My New Zealand

A View from the South Pacific

When you visit a country you often tend to see it in a better light than do those who live in it. You miss the lurking warts. The reverse is also true: you tend to think that your own country’s problems loom larger than they probably should.

I’ve spent much of the last half century travelling the world and living in places as diverse as Scotland, South Korea, and Fiji. I’ve visited fifty or sixty countries. As a result of that, I became—in my mind, if not in law—a citizen of the world. I didn’t suffer an overdose of patriotism.


4,500,000 people live here. With 4,500,000 points of view. Mine is as biased as any.

The Land

We’re the south west corner of the great Polynesian triangle. Because it’s constantly crunched by the inexorable forces of tectonic plates and geothermal activity, much of the land is spectacular. It has a moderated Mediterranean climate (thanks to Australia stealing the anti-cyclones and sending us a lot of rain) so it’s mostly lush, especially in the lowlands.

Mankind has only been here a thousand years, but with the burning and felling of forest and the introduction of devastating exotic plant and animal species, to a large extent we’ve stuffed it up. Nevertheless, the mountains, the volcanoes, the rivers, the lakes, the fjords and the remnant rain forest—we call it the bush—are stunning.

Much of the farmland is lush and beautiful, although it’s thanks in large part to the use of non-renewable resources like superphosphate and urea. Some steep hill country which should never have been grazed is being ruined by the consequent erosion. It’s crying out to be replanted in forest.

It’s not Middle Earth—that was more than a little digitally enhanced—but it’s pretty good.

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Smoke and mirrors…

My driftwood burner — OK, Im guilty too

… delusions and ignorance.

Anyone who believes that the human race can burn 4,000,000,000 tonnes of oil every year along with 7,000,000,000 tonnes of coal (and who knows how much wood and waste matter) without having a significant effect on the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is deluded, ignorant, devious or, at best, sadly misinformed.

When you add to that the massive vandalisation of the world’s forests over several millennia, desertification, pollution, species destruction and what have you, anyone who looks at the facts but still can’t accept that the planet is on a collision course with humanity is deluded.

And if you don’t believe that increasing significantly, over an extended period, the amount of CO2 and methane in the atmosphere is not going to lead to an increase in atmospheric temperature then you are just plain flat-out wrong.

I just read of a learned gentleman (sorry, lost the link, but you’ve heard it all before) who said something along these lines, “CO2 started at 0.02% of the atmosphere and it’s gone up to 0.04%. Those tiny amounts are too small to have any effect on the climate.

The man is wrong, and he’s ignorant. It requires abandonment of all logic. If it wasn’t for that “insignifcant” amount of CO2 in the atmosphere the planet would be too cold for us to survive on. That’s how we discovered the greenhouse effect in the first place, by investigating why we didn’t freeze and why Venus was hot enough to melt lead.

1 gram of arsenic is enough to kill me. That’s about 0.000014% of my body weight. By that idiot’s logic I should be able to cope with a couple of mouthfuls.

You could as easily say, our planet’s average surface temperature is 288ºK, so an increase of 12ºK would only be about 4.2%. What’s the problem? In fact it would kill most life on Earth.

It’s dire.

It’s coming soon to a planet near you.

I’m 71. Until recently I thought my only worry was for the world I’ll leave my grandchildren. I’m in reasonably good health, I’m fit. I may live another 20 or 30 years. It’s going to affect me too.

Check the latest projections on how far underwater you’ll end up right here on Just Wondering.