Where there is a will there is a way

Saturday, May 14, 2011

May 14 Climate Futures - intellectual fire on the radio late at night (NZ)

I feel like I am on fire. This happens once in awhile, I got the opportunity to listen to radio late at night while making something - wire fairy wings for girl children coming to a birthday party tomorrow - and Radio NZ had a climate change conference on in Wellington [later looked up the details: 'Climate Futures – Pathways for Society’, organized by the New Zealand Climate Change Research Institute at Victoria University]. It just feels like it has been ages since I have listened to that pure liquid of ideas that sometimes radio is. I had flashbacks of listening to the radio during my nightshifts when I had a job at a resthome. I was doing chores and night like ironing, but was on fire with ideas as I listened to the radio (sustainability as well, actually.)

There were speakers from England, Canada, and New Zealand that I heard, from the different range of intellectual disciplines - first a scholar [Sir Lloyd Geering] who had been projecting ahead different futures. He said that in the 19th century the human population had QUADRUPLED, and that in the past, our actions hadn't impacted on nature no matter what we did, she was still far more powerful. Now, we are able to effect the productivity of the world, as we cut down the world's forests to feed ourselves. It was lovely to hear spoken thoughts I have so often had and am usually alone in- to see that they were shared.

I had that sharing of ideas with Good magazine when it first came out, but it has since had to become more profitable, and now speaks less.

The next speaker from British Columbia, Canada, [Robert Gifford] was interested in the psychology of why people make choices, as he felt that many people knew and realized that there was a problem - he wanted to know why people weren't making bigger changes then. He said a few reasons, one I had heard before - that our ancient brains are geared for a different world, from when we roamed Africa in tribal groups and were concerned with the here and now, and not even with the next group unless they were threatening our resources. I do believe that is true. He mentioned all the aspects of being in a group that I agree are hugely influential, others are not changing and that is our reality - we have investments in the system and to change is to step outside our own prosperity in the immediate future. Also he mentioned media, such as Fox News, which fought against intellectualism. His main point was that we all need to do more to change, such as biking to work instead of driving to work.

A lady who had experience helping children to cope with tragedy, I believe, was interesting [Canterbury University political scientist and resilience expert Bronwyn Hayward]. She took a little while to assemble her point, but they all had different valuable contributions, that we were going through the various stages of coping with a disaster, comparing it to an event like an earthquake, denial, then blame, then resurgence of old power...she hoped for true change and said it would come with the new generation of young people who were fighting their terrible odds.

The last speaker was one of our own New Zealanders [Gareth Renowden]. I wasn't sure how he would be, but I was very proud of him. I had had the reminder of Canadian intellectualism with the British Columbian environmental psychology speaker, and in contrast this man cut right to the point and was very true in what he said, and practical. He had a successful blog called Hot Topic, which had come out of a book he had started to write. He said simply, that what we needed was " a consensus of action" of what to do about climate change. I just loved that. We do need to decide upon a course of action, so we can act, all of us humans together. He also had an interesting point from being on the ground, and hearing comments from the public - there are a few people who hound his blog, always trying to assert their view (contrary to climate change) which is independent of the facts. He said that he thought these individuals were actually acting like they were part of a "religion", contrary to their view that people who were concerned about climate change were. They held fast to their view despite the facts.

I definitely need to listen to the radio more, and pass around articles less...

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