Thursday, July 17, 2008

Polar cities (Lovelock Retreats) in New Zealand, too!

Peter Foster, a British reporter now living in New Zealand and blogging there, wrote an interesting post today about "Global warming and the arks of the 41st century"

He wrote:

At the end of my last post, I suggested that the human race might be better advised to focus on fixing the consequences of global warming, rather than wasting precious time and G8 Summits talking about how to prevent the unpreventable.


Personally, I try to worry about the world's problems in chronological order - ie. today the credit crunches, petrol prices, job losses and falling stock markets and tomorrow the threat of conflict (economic and military) between the Western powers and Russia, China and Iran as we enter a new era dominated by the geopolitics of scarcity.

As a result, I find it harder to worry actively about the far-term consequences of catastrophic global warming some time in 2500 which is the subject of several e-mails I've been receiving lately from environmental catastrophists.

Among the best of these is from the proponents of something called ‘Lovelock Retreats - aka ‘Polar Cities', re-dubbed in the hope of making the idea sound more catchy.

The idea is that by 2500 the world population will be reduced to just 200,000 "breeding pairs" who will reside in between 30 and 100 special cities built in parts of the world that have escaped the rising waters.

Here people will live, inter-breeding frantically to create a new ‘race' of humanity that will emerge in the year 3500 after the ‘Great Interruption' to repopulate the world.

These people, "of combined Caucasian-Asian-African-Hispanic-Arab stock" will live free of racial considerations and imbued with a fresh and more respectful understanding of man's fragile contract with the planet. We can all hope, I suppose.

The retreats are named after (though not endorsed by) James Lovelock, the man who came up with the Gaia hypothesis (the idea that the world is a self-regulating super-organism) and is now predicting that by 2100 some 80 per cent of the world's population will be wiped out in a great Malthusian apocalypse.

These ideas are as old as Noah and his ark, and personally I've got enough to worry about in 2008 - Can I afford to fill my car? Is my stock portfolio now worthless? Will I have a job next year? - to waste too much energy on how life might be in the year 2500 or 3500.

On the other hand, it is reassuring to see that at least one of these ‘Lovelock Retreats' is being earmarked for New Zealand. Might I respectfully suggest Golden Bay?

[NOTE: Mr Foster lives along the shores of Golden Bay in New Zealand with his wife and three childrenl see below for more info.]

Peter Foster was the Daily Telegraph's South Asia Correspondent for four years until January 2008 when he moved to live at the bottom of the world with his wife and three small children. He reports on life in Takaka, a town of 1,182 people on the northern coast of South Island New Zealand, where he is writing a book about his experiences.


dan said...

Tasmania, too.

dan said...

The important thing is Jim Hansen and his team's recent re-evaluation of a safe level CO2 in the atmopshere downwards to 350ppm. In other words, at 390ppm, we are already in gross overshoot and pumping way beyond what the planet can absorb, so the abrupt climate change event we have been warning about and dreading is almost certianly underway, bringing forward the meltdown of the planet by many decades.

That reality is unmentionable for a mainstream 'newspaper', I'm sure.



Anonymous said...


"Dear Danny,

You understand of course that the USA will not likely survive this next phase of transition. In addition to the environmental issues we all face, we have the issue of peak oil and its ramifications - both social and economical. The USA is a nation that sold its soul to cheap oil and fashioned its entire future upon it. Cheap oil is gone now. The US will soon follow - within the next few years.

This should be a UN effort - to establish polar settlements where that is feasible. Unfortunately, much of the northern topography is made up of huge frozen peat bogs which are now beginning to melt. This land is not really fit for real habitation. Of course, your polar cities are not so dependent upon that - but you must understand that any polar city would of necessity have to be able to reside in soft ground, or be situated where there are no bogs?"

Anonymous said...

KM in NZ emails:

"But Dan, nobody with money, and certainly no government, would even discuss the matter of polar cities because to do so would be to acknowledge that they have massively screwed up the planet.

All policy is always geared to business as usual, or attempts to keep business as usual running when business as ususal starts to fail -just look at the monstrous amounts of money being poured down the black holes of failing US financial institutions lately.

On the local scene here in NZ where I live, the council point blank refuses to acknowldge there is a such a thing as peak oil, or that climate chaneg is a problem. It even refuses to accept that the price of oil is high and is impacting on tourism, food prices etc: our so-called leaders just press ahead with dysfucntional policies predicated on cheap oil forever and the ability to kepp adding ever greater amounts of CO2 to the air.

I personally regard the Mayor, most of the council, and its officers as [] of the highest order.

One thing you can be sure of: nothing will change. The general public have been so dumbed down that the majority know nothing, and are totally incapable of independent rational thought, so, as we come to the end of empire, they will continue to vote for whoever offers what looks to be the best circus.

Scary, eh?"

Danny replies: YEH...SCARY!

Anonymous said...

Peter foster is living in paradise in Takaka, so for him to think about global warming as a problem, just like myself in Taranaki, would be hard.
Yesterday is like today, and today will be like tomorrow, it is really hard to live in such beautiful surroundings and even think of such a monster as Global Warming, but alas we have to.
Many in New Zealand think GW is non existant, however the reality is that not enough evidence is put before the public by way of the media and if Mr Foster is a reporter, or a writer then he is the perfect person to wake up his fellow citizens.
Yes it would be good to see a polar city in New Zealand, and it is not far fetched to think there could come a day when we see it happen.
In the meantime I have to agree with Peter in that the biggest concern right now is the price of fuel, that is Peak oil and all its ramifications, however global warming is a close second.
Unfortunately many Kiwi's do not see the bigger picture, or the cliff coming towards them which they are fast bound like a runaway train to fall over, both economically and hungrily.
Its wonderful to live in paradise, however we all have to quickly realise it is fools paradise if anyone thinks that the worlds problems climatically are not going to catch up with Tekaka and the rest of New Zealand, maybe we all need to remember the ice shelf blobs floating close to our shores a while back, maybe we need to remember how much we are now affected with drought and one in 200 year rainfall that hits many places, seemingly every year, yes its all well and good to worry about the stock market and the price of fuel, however to have the ablity to write and spell out climate change, immediate climate change that is taking place if one is a writer is paramount, and mostly so it reaches the eyes and ears of all our fellow Kiwi's who hear the words global warming and yet the brain cells are now awake....

Knock knock who's there.
happy and clueless, who else.

Lila Smith
New Plymouth