The human capacity for disconnecting the dots even when the picture they paint is clear and obvious never ceases to amaze me – and climate change is perhaps the ultimate example.
Oh, I'm not talking about the flatworms who think someone who writes a book is automatically an authority on something they otherwise know nothing about, and thereafter angrily dispute the fact they're merely gullible.
No, what concerns me is the folk who you would think should know better, who inevitably wind up running for public office claiming to be wise to the realities of the climate and ecological emergency – before opening their mouths and proving otherwise.
Sandra Hazlehurst and Damon Harvey, I'm talking about you.
Yes, I know I've partly bagged both already and wasn't going to mention them again, but since they are running to be mayor of my town, I'm afraid I feel obliged to.
First Harvey wants to add another main arterial to the route between Hastings proper and its satellite suburb Havelock North. Then Hazlehurst trumps him by pushing the Lawrence Yule beat-up of four-laning the expressway to Napier.
Both on the basis that we have a "growth economy" and the region's traffic will be congealing on the tarseal if we don't build more roads asap.
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Neither seems to have stopped to consider the big black cloud that is the looming climate crisis, and the impacts it will have on Hawke's Bay, before proposing we add more noxious vehicle emissions to hasten its arrival.
Hazlehurst backs her "need" by quoting a projected doubling of intensive agriculture in the region in the next 10 or so years.
Well, I'm sorry to have to tell you this Sandra – and for that matter, all the pipfruit and other growers out there who have grandiose expansion plans – but the very first question you should ask is, are we going to have the water resources to support such growth?
And the answer, as well as it can be determined, is no; we don't have enough water now, and we're going to have a lot less the drier and hotter this area gets. And it is getting drier and hotter, year after year.
So it's wishful thinking to expect the growth curve not to flatline sometime in the next decade. And, thereafter, reverse – and that reverse will be much worse the more acreage there is dependent on a dwindling water supply.
What we should instead be doing – what any truly responsible governance body would be doing – is shoring up as best we can the current agricultural base, and urgently bringing in stringent land use regulations to limit expansion until such time as there's an answer – if one is to be had – to the water storage problem.
That's telling the truth of it. But of course, that's not something people want to hear, especially in an election. No, they want to be reassured the fable of endless growth is what needs to be planned for – not some unseen and still minor in its effects global warming event.
By the way in case anyone thinks I'm being unfair, Napier has this blindness too; one major issue, quietly progressing without being talked about much, is the plan to spend $50 million-plus on an aquarium right on the beach – surely the dumbest idea of all, given impending sea-level rise.
Of course in order to tell the truth about climate change, candidates have to both understand it and have the courage to speak honestly about it. But that doesn't win elections, does it?
Bruce Bisset is a freelance writer and poet. Views expressed are the writer's opinion and not the newspaper's.