Do you know how much higher the sea level will be if all the ice melts? I asked a likely lad on a bus, and he said: "Oh. One or two metres?" No, it's not. It is 70 metres. That is metres, not centimetres. Google it.
It is all overwhelming. Especially when the 2015 UN pledges means that we are now on track for 2.7-3.5C warming this century.
So what can we do?
First – absolutely no plastic. It is a killer. It kills everything – fish, mammals, birds, plants, and us. Recycling is not enough, we must not make it. Four point nine billion tonnes discarded every year – that is an international crisis right now.
Then - Silviculture. That is, grazing and tree crops, or forestry mixed. Partly because when travelling on a bus around New Zealand it looks as if we are halfway there already.
Then – smaller cars. A five seater does not need to look as if it is an eight seater.
And – electric vehicles. And all transport should be electric. Soon.
Eat no meat. Ah – sadly. I do so love a fillet steak. But records show that numbers of cattle and food animals are now 60 billion, which use half the available agricultural land – for 7.7 billion humans, so the message is clear. Not sustainable.
One child worldwide. Look at those burgeoning cities, crowds and crowds and crowds of masked humans spreading pollution around the world. Not sustainable. Voluntary assisted dying must be available for elderly too, of course.
Return to family farms. Industrial farms with thousands of animals ... just not sustainable.
There are projections from scientists. Very extreme rainfall is likely to increase, in all areas. So many gigatonnes of ice have melted that the weight upon the earth has changed. This will lead to increasing earthquakes, over the next 50 years. It looks as if this is already happening. Land is rising now in the Arctic and Antarctic.
There is a possibility of a cooler period, called the Grand Minimum, which is forecast for the next seven years, between 2020 and 2027. This will only help if we use it to prepare.
If we do not, then we will lose this civilisation. Prepare for the worst, hope for the best.
We must plan now for sea level rise. Windmill and solar farms should be installed in areas above the 70m sea level line. And not the huge windmills from overseas at huge cost – the local New Zealand windmills, smaller two vane, cheaper, easier to maintain. How about local wooden windmills?
All development should focus on these areas, since New Zealand may become a land of many islands. Building a Whanganui port – yes, with easily relocatable facilities. Transport will become increasingly difficult with increasing slips and floods, so that the individual areas need to plan for self sufficiency. Market gardening and cropping, dairy, beef and sheep, all in one district, with forestry, factories and industrial facilities, medium size wind, hydro and solar farms.
It will be a very different world.
• Sara Dickon is a 1971 Greenpeace member, founding member of Sustainable Whanganui Trust, a parent, grandparent and great-grandparent.