Why call for an emergency when we could call for a revolution? An emergency, after all, puts us on the back foot. "Help!" we cry. It's a plea to authorities to take control of the situation.

A revolution, by contrast, leads on the front foot. It has a vision of a better world and sets out to implement it. From a democratic perspective, it is active rather than passive.

Nevertheless, it is the language of emergency that dominates today. Local and national governments, in New Zealand and elsewhere, are being asked to declare climate emergencies. It contributes to a