The unbreakable Rosemary Penwarden

Rosemary was born at 316.38 ppm atmospheric carbon.

There is a saying in Taranaki. If you can’t see the mountain, its probably raining. If you can, its going to rain. Dairy country. Milking cows requires a phemonenal amount of water. To milk cows in the dry and porous soils of the Mackenzie requires the continual extraction of water from the waterways and lakes. The nitrates from these operations wind up back in those waterways, polluting them. The MacKenzie farm now comes with a consent for 15,000 cows.

Under advice from Motu and the PCE the farming community found a straw to clutch on – that if cow numbers did not increase, nor, eventually, would the quantity of methane emissions. If cow numbers did not increase.

While its clear enough that this is the last thing that should be happening here and now there seems to be little in the law to prevent it. The resource management act, designed to protect environments, has no provision for the environments greatest threat and has, in any case, be progressively eroded as the business growth agenda of the last 9 years progressed. The water wars are starting now and I can’t imagine how they will end.

In Africa 9 of the 13 of the oldest baobab trees died in the last decade. They were between 1100 and 2500 years old. The ancient cedars of Lebanon, also many centuries old, are dying now. Irrigation systems systems suck the environments around them dry, right when the coming changes already threaten to take them to the brink.

Listening to rain used to be soothing. Not any more. We’ve broken the very bounds of rain and now it is drifting away from our understadning.

I first discovered the works of James K Baxter at the school library. In that environment he prised open a crack through which the light could arrive. It was in the damp fields around Hiruharama that he quoted this old saying.

He roimata ua, he roimata tangata.

They sky sheds tears in sympathy with the grief of people. Into all of this, right here and now, let me introduce to you the unbreakable Rosemary Penwarden.

02:00 Activism - the Greenpeace/Anadarko case
03:00 Dairy Farming - turning into a factory
05:30 Interesting to see who opposes this
08:30 Negotiating with the police
12:05 Alone in the police cells
13:15 The 316 tattoo
14:20 The inconcievable change
15:30 The grandkids
16:30 Why isn't everyone involved in this?
17:00 Talking with the family about climate change
17:50 Water Crisis
19:30 Don't drink the tap water while pregnant
20:40 A grandmother's rage
21:30 Ashburton people getting sick from the tap water
22:40 The toxicity that builds up in a place
23:45 Moving on to coal - the connection with milk
24:00 Locked up inside an irrigation pipe
24:50 All of Fonterra's South Island factories burn coal
28:00 Energy and water expended to create and export milk powder
28:30 How milk powder is used in China - the system at war with the planet
30:10 Our debt to the future
31:00 Can we look back and laugh at the nineties?
32:25 What do the people on the right think about this
33:25 Finding the things that activate people
34:00 People in gaslands starting to see the change in people too
35:25 Starting the nudge the nose of the juggernaught
35:50 No hope for the world we grew up in. Hope for the return of fairness
36:40 The group in the garage: EVs, e-bikes, welding and weaving
37:40 Mecury energy EV
38:30 Battery storage systems
38:45 When we get together and face it we feel better
39:40 Teaching the grandchildren practical skills
40:20 Sense of people coming together
41:20 Young people and the climate movement
42:20 Green split focus arguments

This episode was recorded, through the magic of the internet, in Hastings and Dunedin at the same time.

I have planned to use this episode to talk with Dr Terrence Loomis about his book on the oil and gas industry in New Zealand, and also to get the back story behind the objections in the media and from the National party about the recent exploration decision. I’ll supply links to the things he’s discovered. Sufficed to say, the complaints about lack of notification along with the statements about this decision resulting in more emissions not less; range from disingenous to childish: “if we don’t do this, someone else will”.

More importantly, none of those arguments make sense in the light of the current emergency.

Which is to say, while 2018 sweep the worlds and wildfires rage through the Arctic circle, we are still imagining there are plenty of decades left to play with.

And there simply are not.

Stuff you should read now:

Petroleum development and environmental conflict in Aotearoa, New Zealand.

DOC and pipelines in the MacKenzie

Crown sales of high country land

Irrigation schemes in Canterbury

Seven Rivers Walking: A feature documentary – an intimate portrayal of the struggles around water in Canterbury

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