It’s a Side-show, “Bob”.

Written By: - Date published: 10:37 am, June 28th, 2016 - 279 comments
Categories: capitalism, climate change, Economy, Environment, Financial markets, global warming, International, newspapers, Politics, radio, Revolution, science, tv - Tags: , , , ,

So here we are.

Politicians, yet again playing ego driven, stupid and bizarre games of musical chairs. Economists, yet again doing splendid impersonations of headless chickens. And the stenographers (h/t CV), as always, breathlessly relaying to us how crucial, unprecedented and dangerous it all is…this time – honest!.

But see, while I quite enjoy speculating on various political permutations, ramifications or consequences off the back of necessarily partial analyses, or postulating on the reasons as to the hows and whys of people managing to send politicians and economists into spastic frenzies – like all soap operas, it wears thin and loses its power to distract.

And at that point, like many of us, I usually just dismiss them (the politicians and economists) as wankers and move on. But this time around a pushy and persistent question has arisen that goes something along the lines of ‘when we look at all of these clowns and their shenanigans, do we seriously expect them to play any useful co-ordinating role in the execution of the fundamental shift or radical change that our society needs?

I’m sorry if this is popping your political bubble of fun a bit prematurely, but physics hasn’t pulled itself up a chair to sit back and observe.

Our understanding of physics provides simple facts that, if we pay any attention to them, demand that we take immediate, radical actions that will fundamentally alter the social, economic and political make-up of society, if we want to have much in the way of a society in the future.

That’s not hyperbole.

Here are the numbers again if you missed them the first time around. True, the numbers will have changed a bit in the intervening six months. Our prospects aren’t as good now as they were back then.

Meanwhile, this Brexit and the accompanying fooling around by idiotic politicians and flapping economists could be served up at maximum volume for our delight and amusement for months to come. And when our attention wanes, then of course a new ‘pop corn worthy’ distraction will be blasted out for our delectation. And then another. And then another.

So at what point are we going to put things into perspective?

I’m not saying we shouldn’t be entertained by clowns and idiots – they’re eminently entertaining. But I’m seriously stumped as to why we seem hell bent on giving these people and their bullshit permanent centre stage and of giving all their nonsense our serious, undivided attention

Are we ever going to get around to housing all these Trumps, Farages, Camerons and Johnsons, and yes, even the Sanders and Corbyns et al, in some plush, modern day Bedlam, perhaps modelled after some parliament, where we can just occasionally visit and, perhaps guiltily, point and titter from a gallery as they harmlessly act out their uproarious nonsense?

And more importantly, when…when are we going to take all the economists haruspices and throw them into that charlatan’s booth in the fairground that sits between the palmist and the psychic?

We’ve been stacking up a process of physics that in a very short time frame – two decades might be optimistic – will present us with conditions utterly inimical to an integrated, global expression of human civilisation. That’s the deal we’re dealing in. We dealt it to ourselves. And physics can’t be boxed up, filed away or put off until tomorrow, and yet… we seem to be obliviously skipping along as part of some grand procession behind grinning politicians who are leading us all a merry dance to the tune of the economists haruspices – the modern day, pied pipers of Hamelin.

I’ll finish with these thoughts.

Contrary to popular myth, no-one on acid ever took themselves to the top of a tall building with the express intention of launching themselves into flight. The instinct of self preservation always said such idiocy was, well, idiotic – no matter how powerful the hallucinogen. And yet here we are as a society, careening towards a veritable cliff edge convinced that we’re going to fly and that physics can just go hang itself. And you know what?

It doesn’t work like that.

279 comments on “It’s a Side-show, “Bob”.”

  1. ianmac 1

    She’ll be right mate. Or maybe not.

  2. Draco T Bastard 2

    If we were going to listen to reality and stick to the physics we would have dumped capitalism and its need for perpetual growth a long time ago as it’s never fit into reality. It is totally and utterly delusional.

    Instead the economists and the politicians are, at the behest of the rich, telling us that we need more of it.

    • maninthemiddle 2.1

      “…and its need for perpetual growth”

      That’s a myth. Capitalism does not require ‘perpetual growth’. In recent years global growth has been slow, yet capitalism thrives as the system of choice for most successful economies.

      http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2013/02/the-end-of-growth-wouldnt-be-the-end-of-capitalism/273367/

      • Maninthemiddle, aka “the guy who doesn’t tell the truth” is back.
        Dull.

      • Draco T Bastard 2.1.2

        That’s a myth. Capitalism does not require ‘perpetual growth’.

        No it’s not and Yes it does. It requires growth, i.e, to get bigger, to pay the interest that the private banks charge on the money that they create ex nihilo. That’s why governments like to encourage inflation and greater GDP. Deflation shows a recession/depression and businesses going under as they can no longer pay the banks.

        It’s simple mathematics really. If the loan is X amount and the required repayment is X+ amount then the business needs to grow to pay it off.

        • maninthemiddle 2.1.2.1

          Wrong. Banks are making as much money in todays low inflation environment as they ever did.

          As to your example, has it occurred to you that one firm can grow but not the economy as a whole?

          • Draco T Bastard 2.1.2.1.1

            Banks are making as much money in todays low inflation environment as they ever did.

            Yes and it’s all being spent on housing and thus we see house price inflation in the double digits.

            Now, if you’d clarify the point that you thought you were making.

            As to your example, has it occurred to you that one firm can grow but not the economy as a whole?

            That’s called a depression.

            • maninthemiddle 2.1.2.1.1.1

              “Yes and it’s all being spent on housing …”
              Irrelevant.

              “That’s called a depression.”
              No, it isn’t. A depression is not lack of growth, it is a sustained downturn. Like what eventually happens in socialist economies.

              • Draco T Bastard

                Irrelevant

                It’s perfectly relevant because spending on housing doesn’t develop the economy. Never mind the fact that we have a housing bubble that will pop producing a depression.

                The only reason why we’re not in a depression now is because of the housing bubble and the massive insurance payout for Christchurch both of which are introducing huge amounts of cash to the economy but it’s only going to the rich which is why we have increasing poverty, people living in cars and low inflation. The rich don’t spend the money that they get and so the economy goes even further into decline.

                A depression is not lack of growth, it is a sustained downturn.

                Lack of growth in our present system is a sustained downturn.

                • maninthemiddle

                  “…because spending on housing doesn’t develop the economy.”
                  It’s irrelevant because you said “it’s all being spent on housing”, which is patently false. But more than that, your assertion is simply incorrect.

                  “Lack of growth in our present system is a sustained downturn.”
                  Not if you understand economics. A downturn is negative growth. NZ is enjoying positive growth. If you really want to debate this, get an education.

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    It’s irrelevant because you said “it’s all being spent on housing”, which is patently false. But more than that, your assertion is simply incorrect.

                    /facepalm

                    Have you noticed the double digit housing inflation yet?

                    Not if you understand economics. A downturn is negative growth. NZ is enjoying positive growth.

                    I do understand economics. NZ is enjoying a massive housing bubble but limited to no growth in the rest of the economy.

                    That bubble will pop and then we’ll be in a depression.

                    • maninthemiddle

                      “Have you noticed the double digit housing inflation yet?”
                      The assertion that was false was “spending on housing doesn’t develop the economy.”

                      “NZ is enjoying a massive housing bubble but limited to no growth in the rest of the economy.”
                      Rubbish. See I was right, you don’t understand economics.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      The assertion that was false was “spending on housing doesn’t develop the economy.”

                      That’s just it, it doesn’t develop the economy. Even economists recognise that.

                      Rubbish. See I was right, you don’t understand economics.

                      I’ve been studying economics for 15 years so, yes, I do understand them and there hasn’t been any growth in the economy – just massive spending on existing houses. That’s resulted in a huge growth in money but it’s all gone to rich people and the banks which means that it’s done little to nothing for the economy. That means we see a GDP increase but no productivity increase.

                      All you’re doing here is spouting what you want to believe is true while ignoring actual reality. I’m going to ignore you from now on as there’s simply no point in engaging you.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 2.1.3

        capitalism

        Meanwhile, on Earth, the system of choice for most countries is a mixed economy, the most successful manifestations being those that are also social democracies.

        No wonder you can’t comprehend English: you struggle with reality full stop.

        • maninthemiddle 2.1.3.1

          Most mixed economies are capitalist economies with some varying degree of government intervention.

          • One Anonymous Bloke 2.1.3.1.1

            Look at the Farage apologist twisting and turning and pretending that weasel words have currency.

            If only it weren’t so desperately unoriginal.

            • maninthemiddle 2.1.3.1.1.1

              Look at the ignoramus trying to sound intelligent while running from the debate.

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                What “debate”, you flailing dogshit. You abandoned your position at my first remark.

                • maninthemiddle

                  No, I schooled you on what a mixed economy is.

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    Too funny.

                    Thanks for your feeble attempt. However, you are so shit at explaining things you got it wrong.

                    When you say “most” mixed economies combine government intervention/regulation and capitalism, what are the other sorts?

                    All mixed economies fit this definition, you tiresome witless gimp.

                    That’s why I mentioned it in the first place.

                    • maninthemiddle

                      You are so ignorant you have to resort to dishonesty.

                      Here’s what I actually wrote:

                      “Most mixed economies are capitalist economies with some varying degree of government intervention.”

                      It is also possible for a mixed economy to have a quasi socialist foundation. Schooled again.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Here’s what I actually wrote, shit-stain:

                      …the system of choice for most countries is a mixed economy, the most successful manifestations being those that are also social democracies…

                      You have added precisely nothing to this. Vacuity defines you.

                    • maninthemiddle

                      I don’t give a s&*t what you wrote. I’m commenting on what you said about what I wrote. Here, I’ll quote you back “When you say …”.

                      You really have s^*t for brains.

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    Yawn. Your entire “argument” is that I don’t know what a mixed economy is. Since I do, your “argument” is moot, a vacuity.

                    Your notion of a mixed economy with a “quasi socialist foundation” (whatever you think that means) fits the definition just as well as an economy with any other sort of “foundation”.

                    No amount of tetrapyloctomy can help you.

                    • maninthemiddle

                      You obviously don’t know what mixed. Your comment “All mixed economies fit this definition” gave your ignorance away.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      …what mixed…

                      Do you believe I think “Capitalism”* isn’t part of the mix? If so, disabuse yourself of your dimbulb delusions and read my comments again.

                      Wikipedia’s definition is a pretty good one:

                      A mixed economy is defined as an economic system consisting of a mixture of either markets and economic planning, public ownership and private ownership, or free markets and economic interventionism. However, in most cases, “mixed economy” refers to market economies with strong regulatory oversight and governmental provision of public goods, although some mixed economies also feature a number of state-run enterprises.

                      *As Chomsky said: “show me some!”

      • Rae 2.1.4

        Well, yes, capitalism DOES require constant growth, only now it is starting to eat itself to achieve it for the few who can keep amassing it (capital) for themselves. Once all growth is over, if we are stupid enough to allow this cannibalism to go on, there will be an almighty collapse or implosion of some sort. We never seem to learn from history.

  3. Pat 3

    “I’m not saying we shouldn’t be entertained by clowns and idiots – they’re eminently entertaining. But I’m seriously stumped as to why we seem hell bent on giving these people and their bullshit permanent centre stage and of giving all their nonsense our serious, undivided attention”

    true enough…except as long as they pull the levers if we ignore them as they deserve, how much more idiotic would they be?

    • Bill 3.1

      And so the question becomes one of the difference between powerful idiots and potentially disempowered idiots.

      Think of it in terms of a religious cult. If I acquiesce to my behaviour being shaped by the charismatic leader, then we might say the leader is a powerful idiot. (I’d just be plain idiot in that circumstance 😉 ) But in a situation where the leader is saying the same things as before but no-one is willing to pay any attention any more and people just get on with things.

      Taking it to the ‘n-th’ degree.

      The reserve bank raises interest rates but no-one is adhering to the notion that resource management (and by extension social behaviour) is a consequential outcome of pulling monetary levers and we just all get on with things….

      • Pat 3.1.1

        we can just get on with things but cannot ignore the impact of the monetary system for it is that which regulates society….try paying your rates with barter or ignoring your mortgage rate increase…theory and practice are often parallel lines.

        • Bill 3.1.1.1

          …but cannot ignore the impact of the monetary system for it is that which regulates society

          So first up, thank you for getting the essential point of the post and relaying it back more succinctly than I put it in the first place. The monetary system regulates society, but it only does so because we allow those economists (the haruspices) who ascribe to that set of affairs as a ‘right and proper’ way to manage society and resources to hold sway.

          Given that it’s an ideology rather than some law of nature, we can dispense with it – consign it to the trash heap of woeful ideas.

          How to dethrone those ‘high priests’, those haruspices or economists? We can already demonstrate that what they prescribe hasn’t worked, doesn’t work and absolutely won’t work in terms of confronting potential global warming.

          Convince the politicians of that (no easy task because they’re a bit dim on the whole) and they might start enacting regulations that don’t rely on this idea of money regulating society.

          I wouldn’t hold my breath on the politician front, so that leaves options that have been tried and tested – eg, the rent strike. Expand the concept of the rent strike to encompass mortgage payments, any and all debt repayments and what not, and suddenly economists are trying to stand up right while seismic shocks are shifting the ground beneath their feet.

          As in the rent strikes of old, your going to have to have your neighbours back and they yours.

          Solidarity – an old fashioned concept to some these days, but one that is unassailable when it’s practiced. Only, unlike the bread and roses of yesteryears labour strikes, this time we’re demanding the world…not necessarily for ourselves, but for the people who will be born in ten years from now and twenty years from now and on into the future.

          It’s that serious and it’s that dire. We absolutely need, as of now, to be rid of the idiots and clowns who are running the show today, if the toddlers of today and those being born in future decades are to have any hope of any kind of a life worth living.

          If you’ve any doubts on that front, then read the previous post I linked to in the post. Physics doesn’t lie, bullshit or mess around.

          • Pat 3.1.1.1.1

            so mass civil disobedience….I am in no doubts of the seriousness nor the physics, I do however have immense doubts about solidarity and disorder.

            • Bill 3.1.1.1.1.1

              The solidarity or disorder are entirely down to us if we get shot of the clowns. Leave them in place and it’s going to be (I imagine) magnitudes of chaos, fear and authoritarianism riding off the back of their ineptitude and power.

          • Colonial Viper 3.1.1.1.2

            So first up, thank you for getting the essential point of the post and relaying it back more succinctly than I put it in the first place. The monetary system regulates society, but it only does so because we allow those economists (the haruspices) who ascribe to that set of affairs as a ‘right and proper’ way to manage society and resources to hold sway.

            The economists aren’t the guts of this; they simply provide plausible deniability.

            The money system is ultimately a system of rationing and control. That’s the ‘regulation’ of society that Pat speaks of.

            The system provides a huge volume and huge variety of goods and services to those with a lot of money.

            It forces those with very little money to work hard to ensure that this constant flow of goods and services to the people with money, is maintained. While ensuring that their own consumption of these same goods and services is extremely limited.

            That’s the guts of why this system is so.

            • Bill 3.1.1.1.2.1

              I disagree, insofar as you only seem to be addressing questions of inequality within the current economic paradigm.

              The economists have dictated the parameters of climate change models (see Anderson for that one). And every policy coming from government cleaves to their chrematistic notions of economy.

              I’ve been reading a ChancelPiketty paper on chrematistic possibilities for – not reducing emissions – but just raising enough tax from emitters to pay into the global adaptation fund (Currently meant to be being funded to the tune of €300 billion annually). And the take home message, more or less, is that it can’t be done.

              Meanwhile, we have governments thinking they’re going to be reducing emissions using those self same levers.

  4. Lanthanide 4

    Doing anything serious about climate change requires people give up their current lifestyles, now.

    No one wants that. So nothing is being done.

    If governments – including the Chinese and Russian governments – directed people and companies to reduce their standard of living to the level required for us to defeat climate change, the public would riot and replace the government.

    That is even assuming that anyone in government actually understands this stuff; most of them won’t or will be denying it.

    Society isn’t going to change until it’s forced to, and until it is already too late.

    • weka 4.1

      “No one wants that”

      I do. I know other people that do. At the very least, lots of people want the government to do more about climate change than they are doing. There is no reason to not be moving in the right direction.

      • Colonial Viper 4.1.1

        Unfortunately,”moving in the right direction” would have been a viable strategy for almost 30 years ago, when James Hansen testified in front of Congress about climate change.

        Now, if we are to make any material difference, radical redirection is required.

        And the people whose lifestyles need to change the most are those in the top 5% of society i.e. those who hold the wealth and power in our society.

        10-15 years of radical action is required to avoid 3 deg C. Anything less and we will sail past 3 deg C, which will cause global emissions levels to collapse anyway. In a rather unplanned, chaotic way.

        • weka 4.1.1.1

          “Now, if we are to make any material difference, radical redirection is required.”

          Yes, but Lanth was arguing against any change. We could have movement in the right direction now that makes it much more likely to have radical change next. I’m fine with radical change now too. But people arguing that nothing can be done are arguing from the side show IMO.

          Moving in the right direction is still better than what we are doing now.

          • Lanthanide 4.1.1.1.1

            “Yes, but Lanth was arguing against any change.”

            No, I actually wasn’t.

          • Colonial Viper 4.1.1.1.2

            Moving in the right direction is still better than what we are doing now.

            Yes it is morally better, in terms of answering our conscience, it is better. But we can’t delude ourselves in the slightest that it will prevent disaster. It might be like getting one extra lifeboat off the Titanic. So it’s not nothing. But the entire vessel and most of those souls are still lost.

            • marty mars 4.1.1.1.2.1

              No it is absolutely better. Moving in the right direction even slightly is better than not – every time.

              • Colonial Viper

                Sure, but only if you clearly understand that fighting to the last man and the last woman is only a certain kind of victory.

              • Bill

                If moving ‘in the right direction’ is with the knowledge that it won’t be enough, and that movement is being taken instead of doing what needs to be done, or as a way of putting off what must be done – then it’s not necessarily slightly better than nothing. (Tipping points. If those incremental improvements don’t avoid tipping points, then they amount to no more than if nothing at all was done)

                • If movement is in the right direction it is better than doing nothing.

                  Note direction – this is wide and can cover recycling as well as shooting cars. The reason it is better are related to physical, mental, whānau, community and even spiritual/nonspiritual beliefs. Plus you never know the aliens might turn up.

              • Except when you step off a cliff-edge before the rope bridge has been slung. Pays to taihoa sometimes.

                • Except if there is a forest fire roaring toward you and when you step off you slide down the cliff and land in clear water – which is lucky cos you really felt like a bath…

                  Exceptions are so so

            • weka 4.1.1.1.2.2

              All of my arguments around CC are ecologically based (assuming humans are part of the ecological systems). Yes there is a moral imperative to do anything we can, in terms of reducing risk to those systems. Saying we can’t prevent disaster is not a reason to not try and enable as much survival as possible. So the analogy I’d use would be more something like colonisation where wholesale decimation of an indenous culture can no longer be prevented but even the smaller actions by less people might enable that culture to survive. Why would we not see that as critical? And of course the people in the extra life boat from the Titanic, their lives have value too beyond what might make us feel better.

              Moving in the right direction also gives us more chance at radical change. It’s more likely we can achieve radical change from where we are now than say five years ago (I remember when climate change wasn’t discussed on ts). All movement in the right direction ups our chances.

              • Colonial Viper

                I would argue that the gradual pressure release of minor incremental change actual reduces the chances of successful radical change, but that’s obviously open to debate.

      • Lanthanide 4.1.2

        “There is no reason to not be moving in the right direction.”

        I agree. But “moving in the right direction” is hardly what Bill is calling for. He’s calling for actual radical change that will make a significant difference to the future climate change – and radical differences to people’s lifestyles right now.

        What Bill wants is far more than “moving in the right direction”.

        • weka 4.1.2.1

          I want want Bill is suggesting, and am willing to have a reduction in my lifestyle in order to mitigate the worst of CC. I know other people that do too. Your argument is against change, there is no reason for that.

          • Lanthanide 4.1.2.1.1

            I was editing my comment to put in a good link I found, but it didn’t work (probably because you’d already replied). Anyway here it is:

            http://shrinkthatfootprint.com/carbon-targets-for-your-footprint

            Obviously if the average person in the world managed to live like this in the year 2000, such a lifestyle is more than possible. The better question is how desirable is it? Given current technology living a 4 tonne lifestyle involves certain restrictions that many people wouldn’t enjoy, particularly in terms of travel, food and products.

            So what does a 4 tonne lifestyle look like? A 4 t personal footprint is about a fifth of a the typical American personal footprint. Using some data from US we can estimate roughly what 4 tonnes would provide in each of our categories given typical consumption. In each case it would provide these things for each person per year, and nothing else.

            Housing: 1.04 t = 1500 kWh of US grid electricity

            Travel: 0.94 t = 2000 miles driving at 20 MPG

            Food: 1.1 t = a mostly vegan diet with limited food waste

            Products: 0.51 t = $1000 worth of products

            Services: 0.4 t = $2000 worth of services
            ……
            In the personal carbon budget to limit warming by 2100 to 2°C (3.6°F) the 2050 target for personal emissions is 1.5 t CO2e . This footprint is closing in on the idea of a 1 tonne footprint, which is the type of footprint that could allow global concentrations of greenhouse gasses in our atmosphere to stabilise.

            …..Though any exact value for this in the future will depend on the mix of gasses and the performance of our natural sinks, the 1 t personal footprint is a good rough guide of the type of action needed to put us on a path to a stable climate.

            As with the 4 tonne example we could create an example of what a 1 tonne budget would allow us with today’s technology. This budget would devote a large part of the footprint to the providing a quite restricted diet. All electricity, heating and cooling would need to come from low carbon sources and transport would be either walking, cycling or electrified public transport. The remaining budget would be used for a small number of service and product purchases.

            When you look at these numbers, you can only conclude that we need *drastically* more carbon efficient forms of energy and production in order to get anywhere near the targets. Or we need a much lower population.

            Put it another way: a 1 ton budget in practical terms means no refrigerators at home. It also means you’re very unlikely to have common supermarkets with refrigerators and freezers.

            Just that single omission creates massive problems for food distribution – and that’s before you even consider that there will be far less motorised transportation.

            Also consider that: “The remaining budget would be used for a small number of service and product purchases.” is complete anathema to our existing economies.

            You might be happy to live in an eco-village commune, but quite clearly the majority of the population are not.

            To get people to change their behaviour – to the drastic level required – won’t happen until people are forced to, and by then it’ll be too late. Which is what I already said in my comment at #4.

            • Bill 4.1.2.1.1.1

              You do know that the global average individual carbon footprint is about 5 tonnes, yes? And that covers a range from some hundreds of kilos per person up to over 300 tonnes per person?

              And you’re also aware, assuming an average of 7 tonnes per person in NZ,(that number’s off the top of my head – might be wrong) and according to the literature and studies done on the matter, that many people in New Zealand (the majority) probably already have carbon footprints at or below 4 tonnes? The top 10% of earners are responsible for about 50% of emissions and that pulls the average per person average up a lot. (The next 40% of higher earners are responsible for about 40% of emissions and the poorest 50% for about 10% of emissions)

              I guess if you have a head for numbers, you could take NZs actual emissions total and produce per person average tonne emissions as they relate to those different cohorts.

              Anyway. The west (that’s us) must hit zero by about 2030 and that’s a really tough ask. But it can be done and it doesn’t require huge sacrifices on the part of most people – in other words and for the most part change, not sacrifice.

              • Macro

                I currently live in a home with a fridge freezer and we export to the grid during the day more electricity than we consume in the evening. (we are an exporter of electricity despite running a fridge freezer and other electrical devices at normal levels – solar hot water so we do washing etc at the end of the day). With a fully functioning alternative energy grid and the canning of Tiwai Point NZ could easily be at 90+% carbonless electricity in just a few years.
                Australians since 2007 have invested $6B in solar energy and the resulting savings in fossil fuels is equivalent to taking 1/3 of their trucks off the roads.

                OOOps supposed to be a reply to Lanth 😼

                • Lanthanide

                  NZ going 100% carbon free will do nothing to stop climate change.

                  • weka

                    But you accept now that NZ could still have fridges?

                    “NZ going 100% carbon free will do nothing to stop climate change.”

                    Yes it will. If every block of 4 million people reduced their carbon, we would mitigate CC. Plus the leadership factor.

                    • Lanthanide

                      “But you accept now that NZ could still have fridges?”

                      If you can afford a fridge amongst your “remaining budget would be used for a small number of service and product purchases.”, bearing in mind that that figure is less than $3,000.

                      “Yes it will. If every block of 4 million people reduced their carbon, we would mitigate CC. Plus the leadership factor.”

                      Yes, if “every block of 4 million people reduced their carbon”, I agree. That is not what I said.

                    • Bill

                      Lanth. The figures in your original comment are crap. I pointed that out above. The authors are crying that the sky will fall in if the aim is to bring individual CO2 emissions down to the disastrous level that most NZs already live below!

                    • Lanthanide

                      @Bill, you should actually read the article, because the authors are FAR from “the sky will fall” like you’re assuming they are.

                      Also, funny that you say the “figures are crap” when you literally made your figures up and then said “look, no problem”.

                    • Bill

                      @ Lanth. The only figure that may not be correct is the 7 tonnes per person for NZ. (I just can’t remember what it is off the top of my head). The others are all correct.

                      edit – very quick google search says 7.22 in 2010, so within the ball park.

                    • weka

                      “Yes, if “every block of 4 million people reduced their carbon”, I agree. That is not what I said.

                      I know, which is why I think you are arguing for not changing.

                    • Lanthanide

                      @weka:
                      Well you’re wrong, I’m not arguing in favour of “not changing”.

                  • Bill

                    NZ going 100% carbon free will do nothing to stop climate change.

                    Take your pick between contagion and dominoes.

                    • Greg

                      Volcanic eruption in Iceland caused global climate change in the 17th century, known as the little ice age,

                      the politic’s of fixing climate change we cause is taxing us to reduce consumption, yet governments have to have growth to pay its debt, and growth only comes from consumption,
                      isnt that a zero sum game or something?

                      i wont mention solar flares affecting magnetic fields,

                    • Colonial Viper

                      The economic and monetary system must be substantially restructured to allow degrowth.

                  • Macro

                    No it has happened already and we are in for at least 1.7 C degrees of warming – even if the whole world went cold turkey on FF tomorrow. However, as weka and bill point out, and noting that NZ has one of the highest Carbon footprints per capita in the world NZ really has to pull its finger out.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    NZ going 100% carbon free will do nothing to stop climate change.

                    Whether it is 10 years from now or 50 years from now, whether we plan in advance or just firefight chaotic availability collapse of fossil fuels when it happens, we will be going carbon free.

                    So let’s do it sooner so we can have a better life after, ok?

            • weka 4.1.2.1.1.2

              “Put it another way: a 1 ton budget in practical terms means no refrigerators at home. It also means you’re very unlikely to have common supermarkets with refrigerators and freezers.

              Just that single omission creates massive problems for food distribution – and that’s before you even consider that there will be far less motorised transportation.”

              I don’t know how you imagine a post-carbon world, but my mother grew up without refrigeration and supermarkets and that family had a good standard of living. These are not difficult things for society to replace. Seriously. I suspect that you think no refrigeration and supermarkets means bread lines and food shortages. It really doesn’t have to be like that Lanth.

              Like I said, I’m willing to make the changes, I know other people who are too. I’m glad you have moved your position from no-one wants to change to most people don’t, that’s progress. But I think that people haven’t been asked yet, so even the claim that most people won’t change isn’t real. Most people don’t understand yet what the choices are.

              • Lanthanide

                “I don’t know how you imagine a post-carbon world, but my mother grew up without refrigeration and supermarkets and that family had a good standard of living.”

                There were also fewer people alive.

                Also, most people imagine their children are going to have a higher standard of living than they had. This is no longer going to be true. It is going to lead to a lot of mental health issues once people realise the future is going to look a lot more like the unpleasant past.

                “I suspect that you think no refrigeration and supermarkets means bread lines and food shortages. It really doesn’t have to be like that Lanth.”

                No, but it means less choice and a lower standard of living than is currently enjoyed by most in the western world.

                “I’m glad you have moved your position from no-one wants to change to most people don’t, that’s progress.”
                I haven’t moved my position at all, you just misunderstood it.

                “But I think that people haven’t been asked yet, so even the claim that most people won’t change isn’t real.”
                If society wanted to change, it would be.

                “Most people don’t understand yet what the choices are.”
                Because they don’t want to understand what the choices are, they would rather pretend we can continue living as we do, forever.

                • weka

                  “There were also fewer people alive.”

                  So? Systems work at scale. Unless you can make an argument that relocalising hte food supply is impossible for 4M people in NZ, it’s a moot poit.

                  “Also, most people imagine their children are going to have a higher standard of living than they had. This is no longer going to be true. It is going to lead to a lot of mental health issues once people realise the future is going to look a lot more like the unpleasant past.”

                  Actually many people’s standard of living in NZ could improve. You are talking about a certain sector of the population, not the people living in poverty for instance.

                  As I said, the future doesn’t have to be unpleasant in the way you are imagining. Why are you so convinced that it will be?

                  “No, but it means less choice and a lower standard of living than is currently enjoyed by most in the western world.”

                  When Cuba went through it peak oil, people’s health improved. Again, you have this vision that the future means bad things, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Sure we won’t be eating fresh tomatoes out of season, but weighing that up against improvements in community, health, lifestyle means that it could more a case of changing what we value.

                  ” I haven’t moved my position at all, you just misunderstood it.”

                  You originally said no-one wants to change. Now you are saying most people.

                  “If society wanted to change, it would be.”

                  It is changing. We change all the time.

                  “Because they don’t want to understand what the choices are, they would rather pretend we can continue living as we do, forever.”

                  That’s what you believe. And that underpins your position on CC which includes not changing as far as I can tell.

                  • Lanthanide

                    “So? Systems work at scale. Unless you can make an argument that relocalising the food supply is impossible for 4M people in NZ, it’s a moot point.”

                    Relocalising the food supply for 4M people in NZ won’t stop climate change. I don’t think it’s impossible for *New Zealand* to do this.

                    “Actually many people’s standard of living in NZ could improve. You are talking about a certain sector of the population, not the people living in poverty for instance.”

                    The majority of the population.

                    “You originally said no-one wants to change. Now you are saying most people.”

                    Please quote where I said “no-one wants to change”. Try and find that statement in my comment #4, and then consider what I actually wrote.

                    “It is changing. We change all the time.”

                    Not enough to make any serious difference to climate change.

                    “That’s what you believe. And that underpins your position on CC which includes not changing as far as I can tell.”

                    Being a realist doesn’t mean I’m not doing anything. But it also recognises that what I’m doing (or whatever you do) isn’t going to make a blind bit of difference.

                    • weka

                      “Relocalising the food supply for 4M people in NZ won’t stop climate change. I don’t think it’s impossible for *New Zealand* to do this”

                      In order for CC to be mitigated, NZ has to relocalise its food.

                      “Please quote where I said “no-one wants to change”. Try and find that statement in my comment #4, and then consider what I actually wrote.”

                      Doing anything serious about climate change requires people give up their current lifestyles, now.

                      No one wants that. So nothing is being done.

                      It’s a Side-show, “Bob”.

                      “Not enough to make any serious difference to climate change.”

                      Yes, not yet, but this is the circular argument you are making. We’re not changing enough, no-one wants to change, it’s too late. That’s an argument for no changing.

                      “Being a realist doesn’t mean I’m not doing anything. But it also recognises that what I’m doing (or whatever you do) isn’t going to make a blind bit of difference.”

                      You avoided my actual statement.

                    • Lanthanide

                      @weka
                      “In order for CC to be mitigated, NZ has to relocalise its food.”

                      Yes, it’s necessary, but not sufficient.

                      You have still failed to find the quote where I said “no-one wants to change”. I suggest the reason you have failed to find the quote, is because I never actually wrote those words, nor did I write anything that suggests that interpretation.

                      “Yes, not yet, but this is the circular argument you are making. We’re not changing enough, no-one wants to change, it’s too late. That’s an argument for no changing.”

                      It’s not an argument in favour of “no changing”. It’s an argument in favour of reality.

                  • “Sure we won’t be eating fresh tomatoes out of season”
                    You could, you know. Tunnelhouse culture is a Green Wizard tool.

                    • Anno1701

                      “Tunnelhouse culture is a Green Wizard tool.”

                      you still need to extend/supplement the hours of light using electricity for protected agriculture

                      particularly for “heavy ” fruiters like tomatoes in low light/sun
                      seasons

                    • Where, Anno? Siberia? I’m in Southland and there are still tomatoes on the vines. In any case, the atmosphere’s warming at an alarming rate and my guess is we can throw away the planting guides.

                  • Pat

                    interesting debate ….i suspect Weka you are making a lot of assumptions on what is acceptable based on what you personally find acceptable….i agree however that it would be best if a an alternative was provided by the powers that be (mission for the Greens perhaps)) that could in fact be publicly debated….if nothing else it would determine whether Lath is correct when he says….“Because they don’t want to understand what the choices are, they would rather pretend we can continue living as we do, forever.”

                    • weka

                      “i suspect Weka you are making a lot of assumptions on what is acceptable based on what you personally find acceptable”

                      Lol, definitely not. I’d be happy living in a hut with no electricity (and have done so in the past). I don’t think that most people would find that acceptable. I just think that Lanth has this idea about what radical change would look like, that he hasn’t specified except to say that it wouldn’t include supermarkets and fridges. Leaving the fridge one aside, supermarkets are an easy enough replacement. So my assumption is that many people would be happy to replace supermarkets with relocalised food if that meant that they still ate well and could mitigate the worst of CC. No-one in the mainstream is offering them that choice.

                      So, I don’t believe Lanth’s statement that people don’t want to understand because I think Lanth’s vision of an intentionally post-carbon world is somewhat grim.

                      I don’t think this is something the Greens can do at the moment because they’re not really in the role of leading on climate change culturally. They’re best placed to lead politically and that’s where their focus should be IMO. It’s up to us to lead culturally.

                    • Pat

                      There are people who would change with relish (and may already choose to live a low carbon lifestyle for whatever reasons). there are those who will accept it if it is the only option and there are those that will fight it and seek to avoid it….the question is what are the proportions those views..a question that needs to be explored and if the political leaders don’t who will? Options need to be presented.

                      no one but a fool would sign a blank cheque or contract unwritten and as long as it it remains unquantified it will remain unsigned

                    • when the great depression or the world wars happened – ordinary people didn’t choose those outcomes – they had to react to what was happening to them and their friends and their communities and their country and the world. Generally that is how world changing events occur. The real mitigation is by downsizing now while voluntarily doing it is an option. Any downsizing is better than not doing it.

                      and yes we have to do it no matter WHICH political party is there ‘leading’.

                    • weka

                      +1 marty.

                      Like Bill says, we have to stop relying on the people in power how have utterly failed us.

                      Pat, I think there is another group of people, the most important ones. The ones that will change if they are given options. They’re not already on board, they’re the ones up next. Giving those people a path is necessary, and it doesn’t have to rely on government (although I think we should still keep working at that level too).

                    • Pat

                      @ Marty

                      so you advocate no societal change until forced by circumstance?

                      would note that during the depression there was extensive governmental action…all coping mechanisms were far from individually/community driven.

                    • Pat

                      “Pat, I think there is another group of people, the most important ones. The ones that will change if they are given options. They’re not already on board, they’re the ones up next. Giving those people a path is necessary, and it doesn’t have to rely on government (although I think we should still keep working at that level too).”

                      “I don’t think this is something the Greens can do at the moment because they’re not really in the role of leading on climate change culturally. They’re best placed to lead politically and that’s where their focus should be IMO. It’s up to us to lead culturally.”

                      Im having trouble reconciling those two statements….do we expect political leadership or not?

                    • weka

                      Expect it in the sense of require people in power to act with responsibility and ethics and skill. But don’t rely on it.

                      Re the Greens, they have a role in parliament and there are very real limits on what they can because they need votes to stay effective. So let them be who they are as a party and work with that. But don’t rely on them being able to do all the things we would want from them. eg the cultural shifts required. I’m a non-active member so I don’t have any sense of being able to approach the party and get them to do anything. They’ve got their agenda sorted. For people that want to get involved and be part of that, great. I’m happy to just respond from the outside and put my energies elsewhere.

                    • @ Pat – no I’m of the ‘give them the truth and let us deal with what happens from that’ camp. Society has to change and that happens when people change and that happens when we individually change. A top down decree from some politician is not going to work. It is likely as lanth says that people will only change when the chips are down – I would like those who can, to change today, and the rest tomorrow. And I realise that many people will do and believe anything in the world rather than front up to that harsh reality.

                      now I think weka is concerned with how we show/help/outline to people what steps they can do to make changes – rather than say, “CHANGE!” we say “Look here is what you can do to change and good on you for doing it”. Personally I’m of the JMG camp which is saying – if you haven’t started making real changes then it is wishful thinking to think you’ll be able to when the chips are down.

                    • Pat

                      Then I suspect the required changes will continue to elude us for even longer…I reiterate, it is unrealistic to expect anyone to sign an unknown contract.

                    • Pat

                      @ Marty
                      I don’t suggest a “top down decree”…I do advocate some form of leadership in a discussion about what changes are required/foreseen…after all, whether we like it or not, the politicians(national and local) control many aspects of our lives….if they are unable to plan for the future what then is their purpose?

                      There are many aspects of the required changes that are quite simply beyond individual/small collective action WITHIN the current settings….if people are not given a lead it will go in the too hard basket.

            • weka 4.1.2.1.1.3

              “To get people to change their behaviour – to the drastic level required – won’t happen until people are forced to, and by then it’ll be too late. Which is what I already said in my comment at #4.”

              And my response was that arguing against change is an argument from the sideshow. You are saying that it’s too late, that people won’t change in time. That’s a defacto argument against changing now.

              • Lanthanide

                “You are saying that it’s too late, that people won’t change in time. That’s a defacto argument against changing now.”

                No, it’s not, it’s pointing out reality.

                I’m not arguing that we shouldn’t change. I’m argueing that we aren’t, and won’t.

                • weka

                  And that brief presumable affects how you yourself act and change?

                  • Lanthanide

                    Given that I’m in the process of building a Passive House, no.

                    • weka

                      Good for you. Are you willing to have changes to your standard of living? What would that look like?

                    • Passive House? One that allows you to push it around without it complaining?

                    • Lanthanide

                      I already have a pretty basic standard of living.

                      In fact, if everyone in 1st world countries lived the same way I do, then climate change would not be as much of a problem as it is (and all of those economies would collapse, too).

                      Since I am already comparatively ahead of the curve for a 1st-world citizen, I don’t see why I should voluntarily sacrifice my standard of living ahead of other people, when doing so will make 0 difference to climate change as a whole, but make a big difference to my enjoyment of life.

                      It’s akin to the argument leveled at Gareth Morgan when he proposes restructuring the tax system, and people say “if he wants to pay more tax, he should just donate it himself”.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Well Lanth, i think your position is entirely rational; the bar on the Titanic is still serving cocktails and fuck those idiots who say its time to sound the alarm and move from the nice comfortable well lit ballroom out into the freezing cold rain drenched night, when it won’t make a single difference to where the ship is headed.

                    • weka

                      That’s why the Titanic is the wrong analogy. It doesn’t allow for mitigation.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Sure it allows for mitigation. Better evacuation of the lower decks. Better deployment of the life boats. Better rescue of people who ended up in the drink.

                      But you’re not going to be able to save the vessel that we call “global industrial/technological civilisation.”

                      Further, Lanth’s logic is pretty good. Let’s say he lives a pretty simple life, doesn’t own a hummer and almost never travels by air.

                      His GHG emissions might be as low as 6 or 7 tonnes CO2 equivalent per annum.

                      Why should he wreck his preferred lifestyle to halve that relatively small number when there are people in NZ (looking for instance at MPs who fly several times a week and use 2 tonne Crown BMWs on a daily basis) who have a carbon foot print in NZ three times or four times bigger than him.

                    • I dislike the Titanic analogy – doesn’t fit – but if it is the Titanic – where are you cv and what are you doing as this ship heads to inevitable destruction?

                      edit – you may have answered partially in your comment above – thanks

                    • weka

                      Sure it allows for mitigation. Better evacuation of the lower decks. Better deployment of the life boats. Better rescue of people who ended up in the drink.

                      But you’re not going to be able to save the vessel that we call “global industrial/technological civilisation.”

                      Ok, this is good. Because for me the Titanic would be the planet. I don’t give a flying fuck about civ except where it or its demise causes suffering and destruction. Not that I wouldn’t miss a lot of things, but I’m not inherently wedded to it as necessary for a good life.

                      So when you say mitigation is saving people off the Titanic (civ) that equates to making people more comfortable and saving some isolated pockets of culture while the whole thing goes down. For me mitigation is saving the planet from the worse excesses, and that’s why we should be doing everything we can even if civ goes down.

                      Further, Lanth’s logic is pretty good. Let’s say he lives a pretty simple life, doesn’t own a hummer and almost never travels by air.

                      His GHG emissions might be as low as 6 or 7 tonnes CO2 equivalent per annum.

                      Why should he wreck his preferred lifestyle to halve that relatively small number when there are people in NZ (looking for instance at MPs who fly several times a week and use 2 tonne Crown BMWs on a daily basis) who have a carbon foot print in NZ three times or four times bigger than him.

                      Everyone needs to change. Everyone. We’re all in this together. It’s not an accounting exercise about oh that person over there is greedier than I, so I don’t have to do so much.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      I’m going around the second class cabins telling the passengers that the Captain and the bridge officers are all maniacs. We haven’t exactly hit the iceberg yet but its only 200m ahead.

                    • Lanthanide

                      “Everyone needs to change. Everyone. We’re all in this together. It’s not an accounting exercise about oh that person over there is greedier than I, so I don’t have to do so much.”

                      But, if those people over there who are greedier don’t do anything, or only do a little, than it doesn’t matter if I go all-out hard myself, because it won’t make any difference in the grand scheme of things, except result in me living a worse life than I otherwise could have.

                    • Hanswurst

                      @CV: If the iceberg is 200m ahead, what use is telling everyone the captain and crew are maniacs? Besides, what I see you doing here is more akin to telling everybody within earshot that the second-class passengers are all a bunch of ****ers who claim to be your friends, when all the while they have actually been selling the families of third-class passengers into slavery for a tidy profit. Whenever questions are asked, you then repeat the above claim at the top of your lungs regardless of what those questions are.

                    • weka

                      “But, if those people over there who are greedier don’t do anything, or only do a little, than it doesn’t matter if I go all-out hard myself, because it won’t make any difference in the grand scheme of things, except result in me living a worse life than I otherwise could have.”

                      Yes, it does matter. Because you cannot predict where the tipping point is. So if you drag on this now, along with other people convince by your argument, when the tipping point arrives, you will still be contribuiting carbon emissions for the past ten or twenty years. Those bits of carbon are in the atmosphere now.

                      If Trump or Key were to give away everything and becomes monks, it wouldn’t mitigage CC. Stop blaming rich people. We are the rich people. I know a lot of people who are dedicated to the transition and I don’t know anyone who can’t do more. I still think the problem here is that you have some imagined doom scenario that you don’t want to move towards, but that’s not actually what I am suggesting. I am saying that if you aren’t prepared to change more why should the Keys or Trumps?

                    • Lanthanide

                      weka, I simply don’t think you appreciate how radically everyone’s lifestyles will have to change to prevent warming of greater than 2C.

                      As I’ve already said a couple of times, the public at large will NOT stomach those changes, until it is very obvious that they have no other choice – and by then it will be too late.

                    • weka

                      weka, I simply don’t think you appreciate how radically everyone’s lifestyles will have to change to prevent warming of greater than 2C.

                      As I’ve already said a couple of times, the public at large will NOT stomach those changes, until it is very obvious that they have no other choice – and by then it will be too late.

                      One of the big influencers on my thinking is David Holmgren, co-founder of permaculture. These guys were thinking seriously about climate change and resource depletion in the 1970s. One of the things he talks about in his model of change is that we don’t have to see how everything should play out. There will be others who come after us who will do the next bit of figuring out what should happen next.

                      At the moment, we can’t get from where we are to where Bill is suggesting in one leap. This is what I see you and CV as saying. It can’t be done because people won’t do it etc. Myself, I’m not going to leave it at that. I look at, ok what can we do now that is within our power, that puts us in a better position to do the bigger more radical thing next or later (maybe 2 or 3 steps down the line).

                      I’m not averse to radical change happening now, and in that sense I think I have a better idea and willingness to move into that reality than you (or probably CV). Like I’ve said elsewhere, if other things in the culture change I’ll be ok with a hut. I don’t need the things you are concerned about giving up. So yeah, I have a pretty good idea of what is needed. But I also accept that none of us here are willing to make radical change happen, and so I want to know what takes us closer to being willing to act.

                      Where we differ is that I want to look at how we get there. The actual how. You can decide it can’t be done, and then there is nothing to do. I decide let’s try anyway, so what’s next?

                      I don’t think the next step is to say, hey everyone, in order to save the planet we have to live in huts with limited power and eat barley and spuds every day. We don’t yet know what we can do. We just don’t. I know you think the numbers tell you a whole bunch of things, but they don’t account for the things that will develop out of the power down, and most mainstream accounting doesn’t know shit about how to live sustainably. I don’t mean tech that will save us from having to give up things, I mean the responses and actions that will come about that make life better.

                      So I wouldn’t start with the people addicted to their iphones and tell them they have to give them up. I’d start with the people who are already sick of being wedded to their iphones, who already care about the planet, who want to do the right things but are stuck not knowing what to do. You get those people on board and things will change some more.

                      In light of that, one of the things we could do on ts is to talk about how we see the future. What images and visions do we have? I think we would find a spectrum (or a colour wheel), with Robert’s vision being far more attractive than CV’s for instance. We could then look at what those visions means (with the assumption that none of us can predict the future) and how they are affecting our ability to act.

                    • Lanthanide

                      Ok, now that I can agree with.

                      But my realism / pessimism also goes a step further. Ok, imagine we can magically change public opinion in New Zealand, this year, towards doing what is necessary, somehow.

                      We’ll still have very little influence on the rest of the world. Even if we were in America, lets say Colorado, and we managed to get everyone in the state to do everything necessary, we’d still have very little influence on the rest of the world. It’s not a case of us being in NZ, it’s a case of the very tiny agitators against the massive array of vested interests on the other side.

                      Why do I think this? Well just look at the socialist Nordic countries. A lot of 1st world people admire their system of government and their social safety nets. Yet they are called the “socialist Nordic countries” because they are an aberration; otherwise they would just be called “countries”.

                      If the democratic first world can’t mobilise themselves to adopt Nordic socialism, even when it is clearly a very civilised way to live (sure they still have problems, but the average citizen seems to be much better off than in most other western countries), then what hope do we have of convincing other countries to *power down* to a level of lifestyles that is even less than what they currently enjoy, or what the Nordics enjoy?

                      Now, on the other hand, even if we can’t export the ideas anywhere else in the world, and CC still comes and kicks our ass (which it will, even if NZ is 100% carbon free), we’ll be better off in the long run for having made the changes than not having made the changes. So there seems to be some value there. But we already see there are a lot of people in NZ that don’t believe in climate change and who think The Greens are anti-capitalism numpties who will destroy the economy – and the policies of The Greens are such a pale shade of green compared to what is necessary that they’re practically white.

                      So sure, if we can somehow change public opinion in NZ so that we can better position ourselves for a post-carbon future, that’s great, and I support that. But I simply don’t think the public are going to change to anywhere near the degree necessary until things are obvious and in their face, by which time it will be too late.

          • BM 4.1.2.1.2

            I want want Bill is suggesting, and am willing to have a reduction in my lifestyle in order to mitigate the worst of CC

            So, you’re currently doing nothing at the moment?, waiting for everyone else to get on the bandwagon?

            • weka 4.1.2.1.2.1

              No, why would you assume that?

              • BM

                That’s how I read your post, willing to do something, not actually doing something.

                • weka

                  I do quite a bit, given the limitations I have as an individual. So no, I wouldn’t characterise myself in the way you just did.

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  It’s the old right wing lie, innit: those who live within a system are hypocrites if they try and change it. So, for example, citizens of slave economies who protest slavery can be criticised by those who prefer the status quo, for wearing cotton.

                  There will always be people who have to be dragged kicking and screaming into taking personal responsibility for their transparent self-interest.

                  Eh BM.

    • infused 4.2

      Someone that gets it.

    • Rae 4.3

      Very, very sadly, you are probably right

    • Doing anything serious about climate change requires people give up their current lifestyles, now.

      Yes like
      Stop traveling
      Stop building
      Stop breeding
      Stop eating
      That is what reduced fossil fuel use leads to.
      We are oil. The worse it gets the worse it will keep getting 😉

      http://www.oilcrash.com/articles/stone.htm

  5. Colonial Viper 5

    The psychics, the palmists and the faith healers do NOT want the tone of their neighbourhood lowered by you plonking these “economists” down on them, thanks.

  6. Colonial Viper 6

    I’ve just been researching the phenomenon known as “arctic amplification” where climate change temp rises become focussed on the areas near the poles. Our current 1degC average surface temp rise has actually become an average 3-4 deg C rise in some areas near the poles, because of the way warm water from the equator moves carrying heat to the poles.

    Basically, we’re now committed to multimetre sea level rise, we just don’t know whether it will take 50 years or 500 years to happen.

    BTW in the early days of the IPCC they predicted sea level rise of about 40cm by 2100.

    They recently tripled this to 1.2m by 2100.

    One more revision like that is all it will take…

  7. Potlach!
    (It’s a mechanism for restricting wealth and growth and all that goes with it. We Modern Humans despise the practice. Don’t we?

    • weka 7.1

      Ha, imagine that. Mana is attained by how much you give not how much you accrue. We’re a long way from that currently, although I see small outbreaks here and there.

      (btw, can’t access my email at the moment, but sounded good!)

      • The mana thing is a sideshow – the real value lies in deflating power and possession – too much of which results in overpopulation and the need to change culture in order to feed the extras. Therein lies the problem.

  8. How did “uncivilized” peoples in the past avoid rapacious behaviours, over-population, unrestrained expansion and resource depletion?
    They set limits and enforced them. The mechanism for that is called “culture”.
    Ours is deformed.

    • Andre 8.1

      Which “uncivilized” peoples in the past are you referring to that managed to “avoid rapacious behaviours, over-population, unrestrained expansion and resource depletion”?

      • Take your pick, Andre, from the multitude of indigenous peoples that didn’t embrace agriculture and city-building as their gods.

        • Colonial Viper 8.1.1.1

          And the ones which did?

          We’re not really going back to a tribal hunter gatherer civilisation are we?

          • weka 8.1.1.1.1

            hunter gatherers didn’t have civilisations (hence RG’s use of the word uncivilised).

            • Colonial Viper 8.1.1.1.1.1

              there aren’t going to be many people around if that’s where we are headed. Global population 100M to 200M.

          • Robert Guyton 8.1.1.1.2

            A reconfigured version of family-based communities that structured itself on successful cultures of the past, sounds pretty good to me. What that would mean in practice would be up to us. We’ve got screeds of information to base our new society upon and plenty of historical dead-ends to recognise and avoid. A smart group could create a modern version that could sing like a songbird.

    • mauī 8.2

      I’m not sure if they did, theres the ruins of past civilizations littered all over the world that people visit as tourist attractions nowadays. We’re in the process of what they did – collapse. Some things don’t change.

      • weka 8.2.1

        That doesn’t mean all cultures have done that though.

      • I’d excluded “civilizations” by using the word “uncivilized”.
        I’m talking about the “other guys”. There are plenty of “uncivilized”, and I mean that in a complimentary way, indigenous peoples who had cultural practices that were very different from those the civilized peoples of the world employed. Those practices resulted in sustainable populations and a relaxed ecosystem, quite the opposite of what we have promulgated across the globe now.

    • Monty 8.3

      The Vikings, they always asked nicely prior to implementing population control and resource redistribution.

    • b waghorn 8.4

      Ahh the rose tinted glasses of a dreamer. Its hard to over run ones surroundings , when child birth was exceedingly dangerous, your tea occasionally killed you while your trying to spear it ,not to mention being tea if you could not outrun your mates and living in the unprotected elements means getting to 40 is outstanding.

      • Ah, the spittle-flecked specs of a curmudgeon.
        Child birth for pre-agricultural indigenous people was more dangerous than it is now for Modern Woman? Crikey! Who knew?
        Food was more dangerous to the health of early hunters and gatherers than today’s industrialised-world diets?
        Crumbs!
        Out-running your “mates” was a greater threat to life than that faced by millions of Modern Humans today?
        Really?
        I had no idea!!

  9. Ad 9

    As long as our objective is for six of seven percent of the world’s population to consume half of its resources, we are in the wrong trajectory. The objective itself has to change.

    As a whole I don’t think we can change.

    I don’t think the objective is changeable.

    I don’t think it’s conceivable that we will come to a sense of ourselves and our place in the world in which we sign up to the prospect that our freedom, security and abundance is to be no more nor less than everybody else.

    And no superpower in the world is going to sign up to that. Only Germany gets close.

    Even in the country with the strongest Green party in the world, New Zealand, a future government will have to take account of the aspirations and interests and concerns of others.

    Even here, but moreso in our neighbours Australia, there is a deepseated sense of exceptionalism that is resistant to events and to facts. For example, the national conversation we forgot to have about permanent self-reliance and lower growth after the Christchurch earthquakes. If we aren’t going to learn after something that took out our second largest city, we simply aren’t going to learn.

    It also turns out that the critiques haven’t had an impact on the whole idea of public discourse or of public policy. For whatever reasons and exigencies, it just hasn’t caught on in policy-land or in corporate direction.

    Call me melancholic, but all you can do is keep trying. It’s the human thing to do.

    • + 1 Yep feel similar and there is lots to do.

    • Bill 9.2

      For whatever reasons and exigencies, it just hasn’t caught on in policy-land or in corporate direction.

      The critiques that offer solutions that aren’t chrematistic in nature have about zero chance of catching on in the land of policy for as long as economists wedded to the notion of chrematistic economics are the ones dictating policy.

      (chematistics – the apparent need to make money and for that to be the principal way to manage resources as well as providing the main levers to bring about change – taxes etc)

      That approach to resources (that type of economy) can’t deliver the change we need btw.

      • Colonial Viper 9.2.1

        Any plausible, credible climate change proposals must be compatible with economic growth and increasing wealth, BIll, you know that.

        • Bill 9.2.1.1

          That’s not to mention any plausible or credible statement about physics… 😉

      • Ad 9.2.2

        Whether you add chreme or not, it’s just not a seller.

        Most of the global leadership shunted it off their desk right after they signed Paris 21.
        Well before Brexit took hold.

        • Bill 9.2.2.1

          And so back to the question in the post – Why do we insist on giving these fuckers so much as the time of day?

          Seriously. It’s time to stop following them, stop listening to them, stop assuming they have something over us, stop assuming they’re somehow better than us, stop assuming that they’re powerful or in some way wise or untouchable. They’ve failed. By their own standards they’ve failed.

          Time to simply leave them behind.

          • Robert Guyton 9.2.2.1.1

            Bill – never a truer word have you spoke, or rather, what you have said right there is essential. Hey, everyone, this guy over here’s got it! Forget your quibbling, dicing and splicing and support his position!!! Bill’s on the button!

            • Bill 9.2.2.1.1.1

              Thankyou Robert.

              I was fully expecting that comment to illicit no response whatsoever and was willing to assume the silence indicative of me being considered ‘something of a nutter’ 😉 (Which, by the way, is still what I expect most people will be thinking)

          • Ad 9.2.2.1.2

            The short answer is that it’s too hard, and not much fun.

            Like porridge without brown sugar, the news without the Kardashians, and YouTube without those little videos of Maru the Japanese cat who jumps into boxes.

            • Bill 9.2.2.1.2.1

              Your concepts of ‘not much fun’ and ‘too hard’ are, like you’re delight for sugar in porridge, different to mine then 😉

          • Lanthanide 9.2.2.1.3

            We have elected governments. Try and win an election by proposing everyone Power Down and see how many votes you get.

            That’s your answer.

            People follow the leaders who tell them that everything is fine in the world and they can go on consuming (nay, increase consumption) as they currently are forever and the piper will never have to be paid.

            It’s all lies and all wrong of course, but it’s much more fun than doom-and-gloom.

            • Robert Guyton 9.2.2.1.3.1

              “Power Down”

              Wrong story. Tell an appealing one if you want people to listen. Make it true and make it something to yearn for.

              • Lanthanide

                Turkeys don’t vote for christmas, no matter how many baubles and presents you decorate it with.

                • Bill

                  If you read the post again Lanth, you might just about pick up that I’ve essentially no truck with politicians, their high priests or their message carriers.

                  So rather than ‘turkeys voting for Christmas’, a more accurate take from the post might be that it’s being suggested the turkeys bust out of this clapped out shed and head for the hills (figuratively), to avoid a roasting (metaphorically?).

                • weka

                  The turkeys ARE voting for Christmas, that’s the point. Christmas is climate change. The turkeys are just still thinking that somehow it will turn out alright.

                  • Lanthanide

                    No, christmas is coming whether the turkeys want it or not.

                    They’re choosing not to vote for an early christmas (thanksgiving, if you will).

                    • weka

                      You see Christmas as the loss of certain lifestyle. I see Christmas as the loss of the ability to even be alive. People are voting for the latter (in this analogy) because of fear of the former (much of that fear is unfounded).

                    • Lanthanide

                      Climate change is not going to make it impossible for humans to live.

                      It will make it impossible for industrialised civilisation to continue.

                    • weka

                      Lots of people will die if we don’t change. Worst case scenarios aren’t about us all having to live a pre-industrial life. They’re about us struggling to survive at all. I don’t mean extinction so much as the difference between being able to live a decent enough life and everything being shattered.

                      This is in the context of mass ecosystem collapses. I suspect that many people don’t know what that means including for humans and their ability to survive and adapt. It’s one thing to survive as a hunter/gather culture when you’ve been doing that for 10,000 years and the changes to the environment happen slowly enough that you can learn how to live with them. It’s another when you don’t have those skills, you have to relearn them, the changes come upon you (collectively) in a very short space of time evolutionarily and you then have to contend with sudden mass distruptions to your survival level resources. Not something you and I will see (probably), but definitely a potential future.

                    • Philj []

                      Great post and discussion.
                      ” you then have to contend with sudden mass distruptions to your survival level resources”
                      I consider War to be the predicable human geopolitical response to this predicament.
                      We are in this together, and the sooner the good folk on planet earth realise this, and get on with action the better. The pollies, Mainstream economists and intelligentsia, are in the way and the grass roots will have to lead the revolution that is necessary.

              • how would a politician spin it –
                we will increase the negative powering up,
                we will ensure that we are the leaders in increasing the inverse re powering up

                • Lanthanide’s “Christmas” story is not The story, nor should the story we need spun from the mouths of politicians, marty. It has to be true and it has to be irresistible.

                  • weka

                    What story would you tell here on ts Robert?

                    • I’d present a example of a story that is real, a test case of sorts that could serve as a model for other initiatives. Any one reading it might feel moved to a. do what the story suggests/offers, and b. initiate one of their own. I have your email now, thanks, and will send it through as soon as it’s been published in the magazine I write for and cleared for reproduction. I’m not meaning to over egg this pud; it’s a simple enough idea and not revolutionary (much) but might strike a chord with TS readers. It’s the follow-up to one I floated 18 months ago and that resulted in a surprising amount of engagement and the creation of a ‘soft’ network. Many people want, I believe, to belong to a movement that is useful, beneficial and fun/satisfying. If we can shape up something that offers them that, they’ll join the party 🙂

                  • WE have to power down Robert, we have to make do with less and we have to reduce and reuse. That is poison to the cult of progress and the illusion of infinite growth, wealth and whatnots.

                    How do we treat people with respect and allow them the ability to deal with and work through the truth? Tell them the truth is the first step. Sugar coating? Just treating people like idiots. We are where we are at and so is everyone else – and that is why I say every little bit in the right direction is worth it, is precious and valuable. Not because it will save us but because it is a personal choice and someone has made it.

                    • Rae

                      Yes, that is what we need to do, but I look around and cannot help but think we are going completely in the other direction, and my pet subject is other species on this planet and their chances of survival and I just get this overwhelming feeling that we just cannot help ourselves in our destructive ways.
                      I actually think that I WILL live to see all out war, it is not very long ago, maybe only months, that I was more concerned that when I take my bow, war would be the legacy I leave my descendants. I don’t presently have a lot of good feeling about the future of this whole world.

                    • weka

                      Other species worry me too, for their own sake and for the problems for ecosystems when you have too many species going extinct too fast.

                      I find it helps to look at the things that are working and changing for the better. We don’t know what is going to happen, and we need to stay open to the good possibilities too (or I do, and many others too. Most humans do better when there is hope).

                    • Yep I’m also concerned about other species and the biosphere as a whole. I also have hope in the longterm viability of life on this beautiful planet and I take heart in the knowledge of past extinction events and the life that flowed from that.

              • weka

                Personally I quite like the powerdown story, but then I came to it via people like David Holmgren so the story got told well and as a positive alternative that in many ways could be better than what we have now.

                That Lanth is now associating his doom and gloom view with the powerdown says something about Lanth’s view on the matter. So maybe there is some work to do there on presenting life in a post-carbon world that isn’t doom and gloom but brings multiple benefits.

                The Transition people had a fair crack at presenting something proactive and visionary, but I think have been knocked back and now don’t talk about it as much. I’m not sure that’s a good thing although I certainly understand the reasons at a personal level.

                • Colonial Viper

                  Doom and gloom.

                  People who have their hearts set on consumption, toys, Island holidays in July and European skiing holidays in January, and 300m2 houses with a 4 car garage as necessities of modern life are going to look at anything you suggest as “doom and gloom.”

                  • weka

                    Yes, there are people like that. There are also plenty of people who are looking for a better life beyond wage slavery and spending a life time paying off a mortgage while sacrificing family life and meaning.

                    We don’t have to worry about the Euro ski holiday people just yet. We need to focus on the people that are ready to change. Once they are on board, there are other strategies for the people who really would prefer to party while Rome burns.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      The people who are more ready to change are like Lanth and don’t have much GHG emissions. I’ve changed my life where I don’t have to commute to work every day. It’s neat. It doesn’t accomplish fuck all of course, but it’s ‘a step in the right direction.’

                      If the goal is to massively cut back emissions then its rich countries which have to do it, and its the top 10% within those rich countries which have to take the brunt of the hit. These people almost always vote, they are the professionals, the decision makers, the financial investors, the influence peddlers and the powerful in our society.

                      No one is going to tell them what to do.

                      Or to frame it another way: these are the same people that mostly get that an utterly mismanaged combination of the inflated housing market and the deflated jobs market has driven many of their own children and grandchildren overseas, far away from NZ shores, splitting up their families.

                      Their not going to do anything about it though, because their investment portfolios are looking great.

                    • Lanthanide

                      Or to put it even more simply: the people with the most to lose are also the ones who ultimately have the most power in society.

                      Sure, the masses can be energised to support a cause, but they will also be taking losses if things change the way they need to change.

                      Brexit didn’t win because Faraj and Boris were being honest about what the outcome would be.

                    • Bill

                      Simply and truthfully.

                      No need to clock in and clock out ever again – ie, no wage slavery.
                      No need to chase your arse to satisfy a bank.
                      No need to waste 5 out of every 7 days doing shit you don’t want to be doing (true for a huge number of people).
                      No need (for the supposed fortunate) to escape the stress and woefulness of your life by going on bland two week breaks. Fuck it. You want to travel and see how others live, then travel and maybe wonder why you ever settled for the plastic and pastiche of your average ‘resort’ or ‘holiday destination’.

                      Space to find those things you always wanted to do and to nurture your talents and interests without having to worry whether you can monetise them or not.

                      A regained and very real, vibrant sense of community.

                      The laughable sad spectacle of ‘keeping up with the Joneses’? Gone.

                      All that and much more.

                      And the hospitals will run better over time as those with a passion for such a vocation aren’t locked out just because they come from a poor family (as is presently the case).

                      Schools will be able to educate rather than teach. Same with universities.

                      And so on.

                      And we can regain control and power over our lives…no more remote bureaucracies dictating what can and cannot be done and being opportunistically gamed by those with contacts or money etc. Decisions firmly grounded back within society – your society as defined by those you have regular or constant contact/dealings with.

                      I could go on…

                    • Philj []

                      Sounds a lot like what the McGillacudys proposed about 20 years ago.

                    • Lanthanide

                      What you’re describing is a post-scarcity society, ie Star Trek.

                      We’re facing the opposite.

                    • Bill

                      What I’m doing is providing a couple of dots that, if put down with a whole lot of other dots and then joined, would form a picture of a place that I’d really rather like to be – a place far better than this.

                      Scarcity, post scarcity or abundance has got nothing to do with it.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      No need to…

                      Spot on.

                      A few younger people are having trouble conceiving of this reality, by the looks of it. They should talk to some moderately comfortable retired people. Anyone who owns their own home freehold, gets super, and gets an extra $200 pw from their investments/savings/part time job will do. For the most part they have the hang of this lifestyle very well.

  10. Tell a new story, in your own words, to your people.
    That’s how you do it.

  11. Yours is the only viable option, Bill. Have you a vision to present yet? I’ve asked Colonial Viper for his, but he must be busy. Make the map, weave the tapestry, describe the landscape, paint the picture. That’s how we’ll get there, Leunig knows!

    • Bill 11.1

      Only more or less the same vision I’ve had these past (fuck!)…30 years already?!

      I can’t map that out in a post, never mind a comment. At bottom, it’s predicated on democracy – meaningful democracy. That’s a hard concept to get across to people though. God knows I’ve tried, and on this site too. Too many people take situations as they would arise in today’s world and apply them to a world where they simply couldn’t arise, but then, nevertheless, demand answers to those supposed problems – eg – someone would somehow be in a position to selfishly fuck up a resource in a world where all resources are managed democratically for the common weal. And then the discussion runs down unproductive and irrelevant rabbit holes as ideas that cling to the present and all the systemic/cultural constraints the present imposes, clash against ideas of a future where all the systemic/cultural constraints are utterly different.

      Anyway, whatever the viability of any vision I may have for the future, hardly extensive and in no particular order…

      it’s been informed by living rough on continental Europe – being indigent.
      by living in a workers/housing collective in England.
      by day to day experiences and observations.
      by being done over and ripped off by employers.
      by successfully fighting back against employers.
      by people I’ve met and/or things they’ve said.
      by people I’ve known and know.
      by living in squats.
      by political organising.
      by never wanting the beads and shiny bangles that a job or career might bring.
      by authority’s always troubled relationship.

      Oddly, at least for many people, it hasn’t really been informed at all by reading.

      Hope that helps 😉

      • Philj 11.1.1

        Thank you Bill for laying it out there. And Robertyalso for his constructive input. I’ve been thinking along the same lines for decades. Best wishes.

  12. I guess, Bill, if your viewers are perched, poised to pick out each of your tapestry’s threads and cast them onto the floor, you’ll not want to exhibit and nor should you. A good story requires a willing audience. Finding them is the trick right now. Rather than detail the steps needed to get where you want to go, if you unfold your glorious vision in one spectacular unfolding of the painted fan, you’ll speak straight to the organ that yearns to be amazed. That’s what it’s going to take. If you have some spare time, I suggest you unwrap your pouch of chisels and mallet and start sculpting your David (I’ve thrown in as many allusions as I could in this comment so as to befuddle any Right Wing readers that might be sniffing around – such devices confuse the hell out of them 🙂

    • weka 12.1

      My own take (and Bill and I disagree on this fairly often) is that detail is needed. People need to know how to get from where we are now to the spendid vision. Not all the nitty gritty detail, but at least a path or a map or a signpost. Because when people with the vision present the vision and others start looking around at how to get there and there’s no direction, the conversation generally gets distracted and it’s too easy for the naysayers to step in.

      When people who think very conceptually (like Bill) present something, there needs to be a translation into the everyday. My suggestion there is to let the visionaries present the big story, and then let people like me start on the detail (I love figuring out how things work). But the vision people still need to stick around, because I’ll have questions, things I can’t see because it’s not my vision.

      • Colonial Viper 12.1.1

        Stop going to work
        Stop using your car
        Don’t eat anything you don’t grow yourself
        Learn to play some musical instruments with your friends.

        Power down is much simpler than power up.

        • weka 12.1.1.1

          If I don’t eat anything unless I grow it myself, I’ll be sick very soon and dead eventually. I would say, grow what you can, then buy/trade with those near to you, then support local commercial growers etc.

          If people stop going to work (an action with a bit of support here), how will they provide for themselves? I’m not asking that in a naysaying way, I’m suggesting that we need to move the conversation on to how that might really be viable for some people right now (or soon).

          • Colonial Viper 12.1.1.1.1

            72 month transition period to de-financialise the economy (including a Steve Keen style debt forgiveness) and to get everyone in your neighbourhood into local food production.

            Eliminating property and land as a tradeable financial asset.

            There are going to be a lot of pissed people.

            • One Anonymous Bloke 12.1.1.1.1.1

              Especially when they realise they’re being lectured on how to live by a member of the NZLP.

          • b waghorn 12.1.1.1.2

            Get rid of the consultant classes that are in airports every other day and the travelling sales men, teach politicians to skype . these are the immediate things that could be done.

            • Colonial Viper 12.1.1.1.2.1

              Airports to only open five days a week, 7am to 7pm.

            • Bill 12.1.1.1.2.2

              Can we not entice the politicians into a room with the promise of a skype connection and then just lock the fucking door and throw away the key?

              If every person who had a job that didn’t contribute to society (ie – not care givers, not nurses, not people who maintain basic infrastructure etc) … if those people just downed tools and never went back and if everyone forgave debt (their own 😉 ) without waiting for some authority on high to give the nod…

              No stupid jobs being done. No mortgages or rents being paid. No student loans being paid. Banks doing a wonderful impersonation of the ‘Wicked Witch of the West’… 😉

              it’s going to happen one way or the other. Either we do it, or climate change will impose it in a far less orderly and advantageous fashion.

              • I think you want someone to storm the lines of troops and get shot so that the others behind can overrun the enemy. Very few want to be the one shot – do you?

                • Bill

                  See reply to Weka below.

                  For the record, I’ve no fucking time for vanguard orgs that have a penchant for producing cannon fodder….that’s all of them btw.

                  • you are joking – below???

                    why not be the first to declare the emperor has no clothes – you could end up a hero and someone has to do it

                    meanwhile we wait, we wait, we wait and then we realise no one is coming and no one is storming the lines and no one is setting up barricades and throwing their mortgages away and no one is first or second because all of a sudden WE are at the front of the cue.

                    Happened to me on a big anti tour march in welly. Go to the back, keep a low profile – hmm I recognise that person, hey I know you, and the end turn around and I was at the front not the back. That is when the fun started – if you can call running and jeering at the police and chanting and blocking and generally being civil disobedient as fun, which I do!!!.

                    How do we do it? – we just get out and DO IT like we did then (history always repeats) and like every other country has to. We can do it, we have it in us and we must do it.

                    • weka

                      I’d love to see some big ballsy direct actions around climate change. I live too far away from the places where the protests have been.

                    • Bill

                      Yeah okay. I guess ‘below’ was a bit vague – at least I’m assuming that’s what your ‘below???’ is all about.

                      I said (in part)

                      A rent strike or a labour strike is like anything else that requires solidarity to succeed. It needs to happen en masse.

                      About your march Marty – I get that. And I’ve a lot of time for the “just do it” approach – ie, there are no blue prints. But your march was organised to some degree. Hell, even a quick leaflet drop with a time and place counts as rudimentary organising. And there was an idea circulating that had gained currency. It wasn’t as though some wee joker left their house on a whim, went down the street and got picked off. And then some other wee joker went next, and then the next…

                      On the previous note, know what runs in conjunction with vanguardist “comrades” producing cannon fodder? The creation of martyrs for the cause. And I doubt I’d be able to convey the depth of my disdain for any and all of that shit.

                      Something ‘lighting up’ or ‘going off’ because of some left field occurrence or event that no-one foresaw isn’t in that category btw – just saying.

            • weka 12.1.1.1.2.3

              How would you get rid of the consultant classes? What can those people be offered instead?

              The not flying thing is a biggie, important and required people to start thinking differently. I agree it should be a priority and that we should be making use of ICT to connect us in other ways.

              • Colonial Viper

                How would you get rid of the consultant classes? What can those people be offered instead?

                How about a shovel and a hoe, for starters.

                Geeeez you are starting to sound like this is some kind of opt-in programme. It is not.

                • weka

                  I’d like to know how you can get rid of the consultant classes. At the moment it is opt in. That’s the point CV, no-one is there to force others to do anything, so we need a different way. It’s not about what I want, or think should happen, it’s about how we can get there.

                  It’s the difference between what should we do (that’s obvious) and what can we do. It’s easy enough to say X should happen. I’d like to know the how.

                  Some people could transition to gardening relatively easily. Others not so much. And there is still the question of how in the intermediary time those consultants can provide for themselves.

              • Bill

                Why can’t they just do whatever they will? I mean, they’ll get pretty bored sitting in their empty consultancy rooms/offices soon enough I’d have thought. Same for the managers with no-one to manage.

                • b waghorn

                  Your going to have to draw a better picture for this here curmudgeon, I like my safe little life with comforts and nice things and hospitals , I can’t envisage a functioning society using your plan,

                  • Bill

                    See below (or above?) somewhere for my take on hospitals etc. There’s no reason why they won’t run better when freed up from current (ideological) economic constraints.

                    And if we want to make ‘nice things’ and live with a degree of comfort, then why wouldn’t we?

                    I don’t understand why people assume if the authority that currently squats over society is removed, that we’re going to be joining the bears in the woods fighting over leaves to wipe our bums with.

                • weka

                  “Why can’t they just do whatever they will? I mean, they’ll get pretty bored sitting in their empty consultancy rooms/offices soon enough I’d have thought. Same for the managers with no-one to manage.”

                  Ok, so let’s say I manage a the Southland/Otago branch of an organisation. For arguments sake, the organisation is unecessary in the age of CC, and actually has a sizeable contribution to global warming. I have a mortage, and two primary school age kids that I raise on my own. No family in town and my parents are both dead.

                  I have this epiphany regarding CC. It’s been buildng for come time and then I read something on The Standard that knocks me over an edge and I just have to change. I like the idea of radical change, and getting rid of the jobs that are a problem for CC makes sense. I have no savings to speak of so if I quit my job this month, I have the immediate problem of how to pay the mortgage and feed the kids. I can default of the mortgage and I reckon it will take about a year before the house is taken from me. So what do I do? Some bloke on the standard reckons I can just do whatever I want, but I still don’t get how I’m going to feed my family and where we will live when we have to move.

                  • Bill

                    A rent strike or a labour strike is like anything else that requires solidarity to succeed. It needs to happen en masse.

                    edit – and in line with then original comment in this part of the thread, the assumption is that there are managerial types sitting twiddling their thumbs because everyone else has already fucked off to useful shit with their lives 😉

                    • weka

                      Ok, so the suggestion isn’t for individuals to quit their jobs, it’s for people to organise and mobilise first. I’m glad we’ve cleared that up, because mostly when the suggestion gets made it’s about people quitting their useless jobs. Needing to organise first is a different thing entirely.

                      The question then becomes how can we do that? It’s a good idea, one which needs action to make it happen, or at least some plans.

                    • Bill

                      Gawd. I took that as a read!

                      How to organise? First plant the seed or propagate the seed – the idea. The organisers job is then only to provide water so that things come to fruition. And everyone’s an organiser 😉

                      edit – and no, that’s not being glib.

                    • weka

                      I only know what they are in a general abstract sense. Lots of people won’t know what they are. Has there been a general strike in NZ in my life time? Has there ever been a rent strike here?

                      So, now each time this idea comes up, we need to include that critical piece of context, and start talking about what those strikes are, how they’ve worked historically, how they might work here etc. This is so people can get their heads around the idea.

                      In terms of the seeds, maybe some explanatory posts on ts? Probably by someone who doesn’t mind having their phones tapped by the SIS 😉 There’s probably a line there between providing information so that people understand, and outright advocating.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      @ Weka. The SIS are parents too. Any contact with them is an opportunity to explain their duty in this context. “Security” being the pressing concern and all that…

                      to advise any of the following persons on protective measures that are directly or indirectly relevant to security:
                      (i)Ministers of the Crown or government departments:
                      (ii)public authorities:
                      (iii)any person who, in the opinion of the Director, should receive the advice:

                      The definition of “security” under the Act:

                      (c)the protection of New Zealand from activities within or relating to New Zealand that—
                      (i)are influenced by any foreign organisation or any foreign person; and
                      (ii)are clandestine or deceptive, or threaten the safety of any person; and
                      (iii)impact adversely on New Zealand’s international well-being or economic well-being

                      My bold.

                      If the SIS can’t do its duties properly perhaps judicial review can help them. Bill’s general strike needs to be an assault on BAU on all fronts.

                    • weka

                      Good, so having some pro bono lawyers on board would help.

                      That snip about security appears to be putting it in a foreign interference context. I assume the rest applies to here.

              • b waghorn

                I know a consultant in education ( lovely person) but instead of being contracted to schools spread over half the length of two islands have her do the schools in her area. Ie employ people to work in their local don’t contract out everything.

                • weka

                  Nice one. I’m gobsmacked by how much travelling some people have to do now.

                  • b waghorn

                    The problem is they love it. Theirs nothing quite like spending other peoples money.

                    • weka

                      They need other things to love then 😉 Stop all that travelling and we’ll give you a half day a week (paid) to spend with your family (or whatever appeals to them).

            • Philj 12.1.1.1.2.4

              Interesting idea, and confrontational to the thinking of the status quo bureaucrats.

        • gsays 12.1.1.2

          Excellent CV.
          Thanks to bill,weka, robert and others for this conversation.

          To add to CV’s suggestions, I would add:
          Give up TV and newspapers and limit commercial radio,
          Volunteer in a community group,
          Share whenever and whatever you can,
          Don’t underestimate the conversations/encou terms you have.

      • Haven’t seen a vision presented yet. That’s what’s missing. Once it’s presented, everybody will have suggestions on how it can be realised. We all want it, you know we do 🙂
        Starting out with “steps” takes you further from where you wish to be, not closer. If you are going to catch a chicken, you act swiftly and decisively, you’ll lose it if you dither half-heartedly. See the chicken in your hands, act mindfully and without distraction or hesitation, and she’s yours! Without the picture of the held chicken in your mind before you venture forth, she’s cackling at you from a high branch.
        Show us yer chicken!

        • weka 12.1.2.1

          I’m somewhat familiar with Bill’s vision (he’s posted on it before) regarding democracy. I think you will find not all people want it 😉 I agree it’s worth putting out there.

          Not sure how you catch a chicken without moving towards it 😉 but what you describe IS detail on the how. It doesn’t have to be steps, it has to be something that people can relate to that motivates them to act. I like your zen-ish approach, others won’t get it. We need multiple ways.

        • Bill 12.1.2.2

          Taking from my lived experience in the workers/housing collective… a rough material outline. (Others will be ware I’ve done more in depth pieces on this and can skip it)

          Individual dwellings retrofitted to be largely communal. Individual private spaces preserved within that.
          One spacious kitted out kitchen to cater for (roughly) up to 20 people (it varied).
          One kitted out laundry.
          One spacious and kitted out shower/bath/wash room.
          One communal meal area.
          One communal library.
          One centralised heating system (ran on wood and heated tap water and radiators)
          Communal gardens.
          Communal green house.
          One car. (partially used)
          Communal geese, ducks etc.

          k – very rough and ready social outline.

          People wanting to do childcare organised childcare. Those doing the gardens organised the gardens….and so on.

          Onerous tasks or necessary tasks were rostered and then taken up voluntarily.

          Acceptance was based on very broad concepts of being perceived to be making a contribution.

          No wages paid. All income generated within the collective.

          Resource wise (from energy through to consumer items) , we used a smidgen of what those same number of houses occupied in a traditional manner would have used.

          Socially vibrant and highly democratic.

          There was a TV room that was essentially only ever occupied by the ‘Evil Edna’ itself. And there was (surprisingly perhaps) no political idealists or really any other type of idealist involved.

          • Robert Guyton 12.1.2.2.1

            Thanks, Bill. Your recipe is fine, I’ve no argument with that, but it’s not inspirational, doesn’t stir the blood, make the heart beat like a drum. The story that will re-course the Titanic has to do that and a recipe doesn’t fit the Bill. Because it’s a recipe. I’d like to see the meal, smell the aroma, taste the flavours, wipe the cranberry sauce from my chin…you know what I mean? To move people, and certainly we must move people, their senses have to be excited and their hearts swelled. And it has to be true. Tall order, but do-able, imho.

            • Bill 12.1.2.2.1.1

              heh – good point. Fuck it, all I want is freedom. I guess that doesn’t really inspire people though. All I can say is that I’ve caught whiffs of it in my life and it smells good. I’m fairly easy satisfied like that though. 🙂

  13. BM 13

    How many here have actually powered down and are living a low carbon life style?

    I’m talking beyond putting out the recycling and buying expensive produce at the local farmers market.

    • Listing “things we must do” only feeds guys like BM with clubs to beat you with. That’s not the way forward.

      • BM 13.1.1

        Nonsense, I thought it would be productive for people who are living the “low carbon dream” to share their thoughts and experiences.

        Their experiences and ideas will hopefully encourage more people to transition to what is, our future.

        • Lanthanide 13.1.1.1

          Anyone who is living a low-carbon future and is able to post on this website, has a standard of living that will be greater than what the masses can look forward to in the low-carbon future.

          Eg, such person likely has solar panels on their roof (and at this time of day, batteries).

          There aren’t enough solar panels to go around.

        • weka 13.1.1.2

          That’s a remarkable turnaround from your previous position BM. I hope it’s real.

    • Greg 13.2

      and who will the government tax, when people do that,

  14. Of course you did!

    There’s a “low carbon dream”, BM?
    Do share.
    “Carbon”, though, doesn’t sound dreamy does it, nor is “low” an inspiring word, don’t ‘ya reckon?

    • gsays 14.1

      Hi robert,
      How about aotearoa becoming the premiere organic food supplier.
      10years to fully convert to wholly organic country.
      It’s labour intensive, rewarding and good for you.
      Then when we can no longer export the kai, we have localised food prduction systems that communities have a vested interest in.

    • gsays 14.2

      Hi robert,
      How about aotearoa becoming the premiere organic food supplier.
      10years to fully convert to wholly organic country.
      It’s labour intensive, rewarding and good for you.
      Then when we can no longer export the kai, we have localised food prduction systems that communities have a vested interest in.

      • gsays 14.2.1

        Oops sorry bout the repetition.

        • Colonial Viper 14.2.1.1

          Due to western sanctions, Russia has already made this declaration. President Putin has said that Russia will become the prime supplier of high quality non-GMO organic food in the world.

      • Naturally, gsays, but you’ve got to tell the story in a way that Ad and co. won’t baulk at it. They are already primed to attack the “organic” story – even the word “aotearoa” gets many of them frothy. As for “wholly organic”, I don’t hold to absolutes like that, believing in complexity and diversity the way I do. There’s room for all and none should feel threatened. The best story prevails eventually, so make yours the best listen. Don’t concern yourself with the tales of others – they’re doing the same thing, broadcasting their favourite message. We’ve been distracted by theirs for a long time. Now, let’s compose ours and given that we believe ours is the right path, tell it with conviction, humour and gusto. But yes, great idea, gsays, producing food in the manner you describe is the my preferred way 🙂

  15. One Anonymous Bloke 15

    I know what you mean when you describe it as a sideshow, Bill, and yet, it seems to me that the same issues are being exposed, to wit, a failure to confront reality writ large.

    • weka 15.1

      If Brexit shows us anything it’s that there is wholesale confusion about what is real 😉

      • One Anonymous Bloke 15.1.1

        Does it? Once you stop listening to the demagogues and their mouthpieces I’m not so sure. People know what’s going on: we just haven’t worked out what to do about it yet.

        • weka 15.1.1.1

          I haven’t been listening to the demagogues, although I’ve read some of their mouthpieces so that I can understand what lies they are telling now. But seeing the reaction on the left that was immediately ‘stupid, racist voters’ was an eyeopener. I’m not sure that people do know what is going on, although I think we’re getting better as that.

  16. How about this: the rivers run with clean water and the fish in them are plentiful. The country’s waterways are planted with wide, diverse riparian ‘forests’ that branch out across farmland in wind-cheating hedgerows of fruiting trees and fibre-producing plants. The farms are of a size that a family can manage and the stock on them is diverse and healthy, managed with biological farming methods. Crops of all sorts are employed in soil-building rotations and farmhouses are wrapped about with orchards of fruiting trees from around the world, underplanted with perennial crops that provide the farming families and their wider relations with nutritious food,year round. The roads to the towns are edged with foragable fruiting plants that are regularly visited by townspeople, pruned, fertilized and kept healthy by them. Birds, butterflies, lizards and frogs are commonly seen and heard. People walk everywhere and revel in the benefits of the exercise it provides, as well as the opportunities for socialising that goes with getting out and about. Walking paths give free access to rivers for fishing and swimming.

    And so on, and so on. Visioning isn’t difficult.In fact, it’s fun! Have a go!

    • b waghorn 16.1

      I’d buy that painting

    • Ad 16.2

      Unicorns shit rainbows!

      The Big Rock Candy Mountain gets a licking, and the cops have wooden legs….. (look it up Guthrie)

      Dance all around the world
      Dance with the birds, and the music;
      We want you to see the world
      to see all the beauty that surrounds you.

      Still cold in the car though.

      • Reluctant buyer, eh. Interestingly, the riparian planting ‘projection’ is well advanced across many regions of New Zealand. Fonterra have required of their farmers that they fence and plant all of their waterways and the amount of progress they’ve made is admirable. Catchment groups have formed, even here in Southland, and are working together to bulk-buy trees and draw up planting plans, even contracting local amateur nurserymen to grow for coming years.The prospect of limit setting has caused farmers to think outside of their own farms and cooperate with their wider catchment of farms to keep their combined nitrogen output below set (or about to be set) levels. That sort of cooperation and stimulus could easily see the other on-farm activities I described around the Big Rock Candy mountain, happen. As for the people walking, etc. I don’t see that in the same category as rubber toothed bulldogs. The idea of clean rivers stirs up the snide cynic in you? That’s an achievable ideal, in my view, especially if the economic and cultural environment is forced by circumstance to change and nature (rainbows, birds, you know, that airy-fairy stuff) gets to ameliorate the way she does. I could argue the toss over every detail (believe me, I like to do just that) but laying out an inspirational ‘picture’ has a different purpose than just feeding the cynics, who, it seems to me, are so omnivorous in their habits, they’d snap up everything in sight, even the valuable tidbits.

        • Ad 16.2.1.1

          In the Big Rock Candy Mountains Lyrics

          One evening as the sun went down

          And the jungle fires were burning,

          Down the track came a hobo hiking,

          And he said, “Boys, I’m not turning

          I’m headed for a land that’s far away

          Besides the crystal fountains

          So come with me, we’ll go and see

          The Big Rock Candy Mountains

          In the Big Rock Candy Mountains,

          There’s a land that’s fair and bright,

          Where the handouts grow on bushes

          And you sleep out every night.

          Where the boxcars all are empty

          And the sun shines every day

          And the birds and the bees

          And the cigarette trees

          The lemonade springs

          Where the bluebird sings

          In the Big Rock Candy Mountains.

          In the Big Rock Candy Mountains

          All the cops have wooden legs

          And the bulldogs all have rubber teeth

          And the hens lay soft-boiled eggs

          The farmers’ trees are full of fruit

          And the barns are full of hay

          Oh I’m bound to go

          Where there ain’t no snow

          Where the rain don’t fall

          The winds don’t blow

          In the Big Rock Candy Mountains.

          In the Big Rock Candy Mountains

          You never change your socks

          And the little streams of alcohol

          Come trickling down the rocks

          The brakemen have to tip their hats

          And the railway bulls are blind

          There’s a lake of stew

          And of whiskey too

          You can paddle all around it

          In a big canoe

          In the Big Rock Candy Mountains

          In the Big Rock Candy Mountains,

          The jails are made of tin.

          And you can walk right out again,

          As soon as you are in.

          There ain’t no short-handled shovels,

          No axes, saws nor picks,

          I’m bound to stay

          Where you sleep all day,

          Where they hung the jerk

          That invented work

          In the Big Rock Candy Mountains.

          ….

          I’ll see you all this coming fall

          In the Big Rock Candy Mountains

          • Robert Guyton 16.2.1.1.1

            The End of the World
            Bob Geldof

            Though it strikes you as seeming a little absurd
            I’m here to announce the end of the world
            It’ll happen sometime between now and high noon
            It doesn’t give you much time as it’s happening real soon

            It’ll start with a whimper, it’ll end with a bang
            It’ll leave a big hole where we could have sang

            This is the end, the end of the world
            For five thousand years you must surely have heard
            Nostradamus and Jesus and Buddha and Me
            We said it was coming, now just wait and see

            So everyone outside look up at the sky
            It’s the last time you’ll see it, so wave it goodbye
            You took it for granted, you thought it was free
            Say goodbye to the leaves, the trees and the sea

            There’s nothing more useless than a car that won’t start
            But it’s even more useless at the end of the world

            This is the end, the end of the world
            For five thousand years you must surely have heard
            Nostradamus and Jesus and Buddah and Me
            We said it was coming and now wait and see

            Read more: Bob Geldof – The End Of The World Lyrics | MetroLyrics

            • Philj 16.2.1.1.1.1

              Thank you Robert for this information and your wise contribution to the discussion.

  17. Colonial Viper 17

    it seems that the “thermal inertia” of the Earth’s oceans, amongst other things, means that we’ve now seen about half the temperature increases due to GHG emissions in the 1980s. Another half is yet to come over the next few decades.

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