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Climate action: everything we do matters

Written By: - Date published: 7:10 am, November 22nd, 2019 - 52 comments
Categories: climate change - Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

https://twitter.com/mrbenjaminlaw/status/1197344181103935488

Shit keeps getting more real. Despite the immensity of what we face, I am less concerned about us having the technical skills to transition than I am about the number of people still thinking that green BAU will save us. I wonder if that is in part because many people cannot imagine a world without our current standard of living and lifestyle, and there is the fear that if BAU doesn’t survive we will end up with nasty, brutish and short lives. My fear is that this fear and denial is stopping us from setting up resilient, regenerative and sustainable systems in time to prevent a nasty, brutish and short future courtesy of runaway climate.

I take some comfort from the Powerdown, Transition, Permaculture, Regenerative movements, because they have been organising and planning for a long time. Indigenous movements also tend to have regeneration and resiliency built in as well as inherently connecting the environmental and social justice issues that are needed in sync to respond adequately to the climate crisis.

Which means that as things spiral out of control and we are forced to consider abandoning large scale human infrastructure, we already have working models of what to do. These movements were built around mitigation and adaptation, and they tend to circumvent the ostrich-esque cul de sac of ‘it’s too late, let’s just adapt’, and instead sees them as two sides of the same coin. Reducing climate risk and learning how to live well in the long crisis are interdependent approaches. When we use a regenerative approach, the things we need to do to mitigate are the things that will give us more chance of surviving. Saving graces.

Long time and renowned Australian permaculture leaders and educators, the Bradleys from permaculture farm Milkwood, put up a post a few days ago in response to the bushfire crisis and people desperate to know what to do about the climate catastrophe. They name a couple of key aspects in climate action: the necessity of working on multiple levels at once, and the need to avoid binary traps in thinking that keep us powerless.

But then there’s also the long-term strategies for how we all mitigate and adapt to this climate crisis together, as communities. And how exactly do we do that?

Some of the work to do is home-level, everyday habitual change. Some of the work to do is community-level, citizen initiated-and-led change. Some of the work to do is top-down system change.

On the problem of binary thinking (lefties take note),

Unfortunately, some of the binary signals and arguments that we are all receiving – as this ‘what should we do’ climate conversation gathers steam – can fracture momentum, good intentions and even, in some cases, the will to act… 

• If you stay at home and grow food, you’re ignoring the real fight – you should be out on the streets.
• If you take to the streets on a climate march while using your mobile phone (made with/of fossil fuels), you’re a hypocrite. Also, you flew in a plane last summer (BUSTED!) so now you’re a wanker as well.
• If you start a community initiative, you’re pretending it will change your government, but obviously it won’t because look at our current government and how much attention it pays to our communities.
• If you don’t make your own yogurt from scratch, you’re a wasteful capitalist dedicated to upholding the Patriarchy.
• If you DO make your own yogurt from scratch, you’re just re-arranging deck chairs on the Titanic while virtue signalling (especially if you tell anyone). Also, add in the industrial milk you used, and you’re basically Satan.
• If you make cashew yogurt, you are also Satan (see above, but substitute industrial Amazon-clearing cashews for the milk bit).

These are all snippets of actual discussions I have had in the last 6 months.

And I am here to tell you this: do not get binary on yourself, when it comes to responding to our Climate Crisis. Do not let others get binary on you, either.  Do not define your efforts, or your ability to make and participate in change, by your imperfections.

Focus on what you CAN do, and get the hell on with doing those things.

Everything we do matters, now.

And the antidote to those internal and external challenges?

Your response might look like: recycle AND stand up for indigenous rights AND have a ‘climate conversation’ dinner party. Change your lightbulbs AND lobby your local member of parliament to take action on climate. Divest from big banks who support fossil fuel companies AND take your keep cup. Vote for change AND start a garden AND support your local food bank AND join a climate strike AND make your own yogurt.

That is new system building, where what we do at home is as important as political change, because they are part of the same interconnected web. Resiliency and sustainability are always interconnected systems.

Because the more options we all have, the more diverse and resilient our collective response can be.

Milkwood are going to start writing about the following, so keep an eye on their blog. But I thought this post could also serve as an invitation to share resources, ideas and experience of what is happening in New Zealand. I’ll be writing more posts on this #howtogetthere.

• Community level: Examples of fabulously effective, community climate-response initiatives – things that are already happening – for you to plan and learn from.
• Household level: a swag of new habits and skills you can start on immediately, that effectively respond to climate change and will make a real difference, at your place.
• National level: where are the most effective places to point the time and energy you have for this? We talk to the experts about effective strategies, to make your time and input count.
• International Level: is any kind of international response, or individual response to international solutions, even an actual thing, when it comes to the climate crisis? Simply put, yes. And there’s a lot you can do.

________________________________________________________________________

Moderation note: no climate denial under my posts thanks.

52 comments on “Climate action: everything we do matters ”

  1. Formerly Ross 1

    Flooding in Venice occurs frequently. There’s a photo of poet Ezra Pound traipsing a flooded Venice in 1964. It also flooded in 1927 and 1933. Younger people may be unaware of these facts.

    https://www.theguardian.com/cities/gallery/2015/jun/16/history-flooding-sinking-city-venice-in-pictures

    • weka 1.1

      Thanks Ross. For those that might be distracted into the 'what single events are caused by CC?' debate, there are plenty of other images that can be used to illustrate the point that NASA climate scientist Peter Kalmus is making (the image is metaphorical). I'd prefer that people stayed on topic with this post, which is an exploration of the social dynamics in not taking the crisis seriously, and some ways that help us socially adapt.

    • Sabine 1.2

      that is true, however it is also true that this is the worst flooding in years…..and not just in Venice, but also England just had some really really bad flooding.

      https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/nov/20/uk-flood-victims-criticise-government-for-belated-response

      but then surely this too happened previously….right. And nothing can be done about it, cause we love our comforts and we will not give them up. Besides, when history comes around to judge us we will be dead (ht. to George Bush the younger) and who knows maybe history will not come around at all for anyone of us.

      Maybe the Greens could stand up today or tomorrow or any other day of the week/month/year to demand that all public transport in NZ will be made free of charge or capped at a dollar per ride. Not to get people who don't want to out of their cars and into busses, but to get people who would take the bus if it were cheaper into the busses/trains.

      A bit like it was done in the South of France were currently all rides on busses, trams, trains within the department of Alpes Maritimes (Departemant 06) is currently capped at a 1.50 Euro – for each ride – up to 70+ minutes. So literally Nice – Antibes / Cagnes Sur Mer etc.for a total of 3 NZD.

      Now that would be a stunt, that would probably even get them into the news – Hoskins would throw a hissy fit and we'd all have a good laugh, and they could offer a bag of gummi bears to the first one to take them up on the offers. Just for a laugh. Not to get them high of course, that would be bad.

      Disclaimer: I voted for the Greens ( as a thank you to MetiriaTurei for speaking the truth, for standing up for those living precariously and what she considered was right, and for paying the full price of consequences with dignity and honor).

      • Sacha 1.2.1

        To get more people using public transit, apparently the best universal spend is more frequent services, not free fares.

        It is also hugely inefficient to fund enough system capacity for everyone to use peak-time services. The places overseas with free fares have enough overall PT capacity to begin with. Our current targeted subsidy schemes like the gold card for seniors avoid peak times.

        Free fares could work fairly if combined with more progressive wealth taxation. Or with targeting only to poorer people. The same challenge is often ignored by promoters of congestion charging, road user charges, etc.

        Greater Auckland have considered this in depth over the years: https://www.greaterauckland.org.nz/2019/01/15/thinking-about-free-fares/

        • Sabine 1.2.1.1

          Let's do nothing. Yeah, fucka yeah!

          also, the transport i advocate is not free, considering that you and i already pay and have paid for it.
          and if we only ever do things when we get a
          ‘wealth tax’ then we will never do anything;.
          How did that Captial Gains Tax go? Tails pulled in nothing can be done….look it over there a shiny object.

          Edit: Maybe we need a wealth tax to pay for roads so people can drive in their single use SUV/Tanks from a. – b. and have them take up valuable space in form of carparks.

          Maybe we should actually ask how much does it cost us every time when we give huge trackts of land in cities and elsewhere up to Carparks.

          • Sacha 1.2.1.1.1

            Let's do nothing. Yeah, fucka yeah!

            Please actually read what is said. Not much of a discussion otherwise.

            • weka 1.2.1.1.1.1

              I agree. It's very clear that you were suggesting action that is generally aligned with Sabine's point but offered some different perspectives (and evidence for them).

              • Sacha

                Thank you. I have always wanted transport barriers removed for those most affected by them.

                It should not cost poor families an arm and a leg to travel wherever they want to go. Young people need options beyond 'getting their license'. Disabled New Zealanders have enough else to contend with, thanks.

                It would be a great shame if others committed to that overall goal wasted a rare chance to get there by ignoring what works. Let's do this, properly.

                • Sabine

                  again with the splitting of 'removing of barriers for some but not for all.

                  That is what ails us. We don't do things completley but we tinker.

                  We need to have public transport that is so attractive that people want to use it rather then their car and that includes people who could 'afford' public tranport but don't for reasons not related to economics.

                  From October this year.

                  https://www.theguardian.com/environment/ng-interactive/2019/oct/25/suvs-second-biggest-cause-of-emissions-rise-figures-reveal

                  Growing demand for SUVs was the second largest contributor to the increase in global CO2 emissions from 2010 to 2018, an analysis has found.

                  In that period, SUVs doubled their global market share from 17% to 39% and their annual emissions rose to more than 700 megatonnes of CO2, more than the yearly total emissions of the UK and the Netherlands combined.

                  We need to make public transport free or so very cheap that no young person living in a town will need or want a car and the costs associated with. We need to make public transport free or so very cheap that no housewife – from Remmers or Khadallah – will want to use their car and the costs that come with it. We need to make public transport free or so very cheap that old people don't need to drive nigh on blind because they can't afford to take the bus to meet a mate for a beer or a slice of cake. Essentially we need a Super Gold card for everyone.

                  And we should have done that yesteryear…..We should have done that two three decades ago.

                  We need to stop putting up 'incremental change' as the status and be bold.

                  And we are not doing it, and we are not advocating for it, and we are just writing the same posts again and again and again, while literally the world burns, or drowns.

                • weka

                  Just had a read of the GA post. Assuming the finances were sorted, is the main issue there how to increase capacity in a timely manner? In addition to the light rail etc, is there any planning integration with other ways to solve the car problem (walk, ride share, relocalising work and life, biking/ebiking, and so on)?

                  It would be good to look at places where the current services are under-utilised and see what fee-free would do. Am thinking Dunedin would be a good place for a trial, and frequency has been an issue there too.

                  • Sacha

                    From the posts they have done over the years, improving PT network usage involves all the things you have mentioned. Genuine carbon pricing on car usage might help too. We do not have much time.

                    Dunedin would be a classic case where demand would be peaky around student timetables, given their proportion of the population. Would be great though to verify effects on overall travel behaviour of say making services frequent or free or capped.

            • Sabine 1.2.1.1.1.2

              Did you read further then that? Nope obviously not otherwise you would see that i did answer your points.

              And you simply gave various reasons as to 'why not' get "free" public transport. I would like to remind us all that we already paid for the infrastructure, the busses, and the busdrivers, and in AKL the town with subsidies to the services ot get a really shoddy hugely expensive service that is no competition to the car.

              Another way would be to allow public transport costs to be a write of against income tax paid. I mean contractors can write of their transport costs, businesses can, but workers can't. Go figure.

              Only to poor people? – define poor. – cue Hoskins, National and all others screaming about bludgers, future dole bludgers just to get a reduced ticket.

              Only with a wealth tax? – see Captial Gains Tax ……….and that is a wealth tax if ever there was one, and it only applies if you actually have something of value to sell, and sell it.

              And if you had read my first comment and understood it ( see everyone can play the game) you would have seen my point about

              Not to get people out of their cars who don't want to aka Hoskins and hte likes, but to get People into busses for whom private single use transport is still cheaper.

              As for peak hours? Goodness, 60 + cars per bus vs. one bus.

              So yeah, as you said, please actually read what is said, otherwise you are not discussing much, but only listing up reasons why stuff can't be done.

              .

              • Sacha

                I will happily let others here judge my knowledge of this topic compared with yours. Life is too short.

                • Sabine

                  Oh bless.

                • Molly

                  "I will happily let others here judge my knowledge of this topic compared with yours. Life is too short."

                  Your knowledge of transport may indeed be greater than mine or Sabine's. But this issue and the wider context, is what is under discussion, and your continued limited perspective makes a broader discussion difficult.

                  I took the time to look through the documents on your Twitter link on the Daily review post, and have seen the same limited perspectives provided as data. As interesting as they are, they have limited value if you are also looking at the impact on inequality, health, social returns, environment and as a transition project.

              • weka

                you're teaching your grandmother to suck eggs there Sabine.

                “but only listing up reasons why stuff can’t be done.”

                Sacha gave examples of ways that stuff could be done, so not sure what you mean there.

                • Sabine

                  Are you trying to insult me or my dead grandmothers?

                  Seriously? I shall remove my self from this thread, as obviously we don't discuss radical, we discuss how we can not have free public transport even if our dear lifes depend on it.

                  But then, maybe this is not for discussion, but only for personal gratification?

                  Bless. Seriously, Bless.

                  • weka

                    no, it's a phrase that basically means you're lecturing someone who is well informed on the subject.

                    I just wrote a radical post Sabine, the problem here isn't radical politics.

                    • I once got a message from a discussion board administrator saying a user had flagged one of my posts for offensive content, so she'd like to check with me exactly what i'd meant with "teaching grandma to suck eggs." I guess it's not immediately obvious what the analogy is.

                    • weka []

                      is it a kiwi expression?

                    • Stuart Munro.

                      It's in The Hobbit:

                      But suddenly Gollum remembered thieving from nests long ago, and sitting under the river bank teaching his grandmother, teaching his grandmother to suck – 'Eggses!' he hissed. 'Eggses it is!'

                    • weka []

                      brilliant! Tolkien’s sense of humour. So, English at least. Digging now, it’s early usage is in the 1700s.

                      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teaching_grandmother_to_suck_eggs

                      “I remember my old schoolmaster, who was a prodigious great scholar, used often to say, Polly matete cry town is my daskalon. The English of which, he told us, was, That a child may sometimes teach his grandmother to suck eggs”

                      This makes sense but additional sense too. The grandmother sucks eggs because she has no teeth and know how to do this, and the child is trying to teach her something she already knows and that is beyond the child’s experience.

                    • veutoviper

                      "Teach your grandmother to suck eggs" is a very old English expression believed to date back to about 1700. Used by Fielding in his "History of Tom Jones" in 1749 and then by Percy Bysshe Shelley in 1819, long before it appeared in The Hobbit.

                      Yes, this is a link to Wikipedia but it pretty much aligns with many other records of origin etc.

                      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teaching_grandmother_to_suck_eggs
                      Edit – Snap!

                    • Sacha

                      A dynamic as old as the hills. Sigh.

        • Molly 1.2.1.2

          Sacha, I replied to you on this topic a couple of weeks ago, and followed all your links about the downfalls of free to access public transport.

          My reply was that the links you provided, all looked at the context of increasing ridership, not the wider issues of income inequality, environmental benefits, transitional transport decisions, health, social connections and air quality etc.

          I also read Greater Auckland posts on this topic, and again they limit the benefits to transport ridership mostly.

          I agree with Sabine that the issue is wider than that.

          To avoid repetition the threads of discussion were started here:

          Open Mike 31 October 2019

          Daily Review – 31 October 2019 – where I replied to your comment regarding that thread, however, it was not picked up by you but by another commenter, Adam Ash.

          Reading your thread again, I see that despite not responding to comments made by myself or Sabine, you keep repeating your initial assertions. Could you at least take the time to consider what is being said in response to you? I have already posted about the difficulties and inequities of many of our services provided to those that are 'eligible', and instead of saying that you disagree and why – you have just ignored it. That is true for other points made about Public Transport.

          Not much of a discussion, really.

          • Sacha 1.2.1.2.1

            I have always agreed that fairer access to public transit benefits society and the environment.

            However, the point raised by both you and Sabine was specifically the notion of 'free fares' as a way of getting there. That has some evidence-based downsides and I thought it was worth sharing them here because they surprised me when I first encountered them.

            People who follow your first link to 31 October will see a discussion between us about that: https://thestandard.org.nz/open-mike-31-10-2019/#comment-1664070

            I added a relevant follow-up link to the same day's Review post and I had nothing to add to what you and Adam discussed there.

            • Molly 1.2.1.2.1.1

              Once again, you don't address the wider issues that have been raised. If we are discussing Free Public Transport in regards to increased ridership, then all your links and points are factual, but I am trying to get you to broaden the discussion to include positive impacts on other aspects.

              It was be great if the discussion you keep dismissing could then take place.

              For clarity, I'll repost my response to you from Daily Review 31 October 2019:

              Thanks, Sacha.

              A good read with many worthwhile points. I don't ever think we will have free public transport, but that would be my preference for – as I say – citizens of Aotearoa. I honestly don't think it would ever happen, but we don't even discuss seriously higher subsidies for fares at present. That would be a move in the right direction given that we now have to deal with the impact of significant developments happening in wider areas of Auckland, and people who are moving to those areas are invariably required to use private vehicles, either because services are unreliable or uneconomic, or the cost is too prohibitive to get them where they – and their families members need to go.

              However, it would also have be associated with better PT services in larger areas of Auckland, reinforcing one of the comments that PT is often better in well-resourced higher income areas, which I think is particularly true for Auckland.

              The free-ridership conclusions given in the study regarding the offset of change from walking-cycling modes, is only applicable in certain instances. Most areas in Auckland do not have active walking/cycling systems in place that are used, and walkers and cyclists – in particular – are often competing with vehicles to get places. We have a city built without consideration of limitations on land use, and the social benefits of walking, cycling, well-designed density and community spaces. Although, we can see the benefits of these things in other cities, we cannot adopt them with a foregone positive outcome. Our city has been built around cars, our social culture has been built around having people over, and sharing homes, not meeting in pubs, parks and other public spaces.

              I couldn't access all the studies on Free Transit that were linked. But it appears they only relate to ridership and costs. I consider it also needs to be put in context with a reduction in road building, which consistently divides communities in Auckland, and a reduction in air pollution – which is also a health concern for many Auckland residents. Alongside that, the issue of climate change means that even an increase of 10% means many of those people are not getting into vehicles that are likely fossil fuel vehicles. Those unable to afford to transit to low or non-emission vehicles may choose to take public transport despite the inconvenience because it is low-cost or free. As ridership increases, the culture and attitude towards using PT will slowly change.

              When I attended an event with Matt Lowry and (if IIRC – Chris Bishop), years ago talking about free public transport. They were very dismissive, citing similar polls and studies. But those polls where not in context with the inequality of incomes that was already glaringly obvious in Auckland households. Their assessment of the low cost of a single stage, ignored the fact that many who live in more affordable suburbs have to travel much further, and often have multiple family members traveling similar distances and so that takes a larger proportion of their disposable income.

              And now we have additional benefits that can be gained by increased ridership, that is not limited purely to transit. Both environment and social engagement will improve from well-designed accessible transport that allows a mass of individuals to shift to low emission transport without financial cost.

              Who’s On Board finds that the “captivity” of carless riders is severely overstated. People who live and work near better transit ride transit more often, whether or not they own cars.

              This is a particularly relevant point. Even if cost were excluded, the necessity is for good PT services. That is not present in many communities in Auckland, and it seems less and less prioritised as opposed to improving already existing and working services in Auckland.

              I read the fine print in one AT future planning document to see how they assess the priorities needs of different proposals. It stated that the initial list was created by recording requests or proposals from the public. I have a concern that this approach is what results in funding or priorities being given inequitably.

              12/ IMO every time someone who is physically able to ride transit and financially able to afford it uses transit (and overcrowds it) for free, it's an injustice to those who depend on it, who have no option but transit.

              I reiterate my previous point that I have concerns with how these equitable access schemes are designed. They can often work badly for a significant part of the community, and can still be accessible to those that can afford it.

              And remember, one more person riding on PT still increases the transition to low transport emissions and reduces the need for road building. Those aspects have value as well.

              Also long terms benefits are gained from more individuals in our community learning to use and value PT. This will make the desire to keep funding PT appropriately stronger within voters, and less likely to respond to dog-whistle campaigning about dropping costs. (Unfortunately, that may be a result that never happens, but it could)

              • Sacha

                What do you expect me to add? Transport, urban planning, social policy, and equity are huge topics.

                • Molly

                  Are we not discussing the wider implications of systems and infrastructure planning in regards to climate change?

                  At least respond to the point regarding equitable access schemes such as you have proposed, and which both Sabine & I have pointed out are often ineffective at helping those who need to be helped, and providing some with access that don't.

                  And then put your data in context within this wider discussion, and see if you can contemplate that the benefits may then justify something you continue to dismiss as per limited data.

                  • Sacha

                    Are we not discussing the wider implications of systems and infrastructure planning in regards to climate change?

                    You seem to be. I wasn't.

                    I have also not 'proposed' targeted access schemes, just acknowledged that they are already part of the policy landscape. Of course they can be unfair, just like not having them can be.

                    I would personally prefer universal free provision funded by steeply progressive wealth taxes, across more than just this example of public service and infrastructure. Let's see that approach promoted.

                  • weka

                    for those of us not in previous discussions, can you please give some examples of equitable access schemes?

                    • Molly

                      On the previous thread, Sacha had suggested free to access PT for younger and poorer individuals.

                      "I would love public transit to be free for our poorest and youngest – something like the Gold Gard. Also cheaper than increasing that 50% subsidy across the board. Nothing to stop govt doing it right away. "

                      I have concerns with this kind of targeted access, because while seemingly equitable, it often misses large cohorts of people. It also requires those who are not young, to publicly state that they are in a state of impoverishment in order to access. That will eliminate the proud, and often stigmatise the already discouraged.

                      According to the latest rates notice, we only subsidise AT to 42% of the cost of fares, not even the 50%, Sacha pointed out is the current legislated limit.

                      My reply at the time:

                      “”I would love public transit to be free for our poorest and youngest – something like the Gold Gard. “

                      My partner's father, who died at the age of 93, utilised his Gold Card to catch the bus, train, ferry to Devonport and then return for a days outing. The benefit he had from this in terms of mental and physical health was considerable. As a community, we also benefit from having our older citizens visible, engaged and active. However, he was financially well off.

                      Any assessment on suitability for discounts etc is often crude and badly managed. We don't measure income vs fixed outgoings, we just measure taxed incomes. I know a few people who live very comfortable lives including private schools for their children and long annual overseas trips that are entitled to community services cards or similar benefits because of the way their personal incomes are calculated. Until these designs get better, I would rather have a way for citizens to access lower fares and leave the higher fares for tourists and non-citizens. We used to have a discount card provided for access to our local swimming pools that was delivered once a year to all households in our district. It allows those that regularly contribute taxes on top of fares, a reduction in fares and recognises their contribution.

                      Nothing to stop govt doing it right away.

                      That's the saddest part.”

                      Also, in line with this is equitable access to regular, efficient services as one of Sacha’s previous links pointed out. I think this also needs to be prioritised when planning transport and transition projects. Some areas of Auckland already have good transport links, and instead of providing all areas with a basic good level of access, funding is continuing to improve services in well resourced areas. If finance is so tight, then we have to lift the game for the harder to provide for areas, else the transition from fossil fuels will hit even harder in those communities as costs rise, and improvements become harder to implement.

                    • weka []

                      “I have concerns with this kind of targeted access, because while seemingly equitable, it often misses large cohorts of people.”

                      Do you mean cohorts within the targeted group? Eg if the target is CSC holders, then a chunk of those get missed? Can you give some examples?

                    • Molly

                      On a different note, following a previous discussion regarding Extinction Rebellion, one of the co-founders, Roger Hallam, has written a book, Common Sense for the 21st Century, which Chris Hedges has reviewed on Truthdig.

                      "… Hallam, who has long been a part of the environmental movement, says of his past activism: “I was wasting my time.”

                      We must reduce carbon emissions by 40% in the next 12 years to have a 50% chance of avoiding catastrophe, according to a report last year by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

                      But the ruling elites, as expected, ignored the warning or mouthed empty platitudes. CO2 emissions increased by 1.6% in 2017 and by 2.7% in 2018. Carbon dioxide levels went up by 3.5 parts per million (ppm) last year, reaching 415 ppm. We are only a decade away, Hallam warns, from 450 ppm, the level equivalent to a 2-degree Celsius average temperature rise.

                      “Let’s be frank about what ‘catastrophe’ actually means in this context,” Hallam writes. “We are looking here at the slow and agonizing suffering and death of billions of people. A moral analysis might go like this: one recent scientific opinion stated that at 5°C above the pre-industrial mean temperature, we are looking at an ecological system capable of sustaining just one billion people. That means 6-7 billion people will have died within the next generation or two. Even if this figure is wrong by 90%, that means 600 million people face starvation and death in the next 40 years. This is 12 times worse than the death toll (civilians and soldiers) of World War Two and many times the death toll of every genocide known to history. It is 12 times worse than the horror of Nazism and Fascism in the 20th century. This is what our genocidal governments around the world are willingly allowing to happen…"

                      The book is available online for around $10 – $15 NZD.

                    • weka []

                      I think Hallam’s perspectives are really useful, but some of his tactics for raising the alarm are questionable. He’s currently getting told off inside and outside XR for running some controversial lines about the Holocaust in an interview with a German journalist. It’s unclear if he was stupid, or if it was intentional to get attention for the cause. I’m guessing the latter. I get his sense of urgency, but his tendency to ignore what his colleagues are saying and doing is troubling. Possibly he’s just going to run it as far as he can because he feels like there is nothing left to lose.

  2. adam 2

    Good post weka.

    My only disagreement is thinking current power structures can change under pressure from the people who live here. The corruption is to deep and embedded in how they operate – the whole affair around NZ1st, is just another good example of this.

    There are people working on parallel systems of governance, but we are tiny.

    More people have to take up leadership roles and start doing more. Speaking of leadership, people really need to learn to stand down from leadership roles as well. We are in desperate need of talent and skill to rise to the top for certain issues and problems – and for them to then step aside to let someone else take on the roll of leadership when it's a different event/issue/problem.

    • weka 2.1

      Thanks adam. The current power structures one is tricky. I think it's possibly going to become more entrenched as pressure increases and there is a real risk of NZ tipping into authoritarianism eg if we had a hard crash when National are in power. I see them as basically setting the scene for that. That we are acclimatising to the corruption is truly worrying.

      I still believe that the pressure from outside parliament can work in our favour. Our best chance as far as I can see is to do what you are doing, build and practice other governance systems, so that when the current one falls apart or enough people are willing to change out of urgency, there will be working models in place. Transition and permaculture are working on this too, and we're really luck in NZ with indigenous models. I'm aware there are other models I'm less familiar with (maybe what you are doing?). Biggest thing for me in all that is how to build relationships across difference.

      • Graeme 2.1.1

        if we had a hard crash when National are in power

        Once things get nasty maintaining our independence will become really hard and authoritarian threats could be arriving on our shores. Apart from a few in our community, from any political persuasions, who will try and profit from this, I doubt any New Zealander will take kindly to being told what to do.

        Our good 'ol faarmers aren't taking kindly to being asked to do something about their livestock going about their daily business, how are they going to react to an outside power moving in, laying down the law and subjugating the place.

        Nationals authoritarian excursion under Muldoon was dealt with as much within the Party, by Waring and supporters, as at the ballot in 1984. My recollection of that time wasn't vilification of Waring, but bye Rob.

        We'll all muck in and try and make the best of what will be a pretty nasty situation.

        It's how we deal with, and are changed by the massive wave of immigrants who will try and get here, if they are still able to.

        • weka 2.1.1.1

          While I think that is also possible, I wish I were this optimistic. Unfortunately I've lived in some of the more conservative parts of NZ and can spot a mile away the ones who will be kind and work with others, and the ones who will go for authoritarianism. Whether the former will be followed I don't know, there is definitely a tendency in some humans to become more conservative and seek an authority to rely on when they are scared. I don't think less conservative communities are immune to this, I just think it's more visible in conservative ones. Mostly I think it depends on how much damage National do to NZ society in the meantime via dirty politics and cultivating MAGA culture here.

          Also going to point out that for women, the situation often looks very different. I can also spot the men who are genuinely supportive of women, vs the sexists and misogynists. Again, this is more visible in conservative communities.

  3. WeTheBleeple 3

    It is my not so humble opinion we need to approach each problem holistically and stop getting hung up on cost when the alternative will cost us life as we know it. But also, when you look beyond the tunnel vision of economists, you may find a lot of savings.

    Free transport reduces road wear and tear and thus maintenance. It reduces pollution which is hugely important. It reduces air pollution and soil pollution and waterway pollution. It reduces the consumption of rubber, plastic, petrol, steel… Free transport reduces traffic congestion potentially raising productivity. It reduces land used for parking and adding roads to more roads to connecting roads… It reduces road rage. Free transport reduces the heavy burden many families face just keeping their family fed. It reduces accidents and thus demand on ambulances, staff, hospitals, medicines, after-care therapy and rehabilitation. Free transport reduces drunk driving, drug driving and shitty driving.

    But it also reduces the incomes of industrialists. That's where the resistance really comes from.

    • Molly 3.1

      I agree. A holistic approach often reveals benefits that elude narrower perspectives.

      " But it also reduces the incomes of industrialists. That's where the resistance really comes from. "

      Yes, more's the pity that we don’t realise this and ignore it.

    • Formerly Ross 3.2

      Free transport reduces traffic congestion potentially raising productivity. It reduces land used for parking and adding roads to more roads to connecting roads… It reduces road rage. Free transport reduces the heavy burden many families face just keeping their family fed. It reduces accidents and thus demand on ambulances, staff, hospitals, medicines, after-care therapy and rehabilitation. Free transport reduces drunk driving, drug driving and shitty driving.

      Well, you're assuming it does all of those things. And maybe you're right. But if the reductions are small, then it may be debatable whether the benefits outweigh the costs. By the way, I’m not sure how reducing road rage will reduce the negative effects of climate change, or indeed will have any effect on climate change. 🙂

    • weka 3.3

      "It is my not so humble opinion we need to approach each problem holistically and stop getting hung up on cost when the alternative will cost us life as we know it."

      This is the big one for me. We desperately need more systems thinking and taking our cues from nature (eg biomimicry, not reactivity). When we start designing a climate change society, it will be because we are working with the interconnected nature of things. eg public transport is connected to relocalising communities and relocalising food supples, which drops GHGs in a number of ways and builds resiliency because the connections are stabilised.

  4. R.P Mcmurphy 4

    nothing special about humans. just advanced pondscum is all.

    the next generation is going to have to figure all this shit out for themselves if they want to persist.

  5. Robert Guyton 5

    In any case; pondscum? You mean, algae; beautiful, entire, elegant, green…and so on..is that what you mean, R.P.?

    • WeTheBleeple 5.1

      Pondscum revolution!

      Should public transportation be taken up by the bulk of 9-5'ers, roads will be considerably less congested allowing ease of access for goods and service people. All of a sudden a town is more efficient, the loss of 'road rage' rejuvenating a workforce well and truly over sitting in traffic jams each day. Time is freed up where, instead of staring at bumpers while willing them to move: one can read, do emails, have a snooze or just meditate and breathe a little as they travel. I've thought of an app that uses GPS to alert you when you're nearly at work/home. That'll remove the requirement of having to keep one eye on the route for your stop as you use public transport. Somebody clever feel free to steal use my idea and make that app.

      It would be interesting to know theoretical vs actual travel times for tradies trying to get around Auckland on any given day. Especially those whose actual time per job is relatively short – so the need to travel is frequent. I'd hazard a guess a large portion of your bills for goods and services are factored in due to appalling traffic.

      At night as I walk home from shows the roads are silent. There are cars out there but they are all electric. The taxis and ubers, a few delivery drivers, silently gliding around. Those whose vocations rely on transport consistently will testify to the cost effectiveness of going electric, despite the naysayers in their SUV's. It is like a different world – the quiet and the clean air. In contrast to only hours previous – all din and fumes and traffic.

      Without a vocation relying on transport where a vehicle becomes an asset, cars are a huge expense. Business people can use them to write off income – GST returned, depreciation, running costs… The poor worker drones get no such free ride. They pay for petrol, licencing, WOF, maintenance, insurance – all after tax. Just to get to work to pay for the car to get to work (and one would hope rent food and some semblance of dignity).

      It's not hard to find what could be profound improvements to many facets of life merely by doing things cooperatively. But that's commie talk, or some other horseshit spouted by SUV sucking boomers who we're simply tired of listening to.

      I don't think consumption has to end, but the way we consume needs to change. I grow my food because food that's been on a world tour is ridiculous. I also suggest a shorter working week to allow people time to garden, recycle, cook and other such activities that lend pride and accomplishment in the simple acts of self care and earth care.

      So we're not hungry or stranded life goes on but we just get smarter instead of stupider, for a change.

      • weka 5.1.1

        More commie talk (or anarcho), retrofit the suburbs so that more people can work, generate income, socialise, grow food in their own neighbourhood. A plumber in every suburb. Grocer too, people can sell their excess produce. Hens eggs at the gate. Zero waste becomes achieveable.

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