Raise a flipper


    Being called to arms on climate change by Brenda the Civil Disobedience Penguin is probably no weirder than a lot else in our globalised world. We are going into a world putatively led by a climate change denialist, an Exxon oil industry executive and naked nepotism.
    Brenda – of Australia’s First Dog on the Moon cartoon cast – puts the stakes for the planet pretty clearly: “We have all failed, deliberately or otherwise, the scientists, politicians, penguins, media, all failed.
    “And the grisly, greedy crackmonsters of the fossil fuel industry have won – do you understand?  They won – there was a shitty boring battle for the future of the earth and the free market won. Now we all reap the spoils which is the end of everything. Get used to it,” she said raising the bar on zero tolerance for climate bullshit and calling for lots of noise and furious complaint.
    “Constructive dialogue is going to get us all killed. If you’re not a climate activist today you’re a corpse waiting to happen.”
    Waiheke – ruined or otherwise, according to whichever silly-season pundit you want to listen to – has always been a leader in this frumious component of democracy.
    The drums and marchers that rolled up Queen Street last Saturday protesting the distasteful personal values expounding from the new Oval Office included a fair number of islanders and we aren’t going to have every roadside pohutukawa on the island mauled to make way for hermetically sealed double-decker luxury coaches without a fight, either.
    This is already showing up as the break-point for a community at the mercy of an unregulated monopoly transport company owned by, and making excellent returns for, Scottish transport entrepreneur Brian Souter.
    There are reasons why the Fitzgerald Glade bush remnant on the Mamaku range above Rotorua still exists.
    Pohutukawa, geckos and regenerating bush roadsides may get mulched down to make way for weirdly inappropriate traffic in the mental and physical silos of Auckland Transport but – well, the rest of us, raise a flipper.

    There was a shitty boring battle for the future of the earth and . . . the grisly, greedy crackmonsters of the fossil fuel industry have won.

    And who knows when something will turn the tide and provide the leadership to get us into action?
    During last year’s interminable presidential election process, I frequently wanted to beg the CBS makers of the American political drama television series Madam Secretary to lend their wardrobe team to Democratic candidate Hilary Clinton (herself a long-time Secretary of State).
    The exquisite, understated elegance of the fictional Dr Elizabeth McCord (who made over her wardrobe in early episodes) might have done enough to change the American presidential election and the world as we now know it.
    Simple creatures that we are, it’s an uphill battle for a short woman wearing a pants  suit in block colours to be judged as anything but motherly – and easily bullied.
    In the first of a new series that’s popped out of the swamp that was summer free-to-air television, McCord and her fictional president hang their election hopes on that precarious Washington unmentionable – climate change.
    Last year, even our own meteorological scientists and civil servants began to pin the long-suppressed label of climate change on statistics, despite political denial at the highest level.
    With 2016 now adjudged the hottest on record for the third year in a row, it’s time we generated political consequences.
    We are still allowing the world’s largest seismic oil survey ship to prospect on behalf of oil giants Statoil and Chevron among our Maui dolphin and oceanic mammals. This was inexcusably mandated by our own government after the Paris summit at which we were, rightly, accused of hypocrisy in the first degree.
    Vehicular convenience is now the enemy. Trees – growing like crazy in our new climate – may be the planet’s first line of defence.
    Auckland Transport needs to get with the programme.  Across the whole beautiful city, if it’s a choice between executing well-grown street pohutukawa and massive roadworks to speed up traffic, go change even just a few of your stupidly badly sequenced traffic lights instead. I’d suggest that someone put a gecko on your hand for ten minutes – it would change your life – but alas, we shouldn’t be touching these last, entrancing pieces of primeval magic at all.
    And for the rest of us?  Have a brilliant holiday weekend with us and, leaving the last word to Brenda, “just because we’re all going to die doesn’t mean you don’t have to sort the recycling properly.” • Liz Waters

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