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How To Get There 30/6/19

Written By: - Date published: 7:00 am, June 30th, 2019 - 66 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 …

66 comments on “How To Get There 30/6/19 ”

  1. Robert Guyton 1

    I posted this a couple of days ago and it could be considered shameless self-promotion, but here's the link to the radio interview I did in Dunedin, on the topic of declaring a climate emergency. Maureen, who interviewed me, has a lovely Irish accent.


  2. Robert Guyton 2

    "I encounter a lot of people who are alive to the seriousness of the mess we’re in, alive to the horror, and who can’t put their faith in something as soft as friendship. Who say, ‘Our cities are three meals away from catastrophe because of the agro-industrial supply chain.’ Who say, ‘We’re looking at the climate predictions and, you know, we’re going to be lucky if we keep climate change down to four degrees by the end of the century. There’s a good chance it will be six. We will probably have, at best, half a billion people left on the planet at the end of the century.’ Many of the people I work closely with, this is the reality that is weighing on their minds, and it is very hard to…"


    • veutoviper 2.1

      I started to listen to it yesterday but was rudely interrupted so have it on ice to enjoy this evening.

      (Maureen's accent is lovely. Different to Noelle McCarthy but like them both. Shhh – Morrissey will be here berating me. LOL)

      Re the discussion last week as to whether to continue or not, I really hope you do. I have not contributed much as I took a self-imposed holiday from TS for some months but read it most weeks. While some contributors are now in absentia, please do continue. It was your idea/post etc in the first place.

      FYI, after reading the discussion last week, I actually had a look at the statistics on the Posts since they started 16 Dec 2018.

      There have been 27 posts so far – and as of last week's (23 June) a total fo 2141 comments (an average of 82.46 per post). Things started off with high numbers in the first two months (Dec – Feb) of between 93 – 236; then fell back to a range between mid 30s to low 80s with one low of 12. But the last few weeks have been holding up with 42 on 9 June, 68 on 16 June and 51 last week, 23 June.

      • Robert Guyton 2.1.1

        Oh, thanks for all that, veutoviper, it's good to know.

        Having HTGT just ticking along at its own paces seems a good idea; it seems as though there's a lull everywhere, a pause perhaps, while it all sinks in. When it does, there'll be plenty of questions and suggestions and some of those might find a home here, so we'd better not be caught napping smiley

        Our weather, btw, is curiously mild and warm; there are shoots emerging from seeds I've sown that should be hibernating in the ground for at least another month, so that's worth noting. No frosts either; the brugmansia flowers are resplendent and we've passed the shortest day…

        • veutoviper

          In Wellington it was unusually mild until the last week and then the cold set in but now moving up again, thank goodness. I am no longer able to garden due to muscular deterioration, walking difficulties etc due to autoimmune disease finally diagnosed 3+ years ago.
          As I think we discussed last year, I was a very keen gardener with lots of green genes in my blood (three generations of Kew Gardens head gardeners back in the 1700s) and we grew up with my Dad and all of us growing most of our veges and some fruit.

          I moved back to the family property when Dad died about 25 years ago and continued the vege growing tradition and also keeping the soil organic with no nasties used during our family's time (65 years in August) and during the previous family's 35 years here. (That family had 11 children, Dad was a whaler, and Mum and kids grew most of their food and enriched the soil with seaweed and whale blood etc (uuughh). Soil is very rich and wonderful but currently in rest.

          I can no longer keep up the property and need to downsize but am looking at a private sale to a family in the street who are confirmed organic gardeners etc etc. The property is in high demand but I need to be happy that it is going to people who will continue the organic tradition and not just see it as a bit of land to build townhouses on.

          But I am growing some veges in fish bins, herbs in pots and I have lovely crop of mixed lettuces, spring onions and similar coming on well in fish bins covered by old glass table tops (raised to allow air circulation). So there is always a way around having to give up gardening totally.

          • Robert Guyton

            Did your dad "whale" with the Perano Bros in Tory Channel?

            When I lived on D'Urville Island, we went from place to place in one of the Perano's powerful whale-chasers – exciting way to travel, if you own good earmuffs!

            • veutoviper

              Not my Dad – the Dad of the family before us. He was originally "Austrian" – actually Croatian in today's world. Some of the large previous family still lived local when I moved back after my father’s death and it was great to get to know them and share history etc of our upbringing in the same home, I live in South Wellington in Island Bay which was very much a part of the Italian and Shetland Islanders fishing and in the early days the whaling business. I am a bit rusty now of the Perano Bros but if IIRC the two communities were very much connected to one another.

              I am into my busy time of day, feeding wild birds outside and my parrots inside, plus cat plus humans, but here is a short article on the history of Island Bay.


              • Robert Guyton

                Oh, that's really great; I saw the exhibition, years ago, in the Maritime Museum in Wellington, where those folk were featured. My own crew are from Shetland and Orkney. Though it's neither of those, the island of Lewis & Harris sounds really interesting.

        • veutoviper

          Oops – I just realised my reply to your comment @ 1 ended up under @2. It is your Access Radio interview that I mean to listen to in its entirety tonight, hopefully.

        • gsays

          FWIW Robert, the HTGT post on Sundays is my highlight of the week here on TS.

          Akin to VV, I always read but not often comment.

          I find it to be enthusing (?) and reassuring that folk are asking similar questions and finding their own answers.

          Also it is a peaceful refuge from the willy waving that has been blighting TS of late.

          • Robert Guyton

            Hi gsays

            I've been looking at the tensions you're alluding to also and figure there's a lot of it around now, as the stakes get higher, and there's more to come. I guess each person has to make the decision to engage respectfully, or not, and it's clearly getting harder to chose the former option.

            Your comment about folk asking similar questions really interests me as I'm noticing the same phenomenon; it gives me, as it does you, I think, a surge of hopefulness.

  3. Robert Guyton 3

    “But we need to see the alternative picture. First, one figure that is not well known: more than half of what we eat today in the world is produced by the people themselves. Not by Monsanto, not by agribusiness, not by the big companies: it’s by the people themselves. The Via Campesina, the biggest organisation in history, they have been talking about this figure. They know it, because they are part of these millions that are producing their own food. They defined the idea of ‘food sovereignty’: it’s not the market and it’s not the state that must tell us what to eat, but we must find it and produce it by ourselves.

    But this is not going to be the back-to-the-land movement of the ’60s. First of all, because now more than 50% of the people on Earth are urban, we cannot produce food for everyone in the countryside. We need to produce food in the cities. And the beautiful thing is that it is absolutely possible. One hundred years ago, Paris was exporting food. Today, people are discovering that producing food in the cities is not only very simple but it is very beautiful."


    • Dennis Frank 3.1

      Yes, videos of urban gardens have been doing the rounds for about a decade now. Mostly individual/family examples, but some communal projects have developed well.

      Development models presume designs are replicable. Here's a relevant quote from your linked interview which signals that type of traditional thinking is based on a flawed assumption:

      "I knew at least two things: first, this is not what the people want, these beautiful development programmes. I did not know exactly why or what it is that the people want, but I knew that it was not this. The second was, the logic of government and the logic of the people are completely different. Even this populist president – I was in the presidential house, many times, in cabinet meetings – how they take decisions and what the people need and want are two different planets."

      Thus the problems created by representative democracy! People-driven development is organic, local, tailored to circumstance. Government-driven development is generic, non-local, applicable to particular places in theory only. The latter is produced by global elites such as the World Bank & IMF, prescriptions based on ideology (neoliberalism). Any design for resilience only becomes viable when based on the bioregion and social context of localities included – which integrates economy and culture. Permaculture teaches that but politicians don't yet know.

      • Robert Guyton 3.1.1

        Yes, Dennis, I agree. I'm watching that tension playing out right now with the "climate emergency" situation here in Southland, from the grassroots perspective as well as the governance position; I spend my time talking with those around me in the open community, then sit with the politicians as responses are formed and decisions made. It's an odd place to be and tensions are high. My observation from the grassroots is that keeping a singular focus in order to achieve a defined goal, is nigh-on impossible; each of us has a slightly different focus and likes to express that, which can dilute the strength of our campaign. From the governance side, there's an antipathy toward the grassroots, if it's anything but a pasture grass; that is, farmer-councillors grow ryegrass and see the "other" plants as a threat. The way through all this is … tricky but I am hopeful, especially where flax roots are concerned; the deeper rooted plants hold more firmly to the whenua and tap into older springs. I find myself holding my breath and have to remind myself that it's not sustainable to do that for long.

        • Dennis Frank

          Thing is, folks in your position cannot allow angst to govern their thinking. It's a natural human feeling but local governance needs activists who embody resilience.

          That's due to the communal necessity of suitable role models. So a toughening up seems required. Not to deny the negative stuff that happens, but to use it as part of the emotional context. Teaching others how to handle pessimism or despair works best via grounding our feelings (as you likely know) – acknowledging, but moving beyond into praxis of showing how to shift into working with adversity. Folks often talk of how Londoners did that spontaneously during the Blitz, eh?

          So transcending the complainant stance favoured by many leftists is essential. Doing what the situation requires has to be the focus from now on.

          • Robert Guyton

            Again I agree. I'll not succumb to angst, despite a brief dip in it, yesterday evening. I'm going to be bright and breezy and my resolve steely. I wonder, Dennis, if you listened to the interview @#1?

            • Dennis Frank

              Sorry, I can barely fit a few written contributions in at present. Too many other demands on my time! I imagine it would be informative, for sure, on several levels, but fact remains that I have a library full of books I'm keen to read and some have been waiting since the '90s – just another example of my `so much to do, so little time' problem! frown

              I look on the bright side to recall how much worse this problem was before I retired…

        • Poission

          Policy outcomes are difficult to frame,especially when you cannot construct from a historical scaffold.

          A good example (of a logical framework) would be as follows.


          There are three existential crises (of equivalent significance) at present eg Harari.

          “People should realise humankind is now facing three existential threats that cannot be solved on the national level,” he said. “They can only be solved on the global level.”

          “These threats are nuclear war, climate change and technological disruption, especially the rise of (AI) and bioengineering. AI and biotechnology could destroy what it means to be human.”

          He said that an “arms race” in AI would result in the destruction of humanity.

          “Whoever wins this race it doesn’t matter, humanity will be the loser.”


          AI does not have the exposure of say CC or nuclear issues until now,when the US senate this week asked for submissions on the problems and issues on AI ,data mining etc.

          Here the US senate asked a very clever(and humble) scientist to outline a blueprint on the structure of problems (which require formative solutions) which he did in 3 weeks.


  4. Robert Guyton 4

    On sewerage…

    "It’s a waste of all three things that can, if handled better, be put to better use. But it’s not just that, it’s that once you have the flush toilet you are connected to a system. Think of the nightmare of The Matrix, with everyone in their tanks, stuck full of tubes, plugged in to this virtual reality. Part of why that nightmare haunts us it that is such a good description of what we take for granted: the kind of relationship we have to infrastructure is a relationship of dependence on unthinkably large, centralised systems. It’s not just that we are born into incubators where we’re stuck full of tubes, or that we die stuck full of tubes. It’s that we plug ourselves in to tubes at critical junctures in our life, every day."

  5. Dennis Frank 5

    Governance is no longer something people can safely leave to elected reps. Democracy selects mediocrity by design, so expecting competence is a fool's approach to politics. To survive the consequence of giving political power to fools, people will have to collectively monitor the fools they elect, and watch carefully for signs of consequent disaster.

    Fortunately, Michael Lewis has written a book packed with case studies to illustrate this point, in response to the Trump regime. The theme of The Fifth Risk: Undoing Democracy (2018) is that government is vulnerable to damage caused by ideology, and all the people are liable to suffer the consequences brought down on them by populism.

    Belief that `government is bad' is a popular ideology, so popular that Trump rode it like a wave and surfed into the White House in result. Lewis documents the consequences, reporting via interviews with key people. One operation of the US Dept of Agriculture was Rural Development, a "$220 billion bank that serviced the poorest of the poor in rural America: in the Deep South, and in the tribal lands, and in the communities, called colonias, along the US/Mexico border." Yet "they nearly always repaid their loans".

    Rural Development "gave out or guaranteed $30 billion in loans and grants a year" but due to the traditional low profile of the agency, few knew. Government departments don't promote their activities in the public arena! There's a moral here, for socialism:

    "I had this conversation with elected and state officials almost everywhere in the South. Them: We hate the government and you suck. Me: My mission alone put $1 billion into your economy this year, so are you sure about that? Me thinking: We are the only reason your shitty state is standing."

    One thing to not appreciate govt funding (paternalism, nanny state) but another entirely not be ignorant of that part of a state economy! "But the more rural the American, the more dependent he is for his way of life on the US government. And the more rural the American, the more likely he was to have voted for Donald Trump. So you might think that Trump, when he took office would do everything he could do to strengthen and grow the little box marked Rural Development. That's not what happened."

    Trump's regime split the box entitled Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services into those two separate parts. "As there's a rule against having more than seven little boxes on the USDA's org chart, they had to eliminate one of the little boxes. The little box they got rid of was Rural Development".

    Outcome: ignorant Trump voters all across the South are facing the prospect of becoming even poorer if that funding isn't continued via a different govt process. Yet due to their ignorance of how the govt works, they don't even know. Just goes to show how ideology beats the hell out of pragmatism sometimes.

    • Ad 5.1

      Sounds more like a failure of the state to communicate why it exists.

      • Dennis Frank 5.1.1

        That too, but most folks get lost in generalities. Actual programs are more specific to their experience, so they get affected more directly. Sometimes, the effect is visceral, as in this story of a loan Rural Development made to a "Fox News-watching, small-town businessman":

        "The bank held a ceremony and the guy wound up being interviewed by the local paper. He's telling the reporter how proud he is to have done it on his own. The USDA person goes to introduce herself and he says, "So who are you?" She says, "I'm the USDA person." He asks "What are you doing here?" She says "Well sir, we supplied the money you are announcing." He was white as a sheet."

        See how ideology separates folks from reality? Leftists too, as we often see here. A person's belief system is socially constructed, and emanates from group contexts, so like-minded others co-create it. The model then seems so good to them that it serves to replace the real world.

        Reputation can catapult one into reality. When it gets exposed in public to a discord with reality. The guy realised how many people were gonna get their reality shifted by the conversation, so the blood left his face!!

  6. Robert Guyton 7

    " Democracy selects mediocrity by design" – Hey! Councillor Guyton's feelings hurt! smiley

    • Dennis Frank 7.1

      Ah, but there's the old saying about the exception that proves the rule. And things ain't always as they seem. Who knew Bill Clinton was even a philosopher, let alone an exemplar of postmodernism?

      Go back 21 years for the proof, via this from google – "Here’s what Clinton told the grand jury (according to footnote 1,128 in Starr’s report): “It depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is.""

      And he's right, eh? So you can seem to be an ideal democratic politician, and use that mask to hide from those who get spooked by anything sophisticated. I bet you know that already…

  7. Sabine 8

    We get there when we learn to co-operate until then, nothing much will change, each will toil on their own and go hungry at dinner time.

    • Robert Guyton 8.1

      Agreed, Sabine. Finding common ground, despite differences, then co-operating for mutually-beneficial outcomes; sounds simple. It is happening more and more frequently, in my experience and the driver is the growing awareness that without co-operation, we'll fail.

      • Sabine 8.1.1

        survival is the common ground and we don't give a dime.

        Heck we can look at children in prison camps, drowned in the Rio Grande and the Mediteranean and give not a shit cause …..their parents fault. Never mind that what goes around comes around and once migrants – economic or environmental have lost all right it is us that will be taken to task.

        Like frogs we think the warm water is nice.

        • Robert Guyton

          We've lost much of our feeling for kinship, sadly and don't feel the pain of "others", at least superficially; deep down at an existential level we do though, I reckon; our "inner world" is ailing fit to die and that disease is manifesting on the surface; of our own bodies, communities and that of the planet. As below, so above; there's a whole lot of healing needed; may as well get busy with it!

  8. WeTheBleeple 9


    Articles worth a read in and of itself, lot of good information concerning upgrading with electric buses (EB's).

    The issue at present is cost of EB's. 750K, twice the purchase price of a diesel. The fuel savings do not compensate for the increased purchase price.

    While the tech gets cheaper, the estimate for equivalent pricing (2030) is not quick enough for the time we have to turn things around.

    I propose the advertising revenue from the sides of buses in cities might go a long way towards purchasing of new fleets where partnerships can be made between business and council for long term lease of the advertising space on new EB's. The advertising revenue plus fuel savings, and a government or local govt sweetener? For the benefits of reduced air and noise pollution, and the PR coup of retrofitting our fleets, and it looks to be a winner* for business and councils.

    *not actual figures.

    Another concern is powering large fleets with existing infrastructure. Or what type of new infrastructure we might need. That is somebody else's domain – so feel free to appear and enlighten.

    • Dennis Frank 9.2

      I can only support the general principle of extending electrification into buses as well as trains. When I was a child, electric trams were standard in our cities. Few fathers drove cars – those that didn't catch the tram biked to work (using bicycle clips to stop their trousers from getting caught in the chain). Imagine roads clogged with men on bikes, wearing short back & sides haircuts, white shirts & ties. Actually, I recall the lower classes did wear blue shirts to show they didn't work in offices.

      Did you see the tv news story on the electric plane about a week ago? Think the story said it is being developed by Google & Amazon or something. Bit like a souped-up drone, it showed an operational prototype – reporter explained that the half a dozen or so rotors were to eliminate the design flaw of helicopters (motor fails, it drops out of the sky). So, just like permaculture, they're designing for redundancy.

      The thing is being rushed to market, apparently. Vertical take off & landing, so urban authorities will be shitting themselves all over the USA. I know, believe it when you see it working according to plan…

      • Pat 9.2.1

        I support the principle as well but when i saw the article it reminded me that Christchurch were running electric (hybrid as it appears) buses years ago….and as they and Auckland canned them due to reliability issues it is reasonable to expect hesitation in them approving them en masse anytime soon….a limited trial perhaps.

        When you apply this experience (and timeframes) to the likes of electric planes the expectation that these techno fixes have any chance of a timely effect on our emissions problems is unrealistic

        • WeTheBleeple

          From the original article

          "One city, the 12 million person strong Shenzhen, had electrified its entire bus fleet of about 16,000 by the end of 2017, and has just done the same to its 22,000 taxis."

          So it's entirely possible – large scale NZ cities pale by comparison. But it is spendy. But how well is this 'Shenzhen pilot' doing?

          It's interesting the Christchurch shuttle also suffered from success. And so did local business off the back of that. Here's hoping the new EB's are more reliable.

          We don't need private planes. But where's me hover board.

            • Dennis Frank

              Intelligent design. Efficient system thinking. Effective implementation. "Due to shorter driving ranges and recharging needs, Chinese cities typically require 100 percent more e-buses than conventional diesel buses. This requires additional money for procurement, operations and maintenance. Shenzhen almost entirely wiped out these additional costs by optimizing its operations and charging."

              "Shenzhen adopted a type of e-bus where a five-hour charge supports 250 kilometers (155 miles) of driving, almost sustaining a full day of operation. However, to ensure recharging does not disrupt bus services, bus operators collaborated with charging infrastructure providers to furnish most of the bus routes with charging facilities; currently, the ratio of charging outlets to the number of e-buses is 1:34. The charging facilities are also open to private cars, thereby improving the financial performance of the charging infrastructure."

              "The bus operators also coordinated the time of charging with the operation schedule, with all e-buses charged fully overnight when electricity prices are low, and recharged at terminals during off-peak travel times."

              Note that collaboration made it happen! Kiwi rugged individualism only gets us so far. We must upskill to collaborate, and embed collaboration as part of our culture. Being competitive is okay, since both/and logic applies, but when collective survival requires teamwork the individual must subordinate rivalry into a group achievement praxis. Compete to excel as role models while working together.

              • Pat

                Directed collaboration however….it is an impressive feat but we show no signs of the gov direction or its acceptance here…a quick back of the envelope indicates around 150 million to convert Christchurchs fleet alone (not including infrastructure)…and there are still reliability and terrain issues indicated.

                It appears doable (and in reality is the only option) but it will not be quick and there will be problems, both physical and political

                • WeTheBleeple

                  I think you'll find almost 100% acceptance from public, and enthusiastic backing for whichever parties are a part of making this type of initiative happen.

                  Start with the worst air pollution city. I think it is Christchurch? In addition to savings in running costs, there are saving to be made in the health system, with respiratory illnesses under the umbrella of COPD afflicting a large percentage of our population. A holistic accounting of benefits vs cost will push EB's to the fore.

                  I'll say it again because it's worth noting to business: Being proactively involved in electrifying buses would be a massive PR coup. You want your name on the bus so the public know who to thank with our purchasing power.

                  There will be some blowhard oil embedded types and pensioners off their meds screaming about commies or whatever they can fixate on to cause a fuss and keep their beloved diesel belching past our schools every day.

                  Diesel buses disproportionately pollute. They're always running through our business districts and suburbs and are the obvious target for reducing air pollution fast. As infrastructure is placed to accommodate electric it might also expand for more extensive coverage for EV's in circulation as China has been doing.

                  " the expectation that these techno fixes have any chance of a timely effect on our emissions problems is unrealistic"

                  "we show no signs of the gov direction or its acceptance here"

                  Quite the naysayer there Pat, though the links you provide have positive messages refuting your first claim – you do not – no faith in the west to pull a rabbit out of the hat?

                  Understandable, but not helping.

                  Every bit counts. Transport is a significant fossil fuel polluter.

                  I think the government is showing some movement in the right direction but as usual needs a prodding from others. Demonstrating, business pressure, banks coming on board – as they sure as hell need some PR right now…

                  We could buy a few EB's with Hisco's lunch money.

                  People who are comfy rarely want change may all our younger generation light fires under their asses and keep them extremely uncomfortable till we act like the grown ups we're supposed to be. Then we might look past our noses and petty selfishness, and roll our sleeves up for the jobs that must be done.

                  Otherwise the planet will light a fire under our asses, and it'll be too late.

                  • Pat

                    I am aware of the apparent contradiction, however although firmly of the opinion that rapid deep rationing of FF is the only likely effective path to reducing the impacts of CC i also recognise that those FF need to be wisely used to build the basis for a net zero carbon society…..the expectation that both will fail to occur in a timely manner is countered by the hope that the lack of alternative will prove me wrong.

                    The posting of the links were to respond to your statement” So it's entirely possible – "large scale NZ cities pale by comparison. But it is spendy. But how well is this 'Shenzhen pilot' doing?"….I was curious to know myself and so searched to discover those articles among others and it appears on the face of it to be doing somewhat better than I anticipated though not perhaps as well as the headlines portray

                    • WeTheBleeple

                      No worries Pat I should've been more clear it was the comments I questioned, not your inputs to this topic which have been valuable.

                      I like to wax and wane from utter hopelessness to dogged determination…

                      The hopelessness can be catching if we're not careful. Too many doom prophets round these parts.

  9. Jenny - How to Get there? 10

    If we are ever to get a handle on congestion and pollution in our cities, we need to get people out of their private ICE vehicles.

    People love free stuff.


    Luxembourg Becomes First Country to Make All Public Transit Free

    Luxembourg is set to become the world's first country to make all of its public transportation free. The newly re-elected prime minister Xavier Bettel and the coalition government have announced that they will lift all fares on trains, trams and buses next summer. Taking aim at long commutes and the country’s carbon footprint, the new move hopes to alleviate some of the worst traffic congestion in the world…..

    …..Beginning in 2020, all tickets will be abolished to save on the collection of fares and the policing of ticket purchases.


  10. Dennis Frank 11

    Incidentally, I ought to have explained the title choice of the book I mentioned earlier. He interviewed the US Dept of Energy's "first ever chief risk officer", John MacWilliams, who was recruited by Obama's Energy Secretary: "Just give me the top five risks I need to worry about right away. Start at the top." Apparently around 150 risks had been listed.

    Nuclear, of course. "Broken Arrow is a military term of art for a nuclear accident that doesn't lead to a nuclear war." Example: in 1961 "a pair of 4-megaton hydrogen bombs, each more than 250 times more powerful than the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima, broke off a damaged B-52 over North Carolina."

    One disintegrated when it hit the ground "but the other floated down beneath its parachute and armed itself". It was found in a field "with three of its four safety mechanisms tripped or rendered ineffective". "Had the fourth switch flipped, a vast section of eastern North Carolina would have been destroyed." Depending on wind direction, the fallout cloud would have enveloped Washington DC &/or New York.

    DoE designed those safety switches. "With a very complex mission and 115,000 people spread out across the country, shit happens every day," said MacWilliams. Radioactive waste is stored in caverns the size of football fields in the New Mexico salt beds. In 2014 "according to a former DoE official" a federal contractor was told to "pack the barrels with "inorganic kitty litter"" but "scribbled down "an organic kitty litter"".

    Get it? Must have been a verbal instruction – they sound the same. That barrel burst. "The site was closed for three years… costing $500 million to clean".

    Second & third risks were North Korea & Iran, then the fourth: the electrical grid. In 2013 a sniper with inside knowledge of where to strike took out seventeen transformers. "We don't actually have a transformer reserve. They're like these million-dollar things." "Someone had also cut the cables… they knew exactly what lines to cut… these were feeder stations to Apple & Google."

    The fifth risk (title of the book) was project management. For the significance, you'll have to read the book, but relevance to us here is climate change primarily. How to get to a safer future depends on competent risk management. Any public program responding to climate change only works if project management works properly. Laws can only create policy & plans. Implementation requires projects – organisations designed to achieve policy goals.

    The chapter on tornados is compelling reading. "It was a mile wide and generated wind speeds of 302 miles an hour, the highest ever recorded on earth. It killed 36 people, including a woman who had sheltered exactly as experts had instructed, by lying in a bathtub and covering herself with a mattress. A car crashed through her roof and landed on her."

  11. soddenleaf 12

    Iran leadership is tyrannical, religious, flaky. They are destabilizing the region, holding back Palestinian solutions, helping Saudi Arabia staying backwards. When bigots rule everyone worries, you just don't know what they'll think is divinely proscribed.

  12. WeTheBleeple 13


    Don't even know where to begin here it is frustrating that we are so stupid.

    The answer is to stop using nitrate salts to grow grass.

    Salts dissolve in water. Plant transpiration makes a plant a siphon pulling water from the soil and through the plant. If the soil water is loaded with salt fertilisers the plant has no option but to take them up.

    Then there's all the cadmium riding coattail on phosphate fertilisers.

    All of these imported ingredients send vast financial resources offshore to oil and mining based industries. In exchange we get pollution, sub standard food, shitty waterways and a tarnished image. Farmers get more milk though so all good, till their herd carks it.

    Growing grass is easy. Forcing production is greedy and short sighted.

    Climate change will bring more and more of this to the fore. This is just a(nother) canary in the farmers coal mine(s).

    • WeTheBleeple 13.1

      The freak or aseasonal hail storms in the US and Mexico have destroyed many crops leaving significant surplus nitrate across broad swathes of the landscapes. Nitrate that leaches from soils with rain (or melted hail).

      A nitrogen scavenger cover crop (a non oilseed brassica) could be immediately air-sown across the affected areas to help sop up some of the excess. Any financial recovery from the event might be in silage/browse but it looks like massive losses. Insurance companies will probably pay, but will stop paying out for extreme weather in the foreseeable near future. Only government assistance and resilient systems will stand the test of trying times. Governments will run out of cash too if they continue to prop up failing models.

      Our food supply is threatened by climate change in many ways. We must adapt to use of mixed agricultural systems where animals increase fertility for crops and then crops bagasse is cycled through animals. Trees for multiple purposes and added fodder/crops. Nitrogen fixing plants within the tree, pasture, crop and cover mixes.

      While industry loves to keep banging on about how they use fertiliser efficiently it is largely bullshit and BAU. We can see that in our rivers and streams and now in dead cows. Climate change will tear the rosy tinted glasses right off of unsustainable operations.

      Change requires changes.

    • Robert Guyton 13.2

      Cadmium? Farms are contaminated sites?

      Not according to the law. They're exempt.

      • WeTheBleeple 13.2.1

        We'll get locked out of markets before too long if BAU prevails. Local law (?) concerning/masking soil toxins has no sway over consumer demand in Europe, US and Asia.

        Have they tried raise the environmental limits (for cadmium) yet? It's a fools game we could get locked out overnight.

        A clean green label will not suffice. Poison is poison.

  13. greywarshark 14

    This transferred from Open Mike 2/7/2019.

    bwaghorn 6 2 July 2019 at 7:32 pm


    Hopefully a game changer is on the way!!

    Science is our only hope imho

    • WeTheBleeple 14.1

      Selectively breed homoacetogens with high affinity H+ transporters so they can compete with methanogens in the rumen to create short chain fatty acids for milk and meat production instead of methane for burps and farts.

      That would be a huge win-win. Methane down, production up.

      Do it once, do it right.

      • Robert Guyton 14.1.1

        "The animal itself does not produce methane but rather a group of microbes called methanogens, who live in the stomach (rumen), and produce methane mainly from hydrogen and carbon dioxide when digesting feed."

        How casually they absolved the cow from blame; it's not the cows' fault, it's those pesky microbes!

        A huge win, perhaps, but cows still tread too heavily on the land; perhaps it's not the heavy beast that's the problem, it's the soil that's not strong enough!

        I'm reminded of the research that produced the NO2 inhibitors; sprayed onto paddocks, it paralysed or killed the microbes that created Nitrous oxide from cow urine; great idea, I always thought; smothering your pastures farm-wide with an antibiotic. The Chinese put the kibosh on it.

        • Dennis Frank

          I've edited the report to focus on the key political points:

          1. Collaboration. "An international collaboration led by New Zealand scientists has made an important discovery in the quest to help lower methane emissions from animals.

          2. Global. "The findings have just been published online in the respected International Society for Microbial Ecology Journal."

          3. Team. "The international team which involved researchers from AgResearch (New Zealand), the Universities of Otago (New Zealand), Monash (Australia), Illinois (USA) and Hokkaido (Japan) has for the first time identified the main rumen microbes and enzymes that both produce and consume that hydrogen."

          4. Leadership. "Leader of the research programme, AgResearch Principal Scientist Dr Graeme Attwood, said the findings were important because scientists can now begin to target the supply of hydrogen to methanogens as a new way of reducing animal methane emissions."

          5. Political relevance. "This is vital for New Zealand to meets its greenhouse gas emission targets under the Paris Agreement and to ensure the farming of ruminants is sustainable into the future," said Dr Attwood.

          6. Global collaboration. "Dr Attwood said an important feature of the programme was its strong international collaboration with leading laboratories around the world."

          7. International alliance. "The involvement of AgResearch scientists has been made possible by New Zealand Government support for the activities of the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases, a New Zealand initiated alliance of 57 countries committed to working together to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture."

          8. Problem-solving. "Through well-coordinated and well-funded science, we increase the likelihood of developing practical solutions to reducing global livestock emissions".

          This exercise in deconstructive keyword analysis reveals how climate change is inducing a suitable response via scientific collaboration in a global framework. I'd like to see social science similarly applied, to enable global political collaboration. Social media ought to provide the forums for that. Enterprise along this trajectory would free us from the shackles of representative democracy.

          • Robert Guyton

            "to ensure the farming of ruminants is sustainable into the future"

            Therein lies the rub!

        • WeTheBleeple

          Don't get me started on manipulated microbes. Who can forget the US spraying modified 'rainmaker' bacteria on strawberry crops to stop them icing over (the pseudomonas typically catalyze ice nucleation in the atmosphere but some cretin removed the external features that provide this property). Did they cause a drop in a semi-arid regions priceless rain? Are their frankensteinian projects mingling with native populations?

          It's not like the US EPA is on the job. Or that industry is some bastion of truth.

          Sinkhole season in Florida, anyone…?

          The posts on nitrate briefly touch on systems that are regenerative rather than exploitative. These would require a significant drop in stocking rates but no more oil based fertilisers.

          The hit to farmers income (the only motivating factor of Parnell Farmers) will be offset by multiple crop types and the drop in costs: Vet bills, fertilisers, feed supplementation…

          These systems would work best with a gardener, an arborist and a farmer all working in collaboration over a relatively large system. You'd only want animals on each portion of land a few times per year.

          It's rotational grazing where crops and cover crops provide much of the animal feed; and animals provide much of the plant nutrition.

          In permie terms: Chop and drop is performed by the animals. Fertiliser is spread by the animals. Biodiversity is used to lessen the effects of pest cycles. Tree crops (as shelter belts) supply human and animal needs.

          Land use needs to be turned over to Farmer/Kaitiaki and wrested from Farmer/Accountants – who are good for nothing except their bottom lines. We have a lot of really good farmers, and a lot of greedy bastards.

          My bottom has uttered a few bottom lines describing their efforts angel

  14. Dennis Frank 15

    ODT reports our energy prospects: https://www.odt.co.nz/lifestyle/resilient/blowing-wind

    "The news that wind will play the leading role in New Zealand’s energy future was put up in lights by Transpower white paper Te Mauri Hiko, released last year. The report stated that electricity demand was likely to more than double, to about 90TWh (terawatt hours) per year, by 2050. By then, electricity will supply more than 60% of our total energy needs, having replaced all coal-fired industry and electricity generation as well as 40% of gas-­fuelled industry. Electricity will power most aspects of our lives, including 85% of personal vehicles."

    "Wind and sun will generate all that extra power, with a little help from geothermal and tide energy, Transpower says. Most of the solar energy will be installed by households and businesses. Wind will be the energy source the big generators invest in most heavily. To meet the demand, 4.5 average-sized wind farms, of about 60 turbines each, would have to be built every year, starting in 2025."

    "Transpower’s report excited and galvanised industry players and academics in the energy sector. As did the Productivity Commission’s Low Emissions Economy report, of last year, which also identified wind’s importance."

    Contrast this future with the status quo: " At present, fossil fuels provide 65% of New Zealand’s total energy needs. Oil makes up 44% and gas 15%. Coal, on 6%, is as big a player as wind in generating energy."

    In permaculture, you get taught to base your design on the local reality in which it will be implemented. So you suit it to the environment, and energy design ought to optimise the flow of energy climate provides. So…

    "Why wind? Because we have the Roaring Forties, Grenville Gaskell replies. Gaskell is the enthusiastic chief executive of the New Zealand Wind Energy Association. The Roaring Forties is a band of strong westerly wind that whips around the ankles of the globe. The South Island and the lower North Island of New Zealand sit bang in the path of the Roaring Forties. It means we have an ‘‘amazing opportunity’’ to make the most of ‘‘this incredible natural resource’’, Gaskell says."

    "Internationally, a wind turbine that operates 25% of the time is considered to be offering a decent return. New Zealand has plenty of locations where the capacity is closer to double that."

    "The country has 19 wind farms, generating 690MW. That’s roughly enough to supply Wellington, or the Otago/ Southland region (excluding Tiwai Point aluminium smelter), or 300,000 homes. A further 2500MW of wind generation is already consented, ranging from the 45MW Titiokura wind farm in Hawke’s Bay to the 286 turbine, 858MW Castle Hill wind farm in the Wairarapa. The largest proposed turbines, 160m tall, are consented for the Puketoi wind farm, also in the Wairarapa."

    "‘‘This year is looking exciting,’’ Gaskell enthuses. Three wind farm builds have been announced in recent months, he says. A 31 turbine, 130MW wind farm is planned for Waverley, in Taranaki; in August, construction begins on the $256 million, 119MW Turitea wind farm in Manawatu; and a $50 million, 16MW wind farm will be built in South Taranaki to produce green hydrogen."

    "Below the Waitaki River, there are five wind farms: at White Hill (29 turbines, 58MW), Southland; Flat Hill (eight turbines, 6.8MW), Bluff; Mt Stuart (nine turbines, 7.65MW), Clutha; Mahinerangi (12 turbines, 36MW), Clutha; and Horseshoe Bend (three turbines, 2.25MW), Central Otago. Sites are being investigated at Slopedown, in Southland, and Mt Stalker, North Otago. A site at Kaiwera Downs, Gore District, has been consented for an 83-turbine 240MW wind farm. Mahinerangi, west of Dunedin, has consents to expand from 12 turbines to 100, bringing its capacity up to 200MW."

    "Wind power has already helped reduce New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions. Figures released by Statistics NZ, on Thursday, show that while the country as a whole has not reduced its emissions during the past decade, electricity and gas sector emissions have declined an impressive 41.7% — a result to which wind power has contributed."

    • WeTheBleeple 15.1

      That is great news. We're even seeing shifts in operations from conventional oil companies. some of Statoils initiatives are downright impressive.


      • Dennis Frank 15.1.1

        Yeah, great. Liked how it started, two white-haired old fellas as designers of the project. Elderly being leaders, swimming against the flow to senescence, pangenerational problem-solving.

      • greywarshark 15.1.2

        Thanks for this WtB. Gathering and presenting this stuff, these ventures, this change of thinking, this practical idea and sharing it around between us all, is so beneficial and inspiring and uplifting. We need each other, and to bring our findings to the gathering place for all to see and think about, knowing that some will never be able to shift from their familiar path to do more than glance at them. We can't wait for someone else to do it, those who choose are a minority, but it grows.

        Defenceless under the night
        Our world in stupor lies;
        Yet, dotted everywhere,
        Ironic points of light
        Flash out wherever the Just
        Exchange their messages:

        from 1 September 1939 WHAuden

  15. WeTheBleeple 16

    Mental Health.

    some of you may have surmised:

    I am not a hotbed of mental health.

    Things that make it worse (can only speak for myself here but might help others):

    arguing with blocks of wood or their mental equivalent

    poor diet

    lack of exercise

    lack of purpose

    unthinking authorities.

    Things that improve it:


    Balanced diet

    Exercise, especially walks in nature

    Good leadership

    Purpose – a mission!

    Good news.

    Climate change is likely wreaking havoc on the mental health of normally stable individuals. those, like me, prone to difficulties – might find their condition/s exacerbated by the constant barrage of 'bad news' and simultaneous touch-paper politics/press diverting us from dealing with reality.

    I find it extremely difficult staying on board to lend help in a world obsessed with themselves. It is important that I find those exemplars among us who work for the greater good or I would be swamped in despair.

    Surprisingly, to my cynical school of hard knocks self… there are an awful lot of people who do care. We must seek out the good, and nurture and encourage it. We must shine our light like never before.

    On monday I was dishing out tobacco to homeless folk. The levels of mental health issues were frightening. A couple of men would not even be approached, despite they were taking butts from the gutter, an offer of free tobacco was met with distrust. This was a bit heartbreaking, they were out of reach to me who'd been there. But, the few men and one lady I'd given tobacco to distributed it out to their peers. Living in abject poverty, they all share! This humanity being (part of) their downfall in a self absorbed world.

    Self care is paramount, self absorption is deadly. We survive hardship together, or we perish. Learn from the homeless, grow a pair and grow a heart.

    Monday evening I performed comedy about mental health and homelessness to a group of homeless men – happily puffing away on home-grown tobacco. To see these men living so hard roaring with laughter was an incredible experience.

    Many of us are one illness, one mental illness, one bad decision or simply a cruel twist of fate from being homeless ourselves. It doesn't take much for a life to fall apart it can happen so rapidly you find yourself out in the cold before you saw it coming. Homelessness is so confronting because they are us. You can't hate on the homeless man. That's not hate, it's fear.

    • WeTheBleeple 16.1

      I had a couple of points to illustrate there but wound up meandering…

      We need to take care of ourselves, but not to the detriment of our fellow man.

      We need to take care of our fellow man, but not to the detriment of ourselves.

      Resilience is a function of community, not individualism.

      We are not all mad on the same day. On a bad day my mates help me, on their bad days I help them. This way we get through together.

      Self absorption and personal greed is destroying the planet.

      Altruism, cooperation and community might restore some of the damage done.

      • Dennis Frank 16.1.1

        Your meanders are also worth reading. wink

        This morning Garner interviewed a spokesperson for the construction industry about the mental health issues (crisis?) happening there. Middle-aged guy, and he referred to emotional intelligence. When concepts like that are evidently achieving currency in the mainstream, there's a sound basis for hope (re resilience as policy).

        Your thoughts also reminded me that the way of the sorcerer required mastery of pain & suffering. Read any account of traditional shamanism in indigenous societies for how that played out in various social contexts. So you could view our trials & tribulations via that lens.

        I was at an altpolitical gathering around nine years ago, of 40 or so people. A young aussie woman channelled a spirit, from within the surrounding wide circle of attendees. "Comte de Saint Germain was a European adventurer, with an interest in science, alchemy and the arts. He achieved prominence in European high society of the mid-1700s."

        My 0.5 second mental eye-roll was followed by the usual razor-eyed watch for the flaws in performance that always reveal the sham. Didn't happen. I saw, with increasing amazement, the emergence of the flow and continuance of courtly body language, eloquent speech using words no aussie would ever acquire nowadays (I've read antique literature since I was a kid).

        Anyway, when the entity asked for questions after advising us how to organise to deal with the consequences of climate change, I asked "how can we use shamanic function in the contemporary political?" Then had to endure, with increasing embarrassment, prolonged applause from the entity as it clapped her hands with considerable enthusiasm and told the crowd "What an excellent question!".

        If I'd been on the ball, I'd have followed up with "Thanks, but what's the answer?" Apparently the question sufficed – kinda zen response from the aristocrat, but could be it wasn't wrong.

        I told Bill Watson as we left later "that was authentic". Zero doubt. Pondering various times since, I always am left with gnosis that those of us capable just have to do our best with our inadequate skills. To make a general point about that, there's the quest for ancient wisdom that we ventured into in the aftermath of the hippie thing as basis. The trick is to ascertain how relevant that stuff still is…

        • Dennis Frank

          Probably worth adding that shamans did rearrangement of world-views, attitudes & expectations of the future as part of their job/praxis. Rectifying the drift into error or degenerating mental health of members was essential to maintenance of the whole tribe (as a healthy community).

          It alerts us to the part played by plant allies in shifting consciousness, as well as showing that the shaman was the ancient mental health practitioner. Hippies did psychelic drugs for kicks, mostly, but the original experimentation alerted the trend-setters to the deconditioning effect (which is what most of us needed back then).

          • WeTheBleeple

            There are certainly some not-so-subtle shifts in consciousness that lend hope to the situation entire. Reading a stuff hit-piece on the govt today (the economy is doomed!) reveals half the comments telling Stuff to get stuffed and stop trotting out tired old lines from self-absorbed old men…

            Huge change from only a year ago.

            The try-hards continue to try hard, but many people who were once fooled by tired old rhetoric have turned away from it, and are seeking alternative meanings to life.

            Well being. It's not just an empty phrase.

            Deconditioning is occurring in society, children who march for change – not stare at their phones 'uselessly' as many try paint them. Public who wade in, in number, to counter the growth mantra…

            Then there's the hijacking of fear and insecurity by populism… yet more evidence of a society ready for change, radical change even. The trick is to channel this desire for meaningful change appropriately.

            The grip big business has on the public narrative is shifting despite them owning the press.

            Those homeless men I cared for the other night didn't cause the housing crisis.

            Self absorption and greed did that.

            Fear is the enemy of dialogue.

  16. Dennis Frank 17

    Also on the topic of emotional intelligence, I've started a library book written by this guy: "Andreas Weber … a German biologist, biosemiotician, philosopher and journalist."

    Readers who are unaware of semiotics can get a clue if I suggest it's all about the signalling process, the relation of language to meaning, the medium & the message.

    So he's on about transcending objectivity. Well, some of us having been doing that since the '80s, to decondition from a scientific education. What's new? The collective venture of some biologists and neuroscientists into the feeling side of life. Verboten, out of bounds in traditional science. https://biologyofwonder.org/

    Soon after publication three years ago, a reviewer posted this on Amazon books:

    "This book proposes nothing less than a new way of thinking about the earth and our place in it. Weber at one point terms it, "a new science of the heart" or in another book he uses the term "enlivenment". The basic premise stems from the idea that moving beings are alive, and to be alive implies freedom, choice, and the ability to feel. This aliveness includes living cells at one end and the entirety of earth's surface at the other. We are part of a living network, and that network is not about competition but symbiosis. As you can see, this book is an audacious endeavor".

    Yeah, but he's no lone wolf rebel. I was citing the start of this trend thirty years ago in my writing. It is now a substantial scientific subculture. The paradigm shift into holism that occurred in avante-garde science in the '80s is escalating, that's all. Yet scientific study of subjectivity is indeed a big deal, worth considerable focus. It requires an adept philosopher to achieve a balanced integration of subjectivity & objectivity. Experientially, you have to `see' your subjective take on something in relation to your objective take, and acknowledge them both as part of you simultaneously. The former is feelings-driven, the latter is what you can share via language.

    • WeTheBleeple 17.1

      I was heartened to hear the desire for a more holistic approach mentioned several times in my university studies, and this across various disciplines. Environmental science was leading the pack. Paraphrased:

      'Good decision making requires that all parties are invited to the table. Exclusion of any provides grounds for resentment, legal stoushes, and a massive waste of time and resources competing where there should be collaboration.'

      We see how some parties still maintain the lie that their contribution (economy via extraction) is more valid than others, but this is changing through time. It wasn't that long ago Maori were not even at the table, nor the environment save a report from people hired to keep the extractors in business.

      Circular economics subverts the funneling of funds offshore strengthening local resilience. Environmental and cultural consideration insures against an uphill battle to do business.

      Business needs re-framing to what it was supposed to be. Products and services for a reasonable fee. Service of and to communities. Not cash cows. Making money should not be frowned upon, except where it is blatantly extractive.

      The whole 'survival of the fittest' outlook of evolution is wrong where we interpret this as competition only. The fittest were those most able to adapt to their environment in a sustainable manner. This involved entire food chains surviving. No creature ever survived alone. We who house 10 times more the number of bacteria than there are cells in our bodies – we are living ecosystems, not individuals.

      We are ecosystems within ecosystems within biomes within a biosphere.

      Overplaying our hand is rife with problems as we are clearly seeing now. A switch of power from extractors to Kaitiaki is required. This switch may happen in a shift of consciousness in leadership, though I have no idea how that would come about.

      Holistic targets for every government, business required to serve not steal, permaculture as part of mainstream education – that would be a bloody good start.

  17. greywarshark 18

    In case this hasn't gone in here yet. Anne Salmond talks about trees and possibly to trees.

    * Dame Anne Salmond leads the Te Awaroa: Voice of the River project. She was the 2013 New Zealander of the Year

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/farming/113901209/listen-to-what-the-history-of-our-trees-is-telling-us 2/7/2019

    When the New Zealand Forest Service was set up in 1921, its vision was to sustainably harvest native forests and to plant exotic forests (mostly Pinus radiata), which began to be felled during the 1950s, 60s and 70s. As the demand for inexpensive housing grew, the rate of felling native forests also accelerated, and New Zealanders rallied to fight to protect what remained in national parks.

    The "forest wars" of the 1970s left bitter memories of a Forest Service dedicated to felling native forests, rather than managing them sustainably for future generations. As a result, conservationists largely dedicated themselves to protecting the remnants, while the Forest Service was left to concentrate on planting and harvesting exotic forests.

    pdf https://www.productivity.govt.nz/sites/default/files/sub-low-emissions-135-dame-anne-salmond-23Kb.pdf date?

    Dec 2017 https://www.auckland.ac.nz/en/about/perspectives/opinion/opinion-2017/quarter-4/anne-salmond-forestry-plan-not-out-of-the-woods.html

    Gisborne – cleangreen! November 2017 http://gisborneherald.co.nz/opinion/3073670-135/forestry-here-far-from-fsc-theory

    2013 https://www.facebook.com/forestandbird/posts/298521136942555

    • WeTheBleeple 18.1

      Really enjoyed the comments to Dame Salmond's article, a clear majority can see the wood for the trees.

      One thing that wasn't covered. We used to have the equipment to process logs larger than and other than young pine but not anymore. There are many experimental arborists around the country who could help provide information for a broad range of timber crops both native and exotic in NZ conditions. Being able to process the logs here would add further employment and value. The milled wood might also lend way to all sorts of local manufacturing (again).

      Some natives will grow considerably faster than one might think when they are pampered a little. Pruning, thinning, feeding and watering are all significant factors.

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