Back in the 1950s and 1960s the popular vision of the 2020s was simple. The future was defined as the turn of the millennium; the 2020s were the future of the future, and this nebulous future future had every potential to fix humanity’s problems. By the 2020s all disease would be conquered. We’d have climate … More We’ve missed our utopian future
I was deeply impressed by last week’s climate change rally – I was in central Wellington, New Zealand, when the local march came past. It was not just for kids; people of all ages were there. And it pointed up the fact that what’s happening today will impact the next generation. And the one after … More What legacy will neo-liberal greed and climate change leave for our kids?
There’s no question in my mind that human-driven climate change has to be one of the biggest own-goals humanity has ever struck on itself. And we should have seen it coming. I mean, we’ve been pushing combustion products into the atmosphere in ever-larger quantities since the advent of industrialisation, over 200 years ago. We’ve been … More Humanity’s biggest own goals
One of the ways we justify going to Mars is that Earth is pretty much on the road to ruin just now, courtesy of human endeavour. We need a new planet. The only problem is that human nature doesn’t change, so we’d probably end up wrecking Mars too, likely while fighting viciously over how to … More Humanity – the scourge of the galaxy
It started raining so hard the other week that animals began lining up two-by-two to board a boat owned by my neighbours. I am only being slightly hyperbolic with that statement. Topsy-turvy weather seems to be the name of the game at the moment, not just in my neighbourhood but right around the world as … More Climate change is humanity’s biggest own goal ever
The hurricanes of the past few weeks that have devastated the Carribean and parts of the United States have been record-setters. The human cost is huge, and our first thoughts must be to the victims and their families. Unfortunately it’s the likely shape of where things are going, worldwide. New Zealand’s been unusually warm and … More Why is the weather going mad? Humanity’s ongoing stupidity, that’s why
My book Coal: The Rise and Fall of King Coal in New Zealand was published late last year by David Bateman Ltd. It was my second science-oriented book in a month. It’s not often that authors are able to publish books in quick succession with major publishers. In point of fact, my schedule included four releases between … More Does what we write define us as writers?
One of the themes I wove into my book on New Zealand coal mining involved its radical work force. Coal miners – mostly imported from Britain – were viewed as a breed apart in colonial-age New Zealand. Not least because they brought their radical ‘union’ thinking with them, wrapped up in evangelistic Methodism. The problem … More Piling on the coals with the radical reds, 1890s style