La COP21 en Paris y las 400 ppm

Según datos entregados por el Scripps CO2 Programme en el Manua Loa Observatory en Hawaii, en los últimos años hemos sobrepasado en varias oportunidades las 400 partes por millón (ppm) de concentración atmosférica de dióxido de carbono (CO2). ¿Qué significa esto para la Conferencia de las Partes que comienza hoy en Paris?

“Si la humanidad quiere preservar un planeta similar a aquél en el que la civilización se desarrolló y al que la vida en la Tierra está adaptada, evidencias paleoclimáticas y el cambio climático en curso exigen que el CO2 sea reducido … a 350 ppm como mucho, pero probablemente incluso menos que eso.” (James Hansen, científico climático ex NASA)

La COP21 de Paris ha sido señalada como la última oportunidad que tiene la humanidad para revertir las peores consecuencias del cambio climático. Los efectos extremos del clima que hemos vivido alrededor del planeta durante los últimos meses solo son un avance de lo que traerá un mundo más caliente. Temperaturas extremas, lluvias torrenciales o sequías, derretimiento de glaciares, mosquitos y las enfermedades que transmiten apareciendo en nuevos lugares, corales colapsados; nuestro planeta bajo el cambio climático definitivamente no es el mismo que conocemos.

https://scripps.ucsd.edu/programs/keelingcurve/

https://scripps.ucsd.edu/programs/keelingcurve/

La mayor parte de los científicos concuerda en que un umbral de alza de temperatura considerado seguro es de no más de 1°C. Los patrones de emisiones actuales nos han llevado a sobrepasar y dejar atrás la meta de 1°C, encontrándonos hoy en un curso que nos llevará, si tomamos medidas hoy, a 2°C o más grados de calentamiento a nivel global.

Este incremento de temperatura está ligado a un clima mucho más cambiante, lo que afectará la vida de millones de personas en el mundo. Las 400 ppm en las que vivimos hoy, están intrínsecamente ligadas con la temperatura del planeta, pues el carbono es un gas de efecto invernadero de larga data. Esto quiere decir, que aunque seamos capaces de limitar nuestras emisiones de gases de efecto invernadero de manera drástica y de forma instantánea, ya nos encontramos en un plante cuya atmósfera posee estos gases que la harán calentarse de forma imparable durante las próximas décadas.

 

En las conversaciones que comienzan hoy en Paris, podemos esperar que líderes mundiales se comprometan nuevamente a controlar las emisiones de forma tal de no sobrepasar un nuevo umbral, 2°C por ejemplo.

Las actuales metas voluntarias emitidos por países en la antesala de la COP21 continúan permitiendo que la temperatura del planeta se eleve por sobre los 3 grados Celsius.

Sin embargo, la evidencia científica nos entrega noticias que pueden ser alentadoras, si los gobiernos de nuestros países toman compromisos serios, aún estamos a tiempo de limitar el aumento de la temperatura a 2°C, pero solo si se toman medidas que pueden ser consideradas como drásticas por algunos.

Como lo demuestran las multitudinarias marchas alrededor del mundo, la voluntad ciudadana está de parte de medidas drásticas, al igual que muchos países que se ven enormemente afectados con el aumento de las temperaturas, como la alianza de las low-lying nations, que verán gran parte de sus territorios inundados debido al alza del nivel del mar.

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  1. Thomas King

    Perched at the soaring summit where the celestial begins hovering over the seemingly microscopic clay like figurines on the plateau where bipeds were meant to roam I am bemusingly reminded of my bogus battle to crash the Olympus party. “Oh what a feeling when we’re dancing on the ceiling”. Far from feeling vindicated of my yearning to float on cloud 9, those Lionel Richie words served more to enforce the existential crisis of my own mortality rather than unshackling my spirit free from it’s gilded corporeal incarceration. Believing in an everlasting soul I may have prescribed to but a casualty at the tender age of 35 I did not aspire to be. Not to mention the respect for which i held for the beings below me. After all, for the medics who would have to scoop up my scattered remnants and what about the paint splatter. It would be as apocalyptically malevolent as spilling a pint of milk. At this aperture you have probably surmised my reluctance to Meet Joe Black and take an early Sabbatical with Death most likely to Hotel California, my Kiwi obsession with lactose products and perhaps most poignantly my inner fears and loathings towards the tedium and perils of painting. C’est la vie a kindred spirit may quip the harder hearted might advise me to get a life. Coming from a D.I.Y tribalistic Survivor like nation option deux would be emphatically out of the question. The mockery ringing like a mutiny of awful little earwigs “you hired a painter? Whaddarya Nancy?” Still a sentiment of alienation grasps over me like that forlorn astronaut in that classic Elton John Rocket Man ditty, however as i stare towards the rising tower of Babel before me i falter to find the appropriate parlance to express my umm je ne sais quoi. Slapping paint on a roof was never a forte pour moi and the faculty was one which i never excelled at surmounting. Smothering acrylic over corrugated iron and hot tin wasn’t exactly an adrenaline inducing adventure. After all, what more was a roof other than a metal canopy to keep the thundering bolts ofsunshine and honeydew drops of Zeus’s concubines tears out? What supplementary satisfaction can one derive from something purely fabricated with functionality over funk in mind? My Sistine Chapel peak which only garnered the affections of autumn leaves debris and winged wonders. After my incessant purple prose fused rambling rantings over roofs you maybe wondering where if not when the punchline will finally be signed, sealed and delivered. Well embrace yourself for my KO for my inner illumination came by way of a returning home sick expatriate. Over a hearty span of a decade he had devotedly set out to live out his vision to thoroughly visit all 50 US states. What’s more he had largely done this in a fittingly eco friendly two wheeled manner and not of the combustible kind. An overwhelming shelf spanning Britannica could be mustered over this fellows unimaginably extraordinary pilgrimages. However with the scent of oil in the air and paint on my fingers my sights were still set on the prize. Roofs were going to be a hot topic sooner or later. Acquired by an exquisitely icy toned Wisconsin girl they lampooned me for my jostles with the ‘Star Wars’. They’re so one dimensional here in New Zealand, i can’t believe you guys are so uninspired and blase towards such an enormous space. Well, it seems to be serving its duty suffice I thought rather sniggerishly towards this opinionated haughty taughty Norte Americana gringa. Yet, the cavalry came to assistance just before I was about to unleash my torrent of ammunition upon her assault against la patria. Camilla’s right, roofs in the States are so much more than dreaded 7 year coating errands. It was then that I realised my refutations would be futile against an individual who lived and breathed architecture. From that point on I glanced on in awe like a 50s American seeing Marty McFly gliding on his hoverboard. On those stunned people in the Hot Tub time machine. Clearly, there was a dinosaur in cocktail lounge. So sedentarily subdued i stared on stunned into silenceby the sages encircling the senile old savage. What unfolded was a verbatim of epic proportions as mind blowing as any Kubrick showpiece. Lively banter of how the roof evolved morphing into roles that even it would find inconceivable. The semantic tacking duel went back and forth like a finely poised tennis rally. Often initiated by my friend and then the soft skinned Cheesehead (apparently that’s what their knack is in that part of Murica). But holes in the debate were far from self disclosing. These kids new what they were talking about. “Roofs are often rec n relax retreats”, asserted my friend. “It was quite common to find tennis courts, swimming pools, basketball and badminton courts graced upon them”. The cream skinned Camilla chimed in. “Retractable roofs would be like so freaking amazing.” “Well, there is the odd case” my friend conceded. “I remember one colleague who professed that she could peddle to her hearts content on an office block peek top”. Only in America I thought chuckling at the absurdity of it all. “Don’t dis it, bro” my friend added, “cycling’s an awesome way to kill the calories and I love the idea of a rooftop velodrome”. Camilla jived in the second the motion like a good cop who always had her partner’s back. “I tootally agree. Greenspaces and grass are such a sight for sore eyes after the arduor of grey mindnumbing desk S’labours”. I was starting to take a shine towards this chirpy young fraulein. I was aware after minoring in a sociocultural psychology over the field of colour. For simplicities sake, if the verity of colours is acknowledged over that over the conception of light, colours have a profound influence upon our mental and physical functionality. Given the complexity of our operating systems, natures hues profoundly shape our pleasures and preoccupations. Self evidently obvious are the answers that the questions are quite frankly germane. Trust me, you would have to be trying spectacularly hard to bumble up this game of Jeopardy to land the wooden spoon booby prize.The electives of deciding upon slumbering on a leafy green patch of paradise or at a monocoloured cubicle is as facile a choice as a child being presented with chocolate or pak choi. “Green spaces make people feel free” the fair maiden choired on heralding the praises of roof top jardins. “That’s right, Sweet. I’ve been on tops where small trees and shrubs grow and where one can pick fruits during their onces and afternoon tea breaks”. “Oh, yeah” Camilla responded with excitement dancing of her tonsils. “I had a friend who used to work on a tower where they grew mesculin, rocket and herbs. They also had several sweet little lemon trees”. I could almost envision the culinary crop of savoury sensation swinging in my salvation oral cavity. “I also hear that some skyscrapers allow the folk to have free range chickens and other birds nesting on the perch of the building” grinned the giggly girl. Blushingly cherry faced, my friend obliged in reciprocatingly endorsing this assiduous observation. “Mmm organic fresh eggs. Sounds mouthwateringly tantalising, Millie” (his pet name for his bella petite copine). “A Japanese friend tells me there are places where you can eat your bento while getting a fishy pedicure.” How indulging I thought while trying not to imagine Jaws or piranhas nibbling away over anticipatingly on my tender tired tootsies. Other remarkable suggestions which sprang from their minds were recounts of vertical floral and herbal libraries (plants on shelves) where fragrant scents titillated the olfactory sense while the taste buds wete tantalisingly seduced by the mere thought of aromatic herbal teas. Another inspiring noteworthy reference was to the use of compost bins and the way it enticed people to turn food scraps into life giving plant tucker. The Crowns of Tower reinvigorated as veritable eco jungles were buds and bugs collaborated to attract a symphonic cacophony of an audible avian awe inspiring master opus.An orchestral operatic fete which treated those around to a fecundity of dulce melodies. These places became bastions for stirring the mental juices. A site where people shared sandwich recipes, exchanged vegetables and munched merrily on dandelion ensalada. It seemed as of even the weeds couldn’t escape the feel good inc. manner of this hallowed club in the clouds. These Spectacular Babies, for they were my juniors, had me engrossed and completely captivated. From proverbial pains in the buttocks, these patterns transformed into sacred placed Shangri Las of a universally all welcoming form of human spirituality. Regardless of race, place or case, this garden kingdom was a temple open to all creeds. From the book worm to the tai chi aficionado, from those seeking meditation in silencio to those wishing to have a good old fashioned chin wag, this was an inviting paradise unbounded by the exclusivity of other edifices. These eco refuges straddling steel peeked mountains were forts of freedom which urged its occupants to be inspired by the panorama which abounded them. Beckoning them to port their easel and pastels and suck up the surroundings beyond the CBD and suburbia. While day beds, hammocks and luxuriously ample cane and wicker settee allowed the desk warrior to peel back and lounge while they took in some much sought after vitamin D. Long mocked at by the Northerly Protestant peoples, the siesta was beginning to somewhat of a comeback as people began to realise the advantageous pros of a quick refreshing kip to recharge the battery. Enthralled by having hooked this fish with their cunning prowess at pitching the bait the wise pair commenced to reel their catch in. “These places are just so much more than mini pantries, arboretums or freshly cut strips of turf clipped to arose our endorphins while the smell of a freshly toasted ciabatta lined with lashings of pastrami kissed with dijonnaise did the rest. These were spaces where people came to socialise with other individuals. It was where friendships wereforged and where romances often blossomed. “Remember Tammy? You know she met Kyle up on the blocks” declared the now vociferously passionate Camilla. “That’s true” exclaimed a supportively reinforcing Troy. “They met playing interdepartmental lawn bowls or petanque or something”. Well, apparently roofs were places where many social gatherings unfolded from chess sets, backgammon and other board games to leisurely pursuits such as croquet to possibly flinging horse shoes (that last one being a figment of my wandering emporium of an imagination.) These places just kept on becoming even more fantastical than a Gabriel Garcia Marquez magical realist piece. They were catteries, kennels (obviously some people just couldn’t stand to leave cuddly Fido and Fifi on their lonesome for any extended period of time), creches and even dojos. These evidently transformed the sweet vulnerable office girl into something akin to an Amazonian goddess warrior or Xena the warrior princess. Guys, tread with caution. Mess with these martial arts wielding mamas at your OWN peril. However, not everything was a concourse designed to ignite rivalry and sexual polarisation. Other more inclusively incorporating outdoor activities these spaces nurtured included dancing and even a specially contrived team building obstacle course for developing strengths between staffmates. Not only did it furnish communal growth but it instilled the participants with the individual stimulus to evolve and flourish also. Subjects were also assigned to tend to a plant or care for a portion of the vege patch. This not only gave management a value insight into the individual’s effort and character but gave a vivid indication of their aptitude and duty towards altruism. Beyond attracting pollinators to the raised bed, these celestial gardens also served to impress visiting guests and dignitaries from other rival companies often to psychologically to show fortitude and service to employee goodwill. My friend said it regularly enticed other players to switch teams inorder to move on to greener meadows with sweeter grazing clover. “Absolutely” buzzed up hyped up Millie “These spaces were engineered by human resource managers to be goodwill chummy hubs”. Hmm I pondered chumminess in an ambience which normally spins a rumour mill of adversity and fiery rivalry. What a praiseworthy philosophy? Has the commercial world gone bonkers? Chilling out on cloud riding reserves, natural enclaves, mini jungles whatever you will. “Building communal resilience” hailed my friend, “neighbours meeting the neighbours” chirped his beloved “neat little nooks for the young folk to make new buds while having good clean green fun”. If I hadn’t being throwing back the bitterest black coffee on the universe I swore this could have been one of those surreal images from out of Pleasantville. Why couldn’t our world be like this dreamy Coca Colesque one where we were all taught to sing in perfect harmony? Where site occupants harvested gifts of daffodils, lavender and gave kris kindle gifts of home made pot pourri and shared Shrewsburys over a piping hot bowl of thistle tea? We in Christchurch could benefit greatly by seeing how our friends around the world are converting the most mundane spaces around us into the spaces where we yearn to canter to during our smokos (tea breaks) and moments of contemplation. To go there to be inspired, to extend a hand out to the divine or as they succinctly summoned on that old classic Cheers surely “you want to go where everybody knows your name.” In an age of stunning technological progress at the price of colossal social communicational degradation, society, bosses and decent beings are driven to counteract against the contagion which is phone phubbing and constant face shielding. In an era where social mediums have never been so diverse it seems as if we have suffered the loss of the serendipitous encounter. Yes, computers can find me a potential mate who likes squash, who is Catholic, who loves movies starring Simon Pegg and who is a feline fanatic such as my selfBut what about the joys of the chance encounter, the surprising stranger and the discovery of new delights? On paper, my amicable relationship may be doomed to flop. And yet here we are, and erudite scholarly white collared upper class gent having a cuppa and a genial chin wag with a didactic, calloused skinned working class battler. In my modest view, it is the polarity which excites us, my admiration towards his worldliness while he his in awe of my parochial homeliness. My fortune at having established this bond was founded at a time when tech was still in its infancy. Perhaps it just comes down to the idea of the Kiwi Village where everybody just refers to each us as mate. However, in 2015 in a nation where over 85% of people live in cities and towns surely this is a decaying utopic fixation with fantasia. All in all stated, how blessed would we be if roof top spaces became something more than the unbearably obnoxious painting projects which have my heart so forlorn with right now. Not to mention the uncontrollable fears of vertigo which have descended into my mind as i resolutely tussle with gravity to keep my chin up.

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  2. Thomas King

    Calling all infantrymen, the time has come for you to bear arms for New Zealand is being un remorsefully routed by the international forces who are having a field day at our brands impeccable expense. Never has wearing the broach of nationhood been such a weighty burden as it has been at present. As manure hits the fan while we work tirelessly to wipe the bovine fecal splatter from taking the shimmery shine off our normally dazzling sparkling silver fern. We have become accustomed over time with hearing all the good news that we have developed a kind of narcissistic superiority complex towards what we see when we see ourselves in the mirror. Now that the reality check has landed, we must embrace ourselves for an awakening to the cow-tastrophy which has put a rather nasty ding into our whopping big ego. A whiplash of a blow which nobody longed for but one which was assuredly on the horizon given the recent journalistic warning signs pertaing to our haute cow-ture. Like a naughty driver speeding, the ticket for being ruthlessly wreckless was not a question of if but when. Indeed, we had ridden on a wave of good fortune for some time however les bontemps were not meant to be eternal. Mooing away at the injustice and incredulity of it all like temperamentally obstinate lactose lacking bobby calves about to be stunned then err slaughtered. What us? Making martyrs out of little ol’ lilly white EnZed, are they mad? What about the Japanese whaling mission? The Aussie deportation system? Those nutters in the Middle East? How dare anyone critique us! The moo-sic of late has not been in our favour given formula scares in China, a scientific jury putting us on the stand in Sri Lanka and those malicious little Europeans trying to erode away at our incoming lion share of the milk moo-ket. There is no question that this a competitive market and the rivalries are gladiatorial. Given the unprecedented economic ascension of several notably populous states and the shift in their dietary desires dairy has almost become a mugs
    game. If you’re in it you’re bound to win from it. To a large extent there is a hint of plausibility in this remark. The global mass is growing is rapidly racing forward and nations that once lagged behind the West demand assertively for what we well established wealthy states have taken for granted for decades. And bovine goods just happen to appear on this Eastern wish list. From curd to cream, to lard to leather to milk to meat even for material such as leather the cow is certainly a versatile piece of protein. Yet, while it may be a sacred symbol of our financial fortune it has become an unsightly stain on our national image. From Arcadia we are more commonly being associated as the abattoir of Australasia. An unflattering insult but one which is not entire inaccurate supposedly speaking. Taking greed at mass production to such a towering extent that we have sunk into the deepening abyss of heifer droppings. Obviously, our political scientists forgot that cows and conservation don’t merrily tango well together. Lamentably, an e-cow-nomy pro paleo, milk, meat and animal consumables is not the most eco friendly revenue source for a nation still attempting to play the environmental bluff game so to say. It is a resource sapping and soiling business which takes a mile to advance a step. While we blame the chimneys of the industrial giants for the spoiling of our planet and its assets, we should really stop moo-cking ourselves. For animal husbandry and cattle herding at overdrive is well recognised as a fundamental contributor to our sooty skies. We may not be the only sinful outlaws of these emission statistics but we are certainly one of the biggest bandits on the world’s most wanted list. More people, more cows and more moo-la (money) as far as Kiwis are concerned is not serving to rectify the problem. However, instead of fending off all accusations and defending ourselves from the tyranny of local and offshore greenies who savour a bit of Kiwi bashing we should reconsider our status from a reversed perspective. What I’m insinuating is that far from feeling ashamed of finding themselves at the centre stage of the international spotlight NZ should embrace the limelight in order to innovatively develop solutions to be a leader in sustainable farming. There is no doubt that we are a world leader in dairy. Clearly the problems attached to dairy are not new ones. They have existed for a long time but only recently have had the media might to make them more universally recognised. The informed have multiplied and the means to part their philosophies have diversified exponentially. Even those who try to remain on the picket line of ignorance is bliss cannot help but inherit a rudimental comprehension towards even the obscurest of affairs. In the case of milk and NZ, there can be no retreat. You are forced to feel and deal with it as if it were a rugby test match. Avoidance is nay impossible for try as we might a kind of Jimney Cricket reminds us that it’s part of our identical moral fibre to deliberate about it. And as of late what a sociopolitically charged topic has simmered to the surface. Journalistic field days have facilitated buoyant banter on an melange of dairy related dissections from specieism and the wrongful consumption of cow milk to the broad coverage of the cruelty within the industry. This need not only refer to the beasts themselves but also the human element. Farmer suicides, unhealthy working conditions and the exploitation of Asian migrant workers. I thought that we’d left this behind us in the 70s along with disco. Then there have been reports of depression and mental breakdowns of the ‘farmer’s wives’. Is it any wonder why finding country girls is becoming rarer than hen’s teeth. As civilised as we confess we are there is this an innocent naivety of idealism which reigns the average Kiwi mindset. Like the marvellous court scene in A Few Good Men it seems sometimes as if we really use every trick in the book to avoid “handling the truth”. I’m all for the frivolity of some fictions but even i know when a spade should be called a spade. The reality is that we all collectively have a right to know about what we are consuming and how it was produced. If human rights are being violated and whether cruelty is being inflicted both upon man and beast. With my readings as a gender studies theorist, it is understandable how feminists have drawn the conclusion that the rape of nature and female cattle reinforces the prolific patriarchal manner of farming. In a vocation dominated by older menfolk, their is a visible absence of a feminine intervention within this bloodlust industry. Indeed a polarity has arisen between the sexes as a kind of us vesus them de nouvelle. To choose to be a vegan or date a vegan while being a male comes with a nasty social backlash. Friends in this camp have often been the butt of sexually offensive humour which is aimed to render them lesser men. To be a vegan is to be effete, to be a bit of a poof or to be castrated by living under the thumb of a femiNazi. Oh dear how low we have sunk into the quicksand of cow pats. The stigma attached to avoiding a “national institution” part of makes us a true blue NZder warrants social cynicism. Oh your one of those, our milk not good enough for you Boy or even the concern of being diseased. To not drink milk is to almost confess to not being normal. It seems to be that unless your not ploughing your way through cow carcasses and don’t have your milk bottles by the letterbox box each day you really must be a funny bugger from another planet. From the onset of our lives we have been instilled to believe that when you say milk you could only possibly be referring to one type of mammalian origin. I find this to be absolute preposterous.And yet we stand jaws dropped when we hear the mere suggestion of hybrid dairy sheep and other ruminant milk plants let alone the idea of a female farmer running a station. It appears that even in the visionary social laboratory of World Farm NZ we still like to see our landholders as big bellied burly blokes. Intriguingly enough we aren’t completely stone heads living in Bedrock. To our noble credit we are animatedly active against factory farming especially poultry and porcine sectors. The down side is that we continue to fail to associate dairy farming as a factory (it is the biggest of factories and the most resource greedy) and therefore our activism against it is minimal to say the least. A resource romping industry that not only environmentally bleeds us dry but then sets itself up to monopolise the “milk and dairy” sector. You don’t need to have a livestock credential to realise that many other mammals produce “milk”. Cows milk is not the only type of milk but stores promote it as if it were. To me it would be like saying that Toyotas are the only car everyone should buy even though a Ford, Hyundai or Kia would also suffice. It’s almost a bona fide stellar example of the NZ desire to say you drink what i drink so you’re a bloody good sort. On the other hand the dark side of our nature reveals our obligation to mow down those who dare to be different. C’mon cut back thay ‘Tall Poppy’ snob, that Pom, that fag, that woman, that trendy lefty bastard, that person with a brain. Why? What hat is so wrong with soy, almond or goat milk or cheeses not made with moo moo milk? And many trembling patriots are running to the cow masters rescue. The debate about milk, meat and infant and child development has mastered up it’s own gallant little troopers. I am no scientist by any means but I do personally feel that certain nutrients are critical to rearing kids with “healthy” bodies and minds. However, that does not mean that cows milk or meat need be the source of these building blocks. My obvious parental objective would be towards raising intelligent free thinking beings who would theb be able to determine what’s best for both themselves and also for society and the environment. It’s evident now that had many past smokers known about the dangers associated with this pursuit they probably would have taken efforts to have avoided it in the first place. Still, there are those dairy zealots out to convert those without even giving the slightest thought towards the other alternatives. To busy engrossed in their in-cow-sition to flagellate any naughty deviant who even mulls the idea of straying from the righteous Kiwi herd? These moralists who tread the holy path who validate their ethical superiority by vilifying the “Other” through a campaign of de-moo-nization. The absurdist of arguments were put forward by the dairy devotees that inverted the security of the pacifist greeny vegan. What about their cruelty towards plant cultivation? The vegan monster whose deadly diet was built upon the carnage of pesticides, insecticides and other chemical toxins whose merits are eco debatable. They kill mice, deter birds probably give grandmama allergies etc. Furthermore, tsayhe carnivores say that these people are thin skinned know nots who cry over killing pests eating bugs and those who are profiting from their flesh or pelts being sold. Have these individuals forgot what country they’re living within and the number of people employed in animal farming industries? Or would these folks much prefer more unemployment or perhaps even a recession or a financial crash? Clearly these “traitors” are a menace to NZ Bloodbath Inc.There is no doubt that this tense debate is having an unprecedented divisive impact upon the social fibres that generally bind the nation. Vegan vs carnivore, male against female, assaults against ethic positions and religious groups (creating some atrocious racism about Eastern treatment of women and why we should be sending more troops to the Middle East, all this anger because of some spilt milk wowie!!!) political loggerheads between those whose parties lay down the law while those powerless others have to suffer the price of the “national will”. There is even a nasty disagreement developing between Millennials, echo boomers and somr Gen Xers towards those self serving pension grubbing fortunate Baby Boomers who always seem to get their way. Never have those in their Golden Years and the might that is Grey Power been under such a fierce attack from the new wave of young and savvy but a tad cheeky little Whipper Snappers. Where did their manners go? Such combative and conflictive social pandemonium hasn’t been seen since NZs only true sort of Civil War of 81 when South Africa came to town. There was obviously still enough love getting around for I came into existence that same turbulent year. That asides, the rise of the colliding classes has made many of the lower masses infuriated over those cashed up toffee noses telling them to fork out for the more morally superior option. What I call the Middle Class picnic of cuddling a tree before returning back to the castle in their big flash Jeep Cherokee. For what it truly comes down to is that old classic philosophical problem/question of what animals should have rights? Should we be morally concerned about cows and if we say no what does this say about our own claims to being morally just agents? As much as i don’t like killing even i confess that this is a conflictive topic. How can one fill one’s belly while being ethically sound in the fashion that they are doing so? In short, can anyone find this dairy lover a moral loophole?And what about those goody two shoes in the vegan camp? Those dairy avoiding Captain Muricans masticating on leaves like koala bears, wearing faux suede booties and attempting to feed their pets chicken flavoured tofu pet food. Dear Lord please if I am to be reincarnate do not put me in one of these hell holes. Is this right? Is this reasonable or are they just stark raving mad Wombles? Surely the cost of making things out of synthetic fibres is no less of an environmental violation than skinning a cow. But it does not involve killing I do concede. It all comes down to an individual insight, is a pair of cow suedes more eco friendly to make than a pair of (oil) slick sneaker? Well, please, you tell me.The question of what is less destructive a product is a contentious one which even I’m too afraid to answer. Perhaps this is because it is also complicated by the human element of the equation. All those people who need warm clothes, those who need an income and those poor peasants with little choice but to see farming and sweatshops as a steady source of financial revenue. My humanitarian leanings tending to place me more firmly in the anthropocentric camp than in the more virtuous holistic or ecocentric one. And what about that moral position of scorning the Indian and Chinese nouvea riche for their recently acquired beef fix while we have indulged in it for centuries. Additionally, would we honestly like the idea of importing in foreign beef because we choose to be cowfree? Do we wish to put faith in others under an ignorance is bliss shrug of the soldiers position? What would we do here Down Under if we didn’t have cattle to attend to? No Farm Inc NZ is unlikely to die off without a fight and I certainly am not one of those baying for the Dairy Boards blood? But I would like to see some positive changes to the Auld male vanguard steering the ship. One obvious one would be to see more women influencing the operation of the industry. I certainly feel as if a woman’s touch could bring about a wonderful revolution within the dairy old boys club. The next endeavour involves redefining the industry to create an ethical buyer culture which is presently not that accessible or socially acceptable in NZ as we speak. Dairy should be derived from farms not over saturated with cattle and state subsidies should be afforded to pastoral operators who reduce effluent and greenhouse gas output along with water aqueduct extraction.There are some good things though that we as new Zealanders can take heart from. The continuum of ethical consumption is one which is beginning to gradually claw it’s way into the Kiwi thought chamber. As a nation, we are increasingly devoting ourselves to compassion and non-violence towards other living creatures. Opposition to factory farming, we now need to make is now almost unanimous. This is excellent news in itself. The next step entails taking the full leap by acknowledging that we are not clean nor green and disassociating from the romantic machismo image associated with the cow cocky male maverick charmer farmer. If we accept these last stumbling blocks we cam take a great leap forward into problem solving the three way juggling act between balancing tourism, mining and milk. I still am adamant that we can have our cake err milk and drink it too but I believe we could take it one revolutionary step further by selling “moral milk” just like exclusive tourist packages to cut down on environmental degradation. It could be a major coo for both small and large players in this enormous supply chain.. And against the Empire the David is taking his sling shot towards Goliath. Ma and Pa organic cruel free farms are selling Justice Juice while women have struck back at the macho male image of the industry by declaring war under the banner of “no sex with carnivores”. Under their assessment you are what you eat and drink and the idea of intimacy with someone made up of dead animals and their fluids sickens them. This band of largely women Vegansexuals are out to send their men a lesson when it comes to the defiling or any feminine form. Yet, the girls are not alone. Numerous men have joined the bandwagon of dairy cruelty opposition displaying their abhorrence towards dairying as passive hunting while critiquing the idea of the NZ Made of Meat man. In addition, men at gyms can be found sporting shirts which say things such as “yes I’m a veganman but don’t have beef dude” or “I’m a REAL clean green Kiwi. NO BULL!Commendably, there are now also a number of vegan support clubs and sites to help deal with the growing concerns of isolation despair and social burn out for those who choose to do without dairy. We can be quite a cruel bunch sometimes. Groups that say that eating animal goods is not a prereq to being a real Kiwi. As for me, I do hope a compromising truce can be reached. Deep down I genuine do feel that we need to take the next communal healing step and mooove on with the times.

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  5. Thomas King

    Over the weekend, a reunion with expatriates brought back a rush of remembrances. Recollections of unforgettable experiences and the delights of exploring our roaring youths. At one point, a fascinating flashback bobbed it’s way back to the surface when one collegiate comrade brought up the blasts we used to have at school camps. “Ahh the Great Kiwi Outdoors” my mind wandered aloud. “What a yearly delight”. Being one of the few Bridget Joneses in the cackling congregation i was then bewildered by what shattered me from my fond fleeting fantasies of days go yonder. A matriarch asserted “Schools don’t do this to often. It’s not seen as curricula relevant”. Another burly bloke bellowed, “Yeah, parents said they’d worry their kids would get injured in the bush”. Another seconded this motion, “Parent Teacher Association reckon it’s a ‘health and safety’ minefield”. And then the coup de grace “Besides my son has no need to be a Bear Grylls. We (her and her partner) both agreed it was best that the school canned camping”. Canned camping! Why not school fairs, class theatrical productions, interclub sports, sausage sizzles or the end of year prom? Why was there no one there to douse these heathens in 100% O’Natural New Zealand Holy Water? How could these self respecting colleagues of mine even have the nerve to still equate themselves with that noble Scouts badge of being an authentic bush worshipping Kiwi? The dire truth is that our little darlings more than ever are missing a golden ticket to experience the majesty of nature which we older folk took for sheer granted. While we chased bees and scraped our knees, the new New Zealander seeks to keep his pet child in a gilded cage overflowing with fat food and electronic gadgets. How could any rational parent ever condone the advantageous pros for dropping the tablet to explore and experience our diverse and dynamic landscape? Deriving pleasures from the aesthetically and spiritually uplifting panorama all while developing an admiration and respect for the holisticinterchange between important natural forces and our place within this ecological jigsaw puzzle. How is venturing into the bush not as cognitively beneficial as sitting in a cuboid bland drain box classroom reciting tired words from a revised but barely revitalised textbook? The excuses tumble down in dampening torrents. From fear of allergies to mosquito bites, from fear of camp food to the absence of electricity. What is even more regretful is the efforts students themselves make to widdle themselves free from what we old timers saw as an inspirational journey. Returning as an Old Boy to my former college I asked the young ones if they still had the opportunity to go camping. “Yeah” one confident and assertive finely groomed lad contested. “But I hear they are a bit suck”. “Why do you say that?” i gently pressed on. To which he shrugged his shoulders and exclaimed to me “Well, there’s no reception. Can’t use your Smartphone, eh?” It was then I spun around and became illuminated. A hall replete with bright and brilliant young minds but where heads were buried like ostriches into tablets of all shapes and sizes. And yet, when engaged in banter, these young men inflated in confidence and charisma, coming to life in such a wonderfully remarkable manner. Beyond the joys of self discovery and spiritually finding oneself in the aura of Mother Natures grace and splendour camping was just as much about camaraderie and bonding with ones peers. The enthralling feeling of accomplishing tasks together, sharing your sentiments and experiences with others and achieving growth collectively. Why would anyone ever wish to shy away from such a resplendent revelation of both interpersonal and social development? Being tacitly taught NZ history without actually emotionally or physically feeling it felt bogus as far as I was concerned. And yet, like the great archaic good old fashioned traditional camp excursion the field trip itself was itself too being relocated to the relic cabinet of fleeting fads. How abominable those cretins!Recently, i guided a group of exchange tourists on the original track (the Bridle Path) which was used by our early pioneers to carry in supplies from the port towards our main city. My city, Christchurch is a rarity as far a New Zealand cities are concerned as it is an interior hub reasonably distant from the services of a harbour (when ships MADE centres wealthy). In spite of this our city did grow and flourished and it was exciting to share my panoramic passion for all things regionally related. From the peak of the summit our province stunned us with her providence. My figure danced in the air like a brush colliding against an incredible canvas. Painting a picture of the events, characters and natural wonders which had determined our coming into being. While not a professor. After having a mouthwatering morning tea of English breakfast tea from a piping hot billy accompanied with loving baked home made sweet scones filled with juicy plump sultanas and lavished with generous glazings of Canterbury butter and dollops of firm creamy white spoonfuls of pleasurable palate wheting whipped cream i was approached by cheery rosy faced Uruguayan student. After haven taken several cultural studies papers, she felt that these courses delivered by some of my own and certainly NZs finest professors and lecturers that I had captured the ‘magic’ of the Kiwi Experienced. I felt completely humbled by her generous praise and flattering kindness and tried to thank her as best i could in my barbarically brutal efforts to grapple with Castellano. In the space of a 2 hour tramp, this sharp highly perceptive and jolly senorita had become a history glutton sucking up knowledge like a finely crafted South American sponge. Confident, self assured and asking questions that would make my honours and post graduate pals green with envy. A trip which had titillated and tantalised her senses and I’m sure those of the other 11 nationalities whom came marching out with me that glorious sun drenched Christchurch morning. To feel and envisionthe experience through our 5 senses is something that the finest books, art works and film and audio documentaries just cannot capture. The physical thrill you feel when every part of you feels alive during an occasion of sensory opulence. The memories of each student astounded me of how each one retraced the day from those who saw the passage through the emotions, the senses, through religious perspectives, through vocational understandings, by way of class and even more interestingly through sex/gender. The excitable intermingling between various faculty students, the flowing chatter of intelligent well rounded individuals sharing their understanding towards an profound array of riveting topics and the collective enthusiasm for learning without the inhibitors of isolation, consoles and anything with a flat screen. Yes, they survived my vicious tramping flagellation and lived to tell the tale without having endured any life altering permanent mental or physical scarring. Indeed, my brave little troopers had concretelyconfirmedmy hypotheses that one could largely survive without tech and even be thrilled about it. Although I’m not tech phobic i still am a firm adherent to the idea that more gadgets contribute to greater inspiration. As one friend told me, he recently purchased a laptop to save on a paper subscription. Reasonable enough, i felt. However, when i quized him on some recent current affairs he openly confessed “you know, ever since i got that damn machine all i seem to do is play Candy Crush”. I’m sure that this is not a generic case. That said, i have found that people devoid of their toys are forced into being more cognitively proactive having to think on their feet with no assistance from the great and glorious Google search engine. What i had witnessed was the renaissance of skilled autonomous thinkers dutifully going about artistically and with free flowing flair postulating marvellous opinions.This day trip had opened a window of opportunity for these wide eyed deep thinking foreign philosophers and it nudged them pushing them to explore their potentials in every sense of the word. Academically, it pushed one driven Vietnamese girl to explore the impact that the debris from the rebuild were having on our waterways by way of the particulate matter (lead paint flakes, asbestos) that was entering our rivers and streams by way of our storm water drains. Another physically inspired Austrian informed me of how the day had influenced his desire to explore our backcountry and investigate the influence that therapeutic spaces have on our biopsychosocial wellbeing. Of the brief encounter that I’ve had with his purposeful prose, it seems as if regular contact with nature makes us more virtuous beings. Camping and bush trekking are invaluable as they often bring us into direct contact with the natural dilemmas which we so seldomly learn about in our concrete jungles. Like one bright guy who has identified the perils which jet boats and jet skis are having in terrorising, maiming and even killing off marine diversity at several of our bays. This is not good for nature nor for our 100% Pure NZ tourism campaign. In one interesting paper I oversaw, increased exposure to natural audiological sounds received a far more favourable response from test subjects than the sounds of a tv channel changing tirade, the clicking of keyboards or the tick tocking of a clock. One highly resourceful Chilean guy i met swore that hiking had not only heightened his sensory astuteness and the pleasures derived from honing in on the art of being skilled at relying on them for accurate information gathering but also vouched that he’d broadened his wider skillsets as a whole. He had learned to use a compass, use the sun and landmarks to orientate himself, predict the weather, to use plants for medicinal and nutritional purposes, to climb, to fish, to hunt respectfully, to ration, to identify and appreciate fresh water and to survive almostexclusively without the need for not even one lithium battery. As one student once informed me, the media makes us clutch to our phones and tablets in the ‘fear’ that we will miss out on the latest scoop. We are petrified by the idea that we will be socially ridiculed by failing to keep with the information gossip train. As this fine individual professed, nature has the liberating ability to make us embrace and accept ourselves whereas society forces us to constantly contest ourselves. Fascinating insights have strengthened the common perception that those who regularly or even sporadically add a dose of bush or camping to their lifestyle diet tend to be more confident individuals who assert greater control over their destinies. Furthermore, these “go getter” people whom tramp, hike, camp and generally seize life by the horns not only increase their access to more opportunities and greater possibilities and chance but they also regularly report greater the choices they eventually make, persevere with and undertake. In addition, the fruition and success rate of these actions followed tend to have a higher percentage rate of being satisfied, completed or obligated once elected as opposed to those who live less than “greener” goodly lives.Their overly superior gratified approach to the accomplished life is reinforced in the more abundant and nurturing relationships and bonds which they form not only with family but also through external attachments with new contacts and strangers. As a whole, these Green Legions tend to display sounder connections with other individuals in their day to day dealings and problems pertaining to social conflicts relationship dramas and dilemmas tend to be considerably fewer. As it camping, hiking and generally getting out is a mutually inclusive activity which can be undertaken or modified to meet most individuals needs, many believe and attest to the powers of these activities and how they have solidified and gelled their family ties and marriages. For those who engaged in these ‘therapeutic pursuits’ evidence affirmatively suggest that these ventures can concretely bring about certain health inducing benefits such as lowering anxiety levels, reducing stress, decreasing the risks of suffering from high blood pressure, minimising the perils of having to deal with cardiac related adversities to ones’ well being.In an astute and assiduous piece of investigative psychological documentation, it has been confirmed that for those whom were briefly exposed to a natural picture reported a rise in positive emotional thoughts and reactions. On the contrary, a graphic still of a city scape did not evoke or awaken as excited a response from the tested participants surveyed. When asked to write about something (it could have been about anything) the ones presented with the natural image wrote more uplifting comments using strongly passionate and powerfully positive adjectives and verbs. There were reflections about wonderful past events, memories and inevitably future plans. The city/office photo could also entice some pro positions (ie travel, the excitement of city living) but a large number of testimonials were infused with heavily negative reflection (loud neighbours, small apartments, expensive rent, noise, traffic, pollution, crumby jobs etc). Experience with witnessing the natural image also had the ability to inspirationally influence the way we felt towards often even “conflictive and divisive” topics. After seeing the picture of a place which was proclaimed as a nature lovers charm the conductors of the project thought that an image of a politician would quickly kill the feel good Hallmark card moment. However, they were sorely mistaken by their erroneous primary presumptions. After absorbing both images these viewers tended to talk about the “questionable” political figures more favourably than those whom saw a picture of those in an office. In the latter case, they tended to draw a line of association between the two images (ie the man in the office looked stressed ‘maybe’ because he works long hours can’t find a decent car park, doesn’t earn enough, and PROBABLY because of that politician!). In the first case, the socio economic and political factors were largely nullified by the sentiments of free will, individuality and control. The feelings of hope and expectations were certainly more visible in the case of the people who saw the nature image followed by the states man. In the concrete jungle of society, there was a feeling that the individual had less liberties to disassociate themselves from the powerful regulating forces of social conventions. Whereas, whilst camping or in the wild there was an opportunity to “let loose” and a release from the tensions of having to comply with social rules and the obeying of systems. Similarly, those subjects exposed initially to an image of nature or someone in the wild then presented with a picture of traffic jam ones tended to become philosophical problem solvers when confronted with the paradoxical thematic issues. Instead of whining they suggested that to deal with the congestion they would, get up early, walk, bike, get a scooter. On the flipside, ones who first saw a slovenly man slouched in front of a flickering monitor tended to be highly critical towards the problem of pile ups itself. Launching and propelling a tirade of highly heated opinions towards the faults and flaws of the council, the road makers and even the other motorists.Beyond stirring compassion, inspiring creativity and greatly lifting our spirits, the results tend to suggest that those who do “get out and about” more tended to not only be more geographically and historically knowledgeable than the “couch potatoes”, but also tended to have a greater awareness of issues affecting the environments they encountered. As a whole, there was a significant increase of both positive extroverted and introverted behaviours that came through outdoors orientated excursions. From social mingling with other nature lovers, to reading voraciously about the places on one’s bucket list, researching and attending lectures, to sharing these experiences via blogs/meet ups and other means, it’s clear that these natural encounters tended to elevate feelings of positivity, individualism, community and even spiritualism and faith building. In a surprise finding it was discovered that strong views towards the environment, food and animal rights and our duty as custodians of nature were strongly and deeply evoked for those who regularly partook in natural adventures and escapades. As tge crusade to barter off more of Natural NZ ensues we should make it our objective to see for ourselves what we and our future generations have to lose. How can a textbook ever convince us more than the certainty of our senses? How can we live all our lives in a Green Eden when we choose to spend our lives largely sheltered in concrete jungles? Why are our children being deprived of the right to see their country? I’m sure there would be fury if we were still teaching British literature and history instead of encouraging our kids to lap up our stories, so why shield them from our Secret Garden? Our eco Atlantis shouldn’t just be the preserve of German speaking trekkers and cashed up camper van cruisers but a paradise we should all be welcomed into. I fear that like that catchy but deeply meaningful a Real McCoy hit Runaway that if we don’t break free we along with everything that we love will be chewed up by the Machinewhile we forget about the joys of ‘real’ living beyond the social factory/office which can suck the souls out of us. Or even worse when the leaders who guide us, like that other classic chime “paint paradise then put up a parking lot.” Let’s not allow our beauty to be disposed from us while more of our assets get vended off to the bidding vultures of big business. It’s time to show them whose boss. So let’s teach those goldnoses whose boss, let’s out hike the Swiss, let’s frighten those tv networks with our absence and grab our backpacks, boots and tents and get out of town for a while. The sights which we have been missing out on for so long will be unforgettably priceless.

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  6. Thomas King

    Although I’m not tech phobic i still am a firm adherent to the idea that more gadgets “do not necessarily” contribute to greater inspiration. Apologies for that and any other visible grammatical glitches 🙂

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