How To Get There 6/1/19

Written By: - Date published: 6:55 am, January 6th, 2019 - 146 comments
Categories: capitalism, class war, Conservation, economy, Economy, employment, energy, Environment, equality, food, jobs - Tags:

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

This post is prompted by TS regular Robert Guyton who suggested we have a dedicated thread where “the way forward can be discussed, within parameters such as doable suggestions, successful examples, contributions from readers who support the concept of the thread, new takes on the future etc.”.

How To Get There is 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 and we’d like to think it’s success will be measured in the quality of comments rather than the quantity.

Let us know what you think!

146 comments on “How To Get There 6/1/19 ”

  1. Dennis Frank 1

    Leunig’s framing of how to get to the future is `the venture’ or `the voyage’, in the above cartoon. So you leave the past behind, venture out onto the path to the future, take the trip. Notice that the destination isn’t in the picture!!

    So the opposite frame is used by folks who have a plan. They have a destination in mind, and the plan provides an outline of how to manifest it. When not formulated, this plan remains tacit in their minds, intuited or imagined, but not articulated.

    Which is why idealists tend to lack a capacity for realising their dreams. And I do speak from personal experience, having grown up extremely idealistic! Manifesting the imagined goal requires actions based on a plan of how to do it, and those actions must produce the outcome. Success therefore depends on suitable action, directed into appropriate activities, to implement the plan.

    So you can see why political movements evolved the historical method of using a political manifesto, as an outline of their collective action plan. Why no longer??

    • Robert Guyton 1.1

      “Manifesting the imagined goal requires actions based on a plan of how to do it, and those actions must produce the outcome. Success therefore depends on suitable action, directed into appropriate activities, to implement the plan.”

      Have we, those who have contributed to this brief flurry of posts, “How to get there”, described a goal yet? That would be an important thing to do, in my opinion. Not easy though, as every imagined future state can be criticised (easily) by those who don’t support the process of purposeful imagining. Personally, I do, having experienced , as a boy, goal-achievement as the result (it seemed to me) of imagining, dreaming, wishing for, in this case, a tuatara. After feeling the burning desire to find one of these ancient creatures, I found myself, as an adult, standing on Steven’s Island, holding in my hands an enormous (gorgeous) tuatara and being struck by the revelation that imagining can be a slow burner but is the spark the sets off the possibility of achievement. Or something. I also support your view that action is required for the fulfilment of imagined goals, but have a view too, about letting them go at a certain point, leaving them to gestate (imaginal cells in a chrysalis 🙂 and getting on with life. These comments might be to vague for this time of the day.

      • Dennis Frank 1.1.1

        Not too vague, Robert. 🙂 I agree there’s a time to release attachment to goals, and a time to shelve them awhile when current reality demands our attention and time. Just as it’s a good idea to take time out while on any trip, rather than remaining on schedule constantly. Digression often rewards..

        To me the collective goal remains a sustainable society and economy. Within that overall frame, reducing inequality via design is a priority goal. I have recently suggested re-inventing the left as a worthy goal here. I’ve been considering the inevitability of the synthesis of capitalism and socialism more than 30 years, and still consider the full articulation of that a priority goal, in which political collaboration replaces ideological competition.

        • Robert Guyton

          ” I have recently suggested re-inventing the left as a worthy goal here.”
          I’m with you in that, Dennis. We have passionate discussions about that here at home and the idea you expressed yesterday, that the Left seems dedicated to splitting itself endlessly, relentlessly, is one we share. The Right don’t suffer the same malady, their culture being different (more singular and focused, perhaps) from that of the Left (broadly speaking 🙂 and aren’t bedevilled by flakiness (as in flaking off, shedding limbs etc.) as is the Left. We seem to be unherdable cats and for many of us our work ethic is… lacking. In other discussions, we’ve talked about “how to get there” involving holding a sound, shared “belief”, creed even, and then applying a vigorous work ethic to that in order the achieve. When we look at the various manifestations of the left wing here in NZ, I see the need for the same approach taken by, say, the Amish, to create and maintain a strong culture. Make sense?

          • Dennis Frank

            I’ve always been non-conformist, so I don’t fit easily within any leftist context. So in that respect I’m part of the problem! 😎 However I constrained myself into a collective framework during the eighties, and deepened that discipline when I joined the Greens until it became praxis.

            Self-discipline, when self-imposed by choice in such collective contexts, works rather like a team of draught-horses. The group belief system functions like the blinkers, so the horses look straight ahead toward the goal and folks are indoctrinated to similarly be goal-fixated, so that perception will combine with action via praxis, to create the emerging reality. The harness that holds the team together is the collective praxis in this analogy. Team-work.

            So in the culture of individualism, the ego is exalted at the expense of the superego. Everyone consequently refuses to be part of a team, since their personal goals are their sole focus. No discipline, no common ground, no coherence, no progress toward collective goals results. The culture of narcissism ramped it up to an even higher level of extremity, until democracy produced Trump to exemplify the trend. In the past here I have signalled the pendulum swing back to collectivism, but we have yet to see evidence in mass political behaviour. The zeitgeist shifts consciousness, but folks are inertial, so translating the shift into action takes time…

            • greywarshark

              A time to build up a time to break down –
              A time to cast away stones, A time to gather stones together.

              • Dennis Frank

                The disc jockeys, when that was on the charts, would always say it came from Ecclesiastes in the Bible. Reminds us that mass media presenters once felt constrained to seem learned…

            • Robert Guyton

              Trouble is … the most vibrant and brilliant trend-setters and achievers with the genius ideas, of the sort we are canvassing here, prefer to go solo and bristle at others who approach their level of activity in that specific field. In my experience. The one’s I’m talking about are young (20’s and 30’s 🙂 It they who need to be eased into a cooperative arrangement, somehow. Perhaps that’s a role for us older folk. The permaculture movement looked as if it might be a good model for the “loose” cooperative of clever thinkers with kind hearts, but I don’t know that’s a reality…yet, though I’ve seen signs of that budding lately.

              • Dennis Frank

                From a design perspective the incentive-structure is the key. Preaching mutual-benefits is merely a sales-pitch, thus little better than the consciousness-raising so preferred by leftists. Behavioural change cannot become contagious unless folks can see how they will prosper more by working together than separately. Team design.

                Which is why I suggested here some months ago that the All Blacks are the best role model for how to harness competition into a collaborative social context. Design for meritocracy, not democracy!

                • WeTheBleeple

                  I’m a little out of my league here but really appreciate this branch of discussion. The left do seem to take individuality a bit seriously….

                  Goal setting. One time I got a book how to read and write music, and another book, how to play guitar. My flatmates bemoaned and scoffed at my daily practice as I moved slowly through such classics as ‘Mary Had A Little Lamb’ and ‘Frere Jacques’ to ‘Greensleeves’ and more. “Torturous” they said, “no bloody hope” they said.

                  Six months later they watched me playing guitar on the telly. (the goal, a Pulp Comedy spot)

                  A few years later I did a guest spot at a rock concert and got encored by 10 000 highly appreciative punters.

                  I knew I could rock.

                  A little bit, every day. Who knows where it might lead.

                  Everything we build begins with imagination, but its the planning and execution that make it reality.

                  • Dennis Frank

                    Love it, great story! And indeed a classic example of what I was getting at. Rock groups, or any musical combo such as orchestras, are other suitable examples of designing integration of competition and collaboration to produce a culture of meritocracy. 🙂

                • Robert Guyton

                  Agreed, Dennis, even to the All Black scenario; we’ve even admired the Young Nat’s for their Party/party methods of community building 🙂
                  And yes, we modern humans of the Western sort, do need to see the gain in it for ourselves, sadly. Some cultures don’t have this way, I cite the Nepalese, and I imagine we’ll not flower until we too behave that way.

                • Morrissey

                  The All Blacks “won” that farcical 2011 RWC final not because they managed to “harness competition into a collaborative social context” but because they were allowed to cheat flagrantly throughout the match.




      • greywarshark 1.1.2

        Purposeful imaginings. Reflective thinking. Two useful terms.

    • Draco T Bastard 1.2

      So you can see why political movements evolved the historical method of using a political manifesto, as an outline of their collective action plan. Why no longer??

      Because Central Planning, as we’ve been told by the business community, is evil. Apparently, all we need to do is allow rich, greedy schmucks to become richer and greedier and all will be well.

      That plan is, of course, failing.

      As you say, we really do need to plan. To set some goals and some measurements to determine if we’re getting there. And, most important, we need the will to change the plan when it’s not working.

      We’re at the point now where we have no plan and, when it fails to work, blame the government and vote in a new one which then goes off in another haphazard direction.

      We need a vision for the future that includes everybody and not just making a few rich people richer.

      We used to have one. It’s what the First Labour government had and what they did and National followed that plan. The problem was that governments failed to measure the advances and they failed to change the plan when it became obvious that it wasn’t working with the result of the implementation of neo-liberalism and the delusional belief that we didn’t need to plan – that government planning was evil.

      And so here we are today with a government that refuses to do what’s necessary because they’re they’re scarred that they’ll be tarred with the same brush as the USSR.

      Note the discrepancy?

      If you go to the bank to get a business loan and don’t have a viable plan you won’t get the loan.

      Successful businesses plan all the time. It’s stupid to think that governments shouldn’t and yet that is one of the base ideas behind the free-market dogma:

      Market economies are contrasted with planned economies where investment and production decisions are embodied in an integrated economy-wide economic plan by a single organizational body that owns and operates the economy’s means of production.

      • Ed 1.2.1

        As ever, Draco, you nail it.

      • Dennis Frank 1.2.2

        Yes, exactly. Amend the plan when necessary. Account for failure. Proceed from analysis of problem to design of solution.

        What went wrong in the early seventies? No accounting for failure in leftist politics – just various leftist sects all claiming to he holier than thou just like the christians.

        What went wrong in the late seventies? No accounting for failure of socialist economic theory, and bureaucratic practice. Rightist analysis won by default. Leftists either became rightists or played dumb. Rightist ideology (neoliberalism) was chosen by govts of left & right because democracy is designed to eliminate radical alternatives.

        Your use of `viable’ is the key. People will not switch to another plan, design, or system, unless they can see that it is likely to work. From a marketing perspective, provision of a working model is usually the best way to impress them!

        • Draco T Bastard

          What went wrong in the early seventies?

          Actually, the problems started manifesting in the early 1960s. They just came to crisis point in the early 1970s and stayed that way throughout the entire decade and into the 1980s. Thus we can determine that things needed to change in the mid to late 1960s.

          So, why didn’t they change?

          IMO, due to lack of proper measurements:
          1. People didn’t realise that they needed to change early enough
          2. Nobody knew what change was needed once it became obvious taht change was needed

          This resulted in radical capitalism being implemented as the solution to the problems caused by capitalism.

          We could call it socialism because, as I learned when at uni, socialism is still capitalism but with a social conscience.

          People will not switch to another plan, design, or system, unless they can see that it is likely to work. From a marketing perspective, provision of a working model is usually the best way to impress them!

          There’s two parts needed:
          1. A vision for a better future
          2. A plan to get there

          We’re getting neither from our politicians and so things remain the same with things getting worse for more and more people and the politicians still don’t know what to do.

        • Anne

          Leftists either became rightists or played dumb. Rightist ideology (neoliberalism) was chosen by govts of left & right because democracy is designed to eliminate radical alternatives.

          I was very active in the Labour Party throughout the 1970s and the early part of the 1980s and looking back… I can see there was a major battle in progress for much of that time between two factions inside the Party. The end game of course was to gain control of the Party and initially the ‘so-called’ right faction was in the ascendancy. They ended up buggering up big time around 1988 which eventually allowed the ‘so-called’ left faction to gain domination. I put single inverted commas around ‘so-called’ because to begin with I don’t think there was a lot of political ideology involved. It was a power game between two groups who came to personally dislike one another. Misogyny among some in the Labour caucus also played a major role, and that was another reason for the development of the two divisions.

          What happened after the 1984 election is a different story, except to say that Rogernomics gave the neo-right inside National a chance to beef up their game and cement in neoliberalism to the point where it is going to be well nigh impossible to totally obliterate. And that, imo, has been the dilemma for left-of-centre coalition governments ever since.

          Not sure how the above fits with your quoted comment DF but broadly speaking they were my experiences and observations.

          • Dennis Frank

            It fits, Anne. I see the current coalition succeeding on the basis of neoliberal pragmatism – so far. Could it re-invent socialism? Not unless alternative thinkers dreamed up a viable alternative, incorporated sufficient design elements to make it innovative enough to perform differently and better than prior socialism, and marketed it effectively.

            No sign yet of any such collective endeavour. Labour thinks itself a progressive vehicle, but any progress will result from Winston’s control of the handbrake.

            • Anne

              Labour is a progressive vehicle, hence the reason they and the Greens mesh in together nicely. But of course they are both constrained by:

              a) NZ First who see themselves as the intermediary influence between two
              ideological extremities which is bullshit in reality, but nevertheless it suits
              them to present as such because their support comes from the illusive

              b) There are now two generations who have grown up only knowing
              neoliberal-type governance so they are likely to be spooked by any
              suggestion of returning to some prehistoric (to them) form of government.

  2. Is some sort of ‘decolonisation’ necessary to progress to a better Aotearoa? If so what does it actually mean?

    It is a shame some NZ citizens of Maori descent appear to see traditional tikanga as almost set in stone and a ‘correct’ way to live. Treaty of Waitangi era British culture is totally dead, it has moved on to become something different. Those of us descended from those who signed the TOW can happily reject the race, gender and social norms of our British 1840 era culture. I am descended from people both sides of the TOW signing, why should I be expected to believe my Maori cultural heritage is worth preserving intact, while my British heritage is garbage? Both British and Maori 1840-style cultures are dead and gone for ever.

    The truth is even the most radical Maori decolonialist is going to interpret this concept from a modern worldview. Female Maori academics do not want traditional tikanga gender roles restored. No one wants a return to tribal warfare. No one wants a very short life expectancy. In other words this debate is about modern race relations, not traditional culture. Personally I believe reducing this discussion to identity politics brings it into better perspective. Do I choose to identify as Maori due to a small percentage of Maori DNA? Or do I choose to identify as pakeha due to a small amount of English DNA? Or how about take the victim card to the next level, my majority DNA comes from Scotland, and man if my Maori ancestors think they had a hard time with my English ancestors, they should see what the English did to the Scots!!!!

    Actually it’s time we all grew up, stopped finger pointing and realised we are all one people.

    We are more or less ‘one people’, but with a wide variety of world views and ideas on how we can improve our society – even amongst Māori.

    ‘Decolonisation’ sounds to me like going backwards.

    We need to acknowledge and understand our history better, but how we get to our future requires modern thinking, acceptance of diversity in our heritages, and finding ways of dealing with far better equality than both colonial and Māori social systems and power structures allowed.

    • JanM 2.1

      “We need to acknowledge and understand our history better”.
      Very true – we don’t know where we’re going if we don’t know where we’ve come from. Teaching reflective history is essential, in my opinion, from a young age, and none of this imperialist British rubbish that is frequently taught now, if anything. Only when we front up will we really be able to move on. It’s all very well to expect Maori to abandon traditional tikanga, but until the dominant culture stop seeing themselves as, in some peculiar way, superior, it is clinging to a life raft with the very real possibility of drowning if you let go.
      ” Female Maori academics do not want traditional tikanga gender roles restored”. And what sort of peculiar statement is that?

      • Robert Guyton 2.1.1

        I’d like to know more, talk more about our pan-human history and explore the paths we chose. The situation we find ourselves in now, problems by the score 🙂 must be the result of have sprung from somewhere (or many “there’s” and digging into that midden of human history might expose some very interesting and instructive artefacts. There’s a school of thought that says we humans were doing well until one of our branches chose to store grain. It’s been all downhill from there.

        • Pete George

          What was life expectancy like in pre-grain-storing days?

          I think that taking civilisation back to pre-grain storing days is not a goer, more so than going back to pre-colonial days – neither are ‘doable suggestions’.

          We, especially in New Zealand, live in the safest human era ever with the best quality of life ever. We should see the positives and work on improving them.

          • Robert Guyton

            What was life expectancy like in pre-grain-storing days?
            Good. People lived from the beginning to the end of their lives, as they do today. Hardly anyone was killed by cars or phosphorous bombs.

            I think that taking civilisation back to pre-grain storing days is not a goer, more so than going back to pre-colonial days – neither are ‘doable suggestions’.
            I didn’t suggest that we do. Isn’t that sort of argument called “straw man”?

            We, especially in New Zealand, live in the safest human era ever with the best quality of life ever. We should see the positives and work on improving them.
            Safe, are we? From the results of human activities across the aeons? I thought you recognised the threat of climate change. You may believe we are sitting pretty and need only to stay seated in our box-seats, but I don’t.

            • Pete George

              We never have been and never will be ‘sitting pretty’. Life always has been and always will be a challenge.

              But we have it pretty good now, comparatively. We have do do more to ensure future generations have a better chance of having it pretty good too.

              • Robert Guyton

                ” We have do do more to ensure future generations have a better chance of having it pretty good too.”
                Do you have a suggestion for us? What “more” would you like to see done?

                • Give more consideration to the potential benefits of GE in reducing carbon emissions versus the possible risks (including the risks of not utilising GE advances).

                  The key thing I want to see now is some sort of viable plan to deal with climate change issues. Targets for 2050 with no clear indication of how we might get there are of little practical use.

                  There needs to be far better consideration of the effects (rewards versus risks) of some of the radical proposals, such as fossil fuel free and plastic free.

                  All parties in parliament have indicated a willingness to deal with climate change, which is promising, but we are lacking in specific plans and actions.

                  • Robert Guyton

                    “More consideration”
                    Pretty vague, Pete. I was hoping you’d have some substantial ideas; actions we could take individually or as a community, changes to our behaviour we could action today, that sort of thing. I’m (personally) not so interested in hearing what governance might or might not be doing; ‘how to get there” is a post that could/should/might/does attract “grassroots” ideas that are doable.
                    D’ya wanna have another go at it?

                    • I do small things, like reduce plastic use, reduce consumption, reduce meat eating, grow more of my own food, grow my own heating source (firewood), regenerate native bush, reduce travel. Also nudge things along online.

                      But this is not a plan for everyone, we each have to do what we think might work for us and our planet the best.

                      What we do from a government level is the most important thing for the country. New Zealand carbon emissions are a tiny fraction of world emissions and we can do little that will affect things overall.

                      Showing the world how things can be done better is one of the primary things we can contribute with, and that has to largely be at a Government level.

                    • Robert Guyton

                      I hope that eventually our Government will follow our lead and that the governments of other countries will follow the lead of ours.
                      Those “small things” you do are a good example; your actions affect the way you express yourself politically and the topics you choose to discuss, making them (growing your own food, regenerating bush etc.) powerful influencers. It starts at ground level, Imo (actually, beneath the soil, but that’s WTB’s specialist space so we’ll leave him to elaborate sometime 🙂

                    • “I hope that eventually our Government will follow our lead”

                      What I’m hearing more and more is the ‘eventually’ has been going on for too long and we haven’t got the time to wait any more.

                      I think that we need far better direction and far more actual action from Government about right now. At least over the next few months.

                      Idealism needs to be converted into realistic and urgent action.

                    • Robert Guyton

                      Get busy then, Pete. If you want change, be the change 🙂

        • Grant

          I’m interested in the same ‘big’ questions Robert. Because I’m a bit of a dim bulb and take a while to absorb information, I’m currently on my third reading of ‘Sapiens, A Brief History of Mankind’ by Yuval Noah Harari. Harari and Jared Diamond with Guns Germs and Steel are both really good places for the curious lay person to start with this stuff. Needless to say, one of the points they both make is that when our forager ancestors first inadvertently started down the path to the Agricultural Revolution, the trap snapped shut behind them and there was no turning back. I’ve been following the to and fro between Redlogix and others on this topic but haven’t put my oar in because I didn’t have a worthwhile contribution to make. My ‘heart’ likes the path signposted by WTB and yourself while my head acknowledges the absolute hard edged truth of RL’s argument. I suspect that our eventual salvation, if we’re lucky enough to find one, will involve a synthesis of both.

          • Robert Guyton

            Hi Grant – you are well read and it shows 🙂
            The trap, as you describe it ( I say, cultural “black hole”) may have snapped shut, but we humans are expert at prising open the seemingly un-priseable. It’ll require a thorough investigation of the trap; reading the books you have is a very good strategy for sizing up the situation. I’m interested in the choice that was made to enter the trap in the first place – I bet there were folk saying, “You’ll regret this decision, mark my words!” as some of the “American Indians” have famously been recorded as having said. I don’t think the adoption of the pivotal action that started the agricultural culture was “inadvertent” but that belief is hard to verify 🙂 I suspect we should follow our hearts if we hope to get out alive, but use our heads to dismantle the mechanism that’s holding us in. Which might be something along the lines of what you are saying.

            • Grant

              The Trap is a good name for the situation we find ourselves in. It is the same trap now that it was 12,000 years ago for the descendants of the people who created Gobekle Tepe. Just that now we have eight billion + people who’d quite like to survive with a reasonable life style if possible, rather than just a few hundred or a few thousand. I guess there always have been a few individuals on the outskirts of the group who wondered if the leaders and their followers were doing the right thing. But as Harare makes clear, the trap that closed on those early foragers was not an easy one to see. To use a clumsy analogy it was a bit like one of those venus fly traps which promises a nice drink of nectar then quietly closes overhead leaving no way out. The point where the analogy ceases to function well is that the trap we’re discussing closed over a period of generations, while the material facts of the food economy changed imperceptibly until the new way of doing things was the only possible way of doing things. The only real alternative to arable farming was nomadic pastoralism which is another type of trap which has its own set of problems.

              In a nutshell, agriculture, initially and primarily wheat farming, gave people the ability to support a larger population on a given area of land. i.e. the oasis of Jericho in 13,000BC might have supported 100 foragers in a fairly good lifestyle. By 8,500 BC there were about 1,000 people living a cramped unhealthy village working their arses off to provide the calories to feed the extra mouths. Who was going to volunteer to stop eating while 10% of the population went back to foraging? How were they going to restore the foraging environment? Were their farmer neighbors going to leave them alone to go back to foraging with a reduced population, or were they going to seize the opportunity to sweep in and take the land for themselves? One of the key things to note here is that the ability to feed extra mouths also gives you the ability to take over land held by foragers because you will outnumber them. Hence the spread of farming. Push-pull, carrot-stick..

              • Robert Guyton

                “In a nutshell, agriculture, initially and primarily wheat farming, gave people the ability to support a larger population on a given area of land.”

                And that would have rung alarm bells (if such devices existed then) in the heads of those who understood the non-human world and it’s workings; populations grow to the point where they eat as much, only as much as their surroundings provide – artificially forcing that equation results in readjustment/collapse down the track. Our ancestors ignored the rule and went for broke and now we are facing the payback time; it took a while and many of us were as warm and comfy as swaddled babies, but had we listened to those who had their eyes on the models around them, we’d not be looking at extinctions for our fellow travellers; bird and beast, tree and leaf, but something different. The way out of this trap? Look to the winged, leaved, flippered and microscopic for their advice. It may be too late, but I’m hopeful.

                • Grant

                  It happened fairly SLOWLY Robert. You’ve got to put yourself back there in southern Turkey in the area of Gobekli Tepe 12,000 odd years ago and imagine you’re part of a loose coalition of forager bands who have thousands of years of successful hunting and gathering behind them. Your species has become the top of the food chain. It’s now the apex predator which has mastered the ability to deal with any large mammals around and which is well on the way to hunting much of the mega-fauna to extinction. As a species you are now so successful that you have occupied most of Eurasia and have already moved into Alaska and the New World. You’re now probably facing the pressures of some overpopulation and ecological degradation but are successful enough that after more than fifty thousand years of foraging you’re now asking “What’s it all about, Alfie?”. Perhaps they felt the need for a site that allowed them better communication with their Gods / Spirit world. Over the course of many generations a support group of foragers fed skilled stone workers as they created the first layers of the Gobekli Tepe site and started the opportunistic use of wild wheat which eventually OVER A LONG TIME transformed into deliberate sowing and reaping of wheat as a domestic crop. I reckon that’s a reasonably good guess as to the beginning of the end of foraging as the lifestyle of choice in Eurasia.


                  • Robert Guyton

                    “imagine you’re part of a loose coalition of forager bands who have thousands of years of successful hunting and gathering behind them.”
                    Okay, I did my best to do that. I wondered, why change?
                    We would have known, “what it’s all about”, having had “thousands of years” of mulling the question over behind us and social mores supporting the maintenance of or beliefs. The conflicts that would have immediately arisen when we trialled agriculture, grain-growing in particular, would have put us and individuals in our groups, in immediate conflict with our mores and with our fellow animals, rats in particular, who relish stores of grain, and birds too, who equally delight in a monoculture of extra-fat-headed grains. There would have been, I feel certain, wise folk saying NO to this new-fangled practice of coveting more than can be eaten or stored by traditional means. Why we went ahead, I’m not sure. You’re suggesting incremental, insidious change, I think, but I don’t feel that’s right. I reckon there was a battle of ethical wills at that point or those thousands of points, and somewhere the dam broke and what we now “enjoy” won out. There’s still time to rebottle that genie, I reckon/hope. I’m not proposing a return to pre-granary times, but something else, something devised at this point in time, with the shared experience and historical knowledge we have, place the pressure of imminent catastrophe to spur us on 🙂
                    Edit: but you know, I haven’t read those books 🙂

                    • Dennis Frank

                      “I reckon there was a battle of ethical wills at that point or those thousands of points, and somewhere the dam broke and what we now “enjoy” won out.” Well, learning from what works is what pragmatic folk will always do.

                      Relevance of ethics is an interesting question. In a paradigm shift, the ideology of tradition is preserved via inertia, and doctrine only loses effect when invalidated by mass experience. True believers are the last klingons clinging onto it. Rulers survive via pragmatic politics more often than by ideology. Shamans prospered via their ability to manipulate mass perceptions, transforming social reality.

                      Storage of excess food production is usually cited as the key social practice that provided the prehistoric foundation of capitalism. Trade then emerged when peripheral groups made or got stuff that settlers valued. Thus the nomad/settler relation of mutual benefit became a classic synergy.

                    • Robert Guyton

                      “Well, learning from what works is what pragmatic folk will always do.”
                      Pragmatic folk? Like The All Blacks some rugby teams that learn to win by cheating, or John Key some politicians who learn to stay in power by lying? 🙂
                      Can us humans rise above such pragmatic behaviour and make our choices based upon something that doesn’t allow such behaviours to flourish, and, importantly, can we rein-in those who choose to keep to their pragmatic ways?

                    • Grant

                      I guess what I’m suggesting is that BEFORE agriculture was invented we were already in the middle of a population explosion. We kept migrating over the face of the planet until all possible forager ecologies were pretty much fully exploited. In the process we had used fire to clear large tracts of forest and scrubland and driven much megafauna to extinction. At a certain point the pressures caused by being the most successful species around must have changed the way SOME populations thought and behaved. Gobekli Tepe is the smoking gun for the fertile crescent and middle east. Independent Agricultural Revolutions happened in sub Saharan Africa, the Yangtze valley, the Mississippi basin, MesoAmerica and South America and the New Guinea highlands. This suggests that there was something INHERENT in the way that humans behave at a certain point in their history when population, ecological and cultural forces* unite to push them in a certain direction.

                      *PS. I’ve read nothing (yet) about the evolution of Neolithic culture and the potential it might have had for changing our ancestors attitude to ‘life the universe and everything’, but I’ve ordered a couple of books for summer reading that sound really good. They include two by David Lewis-Williams: The Mind in The Cave, Consciousness and the origin of Art and Inside The Neolithic Mind, Consciousness, Cosmos and the Realms of the Gods.

                      I heartily recommend reading the books. They’re certainly not the last word on the topic but they do inform your thinking in useful ways.

                    • Dennis Frank

                      Cheating and lying work well in some situations and social contexts but I see no evidence that they are reliable as strategies!

                      Did you ever read Axelrod’s The Evolution of Cooperation? Essential to our topic. It developed a general theory based on what happened in 1980. “Axelrod initially solicited strategies from other game theorists to compete in the first tournament. Each strategy was paired with each other strategy for 200 iterations of a Prisoner’s Dilemma game, and scored on the total points accumulated through the tournament. The winner was a very simple strategy submitted by Anatol Rapoport called “TIT FOR TAT” (TFT) that cooperates on the first move, and subsequently echoes (reciprocates) what the other player did on the previous move. The results of the first tournament were analyzed and published, and a second tournament held to see if anyone could find a better strategy. TIT FOR TAT won again.”

                      Robert Wright’s book The Moral Animal was a good intro to how ethics & morality derive from nature, and a report in the new (as of mid-nineties) field of evolutionary psychology.

                      Your final question is too profound for this site, Robert. It would require in-depth exploration of social psychology. I’m just a dilettante on the periphery of that. 😎

                    • Robert Guyton

                      “This suggests that there was something INHERENT in the way that humans behave at a certain point in their history when population, ecological and cultural forces* unite to push them in a certain direction.”

                      At that point, individuals and communities can/could choose. Not all go in “that direction”, so it’s not inherent, imo. Those that have, flush with “success” until they hit the resource depletion/corruption wall – the one we’re facing globally now. Those that didn’t take that route, who perhaps turned down the opportunity to compete, have no choice but to stand at the same wall. What to do now that we’re all stood up against the wall? That’s what we’re trying to nut out here 🙂

                    • Robert Guyton

                      Well, Dennis, if you’re admitting to being ” just a dilettante on the periphery of social psychology”, I’ll ‘fess up to being no more than a clodhopper from the Deep South who needs me some more book learnin’ 🙂

                    • Grant

                      This is where I joined the conversation.
                      Robert: “I’d like to know more, talk more about our pan-human history and explore the paths we chose. The situation we find ourselves in now, problems by the score 🙂 must be the result of have sprung from somewhere (or many “there’s” and digging into that midden of human history might expose some very interesting and instructive artefacts. There’s a school of thought that says we humans were doing well until one of our branches chose to store grain. It’s been all downhill from there.”

                      Robert: “What to do now that we’re all stood up against the wall? That’s what we’re trying to nut out here 🙂”

                      That was a short conversation so I guess this is where I’m leaving it :).

                    • Robert Guyton

                      Oops, I’ve shot my mouth off and failed to recognise the effort you’ve made, Grant. I don’t mean for that to happen at all. I got a bit over-excited, please accept my apologies. I’ll shut me gob for a bit 🙂

                  • Dennis Frank

                    “It happened fairly SLOWLY” is indeed the key point. Like the boiled frog analogy deployed in respect of climate change. Posit two kinds of humans: those good at adapting to change, those good at adhering to traditional lifestyles. Evolution selects the former. Human nature selects the latter. Dynamism vs stasis, progress vs conservation.

                    There’s a lesson here for political leadership currently: when the pace of change in nature gathers speed, the nimble leaders will be more likely to make the right decisions. Those who promise continuity risk being frozen in dinosaur-mode.

                    Diamond’s Collapse was good. It attempted to deduce general principles from historical examples. As is usual with academics, the attempt impresses more than the result, however…

                    • Pat

                      ” As is usual with academics, the attempt impresses more than the result, however…”

                      I think he does rather better than that…..he points to the primary causal difference between societies that fail and those that dont….decision makers (elites) that are removed from the (immediate) consequences of their decisions.

                      Looks familiar.


                    • Dennis Frank

                      Good point. Closing the feedback loop is a powerful design principle that I recall being taught in physics half a century back.

                  • Pat

                    slowly is the word….population gains were virtually non existent for millennia


                  • Dennis Frank

                    I’d like to encourage you to develop your thinking here, Grant. I agree we can learn from the sources you have mentioned. I have one of the books, but picked up during my most recent hunter-gatherer foray into Wellington’s second-hand bookshops so haven’t had time to read it yet.

                    I also have two similar by Steven Mithen that I haven’t read yet:

                    I share your interest in Gobekli Tepe. A year or so ago I read an excellent book that reported the archeological discoveries there and other sites in that era with Jericho, but forget the name of it. I usually have a bunch of books I’m currently reading simultaneously so hard to keep any in mind!

                    • Grant

                      Thanks Dennis. Book suggestions are always welcome in the ongoing attempt to make the best of what is unfortunately a fairly ordinary intelligence. I’ll keep reading but leave further discussion to the better equipped.

                    • Dennis Frank

                      Well, your contributions are already thought-provoking, so if I were you I’d persevere. A self-deprecating stance can be a good thing, but can also be an unnecessary handicap, eh? Literary tendencies of the primadonna style ought not to be viewed as intimidating! Every flower in the garden has it’s place, and the subtle often impress more…

          • gsays

            Another Jared Diamond book I would heartily recommend is ‘Collapse’.
            My understanding is that when you cut down your last tree, you are doomed.
            Kinda like ‘ The Lorax’ but with less rhyming.

      • greywarshark 2.1.2

        Out of each week’s post high points emerge – notable feature. I think the word that JanM uses ‘reflective’ is one. If we had had brought that habit into our lives soon after colonisation, we would have kept much of our good original spirit and moved along a different path.

        Can we do that now, do reflective history, noticing what ways of mendaciousness we have strayed into with a tendency to talk up things, but not follow through with a practical and kind and fair approach?

        Do we need a Back to the Future Approach? Can we put our fingers on a point or points of time where we showed bad faith and chose the way that suited us yet causing others lasting pain. Can we recognise those points, and then deliberately turn away from the common-sense answer, which is to do what the most powerful want.

        Back to the Future the film, went back to the past and the protagonist stood up to certain people, put himself out a bit, and changed the path of events in a transforming way.


    • Sacha 2.2

      “‘Decolonisation’ sounds to me like going backwards.”

      I’m confident today’s Māori leaders will accord your opinion all the respect it deserves.

      I would rather hear their thoughts on matters like this, in the spirit of contra proferentem that applies to interpreting colonial treaties.

      • Robert Guyton 2.2.1

        Contra proferentem – now there’s an interesting concept! It seems so fair and reasonable. I bet there are those who rail against it 🙂

      • Pete George 2.2.2

        I’m confident that today’s Māori leaders will have a variety of opinions about what decolonisation means and what should be done about it.

        The prefix de- can mean away from, reversal, removal, and you can’t do any of that with the past.

        Post-colonisation seems a more appropriate description. Things have changed somewhat over the past couple of hundred years, for all of us in New Zealand.

        • Sacha

          “Post-colonisation seems a more appropriate description.”

          Again, your beliefs as a Pakeha of a certain background and upbringing are as relevant as Māori decide they are. That’s how we get there, not by doing more of the same.

        • marty mars

          Not changed enough for many. Pete, many Māori are decolonising the mind so you can rest easy. Looking backwards is the ONLY way forward – get your head around that and then your contribution will have more value.

          • Pete George

            Looking backwards is only part of the way forward. We can learn from the past, like past wrongs and past mistakes, but things have also changed a lot for all of us, so we need to work out how best to move forward with what we have and where are are at now.

            I don’t think the colonial nor the Maori ways of dealing with power and class and equality are appropriate in the modern world. We all need to rethink things.

            • marty mars

              The modern world’s and our societies ways of dealing with power and equality don’t work for so many other than mainly pale men.

              Looking backwards is not mainly about learning from mistakes – it’s actually about negotiating a pathway forward from strength. Quite different in mentality and results.

            • Sacha

              “I don’t think the colonial nor the Maori ways of dealing with power and class and equality are appropriate in the modern world.”

              Your personal beliefs are noted, again. This may not be the thread you think it is – what are your practical suggestions or approaches, not your opinions?

              • What are your what are your practical suggestions or approaches? You haven’t addressed them yet after how many comments.

                • Sacha

                  When someone turns up lobbing loaded phrases like “We are more or less ‘one people’” without any provocation, you bet resisting harmful framing takes priority over any ideas I as Pakeha may have about how to proceed. Brash and chums do not need any help.

                  As you wrote on your own blog:

                  “Decolonisation can’t mean going back to how things were pre-colonisation, that is impossible. So it must mean a reassessment of many things in relation to power, money, race and gender. [Following quote from Jessica Hutchings: Decolonisation and Aotearoa – a pathway to right livelihood:]

                  “I believe decolonisation is opening the minds of many Maori and non-Maori in understanding both a truer history of this country and generating new tools to create a more meaningful process of reflection and dialogue.

                  For non-Maori people, part of participating in decolonisation processes is about recognising their role as belonging to the dominant colonial grouping.”

                  I have no idea what this means.

                  Yet that did not cause you any pause for thought, did it.

                  Read it again. Then resist the desire to flap those gums for a moment or two longer. Better still, take the rest of the year off and open your ears instead.

                  • Maybe everyone should be included, and everyone should take the year off. Why just me?

                    I’m always looking to learn.

                    And I’m always looking to promoting discussions on topical issues. At least, , despite a few people trying to shut things down or divert, it has got some people talking about it, here, at Your NZ and at Kiwiblog
                    What do you have against that specifically?

                    Should only those who know and understand what you think is worthwhile speak?

                    If we were all silent until we were experts then the internet and media might as well shut up shop.

                    • Sacha

                      “I’m always looking to promoting discussions on topical issues.”

                      Your own blogpost carefully presents a particular framing of this topic, then concludes “This is a starting point in trying to understand what decolonisation means in Aotearoa.”

                      It’s that lack of good faith that offends people.

                    • So I should only have started with framing that you like, or not raised the issue?

                      Sounds like more of the ‘shut up if you don’t say what I like’ phenomenon that is prevalent at the moment.

                      And an arrogance of expertise.

                      “It’s that lack of good faith that offends people.”

                      Your assertion of a lack of good faith is offensive, but I will only speak for myself.

                      About all you have tried to do here is discredit the discussion.

                    • RedLogix


                      Fine … I’m interested as well. I’ve no clear sense of what’s meant by ‘decolonisation’ either; it’s one of those chameleon words that seems to change shape a lot depending on who you listen to.

                      So without prejudice I’m genuinely curious to know exactly what you mean by it, and what implications you think this would have both constitutionally (in the broadest sense) and in ordinary people’s lives?

    • “… NZ citizens of Maori descent”


      Māori predate nz and its citizenship. Your framing is rude imo.

      Plus you know zero about tikanga or why things are the way they are so best if you don’t get too hung up thinking you know stuff.

      • Pete George 2.3.1

        You are referring to a quote, not to something I said. I thought what Ben said was a useful starting point for a discussion.

        New Zealand citizenship is an actual legal thing. Do you think that current citizenship laws should be changed?

        You last paragraph makes incorrect assumptions, so perhaps you shouldn’t get too hung up on what you think you know,

        • marty mars

          I thought it was a quote from you.

          Your snide smarmy last paragraph shows me you’re not worth discussing things with especially the treaty and Māori aspects. You’re just an arrogant waste of space imo.

          • Robert Guyton

            A moderator might say, if you two can’t play nicely, find someone else to play with 🙂 but I’m no moderator, more “interested observer”.

          • veutoviper

            marty, damn it, pull your head in.

            You started it with your smarmy last para at 2.3.

            Up to that point, I was really marvelling at how well the conversation overall was going.

      • Righto, before things get too heated, lets remind ourselves that this post is intended to be respectful and positive.

        Pete, you should have made it clear that the quoted section was not from you. Therefore, any consequent misunderstanding is entirely your fault. Your next comment should be an acknowledgement that you should have attributed the quote clearly.

        Marty, please don’t rise to the beige bait. Pete’s preferred method of trolling is anodyne statements that he’ll later claim were entirely innocent. ‘Hey, not me folks, I was only asking a question’. It’s a subtle wind up, but a wind up just the same.

        Can we all move on, please?

        • Sacha

          Sure. I for one have had enough of resisting beige racism for one day.

        • Pete George

          “Pete, you should have made it clear that the quoted section was not from you. ”

          It was in an html quote with a link to the source. What more do you require?

          “Therefore, any consequent misunderstanding is entirely your fault.”

          Funny. Seriously?

          [What is required is words like ‘One of the contributors at Your NZ, Ben, says this …”. Congrats, Pete. You’re probably the first person ever banned from TS for plagiarism. Or beigerism, as it may become known. Back next Saturday. TRP]

          • RedLogix

            Interesting new policy interpretation; I think I must have done that many times myself in haste and I’ve seen many quotes made without an introductory attribution, just the link. Indeed it seems this is at least part of the point of hyperlinking, to reference other people concisely and without surplus verbiage.

            I’m in no mood or position to challenge your decision here, but it would be a good idea to amend that policy section to include specific details on what exactly constitutes plagiarism here at TS.

            • Andre

              Seems to me the problem here is PG linking back to his own blog without making it clear the quote was from a commenter. I gotta admit, I assumed the bit PG quoted was his own words. It wasn’t until I looked at the link really closely after PG protested that he was quoting someone else that I saw the link was to a comment.

              • RedLogix

                It’s pretty clear that assuming it was PG’s words was a very easy and normal assumption to have made; but also a very easy one to have set straight.

                For a whole host of reasons people make simple, understandable mistakes all the time. Mainly because they were hastily smashing out a comment, not an academic essay.

              • veutoviper

                Sorry, was not going to comment but having read your bit, Andre, just wanted to say I assumed it was not PG words because of the quote mark and because the paras quoted were long enough for it to register subconsciously that it was not PG’s writing style.

                Not questioning anything to do with this – just wanted to point out how some people can see one thing and other people another thing in the same thing. Which is as clear as mud so I will give up!

                • Andre

                  PG’s writing bores me so quickly I’ve never stuck with it long enough to get a sense of his writing style.

                  • Anne

                    Ditto re-boring. My eyes glaze over before I’m halfway through.

                    Also, I don’t like the way Pete G frames controversial or provocative statements as questions which he knows is going to rile some people. Then when it happens he plaintively bleats… but I was only asking a question.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  Not questioning anything to do with this – just wanted to point out how some people can see one thing and other people another thing in the same thing.

                  Which is why it needs to be made clear. So that there is only one thing to see.

            • te reo putake

              Good point, RL. Pete’s problem was failing to see there was a problem. But happily, there’s now a post over at Your NZ where he apologizes profusely and begs forgiveness. Nah, not really. He’s whining that it was a put up job. Who knew Sacha had such power, eh?

              As I see it, if commenters use other people’s work, they should say so. So that means using the real author’s name, using quotation marks correctly* and perhaps doing what I usually do and putting the quote in italics. Those steps pretty clearly separate the commenters written thoughts from those of the quoted person.

              * Double quotation marks (“) are for direct quotes, single (‘) for versions or summaries of a person’s thoughts. ie Kennedy said he was ‘a Berliner’. As opposed to Kennedy said “ich bin ein Berliner”.

              The point being that if we are going to use other people’s work, we need to make clear it’s not our own, give the original thinker due credit, and seek to avoid misunderstandings such as those that came from PG’s effort.

              • Sacha

                I personally did not have any problem understanding that the quote was from a comment rather than a whole post, because of the link that ended with “#comment-337255”. But I’m not expecting everyone to read the URL like that.

                Sure, I had to go and check it to make sure who the words came from (and their context) – but I would not like that to be made into a reason to ban anybody from commenting here.

                Nor, given our nation’s history of colonial racism, can I blame Marty for swiftly seeing red. And nor can I blame anyone for not wanting to spend our precious time arguing against a conversational style that produces predictable results:

                Moderating behaviour that is against the intent of the post or of the discussion community itself is easier in some cases than others – and this particular post series has a clearly-stated purpose.

              • Sacha

                “Who knew Sacha had such power, eh?”

                Must be all that charm ..

              • veutoviper

                … and perhaps doing what I usually do and putting the quote in italics.

                Ah um, cough. The use of blockquotes is explained in the Standard’s FAQ section on how to insert quotes, which seems to suggest that blockquotes are preferred to, say, putting longer quotes in italics?


                I thought that section also used to recommend italics for quotes, but no mention now. Only quote marks, and blockquotes.

                EDIT – please note I did not put that link in blockquotes – it happened all by itself! And now the blockquotes have gone, Cross my heart, the link came up first in blockquotes, Happy to sign an affidavit.

                • Sacha

                  Heh, auto-embedding claims another victim.

                  Tricky when you are trying to show a quote within a quote:

                • To be fair, vv, I was clear that the italics are what I personally do, not what is required. It’s a suggestion only.

                  Using italics is a good way to visually separate quoted text from the rest, particular in posts. It’s a good habit to get into, though it’s not at the heart of this morning’s issue.

                  • Robert Guyton

                    TRP – your “follow up” has been a treat to read. Like startled meerkats, they.

                    • Thanks, Robert. Pete does have some half way decent commenters over there, but, despite his protestations to the contrary, it’s a very conservative place.

                      I’ve been on the golf course, so haven’t caught up with what ever weaselling has been going on (though I did stop on the 8th to give poor old Alan some grief). His position is that because nobody on the internet knows you’re a dog, nothing is true and everything is permitted. Not quite the ethical position William Burroughs was promoting, but at least Alan was checking out every intellectual cul de sac in the effort to make PG look less dodgy.

                    • Robert Guyton

                      A great day for golf, Sunday, though it started off a bit grey. You played yourself out of the rough on the 8th, with aplomb (rather than a flanged niblick) and steered well clear of those who swing with a right hook. Back here in the clubrooms, all is well.

                  • greywarshark

                    FGS Half the bloody post is full of discussion about where quotes should be put. Can we have all that removed TRP please, and turned over to Open Mike. It is definitely not for How to Get There.

                    How we can ever get good discussion without some footling argument about something ….it makes you wonder. Ten years hence some people will still be arguing about which side of the bed you should get out of in the morning, and others will still have no bed, or breakfast either.

          • Robert Guyton

            And fair enough too; Pete, on his blog, has demanded the same courtesy around quotes as TRP has here – an elegant outcome, imo.

            • greywarshark

              well TRP if you can’t support the production of ideas and a community going forward and instead play little games talking about ‘clear communciation’ like a school teacher, I think i had better take myself off till the end of January. Or you can throw me out if you wish. Your half-hearted approach to encouraging democracy growth on this blog is disappointing to me. Filling up this important post with comments about quotes, which would have been transferred to Open Mike by a more thorough moderator, is a fail.

              • So you say. I beg to differ. I do support this post (look whose name is on it) and, yes, I’ll cheerfully remove anyone who crosses the line. It’s a different kind of post and the moderation has been extremely light handed so far. That’s the way it’ll be in the future too. However, commenters here are entitled to discuss any issues that come up (including moderation).

                On a post with 136 comments, I’ve made three, and a moderation note. Pete George made 13 in just a couple of hours. You’ve commented four times more than me, including a couple about the use of quotes. So, nah, exaggeration does not make a compelling case.

                I’m hoping next Sunday’s edition will be just like today’s; full of good ideas from people who are trying to make a difference. If Pete can get a grip, he’ll be back. I hope to see you there, too.

                • Robert Guyton

                  Does Mr George have to answer your simple question before he’s reinstated?
                  * whistles nonchalantly

          • Draco T Bastard

            It was in an html quote with a link to the source. What more do you require?

            The link being to your own page thus the only assumption possible was that you were quoting yourself.

  3. cleangreen 3

    How about we finally push for also doing “adipose tissue chemical panel analysis” as part of ‘toxicology human analysis’ as other countries do to really find the exact “adipose fat tissue build up in our bodies to show the toxicity to our bodies has been already built-up from the chemical spays the horticulture industry and manufacturers have been using that we are consuming daily without being notified that the harm from their toxic ingredients are causing us all?????

    Environ Health Perspect. 2013 Feb; 121(2): 162–169.
    Published online 2012 Dec 5. doi: 10.1289/ehp.1205485
    PMCID: PMC3569688
    PMID: 23221922

    I had a chemical toxicity adipose test conducted on me in 1993 in Texas similar to this paper discusses, as part of a workplace chemical over-exposure I suffered working in a building for six months as the building was being sprayed for insects and other toxic chemicals and the laboratory actually then found that I had built up a very large level of very high levels of DDE (a component of DDT) that was traced back to the bug spray used on new carpeting as five areas of the carpet was placed inside the building while the workers were exposed to the spray used without any ventilation, and the same spray was actually used on many crops in the 1950’s through to the 1980’s and finally banned for use in horticulture due to health concerns but unfortunately in other industries was still used as a “bug retardant’ on other consumables such as carpeting and many other uses such as home bug spays.

    We found out that the chemical companies had for years legally banned using “adipose chemical panel testing” on humans, until the 1990’s as a way to hide the effects of their damages in their studies ordered upon them.

    They hid the truth from us back then.

    Read the truth here and live a healthy life.

  4. WeTheBleeple 4

    If you leave water out for the birds they will eat less of your greens. If you net your berries you will get some of those for yourself too.

    Many vegetables can be harvested continuously, as opposed to the single harvest you see in supermarkets: celery, lettuce, silverbeet, spinach, kale, and even brocolli, cauliflower and cabbage with a little trick (cut main head, leave stem in ground, split it in two with knife. More heads grow). These alongside beans, cucumbers, tomatoes and pepper type plants, (and herbs) ensure a continuous supply of gorgeously fresh food throughout the summer in a lot less space than some may think. Winters also have a range of reasonably fast growing multi harvest crops suited to NZ conditions.

    I recommend planting trees and creating vegetable gardens surrounding them. You will be eating from the garden quickly, and still eating when the fruit and nuts start coming in.

    Just supplementing your diet with extremely fresh fare can boost your cognition, health and mood considerably. At Plant & Food, they are currently researching ‘mood foods’. It IS a thing. Spinach is a good one you can easily produce, eggs too. But there are all manner of hidden treasures in fresh produce to heal protect and boost your health.

    Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food – Hippocrates.

    Mental health medicine

    Gomez-Pinilla, Fernando, and Trang TJ Nguyen. “Natural mood foods: the actions of polyphenols against psychiatric and cognitive disorders.” Nutritional neuroscience 15.3 (2012): 127-133.

    Poor nutrition leads to more poor nutrition.

    Kampov-Polevoy, A. B., Alterman, A., Khalitov, E., & Garbutt, J. C. (2006). Sweet preference predicts mood altering effect of and impaired control over eating sweet foods. Eating Behaviors, 7(3), 181-187.

    Foods make the moods

    Hendy, H. M. (2012). Which comes first in food–mood relationships, foods or moods?. Appetite, 58(2), 771-775.

    Summer is walking barefoot out to the garden to pick breakfast. It is coffee in the cool dawn watching fantails rouse the whitefly as Tui’s cackle and boop in the trees.

    In the distance, I hear the motorway growl.

    • Robert Guyton 4.1

      There’s a lot in there, WTB!
      Netting brassicas too, is the best way to protect them from white butterfly. That or plant them out of season. Leave any bird-pecked apple on the tree, rather than discarding it for the sake of appearance – the birds will leave the others alone, at least until the original is finished/hollowed out.
      “Foods make the moods” you say and I think I now understand why James makes such surly comments here 🙂
      Last night, we snuggled down into the cushions and soft rugs of our Big Yurt to listen to the poems and stories of Lien De Coster, a traveller from Belgium, permaculturalist, friend of the Sami community, and facilitator of “solo wilderness” experiences (vision questing, rites of passage etc.) Her sort of input; poetic and mythic, kanohi ki te kanohi, added to our community( of interested locals) who gathered for the event in the forest garden, in a way that’s difficult to define, but the stretching of boundaries that come from such events is very valuable, Imo.
      Here’s her website. She’s delightful (and tough).

      • solkta 4.1.1

        I’ve always grown Mustard as a companion plants for Broccoli to keep away the White Butterflies. You can almost see them screw their faces up when fly past and nibble on one. The Mustard grows taller and the butterflies don’t usual find the Broccoli before flying off in disgust. The Mustard also provides a tall stalky structure as a spider habitat.

        • Robert Guyton

          Well, that’s elegant! The tallness of the mustard plants will be the strongest element of your strategy, I reckon. I always marvel at the adroitness with which butterflies flit about – they’re fast, accurate and strong – I don’t get it – they should be filmy and delicate (according to Walt Disney).

          • WeTheBleeple

            Nice one solkta. I love to run mustard here in winter it is great for the soil making it more friable, cracking into the hard clay.

            I observed yesterday a friend had chopped and dropped some umbilliferous plants, and they, bristle like, dense but with many gaps sitting high (say a foot deep) on the bed. A week later, heaps of vegetable seedlings emerging underneath and very healthy despite being in full summer heat. These plants make an instant nursery.

            • solkta

              Yeh it’s great for building soil too and all you need to do is throw some seed about. I use plenty of seed and then pull and drop when still young those plants i don’t want to keep as companions.

        • veutoviper

          Mustard greens (gai choy) are one of my most favourite vegetables. Wonderful mixed into a salad with other greens for a little bit of bite. Added to a stir fry etc

          They are full of goodies (minerals etc), far more so than ‘green water’ – my name for the good old Kiwi iceberg lettuce.

          And for those people whose bodies are inclined to over production of uric acid causing gout, gouty arthritis and/or uric acid kidney stones, mustard greens are also low in purine relative to other leafy green vegetables. Probably because of their quick growing nature before harvesting for eating.

          A very rough way of determining the purine level of leafy green vegetables is the lighter, brighter green they are, the lower the purine and vice versa. Also the quicker they grow, the lower the purine; with perennial, biennial growers or plants where you harvest a few leaves at a time more likely to be high purine.

          OTH, while perennial spinach (along with silverbeet) are high purine, baby spinach leaves and similar are considered to be OK and low purine. But a question then is whether the baby leaves have had time to absorb much in the way of minerals etc – don’t know the answer to that one.

          Might as well add that asparagus which I love is through the roof in terms of purine, as are mushrooms unfortunately.

          • solkta

            My favorite green leafy on the run is Rocket. Great for a snack with a bit of a bite while working in the garden. I only eat baby spinach and silver beat anyway. The bigger leaves go straight to the ground for mulch.

            • veutoviper

              I really must get my taste buds around Rocket more. Hope you did not think I was suggesting that you may have gout etc, Apologies if you did.

              Just though I would throw in my general remark that mustard is also good for eating as well as a ground crop, particularly for those on a lower purine diet.

          • WeTheBleeple

            Very informative thank you.

            Cooking with oil retains and enhances (makes more bio-available) nutrition of leafy greens and breaks down some of the problematic stuff in them.

            Variety in diet is also key to not being affected by ‘anti-nutrients’. I’ll use dairy as an example: Rye grass staggers effects are considerably reduced when clover is mixed in the pasture. I postulate further increasing diversity of pastures (and diets) will further the effects of ‘dilution’ of problematic compounds.

            Asparagus as a seasonal treat is probably not so bad. Mushrooms similarly have a season. Our insistence on constant supply may be part of where we’ve gone wrong with diet (not to mention food miles).

            Baby leaves should have pretty much the same nutrients as older leaves, but compounds the plant stores for defense and strengthening/structure might be higher in older. It would be really hard to make a general statement due to the number of strategies plants employ in nutrient acquisition, defense, tolerances, etc.

            Some plants might create ‘nutraceuticals’ if under attack by insects. Others might store heavy metals. I like to hit the books for each plant I grow, you never know what you’ll find out.

      • WeTheBleeple 4.1.2

        I’m slowly thinking over/making an outdoor area for socialising/teaching/art now. It’s necessary, your approach does learn me stuff!

        Brocolli can lose up to 40% of leaf matter and still not lose production. My friend uses Bt I do nothing we both harvest our brocolli. It is hard to ignore them at times. I have cabbages out front got hammered, absolutely shredded as young plants, now some big fat heads are forming. I thought I’d just watch…

        I used to chase the white butterflies with nunchucks as a lad, they are a good challenge as they’re very hard to hit with that flight pattern. But I have learned their ways grasshopper.

        I’m not sure nunchuck pest control has been discussed yet. I could think of a list of suggestions 😉

        • Robert Guyton

          Sitting around a fire is good. Acoustic music is good. The hippies knew a thing or two. I couldn’t be one (too young, to conservative) but yearned for some of their ways. As I get older, my hair’s growing longer 🙂

          • greywarshark

            Specially in the front.

          • Exkiwiforces

            To right Robert, I prefer sitting round the good old “Bush Telly” with a good single malt whiskey or a good bottle of Port chew the fat and somking a nice Cuban or puffing on the pipe.

            • Robert Guyton

              Plus yarning.
              Edit: Oh! You said, chewing the fat, naturally. I like the mythic aspect of fire as well; watching those salamanders and dragons – even Gandalf’s fireworks : a burst of fire, gold and green, the finest rockets ever seen…

        • greywarshark

          Perhaps you could develop white butterfly chasing into an art form and a game for greenies. Know their moves and be thinking ahead. With a sort of butterfly net that could be moved quickly. You might get ahead of their flight patterns and get them with a backhand. It would be a wonderful way for the whole family to get fit !! But you could only play in your designated area or ther would be trips to A&E.

          Then you could introduce the nunchuck as for men, so that gardening isn’t seen as just for the whimpy!

          • Robert Guyton

            “Real men have big gardens” (saw it on a t-shirt).

            • greywarshark

              I like that one Robert. I will try to find a way to get a tshirts printer to put that on them and sell them at our co-op shop. One project for this year!

  5. greywarshark 5

    Old eggs. I’ve had some in the frig that were probably laid about 7 October.
    I can’t smell as I have a cold, they look okay and i am poaching them now thinking to throw them out. But I am interested – do they keep that long in the frig and still be okay? It seemed to me that the taste of the same ones eaten earlier was not up to scratch.

    And that papier mache egg carton material – will that be okay in the compost. On top it would help to keep the worms shaded, cooler.

    • Exkiwiforces 5.1

      Actually old egg cartons are good for growing plants from seed. Learnt that more my late grandparents. It’s also a good way to grow Strawberries, Blue Berries Raspberries etc.

    • WeTheBleeple 5.2

      When the eggs are washed for sale their self preservation is compromised. In the wild a hen can lay many eggs on different days until she decides she has enough. None go off. She then sits on her designated lot and… they all hatch on the same day. Neat trick huh!

      I can get my eggs and keep them for several weeks on the bench top never an issue. The hens are a bit old and lazy now but in full force I had a system to ensure I was eating them in the order as they came out not inadvertently storing one in the basket for a nasty surprise later.

      • Robert Guyton 5.2.1

        We pencil the date on them as we collect them from the nests.

        • gsays

          Funny, the beagle and labrador aren’t fussed by age of eggs as they steal straight from the nesting box.

          I have played Johnny Cash’s Egg sucking hound to the dogs ‘master’…to no avail.

      • greywarshark 5.2.2

        Would you say that if they don’t smell off, they are still safe to eat?

        • veutoviper

          Try testing them as per my 5.3. A very old well used test. If you want to check, google.

    • veutoviper 5.3

      An easy test for eggs to see whether they are fresh is to put them into a pot or something deep enough to then cover them with cold water. If they pop up and float, they are too old and throw them out. Really fresh eggs will lie on the bottom. If they lift up slightly you can still cook them but use them straight away or recheck before cooking them.

      Really fresh eggs are best for poaching as they stay together; older eggs are best for hard boiling. Really fresh eggs hard boiled are hard to peel.

      • Robert Guyton 5.3.1

        Really, really old eggs are the best for throwing 🙂

        • veutoviper

          Agreed, but you can’t do so on blogs, damn it!

          Meant to mention that when I had chickens (no longer, sob, sob) I never washed the eggs etc and kept them out of the fridge but in a coolish room. Bought eggs have been washed unless you get them from other than commercial sources, and I always water test them before cooking (actually before even deciding how to cook them) regardless of the date on the carton.

        • WeTheBleeple

          And eeling.

            • greywarshark

              We can no longer rely on being supported by structures that may be destroyed at any moment by a political power or a political force. You cannot rely on structures.

              The time for relying on structures has disappeared. They are good and they should help us, and we should do the best we can with them. But they may be taken away, and if everything is taken away, what do you do next?…
              Thomas Merton. Trappist monk.

              Naturalised species don’t live forever, and neither do survivalists. But the species that have found ways to live among others do have a home in which to live and to die.

              That is an interesting essay. He does not mention that Europeans had long fallen to theft and piracy from other nations, and anyone vulnerable, as a way of amassing material wealth that they ‘prized’. And they ennobled themselves despite this, with self-representation of God’s chosen who then would see the lands stretching in front of them as given lands to them. So any other peoples already living there had no say and no way.

    • Dennis Frank 5.4

      Yes, when I lived in Ak I composted egg cartons. Also soaked them, tore them up into bits when soft & put them in the worm-farm. Here I don’t need to aerate the soil so I just put them into the recycling bin.

  6. Janet 6

    Pete George wrote:
    “What I’m hearing more and more is the ‘eventually’ has been going on for too long and we haven’t got the time to wait any more.
    I think that we need far better direction and far more actual action from Government about right now. At least over the next few months.
    Idealism needs to be converted into realistic and urgent action.”
    I totally agree with you the government should have started taking constructive steps long ago beginning with the small things we can all do. A list of such things should have been mailed out to every household in NZ, emailed to individuals, and publicly advertised so that there is no excuse for ignorance and laziness.
    The small things as Pete already says he is doing:
    “like reduce plastic use, reduce consumption, reduce meat eating, grow more of my own food, grow my own heating source (firewood), regenerate native bush, reduce travel.”
    We’ve started these lists before on The Standard, I copied some at the time. The list is already long …
    Walk, cycle or use public transport
    Reduce meat, fish and dairy consumption (or stop eating them)
    Grow vegetables and fruit trees
    Reduce or stop air travel overseas
    When travelling stay in a homestay, camping ground or apartment
    Go boating in a sailboat
    Avoid supermarkets. Buy at local bulk bin stores for the usual nuts, grains, rice, spices
    laundry liquid, dish wash, shampoo etc where refills are an option and the packaging is basic. Avoid packaged goods especially goods from China as it is usually overkill plastic wrapped. Use non-plastic items where possible eg: glass storage jars in the pantry. cook in pyrex or similar, which can be used in all ovens, including the microwave. Get a big, well-made kite and use it Re-use the plastic items you inadvertently end up with when-ever possible. Do not use acrylic paint to repaint. Use Natural fibre clothing cotton linen, silk, wool. Use only cotton dish cloths Use Natural fibre bedding. Turn off the lights, get rid of TV, dishwasher, dryer, heat pump, motor mower, leaf blower, hedge and string trimmer
    And so on and so on……
    For years and years so much talk and still so little commitment from most of the population to do the baby steps each of us can do.
    This is the first step. The government needs to educate and push the New Zealand ‘individual to take individual responsibility“ now to reduce their footprint on the world – despite the unfettered pollution and ignorance in most parts of the rest of the world today.. That is work the United Nations should be undertaking.
    When the NZ public engages on this mission then we have started to work together towards the future .

    • Robert Guyton 6.1

      ” The government needs to educate and push ”
      I can hear the outraged cries of Nanny State already!
      Those sorts of responses are embedded into our culture now, by the agencies that would suffer loss as a result of what a government might do in curbing some behaviour or other; “drive less”, the government might say, but Big Oil has already embedded the reaction, Nanny State in our culture and has its “agents” ready to lead the chorus.
      A government has to be more subtle than that. This one is. Pete can’t see it and is trumpeting his ignorance.

  7. Dennis Frank 7

    “The Green New Deal (GND) is a proposed economic stimulus program in the United States that aims to address both economic inequality and climate change. The name refers to the New Deal, a combination of social and economic reforms and public works projects undertaken by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in response to the Great Depression. Supporters of a Green New Deal advocate a combination of Roosevelt’s economic approach with modern ideas such as renewable energy and resource efficiency.”

    “An early use of the term Green New Deal was by journalist Thomas L. Friedman. He argued in favor of the idea in two pieces that appeared in the New York Times and The New York Times Magazine. In January 2007, Friedman wrote:

    “we will only green the world when we change the very nature of the electricity grid — moving it away from dirty coal or oil to clean coal and renewables… like the New Deal, if we undertake the green version, it has the potential to create a whole new clean power industry to spur our economy into the 21st century.”

    “This approach was subsequently taken up by the Green New Deal Group, which published its eponymous report on July 21, 2008. The concept was further popularized and put on a wider footing when the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) began to promote it. On October 22, 2008 UNEP’s Executive Director Achim Steiner unveiled the Global Green New Deal initiative that aims to create jobs in “green” industries, thus boosting the world economy and curbing climate change at the same time.”

    “In the United States, Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein made a Green New Deal a central part of her campaigns as early as 2012. Greens continued to suggest a Green New Deal in their rebuttal to the 2018 State of the Union speech. The Green New Deal is officially part of the platform of the Green Party of the United States. A “Green New Deal” wing began to emerge in the Democratic Party after the November 2018 elections.”

    “A week after the 2018 midterm elections, climate justice group Sunrise Movement organized a protest in Nancy Pelosi’s office calling on Nancy Pelosi to support a Green New Deal. On the same day, freshman congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez launched a resolution to create a committee on the Green New Deal. Following this, several candidates came out supporting a “Green New Deal”, including Deb Haaland, Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar, and Antonio Delgado. They were joined in the following weeks by Reps. John Lewis, Earl Blumenauer, Carolyn Maloney, and José Serrano.”

    “By the end of November, eighteen Democratic members of Congress were co-sponsoring a proposed House Select Committee on a Green New Deal, and incoming representatives Ayanna Pressley and Joe Neguse had announced their support. Draft text would task this committee with a “’detailed national, industrial, economic mobilization plan’ capable of making the U.S. economy ‘carbon neutral’ while promoting ‘economic and environmental justice and equality,'” to be released in early 2020, with draft legislation for implementation within 90 days.”

    “On December 14, 2018, a group of over 300 local elected officials from 40 states issued a letter endorsing a Green New Deal approach. That same day, a poll released by Yale Program on Climate Change Communication indicated that although 82% of registered voters had not heard of the “Green New Deal,” it had strong bi-partisan support among voters. A non-partisan description of the general concepts behind a Green New Deal resulted in 40% of respondents saying they “strongly support”, and 41% saying they “somewhat support” the idea.”

    Pelosi remains staunch in refraining from giving the scheme her support. The poll result tells you why: the scheme is popular. If she supports it, she will therefore become a populist. The prospect terrifies her.

    “In the US, Robert Pollin characterized the concept of a “Green New Deal” as “egalitarian green growth,” indicating that the seriousness of concerns about climate is also giving rise to alternative Degrowth proposals to contract economies.” Pollin “is a professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and founding co-director of its Political Economy Research Institute (PERI). He has been described as a leftist economist and is a supporter of egalitarianism.”

    In his 2015 book, he advocates a “program for building a global clean energy economy while expanding job opportunities and economic well-being.” Apparently you can have your Green growth cake and eat it too…

  8. Jenny - How to get there? 8

    Why do our Green MPs still fly?

    From a link supplied by Weka in a ‘related’ post attached to Mickey Savage’s post on air travel.

    Kevin Anderson –, May 1, 2013

    (the arguments outlined in this commentary apply equally to any politician, civil servant, journalist, NGO or business leader calling for stringent mitigation)…..

    ……But whose responsibility is it to initiate such radical mitigation?

    If it is anybody’s responsibility, it is our elective representative’s responsibility to give a lead. And set an example.
    In my opinion this responsibility to give a lead, falls most heavily on the Green Party MPs in parliament.

    By taking a stand, the Green Party MPs could change the whole political landscape, and lift it to a whole different level.

    ‘Grandma, what did you do about climate change when you were Prime Minister?’

    ‘Hello Darling, what a great question’……

  9. WeTheBleeple 9

    Here’s a chap who believes you can have your cake and eat it too. He’s creating keyline (tropical) permaculture systems and demonstrates a small community (5 dwellings) set up.

    There’s nothing wrong with living well. It’s how you go about living well that matters.

    Three cheers to all the pioneers

  10. greywarshark 10

    Honduras: (from Dennis Frank 10 Jan 2019 10.33am No.15 Open Mike.
    The Inter-American Commission for Human Rights (IACHR) “described Honduras in August 2016 as one of the “most hostile and dangerous countries for human rights defenders” in the Americas.”

    “Twenty-five journalists were murdered between 2014 and 2016 according to the human rights ombudsman, CONADEH, which also revealed in its 2016 report that 91 percent of killings of journalists since 2001 remain unpunished.

    Most recently, journalist Carlos William Flores was shot and killed by unidentified gunmen on a motorcycle in Cortes, near the Guatemalan border. Flores directed a television program, “Sin Pelos en la Lengua,” which was critical of major agribusiness enterprises linked to deforestation in the area.”

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