2010 – are we ahead?

On the basis of where we could have been, no.

But it could have been worse.

Here at home, we are more comfortable, less vulnerable, more sustainable, cashed-up. We can’t help being collectively indebted, of course, via Government and local authority madness, but that’s just the cost of being part of a society in denial.

The pelton-wheel – delivering more power than we can use, 24/7, even in summer, is a wee wonder. Both gardens just continue to get bigger, get better, and deliver more. We go days without going near a shop. The chicken count is now: Bantam broody-mums 3, old battery-hens 1, year-old Brown Shavers 5, rooster 1, yet-to-be determinet progeny 10.

Plans are for a glass-house using second-hand coolstore panel as the down-sun wall, and recycled windows as the rest. And maybe a second one. We’ll grow more fruit and nut trees from seedlings, and keep pushing the orchard area. The old steel water-tank will get plumbed up, as summer back-up (not needed this year)(so far). The old petrol saw-bench will get a fence and a tilt, and I’ll run the macro (dry-stacked 15 years!) into skirting-boards, architraves etc, and finish off the house. Jen wants a pizza oven, I want a plunge-pool, and there are a couple of sheds planned down by the big garden. Plus dreams of a pedal-prop set-up for the little trimaran, a recumbent trike, and………… we won’t be bored…

The boys seem happy with their lives – Ish on the superyacht, back in the water in March and away in April, looking fit, happy, confident.  Jaryd comfortable in his job, in demand rescue-boating, nice girl, it’s all good. Jen backing off to half-time is great too;  often my enjoyment of the freedom here has been tempered by the fact that she’s away at work. Not so now – it’s even, almost!, and we’ll have 4 days a week together.

My effort may be into a book this year – I’ve come to the conclusion that NGO participation won’t change the world in time, given that it hasn’t so far. Better put your energies into something less life-consuming. I seem to be one of the few hassling the media (on peak oil, growth and natural capital depletion) and I’ll probably step up the ante a bit there (being confident, thick-skinned, somewhat comfortable with the subject after all these years – I’ve been studying it longer than some scribes have been alive……) . We may end up with some kind of a show-down there, unfortunately. My target is not to belittle or attack, but these folk so persist in continuing the deception, and so refuse to examine what I suggest (with the partial exception on the Otago Daily Times) they react by instead attacking the messenger. One assumes they know not what they do, still, it’s not acceptable, at this point.

You have to balance life, though. The Paper Tiger is my first fun, and is due a couple of new rudder-blades, and a new sail. We’ll do some more biking, with our longer time off together, but we’ve enough bikes for that, a recumbent, MTB’s each, my triathlon bike, our restored Claude Butler tandem, and a couple of identical folding 20-inch toys. I suspect we might gravitate to the Oamaru scene a bit, bike-wise. A challenge of partial retirement may be staying in touch, keeping fresh. I suspect we”ll be OK, Jen with her work (Enviroschools) me with the writing, but we’ll make sure not to stagnate.

One of the things to be ready with, is a blueprint for those who don’t know what is coming, and who are going to need answers. It’s easy to be doom-predicty – there was a 100% chance that humanity would run into resource depletion, and a 100% certainty that energy would be the key – but harder indeed to come up with a blueprint to address it.

One of the commentators on Interest.co.nz pointed out, rightly, that it is easy to be self-sufficient on 60 acres, suggesting I was being false pushing limits at everyone else. Interestingly, this was a no-limits-to-growth man (you wonder why he is envious, according to him, land is not in short supply) but you immediately realise that he is running scared. These folk are clinging to a belief, a creed, and it’s now outdated. As Lloyd Geering pointed out, beautifully (see previous post). They will need nurtured, these folk. The ‘lefties’ will get it first, the givers in society, out with the soup-kitchens. The right will do it hard – no support community there – all dog-eat-dog, and no relevant experience. The fiscal world, of course, has to morph – within 5 years at the outside, but probably within 1 – and I doubt they’ll get there. I suspect an attempt to park (ignore) debt, and kick-start. That – by the time they evaluate the kick-start – will be the end, too late and chaos-time. Or war.

We can’t do anything about the war possibility, either as individuals or as Kiwis, but that’s the only thing we can’t address. Everything else is to do with being sufficient (self, and more for others) and sustainable. To do with properly accounting natural capital (which includes climate change, pollution, depletion, extinction, and obligations to the future) which may be a revelation for some….

All you can do, is keep you head, keep informed, debate from the high ground, keep an eye on the big picture, and live fully as you do so. Piece of cake. Home-made, of course.

Here goes 2011 – the longer you extend across the top of the gaussian, the sharper the decline on the right-hand side. Will this be the year that the penny drops that the penny has to drop? I’d put money on it…….not!   Pay down debt, learn to grow food, aim for energy-resiliency, keep healthy………. sooner rather than later, it’s gotta happen.



Lloyd Geering Finlay Macdonald RNZ interview

I remember the discussions at home, about Lloyd Geering. Us being Presbys at the time, Mum seriously so, Dad going through the motions, but a Deacon, leader of the Boys Brigade, part of the Mens Club……

Dad had already arrived at the place Geering had just gotten to – not surprising, Dad’s intellect in those days was well into Mensa territory. He and I had discussed this, and it was instrumental in me not getting ‘confirmed’ at Bible Class. Simply, we agreed with Geering that there was a probable historical character, entirely human, who dropped some wise sayings into the cauldron of his times.

So what? George Bernard Shaw, Mark Twain, Alvin Toffer, Ghandi, – the list of those who would pontify is long. History shows up the ones who pontified correctly, of course…..

When society morphs, cases such as the Geering one are part of the upheaval, as was Kent State, and my boss compaining that my hair was too long. The folk I admire, are the ones who see clearly, with long vision, and hold fast. Kenneth Deffeyes, M.King Hubbert, and their kind, often ridiculed, never taking their eyes off the ball.

What was special for me, in the Macdonald interview, wasn’t so much the Geering intellect (hasn’t lost much, eh?) but the comparison with Finlay. Geering gets the fact – has obviously long gotten the fact – that if we can’t duck-shove responsibility onto some mythical deity, then we have to shoulder it ourselves.

In life, this process is called ‘growing’ up. Another word for which is ‘maturing’.

What I heard, was an immature society, represented by the interviewer, asking questions of a mature thinker. Maybe Finlay was cleverly drawing his subject out. Maybe.

I don’t think so. I see Macdonald as I see David Cunliffe, David Parker, as a kind of ‘intellectual left’. That they link with folk like Curran is a historical accident coming from the dark satanic mills via Kurow. (Two generations back, my Gdad was part of that crowd, Granny was a friend of ‘Nordy’ till she died).

What Geering said, when he stated that the Green movement was the new religion, was essentially that we are having to take responsibility for ourselves, and our actions.

Macdonald to me, doesn’t do/get that. He compartmentalises ‘the environment’, as if it is just another equally-weighted sound-byte. Just another topic. On to the next.

What Geering was saying, is way beyond that. He is pointing out that the responsibility for handing on the planet, is in our hands. That doesn’t sit with a western consumption lifestyle – left or right. Those concepts are from a bygone era, where the poor and the rich fought over the cake. Now, we have to nurture the cake itself. No point in having a share of something doomed.

Which is the continued media failure – they continually go ‘from the left and from the right’, constantly have a Macdonalfd up against a Laws, and think themselves balanced. 97% of scientists think we are driving Climate Change, 3% presumably don’t. The media set up a he said/she said, and think they’re being ‘balanced’. They’re not, what they’re saying is that this is a 50/50 debate. That, media, is a lie. Interestingly, suggest something like that to them, and they react like cornered kittens……

In a way, of course, we have to be thankful that we get to hear Geering at all, and of course it is via the media. My question, is whether Finlay understood what Lloyd was saying. Understood that he (Finlay) is continuing to degrade a planet held in trust for our grandchildren and great grandchildren, as Geering put it.

I doubt it. If you grasp that point, you concentrate of the sinking, not the ownership of the deckchairs. Geering was pointing out the bigger picture. A big intellect, a brave man, good citizen. We’d be the poorer without him, we are poorer with a media who seem unable to listen to him, or to understand what he is saying.

John Key, Gerry Brownlee, Peter Dunne – lies?

If there’s one thing Peter Dunne has, it’s political savvy. He knows where it will go, and plays the percentages.

So the fact that he is distancing himself from the Hobbit horseshit, and distancing himself so far he “wants answers”, suggests he is aware that this one is the inexcusable one.

Key has had a dream run so far – no media scrutiny, and a teflon shroud adeptly managed (a ‘surprise’ visit to Afghanistan the day 40,000 march against Schedule 4 mining – unsurprising as it had been unscheduled, but how else do you maintain a distance?) but he’s been operating under a handicap.

A biggie.

He and they, went into their term promising the undeliverable, both over and under the counter. ‘Over’ is the voters, promised economic growth. They havn’t had it, and won’t. Because there isn’t the energy increase available to boost it, nor to repay the overshoot debt.

But – they will also have promised the business set, a fairly obvious suite of actions: privatisation, less taxes, smaller Govt (less rules) and less limits. It will have funded their campaign, this is the way of it. They can’t deliver, through 40,000 person marches, and the fact that their polling shows them that the needed mid-ground still has a conscience.

Brownlee crosses into lobbyist territory himself, let alone allow himself to be lobbied. “Clean Coal” (where did he get that from, I wonder – how does a Minister justify that? “Sexy Coal”, and you know he’s in bed with them. Ask who his son works for, and what industry they lobby on behalf of……  Makes Pansy Wong come up smelling of roses……….

Now, however, they’ve gone too far, as they were always going to do.

We have someone accused publicly of being a liar, by someone proven to know the reverse is true. A Prime Minister who had to know, but who didn’t have the moral fortitude to halt proceedings. If Pansy had to go, these guys have to be imeached – I can’t for the life of me see any difference between the denied knowledge here, and Nixon’s wee effort.

The result should be the same.

And “no comment” from the Prime Minister, is unacceptable statespersonship. I, for one, won’t let this get forgotten in the new year (although I could name you the media folk who will, and it’s most of them!


its shaping up to be a good day

from interest.co.nz…..

by Andrewj | 14 Dec 10, 9:11am

“The problem with



“The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money.” (Margaret Thatcher)

by powerdownkiwi | 14 Dec 10, 9:20am New

“And the problem with


“And the problem with capitalism is that you eventually run out of other people’s resources”.


Touche   🙂

this is well put…..

I was doing some homework on Lithium, and came across this:

beggar on February 19, 2010 – 9:40pm Permalink | Subthread | Parent | Parent subthread | Comments top

Here in the USA many people are looking for a single technology to be made that will solve our energy and pollution issues related to transportation.

We mostly, absolutely do not want to change the way we drive.

We want techno-magical products we can buy,

We want these techno-magic products at even lower dollar cost than we pay today.

Politicians and MSM hype “the next big thing” and so people sleep on, thinking that “they” are taking care of it.

“You want the truth? You can’t handle the truth!” (Movie reference)

The problem of overshoot is complex, but requires us humans to change from the inside out.

Lithium batteries is another hyped “fix” like hydrogen and ethanol.

We can only solve our problems by consuming less and lowering our population. Truth does not sell.

We cannot engineer a habitat as rich and hospitable as the one we’ve experienced for ten thousand years or so. We cannot engineer our biosphere. We can do some effective things, like saving as many species as possible.

People do not want to be told the truth, they want false hope and the “carrion comfort” provided by our electronic cocoon.

Maybe a few breeding pairs will survive the bottleneck, but it looks like our business and political “leadership” are Hell-bent on spinning blatantly false visions of tomorrow as being just like today, but with everyone having more and more energy and stuff, and with infinite progress brought by techno-magic.

The lithium battery hype is just part of the techno-magic illusion.

As so often, I find that others put what I’m thinking, better than I can….

nine-to-noon bollard interview – same old same old

My email to nine-to-noon. So similar to the one to Business. Same reason. Why the continued disconnect?


Growth is exponential, not linear.

All activity, economic included, growth thereof ditto, is underwritten by energy. No energy, no work. 3rd form physics.

Exponential growth in activity required exponential growth in energy, give or take efficiencies (arguably ‘productivity gains’).

Finite sources of energy follow a gaussian curve, in their use. You start at zero, finish at zero, and peak somewhere in the middle.  As per Peak Oil, but it also applies to copper, gold, arable land……
If you push the supply across the top of the gaussian, the drop-off on the right-hand side must steepen correspondingly – as the area under the graph represents the total URR.

The IEA has gone from “scaremongering” (2005) to “peak was 2006” (2010).  Folk like me were right, all along, the IEA (which countries including NZ, and ministers like Gerry Brownlee, use as a data source) was wrong. Which gives me some confidence that the urgency of my message is valid.

The biggest wrong is that economists are put on pedestals, unquestioned, by you folk. They don’t do physics, so don’t realise that energy does indeed underwrite all economic activity, and indeed that if the supply has peaked, then with the exception of efficiencies, so too has activity. Their approach is to say that at a certain price, an alternative is always found. Exponential growth in population and consumption, on a finite planet, meant that such was a temporary state of affairs, and that anything (energy being the key underwriter) was going to hit its peak at an unprecedented rate, both of scale and speed.

It is no coincidence that peak oil (the most energy-dense, easiest transported fuel) in 2005, presaged a fiscal inability to underwrite exponential debt, and no coincidence that global longevity – increasing every year forever, peaked in 2007. Food, after all, is oil-dependent.

Investigate growth by all means, and the possibilities of. Ask questions likewise. But it is disingenuous to associate past-tense with ‘the recession’, andto make repeated reference to ‘double-dip’ (justified by whom?). Remember that assurances that we will return to BAU, are guaranteed to encourage folk into increased debt – which if energy-availability is to deplete, must become increasingly harder to service. And encouraging folk into unrepayable debt is?


There are a lot of good references at the bottom of the Clint Smith Parliamentary report.

Good luck with the homework (I’m happy to assist, one-to-one and free, been my study of choice for 30 years) but don’t tout unlimited growth without ascertaining (1) that it can’t be had, (2) when the likely peak will be, (3) whether you will be leading folk to make inappropriate decisions.

balance : the environment vs development

There’s a lot of shyte aroung at the moment.

Sustainable development is one such. It’s an oxymoron, but our media trot it out with gay abandon. Simply, it would require an infinite sphere of operations, and no matter how large a finite sphere it operated in, it would hit the limits within amazingly close timeframes.

The other is one which Hugh P-something-ich and the 2ic of Federated Farmers trot out – that you must strike a ‘balance’ between ‘the environment’, and development.

Actually, you can’t. The environment is everything, including the developers and their developments.

To think otherwise is arrogant, ignorant, or both.

There have to be limits, they have to be enforced, and then (and only then) it should be up to the individual what they do within the rules.

These folk are actually arguing for a continued repeal of limits, a (growing) step at a time, until there are none left. Whether they choose not to see that bigger picture, is irrelevant, really. That’s what they’re part of.