To Fight Climate Change NZ Needs Legislation Fit For Purpose

2020 is the start of the new decade and it’s crunch time for climate change. Emissions will need to be substantially reduced by the end of this decade, whether we like it or not.

Jacinda Ardern started her 2017 election campaign by saying “Climate change is my generation’s nuclear-free moment. I am determined that we will tackle it head on.”

Excellent. But fast forward to 2020. Why do we still have OMV embarking on oil explorations off the coast of New Zealand? How have they managed to avoid a head on confrontation?

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Climate Change: There is No Need for Doom and Gloom – Yet!

The huge turnouts last week for the climate marches throughout the country indicate that finally people are worried. It is dawning on people that we can longer ignore global warming and all its implications for our country and our planet.

It would be easy to descend into doom and gloom because the situation does appear hopeless. But it does not need to be hopeless – yet. The situation is only hopeless if those in positions of economic and political power insist in carrying on the way they have done for the past half century.

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Capitalism is Rubbish

The first rule of capitalism is that everything must make a profit. The second rule is that the profit must increase each year. The economy must keep growing. This means more and more raw materials are used up and more and more energy is used up, much of it from non-renewable sources. It means more emissions and more pollution of the environment. And more and more old stuff to get rid of so the newly produced stuff can be sold. Because that’s the only way profits can keep growing. Continue reading

No Wonder The Kids Are Angry – It’s Their Future We Are Stuffing Up

The day has finally come. The kids have worked out that today’s so called ‘adults’ are literally stuffing up their future. They are taking to the streets to let us know how they feel about this. They are angry. They are upset. They want to put a stop to it. And if the adults know what’s good for them, they’d better start listening. Business as usual is not going to cut it with the younger generation. Continue reading

The Way We Do Recycling Is Rubbish

The way we do recycling is rubbish. It is rubbish because the main goal has been to make money out of it.

In New Zealand, local councils thought they could make money by saving the costs of running their local landfills. Companies thought they could make money by collecting it up, doing a bit of rough sorting and shipping off the raw materials to somewhere else where labour is cheap and worker health and safety and environmental regulations next to non-existent. Places where there were plenty of people willing to clamber over the piles of imported ‘recyclables’ pulling out the stuff that is clean enough and easy enough to reprocess, for next to nothing in wages. And with no idea of the damage being done to their health, and the health of the environment they lived in, by exposure to many of the items in the piles. Continue reading

Let’s Talk About Taxpayer Funded Elections

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said last week that she is open to having a debate on taxpayer funding for political parties. And that she personally would “like a scenario where political parties did not have to fundraise.”

We say, “bring it on.” Our current election funding system is an affront to democracy. It allows wealthy individuals, businesses, and interest groups to put undue pressure on existing political parties by way of large donations. And as we have seen in the past two elections, only the very wealthy are in a position to form new political parties and seriously contest the election. Continue reading

A Living Wage Might Be Our Best Shot At Saving The Planet

Our planet is awash with stuff. Stuff produced using energy provided by fossil fuels, in the main. Stuff that is made out of petroleum-based products. Stuff that uses up valuable and finite resources, such as fresh water and minerals. Stuff that requires pesticides and other harmful chemicals to grow and to process. Slowly but surely, all this stuff is stuffing up the planet. Continue reading

Trade Agreements For The 21st Century

The world has changed significantly since the emergence of ‘free’ trade in the 1980s. In 2017 tariffs are the least of our worries.

We now know that the earth’s resources are finite and are being used up much faster than they can be replenished.

We know that carbon dioxide emissions are set to cause catastrophic climate change if we do not act quickly to reduce them. Continue reading

You Have To Be Green To Be Red?

Environmental issues and social justice are intertwined. Global warming can only be averted by using the Earth’s resources in a fair and sustainable way.

Likewise, social justice can only occur if global warming is at least contained. Those most at risk from a planet with frequent extreme climate events, pollution, and scarcity of resources, are the same people at risk from unscrupulous employers who refuse to pay a living wage and provide safe working conditions. Continue reading