Economic collapse `might save us'
An American academic brought a roadmap for the future to Kerikeri on Monday.
28 June, 2012
Guy McPherson takes climate change issues very seriously: a rise in global temperatures is happening and its results could very well be catastrophic.
For the University of Arizona professor emeritus and writer the results are already in. The industrial economy is driving to extinction 200 species a day every day, he says.
The self-described "life-loving economic doomer" is not making predictions for the future but his best-case scenario coincides with what many would view as a worst-case economic scenario.
"We can't see the future but we can make the future."
He's urging a lifestyle switch.
"Anarchy means taking responsibility for yourself and for your neighbours," Mr McPherson says. He says there is no politically viable solution to climate change driven by our fossil fuel driven economy. And he openly hopes for a quick, complete economic collapse.
"If you actually love life, you have to be in favour of the industrial economy reaching its overdue end," he says.
It's the only way to mitigate the current trend towards a mass extinction by 2035, he says.
"I have no doubt whatsoever that there is no gain to be had politically from `durable living'," he says.
But that's exactly what he said on Monday: raising goats, chickens and ducks; growing fruit and vegetables and keeping bees; collecting water; and living in a low-tech, energy-efficient home.
"In New Zealand it would be almost too easy to make this happen," he says of community level self-sufficiency.
Mitigating the effects of an economic collapse requires water security, food security, maintaining body temperature and community, Mr McPherson says,
The signs that he pointed to as indicators of a coming dramatic global rise in temperatures are the Amazon drought, once a carbon sink the area is now a major carbon emitter; ocean methane emissions; Siberian methane vents, which grew in diameter from 30cm in 2010 to 1km in 2011; and arctic defrosting, which occurs when warm Atlantic waters enter the Arctic.
Mr McPherson gave two talks in Kerikeri hosted by Deep Green Productions.
Monday's talk was co-sponsored by Transition Towns BOI.
World 'bleeding to death'
"Global climate change is on track to cause human extinction,".
29 June, 2012
Retired professor Guy McPherson's view of the living world is fairly blunt.
The planet has a spurting wound and governments are pumping on its chest to try and make it stand up again, he says.
"Central banks and corporations of the world are selling blood for transfusions and the environmentalists are running around cleaning up the blood on the sidewalk."
The former University of Arizona professor of natural resources, ecology and evolutionary biology is in New Plymouth this week to talk about how to make living more "durable". His talk will focus on what he calls the twin sides of the fossil fuel coin: energy decline and global climate change.
"Global climate change is on track to cause human extinction," he said.
Dependence on fossil fuels contributed to environmental decay, water and air pollution.
"As a consequence, the set of living arrangements that society has become accustomed to will be gone, and sooner than we think," he said.
Prof McPherson left his role as a professor some years ago as his moral viewpoint began to trump the way he lived.
He moved off-grid to New Mexico, USA, where he now lives within a community-based alternative lifestyle.
"It's a very sparsely inhabited area, with very few humans by design. We're living outside government influence because governments are not our friends," he said.
The majority of people in his community are committed to things such as growing their own food, which Prof McPherson said was one thing people could do to become more durable. "There are many things we can do as individuals and communities to prepare for a different future than what we've seen in the past.
"We can secure clean water. We can secure healthy food. We can secure the means to maintain our body temperature at a safe level, and we can develop and maintain a decent human community.
"Those four things are all we need to thrive, not merely survive, but thrive."
He said New Zealanders had an incredible chance to take advantage of sustainable living.
"The entire southern hemisphere is much better suited to deal with climate change.
"You have this maritime climate, and all of this rainfall, and things that are amazing in terms of the natural world here in New Zealand and New Plymouth."
Prof McPherson said his goal is to start a conversation, so people will take responsibility for themselves and their neighbours.
"And if we don't have a complete collapse – which is impossible to imagine in my mind – then we will have just made a better world regardless. And that's not such a horrible thing."