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How To Get There 29/9/19

Written By: - Date published: 7:00 am, September 29th, 2019 - 26 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 …

26 comments on “How To Get There 29/9/19”

  1. now that climate-change is front and centre in most minds…

    now we have to look at/to the practicalities of this..

    how are we going to get where we need to be..?

    how are we going to stop the planet from cooking..?

    we have at least one certainty – and that is that we cannot continue as before..

    that way will lead to us all being frogs – cooking slowly in a pot – approaching boiling point..

    and thinking about this leads me to the conclusion that we need a 'new deal'..

    a multi-faceted approach to/re-evaluation of pretty much all we do – as individuals and as a country..

    so we have to both look to politicians…and to ourselves..

    in the political big-picture – there are obvious moves – slashing the prices of electric vehicles – cars etc and bicycles – either by removing gst – or tax-breaks/subsidies..

    and levers to get people to shed dirty vehicles also – how to do that i am unsure..

    economic disincentives to invest in 'dirty' industries..?..first off the rank there being any entities that get govt-funding – universities etc..

    and of course the elephant in the room is our economic-dependence on the animal-extraction industries..

    and our biggest polluter – and by a country-mile – in fonterra…

    anyone got any suggestions about what to do about that..?

    (and i really don't think a bit of riparian-planting/shit-redirection will cut it..eh..?)

    the big question we all have to face now..

    is what do we – as individuals and a country – do about all this..?

    • Robert Guyton 1.1

      Good morning, Phil. In answer to your plaintive plea, "What do we do about all this..?", I'd like to offer the suggestion that, you in any case, are doing an important "thing" in asking your question. Anyone seeking the answer to your question must have at least in part, recognised the problem. Next, I reckon, comes focussing on the cause. If we jump into taking actions without exploring the root-cause of the problem, we might inadvertently make things worse. In my view, the core of the issue is a glitch, a black-hole, a psychopathy experienced by humans some tens of thousands of years ago and which bedevils us still. This disfunction was part of the process of becoming smart, as we humans have become, but proved a serious flaw in our development, even threatening to end our, and many of our our fellow-travellers', time on the planet. It may have been an inevitable occurrence or we may have made some very poor decisions, but we are living, and dying, with it now. Fighting such a "black-hole" is very difficult; it lacks a heart and doesn't behave like a flesh and blood, wood and sap, creature, more like a corporation, a sort of mini-me example of the greater issue. But we have minds, are intelligent and have hearts and souls and have to employ those to extricate ourselves from the mire we have dug and filled with poisoned water. I reckon we have a chance but don't think the outcome is certain. In particular response to your question, what do we do about all this, I would say, make decisions and chose actions using all of your human faculties and dismiss those that arise from the heartless, soulless black-hole that has lodged in our midst.

      If you were instead, looking for a list of practical actions to take, I have such a list also smiley

      • greywarshark 1.1.1

        Robert – a new Blip's list! Can you feed us one, with some hints to go about it every couple of days?. Sometimes we just need a little lift when we feel lost in the bog of stuff to do that is basically illusory in this modern world. Other times we feel depressed, unhappy and feeling helpless or hopeless. And other times we are just angry at everything and need to channel 'the force' into doing something ourselves that is another small step for us, and part of the giant steps together for mankind that we need to take.

        And then it would be good if we came back and told everyone how it is getting on, it gets blood pulsing through anaemic veins when others hear that and makes us want to do the same.

        • Robert Guyton 1.1.1.1

          Greta Thunberg has wisely avoided providing such a list, encouraging instead giving attention to the scientists and what they have found. That advice though, is directed at deniers or those unsure of the immediacy of the situation. For those wanting to get busy mitigating, ameliorating or preventing the science-described troubles, I'd suggest where possible taking a non-confrontational approach to progressing actions; pick the low-hanging fruit and gain energy from those before tackling the more difficult issues. Don't get into intractable arguments that annoy and exhaust. Leave those who yearn for such entanglements to twist and turn in their own nests. School strikes for climate, btw, I see as good examples where people came together in support of each other; I doubt there were many off-to-the-side shouting matches between protesters and deniers; it just didn't seem to be that sort of event. The nay-sayers will have rallied by now though and are doubtless scoring spectacular points against the "Greta-followers" on-line.

          • greywarshark 1.1.1.1.1

            The main sources of easy energy for humans are it seems, oil and vinegar. Oil to run our vehicles and vinegar as mildly acid to spit at everyone who tries to make changes away from easy-oasy use of oil (one of which being plastic).

            The ideas is to reduce oil and vinegar use to making a tasty dressing to go over a home-grown, (or organically produced and sold by a local grower) salad.

      • phillip ure 1.1.2

        i see the 'causes' as being visible/clear – most of them..

        c.f. oil/animal-extraction/internal-combustion engines/'bad' investments..etc etc..

        so dealing to them would be a good start..

        and your 'list' couldn't hurt…eh..?

    • Janet 1.2

      The politicians; the government, have to lead the way on this one. First to generally educate the general public to make them more aware of their own planet destroying/consuming ways and its consequences,.and the banning of plastic bags in supermarket must have started most people thinking! Then as people catch-on give them the information on the many, many ways they can help by changing their own ways without too much pain. ( Just like anti-litter campaigns )
      To this end, there should be, for an example, many many more documentaries in this genre – like the documentary “Tomorrow” – on the TV .
      The government has to lead the way and the government HAS to regulate to stop all unnecessary products coming into NZ. Forget about Free Trade. We need regulation, for example, to stop for example “planned obsolescence” . How long did your grandmothers fridge live – forever nearly – how long does the modern day fridge run, 7 – 10 yrs if you are lucky! We need lots of Import Control not Free Trade.

      There are many kinds of farmers in NZ and there is nothing unsustainable in producing meat to feed New Zealanders. The problem is we are trying to feed the world!

      When you do the right thing and factor in the offset effects of the trees and hectares of grass growing on the farm against the number of livestock on the farm and you calculate that against the animal producing products – nitrogen, artificial fertiliser, palm kernel etc that are “imported” on to the farm then you start to get a fair and correct idea of who is farming sustainably and who is not. Whose farming methods are effecting climate change and whose are not.

      Until it feels like our government is taking charge and leading the way surely there are going to be a lot more “headless chickens “ running about !

      • Incognito 1.2.1

        If we really want our politicians to lead us we have to vote and vote with our feet, for starters. The Overton window might be changing but our risk-averse politicians are lagging. Their parties have self-interest in abundance but their caucuses lack courage. What comes first, leadership or mandate? The necessary action does not occur at national level only but also much closer to home, at regional and local level. Yet the turnout at our Local Elections promises to be an all-time low, which shows our political apathy. Therefore, we cannot blame (!) our political representatives and leaders to be of the same apathetic mould as they have been chosen from our midst and by us.

        • phillip ure 1.2.1.1

          @ incognito…

          ''we cannot blame (!) our political representatives and leaders'..

          while i understand the bow you draw..

          there is one big difference between them and us..

          in that they have the powers to effect the changes we need at that level..

          so despite low voter turnout – we most certainly can 'blame' them – if they don't do what needs to be done..

          who else can we hold to account/incentivise to move..?

          if not them..?

  2. WeTheBleeple 2

    Here's the first half of an old article I'm re-writing as recent history lends examples to ponder upon.

    Water Water Everywhere

    i.

    2019: In the drought-stricken regions of India, well over a hundred people were killed by heat and a quarter a billion had little to no water. The monsoon season was late; off-season rainfall had dropped; and this is a repeating, while increasing in severity, phenomenon.

    New Zealand is not immune to drought. Recent calls for Aucklander's to reduce water consumption in mid-winter clearly illustrates the potential exacerbation of water shortages here. While we have no monsoon season there are similarities in water cycles worldwide: after a major rain event, much is lost to surface flow straight back into the ocean. Adding to this: after a period without rain, arable land becomes less permeable to water; and so, the longer the period between rain events, the more water goes back to the ocean.

    2019: After 5 years of drought in Queensland, Australia, farmers rejoiced to finally see rain. What followed was a flood so devastating it killed more than 650 000 cattle, 48 000 sheep, and left a 2-billion-dollar mess in its wake. Topsoil was stripped. Freshwater, estuarine and coastal areas inundated with silt, carcasses and debris. Many farmers lost everything except their mortgages.

    The Great Artesian Basin is a 1.7 million square kilometre sandstone aquifer that lies mostly beneath Queensland. Its springs have supplied water to Aboriginal communities for dozens of millennia. Its discovery only a century ago enabled bore drilling and farming on a scale unprecedented in this semi-arid region. Soon canals criss-crossed the land with water flowing freely from the myriad of bores that had sprung up. By 1999 a sustainability initiative was granted Federal and State funds to help stop the decline of this aquifer.

    What followed was a game of whack-a-mole. As one lot of bores was capped, other previously dried out boreholes opened up. The restoration work continues, but the free-flowing water of Queensland's Farmers no longer flows so freely. Mound springs, paperbark swamps and wetlands have begun to dry up, while water usage continues to increase.

    Roughly two thirds of all rain that falls on land originates from the land. Transpiration of plants and evapotranspiration from terrestrial surfaces account for this. The oceans contribute the rest, which is the same volume that flows back out to sea. This balance (one in one out) changes where the land has become dry &/or plant cover is absent; as is often the case following drought. With plant transpiration and evapotranspiration severely curtailed, rainfall might drop considerably.

    It is predicted that both drought and rainfall events will increase in severity for NZ's climate, thus setting the stage for more flooding, yet less water returned to the land. What we require are mitigation strategies that address drought, flooding and aquifer recharge at once.

    "Nor dim nor red, like God's own head,

    The glorious Sun uprist:

    Then all averred, I had killed the bird

    That brought the fog and mist." – The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.

    ii.

    New Zealand's hydrological cycles are intrinsically linked to our power supply. Where weather patterns are altered due to climate change, our power supply (and waterways) may likewise be altered.

    In dry periods, rivers and streams are fed by groundwater flow, that portion of rain that penetrates the surfaces it falls on. Groundwater flow is orders of magnitude slower than overland flow, and so, after extended periods of drought, one might still observe rivers and streams with running water. The total aboveground storage of freshwater (rivers, lakes, wetlands) is only about 1% of total freshwater; while groundwater storage accounts for 25%.

    Aquifers are groundwater storage replenished via groundwater flow percolating down through soils and the base of aboveground water storages. Recharge rates are dependant on levels of rainfall, ground permeability, and rates of aquifer depletion. Wherever pumping of aquifer water exceeds recharge rates, aquifers are depleted.

    Mitigation of both drought and flood requires the slowing down and capture of rainfall. A portion of the rain returning to sea needs to be slowed and/or trapped: allowing it to percolate down into groundwater flow and aquifers. This replenishes aquifers and maintains steady flows for our streams, rivers and hydro generation. Using whole catchment methods involving tree planting and incorporating small, but multiple earthworks and above ground storages slows and trap rain.

    A decrease in overland flow reduces severity of flood events in lower catchments. Additionally, the transpiration of trees has the potential to mitigate damage from multiple rain events through increasing the volume/time required for saturation of a landscape to be achieved. Added to this are the valuable products, aesthetics and ecosystem services generated with the creation of such systems.

    Where plant cover and sufficient water are present on the land plant productivity and carbon storage are increased simultaneously. The carbon pathway from atmosphere through plants to soil organisms and ultimately soil humus turns the soil into a giant sponge capable of retaining water and excess nutrients further increasing fertility and subsequent production. Current agricultural practises including tilling, applications of salt fertilisers, and the wide variety of poisons that come with these systems destroy soil microbiology and leave the land exposed to the vagaries of weather: drying out to become impervious in the sun and eroding in the wet.

    "And every tongue, through utter drought,

    Was withered at the root;

    We could not speak, no more than if

    We had been choked with soot." – The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.

    • Robert Guyton 2.1

      Yes to all that, WTB. Dehydration destroys. There are a myriad of examples from the natural world that we can follow to restore water flow through the atmosphere and ground and we should resist the temptation to repeat the mistakes we have already made; the technical, concrete over-scaled dumbed-down attempts to over-ride systems that flow like the wind and move like the tides.

  3. greywarshark 3

    Thanks wtb for that – good to read with a cup of tea besides, or kampucha, or other beverage. I wonder if Mulloon Natural Farming is taking off or are the assassins in government still trying to kill off new, but radically old ideas that allow for good human existence in difficult times? They will fight to the end I am afraid if left in positions of power by the uncaring or Rip van Winkle citizens.

    • WeTheBleeple 3.1

      I hope the above will outline the importance of systems such as those the Mulloon Institute practice. The math is so simple. Two thirds of rain originates from terrestrial sources. As we deplete terrestrial water/trees/cover we deplete sources of rain. This begins a negative feedback loop with less rain generated and yet more flooding as impervious surfaces have lost capacity to infiltrate water.

      Trees also generate microbes that are released in updrafts – microbes that catalyse rain formation. So we lose potential moisture, and catalysts for rain in one hit. BUT – it get's worse. Every 1 degree in temperature rise allows the atmosphere to hold 7% more water. Lacking catalysts (trees) for rain generation – rain is no longer 'triggered by land', rather, it falls haphazardly via temperature drops. So there's worse floods when we do get rain, but lots more rain lost to (falling on) the ocean having passed over land, and lots more capacity to dry out the land with increased atmospheric holding capacity. Added to this the increased temperature decreases rain events. Droughts become more severe, and when it rains, flooding will be more frequent.

      Systems of earthworks, water storage and judicious planting are imperative to reverse such trends. 57% of the worlds freshwater aquifers are severely depleted. Australia, India and parts of the States (among other areas) illustrate the progression of the loss of groundwater. Desert, drought, hardship. We can't keep irrigating from aquifers when they're running out of water it's a losers game.

      We need to recharge the aquifers. The only way is to trap the water before it goes back to the ocean. Done properly this will restore ecosystems and their services. Current irrigation schemes are short term solutions for the few. They will ultimately lose the farm without wise investment in rain harvesting methods.

      How many disasters does it take before people see the writing on the wall? Regenerative farming incorporating earthworks will save the farm. Aquifer depletion will render entire regions inoperable for today's methods of food production.

      • Robert Guyton 3.1.1

        "trap the water"?

        Encourage the water to set awhile, as Granny Clampet would have said. If we recognise water as an entity, rather than a commodity, we'll treat and speak about Her differently. I'm not being critical, WTB, just thinking aloud…

        • WeTheBleeple 3.1.1.1

          'Slow and trap the water' would have been better wording. Water is the crucial element in all of life. We have been living in a water AND a carbon bubble. The recent European heatwaves saw people take refuge from the heat in various fountains and other water features in cities. In the future those options will be lost – unless we collectively learn to be servants, rather than 'masters' of the natural world. Corporations are greedily sucking up what they can impoverishing and displacing first peoples around the globe and depleting the natural resources of entire countries. Their sway over governments likewise must be addressed.

  4. greywarshark 4

    Graeme advised what he and the group he is with have been doing with planting.

    Another world is possible

    Down here we've got the Wakatipu Re-forestation Trust They collect local seed, raise the seedlings in their nursery and then plant them out in project areas around the district. And an army of volunteers who do an amazing amount of work

    Last weekend around 90 of us had 1100 plants in the ground by smoko.

  5. greywarshark 5

    Here is a repeat of what I put up yesterday in Open Mike I think.. This woman is a tonic, as they say, and you get a feel-good response that says to you, could this work if we did enough of it, to lift community and get joined-up collaboration to help us cope and be happy while we are striving to deal with Change in Climate, Politics, Loss of societal kindness, Loss of willingness to limit one's comfort and make changes for the greater good.

    Here is how to make a better world, it is not impossible. Barbara Sher




    Isolation is the dream-killer, not your attitude

    Wish/Obstacle – we are problem-solving animals.

  6. greywarshark 6

    As Chris Trotter tests out ideas and where they lead he is being more assertive about what we can and should do. This from the start of his new essay. https://bowalleyroad.blogspot.com/2019/09/greed-is-not-good-but-it-can-make-good.html

    The Last, Best Hope Of Humankind: New Zealand was once known as the social laboratory of the world; why should it not turn itself into the planet’s climate laboratory? Directing our energy outward is the only viable survival strategy available to New Zealanders. There are no walls that we could possibly hope to build, high enough to keep us safe.

    “I STUFFED THEIR MOUTHS WITH GOLD.” So said the Labour politician responsible for creating Britain’s iconic National Health Service (NHS). Aneurin Bevan had been asked to explain how he had managed to silence the British Medical Association’s (BMA) fierce opposition to the keystone of the Labour Government’s socialist programme – and that was his reply. Jacinda Ardern and James Shaw could do a lot worse than be guided by Bevan’s example – especially since New Zealand’s farmers appear to value nothing so much as cash.

  7. gsays 7

    Meant as a reply to Phil @ 1.2.1.1.
    Sorry Phil, I have to blow a whistle there.

    'They' may have their hands on the levers, but they are looking over their shoulders with an inquisitive look, hands tentatively over a lever, ready to switch to another one.

    If we stop going to supermarkets, watch them change their habits.

    This is why a few of us a re frustrated with the current regime- all this talk before being elected, and there are only a few gestures to point at.

    • i am still optimistic that things can still happen..

      i feel that j.a. cannot ignore the mandate she now has to make nz an exemplar of what can be done..

      the march – and her international stature/clout only underline that mandate..

      and surely she must realise – if not now – when exactly..

      she really has it in her own hands to be either a hero or a villain of the piece..

      i am sure she will pick the former…

      (and if any in the coalition block this/any moves – the backlash on them at the ballot box will be fierce..i am sure they are smart enough to know/see that..)

      • Robert Guyton 7.1.1

        I share your view, Phil. All Greta has to do is hold her line and she seems to be expert at doing just that.

  8. joe90 8

    Bill McKibben – follow the money.

    Money Is the Oxygen on Which the Fire of Global Warming Burns

    What if the banking, asset-management, and insurance industries moved away from fossil fuels?

    […]

    But what if there were an additional lever to pull, one that could work both quickly and globally? One possibility relies on the idea that political leaders are not the only powerful actors on the planet—that those who hold most of the money also have enormous power, and that their power could be exercised in a matter of months or even hours, not years or decades. I suspect that the key to disrupting the flow of carbon into the atmosphere may lie in disrupting the flow of money to coal and oil and gas.

    https://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/money-is-the-oxygen-on-which-the-fire-of-global-warming-burns

  9. greywarshark 9

    Anthony McCarten – laughter Ted Talk. I think this ability is very important for a good future. (How many times do you see images of dictators roaring their heads off at something silly.)

    (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b2qM1I-JCEQ

    Nzr – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthony_McCarten

  10. How one tree grows 40 different kinds of fruit | Sam Van Aken

    Van Aken starts:

    100 years ago there were 2000 varieties of peaches, nearly 2000 different varieties of plums, and almost 800 different named varieties of apples growing in the United States [of America]. Today only a fraction of those is left and the rest is threatened by industrialised agriculture, disease and climate change.

    He points out that almost all of the fruit trees were brought to the States. and he says, embedded within these fruit is our culture. Immigrants valued and brought them with them as a connection to their home. In many ways these fruit are our story.

  11. TedX talk from Christchurch 2019.

    Resilient People: The three secrets of resilience. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NWH8N-BvhAw

    Dr Lucy Hone is a resilience expert who thought she found her calling supporting people to recover following the Christchurch earthquake. She had no idea that her personal journey was about to take her to a far darker place. In this powerful and courageous talk, she shares the three strategies that got her through an unimaginable tragedy⁠—and offers a profound insight on human suffering.

    Dr Lucy Hone is a director of the New Zealand Institute of Wellbeing & Resilience, a research associate at AUT University, a published academic researcher, best-selling author and contributor to Psychology Today, the Sunday Star Times and Next magazine. She trained at the University of Pennsylvania and got her PhD in public health at AUT University in Auckland.

    She has helped a range of organisations—from primary schools to leading law firms—to design and implement wellbeing initiatives creating sustained and meaningful change.

    Five years ago, the sudden death of Lucy’s 12-year-old daughter Abi forced Lucy to turn her academic training and professional practice to foster resilience in very personal circumstances. The blog she wrote in the aftermath of Abi’s death attracted international attention and resulted in the best-selling non-fiction title, What Abi Taught Us, Strategies for Resilient Grieving (Allen & Unwin, 2016), now available as Resilient Grieving in the US, UK and NZ. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at https://www.ted.com/tedx

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