So last Friday Groundswell NZ also known as the grumpy farmer element within the National Party decided to disrupt the country by driving tractors through some urban centres and preying for congestion.
The coordination of the messaging was weak. There were signs complaining about too much use of Te Reo, numerous suggesting that Jacinda Ardern was a communist (as if), one portraying her shagging a sheep, I presume by an 8 year old boy who persuaded his mentally challeneged father this was a good idea, and some borrowing of themes from progressive protests that occurred at important times to suggest that trying to persuade rich wealthy farmers that were wrecking their local environment in the pursuit of profit they should stop was the same as subjecting black people to suppression because of the colour of their skin. They clearly shall not be moved.
The protests were treated gently by the media. Even the attack on a woman in Dunedin who was just trying to point out that there is no farming on a dead planet was treated in a somewhat muted way.
And the complaints were somewhat random. Not being able to buy gas guzzling utes featured, even though tax benefits and misplaced visions of masculinity feature in the purchase decisions. And even though these same vehicles are slowly making the earth uninhabitable, and the big ones more quickly than the small ones.
Significant Natural Areas featured. We may be destroying forests and waterways at a disturbing sustainable rate but surely land owners should be allowed to do so because of their god given complete rights over their land and apart from sequestering carbon, holding slip prone areas together and providing habitat for local fauna and flora what good are trees?
Protecting biodiversity? Pffft. And there should be more foreign workers allowed in so that wages and conditions can be driven down.
So what is mother nature doing?
On the weekend a slow moving rain storm flooded Westport, Buller and Marlborough. From Radio New Zealand:
Marlborough recorded its largest flooding event in history today – far bigger than the previous biggest event in 1983.
Marlborough District Council declared a state of emergency this afternoon, to ensure it has the resources to evacuate hundreds of properties.
In total, 900 people were evacuated from over 500 properties across the region, deputy mayor Nadine Taylor said.
The red warning for heavy rainfall in Buller has been extended until 3am Sunday. Red warnings are reserved for the most severe weather events and require immediate action.
The Buller District is in a state of emergency as rain hammers the region.
The Buller River burst its banks today and joined up with the Orowaiti River to the north, turning Westport in to an island.
And in Westport half, yes that is right half, of the residents were told to leave their homes.
Overseas flooding events in Germany and Belgium that have devastated parts of both countries have been clearly put down to climate change. From Vox:
“The rainfall we’ve experienced across Europe over the past few days is extreme weather whose intensity is being strengthened by climate change — and will continue to strengthen further with more warming,” Friederike Otto of the Environmental Change Institute at the University of Oxford told German news outlet DW.
And in America the North East has flooded while the North West has burned. And climate change has been implicated. From NBC News:
A warmer atmosphere is able to hold more water, which means heavy rain events like what happened Monday in Pennsylvania and New Jersey are becoming more prevalent with climate change. The Northeast, specifically, is the region that has seen the highest increase in heavy rainfall events, more than any other region, since the 1950s.
The Bootleg Fire in Oregon is currently over 150,000 acres and zero percent contained. It could become the first 200,000-acre wildfire of the year for the U.S.
This year is already off to a faster wildfire start compared to 2020. According to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, compared to this same time last year, there has been more than 700 wildfires and over 103,000 more acres burned.
This is alarming, considering 2020 set a record for most acres burned in California, at a staggering 4.3 million acres.
Extreme temperature is one of the weather events that can be most strongly attributed to climate change. The warmer atmosphere is leading to heat waves that are more intense, more frequent and last longer.
At one level I get Farmers anger and frustration. They are really afraid that the academics and the politicians are right and that they are contributing to the destruction of our planet. They are really afraid of the change that is required to address this crisis. Their anger is a response to their fear. They need to get over it. We all have a planet to save.
As the sign says, there is no farming on a dead planet.