All the grass in the parks is yellow. The water supplies that Wellington usually taps in January and being used in the first weeks of December. It’s the same everywhere. At the moment enjoyable but by mid-January a crisis. The rivers that vein the land shrunken, the lakes dropping behind the dams, stock dying on the farms, debt, and the awful mental strain on families on those farms. All of it creeping in on the cities where the pools close, the car washes, the gardens wilt and drop, toilet flushing and tooth brushing become a moral choice.
No one really knew it would happen this fast, but plenty of people saw it coming like a freight train. Our political class though, captured by neo-liberalism, and we – indoctrinated to believe in their economic wisdom – kept our foot on the pedal. More opportunity for business. More dairy farms. More exporting. No deals on pollution and packaging. All this in the guise of “sensible economic management”. How do you sensibly economically manage the collapse of the environment that you base your economy on?
Experts think the yellow-eyed penguin will be extinct shortly. Experts believe the Maui dolphin cannot be saved. Experts believe that the Kauri is on the way out. Täne Mahuta’s death will be a symbolic moment. Warmer temperatures have given rise to toxic blooms in lake Taupö, and made us more receptive to Myrtle Rust. People are writing tongue in cheek articles about gin and tonics on Radio New Zealand. I don’t find them funny.
This is the world we hand the next generation. A more racist, more divided world, a world of shrinking resources, where even the great sustainer, the environment, withdraws its love.
Martin Luther King talked about the fierce urgency of now. We are in another now. Captured by economic ideologies which necessitate endless financial growth we are asked to drive on. We do not need to. It is morally wrong to do so. Trump’s promise to deliver more jobs to coal, to build the pipeline, to open up the Gulf to more oil exploration should not be judged anymore economically but morally. They are morally wrong. Any attempt by the Labour party to gain financially from oil exploration off the shores of Aotearoa is morally wrong and must be opposed.
I’ve come to realise that the first statement in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is wrong. It should read: “All
human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.” And if we can think of beings in the widest sense, for example in the Mäori view a mountain, or a river, or a rock is a being, then we can see where we have gone wrong; where, in fact, we always go wrong, from the Bible to Resource Management Act. We treat ourselves as the centre, and forget we are a part – an influential part – of a system. It’s a system we don’t even understand and yet we presume the right to destroy and end parts of it for our own aggrandisement.
The Jains are probably right to be concerned for the welfare of ants.
On Wednesday we had the final of the Term Four Social Studies competition for Year 9 and 10. One of the finalists talked about the Mäui Dolphin. The WWF asks people to think of something they could do 63 times to raise awareness and money for this species. I actually don’t really believe in raising money for things. Because, you know, money is part of the problem. What we need are laws made by governments. Not money. Governments make far-reaching laws because they have beliefs (rare and not always a good thing), or because they are sensitive to mass movements. It is the later that can save us. A broadly sympathetic government swayed by public pressure.
I think the only thing I could do is 63 times is write. One of the only things I think I have a talent for is writing. So that is what I will do. 63 posts of 500 words. Edited and reshaped into a 30,000 word e-book for free distribution to anyone who wants it.
I just started. Everything above the Mäui banner was the beginning. 62 to go.