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Llyn Richards Topics


Topics for Futures Seminar

Llyn Richards

1.       The overall purpose of sustainability is?

2.       The continuation of the human race.

3.       The purpose is not sustaining our present life style.

4.       World-wide global warming activities must be reduced, not sustained, to get us back to pre-industrial levels:

5.       Choose your description of the present and required situation to suit your taste:

          (i) Stop world temperature rising above an extra 2 degrees

          (ii) Get world temperature back from 14⁰ to 12⁰

          (iii) Get CO₂ levels back from 385ppm to 280ppm.

          (iv) Get all ‘footprints’ down to 2 tonnes CO₂ per person


6.       Our life-styles must (under present technologies) be radically curtailed, especially in the 1st world.

7.       To get downward voluntary life-style changes there were

          (a)      War –– e.g., rationing... 

          (b)     Mass propaganda ––  e.g., Communism...

          (c)      Religious dictates –– e.g., forbidding pork, alcohol...

8.       To get downward forced life-style changes there were

          (d)     War –– e.g., bombing, slaughter...

          (e)      Famine

          (f)      Totalitarian rule –– e.g., Roman Empire, Nazi Germany

9.       To get modern upward voluntary life-style changes

          (g)     economic prosperity –– e.g., 

                   capitalism plus natural resources and cheap energy

          (h)     a social philosophy of individualism and money

10.     Modern downward forced life-style changes

          (i)      Economic recession –– e.g.,

                   capitalist and communist mis-management

                   the great slump, the debt crisis, 

          (j)      poverty in general –– e.g., pockets of rural poverty

          (k)     laisse faire economic theory –– e.g., Rogernomics

          (l)      corruption,  –– e.g., bribery, hoarding, monopolies

11.     Voluntary downward life-style changes require either

          (m)    changing circumstances which compel –– e.g.,

                   war, famine, and possibly fast climate change or fast

                   fuel depletion.

          (n)     changing social attitudes, –– e.g., a growth in

                   compassion and ‘mate-ship’ over greed and money.

                   Ghandi and the Morgans and Buffet are the leaders!

12.     My research into individual (Quakerly) responses to climate change –– see my article in the September 2011 Friends Newsletter, p 8,Alternatives –– shows that our efforts lie almost entirely in the “Be patterns...” category. We make small changes which can only be said to be token and might, just, get us off the condemnation that we do not do what we say others should do. 

13.     Apart from not–flying all the attempts to find a way to save 1 tonne of CO2 from our personal yearly footprint are paltry or morally shoddy or wrong headed (notably planting trees!)

14.     The conclusion must be to attempt two impossible goals:

          (i)  Change government policy [ I write on the day after John Key has announced an expansion of lignite production.]

          (ii) change public consciences away from wants to needs, for example, to ban advertising and make “marketing” a deadly sin.

15.     So lobbying is about our only resort. That, and pricking the consciences of every Friend who flies anywhere, especially the gurus of sustainability who are not being the “patterns” George Fox was expecting us to be.

16.     The targets of our lobbying must include (as well as the Government) the big polluting industries: farming, transport, coal mining and coal burning and coal exporting, steel and concrete manufacture, and anyone making goods, or providing services, which we do not need. Also the sector organisations such as Federated Farmers. 

17.     Encouraging substitute industries such as timber laminated beams and cladding, new forms of cement, electrification of transport .... 

18.     I hope to be part of your experiments with electronic conferencing for the March weekend.

19.     The science has been done: there is no need to repeat it. The same goes for for attempts to predict the consequences of doing nothing. Doom and gloom have not brought about major shifts in public opinion. Avoid talk of mitigating projects such as re-locating coast roads, building seawalls ... Be positive

20.     Steer clear of all philosophising; avoid all abstract nouns; make sure that there are people nominated to carry out any tasks you are sure need doing; give deadlines for reports from the people nominated. 

21.     Make sure that those who think planting trees will bring about sustainability realise that to sequester one tonne of CO2 created in the year 2011 you must plant 10 trees and replace them FOR EVER every 30 years. 

22.     Advise Quakers to put their spare money into Biochar –– the only win-win new technology I have learnt about. ( I’ll write you a paper about it for the seminar, if you like.)