Martine Rolls: Why can't we wake up to global threat?

By Martine Rolls

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LOGGING ON: It seems Kim Dotcom's Internet Party aims to get the votes of the young and the indifferent.PHOTO/FILE
LOGGING ON: It seems Kim Dotcom's Internet Party aims to get the votes of the young and the indifferent.PHOTO/FILE

People ask me often if I am going to vote for the Internet Party in September. Now, why would I do such a thing? Because they promise better internet?

That would be nice, of course, but it's not really worth voting for.

It seems to me that the Internet Party aims to get the votes of the young and the indifferent, and the protest votes of those who support National or Labour.

I have no problem at all with voting for small political parties, as long as they have something interesting to bring to the table.

I haven't been able to find any decent viewpoints or policies coming from the Internet Party camp just yet, and that's a bit of a worry.

I'm also not a big Kim Dotcom fan, and I can't see how he could possibly play an important role in the political process. Enough reason for me to look for another option.

My political stance has always been a little left from the centre, and you could say I'm liberal. I always make the effort to vote, but I usually don't make up my mind who until the last minute. It's never easy.

I quite like some of the things New Zealand First stands for, and the Greens have some good points as well, but there are plenty of things in their policies that I don't agree with.

What then? ACT, perhaps? Who knows who will get my ticks later this year?

It won't be long before the pre-election PR campaigns get cranked up, and I'm not looking forward to it. There's little I find more annoying than election talk.

Some of the issues that matter to me are opportunities for young people, economic development, and sustainability. Spending an estimated $1 million of taxpayer money on a royal visit, discussions about changing the New Zealand flag and asking people if they smoke or not in the census all seems a little pointless to me, although I respect that these are big issues for others.

At the moment, I would like to see a bigger focus on saving our planet. We are all aware that we live in an incredibly wasteful society, but most of us don't even bother taking the smallest steps towards a more sustainable existence.

Climate change is set to have a devastating impact on everything from human health, social stability and food security to the economy, ecosystems and water resources by the end of this century.

It's not the first time that scientists have tried to warn us of potentially impending global disaster but if the collapse of civilisation really is coming, as a recent Nasa-funded scientific study confirmed, then what's the point of all the other stuff?

Referring to the past collapses of often very sophisticated civilisations - the Roman, Han and Gupta empires - the study noted that the elite of society have often pushed for a "business as usual" approach to warnings of disaster until it is too late.

When the news of this report broke and was discussed online, it honestly scared the hell out of me. But it did say that the worst-case scenario of collapse is not inevitable. There is a strong call for action from the so-called real world elites to restore economic balance.

Aotearoa wants to be smoke-free by 2025. That's a great thing to aim for, but personally I'd rather see non-biodegradable plastic bags and bottles banned.

Hawaii has taken a stand by becoming the first US state to ban plastic bags at checkout counters.

The city of San Francisco is steering consumers away from using disposable water bottles, which fill landfills and wash out to sea just as grocery bags do.

Elites exist because of the voting power of the masses. If we claim to be so clean and green, why can't we focus on things like that here in New Zealand, too? Not just the Greens, but everyone?

If we have just been told that we are facing a global environmental crisis, will we see something actually happen towards reversing this in the next 10 years or so, or will it be business as usual?

Martine Rolls is a Tauranga writer and digital strategist.

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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