Matt Shepherd, Sylvia Otley and Luke Geddes from the Youth Working Group of the Otago UN Regional Centre for Expertise on Education for Sustainable Development
Dr Caroline Orchiston isÂ Research Fellow and Deputy Director of the Centre for Sustainability at the University of Otago.Â Â She has an interest in resilience from the perspectives of tourism and communities, particularly in the context of natural hazard events.
Sustainable: Traditionally itâ€™s always been about preserving what we have now in such a way that it doesnâ€™t encroach on the futures ability to do so.
Success: Successfully negotiating parenthood and staying in academia as well as writing my thesis!
Activist: I love activism, personally I choose to do other things in my life to create action but Iâ€™m fully supportive of activists. I do think it is very important to make a difference at some point in your life.
Motivation: Just doing work that might have some positive environmental or societal impact.
Miracle: My miracle would be that people start accepting people of other religions and cultural perspectives, I think that would make the world a much happier place.
Advice: Engage with your community, figure out what is happening locally, if a disaster occurs those connections will be really helpful… as well as trying and find value in everything that you are doing!
I would like to do the sorts of projects that 30 years down the line, if the world has gone to hell, people will say “thank god we did this”, and if 30 years down the line nothing has gone to hell and everything is fine then people will say “oh my god, I’m so glad we did this”.
Gail May-Sherman is chair of the Natural Heritage Society – the group behind Transition Oamaru and Waitaki District.
There’s a group of people here who shared our ideals and really wanted to make a difference.
We need to interact with people – we need to be unified in times to come.
We are preparing out community for changes
Trying to get people to understand that lifestyles need to change and it needs to change pretty rapidly
Realisation that just organic farming wasn’t enough – we need skills
We don’t expect everyone to stand up and be warriors
Whether these changes happen or not, I’m want to able to say I’m so glad we did this.
Our criteria for a course in the Summer School is that it has to help our community either by keeping certain skills in the community, or by helping people reach out and become more connected to each other.
Music brings people together
in the Summer School, we’re not trying to convince anybody of anything, we’re trying to offer things to make sure our community has these skills. Whether these bad things happen in the community or not, it will still make our community a better place.
I would like to do something positive, regardless of what the future holds.
I grew up in Colorado – changes in the climate are much more obvious there than in New Zealand. When I was a little girl, if you planted a garden before the 1st of June, there was a really high probability that you would lose everything to the last frost at the end of May. By the time I left, if I hadn’t planted by garden by the end of April, I wouldn’t get a harvest. Because not only had the frosts left by the middle of April, but by the middle of June temperatures would be 37-40 degrees C, and they would stay that way for three months, with effectively no rain – and watering restrictions because of droughts, extreme droughts. Gardening became an entirely different thing. I have two children. I saw these changes happening to where I grew up. I used to read the newspaper…I saw what was happening with politics and finances, and I saw people around me becoming desperate, living amongst relatively affluent home owners, but still people were struggling, yet the prices of everything were increasing, and there was this tremendous pressure to keep buying. And then we learned about Peak Oil, and the US without cheap oil will be a disaster. So I slowly but surely felt like a person chained to the rail-road tracks and saw the train coming. I felt like myself, and my family, and everyone I loved was in terrible peril, because I couldn’t see any way of making where we lived a place that could survive the kinds of changes that seem to be coming on us. So when we decided to leave, I promised myself that wherever we went I didn’t ever find myself in that position – that I felt totally helpless.
The US is a place that’s on a track and I don’t see it going off – it’s going where it’s going, and I don’t think you can change it – I’d be delighted for someone to prove me wrong. But here you can make a difference.
Anywhere you go, you find the same mix – people who see what is happening and who are afraid and want to do something about it, and people who either don’t see it at all or see it and are afraid and therefore want to pretend it doesn’t exist. I wouldn’t want to speak for anyone, but I do believe that that there are a large number of people who simply choose not to believe it because believing it is too hard, too scary.
We can complain, or we can see opportunities. It behoves us to make the best of the opportunity, because that’s the way it is. Turn challenges into community vision and do something really valuable.
I would like to see Oamaru become a city where community members are connected, and know each other and take care of each another. Where we can supply our own basic needs – our food, shelter and clothing. Where our energy requirements can come from non-polluting – or at least, less polluting – more long term sources.
There are all these challenges about reducing our fossil fuel consumption, while not forcing people to go live in caves – a phrase I hear a lot “you guys just want us to go live in caves” – but that’s exactly what we don’t want. So we would like to see Oamaru use a lot of solar and wind power.
A town like Oamaru has very few energy needs that cannot be met through alternative energy sources if we put our minds to it.
The biggest factor is getting people to remember how to take care of each other – to me that’s the biggest goal, to get rid of that social isolation that is such a part of modern life.
Being old isn’t such a tragedy if you are surrounded by a community that cares for you. being young having children isn’t so difficult if you are surrounded by a community that cares for you.
Pick one project, Get people together even if only half a dozen, and get that project working and visible and strong, and you will get more people interested and eventually you will be able to spread your fingers into other pies. The school connected us to a wide variety of people with a wide variety of skills that have now taken off with other projects – so it helps if your project connects a whole lot of community members to begin with.
(Success?) Summer School, community garden propagation, food forest project. In the last few months we’ve taken on at least five new projects.
(Activist?) Kind of. When I think of activist I think of people who go with signs and protesting – and I do that from time to time. I guess I’m an activist but I do it more with an idea of cooperation. When I think of activist I think of people who are trying to make conflict with a particular source that aggravates them – I am not a very conflict oriented individual….I am activist that works through cooperation rather than conflict.
(Motivation?) the future I see my children having. I watched the Soylent Green dystopian vision when my son was about six months old. In the movie one of the characters is an old man who remembers life back when energy was plentiful and food was plentiful and there was flowers and trees, and it suddenly occurred to me that my son was that old man – he was the generation that was was very likely to be the last ones that would remember that kind of world. Unless we change something dramatically, by the time my son is an old man things could be very much worse. And now my daughter is about to have her first baby. Not only would I like my old age to be relatively pleasant, I would like their old ages to be relatively pleasant too. That’s probably the biggest thing that motivates me.
(Challenges?) Getting our community to recognise a need for a change in the way the economy works. We need to start realising that the emphasis on stuff has to go away. We need to learn to live without growing – you have to learn to live with what you have. The last 150 years of growth brought to us by the fossil fuel industry has been fabulous, but we can’t do that any more. We need to change our priorities so that rather than having more and more and getting bigger and bigger, we can live comfortably with where we are.
(Miracle?) Change in attitude. Having people recognise that we can’t keep exploiting things – we have to live in balance. If I could make the fossil fuels go away in a single whoosh then I would, but only if I could be sure it wouldn’t make everyone’s lives hell. That’s the problem with magic wands – you never know what the consequences are going to be. So I don’t want to say there’s one little thing, but if I could just make people see that we can still live wonderful happy lives, they don’t have to be tarred and horrible and miserable…without constantly getting more stuff. If I could get everyone to see that could be not just as nice but could quite easily be preferable as a lifestyle, that would be the wand that I would wave.
(Advice?) If you think that these issues are a problem then you need to start acting on that, it is time for everyone to act. You don’t have to start whole movements, but you need to start making changes, and you need to start supporting other people in making those changes.
This series of conversations in Oamaru was prompted by discussions with Phoebe Eden-Mann following her OU Geography field trip to explore Oamaru as a transition town.
We are very grateful to the helpful folks from 45 South Television for the use of their studio.
There will be conflict, so we need people to recognise those different values.
Prof Richard Morgan teaches and researches environmental management and impact assessment in University of Otago’s Geography Department. A biogeographer who initially worked on the New Forest, his interests broadened to include the investigation of the impacts human activities on soil systems, and from there to the total environment, including humans. He now applies impact assessment to a diverse range of areas such as Health Impact Assessment.
(Water is a resource management problem) – we have to measure what is available, how do we understand the demand for that, how we understand what are the competing demands and how they affect each other, what sort of decision making process is appropriate? Do we simply put a price on water and let people with money buy as much as they need? or do we have some sort of collaborative allocation process?
Water is one of the most contentious issues globally – between communities, between nations. Building dams and denying flows across boundaries, who has access to drinking water and who doesn’t. So understanding how much there is, understanding the seasonal cycles, the natural disruptions to supply, how many droughts we’re going to get in the next 50 years, this is all about having a good understanding that we can then feed into decisions about allocation and sensible usage.
Environmental management is coming in from a different perspective compared to management of an organisation, but we’re still trying to instill professional thinking about how we deal with that.
(Management doesn’t tend work at very long time scales, or to work in areas of finite resources or irreversible decisions) No, and they do have a habit of imposing a discount on their cost/benefit analysis that is ludicrous if you try and do that in natural resources – it just doesn’t work, but that’s not insurmountable.
Different time scales, different spatial scales, being aware of that, and recognising the issues that can arise in those different temporal, spatial scales is important.
The big switch in the last 10-20 years has been recognising values – not just monetary value or narrow utilitarian values – it’s cultural, it’s spiritual, it’s ecological, it’s social – how we take that into account is quite an important area of discussion.
Decision makers are now much more aware that they can’t just take a number, and say “we’ll go with the number and not these expressions of opinion”, now they might be more swayed by good, well founded passionate opinion from a local community than an accountant saying “this is worth so many dollars”.
(Book reference: Stone – do trees have standing? )
How do we play that in our value systems? Deep ecologist: of course. Utilitarian ecologist: well a healthy ecosystem needs those species, we can’t do without them, if we take them out the system is degraded… so it depends on how people what to consider it on a personal philosophical level – then my job as an academic is to point people to those values and say “so what do you think?”.
There will be conflict, so we need people to recognise those different values.
It’s values, every time.
That expression of value is becoming much more important…with increasing recognition of Maori values sets over water, for example, there has had to be a recognition of a holistic sometimes spiritual and ecological and utilitarian set of values.
Sustainability is a moral stance
The sustainability word is problematic because it does take on different meanings for different people, and it doesn’t matter how many academic publications there are saying there are these 5-10 different types of sustainability, that term is owned by the wider population and they will use it as they see fit.
I think what is more important is the ethos, the basic ethos that we need to think carefully about how we live, and how that affects the environment that includes people.
We are making choices every day in what we do, and we need to be thinking about how some of those choices might be having rather unfortunate effects, especially in the longer term.
Fashions change in terms of issues, but the basic ethos that has emerged is human as a species need to think very carefully about how we live, how we use resources – we’ve got to be much more efficient about how we reuse, we’ve got to be much more careful with things that can’t be be reused, choose resources that are not going to pollute to the same extent – I think that message is widely understood. Sustainability is a label that sort of goes over that but perhaps is a bit fuzzy. Maybe we should just talk about the ethos and not worry about the label.
(Motivation?) I’m still keen on being a university academic, every year there’s new minds coming in, new challenging questions, it makes us stop, rethink, perhaps change positions. It’s energising and rejuvinating every year, constantly being challenged.
(Are the new minds changing?) they do want jobs, but still they question and challenge.
(Activist?) No, prodder, questioner. I tend to be in the background. I want to stimulate people’s thinking. I think we have to be quite careful about that – we can’t stand up and say “I’m a professor of geography and therefore my value set should influence you”. But I can stand up and say “me personally, I think this, what do you guys think?”.
(Challenges?) Hand over area of work in impact assessment nationally and internationally – but not fade away too much.
(Miracle?) Solution to sequestering carbon
We shouldn’t be relying on a technical fix, but we should be trying our hardest to cover our options.
(Advice?) Get a good night sleep.
Can we afford policies to address child poverty? First, Yes. Second, Can we afford not to?
Jan Logie is a Green MP. Before becoming an MP Jan worked widely in New Zealand social and human rights organisations. She is Greens spokesperson for Income Support, Immigration, Women, Pacific Island Affairs, Ethnic Affairs, Human Rights, Rainbow Issues, Overseas Development Aid and Associate for Housing. We begin by asking if there is a common thread running through all those areas.
A lot of what is going wrong in our society is around unbalanced power. That’s around people access to things and it’s also around treatment of the planet.
I’ve always been bemused by people making social justice separate from environmental issues – it seems to me that the people messing up our planet are the same people with the wealth and the resources. They are able to do both of those things because they have too much power – an uneven share of power.
Go out and listen to people, rather than tell.
I really want everyone to be able to live up to their potential and live free lives. Domestic and sexual violence are massive barriers to that in New Zealand…epidemic rates…1 in 3 women likely to experience intimate partner violence in their lifetime. In terms of sexual violence, the figures for girls are around 1 in 4, and for boys between 1 in 6 and 1 in 10 are likely to be sexually abused in this country… that’s horrific.
For some people the silence around these issues and the blame around these issues, will mean that they won’t get the help that they need…the consequences of that violence will be really compounded.
We need to make this a priority for us to deal with as a country.
We had a bit of a spate of taking it seriously politically, and then it went off the agenda, it’s almost like “oh we tried…there’s nothing more we can can do”. We’re starting to get another wave of a response, of people saying “this is ridiculous”. It doesn’t have to be like this, we need the systems responses, government departments to actually do what they need to do in response. And they’re not. The systems have been breaking down terribly.
It is absolutely a result of decisions made around the Cabinet table. Womens Refuges have had their baseline funding reduced over the last six years.
(On banknotes getting $80M but sexual violence advocates struggling) It’s just skewy values.
The women’s vote can swing an election.
What is primarily (but not exclusively) male violence against women is founded on a sense of entitlement…and that is founded on women having a lesser place in society.
Trickle down has been so thoroughly discredited, yet we hear it all the time….(To see how it doesn’t work)…you only have to look at how productivity has increased so much more than wages.
Child poverty is outrageous. A quarter of our children living in poverty. Numbers are disputed, but it was about 10% in the 1980s, and now it is around a quarter. And the levels of severe deprivation have increased.
They aren’t getting enough food, they don’t have warm houses, their houses are damp, they don’t have proper clothing, or shoes without holes.
Houses full of nothingness.
We’re taking out all of the things that help our children and young people grow and learn and thrive – they’ve just been sucked out of their lives by government policies.
Think about how important the first seven years are to someone’s entire life – and what we are doing to them, and as a consequence to all of us. It will require much more expensive interventions later, and it’ll never be an even playing.
To make inter-generational changes: start. Go beyond piecemeal.
Claims that you just need to be out working, shows a lack of understanding of the complexity of people’s lives and what we consider work. There’s also not enough jobs. And what about people with disabilities…are we saying that they’re not deserving to participate in society? And the value of parenting? And because levels of social harm haven’t been fully addressed…and not everyone is going to fit into our ultra-efficient high performing world. Some people fit into that and some people don’t – are we saying that they don’t deserve to be able to live a decent life?
There’s a really strong interaction between income support and work policies, we need to make people help make those links. It is in most of our interests to drive towards a high wage economy, where part of that economy is a decent social security system.
I’m getting a sense that there is a cultural shift away from individualism.
A meritocracy, deserving/undeserving poor concept rests on an individualistic approach. I’m sensing a cultural shift towards recognising our interdependence and the links between us.
The world, sadly, is proving our policies right. (would you like to be wrong on some of them?) Absolutely.
That’s the biggest question facing any movement for social change. How do we get there? The policies are clear, but it’s how do we bring people to the idea that those policies might actually work, that we all have something to gain from these policies.
There’s too big a gap between parliament and our social movements.
I see amazing people doing amazing things, and think this is really exciting, how do we create the tipping point of cultural understanding?
New Zealand has had a really vibrant civic society, that has characterised our society…the weakening of that it a huge lose to our society.
In my heart I’m an activist. But maybe I’m too deeply compromised as a politician…I like to think I’m an activist-politician.
The whole world feels a better place if you are active and trying to create the world you want.
(Miracle question) If everyone suddenly got that we’re all in this together.
Bryan Bruce’s survey of political parties on child poverty.
Patricia Widener who discussed the role of activism and social movements.
Pillaging the planet for every last ounce of resource in the hope that we can continue to live our lives exactly as we’ve always done is not sustainable growth.
Grant Robertson is the MP for Wellington Central. He is Shadow Leader of the House, he is Labour Spokesperson for Economic Development, Spokesperson for Employment, Skills and Training and Associate spokesperson for tertiary education, the SIS and Arts, Culture and Heritage. He grew up in Dunedin and was student president at University of Otago. He was visiting Dunedin wearing his Regional Development cap.
I think the legacy of this government will end up being around cronyism
No politician should ever feel that they are above the law
Willful blindness is not acceptable
I think I’ve got a good sense of right and wrong, and when I see something that is wrong I don’t like sitting by
(on Labour introducing student fees in the late 1980s as part of neo-liberal reforms) I wasn’t a member of the 4th Labour Party then and I wouldn’t have voted for them either – those things took New Zealand in the wrong direction…The Labour Party of today – and indeed the Labour Party of the Helen Clark government – is very very different. I recognise that we do have to re-earn the trust of those people, but I’m from a different generation. I opposed those things, I marched against them and I’ve done my best to undo them.
(Why don’t students protest so much now?) I think it is a self-fulfilling prophecy, education has become very commodified, the people that can afford to be there are there and the people that can’t afford to be there aren’t. Students are trying to get through in the shortest amount of time possible to incur the least amount of debt.
(As a staffer in Helen Clark’s government) Interest free student loans made a huge difference…
I felt a real emotional sense of having wound something back, we were able to bring it back to something better.
(On student allowances) We’re moving to everyone getting an allowance.
According to DMB Financial reviews, 20 cuts to loans and allowances in this government, the most insidious cut is the cutting of post-graduate allowances… New Zealand needs more people doing post-grad study not less…mad!
We’ve created a situation where 37% of our population lives in Auckland, projected to get as high as 45%, there is no capital city or large city in the developed world that has that level of the country’s population. It’s not good for country, we’re seeing the problems today and they’ll just get worse.
we desperately need regional economic development…we need a spread across New Zealand in the way in which jobs are created.
Dunedin is an example of a city with huge potential and opportunity, it just needs some support to catalyse that.
The strategic advantages for Dunedin are education, ICT and health.
When you’ve got a regional development policy with a government as an active partner, then you’ll start to solve some of the problems.
(Coal on the West Coast) The Labour Party knows that we have to transition off fossil fuels…we have to go there, the world’s gone there already, its about timing and about phasing, it’s about saying how do we use the resources that we have available to us…we have to have a plan for transition, while the resources are there the Labour Party believes that we should use them but is has to be part of a planned transition.
(On differences with Greens) Resolvable tensions
I’m both cautious and doubtful about oil and gas…it’s being promoted as an amazing silver bullet…but they haven’t found anything. That’s because now they are having to desperately drill in places they never would have thought of drilling, depths they never would have thought of drilling because we’ve reached peak oil.
New Zealand needs to think very carefully about (oil and gas), we don’t have the response capability, and while accidents are uncommon, they are catastrophic. I’m not comfortable unless we have stronger regulation…a regime more similar to the RMA…improve the response capability…health and safety…with all of those changes it it possible for it to be done, but it’s by no means a blanket agreement that it should be. Seismically, areas around the east coast of New Zealand are not appropriate, maybe it is OK over in the Taranaki Basin. But I’m very cautious and very doubtful and it’s certainly not where I think the future of New Zealand lies.
Growth is possible but we have to rethink what growth means
Pillaging the planet for every last ounce of resource in the hope that we can continue to live our lives exactly as we’ve always done is not sustainable growth.
It is growth, but it’s not unfettered growth.
We can’t grow the economy on dairy alone. Paul Callaghan calculated that to keep out standard of living now based on growth in dairy alone, we would have to quadruple our dairy output – well we’re not going to do that we’d destroy our country if we did that. Primary industries have got a place, they’re very important to us, but he future well-being of New Zealanders is in other sorts of industries that are added value, that are lighter on the planet.
We can do so much better to capture value.
There’s a core to me, fairness, opportunity and spreading the benefits of economic development more fairly, more evenly in society…giving all people opportunity regardless of their financial or family background.
At the UN the principle of fairness was key…with the caveat of the Security Council…it is one country one vote, on the floor of the General Assembly Swaziland is as important as the United States – I like that.
It’s quite clear to me that Labour and the Greens will be able to work well together. The Greens have taken a different attitude this time around, they want to be in government…a big call for them but we know there is scope for negotition.
75% of voters who gave their electorate vote to the Maori Party gave their party vote to Labour. I have no idea what the Maori Party is doing on the right – they haven’t got much out of it, I think they’re part of a government that has potentially damaged Maori and Maori aspirations.
(on the Green’s Carbon tax versus Labour’s support for the ETS) I don’t think they are major differences, both of them are aimed at reducing emissions, both set a price on carbon, one’s a market based mechanism, the other is a tax…in end we can talk that through. we both want to do something, we both know that we urgently need to do something.
The current government has utterly undermined the ETS – failed to include the sectors that we needed to include to make it a real scheme…done terrible things to the forestry sector. we need a proper functioning ETS, but we can work on a climate tax.
Other differences (Labour and Greens) resource extraction issues – manageable but quite different policies, minor differences around taxation, but the spirit is OK, and I think the values of the party are ones that the Greens can look at, and say ‘we can work with these’, we are different parties…we work work with the people, more often than not we’re working closely with them, every day.
It’s coopertition, we are cooperating, but we’re also putting our own platforms forward and asking people to vote for them.
(On people not voting) We have to make politics relevant and making our campaign positive, our biggest problem in 2011 was we told people what we were against, not what we were for…we’re talking about the kind of country we want to be.
Non-voting is a global trend and it comes back to the nature of how we do politics…
Social media…is a conversation…it’s hard for politicians to make the time…but I’m keen for it to be me, not someone pretending to be me
The younger generation are interested in issues as opposed to parties (political!)…if you give young people issues that they care about, they’ll get involved.
Challenges: child poverty, economic challenges around sustainable growth and jobs in the regions
Advice: Vote. It does matter.
Labour’s Policy Platform
Despite our increasing IQ, the bombardment of conflicting information combined with a paucity of training in critical thought renders us bewildered cynics, unable to manage our increasing complex world
Emeritus Professor of Political Studies at theÂ University of OtagoÂ James (Jim) FlynnÂ researches intelligence andÂ isÂ well known for his discovery of the Flynn effect, the continued year-after-year increase ofÂ IQÂ scores. Â His research interests include humane ideals and ideological debate, classics ofÂ political philosophy, and race, class and IQ. Â HisÂ books combine political and moralÂ philosophyÂ withÂ psychologyÂ to examine problems such as justifying humane ideals and whether it makes sense to rankÂ racesÂ andÂ classesÂ by merit. Â Flynn campaigns passionately for left-wing causes, and became an initiating member of both theÂ NewLabour PartyÂ and of theÂ Alliance. Â He is currently working on a book on climate change.
Our fundamental question to Prof Flynn isÂ if people are getting smarter, how come we’re making such a mess?
We are seeing a gain in ability to solve cognitively challenging problems in an increasingly complex world around them.
Universities are failingÂ to train critical thought.
I intended studying maths, but I realised it was too much like chess – an interesting diversion. Â To engage in real problems that mattered, the hard ethical problems I moved to political philosophy.
Young people are being bombarded with information, without the tools to manage this they are turning off, becoming cynics – less politically active, less informed.
Young people today are no more liberated than a medieval serf. Â AÂ medieval serf didn’t have the equipment to think beyond what society told him, these young people may be cynics, but they don’t have the conceptual skills and the information and the historical depth to their thinking to really counter the modern world.
It’s a very bewildering world if you cant find any guideposts to find your way through it.
Universities aren’t giving a critical toolset – you know a lot about spanish literature, or geography or torts, but then you are let loose on the world without a trained mind to analyse it.
One of the chief confusions among students is they are being given conflicting information on climate change – perhaps the greatest issue of our time.
Today with globalisation, climate change we have infinitely more complex issues in the past…today weÂ are menaced by problems that we weren’t in the past
Many things disillusion you when you study climate change, Â I have always preached against materialism – that is defining yourself by your possessions, and IÂ continue to do so, because every one of them that doesn’t want a 10,000 sq foot house and a new car every year and wants to serve people, be humane, every oneÂ votes with their feet, the more of those people there are, the better of we’ll be. On the other hand, climate change may well derail the world in terms of industrial productivity.
If only I couldÂ turn everyone into a humanist…
If you reconcile yourself to the fact that the first worldÂ is not going to share with the third world, and the only way that people are going to come out of poverty is that industrialisation keeps marching on and some of it manages to filter its way into the third world, you’re in the ludicrous position of saying that I want the world’s gross national production to continue to increase over the rest of this century. It’s not my ideal but its the only way I can see…we need to get nations in Africa/SE Asia to adopt middle class aspirations…or else we’re going to breed ourselves out of space. Â So despite my anti-materialism, I want the industrial machine of the world not to fall apart. Â I would prefer that there is industrial progress, that filters into Africa,and gives them the aspirations that means we won’t have this terrible population explosion.
Everyone wants a growth economy, no one wants to see their standard of living diminish. Â The only way you can have a growth economy is to freeze temperature at its present level through climate engineering, to stop emissions increasing over the next 50 years, and then at about the 50 year point(because we won’t be able to hold it forever), and make sure thatÂ by then we have moved to a more…cleaner and more equitable society.
You can’t exploit the earth forever.
Am I optimistic? No. Â I feel there’s a chance. Â I’m presenting a third way that means you could at least write scenario that would get us out of this mess. Â Clean energy by 2050, do away with carb0n based fuels by 2100, Â hold the temperature down in the meantime with climate engineering, thanks to industrial progress in the meantime that has set Africa on the way to middle class aspirations to peak our population. Â There are a lot of ifs in there aren’t there! Â But at least it’s coherent and better than what we’re doing. Â What we are doing is just crazy – there’s no chance at all of this working.
You can’t work for an ideal until you know what is possible.
My heart is not in a place that is focussed solely on making money, business has to be about more than that.
Prof Brendan Gray specialises in marketing, strategy and entrepreneurship with a focus on sustainable entrepreneurship, particularly in the Pacific. Recently he hosted the Climate Smart Entrepreneurship symposium.
Pacific Island communities are among the first to feel the effects of anthropogenic climate change, with increasingly severe storms, high tides, rising sea levels and salination of fresh water supplies negatively affecting their lives. These impacts, plus other ecological problems and natural disasters, make it difficult for at-risk communities to become economically and socially resilient.
For years we’ve been told to buy more, more frequently, and for less. It’s not surprising that “don’t buy stuff” is such a challenge.
Note: We apologise for the somewhat strained sound in parts of this interview. Sam got it wrong. Geoff had to rescue it. Thanks Geoff.