a link – first of many? And an update

Interest.co.nz bravely took this piece, which I hope is the first of many.


It generated a lot of comment traffic, think I’ll drop one in about fortnightly, will link to it here (if I can scrounge Jennie’s t-stick, my land-line is now so slow that it won’t do wordpress).

The other moves – pushing the media and asking the hard questions of some folk who don’t want to articulate the answers – proceeds slowly. Have to be careful; these are big boys, with a lot to lose. More soon.

Otherwise, Zeb and I are being sustainable, and it’s hard work. Goats out, 3 lots of chickens now, glasshouses to water and pick from, produce to collect, store, systems to keep going, friends to nurture. Went to a Climate Change lecture/q&a recently, first time I’ve heard EROEI mentioned – hat-tip to Janet Stephenson – so maybe we’re getting there, I sense a groundswell of folk who ‘know’ too.

Interesting times!


Green Drinks – Warwick Stanton? , Metiria Turei, oh dear…..

We went along to the Green Drinks last night. Hadn’t been for a while, but Prof Lloyd on ‘the connection between energy and finance’ sounded right up my alley. Polite people let the speaker do their presentation, then wait for question-time. One person – I’m told he is Metiria Turei’s partner Warwick Stanton – wasn’t so polite, and interrupted often.

Very quickly, it became obvious that he must have been a product of the ‘Business’ or ‘Commerce’ or Economics’ faculties. Talk of ‘services’, as if they can somehow soak up/displace the purchase of real items, as an eventual home for circulating proxy (for that is all that money is) was the give-away. How can these folk not see that sooner or later, all the ‘money’ that folk make from charging each other for services, eventually expects to be able to buy ‘bits of the planet’ (oil, food, processed resources). You can play the music and pass the parcel for a long time, but when the music stops….

If the Finance view was correct, we could all get wealthy without mining, aquaculture, farming, building, infrastructure. The need to grow ALL those physical activities, tells us the ‘services’ claim is humbug. That (buying physical bits of the planet) is the eventual home for ALL money, and the only real measure of ‘wealth’.

Jennie just thought he was a d-head, I though it was a bit more dangerous than that. This false – for it IS false – grasp of the place of finance in the real world, has no place in our future. Money is merely a proxy for future purchases. Non-resource-using services (if there are any – even a masseuse eats a BigAg-supplied breakfast, plies her trade in a fossil-fuel-expended building, and drove to work in a car) are a zero-sum balance either side of the ‘equals’ sign, but the real trail ends with the purchasing of ‘bits of the planet’. Clearly, via interest and profit charging, that demand for ‘bits of the planet’ is growing. Anyone who says different, I call a liar, or stupid. No third option.

If this nonsense infiltrates Green thinking, then they too have no place in our future. It might explain their slide into socialism (welfare, state housing, Holly Walker/Chch comments) of recent times. Green Growth is just as unsustainable as any other growth, and we are 30 years overdue for the public education on that. The old leadership clearly understood the Limits to Growth, this fellow apparently didn’t. The rudeness and the ‘self-importance’ aside, his belief – for that is what it is, a belief, alle same religion – has no place in Green policy, and no place in society if we are to survive what is ahead.

Sure, there is a need for optimism and proactivity. in leadership. Sure, that’s a difficult tight-rope, on  a planet temporarily carrying 7 billion, heading for perhaps 2 billion. Sooner or later folk will see through any horseshit. Talk of ‘the velocity of money’ won’t alleviate the problem that it is spun into existence as debt, expects the future to underwrite, and when the future clearly can’t, folk will be a tad annoyed. We are staring down the barrel of the biggest ‘value’ readjustment the planet has ever seen, and we need leaders who understand the ‘why’ of this.

I wasn’t reassured last night – not reassured at all.


a grand day out – well, in…..

We had a Sustainable Energy gathering this afternoon. Folk who have been part of Sustainable Living groups, and we had to stop the applications at 25 (house size being the factor!). If there is anything better than talking about what you’re enthusiastic about, to folk eager to listen, I don’t know of it. The last folk left at dusk, and I suspect we’ll see many – most – of them again.

Interestingly, there were fewer folk wanting to look up at the pelton wheel (from underneath) than from other visits. Equally interestingly, the questions were as thoughtful as I’ve ever heard. First time build-energy vs running energy vs demolition energy has been discussed like that.

So – we’re mellow. Good to see the young folk too – thinking before they build. The weather came right (the core temp had been low after a week of shyte) and the house did it’s stuff – passive solar at it’s best. I’d do that every day of the week, if I could. The baking wasn’t half bad, either……   Thank you to everyone who came – we enjoyed it!

Generation Zero. Wow.

I went along to the St David St lecture theatre last night. An outfit I’d vaguely head of, was hosting a ‘Give Bob hope’ forum (Bob Lloyd being about as doomersterish as me).

Bob gave his Peak Oil / Peak Everything/ Energy lecture, a couple of students spoke, and Jeanette Fitzsimmons skyped to them.

What got me, was that this theatre – which seats 550 – was full. There would have been 10 of us who were not of student age, we stood out like sore thumbs (or is that toes?).

If I was running the National Party, or Labour, I’d have been very scared. These folk are the future. 500 quiet, thoughtful folk, not a kaftan or a bare foot among them, all wanting to claim their planet back from the madness.

Powerful?  I was humbled. Thankful too – for a long time I thought we were a dwindling and aging band, fighting a doomed rearguard action. I knew it could only buy time, and that the only reason for that was to hope that someone would step up before it was too late.

These youngsters look like they’re doing that. I saw a future Prime Minister last night too. It was pretty impressive. Rightly, they weren’t that impressed with my generation. Mea – wea – culpa.

But as a hope for the future – there are a lot of political movements would like to boast 500 intelligent youngsters in their lists.

Comparing that gathering to the horseshit that ‘DavidB’ and ‘Gonz’ and the other spinmeisters put up, was something I did several times last night. Different worlds. I’ve decided that my contribution (besides what I do now) will be to document this phase. With names. Theses folk have had the time, had every chance, to do the right thing. History should remember them for what they are.

Go you lot – the baton is all your – run…..


the big snow

We came through it with minimal damage – a broken 50mm vent pipe, and slightly splayed spouting, both courtesy of the icing on the roof succumbing to gravity.

There were cars abandoned all along the highway, and we put up two car-loads here overnight, along with an already-here guest. There were mattresses all over the mezzanine, shades of summer camp, or perhaps the Waltons….

Good to do, though, and good to be able to do. The infrastructure wasn’t in trouble (water didn’t freeze, stacks of firewood, enough produce to feed the mob for days on end…..) and it was good to have to time to do nothing but socialise, talk, eat, play. It’s what we set the place up for.

Still and all, I don’t do snow willingly these days. It just slows down the projects…………

Memories – are made of these

I’d like to thank a man (presumably it’s a man) I wouldn’t like, with whom I wouldn’t have anything in common, and who, at the end of the day, I regard as a social zero. He appeared trolling on Interest.co.nz, as predictable this distance out from an election (Labour appeared too with a Willie Foo Foo – read: working for families, and a long bow would say Tat Loo) and equally predictably they’ll vanish the day after it.

As usual with spinmeisters, they give nothing away, don’t actually debate, and always accuse you of being what they are (religious-like believer, etc). I first noticed the style with Shipley (was she the first echelon to be spin-coached?). The only valid way to counter them is (a) to do so, and (b) to be honest, and to refer to facts.

The smarter folk will see through them, you weren’t going to get to the dumber, and your conscience is clear – to say nothing of the fact that you’re not vulnerable (they have to be so careful when they start down the slippery slope of obfuscation, tangled webs tend to emesh the weaver sooner or later.

Anyway, he suggested I may be a bit negative, not so happy. It triggered a memory, which stayed with me through our evening and as I drifted off to sleep: Continue reading

This’ll make you think – good numbers here.

I’m ducking in and out between misty showers, trying to build the glasshouse, as I try and keep the tools dry. Jaryd has just pulled into Akaroa, with tales of a wild night under storm-jib. Ish is presumably asleep on a superyacht in Rhodes. Jen is relieving-teaching today, and Zeb is still scared of the turkeys.

This, however, is a good reference on growth, area, population and numbers. I’ll keep it as a reference.


Here’s a wee taste:

First question – how many years to hit one acre per person? Not quite 140 years. By the year 2140, a planet-wide growth rate of 1.3 percent a year brings the entire human race down to only an acre of land per person.

Second question – how many years to hit one square foot per person? About 960 years. Less than ten centuries. About half the institutional age of the Catholic Church. It’s unimaginable but true. If today’s growth rate of 1.3 percent a year were sustained for another millennium, the land per person ratio would shrink to one square foot apiece.

I’m off back out to do another rivet. Hopefully.