Showing posts from June, 2021

Doing it by the book

  On the occasion of a recent birthday I was given a copy of a newly published book. It's called 'Climate Aotearoa - What's happening & what can we do about it'. It's edited by Helen Clark who also wrote the introduction, and the contributors are a range of climate scientists and commentators.   So I settled down in an armchair with a cup of tea and my new book. It's full of great information and insights, and I am very pleased to report that a number of themes which I have covered in this column feature prominently.   I confess I got a bit bogged down in the introduction so I skipped forwards to the first chapter from Haylee Koroi, an indigenous sovereignty activist and Māori public health advisor. Her words certainly come from the heart and one can't argue with the historical facts presented.   One would expect a book such as this to kick off with a rallying cry, perhaps coralling all citizens of the country to come together and address the very seriou

The gulf between us

  I wrote recently about timescales and how we sometimes refer to mind-bendingly long periods of time in convenient terms like the 'Cambrian explosion' - which lasted for something like 20 million years. Today I was reading about the marine protection areas of the Hauraki Gulf which are shortly to be expanded under the 'Revitalising the Gulf' strategy announced by the ministers for Oceans and Fisheries, and Conservation respectively.   This latest move will see the fully protected area of the Gulf rise from 0.3% to just over 5%. Sounds like a big enough increase - the Hauraki Gulf covers some 1.2 million hectares so the increase is from 3,600 Ha to 60,000Ha. Then I looked at a map showing all the new protection areas and was immediately struck by how small 5% of an area looks when you look at all of it.   You could say the fully protected area will increase by over 1,600% if you wanted to sound impressive. It's a bit like cricket - all depends on which way you want

Car package works for me

  I have, on a couple of occasions, had cause to write to Jamie Shaw who is now the minister for climate change. I didn't receive a reply on either occasion - not from anyone. He must exist though, because I recently heard him quoted in the news as saying that the last time there were concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere at the level we have now, there were palm trees in the Antarctic. Oh. Well thanks for that Jamie, now that you have thrown the situation into such stark relief I guess we had all better do something about it. Seriously, are there any quotable pithicisms left with which to attempt to frighten the public into action? He went on to say that a major part of our contribution to greenhouse gases comes from us driving between the cities in this country. As I heard this I was, myself, driving. I have to tell you it was almost enough to make me pull over and walk.   There followed one or two other news items; I don't really remember, I was too busy wondering at the a

The truth is ...

  I became vegetarian about four years ago.   There were two reasons. One was to slow down the inexorable expansion of the waistline which was becoming difficult to ignore. Then there was the added benefit of not being party to any unnecessary cruelty to animals. For most of my life I have experienced a sense of unease in relation to being a carnivore. I am prepared to accept the notion that the presence of canine teeth in my mouth indicates that humans have eaten meat for a very long time - but it does not mean I should, merely that there is an undeniable precedent for it. Another benefit of being a vegetarian has been that it has given me the opportunity to inform people that the word 'vegetarian' does not, in fact, come from the word 'vegetable'. Rather, it is derived from the latin word 'vegetus' meaning to thrive, to be healthy. This often comes as a surprise to people - as it did to me when I learned it courtesy of Stephen Fry and the team on the wonderful

Thumbs up for recycling scheme

  I called in to Countdown this afternoon and was reminded that soft plastics recycling is back up and running. This is commendable and full marks to Countdown for it. I can see a couple of potential hurdles though.   The first, and this is easily fixed, is for people like me to stop being so useless and actually make use of the facility which is being offered. I have been saving soft plastics to bring in for a few weeks now. The weak link is my memory. Every time I walk through the entrance; there it is, and I think "Doh! forgot the plastics again". Here's me - supposedly a greenie (I like to think I am) and I can't even organise myself to bring the plastics, which I have gone to the trouble of separating and keeping, in to the collection point. It's a question of habit though isn't it? Once the habit is formed it will become normal and all will be well. It's a bit like when single use shopping bags were discontinued a while ago; we got used to it soon en