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How To Get There: New Years Day edition

Written By: - Date published: 10:17 am, January 1st, 2020 - 63 comments
Categories: Deep stuff - Tags: , ,

I’ve been thinking about the 2020s as the decade of deep, life affirming change. Tempting to think of it as the do or die decade, but am mindful of Micky’s post yesterday, The Power of Positive Campaigning. He looked at the importance of framing party politics and elections in terms of

positive simple branding and ideas being the cornerstone of any successful campaign. The basic theme is that to win progressives should not move to the middle but should instead seek to persuade through progressive and uplifting campaigns.

Referencing a series of podcasts on progressive wins by Anat Shenker-Osorio, Micky names these key points,

  • inclusive language
  • a good ground game
  • a positive uplifting campaign based on core shared values

Much of what Micky said seems relevant to action on the climate and ecological crises.

I don’t think this means relentless positivity in denial of reality, but that while we have the discussions about the hard stuff we also need to put substantial energy and focus into what makes people feel good, because this helps people change (and prevents turning off).

Human brains are hardwired to perceive threat and react, and there is plenty out there now that is scary as well as the intentional ramping up of our fight/flight response by MSM, social media, politicians, and pop culture. It takes intention to counter that and provide narratives and pathways that offer people a choice of deep, abiding, life affirming change instead of panic and regression into denial or fascism. Some of us like the argument and have a high tolerance for wrangling with the gnarly issues, but most people still respond better to things that bring them relief, peace, and uplift them.

I don’t know how we do this, but I suspect it’s about finding a sweet spot between awareness of the difficult and proactively framing values and deeds that make people feel good.

At the moment it looks like 20/80 would be the good ratio, but then I’m sitting in southern New Zealand in an eerie yellow gloom from the Australian bushfires that’s starting to hurt my sinuses, and trying to work my way out of the apocalyptic imagery that is scrolling through my twitter feed. For people that are still not paying attention, maybe the ratio is more like 50/50.

So here’s to a year where we choose to make the changes we need by effective strategy. We can argue but we can also be kind. We can point out what is wrong and disappointing, and we can move on to highlight what will work instead. Some of us will protest and agitate, and others will tend the garden and make sure we are all well fed. Kia kaha, kia aroha Aotearoa.

In line with our regular Sunday How to Get There posts,

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.

63 comments on “How To Get There: New Years Day edition ”

  1. Sacha 1

    Love conquers fear.

    The challenge is how we translate that into action.

  2. Billy 2

    Anat Shenker-Osorio’s advice is best not taken too seriously, in my opinion, but she could prove useful if you need to clean a big chimney.

  3. weka 3

  4. Anne 4

    It is to be hoped the out-flow of dust particles from the devastating Aussi fires will finally bring all NZers to their senses about the seriousness of Climate Change. Nothing like a bit of first hand experience to make people sit up and take notice.

    Yesterday afternoon Auckland was blanketed in a thick haze. Driving past the tall trees lining the Takapuna Grammar School perimeter, I could see the dust/smoke laden haze wafting over the tops of the trees . There was a faint smell of smoke which irritated my throat the rest of the night. It doesn't seem so bad this morning – fingers crossed.

    If 2020 marks the start of an all out effort to combat CC… where the dwindling number of deniers are ignored by the media and everybody – farmers, industry, urban dwellers, manufacturers, government officials – pulls their weight, then we will start making headway. As Jacinda Ardern says "we can do it".

    • Anne 4.1

      Talking of Jacinda Ardern… I'm sure I read somewhere she, Clarke and little Neve were planning a holiday at a seaside location south of Sydney. If they are already there I hope they are safe.

    • weka 4.2

      It's bad enough in the South Island today to be irritating. I've seen glowing skies before from Aussie bushfires, but not smelt it like this or been negatively affected. It's like there is a farm burn off nearby. Much more visceral and real, I'm also hoping this will bring it home to more people who will then want action. So fortunate to have Ardern a PM, and Greens in government at this time.

      • Heather Grimwood 4.2.1

        To Weka at 4.2 : Hear hear ! Hear hear!!!

      • Formerly Ross 4.2.2

        Australia accounts for 1.3% of the world's emissions, so I doubt we'll see anything startling in terms of new policies coming out of Australia. In addition, the Environment Minister there says that Australia has been performing relatively well regarding reducing emissions.

        Australian Environment Minister Angus Taylor also noted in The Australian on Tuesday that Australia is outperforming its peers on climate. “Since 2005, Australia’s emissions have fallen 12.9 per cent, even while building the biggest liquefied natural gas industry in the world,” he wrote. “Canada’s emissions have fallen just 2 per cent and New Zealand’s have risen 4 per cent.”

        https://www.vox.com/2019/12/30/21039298/40-celsius-australia-fires-2019-heatwave-climate-change

        • weka 4.2.2.1

          that's jiggery pokery with the performance stats. Read what Australian climate scientists, activists and firefighters are saying instead.

          Re % by country, if each smaller emitter didn't do their bit that's a large chunk of GHGs globally not being reduced. Same applies to NZ. You can see this in this chart,

          https://www.visualcapitalist.com/all-the-worlds-carbon-emissions-in-one-chart/

          Which is why climate action requires us all to do our bit.

          All countries need social change before they do the right thing, including NZ and Oz. Oz has specific challenges because of the heavy GHG industry that the economy is dependent on at the moment and how political parties and other bodies (eg unions) are tied into that. But eventually that will have to change, like other places it's a matter of whether they get ahead of the crisis or wait until the crisis forces them.

          The opportunity here is that the current bushfire crisis will push a larger number of the population to demand change and more people will then support movements like SS4C, and then the politicians will follow. This is how change happens.

          • Sacha 4.2.2.1.1

            And the young people are clear about what needs to happen.

            • weka 4.2.2.1.1.1

              Also Scott Morrison, on the day that families were being evacuated off beaches because they were trapped there by bushfires while their town burned,

              “there’s no better place to raise kids anywhere on the planet”.

              Are they polling to get those lines? Because it's almost unbelievable that they have support from the general Australian public on this, but then I guess that's who voted them in.

              SS4C are one of our great hopes. I hope they sweep the likes of Morrison away.

      • Robert Guyton 4.2.3

        Everyone I've met here in Southland today is talking about the Australian fires. Tales of what they did last night have been set aside for the more immediate issue.

      • mary_a 4.2.4

        Absolutely agree with your sentiments Weka (4.2)

        Woke up this morning in Cromwell to a yellow smokey haze hovering over the town, which is still hanging around getting denser, bringing a smell of smoke with it now. Quite eerie atmospheric conditions, a scary contrast to Cromwell's usual clean, clear, crisp atmosphere.

        A bit wake up call coming I hope re CC, here, in Australia and the rest of the world.

        My sincere heartfelt thoughts are with those affected in Australia by the bush fires. It seems absolute hell over there a the present time. Kia Kaha.

    • Heather Grimwood 4.3

      To Anne at 4 : Re realisation of CC…….Been thinking since early morning the same thing Anne….the smoke pervading NZ or at least my home in Dunedin could not go unnoticed. I have experienced milder evidence of Australian fires when a child but nothing like this.

      Guess NZ has been insulated from what has been evident in Amazon, areas between Australia and Asia, Spain etc where fires even if begun by human foolishness or greed, have been accentuated by the increased ambient temperatures due to CC,

    • Sacha 4.4

      It is to be hoped the out-flow of dust particles from the devastating Aussi fires will finally bring all NZers to their senses about the seriousness of Climate Change. Nothing like a bit of first hand experience to make people sit up and take notice.

      Storms and flooding have done that already for many New Zealanders. More our future than fires are (though not as pictorially impressive).

      • weka 4.4.1

        I suspect that is more true for the North Island. In the South Island fire is going to be an increasing risk. All those pines, gums, kānuka/mānuka, tussock, including where people are living, in a country that has a poor awareness of fire hazard (unlike Australia).

        Also DOC estate. Farmers who are also volunteer firefighters are talking about the problems with transitioning farmland to conservation estate and that land now being much more flammable because vegetation isn't controlled. That added to drought is a potent mix.

        I think fire is the big one we're not paying heed to. We can rebuild houses relatively quickly if we have to. It takes at least 30 years to replace a forest. There's a cycle of land cleared by fire becoming more fire prone in low rainfall areas, reducing soil moisture and fertility, shade and food/other resources for humans, stock and wildlife.

        We have time to address that, but we're not there yet in terms of building that thinking into our planning (eg we're still planting pines to grow money). Thankfully the regenerative people have been practicing and adapting, so we will have some real life examples to build on when the time comes.

        • Robert Guyton 4.4.1.1

          Agreed, weka. If we are to replant, we have to replant wisely and strategically. No point in planting fuel for forest fires. WTB has posted repeatedly on using fire-resistant native and exotic trees as natural firebreaks; someone, someone, should, should, make the forestry people aware of this thinking. Someone should be promoting the propagation of these fire-proof trees en masse for the purpose of countering the events we smell unfolding in Australia.

          • weka 4.4.1.1.1

            this is my frustration at the moment. People are getting on board with the need to act, but how to act is still constrained by civ/industrial thinking.

            • Robert Guyton 4.4.1.1.1.1

              If the thinking corrupts the action; suppresses it or causes it to be mistaken, the greatest need is for the thinking to change. Culture, it's popularly thought, changes at a glacial pace, but when the glaciers are changing at pace, that thinking may be redundant. Imagine if a cultural shift was underway already; our collective heads would swim at the pace of change.

            • adam 4.4.1.1.1.2

              Act, by not acting.

        • Pingao 4.4.1.2

          I was thinking about all the Eucalyptus and pine trees planted in rural areas near power lines (mainly because I know someone who keeps planting gum trees under power lines in a dry valley and want to persuade him to stop) and what might be good to plant under or near power lines in regenerating bush areas and came across this link from Orion.

          https://www.oriongroup.co.nz/safety/time-to-trim-your-trees/trees-to-plant/

  5. Bill 5

    Well… I can't rip through the cheap cellophane sky that has me burning main room lights in the early afternoon on a mid-summer day.

    And I can't stop the seas turning ever more acidic or any of the multitude etcs that I won't bother listing.

    We've arrived. Actually, we've been here for quite some time and just haven't recognised it. So how about we recast "how do we get there" as "how do we get away from here"?

    Step one would be to acknowledge all of the things that got us here in the first place so that we can reject them wholesale.

    And on that front, this story offers up possibilities for those who are into a bit of lateral thinking. Jordi Casamitjana is looking to establish his vegan world view as a philosophical belief so he can claim the same protections as afforded religious belief. The Guardian does some giggly piss ripping – which is to be expected. The salient point though, is that a few years back a UK court found a worker's take on global warming was a religious belief – meaning the worker was able to use the Human Rights Act to combat discrimination in the workplace (he had been fired for refusing to fly on work business and the original decision may have been appealed – I don't know).

    But you get the point, yes?

    If cases like these stand, then any employer or government etc, asking anyone to partake in any activity that contributes to global warming can be resisted, denied and kicked into touch.

    And that is the moving away from here to there we need to be getting on with. 😉

    • RedLogix 5.1

      This morning my partner has been talking with a friend of ours who was on the beach at Mallacoota yesterday afternoon. But for a miraculous wind change at the last few minutes, we could have seen a mass casualty event. There were 4000 people there, not all would have survived if the firestorm had gone over them. It was fucking intense.

      This drama is playing out in many Australian locations this summer and it is changing the underlying way people are thinking. Humans have a lot of conceptual difficulty evaluating long term risk. It's never simple and easy to get wrong. For instance we now know that grinding concrete is a serious health risk; but it took decades of painstaking data and multi-factorial analysis to prove this.

      In terms of bushfire there is no direct link between any one fire and climate change; just as someone with silicosis cannot point to any single kitchen bench and say 'that one killed me'. Bushfires are even more complex, with multiple factors involved, yet this season will be the turning point; at some point their government is going to have to face an explicit political trade off … do we protect a relatively small number of jobs in the coal industry (even if they are politically valuable), or do we let the country burn to the ground? A few years ago they could safely pretend there was no link, today much less so.

      Take a look at today's ABC News front page … at least six major articles on the topic. Things are moving, and humans are adapting. We are remarkably good at that when we have to.

      • Robert Guyton 5.1.1

        "it is changing the underlying way people are thinking"

        Yes to that. Those of us already sufficiently startled by events haven't dared hope the rest of humanity might be similarly startled in the short-term, but I think we are seeing that happen right now. This could change everything.

      • Robert Guyton 5.1.2

        It's coming to a head this summer…

        • Bill 5.1.2.1

          Hmm. Can't deny a growing sense of foreboding. Australian bushfires that would cover…well, there's a graphic through the link laying the area over the N. Island.

          High summer temperatures right now in the middle of winter in the land where I come from.

          A 'thousand and one' little stories with "never seen before" claims within them (though almost always accompanied with some bullshit about 1912 or 1875 as though "still normal")

        • Robert Guyton 5.1.2.2

          For example:

          • Bill 5.1.2.2.1

            ?

            I'm referring to all those stories about rain and heat never experienced before that come with caveats from the metrological record that shows greater flooding occured once in the village of "Wheresit" just over the hill from where the current flooding is.

            Or, and certainly in relation to the UK, forever trying to pull the summer of '76 out the bag when talking about heat and comparing a 1 in 350 year event from 40 odd years ago to whatever current heatwave so as to suggest we are somehow still in the realm of 'normal'.

          • Janet 5.1.2.2.2

            “This is catastrophic climate change right now. It's not a problem for future generations, it's our problem and we must change our way of living.”

            Yes exactly, and how many changes has each household made to how they “live” daily in NZ in the last year.. about zero. Have they stopped buying and buying – are they thinking about quality and longevity of what they do buy – Have they even started thinking need as opposed to th’need?

            Has there been government funded advertising to stop people in their tracks and take a look at the extravagant ways they are living?

            What has the government done to turn the population to less wasteful ways? Yes, no plastic bags in supermarket but I notice in Auckland The Herald comes wrapped in a plastic bag every day now, no matter what the weather !

            Has the government regulated to stop short life, poor quality products beinging imported into NZ yet? No they prefer “free trade “ They prefer anti climate change globalised product sourcing and trading rather than building up our self-sufficiency as a nation again.

            Have you like me, got a drawerful of electronic equipment because nothing fits each other, USBs, chargers etc. Has the government done anything to rationalise and standardise things like this.Even my car can recharge at only one of 5 different charging stations due to incompatibility.

            They keep importing more and more people into NZ to create unwanted growth – They keep on with the biggering and biggering of the New Zealand population to keep biggering and biggering NZ to some distant undefined point of collapse !

            Go read Th

      • Anne 5.1.3

        I'm looking forward with considerable hope to the Australian nation-wide debate that must surely follow this unprecedented event – in terms of numeracy and ferocity. Can people power turn a government round and force them to face reality? We'll have to wait and see.

    • pat 5.2

      sinking lid on oil imports

  6. Puckish Rogue 6

    Petition the government to make a law that states that any product in NZ that can be made with recycled products must be made with at least 75% recycled materials and if 75% is too low then increase within reason

    Theres my contribution

  7. Stuart Munro 7

    I'd suggest building resilience locally. Typical cities have 3-5 days food reserves. See if you can garden an extra day into that. Swap some seed or cuttings or preserves across the fence. Change a small lawn up to a vigorous garden like edible canna lilies in case things go south. Get some hemp in after the referendum – humans ate it and wore it long before we smoked it. Think about saving a bit of stormwater & making some kind of windbreak.

    • Robert Guyton 7.1

      Whadda ya mean, "go south" smiley

      Yes to all your other ideas. Local is it, local it is.

      • Stuart Munro 7.1.1

        Well, if I recall, much south of you things get a bit salty – and not too warm. Much as I miss the cod livers and other perks, it's not an ecosystem that needs too much intervention – 'cept maybe where deoxygenated poo-laden runoff is eutrophying estuaries.

        Reckon you've been doing the horizontal robustness thing for a while – still a good trick though. The self-styled top end have been kind of dragging their feet.

        If you're up for a challenge, this might be worth a crack. A number of folk local to this site would probably love to help.

        • Robert Guyton 7.1.1.1

          "not too warm" will be a great selling point soon, Stuart smiley

          Funny you should mention the royals…their new-found conscience and consciousness will move conservative southerners/NZ-landers, subtly, toward change of the sort we need. Citing those folk, Andrew et all, is potentially a powerful catalyst for change where such opinions are regarded highly, and I plan to do just that smiley

          • Stuart Munro 7.1.1.1.1

            Good for you – if you need someone to shovel compost, I'm up for it.

            • Robert Guyton 7.1.1.1.1.1

              Shovel? We don't "shovel" we … ease

              You're welcome to ease alongside of us…

  8. Robert Guyton 8

    "Meet Amina from Lombok, Indonesia 🇮🇩

    “I’m half Indonesian, half Swiss. After studying entrepreneurship in France, I decided to buy a one-way ticket to Lombok, Indonesia to help my parents with their homestay and organic farm project. I have been here for two years now and started being involved in gardening for about a year.

    In the summer of 2018, we had a series of deadly earthquakes in Lombok. For over a month, we had no electricity, fuel was only allowed for ambulances and military, so of course no more goods were circulating within the North of the island. All the shops and the markets were closed so most of the people relied on donations and help from NGOs or private donors. It was exactly at that moment that I realized how important it is to be able to eat from your garden.

    Having zero knowledge and skills about gardening, I started to study permaculture concepts on my own and tried to figure out how we could grow food in such an extremely dry environment. I read books, visited farms, watched documentaries, talked with other gardeners and experimented a lot of different techniques in our garden (and failed numerous times!).

    I grow food to show that everything is possible! It may not always be easy, especially where we live, but it’s possible as long as you take good care of your soil. Being in a very secluded area of the island, we also do not have access to healthy organic vegetables, so growing food in our own garden makes a lot of sense. For me the biggest reward from gardening is to be able to share the results of my hard work at the family table. Every produce is a victory and nothing tastes better than the food coming from your garden!

    We are located in Loloan Village; in the North of Lombok, Indonesia. We have 1 hectare land. For now our growing space is 230 square meter but we plan to expand slowly to half of the land. When we bought this land, it was an abandoned cashew tree orchard. So we still have cashew trees and we planted various fruit trees in different spaces of our land and in our food forest.

    We plant our vegetables in raised beds. We dig our beds approximately 1 meter deep and add layers using organic matter. We start the bottom layer with big logs that we can find in the forest. The best is to use very old logs which will act like sponges, then we add smaller wood, leaves, green layers (such as kitchen scraps, grass cuttings…). On top of it we put our soil and add some compost. This type of bed should last 5 to 10 years depending on the decomposition speed. Also we never leave our soil naked, which helps in creating a living soil and keeps the soil fresh and humid.

    Being in an arid area, all the excess water is very precious to us. That is why we made different banana circles to recycle grey water from our kitchen and bathrooms. It is a very efficient and easy way to create biomass, to make compost and on top of that you grow more food! We also started a food forest on the back of our land. With this project we hope to build soil, regenerate the landscape and attract more insects, pollinators and birds.

    It’s hard to believe that 30 years ago, where we are now used to be an abundant forest with wild deer and horses and the rivers were flowing all year long. All the trees were cut down for commercial purposes and today all the rivers have dried out and almost no native trees left.

    At our farm, we tried to dig two wells and went 50 meters deep and we still could not find any water. The soil is very poor in nutrients, which is the reason why villagers only plant during rainy season, using a lot of pesticides and monoculture.

    A lot of people come over and ask : why do you grow food here? You don’t have access to water, the soil is very poor, the weather is extremely hot and dry…At Saifana, despite being a farm, our goal isn’t productivity. We don’t aim to sell fresh vegetables in the market. Our purpose here is to be a space of experimentation and exchange, a place where we actually show and demonstrate how it’s possible to grow food with the climate challenges we face today. It’s all about regenerating the soil and using permaculture and agroecology methods which are adapted to your.."

    Read more here:

    https://www.facebook.com/humanswhogrowfood/posts/1039907796355756?__tn__=K-R

  9. Robert Guyton 9

    "

    Meet John Moody from Irvington, Kentucky, United States 🇺🇸

    “Had you met me in my teens, you would have said, “He is never, ever going to be a homesteader or farmer.” I had four food groups—sugary breakfast cereals, cookies, eggs (with sugar), and candy. I was a pasty- skinned, video-game-playing, cartoon-watching child of the ’80s. I spent some time outdoors, generally only when my parents made me.

    Had you met me in college, you would have said, “He is never, ever going to be a homesteader or farmer.” I had eight food groups. I still played a lot of video games and watched a fair amount of TV, though I had become very active in sports as well.

    Had you met me in my early twenties, you would still have said, “He is never, ever going to be a homesteader or farmer.” That is, until I developed duodenal ulcers. Pain 24/7, like a small band of traveling dwarves, was mining my insides while holding a Metallica meth-fueled rave. Doctors could only offer me a lifetime of drugs. Instead, my then fiancée and now wife and I went with a radical change to our approach to food. We went from Kroger and Sam’s Club to Wild Oats and Whole Paycheck. We graduated to the farmer’s market, a CSA, and raw milk, and then to starting a food-buying club, the Whole Life Buying Club in Louisville, Kentucky that serves over a hundred families and helps dozens of farmers and artisans connect via local, real foods and products."

    https://www.facebook.com/humanswhogrowfood/posts/1038540719825797?__tn__=K-R

  10. WeTheBleeple 10

    If you add peaches to rhubarb and stew them with sugar to taste – when you first explore this combo in your mouth the complexity and sumptiousness will for one moment transport you away from the nightmare unfolding in front of us.

    Each drought further depletes the aquifers it's only a matter of time before NZ is parched too. Rainfall is the most precious of resources, and we direct it straight back out to sea. That has to change.

    • Sacha 10.1

      we direct it straight back out to sea

      Um, doesn't our landscape do that? Not aware of any infrastructure projects piping water from mountains to beaches.

      • Sabine 10.1.1

        well, every bit of road, drive way, concreted patch etc will cause runoff that goes straight into the strom drains rather.

        But then i guess that is not what some would call ' infrastructure'. 🙂 right?

        • Sacha 10.1.1.1

          Good point.

          • WeTheBleeple 10.1.1.1.1

            We drain entire regions and keep the drain networks in place to further exacerbate the problem. Cities and towns are largely impervious surfaces. Farms drain farms, towns drain towns, then drought hits and we fight over water use.

          • weka 10.1.1.1.2

            deforestation causes drainage, as does other rural land management eg straightening streams or building canals to divert water for hydro or irrigation. These things prevent normal rainfall from being stored in the land (which is what happens in intact ecosystems, native or non-native).

            Mining water from the aquifers in the way we do is incredibly stupid.

  11. Robert Guyton 11

    Attract rain, give it cause to fall, meet it as it falls, with vegetation arrayed as forest, buffer its arrival on the ground with a naturally-formed mattress of leaves and twigs, stitched together with fungal threads, facilitate it's gradual descent below the surface with a network of holes, tunnels and perforations made by tiny living creatures and the spent roots of short-lived plants, secure it with simple carbon molecules reduced from organic materials by bacteria and fungi, creating a subsoil "lake" that's protected from evaporation by the material around and above it and above all, don't poison the well; don't spray pesticide, herbicide, molluscicide, fungicide; biocides of any sort and don't rip it up either; stop digging (we're in a hole, doncha know!).

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