The name of this blog, Rainbow Juice, is intentional.
The rainbow signifies unity from diversity. It is holistic. The arch suggests the idea of looking at the over-arching concepts: the big picture. To create a rainbow requires air, fire (the sun) and water (raindrops) and us to see it from the earth.
Juice suggests an extract; hence rainbow juice is extracting the elements from the rainbow, translating them and making them accessible to us. Juice also refreshes us and here it symbolises our nutritional quest for understanding, compassion and enlightenment.

Tuesday 29 June 2021

Let Me Kneel

A couple of weeks ago was World Environment Day.  This is a poem to honour Mother Earth.  We give and take - let us find the correct balance.

Let Me Kneel

Let me kneel upon the Earth

Raise my eyes to stormy skies

Let raindrops fall and silent slide

Down these old cheeks of mine.


Let me dig feeble fingers into fecund

Mud and grime, the fertile soil

Of Mother Earth.

Allow worms to squirm and slip

Through wrinkled fingers splayed

Let me sense the snail’s slime

Or butterflies breath and beating wings.


Let me wade in oceans blue and white

Feel waves lap at shoeless, happy feet

Let sand slip away with each lapping wave

Let waters so chill send tingling thrill

Through this ephemeral body still.


Let me press my forehead to kauri or miro tree

Bark to skin, sap and sweat mingled free

Hongi now, we share, we exchange our breath

Carbon, oxygen, shared elements of time and space

Let me partake of this endless, timeless cycle

Return and give, I am because you live.


Let me stand with storms and winds

Buffeted by elemental eddies and vortices.


Let my hair be blown now

Tussled, tangled by timeless truth.


Let me lay in open fields where shining sun

Warms and caresses naked limbs

Let photons dance and play

Synthesize with every leaf of green


Let life emerge and death dissolve.

Let me gaze with mournful eye

Upon moon’s reflected light, a monthly sight

Let stars collapse, be born in galaxies

Far away, yet close enough to share

Mystery, magic, and myths of time.


Let me one final, fruitful time

Kneel upon the earth, my time to give

My closing gift, my last offering

Let me lay, as all will some day

Breath my last and say farewell.

Tuesday 22 June 2021

What Did They See In Those Eyes?

In a short period spanning just one thousand years the world was blessed with several remarkable teachers.  Amongst them, Confucius, Buddha, Jesus, and Muhammed stand out.

Each of these teachers had disciples, with one or two becoming highly devoted acolytes.  I wonder what each of these acolytes saw when they looked into the eyes of their teacher?

Yan Hui was a favourite of Confucius, and is revered within Confucianism as one of the Four Sages.  He was much younger than Confucius and died young, at just 40 years of age.

What did Yan Hui see when he looked into the eyes of the Master?

Mahāpajāpatī Gotamī was the foster-mother, step-mother, and maternal aunt of the Buddha.  She was the first bhikkhuni (ordained nun) within Buddhism.  Buddha initially refused to ordain her; however, after being informed that she had accepted the Eight Conditions, the Buddha is reputed to have said, “then she has been ordained already as a nun.”

What did Mahāpajāpatī Gotamī see in the eyes of the Enlightened One?

Mary Magdalene was perhaps the woman most closely associated with Jesus.  It seems that she supported him and his teachings financially.  She is sometimes referred to as the apostle to the apostles.  She is mentioned more often in the gospels than most of the twelve apostles.

What did Mary Magdalene see when she looked into the eyes of the Messiah?

Khadija was the first wife of Muhammed, and became his first follower.  As a successful merchant Khadija noticed in Muhammed a truthful and trustworthy employee of hers.  They were married for 25 years until her death in AD 619 at the age of 65.

What did Khadija see in the eyes of the Prophet?

Did any of these disciples, followers, acolytes see an hierarchic order based on power and oppression?  Did any see a rigid belief system?  Did any see hatred?  Did any see separation and division?

I suspect not.  When they looked into the eyes of their teacher, I suspect they all saw: kindness, compassion, love, empathy.  In the eyes of each of these teachers they will have seen reflected the teacher’s words:

Confucius: “What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others.”

Buddha: “When watching after yourself, you watch after others.  When watching after others, you watch after yourself.”

Jesus: “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them.”

Muhammed: “Do good and good will come to you.”

Within these words of these four teachers, we see two consistent themes.  First, the exhortation towards kindness and goodness.  Second, the recognition that we are all interrelated; that we are all connected by thought, word, and deed.

I suspect it was the embodiment of these words that the disciples, followers, and acolytes saw when they looked into the eyes of these four teachers.

Wednesday 16 June 2021

Carbon-Tinted Glasses

Image from:
Most of us have heard the phrase rose-tinted glasses, meaning a tendency to view the world from an optimistic, rosy, point of view.  As we also know, when we look at things through only one perspective, we can gain an unrealistic view of reality.  There is nothing wrong with being optimistic, but if that blinkers us to other aspects of life and the world, then there is no need to work for social change or environmental justice.

Rose-tinted however, are not the only style of glasses we can wear.  Over the past decade or two we have become accustomed to wearing carbon-tinted glasses.  There are many within the climate change movement wearing these glasses, and many too (sadly) within the environmental movement.

What do I mean?  First, I’ll briefly outline how we have come to be wearing carbon-tinted glasses, and then secondly, point out how those glasses blinker us.

What are carbon-tinted glasses?

Since we began to learn about climate change (from the time that it was known as the “greenhouse effect” and on) we have slipped into our western pattern of attributing linear thinking and a simplistic cause and effect mentality.  It goes like this: 1. The atmosphere is warming up, 2. It is warming up because of the build-up of carbon, 3. Carbon is being added to the atmosphere because of human causes, 4. Primarily, the burning of fossil fuels, 5. What is the solution? 6. Replace fossil fuels as the source of energy with “renewable” energy sources (particularly solar and wind.)

Central to this linear thinking is the role of carbon.  Within this tightly framed mindset the issue becomes simply one of reducing carbon.

Thus, we get blinkered by our seeing the world through carbon-tinted glasses.

What are we blinkered to?

When the issue of climate change is viewed through these carbon-tinted glasses our view becomes blinkered.  A few of the ways we become blinkered are that we are unable to see:

·       The inter-related problem of biodiversity loss,

·       That electricity demand is increasing, often at a faster pace than the availability of “renewable” sources,

·       That solar panels and wind turbines both require fossil fuels to produce.  Other sources of energy (including renewables) are simply unable to generate the heat required to make solar panels and wind turbines,

·       That minerals still need to be mined from the earth to make “renewable” energy components,

·       That mining leads to environmental destruction, and social dislocation (often of indigenous communities,)

·       In some cases the minerals required are extremely limited in supply, and will not be available in sufficient quantities to enable “renewables” to replace fossil fuels,

·       That the promotion of “renewables” as replacement for fossil fuels continues to feed the techno-industrial mindset – a mindset that says progress is “good” and that continued growth is a measure of well-being,

·       That this message conveys a “false-hope” that everything will be okay, so long as we switch to “renewables,”

·       That we have already reached (possibly surpassed) at least three of the global tipping points, beyond which we have no opportunity to halt climate change.

We must remove our carbon-tinted glasses and look around us.  We must look at a much bigger picture than simply the warming-carbon-renewables small thinking.  The sooner we do so the better.

Two Riders

This blog should be read with two riders:

Rider 1. This blog should not (repeat – not) be read as being in favour of fossil fuels.  If the climate change movement is blinkered by carbon-tinted glasses, then the fossil fuel industry is stuck in an oil slick marsh, weighed down by heavy boots made with coal.  In other words, it is immobile, and is obdurately sticking where it is.

Rider 2.  This blog should not be read as suggesting that we may all just as well fall into despair, lethargy, and inaction.  A sporting analogy may help.  Imagine that you are on a team (let’s say a Rugby League, or basketball, or Aussie Rules team.)  Your team is trailing by thirty points and there is one minute to go.  Do you stop playing?  Do you give up?  Do you go and sit on the sidelines and wait for the final whistle?  I have never seen a team do that.  Why should we?

Wednesday 9 June 2021

We've Dug And Dug

 A few days ago (5 June) was World Environment Day.  One of humanity's most damaging effects upon the environment is our mining.  Every hour of every day we extract more than 10 million tons of biomass, fossil fuels, metal, and minerals from the earth.

In the rich nations this extraction equates to some 20 - 30 tons of material for every man, woman, and child over the course of a year.  For poor nations the rate is around 2 - 3 tons.

This video and poem decries this environmental malpractice.  

When you're getting deeper and deeper into a hole, then surely the best thing to do is - stop digging!

Wednesday 2 June 2021

Life After Fossil Fuels (Book Review)

 Humans – we have a problem! 

Yeah, we know.  It’s climate change.

Not according to Alice J Friedemann.  The problem is energy.  We won’t have any, and we won’t have any very soon. 

Alice Friedemann has been writing about energy and related fields on her website ( for over a decade.  Life After Fossil Fuels: A Reality Check on Alternative Energy,1 condenses ten year’s worth of her writings into a highly readable, rigorously researched, and at times humorous, two-hundred-page expose of energy.

Our two-hundred-year dependence upon fossil fuels is rapidly coming to an end, says Friedemann.  What can we replace that with?

First though, she reminds us that fossil fuels are not just the source of energy and/or electricity.  Fossil fuels are a prime component of just about every commodity in our modern life.  From asphalt to rubber, from toothpaste to shampoo, from curtains to umbrellas.  Oh, and for any readers in Australia – fossil fuels are used in the manufacture of surfboards.

Considering energy alone Friedemann is skeptical.  What can replace fossil fuels?  She considers all options: CNG, LNG, liquified coal, nuclear, hydrogen, ammonia, oil shale, biodiesel, and “renewables.”  Her conclusion for all of them – they won’t work.  Each of them will not work for one or more of the following reasons:

·       Too heavy.  Storing enough energy in batteries to provide power for trucks will take almost all, if not more, of the allowable weight of the truck.  Where do you put the goods?  Batteries are highly unlikely to become light enough.  We are already using lithium batteries, and lithium is the third lightest element.

·       Too costly.

·       Take up too much land area.  For example, if wish to provide the world’s electricity requirement with “renewables” then the mining for the materials needed would engulf 37% of the world’s land area.  Imagine what that would do for biodiversity.

·       EROEI (Energy Return On Energy Investment) is either far too low, or in some cases negative.

·       Unable to be scaled up.

·       Too short a lifespan.  What happens to the waste?

·       Require ever scarcer rare minerals.

·       Unable to provide enough heat for manufacturing purposes.  Half our fossil fuels are presently used in manufacturing.  The irony here is that manufacturing wind turbines and solar panels requires a heat much greater than wind and solar can obtain.  Fossil fuels must be used to generate the heat required to manufacture these “renewables.”  Renewables are not renewable, Friedemann says, they are “rebuildable” (at least in the short term).

Friedemann does suggest one possible source – biomass.  However, she manages to show just how limited that is as an option also. 

So, what to do?

Friedemann, with characteristic droll wit, tells us that:

“The only other alternative would be to get rid of economic systems that depend upon endless growth on a finite planet.”

Simplify, localise, decentralise.  These are the components of an alternative economic system that Friedemann suggest.  Now there’s a thought.  I wonder if anyone has thought of writing a book about that?

P.S. I am hopeful that a further review of this book will be placed upon this blogsite – a review from a person who has a background in energy systems.  Watch this space.


Alice J Friedemann, Life After Fossil Fuels: A Reality Check on Alternative Energy, Springer Nature Switzerland AG, Cham, Switzerland, 2021.