Time to take (environmental) matters into our hands

Decisive political action hasn't happened anywhere in the world, which suggests it's about as likely here as Santa coming down the chimney.

Right now we are facing the greatest challenge that has ever been faced, and we are on the brink of a disaster that will cost us almost everything we value.

david thompson idealog sustainable businessBut we were warned, 25 years ago a group of the world’s most highly regarded experts in fields ranging from finance and planning to agriculture, science, and technology told us that our survival was conditional to decisive political action now. We haven’t ignored that warning, maybe where we are now would be less shameful if we had. We listened, we talked, we argued, we theorised, we passed resolutions, held forums and signed treaties. What we didn’t do was take ‘decisive political action’.

Should we continue to wait for that ‘decisive political action’? Or would we be better off just waiting to see what pans out in case there isn’t really any danger?

That elusive ‘decisive political action’ hasn’t happened anywhere in the world, which suggests it is about as likely to happen as Santa Claus coming down my chimney, so that leaves us with the ‘wait and see’ option. We have waited 25 years and unless I’m wrong, we know what’s going to happen – because it’s actually happening all over the world.

The Midwest of the USA is in the grip of a drought that will destroy a huge percentage of the world’s corn supply, most of the West is in the middle of an economic meltdown and flooding in China is already exceeding the capacity of drainage systems that were built to 2006 standards. Is that what we want?

I believe we only have one option. We have to get off our posteriors and take that ‘decisive action’ the politicians haven’t taken and do what has to be done before it’s too late.

I live in Christchurch, a very small city by world standards, yet I have found people with an incredible array of skills, resources, ideas and, most of all, passion and dedication. In our tiny city we have hundreds and potentially thousands of people who not only want to make a difference, but are able to do damn near anything.

Imagine if all these people connected with each other to share resources, swap ideas, inspire one another and work together? And then linked up with like-minded men and women from all over New Zealand? How many of us would there be? 10,000? 20,000? More?

Among us there’d be hundreds of scientists from every field of research, engineers, designers, computer experts, builders and even politicians. So no matter what we needed to know or do, we’d have the best people to do the job, which means the job could be done.

So why haven’t we done anything? Is it because the scientists are all confused and there isn’t really a problem? Perhaps I’m wrong about the level of skill and expertise out there, and we’re really all just a pack
of dimwits? Or is the internet broken and it’s impossible to link several thousand like-minded people? The only other reason I can think of not to do anything is that the Flying Spaghetti Monster (or a similar deity) is about to come down and fix things.

The scientists aren’t wrong about the threat, I’m not wrong about our capability and the last I heard, the Flying Spaghetti Monster was unable to fit us into his busy schedule. So unless someone can give me a really good argument why we’re better off doing nothing, let’s take control. Now.

David Thompson is dedicated to seeing sustainable business practices become the only game in town, and blogs at

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