Meanwhile Extinction Rebellion wants real radical change

While the introduction of the Zero Carbon Bill into Parliament is a big deal for the New Zealand government, the Green Party in particular, and presumably Jacinda Ardern, it is fairly modest stuff in comparison to a growing international movement that wants far more radical change to the world economic systems.

Reuters – ‘New economics’: the way to save the planet?

The science is in: the endless pursuit of economic growth is devouring the foundations of life on Earth, and no country – rich or poor – can expect to escape dire consequences if things go on as they are. So how might the world change course?

Though still confined to the fringes, a globally dispersed but tight-knit coalition of economists, grass-roots organizers, business leaders and politicians, along with some investors, have begun to sketch out an answer.

The vision: a new relationship between the state, local communities and nature aligned behind a more holistic notion of progress than gross domestic product (GDP), the established yardstick for economies as different as those of the United States and Mozambique.

“No country on Earth is doing what is required to make sure we get toward an economic system capable of confronting the twin challenges of ecological collapse and climate change,” said Laurie Laybourn-Langton, an associate fellow at London’s Institute for Public Policy Research and lead author of a new report on environmental breakdown titled This Is A Crisis.

“There are, though, a number of ideas and small-scale projects being done that arguably – if scaled up – could deal with the problem,” he said.

Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe not doable.

Among the questions dividing the ‘new economists’ is whether the risk of catastrophic climate change is now so acute that economic growth should be suspended altogether in order to cut greenhouse gas emissions fast. Some still see room for sustainable ‘green growth’, but others want governments to oversee sharp reductions in consumption now, to avoid what they fear would be a descent into a 21st-century Dark Age.

While nobody disputes the challenge of rewiring the world economy, an upsurge in climate activism, including a global school strike movement and an international civil disobedience campaign by Extinction Rebellion, is sparking new conversations.

“The confluence of panic in the eyes of young people with hard science is opening up the debate in the mainstream like it hasn’t before,” said Katherine Trebeck, an Australian political scientist who co-founded the Wellbeing Economy Alliance, a network of academics, businesses and social movements.

Trebeck’s new co-authored book, The Economics of Arrival, cites dozens of innovations in places from Scotland to Costa Rica and Denmark, Portugal and Alaska.

I doubt if there is much innovation of note in New Zealand. We have a  $100 million investment fund launched to invest in reducing emissions, but that’s dwarfed by the $1 billion per year Provincial Growth Fund – a fund for growth has been given far more investment than attempts at innovation.

While the investment opportunities in such projects largely remain trivial, some major funds do see the need for change.

“We face a form of capitalism that has hardened its focus to short-term profit maximization with little or no apparent interest in social good,” Jeremy Grantham, co-founder of global investment manager GMO, wrote last August.

“We’re racing to protect not just our portfolios, not just our grandchildren, but our species. So get to it.”

I think that most ordinary people will have trouble comprehending how much of a threat there is to our species, to all species, to the planet.

But it’s easy to dispute the doom and gloom arguments and insist that we don’t need to do much different, either because we can’t or there’s no point or it’s not necessary.

The human impact may already to be too big, and the human population may be too big, to do anything but fiddle while Earth bums out. Or innovation and natural resilience may allow our civilisation to survive until the next impending catastrophe comes up.

If you feel strongly about the need for action you can Join the Rebellion – This is an emergency


We are facing an unprecedented global emergency. Life on Earth is in crisis: scientists agree we have entered a period of abrupt climate breakdown, and we are in the midst of a mass extinction of our own making.


The science is clear: It is understood that we are facing an unprecedented global emergency. We are in a life or death situation of our own making. We must act now.

Human activity is causing irreparable harm to the life on this world. A mass extinction event, only the sixth in roughly 540 million years, is underway. Many current life forms could be annihilated or at least committed to extinction by the end of this century.

That sounds more religious than scientific.


We are unprepared for the danger our future holds. We face floods, wildfires, extreme weather, crop failure, mass displacement and the breakdown of society. The time for denial is over. It is time to act.

Conventional approaches of voting, lobbying, petitions and protest have failed because powerful political and economic interests prevent change. Our strategy is therefore one of non-violent, disruptive civil disobedience – a rebellion.

There are a number of groups trying to get the rebellion going in New Zealand. Oddly Extinction Rebellion Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland is a closed group, they must be having a private rebellion.

Extinction Rebellion Otepoti Dunedin – Description:

We are in a period of ecological devastation brought about by our own hands. We must act now to avoid extinction. Join the Rebellion! Our principles + values:

1. WE HAVE A SHARED VISION OF CHANGE Creating a world that is fit for generations to come.

2. WE SET OUR MISSION ON WHAT IS NECESSARY Mobilising 3.5% of the population to achieve system change – using ideas such as “Momentum-driven organising” to achieve this.

3. WE NEED A REGENERATIVE CULTURE Creating a culture which is healthy, resilient and adaptable.

4. WE OPENLY CHALLENGE OURSELVES AND THIS TOXIC SYSTEM Leaving our comfort zones to take action for change.

5. WE VALUE REFLECTING AND LEARNING Following a cycle of action, reflection, learning, and planning for more action. Learning from other movements and contexts as well as our own experiences.

6. WE WELCOME EVERYONE AND EVERY PART OF EVERYONE Working actively to create safer and more accessible spaces.

7. WE ACTIVELY MITIGATE FOR POWER Breaking down hierarchies of power for more equitable participation.

8. WE AVOID BLAMING AND SHAMING We live in a toxic system, but no one individual is to blame.

9. WE ARE A NON-VIOLENT NETWORK Using non-violent strategy and tactics as the most effective way to bring about change.

10. WE ARE BASED ON AUTONOMY AND DECENTRALISATION We collectively create the structures we need to challenge power. Anyone who follows these core principles and values can take action in the name of Extinction Rebellion Aotearoa New Zealand.

Seems like a bit of many things in there – it looks a bit like a new label for perpetual protesters. This lack of focus will not help get the rebellion off the ground.




Leave a comment


  1. That sounds like a very small rebellion.

  2. Gerrit

     /  9th May 2019

    Sounds like the “Mission and Vision Statements” we used to make up back when commerce was going to fall over if one did not buy into the ISO 9001:2001 quality management ponzi scheme.

    All fluff.

    Sounds like anarchy and like all anarchist based ideology, can swing both left and right. If 3.5% can swing society one way than 3.6% can swing it the other way quite as easily.

  3. Patzcuaro

     /  9th May 2019

  4. Zedd

     /  9th May 2019

    Finally the majority.. seem to be acknowledging that this is moving into ‘crisis mode’.. even though there are still some; ‘naysayers’ whimpering on the sidelines.. BUT we need less talk & more ACTION. Get out of your gas-guzzlers.. Get with the programme: Public transport, electric vehicles OR walk & cycle to local places 🙂

    btw; i joined the Extinction Rebellion march in Otepoti recently.. Very vocal. It even made Ch39 local south news 🙂


  5. alloytoo

     /  9th May 2019

    Real action would be building nuclear power plants and allowing Genetic modification to grasses to reduce methane emissions.

    Anything else is meaningless window dressing.

    • Griff.

       /  9th May 2019

      How about you look into the cost of your favored energy source.
      After you have absorbed that fact with some research of your own.
      Explain why nuclear is unable to be fully insured by commercial insurance instead relies on governments holding the risk.
      The limit of the liability a nuclear plant is insured for by international agreement is about US12 billion.
      The Fukushima meltdown is estimated to eventually cost US800 billion.

      NZ is one of the most geologically active places in the world . We will never build nuclear generation here because the risk is far to great for the public to accept even if it was cost competitive.

      • alloytoo

         /  9th May 2019

        1. Wind and Solar simply cannot supply the world’s energy needs, there simply isn’t the land mass available to devote to unreliable rubbish that requires 400-700 times the land to “Hopefully” produce the same amount of power. (assuming the sun is shining and the wind is blowing)

        2. Wind and solar energy is cheap yes, so cheap Germany’s generators have trouble giving it away, yet Germany’s energy bills just keep on climbing.

        3. Why is it that cost isn’t an issue when it comes to subsidizing uneconomical, unreliable “supposedly” green technology, it isn’t an issue when proposing to tax the hell out of consumers, isn’t an issue when wasting money on emission projects with no discernable
        economical or ecological benefit, but it all of a sudden becomes an issue when proposing proven reliable ZERO emission power generation.

        It would appear that the renewables cult is much like socialism, offering so much as long as someone else is paying, blaming poor implementation when it ends in tears.

        • Dennis Horne

           /  9th May 2019

          Wrong. We have the technology for wind and solar, battery and pumped hydro storage, improved insulation, smart grid. Take a look at Hinkley Point C in the UK. Overpriced electricity and other nuclear plants cancelled. Then you have the enormous cost of decommission and storing waste.

  6. XR has so many things wrong with it, not least internationally it appears it is a front for big business. There is too much to write about here but if anyone wants to learn more the Facebook page of the Aotearoa / New Zealand Anti-capitalist front always has lots of information


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