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Sleepwalking off the cliff

14 September 2005

Sleepwalking off the cliff

Life is still fairly good in New Zealand. It is certainly not as good as it was in the days when people went out and didn’t bother to lock their doors, when a murder made the national headlines for a week and when children played safely in the streets, but compared to nations such as Portugal (which is suffering the effects of an extended drought that is devastating the nation), Zimbabwe (which effectively no longer has an economy) or New Orleans (converted from a bustling city into a cess pool loaded with toxic chemical that cannot be recovered, so are being pumped into the Caribbean, where they will cause a new set of problems), life in New Zealand is still fairly pleasant.

However, when we look to the future, we see that things are far from rosy. The entire world faces the consequences of being unprepared for Peak Oil (which will almost certainly hit before 2007) and being unprepared for Climate Change. When we consider a nation such as Britain, we note that the British economy was in desperate trouble in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

The boom years of the late 80s, 90s and early 2000s were almost entirely due to the low energy costs that resulted from the exploitation of North Sea oil and gas. But now, having passed the peak of extraction and sliding rapidly down the depletion curve, Britain sits on the brink of economic collapse, as it imports ever greater quantities of oil {impacting on severely the balance of payments} and contemplates putting its energy future into the hands of Russia, the nearest country that still has energy to spare!

Similarly, numerous nations around the world face economic ruin [and ultimately starvation amongst the citizens] because they cannot pay their energy bills. Indonesia is a classic example of an oil rich nation that is now rapidly ‘going down the gurgler’ because it cannot pay for oil imports.

This brings us to examine New Zealand of course and we find that delusion, ignorance and complacency are alive and well in Godzone. Myths abound concerning the ‘massive stocks of oil’ that either the US government has or the NZ government has.

Equally ludicrous are the delusions about hydrogen cars [that require massive inputs of electricity to manufacture the hydrogen], biodiesel, used cooking oil and a plethora of so-called alternatives, none of which meet the first criterion of energy feasibility: a positive energy out minus energy in sum (otherwise expressed as an figure greater than 1.0 for energy output divided by energy input).

Thus the willingness of New Zealanders to ignore almost everything that is happening in the real world, to believe the platitudes and promises of politicians who have no training (or even knowledge) in the field of energy seems certain to ensure that New Zealand will ultimately suffer a fate similar to Zimbabwe or Indonesia.

Fortunately the topography of New Zealand means that a fate similar to that of New Orleans will not be widely witnessed around New Zealand, though the residents of Napier and Christchurch etc. should surely heed the warnings about sea level rise that will inevitably accompany out of control global warming.

We at Direct Democracy continue to press for informed debate about crucial issues such as Peak Oil, Peak Gas, Climate Change, out of control trade deficits, burgeoning debt levels and cities that are being choked to death by vehicles that have no future because the fuel to run them will soon be too expensive for the average citizen to purchase.

We continue to promote to the community the message about the need for permaculture and security of food supply, the need to downsize and slow down, all this promotions of sanity is done in the face of opposition from well-financed vested interest groups, who promote ‘business as usual’ when it is perfectly obvious to every thinking person that ‘business as usual’ is the problem, not the solution.

The coming election offers what will probably be the last opportunity to put onto power people who have real knowledge of, and are prepared to address, the issues I have mentioned.

In the meantime New Zealand continues to sleepwalk off the cliff. We can only pray that the nation wakes up before it is too late.

We encourage the citizens of New Zealand to become informed before they vote by visiting the Direct Democracy website www.directdemocracy.net.nz


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