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Finger-pointing infant style . . .

Opinion Piece

by Bob Hughes

Bob Hughes

An accusation last month of 20-odd years of harassment on global warming inspired me to write my Weekender column that ran last Saturday.

For the theme, I drew on observations and data obtained by scientists, naturalists and experts who study humanity’s impact on nature and our contribution to climate change.

I reinforced my piece with recent calls for action from reliable international and national sources who together warn humanity must reduce greenhouse gas emissions immediately to avoid catastrophe. I concluded my article with a list of facts for my critics to fault, instead of attacking me and others.

It seems I failed in this. Three critics came back in attack mode, as in the sequence of responses published here on Monday and Wednesday. Readers may have noticed the only substance connected to my column was the response regarding the synthetic jacket of my profile image; too silly to repeat.

Also, I was uncomfortable to see others picking on other campaigners including the School Strike 4 Climate kiddies for the mode of transport to venues, and the online critic who ridiculed Greta Thunberg and her mother for their eco-yacht trip to New York. Finger-pointing from adults not yet grown up, I say.

However, what interested me most was the main antagonist saying, “radical and immediate measures you call for will simultaneously increase the cost of living while decreasing overall living standards . . . .

Initially, the hardest hit financially will be farmers”.

I admit he is probably right. Yet his words only go to highlight how economic thinking is so divorced from nature.

One of my earliest columns in 2009 was titled “The environment must come first”.

It’s lost in time, but if I remember rightly I covered how economic growth invariably impacts negatively on nature, and it might have been there that I first mentioned we can’t have an economy without a well-functioning ecosystem.

When we run down our resources we will be forced to change, or find alternative ways to manage.

Since then more than a decade has passed by, with further damage done, resources rapidly depleting and the climate more unstable — yet, still the blindness and deafness to nature’s desperate warnings.

Graham Gibson, who baited me with over 20 years of harassment, has just come back at me to say I’ve been devoid of solutions. Weird stuff from a guy who last year claimed he’d withdrawn a request for my knighthood and incinerated all my published material that he had saved. He must know of the many attempts to inform readers.

Graham is in the same camp as the others — finding my answers that clash with status-quo thinking completely unacceptable.

Prioritising the environment and living on less on a resource-depleted planet affected by climate change — as our grandkids surely will — is to them a foreign language.

I have championed rail for the same reasons Graham gives. The mountains of rubbish issue, recycling, plastic bags — yes, and I also avoid using other resources not mentioned as much as possible.

To have a chance of escaping total civilisation collapse, the whole of humanity must unite and change our lifestyles entirely. I have said it before, we humans are fundamentally part of nature and as with all other lifeforms, need to be connected as such.

Basic needs are food, water, shelter, body protection, sleep and physical-emotional connection to others.

As a species, we must learn to differentiate between our basic needs and nice-to-have things; fossil fuel should be out.

  1. Gordon Webb says:

    Ad hominen attacks are as irrational as they are foolish. To claim I am finger pointing over questioning Greta Thunberg’s hypocrisy in her travels does not lessen the strength of my argument.

    What is your timeline for having fossil fuel “out”?

    1. Bob Hughes says:

      Ad hominen attacks? Definition (of an argument or reaction) directed against a person rather than the position they are maintaining – and you have the cheek to call me that?
      Come on Gordon, how come? I didn’t even mention your name in the article. Check your thinking mate, you did directly point the finger at Greta Thunberg. Where is your strength of argument in accusing her of “hypocrisy in her travels”?
      As for my “timeline for having fossil fuel ‘out’?” I am only but one of the many greatly concerned messengers. So please put shooter away and stop blaming us for the warnings you refuse to heed.

      1. Gordon Webb says:

        This is going over old ground, but Greta Thunberg’s hypocrisy concerns the other side to her eco-friendly journey: two crew members had to fly across the Atlantic to New York to bring the boat back, and two of the crew members that made the original voyage had to fly across the Atlantic from the US to return home. That’s four flights to keep Greta from making two. I have read nothing from Bob Hughes suggesting that those air flights did not occur. But then Bob Hughes accuses me of infant finger-pointing over my complaint about her inconsistency. Sorry, but that’s an ad hominem comment.
        Bob also needs to try to answer when he wants fossil fuels “out”.

        1. Bob Hughes says:

          Greta has said people should concentrate on the climate crisis rather than on her. “Climate delayers want to shift the focus from the climate crisis to something else”, and “I won’t worry about that. I’ll do what I need.”
          As for your false ad hominem accusation, I won’t again let you down lightly by not singling you out in my next column Gordon.

        2. Ken Ovenden says:

          Hi Gordon, it seems that you are not going to get any honest form of response from Bob on his demand that fossil fuels must be “out”. These doomsday prophets like Bob, the “Greta” of the Gisborne Herald letters to the editor, seem only able to answer a question by asking a question. That is both manipulative and evasive but sadly probably all one can expect.

  2. Richard Whitley says:

    Bob, it is entirely pointless debating this topic given the cognitive dissonance you display in relation to it.
    Failing to grasp the significance of my carbon-based jacket analogy is central to the problem.

    Forget radical solutions, you seem incapable or unwilling to adopt even the most basic measures to reduce fossil fuel dependence in your own life – for example, something as simple as refusing to support the synthetic clothing industry through not purchasing their products.

    It’s the equivalent of writing an opinion piece decrying racism and providing a profile image of yourself in Black-Face.