“We are unstoppable, another world is possible”

Written By: - Date published: 9:36 am, April 15th, 2017 - 45 comments
Categories: climate change, democratic participation, Environment, Maori Issues - Tags: , , ,

Last month oil protestors blockaded the NZ Petroleum Conference for 6 hours. Pretty inspiring stuff. This is some of the best of protest action and civil disobedience – it was organised, safe, fun, and involved a wide range of people. It had high energy, people were trained, it was effective and has power beyond just this one event. I am heartened and grateful that Māori are leading the way on this. And all power to Greenpeace and Climate Justice Taranaki, I look forward to this movement spreading through NZ.

I’m also loving the vibe of these protests, and the number of young people jumping up and doing the right thing and changing the narrative,

 

The following video shows the energy and ethos of the event, you can see the oil haka at the end.

 

I haven’t linked to any MSM coverage, because it was so focussed on presenting old school imagery of protest and how the MSM like to portray it (police dragging away protestors), so let’s be clear that if we want to understand what these protests are doing we have to look elsewhere. I’m sure there will be comments about rent-a-crowd, but looking at these images and videos I’m seeing a range of NZers who just get it and know it’s time to step up. It reminds me of when we stopped the Tour. Different times, new strategies, but that cross-section of NZ starting to act bodes well (loved the bit with the policemen helping the nana across the barrier to the sit down protest. And the Patea Māori Club story, heh).

The blockade was part of the 3 day People’s Climate Rally that included a fracking tour, non-violent direct action training, workshops, dinner and music, discussions, talks by a range of activists, scientists and iwi, art exhibitions and film, and ceremony.

45 comments on ““We are unstoppable, another world is possible””

  1. Skeptic 1

    Congrats Weka – I’m pleased as an old man to see the torch has indeed been passed successfully to the next generation. For us old vets of PYM and CND who seem to have failed when it came to stopping the “Great Economic Experiment” it’s heartening to see the long tradition of protest has not died in NZ – it goes back to 1836 – yes pre-TOW – when Maori crews on ships sailing between Akld & Sydney struck for better wages and conditions – indeed this traditions now seems stronger than ever.

    Don’t be disheartened by apparent lack of media interest – they called us all sorts of marginalising mad dismissive names too – but eventually our protests became “mainstream, middle NZ concerns”. All causes have to start somewhere and I can think of no better start for renewable resource control by the people, for the people than right here.

    As a second string to protest – and perhaps even actually convincing some of the Nats with IQs better than sheep – work out some of the “economics” of renewable resources and alternatives to oil – there’s quite a few places on the net with tools that can help with such calculations – then get these figures known. There’s nothing shifts a Nat quicker than the prospect of saving taxpayer dollars – it gets them votes.

    • weka 1.1

      Nice one Skeptic. Didn’t know about the Māori crew on ships striking. I’d quite like to write a post on activism in NZ, so will add that to the list, thanks.

      I’m not too worried about the MSM either, they’ll get in behind eventually and in the meantime people are organising regardless. We’re fortunate to have our own media now.

      “There’s nothing shifts a Nat quicker than the prospect of saving taxpayer dollars – it gets them votes.”

      The Greens have a CC policy that taxes carbon and gives families tax rebates 😉

      • Skeptic 1.1.1

        Yep – so did the Values Party of the 1975 election – my first vote as an adult.

  2. BM 2

    What do you think they achieved?

    Was going through one of the articles you linked to, not a lot of support.

    One of the comments summed it all up

    ……….A fossil-fuel based economy is just the tip of the iceberg. Our very civilisation is built on the consumption of hydrocarbons in some form Oil – Gas – Coal
    You aren’t just getting rid of cars, or electricity – you are getting rid of the basis for almost everything we do.
    Eliminating Hydrocarbons doesn’t just mean returning to pre-industrial times, it means going back to prehistoric times.

    Which 20,000 years ago was fine as we only had a few hundred thousand humans. We now have 7 billion. We could not even hope to grow enough trees or quarry enough stone to have even a semblance of a civilisation. …………………….

    This is the problem going forward unless it can be demonstrated that people can still have the same sort of life as they do now without oil then nothing will change.
    Apart from a few on the fringes no one is going to voluntarily change their lifestyle

    The answer lies in technological advancement not protest.

    • Tui 2.1

      it so called technological advancement that has got us in this mess in the first place!!!

    • weka 2.2

      It’s the activists that put important issues like this on the agenda BM. The push comes for divestment, renewables, sustainable agriculture etc, and it comes from the fringe. Business and government didn’t start those things, they’re following, best you get on the right side of history 😉

      In NZ activism and protest stopped the Tour, the raising of Lake Manapouri, the smelter at Aramoana, the felling of native forests, the removal of neurology services from Dunedin, and so on.

      “Apart from a few on the fringes no one is going to voluntarily change their lifestyle”

      I think you are wrong on this and fail to understand how big societal change happens. We’re at a tipping point. The rate of change is speeding up. Consider the understanding in the public of CC in the 90s and 2000s compared to now and what is changing year by year now instead of decade by decade. That our current lifestyles will change is a given (there is no escaping CC now). The issue is whether we tip in time to mitigate the worst effects, and whether we tip in the right direction.

    • weka 2.3

      “What do you think they achieved?”

      A number of things. Probably most important is raising awareness in that community and more broadly, as part of an ongoing strategy. When people start making the connections between their flooded house and CC, the protests will make more sense. Also important is the building of a movement, which is the main point of the post. This wasn’t just a blockade of an oil conference (although that was successful), it was a whole range of activities and networking that will now ripple out. People were trained in a range of areas. As with Occupy, BLM in the US, Standing Rock etc, there are now multiple generations upskilling within allied movements. If you think protest is about a single action stopping a perceived objective, then you miss what is going on. People are in this for the long haul, and within the climate justice movement it won’t go away in our lifetimes because of the nature of the crisis.

    • “Don’t protest” is the call of those who are affected most by protests.
      “All protest is futile”, they intone.
      Had to make laws to prevent protest on the seas though.
      Must worry them enormously. That’s because protest is so powerful.

    • Skeptic 2.5

      I think the answer lies in the slogan adopted by most organised protest groups as they’ve matured – “Think Global; Act Local”. The exact same argument use in your italicised quote is the basis of the protest movement. Without protest and social movement generate by it, we’d all still be working 12 hour days, six days a week for pin money, we’d still be locked in an arms race without any form of restraint, we’d still be driving cars that are death traps. – etc, etc and so on.

      The point being that the younger generation are all too much aware that they will be paying the cost of doing nothing in hard earned wealth – as well as doing nothing will most definitely make the planet uninhabitable for human life by 2100 (if the 6 degree tipping point is reached by 2050). These facts have percolated the younger generation both collectively and individually – and they are taking action – not just protest action that raises awareness – but making informed choices in countless individual actions and decisions every day.

      So yes – technological advance is one – but only one – way of staving off planetary disaster – protest is another. They both have their place. Both are most definitely NOT fringe elements – they are part and parcel of a global human shift towards sustainability and conservation (ie – sharing the planet with all life we are blessed with)

  3. The classic line in stupid is when the pro-oil extraction faction claim,
    “If you are a user of oil, you can’t complain about it”.
    More stupid than stupid, that line; the argument of block-heads.
    Once invoked, all their thinking, if it can be described as such, shuts down.
    Slam-dunk, the block-heads gloat.
    Slam-dunk.

    • Skeptic 3.1

      Quite right Robert – look up wiki on disinformation and propaganda – their argument is a classic example of one such technique.

    • rocco siffred 3.2

      You can complain about it all you like, but it’s not going away until you stop using it.

      • “You can complain all you like…”
        Thanks, rocco. We will, now that we have your permission.
        But me no buts!

        • rocco siffred 3.2.1.1

          Revealed preferences; your continued use of oil says far more than your words about that oil.

          • One Anonymous Bloke 3.2.1.1.1

            “Your” “argument” (which you plagiarised, you unoriginal cretin), is cretinous:

            Slavery is relevant because it addresses the “but we all use fossil fuels argument.” Of course we do, and people in the North wore clothes made of cotton picked by slaves. But that did not make them hypocrites when they joined the abolition movement. It just meant that they were also part of the slave economy, and they knew it. That is why they acted to change the system, not just their clothes.

            Naomi Oreskes.

            • rocco siffred 3.2.1.1.1.1

              Were did I plagiarise it from exactly you monstrous loon?

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                You tell me: was it a pro-slavery website you subscribe to? Or just some random right wing sewer? The Oreskes interview is two years old, so you certainly didn’t lap it up all by yourself.

                • Richard McGrath

                  You haven’t specified exactly where the “plagiarism” was, Mr Anonymous. As far as I can see, Rocco made two one-sentence comments, which I think people should be free to make without having to add a disclaimer that they may or may not be the first person to come up with that idea. Otherwise, you could be accused of plagiarism yourself, for coming out with an accusation of plagiarism.

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    Recent findings in Nature Neuroscience imply that right wing opinions are created by repetition, not observation.

                    Hence frequent references to parrots, luge grundlich, and the need to establish “think tanks”.

                    You haven’t an original thought among you, and your sources all died out centuries ago.

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    I’m going to have to spell it out aren’t I.

                    “…your continued use of oil says far more than your words about that oil” is an entirely unoriginal sentiment, as the two-year-old quote amply demonstrates, with an elegant rebuttal to boot.

                    • Richard McGrath

                      Yes, and as I suggested earlier, a single sentence arguably does not require a reference to someone who may have previously said the same thing. I wasn’t aware that comments on this discussion group were being held to the same standards as academic papers or student assignments. If so, there is fertile ground in the spelling and grammatical errors that appear here.

                    • Incognito

                      It is called (intellectual) honesty, which is a human virtue, not a strictly-academic quality.

                      That said, you’ve got a point; I often struggle with proper attribution and acknowledgement of ideas and giving credit where credit is due. But if I (accidentally) omit this and get called out on it I’d like to think I’d own up to it and self-correct rather than trying to dig a hole for myself. Just saying.

                    • weka

                      OAB is using a rhetorical device to point out the problem with your values and position on CC. Don’t take it literally, it’s a weapon not a statement of fact about plagiarism.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      I wasn’t aware that comments on this discussion group were being held to the same standards as academic papers or student assignments.

                      If you don’t think it’s important that your political beliefs have some substantive basis, I shouldn’t be at all surprised.

                      Expect to be ridiculed as a mindless parrot, but.

  4. Tautoko Mangō Mata 4

    Great post, Weka. I was privileged to be there at the Taranaki protest and as with the protest outside the weapons’ conference last November in Auckland, (major sponsor Lockheed Martin #1 World Arms trader) there has been a noticeable increase in the young people not just participating but being involved in the organisation of the protests. The spirit of these protests is not one of hate but of determination to highlight the harm that is being done to the environment and people by policies driven by corporate greed. What is more, these young people are voters and they will have a big influence on other younger voters through their social media.
    The local Māori group were prominent participants and hearing young people speaking out, challenging business people in suits by saying that it was THEIR future and those of their future children that was being put at risk, was inspiring, A young Māori woman who was obviously pregnant spoke with feeling about water from THEIR AWA that was being used for fracking, etc.

    I also remind people that at this conference the Government was offering for tender further areas of NZ for oil and gas exploration. So much for the Blue-Green BS.

  5. Tautoko Mangō Mata 5

    @BM : “Apart from a few on the fringes no one is going to voluntarily change their lifestyle”

    The fringes are getting bigger around my neighbourhood. Parking areas near bus stations are overflowing, solar panels are appearing on more and more roofs, more people are noticing the amount of plastic washing up on beaches and are undertaking regular cleanups. I find that most people are very aware that the environment is under severe stress and are keen to see our waterways looked after and that we cannot continue as we have. In fact, it is the National Government needs to catch up with popular opinion, particularly on transport, with their fixation on roads rather than rail.

  6. srylands 6

    It is not activists that will stop climate change. It is markets. Changes in the relative prices of energy will ultimately drive out oil and coal as primary fuel sources. It is happening.

    A bunch of hysterical people stopping lawful activity will do nothing. At all.

    These young people should be at university studying useful subjects like energy markets. Not playing around with bitter fools like R Norman.

    • garibaldi 6.1

      No one is going to stop CC srylands, least of all the stupid bloody markets. FFS the market driven model is bullshit …. I suppose you think CC will be fixed by the same way we have all benefitted from the ‘trickle down’ theory. Get a grip, the market model is an abject failure, it only promotes greed.

      • Kevin 6.1.1

        What makes you think CC can be stopped?

        That boat sailed in the 1990s.

        Even if the politicians had a brain fart and enacted legislation all around the world today, it would still be too late. People need to understand that and learn to cope with what we have been dealt.

        • Robert Guyton 6.1.1.1

          If CC was a sailboat, Kevin, it’d be on the way to easing its own impact.

          • Kevin 6.1.1.1.1

            Artic and Antartic sea ice are the key indicators Robert. The Arctic has lost 40% of its mass in the last 30 years and it is accelerating. Heading into this northern summer, by surface area it is at its lowest point ever and is in danger of disappearing altogether either this summer or next. Greenland is in a similar predicament. Understanding the relationship between the sea ice and climate is important. No sea ice and temps will start increasing exponentially. There is no turning back.

            Planet earth will cope as it always has. It may take hundreds of thousands of years, or maybe more, but it will recover.

            As for us, it doesn’t look that great.

            • Robert Guyton 6.1.1.1.1.1

              Re-cover – I like that. I was amazed to learn that the seemingly wild expanses of jungle and forest throughout the world show signs of in fact having been modified by humans; kind of a large scale forest-garden. Certainly Australia had been re-formed by the time Europeans arrived there. Humans have been changing the environment for a very, very long time now and for most of that time, the scale of their work meant that most other living things could live along with us. Lately, we stepped well over the line. It’s a matter of scale and we’ve lost that awareness.

    • The activists won’t stop climate change, srylands, but they could stop further contributions to it and that’s a worthwhile aim. They should be admired, not directed to “be at university” by some vision-less right wing flunky who can’t see nor think as clearly as they can.

    • Richard McGrath 6.3

      Well said, srylands. The only way oil, gas and coal will disappear is if something cheaper and better comes up. And right now, the other technologies are so much more expensive, but over time they will become cheaper. It’s inevitable. In the meantime, let’s keep mining, drilling and selling those life-enhancing hydrocarbons!

      • weka 6.3.1

        The only way one can take that position if if one either doesn’t believe in AGW, or one doesn’t care about it.

        • Richard McGrath 6.3.1.1

          Not true – I believe the demand for a drop in Third World living standards (which will almost certainly occur with reduced use of fossil fuels), in response to the climate change panic, has the potential to harm millions of people. We were told years ago by Albert Gore that we’d reached the “tipping point” – we are now several years beyond this, and thus what is the point in reducing carbon emissions now – we might as well keep using fossil fuels as it’s now too late to turn the tide by stopping carbon use.

          http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/feb/7/editorial-an-inconvenient-stretcher/

          • weka 6.3.1.1.1

            CC is a process not an absolute. You might think that because the house is on fire it’s not worth saving the neighbourhood, but it looks self serving to me. You don’t want to give up your lifestyle in order to save other people or the planet.

            Like I said, denial and doesn’t give a shit.

            btw, there is no good reason why millions of people have to be harmed by transitioning off fossil fuels other than neoliberalism, capitalism and selfishness.

            • One Anonymous Bloke 6.3.1.1.1.1

              I’m picking Richard for one of those people who learned all they know about the “Third World” back when it actually existed.

            • Kevin 6.3.1.1.1.2

              What makes you think that transitioning off fossil fuels now, will doing anything meaningful?

              I am all for it, but do not kid myself that it will make a shred of difference to CC.

            • Richard McGrath 6.3.1.1.1.3

              Yes, Weka, but a ‘tipping point’ is an absolute, and was used extensively by Gore and others as part of the global warming scaremongering.

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                Which “scaremongering” are you asserting happened?

                Give us a specific example of “scaremongering” by linking to an actual full quote, in context, from someone you allege “scaremongered”.

                Just so that we know exactly what you’re talking about.

  7. saveNZ 7

    +1 for the post!

  8. gsays 8

    An encouraging and inspiring post thanks weka.

    When I had a better work/life balance, (working 20hrs a week), I wondered why folk weren’t more engaged.

    Now I am working 40plus hrs a week, I understand about recovering from work, then fitting in family life

  9. timeforacupoftea 9

    ( Pretty inspiring stuff. )
    I have been thinking for years, if for all buildings were by law painted white world wide naturally starting in the Capitol Auckland the world could be saved from sea level rise.
    Perhaps our son, daughter, grandchildren activists who protest at these rallies started painting roofs they could earn a good income pay off there student loans, buy a house and leave us oldies to be the civil disobedience activists.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 9.1

      Would that offset the loss of albedo due to snow and ice melt? What are the relative surface areas involved, and what is the carbon cost of so much white paint?

      Sounds good but 🙂

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