Showing posts from June, 2020

Can we reach this goal?

  I wrote, a couple of weeks ago, how rich people consume proportionally more resources than non-rich people. Since then I have been thinking about this, and I have reached what seems to me to be the only possible conclusion; that the environmentally sustainable world to which we 'greenies' aspire must be an impossible dream. Gorge Monbiot said in 2019: "If everyone pursues private luxury there are simply not enough resources to meet everyone’s needs." At first glance this statement appears to be true. But what he says is "if everyone pursues..." Of course everyone does but not everyone achieves it. This is why those who succeed in their pursuit of private luxury are able to have it - because most people do not succeed.  Yet this is the basis of capitalism, a system built on the principals of progressive economic growth.  Our environment is already breaking under the strain of human development and progress, and yet governments and economists around the

Losing the keys to life.

  We all know that society is dependent on technology. I for one tend to take it for granted. But having been in our new house for ten days now and still being without an internet connection (I'd tell you the story - but neither of us have the time) I have realised all over again how much we rely on it: There's no TV, no email, no online gaming for the teenagers, no web surfing. A lack of internet forces one to live a different life. The teenagers have come out of their bedrooms and have been communicating with us via the spoken word - that's different!   Having to connect through my mobile phone every time I want to check the email takes me back into the mists of time when we had dial-up connections. And watching TV with the set top box hooked up through the phone is fine until it decides to go slow - or drop the connection altogether. Then on Saturday night I was sorting out the post-shifting chaos in the garage and that must have been when I lost my car key. On Sunda

Benefits of the burbs.

  Last weekend we finally finished moving into our new house, and from where I'm sitting right now I can see the lights inside the new   and enormous APL factory just outside Cambridge, I can see the traffic hurrying in either direction on the new freeway, and I can see the lights up and down Victoria Road in and out of town.   Immediately surrounding our house though, is a swathe of green on three sides with encroaching suburbia on the far edges of all fields.This is all recent development too; you don't have to have lived around here for very long to remember the right side of the road from Cambridge to Hautapu being all farmland. Of course, as a greenie, or at least a person with a environmental conscience, my initial reaction to the view from our house was one of dismay at the speed with which green is turning to grey. But then I thought about it and I'm not sure that it is all bad. Here's the rationale, along with a disclaimer against the chance that I am ent

Time for confession.

  Here was a dilemma, and me on the horns of it. I had occasion, recently, to take a horse float full of rubbish to the Hamilton Refuse Transfer station - the dump. We were weighed on the way in and then again on the way out: 960 kilos of rubbish later. The rubbish pile had been in the rain though, so some of that was water. This was essentially a house lot. Almost every conceivable type of refuse including an old bed. To give some context; we were under strict time pressure with the loan of the float and a deadline by which to have the house cleaned and cleared out, and thus have the best chance of getting the bond back. And it was raining. The dilemma was this: I knew, as I was chucking stuff over the edge, that a fair bit of it could have been recycled, repurposed, donated, or otherwise kept in circulation. To do this would have taken considerably more time than was available; days rather than hours I suspect, to do it properly. We threw out a fair bit of paper which could ha

Boom times are making way.

  Whilst researching this week's column I was surprised to learn that I am a baby boomer. The criterion for being one is to be born between 1946 and 1964, which I was. I have long known that the baby boomers are generally held to be responsible for the rise in consumerism of recent decades, I just didn't realise I was, even if only just, one of them . My generation was apparently wealthier, more active, more physically fit and possessed of higher expectations of the world than our forbears. Yes, we expected more from the world and we took it. During our generation we have seen an explosion of ways in which materials can be used and discarded. We have seen ever more efficient methods of extracting raw materials from the earth. We strip mined the land to remove vast amounts of coal which we then burned to produce power to run factories to make goods which we used for a few years and then discarded. It's OK though because economies must grow to be considered healthy and the