to Mark "Flash" Stone (from one fictional character to another) , "Fuck you!"

Friday, 29 October 2010

Action Man

I've never been a particular fan of the Schwarzenegger ouevre (Terminator aside) but credit where it's due
Thanks to Shaz and Marc for pointing this out

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Gunboat Diplomacy

Oil free gunboats to be used to secure oil fields. Hmmm

Elsewhere, Self obsessed multibillionaire arseholes will soon get to be even more destructive than they already are.

and We continue to get our priorities spectacularly wrong

Thinking Tanks

Musing on the wisdom of think-tanks and Institutes and the bogus legitimacy their business can sometimes confer. Perhaps these guys have been drinking at this trough

Tuesday, 26 October 2010


I've been to Boston to take part in a Goethe Institute symposium on Communication and Climate Change at Boston University. A somewhat baffling and deeply alien experience for me, but one that will undoubtedly leave a lasting impression. So many well informed and highly qualified people; so many well thought out positions. So what on Earth was a misanthropic paint-monkey like myself doing there? I haven't quite figured that out yet. I don't know whether my contribution was worth the carbon footprint I left getting there. I suppose that's not for me to say. People laughed, and kind words were spoken. But it was a long way to go for fart-gags. Don't get me wrong - I'm grateful for the opportunity and it was great to meet some people that I greatly admire.
So if it seems somewhat churlish to post this particular cartoon on my return, I don't mean it that way.
The Ern i my head won't let it lie, and the Frank has no reply.

Monday, 11 October 2010



You may have noticed that the site was down a few days ago. This was due to a hotlink that, after 89,000 hits, drained my bandwidth and left it exhausted in a ditch. My woeful ignorance of these matters necessitated a day off work and a great to-ing and fro-ing of e-mails whilst I figured out what was happening and sorted it. The website's owner apologised and I guess no harm was done. I even learned something.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Website discombobulation

APOLOGIES for the main website being currently down. The server says that the bandwidth has been exceeded but the traffic counter says that's complete bollocks because only myself and the cat have visited all week - so I'm in the dark untill the Sherrif comes to my rescue.
In the meantime, talk amongst yourselves...

Monday, 4 October 2010

Thursday, 16 September 2010



The UK government's adaptation report admits that we've done bugger all to prepare for what's to come, offers no investment to do so now, and suggests that those who can profit where they can. Maybe they're aiming for some Mafia investment.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Low Lying


Shamelessly recycling old material from 2008, as the news goes round and round and round....

Kiribati shows some leadership, as the tiger continues it's journey into oblivion

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Conflicts of Interests

Military think-tanks are considering the likely consequences of peak oil and climate change, and adjusting their projections, as issues like water and land begin to take up ever more of the centre stage.

Having just noticed the date, I should add - although it should go without saying - that it is violence, the habit of violence, and the rush to violence for gain, that concerns us. I include economic violence here. It makes no odds whether it comes from individuals, governments or would-be governments. It is madness to suppose that an idea can be beaten into a human head, or liberty or divinity imposed at the point of a gun, so we must assume that those who put the innocent in harm's way have darker and more utilitarian motives. Blair, Bush and Bin Laden all piss in the same Machiavellian pot, and conceal themselves behind the same veils of religious exceptionalism. In the critical times ahead those habits would be suicidal.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

A matter of scale


Suggested by this fine article by Craig Mackintosh

Plus a round of applause for Tod

Wednesday, 8 September 2010



More of an illustration, really

Sunday, 5 September 2010



Nice piece on AGW, markets and food-riots, by Raj Patel in the Guardian, and some further words on the biofuel connection.

And some fine urban food solutions from Grist

Friday, 3 September 2010

Rags and Riches


Chuckles makes some overdue points about the godawful shite-fest that is the fascion world

Elsewhere - a nod to Budhism as an environmental force, and some jolly notes on mass extinction. Have a nice weekend

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

The Kitchen Sinks


Musing on the value of differentials in a time of crisis.

Elsewhere... Nuclear costs continue to spiral and some in the industry glimpse a more sustainable future.

Another interesting TED talk

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Negative Energies


There's been a lot of ink spilled over Climate Change today, largely prompted by the imminent arrival of Bjorn Lomborg's new book. Everyone's restating the dangers and the growing realities and it all looks pretty scary. But - how do we communicate this in a way that doesn't cause paralysis and panic?; in a way that engages the creative flows of our collective societies? Answers welcome

Monday, 30 August 2010



In a warming world pests migrate and flourish in previously inpenetrable habitats and latitudes.

Of course there are obvious problems with Frank's position here - like what happens when your subsistence gets washed away by some other unpredicted AGW shitstorm.

As ever, Permaculture looks straight into the heart of things (thanks to Craig Mackintosh for the links)

Friday, 27 August 2010

Cracking Codes


Whilst the Russians learn to live without buckwheat and displaced people are poised for land-struggles in Central Africa, boffins crack the wheat genome, which promises to keep us trying the same industrial scale thing for ever. And how will we fuel this ever expanding industrial agriculture sector? Hmm, maybe.
BAA propose to compost food waste - who'd have thunk it?

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Manchester Inaction Plan


A local matter but one that is being played out in cities across the planet. For full details of Manchester's response to Climate Change there is no finer source than MCFly

Saturday, 21 August 2010


I imagine that there must come a time when one must evaluate one's rationality and even sanity in continuing to spend inordinate amounts of time in a pursuit that is so clearly of interest to only a very very few people scattered extremely thinly across an entire planet. If the goal one wishes to achieve could be more productively accomplished - in terms of numbers at least - by shouting in an empty street or scrawling on a toilet wall, one must question the point of carrying on. Poor old Frank. Such a shocking waste of time. Such a pointless, pointless exercise. Ho hum. Never mind
I'm not one to give up on a lost cause though. There are so many bad old habits seductively beckoning me back home that I've gotta stick with it now, even though it is plainly insane to do so.
For those few who enjoy Frank, I thank you for your support and hope that future postings may continue to amuse. But you should realise that statistically speaking you are in such a small minority that you constitute a negligible error and can be safely discounted from consideration by all discerning comic strip enthusiasts. The evidence is in, the numbers have been checked and re-checked and I'm afraid that Frank is - officially - rubbish.

Still... fuck 'em, eh?

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Tumbling Dice


For a better explanation, see DotEarth

Monday, 16 August 2010

Power Trip


The UK Gov't backtracks on cast iron commitments to Environmental performance standards to make space for more dirty coal

I can't help thinking it's a sweetener to bring the big energy companies on board for the stalled nuclear programme. Investors won't commit unless the taxpayer guarantees their profits and underwrites the decommissioning costs.

Public debt for private profit, without so much as a mention of consumer restraint- all sounds depressingly familiar