Example 'crimes' in my recent experience...

Level 1, a pathetic annoyance
Level 2, selfishness
Level 3, corruption in high places
Civil disobedience

Related pages

What is a crime?
Who are the worst criminals?

There are various definitions of "crime". Among others are "a grave offence especially against morality" and "an act harmful not only to some individual but also to a community, society or the state".

Damaging the future prospects of the world's children by clinging onto fossil fuels when there are sustainable alternatives surely should be considered a crime under these definitions. This is what the Morrison Australian federal government was doing at the time of writing, and they have been called out by hundreds of thousands of Australia's school kids. The Trump administration in the USA is just as culpable.

Climate change is happening, is caused by humanity and can still be limited. If 'business as usual' continues huge harm will be done to the planet's weather and biological systems. The environment has long been thought by many to be just the concern of radical 'greenies', but with the changes that we are seeing (too numerous for me to list on this page) it surely must become the concern of us all.

The burning of fossil fuels are the main cause of climate change, ocean acidification, ocean warming sea level rise and terrible damage to the worlds coral reefs. The burning of fossil fuels, particularly coal, causes air pollution that kills millions of people each year.

Those in government, parliament, the rich and powerful in the fossil fuel industries and media, and their lackeys, who lie to keep the greenhouse emissions flowing, are the worst criminals of all, if we are to judge them by the harm they are doing.

This page was written 2019/09/21, last edited 2022/03/11
Contact: David K. Clarke – ©

Three levels of crime or unethical behaviour that have impacted me recently; from level 1, the most trivial, to level 3, the most serious

Level 1
An annoyance by some brainless yobbo who probably has a grudge against society

Central Park
The photo on the right shows some of the guards around the 700 or so trees that I have planted in the Crystal Brook 'railway reserve' (or Central Park). A couple in the foreground had been kicked out, probably the evening before the photo was taken. Some twenty or so seedlings had previously been pulled out. Probably more than a hundred were pulled out in the years that I worked on revegetating the park.

The trees, shrubs and groundcovers were planted to improve the appearance of the land, which had been almost totally neglected for at least the forty-six years that I lived in Crystal Brook, other than for an annual slashing to reduce the fire hazard.

The project must have taken several hundred hours of my time and cost me several thousand dollars in personal expenses for plants and equipment.

In the level of 'crimes' this destruction of plants and guards is about as trivial, pathetic and pointless as they get.

Level 2
Opposition to a renewable energy development from selfish people

Wattle Point Wind Farm, Yorke Peninsula
Moon and wind turbine
A gibbous Moon behind a wind turbine in a multiple-exposure photo
Mugga Lane solar farm
Mugga Lane
Mugga Lane is rated at 13 MW and is one of several solar farms in the ACT
The proposed Crystal Brook Energy Park, which, at the time of writing was to soon be built about five kilometres from my house, had recently received government approval following long and determined opposition from a vocal minority (local polls indicated 83% and later 75% approval of the project).

All the objections were based on selfishness. Basically, "I don't want to see wind turbines", "They might lower my property value" (without supporting evidence), "I don't want to hear wind turbines".

The energy park will include up to 275 MW of wind power, up to 150 MW of solar power, and a battery of up to 130 MW and 400 MWh capacity.

In a world in which climate change is an obvious impending disaster of epic proportions this energy park will abate about 600,000 tonnes of greenhouse gasses every year of its 25-year life. All people having any decency at all should applaud and welcome such a development.

I find it quite disgusting and terribly selfish for anyone to oppose an installation such as this when it will benefit the community, region, state, nation and the planet.

(See Why I support the local wind farm.)

Level 3
The worst crime in the history of humanity

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison
Scott Morrison
Image credit: The Age
Another page on this site presents an argument in support of the thesis that dishonestly supporting the retention of the fossil fuel industry and opposing the introduction of renewable energy has to be a crime.

Further, there are four components that can accumulate to make the crime particularly serious:

  1. Not changing, with urgency, from fossil fuels to renewable energy will cause great damage to the world;
  2. Opposing that change is unethical.
  3. To knowingly lie in that opposition turns an unethical act into a criminal act.
  4. A person in a position of power has a stronger responsibility to behave honestly and ethically than ordinary people.
Combining resisting the needed change to renewable energy, knowingly lying to do so, and being in a position of power, all at the same time, is what makes the crime exceptionally heinous.

Those in positions of power who commit this crime would have to be the worst criminals in the history of humanity.

President Trump of the USA, and Prime Ministers Abbott and Morrison of Australia should properly be ranked among the worst criminals in the history of humanity under this logic.

The image on the right shows then Treasurer, now Prime Minister, Scott Morrison who brought a lump of coal into the Australian Parliament in 2017 and told people they had no reason to be afraid of it.

Australia's culpability on climate change inaction

  • Australia ranks 53rd in the world in population, but sixth in the world in the CO2 produced by its electricity industry;
  • Australia has 0.3% of the world's population, but produces 1.2% of the world's greenhouse gasses;
  • Australia's per-capita greenhouse gas emission rate is about 17 tonnes per annum, more than three times the world average, which is about 5 tonnes per annum.
  • If Australia's fossil fuel exports are taken into consideration the nation is responsible for about 3.6% of the world's greenhouse gas emissions.
  • The Australian government ranked last of 58 nations in climate policy in the Climate Change Performance Index for 2020. It was the only nation to receive a score of zero out of 100, the second lowest scoring nation, the USA, received a score of 2.8.
Considering the disaster that is climate change – as should be obvious to all by late 2019 – how can Prime Minister Morrison be considered anything other than a terrible criminal?

Civil disobedience

In 1970 Howard Zinn wrote a piece titled: History is a Weapon: The Problem of Civil Obedience.

A couple of quotes from what he wrote:

"I start from the supposition that the world is topsy-turvy, that things are all wrong, that the wrong people are in jail and the wrong people are out of jail, that the wrong people are in power and the wrong people are out of power, that the wealth is distributed in this country and the world in such a way as not simply to require small reform but to require a drastic reallocation of wealth. I start from the supposition that we don't have to say too much about this because all we have to do is think about the state of the world today and realize that things are all upside down.

And our topic is topsy-turvy: civil disobedience. As soon as you say the topic is civil disobedience, you are saying our problem is civil disobedience. That is not our problem.... Our problem is civil obedience. Our problem is the numbers of people all over the world who have obeyed the dictates of the leaders of their government and have gone to war, and millions have been killed because of this obedience. And our problem is that scene in All Quiet on the Western Front where the schoolboys march off dutifully in a line to war. Our problem is that people are obedient all over the world, in the face of poverty and starvation and stupidity, and war and cruelty. Our problem is that people are obedient while the jails are full of petty thieves, and all the while the grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem. We recognize this for Nazi Germany. We know that the problem there was obedience, that the people obeyed Hitler. People obeyed; that was wrong. They should have challenged, and they should have resisted; and if we were only there, we would have showed them. Even in Stalin's Russia we can understand that; people are obedient, all these herdlike people."
This was written at the time of the Vietnam war, and largely in response to the injustice of the Vietnam war, but it applies very much today in regard to the Climate Crisis; our nations (certainly Australia and the USA) are again (or still?) being run by criminals.