Book review: Eaarth

Written By: - Date published: 9:59 am, May 28th, 2017 - 3 comments
Categories: climate change, Conservation, disaster, sustainability - Tags: , ,

Last Sunday I recycled an old book review. Here’s another one from the vaults.


I’ve recently finished “Eaarth”, by Bill McKibben (of 350.org). It focuses on the the effect of climate change on the planet and how we should be preparing for the future. It doesn’t pull any punches.

Chapter 1: A New World. This chapter starts by noting the climatic stability that we have enjoyed for the last 10,000 years. Stability that has allowed the the development of human civilisation, with its grand cities, agriculture, and specialised culture. A world that was captured in the famous 1968 photo (from Apollo-8) of the Earth from space.

But we no longer live on that planet. In the four decades since, that earth has changed in profound ways, was that have taken us out of the sweet spot where humans so long thrived. We’re every day less like the oasis and more like the desert. The world hasn’t ended, but the world as we know it has — even if we don’t quite know it yet. We imagine that we live back on that old planet, that the disturbances we see around us are the old random and freakish kind. But they’re not. It’s a different place. A different planet. It needs a new name. Eaarth.

McKibben makes the case for the changed planet in example after example, meticulously researched and referenced. A random selection:

So far humans, by burning fossil fuel, have raised the temperature of the planet nearly a degree Celsius … A NASA study in December 2008 fiund that warming on that scale was enough to trigger a 45 percet increase in the thunderheads above the ocean … In fact, total global rainfall is increasing 1.5 percent a decade. …

Or consider the white and frozen top of the planet. Arctic ice has been melting slowly for two decades…

… a U.S. government team studying the tropics recently concluded that by the standard meteorological definition, they have expanded by more than two degrees of latitude north and south since 1980 — “a further 8.5 million square miles of the earth are now experiencing a tropical climate”. …

A new Nepalese study found temperatures rising a tenth of a degree annually in the Himalayas. … across the region the great ice sheets are already shrinking fast…

It’s not just the Himalayas. In the spring of 2009, researchers arriving in Bolivia found that the eighteen-thousand-year-old Chacaltaya Glacue glacier is “gone, completely melted away …

But lay aside the hurricanes and wreckage. Just concentrate for a minute on how the sea is changing. … Even most oceanographers were shocked a few years ago when researchers began noticing that the seas were acidifying as they absorbed some some of the carbon dioxide we’ve poured in to the atmosphere. …

Summing up:

Don’t let your eyes glaze over at this parade of statistics (and many more to follow). These should come as body blows, as sickening thuds. The Holocene is staggered, and the only world that humans have known is suddenly reeling. I am not describing what will happen if we don’t take action, or warning of some future threat. This is the current inventory: more thunder, more lightening, less ice. Name a major feature of the earth’s surface an you’ll find a massive change.

On the fact that we have recognised, far too late, that 350ppm is the safe limit for CO2 in the atmosphere:

We can, if we’re very lucky and very committed, eventually get the number back down below 350. … But even so, great damage will have been done along the way, on land and in the sea. …

We’re not, in other words, going to get back the planet we used to have, the one on which our civilisation developed. We’re like the guy who ate steak for dinner every night and let his cholesterol top 300 and had the heart attack. Now he dines on Lipitor and walks on the treadmill, but half his heart is dead issue. We’re like the guy who smoked for forty years and then he had a stroke. He doesn’t smoke any more, but the left side of his body doesn’t work either.

There’s plenty more of the same in the first chapter, all of it well referenced to original sources, but I think you get the idea. It’s a depressing read.

Chapter 2: High Tide. The focus of this chapter is the end of growth. It can’t go on, we’re hitting the wall.

But now — now that we’re stuck between a played out rock and a hot place — it’s time to think with special clarity about the future. On a new planet growth may be the one big habit we finally must break.

In a solid blow to the mainstream Green position, McKibben doesn’t see “green growth” as a viable alternative.

If we had started 20 years ago, when we first knew about global warming, and when we had the first hints of peak oil, such a plan might have made sense. … But it’s not going to happen fast enough to ward off enormous change. I don’t think the growth can rise to occasion; I think the system has met its match. We no longer possess the margin we’d require for another huge leap forward, certainly not fast enough to preserve the planet we used to live on.

That is a dark thing to say, and un-American, so I will try to make the case carefully. In the first place: this kind of transformation is a big job. Even in normal times, even on the old planet, the transition from one source of energy to another took many decades. …

Wherever we turn, we always bump their heads against the same bottom line: it’s expensive, and it takes a long time to even try to replace our fossil fuel system.

And that’s on the old planet. What we need to talk about now is what it’s like to make massive change on the new one, where we’re suddenly running out of fossil fuel and dealing with a spooky, erratic climate.

McKibben goes on to discuss aspects of the problem that relate particularly to America (huge amounts of infrastructure, such as the national road and bridge network, which is already run down), and those that are truly global:

And the fact that so much of the world remains so poor is also one of the biggest obstacles to actually doing something about the climate. Just as we come into this crisis with an infrastructure deficit and an overhang of debt, so we also suffer from a justice deficit that will slow any attempt at action.

We have seen this all play out at Copenhagen, with a major split between “developing” and “developed” nations.

So the obvious replacement for Plan A — for the now vain hope that the rest of the world can emulate us and messily grow its way into lives of relative comfort and security — is a Plan B, a grand bargain where the global North decides to share with the global South. And in return the South agrees to develop on a different, cleaner path. … Everybody knows this will have to be the eventual bargain, and everybody has spent twenty years trying to game the talks.

And if the “talks” never get it done?

Four major studies in the past two years from centrist organisations in the United States and Europe have concluded that “a warmer planet could find itself more often at war.” Each report “predicted starkly similar problems: gunfire over land and natural resources as once bountiful soil turns to desert and coastlines slip below the sea.” The experts also expected violent storms to topple weak governments — which makes a certain amount of sense to those of us who watched George W. Bush begin his descent in the polls after he bumbled the response to Katrina.

Fortunately we’ve just about reached the bottom of the book’s deep wells of depression. Time to start digging ourselves out.

The second half of this book is based on the premise that we can build durable and even relatively graceful ways to inhabit this new planet.

Chapter 3: Backing Off. McKibben’s ambitions for the future are practical and modest. “That we might choose instead to try to manage our descent”, “that we might aim for a relatively graceful decline”. Doesn’t sound very inspiring does it.

We recoil when faced with a future different from the one we imagine. And it’s hard to brace ourselves for the jump to a new world when we still, kind of, live in the old one. So we tell ourselves that scientists may be overstating our environmental woes, or that because the stock market has climbed back from its lows we’ll soon be back to the old growth economy. As we’ve seen, though, scientists are far more guilty of understatement than exaggeration, and our economic troubles are intersecting with our ecological ones in ways that put us hard up against the limits of growth. This book has been dedicated so far to the idea that we’re in very deep trouble. Now we must try to figure out how to survive what is coming at us. And that survival begins with words. …

So here are my candidates the words that may help us think usefully about the future.
Durable
Sturdy
Stable
Hardy
Robust

… The project we’re now undertaking — maintenance, graceful decline, hunkering down, holding on against the storm — requires a different scale. Instead of continents and vast nations, we need to think about states, about towns, about neighbourhoods, about blocks. … We need to scale back, to go to ground. We need to take what wealth we have left and figure out how we’re going to use it, not to spin the wheel one more time but to slow the wheel down. We need to choose safety instead of risk, and we need to do it quickly, even at the sacrifice of growth. … It’s not just people in poorer nations who are exposed to the elements now, but all of us. We’ve got to make our society safer, and that means making them smaller. It means, since we live on a different planet, a different kind of civilisation.

Distributed networks are more robust than centralised systems. We need to distribute knowledge, skills, resources, agriculture, production and distribution, into communities.

Community may suffer from overuse more sorely than any word in the dictionary. Politicians left and right sprinkle it through their remarks the way a bad Chinese restaurant uses MSG, to mask the lack of wholesome ingredients. But we need to rescue it: we need to make sure that community will become, on this tough new planet, one of the most prosaic terms in the lexicon, like hoe or bicycle or computer. Access to endless amounts of cheap energy made us rich, and wrecked our climate, and it also made us the first people on earth who had no practical need of our neighbours.

Much of the rest of the chapter reviews local community initiatives, such as Transition Towns, farmers’ markets, and local currencies. The last quote I’ll take from this chapter relates to politics:

It’s not at all clear whether a farmers’ market, or a local neighbourhood crime watch, or a community-owned windmill is a liberal or conservative project. It’s some of both. Mostly it’s some of neither — our politics, like our highways, were built for an era of endless growth. Karl Marx as much as Adam Smith thought we’d end up in a material paradise; Richard Nixon and Nikita Khrushchev sparred over whose system will produce better kitchen appliances. In the age now dawning, our hopes will shift and our ideologies will shift with them.

Chapter 4: Lightly, Carefully, Gracefully. What are the essentials for our future? “In order: food, energy, and — yes — the Internet”. Modern agriculture is massively dependent on oil, both to make the fertiliser that increases yields, and to run the machinery, transportation and refrigeration systems that harvests, processes and distributes foodstuffs.

It takes the equivalent of 400 gallons of oil annually to feed an American, and that’s before packaging, refrigeration, and cooking. In 1940, our food system produced 2.3 calories of food energy for every calorie of fossil fuel consumed. Now … “it takes ten calories of fossil energy to produce a single calorie of modern supermarket food. Put another way, when we eat from the industrial food system, we’re eating oil and spewing greenhouse gases.”

With peak oil and climate change, neither side of this equation is sustainable. But the work on an alternative approach is under way everywhere. After reviewing a range of case studies McKibben sums up:

So it’s unsettling (but also the first unambiguously good news this book has to offer) to learn that serious people have begun to rethink small-scale agriculture, perhaps just in time to help us deal with the strains of our new planet. In the last ten years academics and researchers have begun figuring out what some farmers have known for a long time; it’s possible to produce lots of food on relatively small farms with little or nothing in the way of synthetic fertiliser or chemicals.

So there will be dinner, if we are resourceful and clever, and if more of us are willing to do the work of farming, and if we build the kind of community institutions that make us more resilient, less vulnerable. It won’t be easy; as flood, drought, and pests spread, we’ll be pressed to keep up. And it won’t work every-place; even the best double-dug community-backed garden still needs water. I don’t know what Las Vegas will do. But many places may still produce enough calories.

What about energy?

First: … We need to cut our fossil fuel use by a factor of twenty over the next few decades. …

Second: it would be nice to replace at least some of that fossil fuel with something else, so that we’re not returned entirely to a world of manual labour …

Third: there’s no easy way out.

Nuclear, biofuels, solar, wind, there is no single viable replacement. It has to be a mixture of conservation, reduced demand (e.g. through less transportation of locally produced food), and local generation and storage methods (the smart grid). “So no silver bullet — but maybe enough silver buckshot if we gather it carefully”.

And that brings us to the last of McKibben’s three key factors for the future.

The Internet may be precisely the tool we need; it’s as if it came along just in time, a deus ex machina to make our next evolution bearable. …

You could make a purely functional argument for the environmental value of the Internet, of course. If you have a computer, you can set up, say, a ride-sharing system that lets people coordinate their commutes or pick up a stranger on the way to the market. Or you can log onto the Freecycle network and find a way not to buy something. The Internet can take waste — that empty seat next to the driver, that old Ping-Pong table — and convert it into something useful.

But I’m thinking less tangibly. It’s not so much the ride to town; it’s the ride somewhere else entirely, into one of the millions of destinations that the net provides. … Mostly, though, it’s decentralised … That decentralisation will be crucial, because all of a sudden we will need vast amounts of information, very little of which can actually come from New York or Los Angeles.

McKibben also stresses the Internet for entertainment, and as a vital tool for combating the downsides of a future where the boundaries of our world are shrinking.

Which is why, if I had my finger on the switch, I’d keep the juice flowing to the Internet even if I had to turn off everything else. We need cultures … that work for everyone, so that women aren’t made servants again in our culture, or condemned to languish forever as secondary citizens in other places. The Net is the one solvent we can still afford… It will need to be the window left ajar in our communities so new ideas can blow in and old prejudices blow out.

Most of the remainder of this final chapter is spent describing the creation of 350.org, and the way that the Net was used to mobilise a community of volunteers all around the globe. Here are the closing words of the book:

The momentum of the heating, and the momentum of the economy that powers it, can’t be turned off quickly enough to prevent hideous damage. But we will keep fighting, in the hope that we can limit the damage. And in the process, with many others fighting similar battles, we will help build the architecture for the world that comes next, the dispersed and localised societies that can survive the damage we can no longer prevent. Eaarth represents the deepest of human failures. But we still must live on the world we’ve created — lightly, carefully, gracefully.

In closing. Everyone should read this book. (Climate change deniers should be forced to copy it out longhand in red crayon, complete with the 25 pages of references, twice.) I’m hugely impressed with the depth and the breadth of the research that has gone in to it, and also with the clarity with which McKibben has thought about the future that he describes. My only major criticism is that the treatment of energy in the future (Chapter 4) is scanty, and doesn’t really address the serious problems raised earlier on this very issue (Chapter 3). Yes it’s a profoundly depressing book, but the smack in the emotional solar plexus is one that we all (in the “developed” world) deserve.

Time to face up and take our medicine. Change is coming, and the future will not resemble the present. If you can accept that fundamental premise, then Eaarth is a hopeful book too. It is hopeful because it is brutally honest. There’s no sugar coating the pill, no false optimism. It sets out the problems that we face, and it sets out what are probably our best strategies for preparing for the future. Having read Eaarth I feel the way I imagine one feels after hearing a comprehensive diagnosis of cancer. The news isn’t good, but at least I know the odds. It’s something to work with.

3 comments on “Book review: Eaarth”

  1. Bill 1

    Hmm. Might have to grab a copy.

    I’ve been looking at 350.org of late and been impressed. I’m only saying that, because as people around here know, I don’t get easily impressed by groups that coalesce around issues of AGW.

    I agree with him when he suggests we need to take what wealth we have left and figure out how we’re going to use it… – a “commonwealth of humanity” that might offer us a way out from this apparent cul-de-sac.

    I just quietly wondering if he means that to apply at the level of the individual as well as at an intra – society/nation level? Is he signposting that those who have accumulated –
    eg, the ‘middle class’ – need to ‘give it away’? That they need to take whatever individual wealth they have, convert it and communalise it, as much for their own sake as that of those around them? That’s how I want to read it, but like I say at the top, I might have to grab a copy, and then I’ll better see if that’s actually inferred or whether I’m just running on wishful thinking.

  2. Draco T Bastard 2

    And, as just reported in the news, the US has refused to sign up to any climate change agreements. time to do to them what they’ve been doing to the rest of the world for decades – stop all trade and diplomatic connections with them.

    We can no longer afford their greed so we need to cut it off.

  3. Molly 3

    Have a few of McKibben’s books, got more of them after reading Eaarth.

    Worth the read. Enough is another that looks at the importance of discussion reduction of energy use.

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  • Trump: “Where’s my favourite dictator?”
    From the Wall Street Journal:Inside a room of the ornately decorated Hotel du Palais during last month’s Group of Seven summit in Biarritz, France, President Trump awaited a meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi. Mr. Trump looked over a gathering of American and Egyptian officials and called out in ...
    6 days ago
  • Magdalen Burns, 1983-2019, fighter for women’s liberation
    by the Redline blog collective At Redline we are very saddened to hear of the death of Magdalen Burns who passed away on the morning of Friday, September 13 (British time). Magdalen was a great fighter for the rights of women in general and lesbian women in particular, a defender ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Parliament and the Executive
    The Brexit issue has certainly brought with it a series of apparently difficult constitutional issues, many of them concerning the respective roles of the executive and parliament. Most of them arise because of the unwillingness of MPs, despite their professions to the contrary, to be bound by a constitutional rarity ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • The Abigail Article; Martyn Bradbury’s Article, and My Response
    . . This blogpost is different to my usual format of reporting on issues… Since July 1011, I have blogged on a variety of political issues; near always political and/or environmental; mostly highly critical of the previous National Government. Other issues included Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands and repression of ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • Police will have to wear silly Buckingham Palace hats from now on, says Police Minister
    Those close to the Police Minister believe the initiative may be the result of Nash “seeing a great deal” on AliExpress. In a move that comes seemingly out of nowhere, Police Minister Stuart Nash announced this afternoon that he expects all frontline staff to don bearskin hats, famously worn by ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • A sensible crackdown
    The government has released its Arms Legislation Bill, containing the second tranche of changes to gun laws following the March 15 massacre. And it all looks quite sensible: a national gun register, higher penalties for illegal possession and dealing, tighter restrictions on arms dealers and shooting clubs, and a shorter ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • California bans private prisons
    Private prisons are a stain on humanity. Prison operators explicitly profit from human misery, then lobby for longer prisons terms so they can keep on profiting. And in the US, prison companies run not only local and state prisons, but also Donald Trump's immigration concentration camps. Faced with this moral ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Why PPPs are a bad idea
    When National was in power, they were very keen on Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) - basicly, using private companies to finance public infrastructure as a way of hiding debt from the public. They were keen on using them for everything - roads, schools, hospitals. But as the UK shows, that "service" ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • A Movement That No Longer Moves.
    Moving And Shaking: There was a time when people spoke matter-of-factly about the “labour movement” – a political phenomenon understood to embrace much more than the Labour Party. Included within the term’s definition was the whole trade union movement – many of whose members looked upon the Labour Party as ...
    1 week ago
  • NZ ‘left’ politically embracing extreme postmodernism
    by Philip Ferguson Much of the left, even people who formally identify as marxists, have collapsed politically in the face of postmodern gender theory of the sort pioneered by American philosopher Judith Butler. For Butler even biological sex is socially constructed. “If the immutable character of sex is contested, perhaps ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • The obvious question
    The media is reporting that the (alleged) Labour party sexual assaulter has resigned from their job at Parliament, which means hopefully he won't be turning up there making people feel unsafe in future. Good. But as with everything about this scandal, it just raises other questions. Most significantly: why the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • The moment I found out that you found out, I acted swiftly
    By Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern I am every bit as angry as you are. I am every bit as disappointed as you must be. The people with power, oversight and the ability to do something about these processes within the Labour Party should be ashamed. Whoever those people are, I ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • This is why people hate property developers
    Property developers think there is an "oversupply" of houses in Auckland:High turnover rates and falling prices may be a sign that there are too many new houses going in to some parts of Auckland, commentators say. [...] Property developer David Whitburn said there was a "bit of an oversupply" in ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Australia to Pacific: “Fuck you, you can all drown”
    World leaders are meeting in New York in two weeks for the 2019 Climate Action Summit, where they are expected to announce new and more ambitious targets to stop the world from burning. But the Australian Prime Minister won't be there, despite being in the USA at the time:Scott Morrison ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Implausible ignorance
    Labour Party president Nigel Haworth resigned yesterday over the party's sexual assault scandal. But while that's good news, its unlikely to take away the stench of a coverup. Because according to Paula Bennett in Parliament yesterday, pretty much everyone in the Prime Minister's office was involved as well:I have been ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Labour’s Fatal Flaw.
     Two-Faced? Labour insiders' commitment to the neoliberal status quo puts them at odds with their party’s membership; its trade union affiliates; and a majority of Labour voters, but this only serves to strengthen the perception they have of themselves as a special elite. Among the lesser breeds, they’ll talk up a ...
    1 week ago
  • Ten reasons the Tories do NOT want an election
    There has been a lot of talk about Boris Johnson wanting an election, and he has blustered with great gusto about 'chicken' Jeremy Corbyn refusing one, but I think there are many reasons why he is secretly glad he has been refused the opportunity:The Tories are an utter rabble,tearing themselves ...
    1 week ago
  • Prorogation Illegal, rule Scottish judges
    Scottish appeal court judges have declared that Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend parliament in the run-up to the October Brexit deadline is unlawful. The three judges, chaired by Lord Carloway, Scotland’s most senior judge, overturned an earlier ruling that the courts did not have the powers to interfere in the prime ...
    1 week ago
  • Let me explain what I meant by Everyday New Zealanders
    By Simon Bridges. The following is a press release from the office of Simon Bridges, leader of The National Party. Key ora, New Zealand. Happy Maori Language Week. Look, I’m writing to you today because I want to clear something up. There’s been a lot of kerfuffle around some things ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Yes, the SIS is subject to the Public Records Act
    I understand there's some stuff going round about how the SIS "was removed from the list of public offices covered by the Public Records Act in 2017". The context of course being their records derived from US torture, which will be disposed of or sealed. The good news is that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • An evidence-based discussion of the Canadian fluoride/IQ study
    Dr. Christopher Labos and Jonathan Jarry discuss the recent Canadian fluoride/IQ research. They provide an expert analysis of the paper and its problems. Click on image to go to podcast. The critical debate about the recent ...
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: Australia in denial
    Australia is burning down again, and meanwhile its natural disaster minister is denying climate change:Australia’s minister responsible for drought and natural disasters, David Littleproud, has said that he doesn’t “know if climate change is manmade”. Clarifying earlier comments that the question is “irrelevant” when considering the Coalition government’s response to ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Philippines activist speaking on the Duterte tyranny
    Auckland Philippines Solidarity is excited to host Professor Judy Taguiwalo for a speaking tour of NZ in September. She is a well-known activist in the Philippines and was a political prisoner under the Marcos dictatorship. Professor Taguiwalo briefly served as a Cabinet member under President Duterte but was forced from ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • Disgust
    I have no special insights to offer on the Labour sexual assault coverup. All I have is disgust. Disgust that an organisation could fail its people so badly. Disgust that they punished the victims rather than the perpetrator. Disgust that its party hacks are apparently blaming the victims for demanding ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Speak Up for Women calls out Greens’ censorship
    This open letter to the Green Party was penned after an opinion piece by Jill Abigail, a feminist and founding member of the party, was censored by the Greens’ leadership. (Redline has reprinted her article here).The intolerance of the Green Party leaders and their acceptance of the misogyny of gender ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • Member’s Day: End of Life Choice, part 3
    Today is a Member's day, and David Seymour's End of Life Choice Bill continues its slow crawl through its committee stage. They're spending the whole day on it today, though the first hour is likely to be spent on voting left over from last time. After that they'll move on ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Flight to Los Angeles turned back after passengers decide they don’t want to go anymore
    An ambitious plan to fly to Los Angeles petered out into a brief sight-seeing trip and a desire to return home and get some sleep before work tomorrow. Air New Zealand has confirmed a flight to Los Angeles last night was turned back about a quarter of the way into ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Indigenous Futures: defuturing and futuring – an analytical framework for policy development?
    There appears to be consensus – by omission – that the concept of indigenous futures should be accepted at face value. So I scavenged the internet to see if I could locate an academic descriptor or a framework around how we think about it as a concept, and whether it ...
    EllipsisterBy Ellipsister
    2 weeks ago
  • Cadbury rumoured to be releasing the Pineapple Trump
    Here’s another novelty chocolate to shove in your gob, New Zealand Cadbury could be seeking to make itself great again with a rumoured new release: Pineapple Trumps, a spin on its classic chocolate-encased pineapple treat and do-it-yourself tooth remover. The global confectionery manufacturer and bumbling “before” character in an infomercial, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • The coming resource war.
    During my time in the Pentagon I had the privilege of sitting down with military leaders and defence and security officials from a variety of Latin American nations. Sometimes I was present as a subordinate assistant to a senior US defence department official, sometimes as part of a delegation that ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    2 weeks ago
  • Māori Language Week with The Civilian
    Kia ora, Aotearoa. It’s that magical time of year. Te Wiki o te Reo Māori. In English, the week that frightens talk radio. As you probably know by now, all your favourite media outlets are participating, some more successfully than others. Stuff has changed its name to Puna for the ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Will Horizons act on climate change?
    Local body elections are coming up next month. And it looks like all Palmerston North candidates for Horizons (the Manawatu-Whanganui Regional Council) want to take action on climate change:Climate change is set to be a key issue in Palmerston North for the next three years if those wanting to get ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • BORA reform is stalled
    Eighteen months ago, the government promised to strengthen the Bill of Rights Act, by explicitly affirming the power of the courts to issue declarations of inconsistency and requiring Parliament to formally respond to them. So how's that going? I was curious, so I asked for all advice about the proposal. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Corbyn and Brexit
    As the Brexit saga staggers on, the focus is naturally enough on the Prime Minister and his attempts to achieve Brexit “do or die”. But the role played by the Leader of the Opposition is of almost equal interest and complexity. The first problem for Jeremy Corbyn is that he ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    2 weeks ago
  • A ditch for him to die in
    Last week, English Prime Minister Boris Johnson boldly declared that he would rather die be dead in a ditch than delay Brexit. Unfortunately for him, the UK parliament accepted the challenge, and promptly dug one for him. The "rebellion bill" requires him to ask for and secure yet another temporary ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Warning! Warning! Danger Jacinda Ardern! Danger Marama Davidson! Warning!
    Lost In Political Space: The most important takeaway from this latest Labour sexual assault scandal, which (if I may paraphrase Nixon’s White House counsel’s, John Dean’s, infamous description of Watergate) is “growing like a cancer” on the premiership, is the Labour Party organisation’s extraordinary professional paralysis in the face of ...
    2 weeks ago

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