Thinking outside the box to solve the Three Waters debacle


Back in 1997 I edited a national newsletter called The Indicator. One day I reviewed a book by ecological economist, Richard Douthwaite called The Growth Illusion: How Economic Growth Enriched the Few, Impoverished the Many and Endangered the Planet.  He had also written  Short Circuit: Strengthening Local Economics for Security in an Unstable World, 1996) which gives dozens of examples of currency, banking, energy and food production systems which communities can use to make themselves less dependent on an increasingly unstable world economy.

Jeanette Fitzsimons, Deirdre Kent and Richard Douthwaite 1997

It wasn’t long before I was in contact with Richard and he agreed to come to New Zealand to promote his books. I drove him round New Zealand and recall visiting the then Green Party co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons. We had many conversations in the car and I recall him saying that if a community wanted more self sufficiency, then it needed both a community currency and a community bank.

So hold that thought. Continue reading “Thinking outside the box to solve the Three Waters debacle”

Councils need a new superpower as climate costs escalate


Recently I spent two hours at a council meeting of Kapiti Coast District Council where the topic was a workshop focussing on creating a district wide plan for climate mitigation and adaption.

It seems the apocalyptic climate events of the past weeks in Northland, Auckland, Tairawhiti and Hawkes Bay has had a noticeable effect on our own councillors. It was heartening to see them enthusiastically stepping up aspirations on climate action.

But when it came to implementation there was something to be faced. A reality check was needed.  I was left in no doubt at the end that councils simply haven’t got the resources, the money, the staff to do any accurate assessment of the districtwide emissions. Nor have they the resources to implement what is desirable.

Continue reading “Councils need a new superpower as climate costs escalate”

Negative interest rates are very different from a demurrage currency


With the prospect of New Zealand one day going as far as negative interest rates, we need to examine the consequences of that. The trouble is that those of us who know a little about demurrage currencies tend to think they are the same, whereas they are very different. Continue reading “Negative interest rates are very different from a demurrage currency”

What is the right figure for livestock’s contribution to emissions?


Well I have never been in a subject where the figures show such a wide range. I think we get from 12% to 51% of total global emissions with everything in between. It started in 2006 with Livestock’s Long Shadow, a study that brought an alarming result for the beef and dairy sector and caused them to demand a partnership with FAO from then on. Continue reading “What is the right figure for livestock’s contribution to emissions?”

Repurposing some agricultural land for horticulture has revenue consequences


New Zealand is incredibly dependent on its primary industry sector for revenue so I thought it worth looking at the current situation. If we are proposing that in order to reduce our methane  and nitrous oxide emissions, it has export revenue consequences. If we say some appropriate land should be repurposed for growing more plant foods, then it might pay us to look at the revenue we currently receive from our primary sector. Continue reading “Repurposing some agricultural land for horticulture has revenue consequences”

System Change not Climate Change – what to ask of a website


Climate change is a symptom of our broken economic system. As Naomi Klein said, “The economy is at war with the climate.” Climate scientists have laid out the facts for decades now and politicians have failed to respond because they are afraid the economy might not grow. And the growth imperative is structurally built into the system. If the economy doesn’t grow the alternative is not equilibrium. It is collapse. Continue reading “System Change not Climate Change – what to ask of a website”