On the path of least resistance

 I called in to the dairy at Hautapu yesterday and spotted a poster on the notice board. It was advertising the new Sharing Shed at Country Creche, and above the picture of shelves full of home grown produce, were the words: "Take what you need, share what you can." That sounds like a good idea - something to live by. The problem is the gap between what we need and what we want.

This morning I wanted to drive the car to work; it had been raining all night, the ground was wet and the sky very grey with only the odd patch of blue. What I needed was to get to work. I finally made the decision to ride the bike, it keeps me moving and doesn't burn any fossil fuel. In fact, me riding around town on a bike is as much about fitness as saving the planet. I really don't believe that individual actions are going to reverse the current slide towards climate and environmental collapse. That is going to have to come from governments, and possibly David Attenborough, they do seem to be listening to him.

And so it is encouraging, even exciting, to hear that China has expressed its intention to reach carbon zero by 2060 and Boris Johnson has pledged to have 30% of the UK's land under some form of environmental protection by 2030.

These things are moving in the right direction but is it happening fast enough? One year on from the UK's commitment to carbon zero by 2050 there hasn't really been much progress towards it, even with the drop in CO2 emissions which has resulted from the Covid crisis. 

Can enough be done to turn it all around? Populations around the world are still going to grow, and all those new people will need somewhere to live. And all countries, which are not at war with themselves or others appear still to be tied to the notion that economic growth is a necessity.

So how are we going to manage the inexorable expansion of world economies and the ever increasing amount of land required to house and feed the continually growing populations at the same time as reversing the freefall into extinction of many of the world's species and the rampant degradation of natural habitats. Not even to mention climate change, which unchecked - as the science indicates it currently is - compounds all of the above problems. Is it not an impossible task - to repair a damaged planet, in a short space of time, with a diminishing range of resources?

It seems a bit redundant to surmise, at this point, that the problems we now face have been caused by people taking what they want rather than what they need. Not only because we have probably passed several points of no return already but also because it's just a fact of life. Water will follow the path of least resistance, as will electricity, as will any animal, including we humans. It's natural. 


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