THERE has been much discussion on our atrocious driving recently. All sorts of ways to improve it. Just about every developed country in the world has compulsory third-party vehicle insurance, including our Aussie cousins.

What does this compulsory insurance do to help the road toll? Simple. It stops bad drivers and unsafe cars being on our roads, the reason being it is so expensive that bad drivers cannot afford it, and neither they should. Unless you can provide proof of insurance, you cannot register your car.

Driving a car is a privilege, not a rite [sic]. I think it is time we came into line with the rest of the world. Those of us who insure responsibly bear the brunt.

KEVIN O'SULLIVAN
Parkdale

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Not so funny

The caption of Body's poorly thought-out cartoon reads: "How terribly convenient", with Trump adrift in a small dinghy waving a sabre, and a burning oil tanker in the background.

Cheap jokes about Trump are 10 a penny; what I take exception to is his flippant treatment of a most deadly serious subject — emphasis on "deadly".

These horrific attacks (by whoever) on unarmed merchant oil tankers not only threaten the lives of the civilian crewmen aboard due to the hazardous and sometimes explosive nature of their contents, they also threaten a terrible ecological disaster if 100,000 tons of crude are spilled into the waterway.

Not "terribly convenient" at all!

Finally, should a tanker be sunk, watch what happens to oil prices as a result of soaring maritime insurance prices. Meantime, full marks to the US Navy destroyer USS Bainbridge, which sailed at flank speed to the scene and helped to rescue crewmen from the stricken vessels.

JOHN GILCHRIST
St John's Hill


Ruminants and CO2

Peter Shand, commenting on Damon Gameau in his article, Chronicle (June 16), says his book and doco on the worry of the planet's population and climate change was enlightening.

Peter says he knows a lot about climate change, my bet is he bases his knowledge on the hypothesis, and the circumstantial evidence that the press keep printing, not on science.

To further prove his lack of knowledge he liked a chapter on Draw Down and Sequester of carbon in the soil, which also increases its fertility meaning more green growth, new to him.

That is the beauty of ruminant animals: the grass absorbs the CO2, the cows eat it, and belch a little methane to be turned back into CO2 while the rest they drop on the soil to be absorbed. It is one of many of nature's cycles that have made the planet inhabitable; isn't nature clever? This means ruminant animal farming is at least carbon neutral, but the UNIPCC will not let you claim carbon credits on grass, as it would blow their pollution argument out of the water.

G.R. SCOWN
Whanganui


Jesus the sage

Further to what you may read in "Thought for today", the historical Jesus of Nazareth was primarily a sage. Inherited by both Christianity and Islam, was a stream of thought known as the "wisdom stream". Its exponents were called the sages or wise men — responsible for such biblical books as Proverbs, Job, Ecclesiastes and the Wisdom of Solomon.

They were critical of much in Jewish orthodoxy. They stood in awe of the natural world and encouraged people to observe the way nature worked and to accommodate their lifestyle to it. The Hebrew language had no word for nature, they simply used the word "god", where we would speak of "nature" as in "Reverence for nature is the beginning of wisdom".

Jesus, like those before him, set much of his teaching in the context of what he observed about natural phenomena. But this has been lost to view as the Christian movement fastened their attention on him, rather than on his teaching — and the attention he gave to the natural world as a sage was replaced by a wisdom stream from another culture.

This became classical Christianity, resulting from the synthesis of the Jewish culture, which gave birth to the Jesus movement and the Graeco~Roman culture, whose concepts and cultural forms Christians borrowed to express their evolving faith.

Nowhere is this synthesis, its syncretisation and its embellishments, more clearly demonstrated than in the second-century Christian writers known as the Apologists.

H. NORTON
Kaitoke


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