Last year I had a scientist take a big pay cut to join my team as an educator. He told me that he was sick of proving over and again how badly we are treating the environment and wanted to make some tangible change.

Scientists continue to tell the world that unless we can reduce carbon emissions, then global warming is going to cause more storms, draughts and food shortages that will result in chaos.

Huge improvements in renewable energy technology are starting to pave the way and in a country like New Zealand - where we have geothermal land and the right weather for the implementation of renewables - there really is an opportunity to get our electricity consumption to come from 100 per cent renewables.

Climate change is hard to see and hard to measure. Lobbyists employed by industry are clearly also paid to come up with science that tries to disprove it. Another, much more immediate risk from oil is of course what happens out in the ocean when oil production goes wrong.


Five years ago, when the BP Horizon spill killed 11 people and 5 million barrels of oil poisoned the environment near Florida, killing scores of animals, these risks were finally brought into mainstream media. Despite all of that though, as new technology enables prospectors to go deeper and deeper into the "golden" zones, deep sea oil drilling is expanding.

Big oil wants to exploit the undersea resources here in New Zealand, but is this a good idea? Recently 3News ran a report showing that our safety record is getting worse. In the last year there were 36 incidents involving problems with safety equipment and Texan oil barons Anadarko even managed to drop a seven tonne platform from a boat.

They certainly don't mention these problems on the expensive website that their lobbyists built to explain the facts to us.

If you look at this, perhaps the estimated 3,000 people who gathered last month to protest the fact that big oil industry executives are looking at our shores are right.

The problem is that at the moment, if we want to use cars, build houses and make the devices that we connect to this website on, we currently have to use oil.

It is hard not to be cynical about protests when we are consuming oil here that comes from countries that have no environmental controls whatsoever. Even a bicycle uses a road and even if you don't drive a car you probably do live in a house that needed a lot of fuel to be burned for it to be built.

It becomes a case of NIMBYism when we export our environmental problems to places like the Niger Delta, where constant oil spill has poisoned traditional lands, urbanising the population and making Lagos, the capital, a place of utter squalor.

My opinion is that we should look to the solutions that are on our doorstep and that our brilliant innovators can develop if given the chance. At the moment for example, a plane powered by the sun is circumnavigating the globe. We need to divest from oil production as quick as possible, but if people continue to decide that we must have oil here, I would rather we took our own oil and used it locally, rather than send it off on ships and bring it in from Nigeria, that's for sure.

What do you think? Should we be drilling for oil in New Zealand?