Source: Kevin Hester
On the 27th of October, 2016, I attended two “Meet and Greet” public events with Green Party of Aotearoa co-leader and minister, Metiria Turei.
The turnout for these two events was abysmal and must have been disheartening for the organisers and the minister, with only a handful of people turning up to meet theturnout was simply appalling, but it got worse.
At the first event I counted 8 people excluding the Minister and ‘handlers'( one of whom lauded the “Progressive Barack Obama”, I pointed out that President Obama is currently bombing 7 countries, that the Pentagon is the single largest user of fossil fuels on the planet and that Obama is a functionary of the military industrial complex, he called that comment a conspiracy theory!! I additionally pointed out that the term “Conspiracy Theory” was coined by the C.I.A.).
At the second event there were only 5 people who bothered to turnfor the co-leader of a major political party! Alarm bells should be ringing loud and clear.
The purpose of me taking a 35 minute ferry ride across the Waitemata Harbour and a longer car drive across the congested city was to hand out flyers to the party faithful for my forthcoming presentation with Professor Guy McPherson at the Unitec campus in Auckland. My carbon footprint for the effort, for what little was achieved was enormous due to the poor turnout.
At the first meeting, I asked the minister to discuss with the party policy division the necessity and merits of declaring a planetary climate emergency, considering we are patently in the midst of one. I mentioned that NZ was the first country in the world where women ripped the right to vote, from the vice like grip of the patriarchy and that our nation had been a world leader in becoming the first nation to be declared nuclear free and that this presented a fantastic opportunity to lead from the front and set a global standard. The minister replied that we can’t tell everyone “That the world is going to hell in a hand basket, if we do, people will lose the will to act”. I find this position spurious, patronising and symptomatic of the failed system of not trusting members of the public with the truth. Anyone with an internet connection can see we are in an undeclared emergency, the lack of acceptance of that emergency will only make it worse and loses valuable time to warn and prepare our youth of the impending chaos. Understating the severity of the predicament does everyone a disservice.
I often use the analogy of the sinking of the Titanic to describe our unfolding climate catastrophe. After the Titanic had been holed by an iceberg, in it’s headlong rush to set a record in the trans-Atlantic passage on it’s maiden voyage. Within minutes, the Captain, designer and senior crew knew that the ship would founder and that there were insufficient life-rafts for the number of people on board, a result of arrogance and hubris, made in the design stage of the vessel when everyone was told that the ship would be un-sinkable. Famous last words!
The writer of this blog has completed 16 ocean passages on small cruising yachts. Had I been the skipper of the Titanic, I would have immediately released all the people from the below decks ‘Steerage compartments”, brought them to the grand saloon and told them of the severity of the predicament. I would have called for all the skilled tradespeople to gather together, form teams, choose skilled advisers and develop strategies to use the available furniture, ropes and buoyancy devices to make improvised life-rafts.
What they could have done in the calm, cold waters would be to launch the improvised life-rafts, tie them between two or more of the ships life-rafts and create floating platforms that the passengers could board keeping them out of the frigid Atlantic waters. This would have saved the bulk of the passengers had it been done and reduced some of the chaos that ensued. The opportunity to act was lost because only a small number of people were trusted with the knowledge that the ship was sinking.
Our biosphere is in collapse now, not far off in the future, we should be building “life-rafts ” now and the truth should be told, not withheld. We can’t save this sinking ship but we can prepare for the worst, buy time and relish the good times while they last.
I believe one of the reasons so little is being done is the false assumption that the worst effects of abrupt climate change won’t happen until long off in the future ( tell the people of Kiribati that!), when there is ample evidence that we are already in abrupt climate change.
The planet may have warmed 5C in 13 years once before, Professor Guy McPherson and I believe it could be happening again.
” Following a doubling in carbon dioxide levels, the surface of the ocean turned acidic over a period of weeks or months and global temperatures rose by 5 degrees centigrade – all in the space of about 13 years. Scientists previously thought this process happened over 10,000 years.
“We’ve shown unequivocally what happens when CO2 increases dramatically — as it is now, and as it did 55 million years ago,” Wright said. “The oceans become acidic and the world warms up dramatically.”
Whilst it is not certain that this happened in such a short period of time, the mere fact that it is a possibility dictates that we should follow the precautionary principle and prepare for the worst.
Key principle #12 in the party policy document reads “Transparency, credibility and education are essential if all stakeholders are to accept the policy framework and change their behaviour as a result.” I believe the Greens are in breach of this principle by not facing up to the severity of the predicament we are confronting, are not being “transparent” and totally lack credibility on this issue.
My reasons for resigning from The Green Party earlier this year was covered here by The Daily Blog.
Dr James E Hansen, sometimes refered to as the “Grand Father of Climate Change” once believed that Planet Earth would “Go Venus”, the surface temperature of Venus is 462 degrees C, that melts lead. Whilst Hansen no longer believes that we will “Go Venus” it is now patently obvious that the planet will soon become uninhabitable.
Oliver Tickell in a well researched 2008 article in The Guardian stated that after we breach the 4C mark all we can expect isarticle is embedded below;
On a planet 4 degrees C hotter all we can plan for is extinction.
4C could eventuate in as little as a decade!
Professor Guy McPherson and I will be conducting a nationwide speaking tour of N.Z. next month with our keynote presentations being live streamed to the net allowing those interested to follow the tour world wide. Tour details including venues are imbedded in the Facebook event below. Please feel free to invite any of your friends interested in the unfolding 6th Great Extinction
“At the edge of extinction, only love remains”
Kevin Hester: Activist, sailor, passionate about the earth. Brace for impact, based on the way the world is being operated and treated. Live every day as precious.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Oceania Saker.