You can learn enough in high school to know these things:

Bunsen

(Note: Next podcast episode contains a talk with Sigurd Magnusson. No dummies, not the Norwegian nobleman from the Battle of Florvag, he’s dead now. This is the one about Electric Vehicles)

Biology:

Evolution is slow. You don’t need to be attached to animals to be alarmed by rapid species extinction.

Physics:

Global Warming is very simple; you can demonstrate it in a school lab. Global climate modelling and prediction is really, really hard.

Economics:

People are resources just like trees, cows and oil.

Maths:

The amount of carbon increase in atmosphere is proportional to the amount of carbon extracted and released by human activity.

English:

Grapes of Wrath captures the plight of millions whose lives were crushed by the failure of crops and financial systems.┬áIt showed the indifference of those who profit from disaster. It awakened the nation’s comprehension and compassion.

 

Just saying this now because:

  • I used to think most people saw things this way and now I’m not so sure
  • There is a good reason for the Greens combined environmental + social agenda
  • Pointing out that scientists disagree on the outcomes doesn’t remove the problem
  • I don’t care what you thought of Finding Nemo. The dying Barrier Reef is a massive warning.
  • You will find yourself caught up in this eventually. Maybe read some Steinbeck.

Did you get all of that?

I’m just making a quick list of things that stuck in my mind during this campaign. I’m sure there’s plenty more, and I haven’t gathered the links for these (I will!). I just thought I’d make a list before I forget some of them.

It was a blizzard.

 

National PM recorded employee illegally and lies about it. PM is involved in scandal. He also lies about it. Nothing happens.

Green Leader reveals minor benefit fraud while a single parent to highlight the current poverty issues. She winds up resigning after continued pressure. Her situation compared to Deputy PMs, a couple of scathing letters appear from old acquaintences appear then lawyers appear. Her situation compared to PM’s ‘double dipping’ more recently but are dismissed as absurd because a) he paid the money back by now b) his name was cleared but mostly c) the number were so much bigger and he lived in a much nicer place.

Documentary released about polluted rivers release by Al Jazeera – so everyone knows about them now.

Documentary released about mismanaged housing. Includes solutions around the world that (it appears) has not been considered here.

Television pieces showing large parking areas filled with families living in cars in Auckland. Another showing large numbers of pensioners in caravans.

Herald article tracing admissions for malnutrition. Show third world conditions for tens of thousands of young families.

Television article comparing school lunches between high and low decile schools. For the most part, the poor children had no lunch at all.

Greens release report from Environmental Commission on coastal inundation – 130,000 people, 2000kms of road, 5 airports, 43,000 houses. It had been withheld since april 17.

Offical information act request reveals report on decomissioned electric train – it was neither slower nor more expensive.

Report on 13 new coal mines to be created post election.

11B Fiscal hole invented, dismissed as false immediately by every available expert, then falsehood continued for rest of campaign.

Wildfires and drought destroy crops in US high plains. Wildfires out of control in West Australia. Half of an entire country goes under water. A one-in-one thousand year hurricane wipes out Huston. Another larger one wipes out Barbuda, British Virgin Islands, Cuba and Florida a fortnight later. Another takes out Puerto Rico within a following fortnight. Nighttime satelite imagery shows the entire country in darkness.

Farmers gather in Morrinsville to complain about taxes that don’t exist and/or don’t affect them. They bring the tractor they used last time climate change came up as a subject. National MPs present are ordered by their party not to speak. Once gathered, they begin to talk about how badly the extra rainfall is affecting them.

Income, Water, Fart tax presented in TVs – ranging from misleading to false. Advertising standards authority dismiss complaints, finding some middle ground between ‘clearly misleading falsehood’ and ‘permissable narrative when you’re clearly taking the piss’.

PM dismisses housing crisis – ‘We have a housing solution’, PM dismisses poverty numbers – they haven’t formulated a method to count them yet, although they appear to be as high as 1/4 million. After much pressure, vows to drop them a little.

No one asks PM about carbon emissions. Or maybe they do – the usual answer is ‘our goals are ambitious’. The emissions have not reduced, since nothing has been done that might cause them to. Many things have been done that will cause them to increase. Huge amounts of infrastructure has been planned or built that will lock in those increases for decades – new coal mines, new coal burning facilities, new roads. One is touted as the most expensive ever built.

Plans for cheap, carbon neutral transport solutions in Greater Auckland area are revealed under official information act. They were abandoned without reasons.

Fonterra chief gets 8 million dollar pay packet.

Now we wait to see whether, for the second time in its history, National gets a fourth term. Under them we are assured to make no progress on reducing emissions, taxpayers will foot huge agricultural emissions costs, and poverty, homelessness and flooding will continue unabated.

Mutually Assured Destruction is a term from the days of Cold War. It referred to the proliferation of Nuclear weapons, when there were enough to destroy the planet seven times over. We now have enough investments in oil, coal and gas extraction to destroy ourselves several times over. So lets bring that word back.

And note, that while its happening, many of us will be watching it from cars with empty stomachs.

 (Edit) of course I missed this. The day before the election a man sets himself on fire in front of parliament. He died the next day. We’re reminded of the appalling levels of suicide and under funding of mental health services. And the 600 empty shoes. And the national MP conflating suicide with euthanasia in a weird way that manages to trivialise the pain on both sides of the argument at once. David Seymour responded with something thoughtful, catching me a little off guard. 

Whatever that barrier was that kept the weirdness away, it has fallen to the ground. Not sure when we’ll see it again.

 

Lets talk to an expert.

Goodness we talk about climate change a lot. And yet we rarely spend time with a specialist. That’s a bit silly. So this week I invited Victoria University’s James Renwick over for a chat. It really was that easy.

I made blue cheese and chilli salt scones and we talked about impending nightmare that is the destabilising of the planet’s climate.

James and I talked for two and a half hours. We wound up talking about quite a few books, some non fiction and some sci fi. Turns out we’re both nerds. I cut it back to make the episode shorter but can re-release the full talk later if anyone’s interested.

Here are the books we talked about. Sorry if they don’t all come up in the edited conversation – I was a bit ruthless. Like I said, if you want the longer discussion I can make it happen.

Naomi Klein – This Changes Everything
Naomi Klein – No is not enough.
Hyperobjects – Tim Moreton
The Uninhabitable Earth – (New Yorker)
The Three Body Problem – Cixin Liu
Elizabeth Kolbert – The Sixth Extinction
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fermi_paradox
The Windup Girl – Paolo Bacigalupi
The Water Knife – Paolo Bacigalupi
The Mote in God’s Eye Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/100365.The_Mote_in_God_s_Eye
Ronald Wright – A short history of progress – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/331227.A_Short_History_of_Progress
Bruce Chatwin – Songlines

Because its 2017 and the Nats are still making jokes about fart tax I wrote and angry letter to Bill

It’s still a joke to you.

And because Leighton Smith decided to make the problem go away with talkshow host magic I gave in an finally created the Imagine My Relief List. There’s a tractor on it.

The Imagine My Relief List…

It’s still a joke to you.

bill_and_fergie

You can’t tell me no one has tried to explain this to you. You can’t tell me its any different for the members of your cabinet. I have tried and tried to understand you and yours. But it’s still a joke to you.

The deaths will keep coming. The homes will be destroyed. The crops will collapse and the fires will burn. The same way they are now but worse. The wars will come. They just will. The refugees will come knocking. As for the jokes, well they may just keep coming too.

Who are you going to blame? You are only answering to the voters, and they don’t know any better? It was your job to tell them. It was your job to pass the terrible news on. People were right to assume that if you didn’t care, if the appointees with the words ‘environment’, ‘energy’, ‘transport’, ‘primary industries’, ‘agriculture’ and (God help us) ‘climate’ in their job titles didn’t care, then surely it was under control. Things were being managed. We were on track.

Listen to a climate scientist for ten minutes. Ten thoughtful, attentive, respectful minutes and let them catch you up on the news four million people are trusting you to understand. Lose some sleep over this, even if its for the first time in your life.

You are deeply unfortunate. Any other time in human history, you could get a pass. You’re getting a pass now. You really don’t deserve it, it won’t last and you will be remembered. The climate has started to collapse, and this collapse will rage on for all generations to come.

In India 60,000 farmers have committed suicide as a result of continuous crop failure. In Britain supermarkets are already rationing sales of vegetables. In August 2017 alone we saw Harvey and Irma, unprecedented floods in Bangladesh, India, Sierra Leone and Nepal, wildfires in California and Australia, massive crop failures in the High Plains. Every article affects surprise – ‘freak weather’, ‘one in one thousand years’, etc.

But the scientists predicted this and they were right. They were telling you when that tractor first appeared and it’s still a joke to you.

If you lose this election you’ll be glad for it later. Someone else will be at the helm when the penny finally drops.

I’ll do my best to ensure you’re not forgotten though. It’ll help to pass the time. We can look back and laugh together.

https://thestandard.org.nz/always-an-excuse-to-do-nothing/amp/

https://cleantechnica.com/2017/08/05/flash-drought-us-high-plains-may-already-destroyed-half-years-wheat-crop/

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/aug/31/bushfire-conditions-at-near-record-levels-following-dry-winter/

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jul/31/suicides-of-nearly-60000-indian-farmers-linked-to-climate-change-study-claims/

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2017/02/03/causing-2017-vegetable-shortage-does-mean-consumers/