Plant a tree, man

“Cocky, Cocky, the most exciting news…” spluttered Henny

“Tell me?” responded Cocky, eyes wide with anticipation.

“Its official! its from the most impeccable source; the Parliamentary Environment Commissioner’s Report no less. They have confirmed our astute predictions and it’s better than we could have ever hoped.” Henny was simply beside herself with excitement.

“What did they say?” Cocky leapt up and down on his perch with anticipation.

“Global warming is here to stay! South Dunedin is doomed, just as we predicted; over 2,600 homes, 116 businesses and 35 kilometres of road. Isn’t that simply the most wonderful news? Oh Cocky, I am so so excited I think I have just laid an egg, probably a double-yolker.” 

“So what do you think we do now Hen?

“Oh we will have so much to do Cocky it is hard to know where to start. Imagine it ! Imagine the meetings; the new committees set up; the new chairmanships allocated; all the reports, the consents hearings, the amendments to the District Plan. Just imagine Cocky!”

Yes another “official report” designed to spook the population about the impending doom for the planet has been produced by who knows who at who knows what cost. And, on cue, our City Council henhouse is all full of feathers, dust and squawking as announced on the front page of the ODT on 20 November with the mayor seeking government emergency handouts for a disaster that has not happened.

So is global warming happening? Of course it is; the climate is in its natural recovery phase from the last ice age. It would be really scary if the climate stopped changing because that would be unnatural. The question to ask is, is this current climate trend unusual? is it unnatural?

Temperature Trends

Global temperature 450,000BC to 2013

Screen Shot 2015-11-25 at 10.01.40 PM

Global mean temperature 1998 to 2013

The chart on the left trending global temperature trends over the past 425,000 years showing the natural cycle of ice ages and inter glacial periods. Clearly we are, today, in a predictable inter-glacial warming period. We are at the same level the planet was 410,000 years ago and again 240,000 years ago. But we but still well below the  earth’s temperature 340,000 years ago and again 135,000 years ago. As far as we know, there were no combustion engines back then.

And if we focus on the most recent 15 years, there is no apparent concern that anything is any different from previous centuries.

The question that we need to address is whether the analysis of these actual global temperature trends should give us any concern that areas of our city are on the brink of being inundated. Is it going to get significantly warmer in coming decades or will the little line drop back down as it has before?

The question is will the trend move upwards towards a burnt out planet or back towards our next ice age over the next couple of thousand years?

The answer is, quite simply, we don’t know. Just like we don’t know about life after death even though there are many religion merchants who preach the doomsday message and try to persuade us that they do have the exclusive agency and, for the very reasonable price of a 10% wage tithe, they can sell us an eternal home in paradise. But for a more generous bequest you can get an upgrade, its all location, location, location in paradise. So we can each place our bets wherever we choose, and for whatever motives, but nature will do what nature does; without consultation with us humans.

That is not to say we should carry on clearing the forests and jungles, polluting the air and fouling the waterways. That is just the global extension of people living in domestic squalor; an unhealthy concrete jungle with open sewers. The original greenies started off as being well meaning, relatively harmless, hippies; but that movement just became corporatised by the GreenPeace Organisation with its doomsday marketing strategy and its political ambitions for global economic and social policy control  through its Green Party division? Old school hippies are now replaced by High Street hipsters buying into the GreenPeace branding, merchandising and social tribalism.

The GreenPeace Geniuses don’t see the hypocrisy of flying all around the globe to knock on our doors to tell us that if we don’t reduce our carbon footprint the planet will die. They don’t see the irony of explaining their wind-power alternative for energy production on i-pads and smartphones that leave behind the legacy of lakes of toxic waste from the extraction of rare earth minerals required for the making of those very i-phones, i-pads and for the magnets required to make the wind generators work.

People just get overwhelmed with a constant, illogical squawking about the hopelessness of our situation and. as a result, the positive message of we humans having a bit of a clean up of our habitat and planting a few trees just gets missed. There are still some very good, positive ecologically minded citizens in our communities, grown-up hippies they may be, but the GreenPeace Corporation simply bulldozes over the top of them with their doomsday message, an age-old trick for making a buck without doing anything of use. And in our panic we agree to committing monthly direct debit contributions to their crusade and to tick a vote for their political division.

“Do you think we should sweep up the autumn leaves in South Dunedin a bit earlier and more frequently next year Hen?”

“What on earth for Cocky?”

“Well, to reduce the risk of more flooding, Hen.”

Are you serious, Cocky? How can people take global warming seriously if we interfere with nature by sweeping up leaves? Leaves are part of nature; the fall of leaves is a natural cycle. We cannot interfere. We must reinforce to the fools that flooding is the result of our car emissions. Cycling is the only alternative. Cycleways are essential. How many times do I have to repeat this before you get it into your silly little cocky brain? 

“But what if the water level does not actually rise above ground level in South Dunedin while we are still on Council Hen?”

“Precisely Cocky, that is why we must not hinder the natural process by sweeping up leaves, nature’s little autumn blanket. One more decent sized flood and we will have an open cheque-book for cycleways.”

And so we just get overwhelmed by the hopelessness and we keep paying the money. But why not start with planting a tree or three? Start a movement. Maybe we cannot prevent Indonesia cutting and burning their forests, but we can easily double or treble the number of trees growing here. Plenty of land available for that. And if New Zealand can do it how many other countries would follow suit to replace the destruction in Indonesia and the Amazon regions?

And we cannot force people out of cars and onto bicycles, but we can promote a trend of walking a bit more. I recently decided to give up on the frustration of driving around and around a block to park my car within a few short paces of my destination. Now I deliberately stop about half a kilometre or more away and spend five or ten minutes walking to my destination. The parking cost is either free or cheap; the exercise is absolutely the most beneficial thing I can do for my health and general well-being; I see many very interesting things along the way that I used to miss; I meet up with people whom I haven’t seen in a while; and I reduce my fuel consumption and carbon emissions by about 10%. A minimal amount of time management has quickly become an enjoyable pattern that I just would never go back from. Imagine that simple practice getting some social-media global traction?

The GreenPeace doomsday industry is not part of the solution. They peddle the same snake oil as so many religions. We just need to deal with the challenges. The solutions are there and life is beautiful. Plant a tree, take a walk; and stop your cow shitting in the creek. Its not socket rinse, man.


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