The Ministry for the Environment’s “Our Climate, Your Say” consultation regarding the Zero Carbon Bill closes 19 July 2018.
Here are some excerpts from my interventions which I emailed in today (I hope my comments on structural violence and systemic matters that need to be addressed catch the attention of our public servants). For the full intervention (including all footnotes), click here.
Several big picture philosophical themes are applicable in terms of the Government’s design and execution of the Bill. To reduce repetition in this paper, I outline them here.
“Seek and defend the truth.”
(Kaitaia College motto)
The need for certainty is understandable, especially in egoic humans with a deep psychological need to control everything. However, our climate emergency resulted from, and is being exacerbated by, a convergence of multidimensional factors and numerous systems failures (the development of our climate crisis wasn’t a binary or linear journey). This means an inherently chaotic biosphere, and increasingly unstable societies.
In times of such unprecedented uncertainty, it’s disingenuous to perpetuate the myth (whether through camouflaged or overt words and/ or actions) that society can retain the same levels of certainty, whether in business and industry or otherwise. Suppressing pono (the truth) is particularly illogical in a technological age where the speed of information access and sharing means the truth will become publicly known in any event (and sooner than predicted). We are now approaching the event horizon when the truth can no longer be hidden.
It is also extremely irresponsible to represent many of the propositions in the booklet as “options”. We have as much “choice” regarding these propositions as we do as residents of a house that’s on fire: your options are either evacuate immediately, or perish. That’s a Clayton’s choice (i.e. no choice at all). Similarly with existential climate crisis, if faced with (a) ‘like our lives depend on it, like there’s no tomorrow’/ totally committed aspirational action to save the human race, or (b) ‘keeping some of our powder dry’/ halfhearted conservative action that exacerbates prospects for our species’ near term annihilation…it’s really no competition, and should be a clear no-brainer. Climate crisis isn’t a run-of-the-mill two-dimensional problem that we can fix with the luxury of time. It’s a predicament with no conventional solutions. Our failure decades’ ago to make the right decisions now means we must accept not only massive disruption to our convenient modern lifestyles, but increased human suffering. The key question is what meaningful effort will we make to optimize that failed space, while simultaneously seeking a miracle.
“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
(Martin Luther King)
In other words, perpetuation of such false narratives is an exercise in futility which is doomed to lead only to mass confusion and suffering. It is ultimately dangerous, because it delays the affected population recognizing very testing climate crisis truths that they are unconsciously sensing, but scared to consciously face.
This is a time for inhabitants of our proverbial house on fire – especially its so-called leaders - to wake up, sound the alarm (as opposed to being ‘alarmist’) and collectively, with all due haste, act in a conscious, tika (right, well-informed) manner about our climate predicament. Acting in a timely, decisive way, with aroha (compassionately), is a sign of formidable mana (strong leadership). Urgent transformation will only come by stretching our comfort zones.
“No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.”
Given humanity’s arrogant and insanely misguided history, we can’t expect to match Nature’s superior and unfathomable fractal intelligence. However, we (including Governments) can and must, to the best of our ability, strive to surrender to, be guided by and emulate her infinitely wise processes and values. At a macro level, this would seem to be humanity’s saving grace, as certainly utilizing fallible and perverted human law has on balance been a catastrophically failed socio-economic experiment, despite all its fleeting and comparably micro successes.
This is simply a re-branding of ageless spiritual providence and ancient indigenous traditional wisdom. Significantly however – and to give Government confidence – such spiritual and indigenous insight is now being convincingly affirmed by the ‘western’ (as opposed to indigenous) scientific study of epigenetics; biophotonics; fractal, multiverse and holographic universe theory; quantum physics; consciousness and other metaphysical subjects that progressively illuminate the true nature of reality. Therefore, to think integration of such transcendent concepts is too abstract to be of any practical use in so far as climate crisis policy is concerned would be an extremely fatal mistake: on the contrary, a triangulation of archeological proof, testimony of living traditional knowledge-holders and western science now makes such tangible application remarkably achievable.
It is recognized that the aforementioned is antithetical to Westminster style politics (or even politics altogether), so a major challenge for politicians and government officials to grapple with. None the less, we are in a Time where everyone will be called upon to make profound sacrifices of both a tangible (e.g. convenient post-industrialist lifestyles) and intangible (e.g. mental, emotional, egoic) nature. Sacrifice is required for “utu” (restoring balance): value of a lower nature must be freely offered to gain value of a higher nature. At a minimum therefore, Government, those in business and all of civil society would do well, like Nature, to urgently shift more towards:
inclusive, ‘this and that’ complex systems thinking, rather than adhering to dichotomous ‘this or that’ binary or linear propositions; and
strengthening anti-fragility /resilience through being mindful of what has worked, yet surrendering our attachments to how things were, are or should be.We must be more open to inevitable evolution and change (i.e. learn to go with the flow and embrace uncertainty, while grounded in the knowledge that there is a Grand order in the chaos).
Violation of Natural Law created our climate situation. Correspondingly, habitually aligning with Natural Law provides humanity with the best prospects for responding to the state of climate emergency.
“It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning.”
Speaking of the need for innovation and decoupling from unfit-for purpose constructs, I observe how the options in the consultation document are constrained by “cost effectiveness” and other so-called fiscal affordability considerations.The Government’s Budget Responsibility Rules (BRR), for example, creates a “policy of budget conservatism that stops it from responding boldly to all sorts of social and environmental deficits”. But Government is hamstrung by much more dogmatism than just the austerity-aligned BRR.
On one level, if we’re coming from the perspective of optimizing the failed economic operating space, there is a clear history that whatsoever Governments have the political will to prioritize, the politicians will ‘find the money’ to fund it. But of course, Governments don’t literally have to go and “find” anything, they simply create it: since the de-coupling of currency from the Gold standard (the creation of modern fiat currency) and fractional reserve lending, the ability to create money out of nothing (with scant accountability) is exponentially increased, especially in this neo liberal capitalistic economy. This is evidenced by countries that incur debt for all manner of policy implementation. That financial institutions create debt-based money out of nothing is now widely known (more truth that can no longer be hidden from the populous).
On another level, it must be questioned why society continues to tolerate the needless suffering generated by today’s failed capitalist economic operating system which is part of the larger reality of structural violence and oppression. There are many well-recognized models (such as the Doughnut model) which are based on more life-nurturing values. There are also more ways to progressively transcend the failed capitalistic economic system which would provide Aotearoa with more resources and energize our efforts to meaningfully respond to climate crisis and Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions reduction: Universal Basic Income, sovereign money, local currencies, reducing the working week (e.g. to 30 hours), democratizing the workplace…there are countless possibilities. In other words, Governments should be prioritizing all necessary steps to preserve life, which ought to make artificial fiscal constructs like “cost effectiveness” largely inconsequential by comparison.
“Carbon trading is gearing up to make the housing and derivatives bubbles look like target practice.”
(Catherine Austin Fitts)
Further to mechanisms that exacerbate the failings of the dominant economic operating system, it is also observed that the Government’s GHG reducing proposals rely heavily on the Emissions Trading Scheme. However, the mechanism has dismally failed to achieve the very outcome it was supposedly created to deliver: a decline in emissions. Numerous experts have criticized the ETS as either being fundamentally unfit for purpose, a Ponzi scheme, or morally corrupt, or at the very least replaceable by a well-calibrated GHG tax (rather than a GHG trading scheme). Therefore, any commentary made below associated with the ETS is merely in reference to optimizing that failed mechanism. The superior situation would be for the Government to abort the ETS in favour of an effective green tax.
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