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NRT: Climate Change: Join the rebellion

Written By: - Date published: 7:10 am, October 5th, 2019 - 50 comments
Categories: activism, climate change - Tags: , ,

Idiot/Savant at No Right Turn writes:

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Friday, October 04, 2019

Climate Change: Join the rebellion

In the wake of last Friday’s climate strike, Peter McKenzie had an article in The Spinoff about protest strategies. The school strike movement is “polite” and cooperates with those in power because that’s its kaupapa – its led by schoolkids who understandably don’t want to risk arrest. But there’s more than one way to protest, and as the climate crisis bites, then continued government inaction is likely to push people towards more confrontational styles of protest. The UK got a taste of that earlier in the year, when Extinction Rebellion shut down a chunk of central London just by sitting down and refusing to get up. The shutdown went on for ten days, despite over a thousand arrests (last night the same group sprayed 1800 litres of fake blood over the UK treasury). And on Monday, the same impolite protest tactics are coming to Wellington:

Monday morning commuters could face delays, with climate change activists set to “disrupt Wellington” with protest action in the central city from 7am.

Police, Wellington City Council and NZTA are gearing up in anticipation of the protest, which is part of what has been called a “global rebellion”, with Wellington the first of more than 60 cities worldwide targeted for climate activist disruption.

[…]

Extinction Rebellion Wellington spokesperson Dr Sea Rotmann said the New Zealand branch would disrupt Wellington traffic with a street party and expected arrests.

Participants were expected to meet at Midland Park on Lambton Quay at 7am, before moving to “undisclosed locations”.

And if you think this is going to be inconvenient, well, climate change is going to be pretty bloody inconvenient too.

If you care about the climate crisis, and want the government to act, join in. You don’t need to volunteer to be arrested. I’m hoping to be there, and maybe I’ll even have figured out how to live-tweet it by then.
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50 comments on “NRT: Climate Change: Join the rebellion ”

  1. I support some of the aims but have major concerns about what is actually being campaigned for. The aim seems to be a huge but vague experiment.

    Stuff covers it in Wellington will be first city targeted for 'disruption' in worldwide climate change protest

    Extinction Rebellion Wellington spokesperson Dr Sea Rotmann said the New Zealand branch would disrupt Wellington traffic with a street party and expected arrests.

    She said "business as usual" was pushing the planet toward mass extinction.

    "We want a planet where all life thrives, and all children can flourish."

    The "lack of meaningful action" around the issue was "pushing ordinary people to risk arrest".

    There was a "simple choice to make history or be history".

    "It is time to draw the line and to take whatever non-violent action is necessary to prevent irreversible damage and widespread human misery."

    I think the aim is to reduce damage and find ways to adapt to predicted changes – but there's no certainty there's going to be anything like "widespread human misery", that sounds like emotive speculation, impossible to predict with any confidence.

    The Extinction Rebellion website said it aimed to "support and encourage a citizens' uprising in Aotearoa New Zealand".

    That would involve "low level and higher risk acts of civil disobedience by some".

    "When ready, create a participatory, democratic process that discusses and improves a draft manifesto for change and a new constitution.

    "This will involve creating a genuine democracy, alongside an economy to maximise well-being and minimise harm."

    It doesn't sound like a very democratic way of creating 'a genuine democracy', whatever that may be.

    We don't have a constitution, so that would have to start from scratch. It wouldn't be a simple or quick process (if done with any degree of democracy).

    It sounds like the want to make major changes to our democratic and financial systems, without giving any clear idea what forms they would actually take, how the changes would happen, and how this would work with countries that don't make the same changes – it's almost certain they won't achieve anywhere near a world-wide revolution.

    And even if they did force massive changes it would be extremely risky.

    I think we need to do more, faster, but switching to a vague and huge financial and social experiment seems a bit crazy. The cure could be worse than the climate change disease, quite possibly much worse, and it could make it harder to deal with and adapt to climate related changes.

    • Sacha 1.1

      a vague and huge financial and social experiment

      .. is a pretty good description of what we have been doing for the last couple of centuries. And we do not have another couple to piss around with.

      • Pete George 1.1.1

        Standards of living and life expectancies for most people have increased a lot over the last couple of centuries.

        What do you suggest we change to? How quickly? And are there any projected outcomes?

        What if New Zealand is the only country that changes, and loses a lot of trade and income and jobs?

        • Sacha 1.1.1.1

          Those have already been addressed by smart, credible people. I know change makes some of us more nervous than others but that's not a good enough reason to resist it.

          • Pete George 1.1.1.1.1

            So you can't answer, in particular about how it might apply to New Zealand.

            Vague ideals proposed by a radical activist lobby group are unlikely to even be referred to a working group let alone go anywhere near Cabinet, especially with NZ First involved.

            • weka 1.1.1.1.1.1

              Pete, it's not that people can't answer, it's more likely to be that people don't trust you to engage in good faith, or don't see it as their job to educated you when this information has been in the public domain for years.

              As a warning, my tolerance for you stirring things up in this thread is pretty low, and I'm close to putting a mod hat on. You are welcome to ask questions, but people are under no obligation to answer them to your particular satisfaction. Making shit up about them eg "so you can't answer' is likely to end badly for you and I'm of a mind to be exponentially increasing ban length at the moment for repeat offenders.

              • Sacha

                "So you can't answer then" is classic sealioning. http://wondermark.com/1k62/

              • " it's more likely to be that people don't trust you to engage in good faith"

                That certainly seems to be an assumption that some people make, but there are also obvious attempts to shut down discussion some think they disagree with. There are also some who try to shut out people they have for some reason taken a dislike to or make false assumptions about.

                You seem to have a low tolerance for questions and uncertainties that I think need to be debated, but if you don't want discussion outside your own narrow views then that's your call here. You have the power to shut down anyone who you think might say something you don't want said. I think that's quite sad for a political discussion blog but whatever.

                I think the best chance to get popular support for combating the effects of climate change, over consumption and pollution is through suggestions and actions that people other than activists find credible and sensible.

                I don't think that promoting worst case possibilities is going to attract From what I am seeing there seems to be a general increase in awareness of problems and a greater willingness to do something to address some of these issues.

                But that could be jeopardised if activists try to use climate change as an excuse to try to force major change to our democracy and our financial systems.

                What could happen due to climate change is scary enough.

                If you add to that radical change to the fundamentals of how we operate I think you will scare off support for the climate/consumption/pollution issues.

                Do you you really want to ban debate on these issues?

                • weka

                  The only debate that is banned is climate denial under posts I put up (people are still free to make denialist comments elsewhere on the site, so it's not really a ban on debate of these issues).

                  Moderating for behaviour isn't about banning debate and I'm surprised after all these years you still don't understand the difference. Contrary to your ideas on debate here, TS exists to provide posts to read, and then facilitate discussion of varying ideas. That you get moderated more than most doesn't make this any less true (taking one person out of the debate rarely has a big impact on the degree of dissent on a topic).

                  Going off what you have said in this thread, you appear to not understand the science base of ER's approach to climate action, nor the strategic approach. So whatever your reckons on what may or may not be helpful, they just don't seem that relevant unless you want to get up to speed. There are reasons why we sometimes set boundaries on staying on topic. In this instance it's not a problem, but really it would be better if you stopped taking potshots at people and cut to the chase of the debate. If that had happened here we might have had a better discussion about ER and what they are about and why I/S thinks they are a worthy cause.

                  (this is me basically saying that if you want to come here and disagree, have at it, that's what we do here, but it's gets a bit tedious having to keep going over the rules).

                  • weka

                    in other words, had you left out all the arguing with the moderator stuff I probably would have just replied to the points you raised about ER.

                    • You had that opportunity in your first comment but chose to take a warning at swipe at me instead, so this is an odd comment at this stage.

            • Sacha 1.1.1.1.1.2

              None of this is new. Smarter people than you or I have already worked out what to do about it. Insisting on hearing all the details before you trust the process is a personal problem to overcome.

    • barry 1.2

      Widespread human misery as a result of of climate change is probably 3 – 4 decades away. What we have now is localised human misery but becoming more severe and more general over time.

      • Pete George 1.2.1

        What localised human misery do we have in New Zealand now due to climate change?

        • Robert Guyton 1.2.1.1

          "What localised human misery do we have in New Zealand now due to climate change?"

          Being subjected to your inane views on the topic, for one.

          • Pete George 1.2.1.1.1

            So you can't explain anything either, and as usual resort to lame personal attack.

            • Robert Guyton 1.2.1.1.1.1

              Oh, there are many examples of human misery experienced here in New Zealand resulting from climate change; think how the Kiribati communities here feel about what's happening to their families living out in the Pacific, or any of the Pacific Island communities here for that matter. Use your imagination, Pete. Climate change is a global phenomenon. You're from Dunedin; have you not noticed misery emanating from the South Dunedin community in expectation of the inundation that is coming and will continue to worsen as the climate worsens? Surely you could think these things through yourself?

        • weka 1.2.1.2

          "What localised human misery do we have in New Zealand now due to climate change?"

          The human misery referred to is globally. Localised means it's specific to certain places eg where there are big weather events, or war being pushed by CC. As opposed to widespread misery from enough crops failing to cause food shortages globally not just in the poor countries.

          In NZ we are seeing climate change effects in drought, flooding, and coastal infrastructure and housing issues. Think South Dunedin and the need to stop new builds and consider what is going to happen when people have to leave. Not so much a misery yet as a background stress for many people that can still largely be ignored.

        • Ad 1.2.1.3

          Pete some people you might want to talk to are the Tuvalu people.

          They've had a variety of gatherings across New Zealand this week to celebrate their language.

          https://www.rnz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/400003/tuvalu-language-week-a-climate-warrior-speaks

          They are also one of the fastest-affected by climate change.

          Most of them now live in Auckland.

          On their islands, the 11,000 population has a density that is rising fairly fast – precisely because sea level rise has taken most of their land in the last few years.

          https://www.indexmundi.com/facts/tuvalu/population-density

          They are also by a long shot some of the poorest people in the world. They have the smallest GDP of any nation in the world, and in reality prospects are grim for them as an actual country.

          Now, I was pleasantly surprised to see so many Pacifika people on the march, since it's not usually the case. I think on average the main islands of New Zealand won't be too badly off for a good few years.

          But our Pacific neighbours are in for quite a time of it. And we should help them.

          • Poission 1.2.1.3.1

            On their islands, the 11,000 population has a density that is rising fairly fast – precisely because sea level rise has taken most of their land in the last few years.

            The science suggests otherwise.Hysteresis often overcomes hysteria.

            https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-018-02954-1

            • Ad 1.2.1.3.1.1

              That study shows that reefs on some islands build up.

              They don't answer two key climate change problems caused by sea level rise.

              Firstly whether there will be enough land to grow crops, or have fresh water, when more soil is both eroded, and ground and water is contaminated with salt.

              Secondly whether the coral will continue to grow, or continue to grow at a rate faster than the sea level is rising and land is eroded.

              Neither of those are good bets on one study.

              I would encourage you to talk to the people of Tuvalu to determine whether they are experiencing hysteria.

              • Poission

                Of course the observations only show growth.Climate models open problem (numerical models),is are they representative ie are they physical.

                Physical models suggest otherwise (accretion constrains SL growth). The answer for your questions are here.

                https://pubs.geoscienceworld.org/gsa/geology/article-abstract/572047/physical-modelling-of-the-response-of-reef-islands?redirectedFrom=fulltext

                • Ad

                  I don't have access to the full article so I can't judge whether any questions were answered.

                  Just from the abstract, though, it engages with sea level rise as if it can be compensated by coral reef growth.

                  So just for Tuvalu, real-life problems from sea level rise are not addressed in that article. You can see how just one programme is assisting them:

                  https://www.adaptation-undp.org/projects/tuvalu-coastal-adaptation-project

                  The first of Tuvalu's real life problems, as I noted above, is water.

                  The main source of freshwater in Tuvalu is rainwater. Groundwater resources are no longer suitable for human consumption due to pollution from saltwater instrusion caused by rising sea levels. Groundwater is gone.

                  The second of Tuvalu's real life problems, which I again noted above, was soil. Salinity intrusion into the water lens is enhanced by the porosity of soil in Tuvalu. This has destroyed pulaka crops and decreased the yields of various other fruit trees.

                  And then there's storm surge. Without going into frequency and size of storms from climate change, the storm surge intrusion and inundation across all of the islands gets pretty much total, which is exacerbated when the entire ocean rises.

                  Together with sea level rise and storm surges comes coastal erosion. Coastal erosion is a major problem in Tuvalu, particularly on the western side of the islands.

                  I would be interested if the study modeled whether coral reefs will increase with Pacific ocean acidification and coral reef death.

                  But of course, Tuvalu could just bet that rising coral reefs according to a study in Nature Journal will be enough. That's simply not the evidence of their lives so far.

                  Instead, rather than sitting down and reading a journal article about coral and shouting 'hallelujah we're saved', they are getting on with their own plans to literally shore up their island by their own hand.

                  https://www.rnz.co.nz/national/programmes/insight/audio/2018706787/tuvalu-s-fight-to-stay-above-the-waves

                  They have as much chance of engineering saving them as we do, but they're not giving up.

    • weka 1.3

      "I think the aim is to reduce damage and find ways to adapt to predicted changes – but there's no certainty there's going to be anything like "widespread human misery", that sounds like emotive speculation, impossible to predict with any confidence."

      Read the IPCC reports and analysis from the past 18 months. The science-based view is a general acceptance that this is a crisis and that if we don't act soon there will be widespread human misery. It's not a certainty because we still have time to prevent the worst of it, but that won't be true forever. At some point we will have left things until too late.

      The science on runaway change and how it would impact on humans has been around for a long time. What's been debated is how close we are to that tipping point. But even then the IPCC has long been dealing with probabilities eg maybe we can stay under 2C if we do this and this. No-one has been saying there is no risk.

      • Pete George 1.3.1

        "The science-based view is a general acceptance that this is a crisis and that if we don't act soon there will be widespread human misery."

        Can you please provide a link too that science. I'm interested in looking into it.

        • Grey Area 1.3.1.1

          I suspect if you were genuinely interested you would have read a lot of the science well before now. Have you just heard about the climate crisis?

        • weka 1.3.1.2

          It's a big body of work Pete, not sure where to start with that. I could link you to the IPPC reports page, but that's a deluge of reading material.

          The Guardian regularly writes about the science.

          I'll keep an eye on my twitter feed over the weekend and drop some links here of the more pertinent science based analysis I am seeing of the risk of widespread human misery.

        • Stuart Munro. 1.3.1.3

          If you're interested in the Greenland icesheet melt, it's here.

          Greenland is expected, if fully de-iced, to contribute between six and seven metres of sea level rise, which would cause us some problems. As with a number of other climate change indicators, it is changing faster than was predicted.

    • weka 1.4

      “It sounds like the want to make major changes to our democratic and financial systems, without giving any clear idea what forms they would actually take, how the changes would happen, and how this would work with countries that don’t make the same changes – it’s almost certain they won’t achieve anywhere near a world-wide revolution.”

      Extinction Rebellion are clear in their demands,

      1. tell the truth about the climate and ecological emergencies
      2. take real action now
      3. create a citizens’ assembly

      It’s the last you may be wondering about.

      A citizens’ assembly brings people together to learn, deliberate and make recommendations on an issue of public concern. Similar to jury service, members are randomly selected from the population by a process called sortition. Quotas are used to ensure that the assembly is representative in terms of key characteristics such as gender, age, ethnicity, education level and geography. Assembly members learn about critical thinking before they hear balanced information from experts and stakeholders. The members spend time deliberating in small, facilitated groups and then they draft and vote on recommendations. Citizens’ assemblies are conducted by non-partisan organisations under independent oversight. They are transparent, inclusive and effective.

      The point here is that ER don’t have to present a complex, detailed plan of what we should do. That’s for our governments. What ER are doing is pushing governments to do their job properly in regards to CC and ecology. They’re also saying that in that process we should shift to more participatory democracy rather than relying on simple representative democracy (which patently isn’t working and isn’t suitable to the task at hand given the timeframes).

  2. weka 2

    Deleted and reposted under Pete’s original comment.

    • Incognito 2.1

      I assume this was meant to be a reply to Pete George’s comment @ 1?

      • weka 2.1.1

        it was, thanks.

        Do you know why the edit box puts so much weird html and formatting in making it useless to cut and paste?

        • Incognito 2.1.1.1

          Yes, I know what you mean. The Editor in the front-end uses WYSIWYG but in the back-end you have to use tags. It is the way it is.

  3. An average kiwi is trying hard to strretch the boundaries of free speech limitations to their extremes.

    Extinction Rebellion members want to “eat babies”

    When is this chickenshit person going to be ejected from the blogfeed?

  4. Ad 4

    There's not much opposition here, but next door the Extinction Rebellion people are in for a real fight.

    Like International Socialists of old, the Kiwis could do worse than support their colleagues in Australia. Of course, doing so would be a major diplomatic problem as well.

    Queensland has proposed two new amendments this year designed to clamp down on protests: increased trespass penalties, currently going through a parliamentary committee, and the lock-on laws. It has also introduced biosecurity regulations with on-the-spot fines for entering an agricultural premises.

    New South Wales has also introduced new $1,000 on-the-spot penalties through biosecurity regulations and is considering draft laws with broad new trespass penalties.

    Western Australia is also planning to increase penalties for trespass. The reforms are aimed at animal welfare protesters described by the attorney general as “mushy-headed vegans”.

    Victoria is holding a parliamentary inquiry to determine if it ought to strengthen trespass laws, following uproar about a $1 fine levied against an activist who stole a goat from a Gippsland cheese cafe.

    Tasmania, still bruised from a 2017 high court decision that struck down its anti-protest laws, is working on amended legislation to reintroduce the laws.

    Guaranteed Dutton is going to be the Designated Ball Carrier with this one.

  5. Ad 5

    It's also perplexing me that the NZ Greens aren't currently showing any benefit from the growth of the protest movement …

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opinion_polling_for_the_next_New_Zealand_general_election

    … whereas in Australia they do seem to be taking it off Labor:

    https://www.theaustralian.com.au/nation/newspoll

    Now, I'm sure Extinction Rebellion doesn't have the time for this democracy stuff, but it's the current system.

    • weka 5.1

      will you be supporting the Greens going into the next election Ad?

      • Ad 5.1.1

        Depends if they deliver something worth voting for.

        • weka 5.1.1.1

          does your ambivalence help make sense of "It's also perplexing me that the NZ Greens aren't currently showing any benefit from the growth of the protest movement …"

          Although effect from the climate strike won't be showing up in polls yet.

          • Ad 5.1.1.1.1

            No it doesn't.

            The trick to watch is whether the wall to wall publicity since the UN conference makes a difference to voting preferences as distinct from sentiment support that climate change is an issue.

            The fastest polling test we have coming up is the local government results next Saturday.

            • weka 5.1.1.1.1.1

              so why is it perplexing that the growth of the protest movement thus far hasn't correlated in poll support for the Greens?

              Not sure that the local elections will be an indicator. Low turnout and it being generally hard to see what candidates are Green are factors.

              • Ad

                It's perplexing because there's a yawning gulf between the importance of the issue and its political support. It's had massive media coverage since the Paris agreement, and has only continued even stronger. Successful protest movements usually show up in actual results – at least after this long.

                Climate change has been a pretty well forecast issue in our local elections, including multiple Emergencies declared beforehand. All major cities have Green candidates. In fact there are multiple sites that have judged candidates on precisely these terms to assist voters to vote on this.

                So next Saturday's a major initial test to see if the issue really has electoral effect. There are plenty of Green Party and Green-Labour coalition candidates who are very clear on climate change issues.

                It doesn't need to be over-read as a national election signal, but it's a really important proving ground if there isn't an improved result for the Greens there.

                • weka

                  ok, I see what you mean now. I tend to see the reasons the Greens haven't been picking up in the polls as for other reasons. The popularity of Ardern, the residue of the fallout from the last election (what happened with Turei), that Labour have shifted enough on the environment to keep that part of the vote happy, maybe people seeing the Greens subsumed into the government and it doesn't really matter which of L/G now.

                  I also think that lots of people don't vote on policy. I still don't understand why so many people shifted their vote from Green to Labour last time, because on policy grounds the Greens hadn't change between the high polls and election day. There's the theory that voters punish perception of incompetency (the Greens' handling of the fallout after Turei's speech) and reward feel good/hope (Ardern), but it's still odd.

                  I would expect a lift after the climate strike. Not sure where you are voting but down south there's never really been a strong connection between local body elections and political parties. Lots of candidates doing better on climate but still not connected overtly with the Greens. I'll be interested to see what happens to the votes in those places where the connection is clear.

                  • Ad

                    I voted in the Auckland, Dunedin, and Queenstown elections.

                    Dunedin there's a shot at a Green Party mayor. Who is also young. On both counts that would be refreshing.

                    In Auckland I voted for the Labour candidate for ward. For mayor I had not much choice.

                    In Queenstown I voted Boult because in person I like him and I've seen good changes.

                    In terms of how people vote, I like to think I vote on delivery, with a flavoring of leadership. But to confess Labour would have to do a decently bad or lazy job to shift me. It's happened, but only sometimes.

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