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How To Get There 16/6/19

Written By: - Date published: 7:00 am, June 16th, 2019 - 68 comments
Categories: Deep stuff - Tags:


This post is a place for positive discussion of the future.

An Open Mike for ideas, solutions and the discussion of the possible.

The Big Picture, rather than a snapshot of the day’s goings on. Topics rather than topical.

We’d like to think it’s success will be measured in the quality of comments rather than the quantity.

So have at it!

Let us know what you think …

68 comments on “How To Get There 16/6/19 ”

  1. Robert Guyton 1

    53% of New Zealanders support the declaration of a climate emergency:

    Pacifica people living in New Zealand support the declaration of a climate emergency.

    I wonder why?

    European New Zealanders, 55 years and over who vote for The National Party, oppose the declaration of a climate emergency.

    I wonder why?

  2. Robert Guyton 2

    “It's time for NZ to declare a climate emergency, majority of Kiwis say in new poll”


    Those who were more likely to be against were National Party supporters, men aged 55 and over and New Zealand Europeans. “

  3. Robert Guyton 3

    Too soon to declare a climate emergency, do you think?

    Sure, our glaciers are melting, but our forests aren't burning as they did in so many countries last summer and our people aren't dying from heatwaves, as they did in Japan.

    Why the rush??

  4. Robert Guyton 4

    What can you do?

  5. Robert Guyton 5

    I stumbled upon this thing called, "Facebook"; mostly dross, but David Attenborough was there, sounding hopeful.

  6. Robert Guyton 6

    It's the little things…

  7. Dennis Frank 7

    The Leunig cartoon sends the wrong message in our current geopolitical context. To survive climate change, tribalism, nationalism, religious wars etc, we must realise that the solitary path is mere escapism. I'm as typical as any other individualist: being a loner is my default position, since family & society alienated me in my 1950s childhood.

    But I learnt how to work constructively with others, so now I alternate. Since the culture of individualism was deliberately constructed by the advertising industry in the USA to sell more products via niche marketing after WWII, everyone has morphed into consumers, and the collectivist ethos that prevailed prior has to transform into a modus operandi of collaboration to enable collective survival. Everyone must learn to alternate between doing their own thing and spending time in community resilience development. This walk & chew gum simultaneously praxis goes against our basic nature (selfishness) so it will take time to incorporate. Start now!

    • Robert Guyton 7.1

      Your assessment of the "culture of individualism" is a fair one, Dennis and your suggestion we spend time in community resilience a good one, only I challenge your claim that our basic nature is selfishness. Even back in our primate days, we operated collectively. Selfishness is a modern, civilised disease, in my opinion. Leunig's cartoon perhaps captures the truth that despite the value of shared community, when it comes to the crunch, each individual human makes individual choices and ultimately faces life's biggest challenges alone. This is not a bad thing; taking responsibility, making your own choice and accepting responsibility when you do, is a necessary part of being a conscious human, imo.

      • Dennis Frank 7.1.1

        Yes, evolution did wire us with collaborative skills. The challenge of our times is to get these to re-emerge. We must get them into play again. Cultural overlays are unfortunately determinate of the future due to their collective power and authority – the regime in China is exemplary of the effect, yet our own indoctrination is no less determinate – just more subtle!

        As someone whose bad karma produced a career making television commercials, I must own some responsibility for being a (secret) agent. Jumping into that from the counter-culture seemed clever at the time (change the establishment from within) but even someone adept at manipulation has minimal effect on a powerful adversary. A team of such people is required. No man is an island. A team can grow into a network, and then a mass movement…

        • Robert Guyton

          Consciously constructed networks, Dennis, or spontaneously forming networks, morphically resonating?

          • Dennis Frank

            Thirty years ago I envisaged the latter, Robert. Failure of that option to kick in has had me pondering why, in the interim. I've done plenty of reading to partially inform me as to the nature of the conundrum. I've got oodles of photocopies of key points, marginal notations to specify them, and still no time to get them online – but we can only do what's possible, eh?

            So I advocate the former option now. People learn by doing. They will learn collective survival if they start doing it. They just need to make the start!

            • Robert Guyton

              Did you factor-in delay, Dennis? Yearning for results often leads to frustration; perhaps the effect is beginning now; tipping points, natural junctures, etc.

              That said, it's action stations alright, for those who see the path forward clearly. There are some basic, failsafe ways forward, such as (in my opinion) "re-acquaint yourself with non-human beings; trees, birds etc", spend time in reflective contemplation (again, imo). I'm happy to have those two "suggestions" challenged, if there are those who disagree or priorities differently. Other actions; buying an electric car, touring the country in a camper van rather than flying overseas, are subject to more uncertainty and less useful as a focus at this point, I think. The field of human endeavour is huge and it's important at this time to address the basics, do you think? Perhaps you'd or anyone'd like to list those here, as a springboard for today's discussion.

              • Dennis Frank

                I've done (and/or am doing) all those, but such ways of being Green are options for individuals. Great to see them becoming part of the mainstream nowadays but such individualism doesn't amount collectively to more than a `muddle through the middle'.

                As the UN-led response to climate change turned out to be! So, to keep ahead, we need to focus on tighter collaboration. The Greens have gotten so mainstream it's hard to see them as the vanguard of progress any more. That's why I've been signalling the necessity for an alternative political movement to enter public life unconstrained by representative democracy.

                • Robert Guyton

                  "an alternative political movement to enter public life unconstrained by representative democracy."

                  Because "the people" aren't up to the job?

                  • Dennis Frank

                    History has proven the point. Democracy has brought climate change upon us, by failing to provide deterrence.

                    • Robert Guyton

                      Well, democracy hasn't yet solved the challenge of climate change, but we could argue about the cause a bit, I imagine: agriculture brought climate change upon us…patriarchy bought climate change upon us…love of Mammon brought climate change upon us…

                • greywarshark

                  Really interesting discussion and important.

                  Individuals might get their message noticed, but a group thinking about it and beating it into a workable shape while maintaining the ethos is essential I think.

                  I remember the name of Leibniz and his wide reach of thought in a number of disciplines. Reading his thinking it seems that in the 1700's our present perturbations were being considered and explained. Except that Brexit-type of leaders rushing off to do something clever that would be to their advantage has been a constant and we have been unable to all learn how to think intelligently combining practicality, imagination and foresight into our natures, addiction to excess, and emotionalism and rationalisation.


                  With the possible exception of Marcus Aurelius, no philosopher has ever had as much experience with practical affairs of state as Leibniz. Leibniz's writings on law, ethics, and politics[152] were long overlooked by English-speaking scholars, but this has changed of late.[153]

                  While Leibniz was no apologist for absolute monarchy like Hobbes, or for tyranny in any form, neither did he echo the political and constitutional views of his contemporary John Locke, views invoked in support of liberalism, in 18th-century America and later elsewhere. The following excerpt from a 1695 letter to Baron J. C. Boyneburg's son Philipp is very revealing of Leibniz's political sentiments:

                  As for … the great question of the power of sovereigns and the obedience their peoples owe them, I usually say that it would be good for princes to be persuaded that their people have the right to resist them, and for the people, on the other hand, to be persuaded to obey them passively. I am, however, quite of the opinion of Grotius, that one ought to obey as a rule, the evil of revolution being greater beyond comparison than the evils causing it. Yet I recognize that a prince can go to such excess, and place the well-being of the state in such danger, that the obligation to endure ceases. This is most rare, however, and the theologian who authorizes violence under this pretext should take care against excess; excess being infinitely more dangerous than deficiency.[154]

                  In 1677, Leibniz called for a European confederation, governed by a council or senate, whose members would represent entire nations and would be free to vote their consciences;[155] this is sometimes considered an anticipation of the European Union. He believed that Europe would adopt a uniform religion. He reiterated these proposals in 1715.

                  But at the same time, he arrived to propose an interreligious and multicultural project to create a universal system of justice, which required from him a broad interdisciplinary perspective. In order to propose it, he combined linguistics, especially sinology, moral and law philosophy, management, economics, and politics

                  And note that a smart-arse called Voltaire (which was a pseudonym!) managed to capture the public's fickle interest and Voltaire shredded Leibniz's reputation. He could be said to have crucified him, which is I know an excessive description, but the public chose to sideline him and his immense body of work and thought, and chose the thief of his reputation.)

                  Leibnizstrasse street sign Berlin

                  When Leibniz died, his reputation was in decline. He was remembered for only one book, the Théodicée,[163] whose supposed central argument Voltaire lampooned in his popular book Candide, which concludes with the character Candide saying, “Non liquet” (it is not clear), a term that was applied during the Roman Republic to a legal verdict of "not proven". Voltaire's depiction of Leibniz's ideas was so influential that many believed it to be an accurate description. Thus Voltaire and his Candide bear some of the blame for the lingering failure to appreciate and understand Leibniz's ideas. Leibniz had an ardent disciple, Christian Wolff, whose dogmatic and facile outlook did Leibniz's reputation much harm. He also influenced David Hume who read his Théodicée and used some of his ideas.[164] In any event, philosophical fashion was moving away from the rationalism and system building of the 17th century, of which Leibniz had been such an ardent proponent. His work on law, diplomacy, and history was seen as of ephemeral interest. The vastness and richness of his correspondence went unrecognized.

                  Much of Europe came to doubt that Leibniz had discovered calculus independently of Newton, and hence his whole work in mathematics and physics was neglected. Voltaire, an admirer of Newton, also wrote Candide at least in part to discredit Leibniz's claim to having discovered calculus and Leibniz's charge that Newton's theory of universal gravitation was incorrect. (Note wikipedia comment – Citation needed.)

                  (…'an ardent disciple, Christian Wolff, whose dogmatic and facile outlook did Leibniz's reputation much harm.') We know well those with a dogmatic and facile outlook from their regular forays on this blog and i don't take them lightly for the reasons above.

                  • Dennis Frank

                    I've read that he did invent calculus independently, in scientific texts, so revisionism seems to have rectified the bias. But I like this bit:

                    an interreligious and multicultural project to create a universal system of justice, which required from him a broad interdisciplinary perspective. In order to propose it, he combined linguistics, especially sinology, moral and law philosophy, management, economics, and politics

                    Quite the renaissance man (if a little late) and significant precursor to nlightenment culture, eh? We still lack a universal justice system, of course. His eurocentric view of it would require transcendence. Our wrestling with implementation of maori justice illuminates that!

  8. Dennis Frank 8

    Using online tech, we can crowdsource design expertise to facilitate collaboration. In The Knowledge Illusion: Why We Never Think Alone, the authors develop understanding of how we ought to become aware of the social context of thought.

    "Crowdsourcing has been much ballyhoed in the business world. It is typically invoked to explain the success of sites like Wikipedia." "Crowdsourcing is actually a primitive method of employing the community of knowledge compared to what's on the horizon. Web developers are just beginning to develop applications that allow communities to form dynamically to solve specific problems. The idea of these applications is to make collaboration simple be allowing teams of expert from around the world to come together temporarily to work on specific projects."

    We need not wait for experts to solve the problem of collective survival. Anyone with the capacity for self-transformation & transcendence is a potential contributor. Those with practical know-how, with a track record of being successful problem-solvers, will function as catalysts if they can communicate & liaise effectively as well.

    All it takes is for commentators here to abandon their posture of armchair-bound irrelevance. Not intended as a personal criticism, that – just pointing to the nature of blogging, and the psychology of impotence that it induces in potential activists…

    • Robert Guyton 8.1

      Is there any reason a blog, or rather a thread on a blog, can't serve as an application that allows a communitie to form dynamically to solve specific problems?

      • Dennis Frank 8.1.1

        Yes/no. In principle, no. In practice, yes. Non-local communities form on the basis of perceived common interest. Leave it tacit, the outcome generated on the mere perception of the merit of discussing options is a tenuous vision of possibilities.

        To get results in the real world, agreement on goals usually becomes specific, as in word-formulation, and ends up in a plan. Plans then form the basis for action. Strategy emerges from the plan via agreement on how/where to focus energy. Tactics then emerge when teams cohere to implement strategy.

        If you get a sense of organic process in this, you're on the right track! Now you, Robert, as a participant in local government processes, will already be familiar with the psychodynamics of community working together. Most commentators here have not declared such experiential expertise, have they? Apart from you & I, I doubt any other contributor has mentioned any prior political experience. Doers have a different attitude to commentators – more proactive. So there's a selection process crucial to sort out the productive contributor from the irrelevant commentator, right?

        • Incognito

          I’m not sure I’m following all this. I’d have thought that many people “will already be familiar with the psychodynamics of community working together” and have “such experiential expertise” although they might not see it as “any prior political experience” and thus not mention or “declare” it as such. It sounds like school community, work environment, sports club, etc., do not fall in your prescribed (?) category!? It follows from this that if there’s a selection process at work it is one of self-selection based on perception rather than ‘credentials’. In any case, to get collective traction requires a kernel, a catalyst, and an organiser to coalesce the individual efforts (actions) into a collective one. This is where a blog can be useful but not sufficient.

          • Robert Guyton

            I reckon. Are those kernels born or built, do you think? Does it only happen, this collective traction, around a "natural" at times that are propitious?

            So far as the value of this blog is concerned, we should remember that a number of people who post here are also leading projects in the wider-world and living their everyday lives in ways they describe here, so a blog, this thread in particular, isn't a dislocated organ for ivory-tower dwellers to pontificate on, I like to think smiley

            • Incognito

              Good questions to which I can only provide tentative answers or musings rather.

              In times of (desperate) need, people do step up seemingly coming from nowhere (is Ardern an example?). It comes from necessity that may not even be articulated yet. The right time, the right place, the right person (team) – cometh the hour, cometh the man.

              How exactly this happens is unclear and may seem magical and mythical. Indeed, some kind of “psychic osmosis” may create conditions for serendipity and synchronicity. If one assumes some kind of collective unconscious (Jung) then these phenomena may start to make (more) sense and even become expected.

              This also goes some way towards answering your first question as to whether those kernels are born or built. It is both and neither. There has to be a readiness, willingness, and open-mind so that when the seed hits the fertile soil, it can germinate if the conditions are not just permissible but right or better, optimal.

              Where does the seed come from? Who or what created the optimal conditions? Et cetera.

              I fully agree with your notion that commenters here lead interesting and meaningful lives in the real world. However, what might seem like pontification to one might be heartfelt thoughts to another. We cannot know or assume what or who is behind the comment and often comments are misconstrued …

          • Dennis Frank

            Such experiences of working together in communal contexts are indeed relevant. But yes, insofar as I have a prescription in mind, it derives from the necessity to collaborate for collective survival. People who have a track record of administering the status quo in collective contexts are more likely to be part of the problem than part of the solution. Belief systems normalise believers.

            When the survival of humanity depends on collective transcendence of the status quo, these comfortable mainstreamers take refuge in denial of the challenge. Been watching that shit since forever, it often seems. devil

            • Robert Guyton

              "the necessity to collaborate for collective survival"


              "…the survival of humanity depends on collective transcendence of the status quo…"

              Agreed, if by status quo you mean the civilization/agricultural etc. culture we are immersed in. Collectively transcending; you mean all and every human? Our just a percentage?
              Edit: But yes, ” these comfortable mainstreamers take refuge in denial of the challenge. ”
              Sounds like my council and the issue of declaring climate emergency.

              • Dennis Frank

                Collectively transcending; you mean all and every human? Our just a percentage?

                Good question! The way I saw the avante garde operating in the sixties was as a subculture that transformed mainstream culture via infusion. In the seventies the counter-culture did likewise.

                Then we got neoliberalism. An elitist project, driven top-down by the global elites, using local politicians as operational agents.

                To answer your question, consider the commonality underlying all three examples: a relatively small group, spreading influence via a kind of psychic osmosis. People buying into the new way as soon as benefits looked desirable enough. Contagion escalates the trend.

                • Robert Guyton

                  "a relatively small group, spreading influence via a kind of psychic osmosis. People buying into the new way as soon as benefits looked desirable enough. Contagion escalates the trend."

                  Right! Let's do it!


      • Sacha 8.1.2

        We need more than general chat to create collective action. Which is not to say the old ways are all there is.

        • Janet

          Yes pragmatism has been generally lacking on this comment spot. Most of the population don,t know where or how to practically start making their difference towards helping the climate change. Many still do not even believe there is a need to start. Nuts and bolts – simple lists – what happens if we don,t and what happens if we do … Identifying and broadcasting the simple every day changes we can easily make in the way we live these days is the place to start. Then you start to build awareness and some thirst for more knowledge – hopefully.

          • Robert Guyton

            "Many still do not even believe there is a need to start."

            I think that's the reason for "philosophical" focus here, Janet. As far as practical advice is concerned, there has been a great deal of that in the field of food production and land management, along with occasional forays into energy, transport etc, but in my experience interest gets lost in an avalanche if detail and challenges to those ideas. To me, it's important to establish first-principles, at the same time garnishing the discussion with practical tips; do you have some of those yourself? We're all ears!

            • Janet

              I have previously presented some practical beginning steps on this site. Maybe you should start and permanently hold a list on "How to get There" that people can read and add to.

              I spent 7 months last year sailing through Indonesia and the rubbish filled currents of the Malacca Straits off Malaysia. I must say that I felt the somewhat intense focus in NZ to mitigate Climate change was a bit pointless unless countries like those were also doing their bit. In fact I do despair because what ever we do in NZ will be a drop in the ocean in view of what needs doing out there right now.

              • Robert Guyton

                Overwhelming, isn't it. Avoiding that is the primary aim for each of us.

  9. Robert Guyton 9

    The process you describe; "agreement on goals usually becomes specific, as in word-formulation, and ends up in a plan. Plans then form the basis for action. Strategy emerges from the plan via agreement on how/where to focus energy. Tactics then emerge when teams cohere to implement strategy." sounds very civilised. My view is different; storytelling is everything; ring your bell, your tempered bell, and send it out into the ether where it will set other people's bells ringing at your frequency; theirs in turn, carry the sound further and further, each bell slightly altering the sound, enriching and tuning it to produce a harmonic. You'll need ears to receive the resulting music, unless you have an especially sensitive heart, and the ability to convert what you hear into words and action.

    Perhaps we're saying the same thing, Dennis. Mine sounds airy-faerie, perhaps, while yours sounds corporate to me.

    • Dennis Frank 9.1

      Yeah, a complementary frame does apply. Your musical approach seems to correlate precisely with how the Green movement originated in '68 (primarily manifesting in songs, catalysed by psychedelics) and the random flow it developed through the seventies.

      I agree it's the best way for a culture to spread through the masses. However, political organisation is necessary to provide the spearhead of progress. Corporate only insofar as a body corporate is a social organism – design for organic flow as operational process rather than structure (which induces stasis).

    • Dennis Frank 9.2

      Incidentally the book I've been quoting has this story indexed under collaboration, and it makes music the key: "What made the Beatles great is that John was introduced to Paul on July 6, 1957, in St Peter's Church in Liverpool, England, just before John was about to go onstage with his band the Quarrymen. It was because of this meeting that they started to work together, and it was their working together alongside George and Ringo that made the Beatles legendary. That great creative spirit that changed popular culture emerged from their interaction, not from their individual contributions."

      So the thing to learn is that group alchemy is the key. Music catalysed it. Lennon must have already known that his current band lacked magic, because he dropped them. Gotta have the right people!!

      In regard to an alternative political movement, same logic applies. The synergy and catalytic effect (magic) happen only if the right people combine, in the right design, with the right attitude, and do what the situation requires: the right actions.

      • Robert Guyton 9.2.1

        Finding the "right" people then, is important; how will someone know you are the right fit? Paul and John didn't meet at a football game; they had identified their field of interest and had followed their independent paths, meeting at the right place at the right time; serendipity? co-incidence? chance?,

        • Dennis Frank

          More good questions. We know if someone fits once we have sufficient experience of their participation. This is emotional intelligence at work, eh? Feels right, or not.

          Serendipidity, yes. Synchronicity too, I suspect. A collective challenge ought, in principle, produce respondents who rise to meet that challenge. That said, time is testing for all. Other demands on our time will often intervene.

          One viable approach to sort out the contributors to the dilettante commentators is to request a commitment in principle to the process, and another is to request description of skill-set, and/or citation of track record of past experience achieving communal goals, task-force results, or team victories.

          As a part-time dilettante commentator, I must acknowledge that both/and logic applies! Just pointing out that the current situation merely provides consciousness-raising. To get results, a stronger communal ethos must develop.

          • Robert Guyton

            So, what do you suggest; a contract, a commitment, a scrap of crinkled parchment, signed in blood (my preference)?

            • Dennis Frank

              First requirement is for a team to form. To do so, there must be a task set, to motivate the joining. Time is valuable – only those willing to invest their time in the enterprise are the right members. They make the choice depending on if they accept the task as essential to their purpose in life.

              For me, it happened in 1968, and I was extremely unwilling! It was my first year at university and I was still a traumatised Holden Caulfield type of introvert (Catcher in the Rye). I've described the feeling onsite here before: just like the bell of doom tolled in my head. I'd just finished reading a two-page spread of investigative journalism in one of our student newspapers, about how agribusiness was poisoning the soil in the USA. I just knew I had to accept the message, despite being totally powerless to do anything.

              They call this kind of internal experience a calling. Like the world calls you to attempt a task, even if you hate the idea. Thus half a century in the Green movement!!

              So the joining has to be a serious personal commitment. That said, I'm reluctant to impose it as a requirement. Some folks just want to help a bit around the fringes, eh? Must not deter them.

              A core group could form spontaneously, as you suggested earlier. That would be optimal. They'd need to self-select into dedication to the task, and afterwards, as per identity politics, self-identify as a member of the team dedicated to the task. Which raises the question of how to frame the task – topic for next week maybe, or whenever the time is right…

              • Robert Guyton

                I see a sifting process; imagine a shaking container filled with marbles of every size. The base is mesh, interchangeable and regularly changing. After some time, only 3 marbles are left, having survived the great sorting. They have much in common. The mesh represents issues of all sorts. Getting the container filled with marbles is the first challenge, followed by arranging for the many mesh-changes, plus the shaking. Once your team has formed, stop the shaking otherwise they'll be too rattled to do anything worthwhile.

                Actually, my analogy is poor; the three must have been the biggest and could have recognised each other at the beginning of the process and avoided all the agitation. The thing about models like mine is they're usually useless smiley

  10. Robert Guyton 10

    "political organisation is necessary to provide the spearhead of progress."

    Is it?

    Or is it a barrier to progress. I'm intrigued that you used a war-image, "spearhead" to describe the action of a political organisation. It counts against the proposal, imo, but doesn't discount it altogether; it's just a point of interest. Did archaic cultures, such as shamanistic tribal communities have political organisations? They seem to have thrived for millennia; perhaps their systems are a better mode for us to follow. I suspect a reverence for the numinous was key to them, as it must be for ours, but presently isn't; something I believe we should be focussed on now at this late juncture.

    • Dennis Frank 10.1

      Yes, spearhead refers to the effect of vanguard (opposite of rearguard). Avante garde is the cultural equivalent. Progress requires a leading edge!

      To make the imagery natural, think of the wave in relation to the sea. Momentum of the whole produces the thrust forward, so the molecules at the crest of the wave have been holistically selected to lead the way forward. Metaphors are a stretch, but self-selected leaders of progressive movements can be seen to fail regularly due to selfishness (narcissism), being out of synch with followers or the zeitgeist, so only those in the right place at the right time stand a chance of success. Even then they must be adept in surfing the wave!

      Re your question, the general picture I get is that a dual leadership structure tended to evolve. The ruler operated in tandem with the shaman. The latter mediated between social reality and the cosmos (and/or underworld), which evolved into religious authority structures. Sometimes the combination priest-king happened (for instance, Tibet). Governance therefore can be likened to biology – left brain & right brain combined, left & right operating in unison for the benefit of the whole.

      • Robert Guyton 10.1.1

        "which evolved into religious authority structures. "

        That's where we went wrong.

  11. Dennis Frank 11

    In The Knowledge Illusion: Why We Never Think Alone, there's this example of how teams operating in non-local communal contexts generate world-changing outcomes:

    "One indication of this trend toward larger and more diverse communities is that the average number of authors on published journal articles has not only grown but has increased at an astounding rate. MEDLINE is a database of millions of published papers in the biomedical sciences. The average number of authors per article has nearly quadrupled from about 1.5 in 1950 to almost 5.5 in 2014. This means that the average publication today requires the effort and expertise of almost 6 scientists. Like so many other disciplines, the community of science operates via teamwork."

    Note that consensus is implicit: each scientist involved in each paper must agree to the wording. The email trail must document such agreement. Only examination of that trail can confirm the consensus, to make it explicit. Scientific culture takes the praxis for granted – failure to conform produces scandal & notoriety, so the culture is effective as a constraint against bending the rule.

    So the model works as a prototype for transcending representative democracy: as long as participants conform to the ethos & praxis of achieving consensus, a group agreement is produced as output. The resulting political position can then be presented to the public via the media.

    • Incognito 11.1

      The pressure to publish is much higher now, I reckon. Anybody can claim a minor contribution to a scientific paper and they do, in fact. To assume that this implies a thorough process of reaching consensus is naive. For example, one nasty habit is to add the academic head as co-author because that adds mana to the paper and the head may feel a right to it. One glossary read is enough to then claim that they had input in the writing and/or editing of the paper. Scientific publication is as cynical as any other human collective endeavour where careers and prestige are at stake.

      • Dennis Frank 11.1.1

        Ha! Yeah, I'm aware of the dark side of that context, so must acknowledge your point. It's a perception/reality thing, eh? I was talking up the perception side since that creates communal expectations and ideal praxis. Insofar as majority behaviour creates cultural norms, and pressure creates deviance as you mention, and politics is a numbers game, the majority will tend to produce political outcomes regardless of those who game the system.

      • Poission 11.1.2

        the pressure to publish is reflected on scientific stagnation due to lack of ideas.

        Being busy needs to be visible, and deep thinking is not. Academia has largely become a small-idea factory. Rewarded for publishing more frequently, we search for “minimum publishable units.”


        • Incognito

          Yes, being largely risk-averse has become the new norm in academia – quantity has become the new quality. In addition, journals want to squeeze as many articles into an issue or volume as possible and stipulate narrow page and/or word limits. This makes less sense now they’re moving away from hardcopies. All is not well in academia and scientific publishing in particular.

          Thanks for the link. I’ll read it later; it looks interesting.

  12. Stuart Munro. 12

    There are really multiple issues that need to be addressed at different levels. The success in plastic bag reduction in supermarkets ought reasonably to lead to paper bags in produce sections where currently single use plastics remain, and discouragement of tray + plastic cover presentation. Though individuals may use their own bags, the size of the corporates involved makes a regulatory nudge a productive way to proceed.

    Self-sufficiency as a first step to constructive community participation really requires a bit of ground on which various things may be grown, held in the long term to enable enduring relations to develop. The decline in home ownership attending the failure to regulate speculators, together with the gig economy are non-trivial obstructions to robust sustainable communities.

    • Robert Guyton 12.1

      Agreed, Stuart. Every action helps, it could be claimed, so long as those actions move the actor towards greater understanding of the whole issue and more action that contributes to the greater goal. I'm very interested in articulating what that goal "looks" like and hearing what others see in their imagination.

      • Stuart Munro. 12.1.1

        In fact everywhere in NZ there are the traces of community efforts to build resilience and more sophisticated forms of self-reliance. The biggest one is probably the botanic gardens, which evidently served to cultivate and proliferate new and interesting flora.

        The DSIR once pursued an open-ended mandate to find and resolve practical problems, which it did with some success – inventing ultra efficient woodburners, and also the longline mussel culture which remains the mainstay of our aquaculture decades after the demise of the DSIR itself. A sustainability focused variant of the DSIR could accelerate the rate at which sectors and communities become carbon neutral and reduce dependence on imported oil. Care would need to be taken to exclude the kind of civil service jackals who ran empty trucks against laden trains and cargo vessels to falsify the official road freight carbon efficiency figures.

        The deadweight cost of capitalizing real estate is better reduced, so that effort and resources are directed to more productive ends than the welfare of foreign bankers. Tiny houses are one way to go about this, and an obvious place to run a large scale experimental community are the riverside areas confiscated subsequent to the Christchurch earthquakes. Pre-earthquake these were very desirable locations, with fertile soils and a pleasant proximity to a river.

        The demise of certain practical skills – gardening, cooking sewing, building – are no cause for celebration. Of course the criminal mismanagement of our coastal fisheries resources that see them returning less than 1% of the proceeds and employment of the biologically equivalent Japanese fisheries is ripe for reform. Artisanal fisheries are sustainable – slave-caught fish processed in Thailand is wrong on so many levels it should never have started. Current politicians regrettably lack the strength of character and devotion to the public interest, which of course is why everything is in such a dreadful mess.

  13. Andre 13

    Via the Skeptical Science roundup on the sidebar; a "there" that isn't hypothetical, Costa Rica has done it.

    They have achieved 100% renewable power generation and doubling their forest cover to 50% of their land area. They are targeting eliminating single-use plastic by 2021, carbon neutral by 2021, zero fossil-fuel by 2050.

    Costa Rica is about the same population as NZ with about a fifth the land area.


    • Robert Guyton 13.1

      That's what I'm looking for, Andre, vision made visible. Do you really think Costa Ricans are there yet?

      • Andre 13.1.1

        No. In this context, "there" doesn't actually exist. For them, no doubt they have something else as a "there" they are trying to move towards. For us, some aspects of what the Costa Ricans have achieved is a "there" we should be trying to move towards.

      • Robert Guyton 13.1.2

        The reason I ask about the Costa Ricans is I have a friend staying presently who has Costa Rican rellies whom she visited very recently. She was somewhat unsettled by their profligate use of styrofoam; eating and drinking from single-use plates and cups exclusively, as was the habit of all of their friends. I don't like to drag the conversation down, but …

        • Andre

          Sometimes things have to get really bad before the system as a whole gets kicked hard enough from it to then go and make a positive change.

          Sometimes that theory actually works out, sometimes it just accelerates turning everything to shit.

          • Robert Guyton

            I hope the former scenario is the one that will describe the global situation we face.

    • Dennis Frank 13.2

      Remarkable. Now that's exemplary, and a model for other countries to adopt. Extremely good news, helping us to feel optimistic about the future!

      "According to United Nations University, in the 1940s, more than three-quarters of the country was covered in mostly tropical rainforests and other indigenous woodlands. Then, between the 1940s and 1980s extensive, uncontrolled logging led to severe deforestation. By 1983, only 26% of the country had forest cover. Realizing the devastation that was occurring, policymakers took a stand. Through a continued environmental focus they were able to turn things around to the point that today forest cover has increased to 52%, which is double 1983 levels."

      I suspect there may be cultural/political factors that make Costa Rica unique in achieving such a relatively rapid reversal of historical trends. I hope some investigative journalism will bring these into the global media so we can assess how replicable their political/economic transformation may be.

  14. Dennis Frank 14

    Trotter: "Climate Change Survivalism Is Not The Answer". Demonstrating he's a typical leftist, he naturally refrains from specifying the answer. Denial suffices, apparently. http://bowalleyroad.blogspot.com/2019/06/climate-change-survivalism-is-not-answer.html

    Referring to the bomber, he writes "Martyn drew up what amounts to a survivalist agenda for New Zealand. Quite rightly, I believe, he regards these islands as being better positioned than just about anywhere else on the planet to weather the worst aspects of Climate Change. Our government, says Martyn, should act now to prepare us for the dark times to come."

    He proceeds to focus on the fortress Aotearoa scenario. We know we can only afford a second-rate defence capability, so why bother with such a fantasy? Even if the latest govt spending is a sound step in that direction (apparently on a bipartisan basis). No, we ought to focus on a resilience design that is both exportable as a plan and global in the context of formulation. Survivalist scenarios can be sophisticated and clever. They need not be banal or based on doom & gloom.

    Why expect the govt to do our preparation anyway? Paternalism? Doesn't he know govts are supposed to follow the people nowadays?

  15. Dennis Frank 15

    The Knowledge Illusion: Why We Never Think Alone was written by a cognitive scientist and a marketing expert (both academics). I assume the reason they have managed to identify several fundamental dimensions of psychology in their text is that they didn't get degrees in psychology (thus weren't brainwashed into defeatism). But we do have a psychologist to thank for some insights:

    "Sharing attention is a crucial step on the road to being a full collaborator in a group sharing cognitive labor, in a community of knowledge. Once we can share attention, we can do something even more impressive – we can share common ground. We know some things that we know others know… Once knowledge is shared in this way, we can share intentionality; we can jointly pursue a common goal. A basic human talent is to share intentions with others so that we accomplish things collaboratively."

    "These ideas are due, in large part, to the great Russian psychologist Lev Vygotsky, who in the early twentieth century developed the idea that the mind is a social entity. Vygotsky argued that it is not individual brainpower that distinguishes human beings. It is that humans can learn through other people and culture and that people collaborate: they engage with others in collective activities. Vyugotsky's insights are one of the roots of the idea of a community of knowledge."

    We don't all know that planning and organising for collective survival is now imperative: for many this notion is fake news. Complaining about slow learners is a waste of time – focus must be on doing what is required instead. Those who really are part of the solution must collaborate to solve the problem. Only by doing so will they attract members & supporters, and grow the task force into a political movement sufficient to provide the evident pathway to a better future. Once this operational phase snowballs folks into participation, it will start to operate as the lever to shift the masses.

    • Robert Guyton 15.1

      I agree with all that, Dennis.

      "Complaining about slow learners is a waste of time – focus must be on doing what is required instead."

      Tell myself this often, occasionally forget and get embroiled in the mud-fighting.

      "Those who really are part of the solution must collaborate to solve the problem. "

      Actively watching this with intense interest.

  16. greywarshark 16

    Transferred from Daily Review 17/6/2019 FYI

    WeTheBleeple 13

    17 June 2019 at 7:52 pm

    A wee word for our dolphins and new sanctuaries. The minister is right that these sanctuaries will also improve the fisheries overall. Just go diving around some of the sanctuaries already in place, you'll see a startling difference in many fish stocks. Ask the locals, the divers, the local fishermen, they know.

    Dolphins – they do not hit set-nets, and, if there is catch in it, they do not hit set-nets being pulled out. The worse problem is drift nets. But…

    A set net dropped from a boat is akin to a drift net: as it settles to the bottom it will catch dolphins (if they are happening by). It could be that a sonar device that sounds as the net drops (and lifts, in case it is empty) might help avoid this window where the dolphins do not detect the set nets while moving. The point is, you need the dolphins to be able to detect a net in motion, however that is achieved.

    And drift nets should be outright banned.

    If you get enough fishermen who run set nets to tell the truth, the very infrequent dolphins pulled up are typically well dead – caught on the way down, on the day before when the net was set.


    • Stuart Munro. 13.1

      17 June 2019 at 8:08 pm

      Think your wires may be a bit crossed there WTB – dolphins can't see monofilament with their sonar. A drift net is something else: "Drift nets hang vertically in the water column without being anchored to the bottom." Set nets as we use the term in NZ lie along the bottom as we do not generally target pelagic species. Contemporary driftnetting targets pelagic species in international waters, with significant bycatch of seabirds. Dolphins prefer pelagic feedfish (they're oilier) especially pilchards. Common dolphins are caught as bycatch when trawling for jack mackerals in shallow water or purse seining. Hectors fish very close to shore and are liable to be taken in set nets in places like Akaroa or Moeraki.


      • WeTheBleeple 13.1.1

        17 June 2019 at 8:59 pm

        No my wires aren't crossed I'm relaying the above after fishing set-nets from the port of Taranaki. Working as, drinking with, and talking with fishermen.

        Nobody wants to catch dolphins, but it does happen. We were six miles out when we caught one. It led the discussion to learn of others.

        I was describing a set-net ‘adrift’ as it falls to the bottom. We drop an anchor for it then it spools out and down, essentially drifting.


    • weston 13.2

      17 June 2019 at 8:21 pm

      Personally id like to see all inshore nets banned on the grounds that they are just far too indiscriminate killers of sea life .I think if we,re to have a hope of retaining healthy fishstocks nets are one of the things we,re gonna have to give up .We can still be hunter gatherers without nets and undoubtedly wild fish would be better off .


      • WILD KATIPO 13.2.1

        17 June 2019 at 11:34 pm

        Pertaining to commercial fishing within a certain number of nautical miles inshore yeah. But we will still need net fishing of some form for commerce and food production.

        As for the family who sets a net in a bay to catch a feed for example , …that should be far more generous and less policed , however.

        I was always taken by the Japanese way of encouraging breeding grounds off their coasts by the submersion of old tires linked by chain or the even better method of hollow cubed concrete – both forming artificial reefs. These areas could also be designed so they pose no risk to shipping or small private sporting / fishing craft.

        What are we surrounded by like Japan?- thousands of kilometers of coastline.

        And we can say commercial fishing does not go on around ALL of that and we can also say that most commercial fishing is not conducted immediately off the coast…

        Therefore surely we can enhance our fish stocks by creating large areas of artificial reefs and enclaves , and make those areas designated areas and a no go zone for fishing. We have coastline to spare, and we could target those areas where the Maui and Hectors dolphins are generally.

        Off course this would be old news to the powers that be and environmentalists, but has any real efforts been made along these lines, – as in mass production of artificial submerged reefs and designated areas etc ?

  17. WeTheBleeple 17

    Tiny homes on wheels are not homes – they're trailers.

    An accumulation of wheeled tiny homes on one property is essentially a trailer park.

    Trailer parks are slums. The data for highest percentages living in mobile homes in the US closely aligns with the data for lowest median income in the US. There are other forms of slums, as we are learning, so there is some leeway for people to lie about this correlation but it's as plain as day. We've seen some local trailer parks in the news cycle, they're anything but a path to the future.

    A tiny home on a piece of your own land is a home. A place one might put down roots, plumbing, power… and grow fruit trees and more so that your investment matures over time lending you options and some financial recompense should you wish to move on.

    A run down trailer is not going to make anybody anything, except those who sold the trailers, and those who own the trailer parks. Trailers depreciate, home values increase.

    Do not be hoodwinked!

    If you wish to go the route of a tiny home, you might want to find others and work together to purchase land and put down roots.

    If you want to tour about, get a van.

    • greywarshark 17.1

      A friend has just done that. Wanted a home, found a piece of land and got a tiny home built. Having a bit of difficulty with the wood heater. If anyone is interested in the heating side, I can find out more info. But generally happy and though had to go out of town, has her own transport to go out and about.

      I don't see why trailer parks are necessarily slums. If Councils accept that there is an unpleasant connect between low-income jobs coupled with no or low 'flexible' hours insufficient to support living, and even basic places to live affordable to the poor, they can bloody well support parks and help maintain them to a good standard, actively not just with inspections and punitive fines etc.) Also they would encourage the people to participate in doing the cleaning and have a responsible maintenance man on a honorarium, with occasional treats of afternoon tea for the residents who work to look after the conditions.

      Let them have paints for upkeep of buildings, even their trailers, tiny homes, in a light colour (not grey, mud, or dark) and for painting an annual mural/s of an agreed design (not contentious), so that it reflects their interest. (Thinking on the Hawthorne Experiment approach, which I think came about because of 1. Increased presence of other employees, and 2. Apparent interest in their welfare, and finally just interest.)


  18. WeTheBleeple 18

    People might live cheek to jowl by choice when younger, getting shoved in these dumps of last resort is nobodies choice. Changing the name of something e.g. co-habitat instead of boarding house, does not change the actual situation one jot.

    A tiny home on wheels is a trailer. It will depreciate fast and you do not have a home but a trailer. This is smoke and mirrors BS to detract that most won't own a home. But some own many. Several dozen homes gets you bragging rights in a Ponsonby bar while drinking shitty overpriced green craft beer and stroking your beard.

    I think you're talking crap on this. Nobody wants to live in a trailer park. A holiday is as far as it goes.

    Apparently house prices are going to jump 20% over the next five years. The ladder has been well and truly pulled up, and this government put vaseline at the top of the wall where the ladder used to rest.

    • greywarshark 18.1

      If people live in a trailer park presumably they want to live there – in preference to the next alternative. Until we get a government that is vaguely interested in providing simple housing of a safe and strong and secure type, whether up to five/six floors or not, doing something constructive is better than being destructive. And giving people some options to help them turn the place into a livable space. Better than cold motels – now that is crap, and nobody wants to live in those for long.

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