We will be much better off actively shaping our future rather than following passively in the wake of the tsunami of change.
We wash away each year some 200 million tonnes of top soil, the lifeblood of our economy’s primary sector, thanks to the way we use our land.
The eroded soil clogs up our streams, rivers, estuaries and shallow coastal waters, smothering their ecosystems, which are crucial parts of our own life-support system. Worldwide, we humans move more of the Earth’s surface each year than do natural processes because of the way we farm, quarry, build and reshape our environment in myriad ways.
It is possible to calculate that the poverty line after deducting housing costs for a household with two adults and two children lies at $600 per week or $31,200 annually in 2016 dollars.
For a sole parent with one child it is $385 per week or $20,200 annually in 2016 dollars (MSD Household Incomes report July 2017, p.106).
How we take responsibility or not for The Anthropocene now and over the next few decades will determine everything about our life on Earth, for good and ill.
Since there’s no place on the planet to hide from this, even here on these specks of land in the southern reaches of the Pacific Ocean, our life and economy will change radically too here in Aotearoa-New Zealand.That’s only a scintilla of time in the life of the planet.Yet, astonishingly, it is only in the past 50 or 60 years that our human activity has increased so enormously that it has become planet changing.We’re not the only ones trying to explode the myths.Check out the Child Poverty Action Group’s Myths and Facts: Sole Parents and the DPB and Gordon Campbell’s Ten Myths About Welfare.It enabled the evolution of life as we experience it today in its seemingly infinite variety.We humans have only been sowing these seeds of destruction since the start of the industrial revolution 250 years ago.Ask what is being done to lift out of poverty the hundreds of thousands of people our country who are living lives affected by poverty?There is no official ‘poverty line’ in New Zealand as there is in other countries (e.g.On our current trajectory, all those will get worse. Those are the characteristics of the global economy, albeit we give our own expression to them such as the rapid expansion of dairy farming and international tourism.In the future, should we choose, we can have an economy that provides a high standard of living in financial and physical terms, in deeply sustainable ways; and we can do so in ways that make sense for who we are as a diverse nation founded on Treaty of Waitangi principles, for the nature of our land and oceans, and for our destiny as a distinctive, tiny country in a teeming world hungry for inspiration and innovation.