Bloggreen: January 2005

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Another new blog

With quite the clever name (until the next new thing comes along). Think Richard should set up another one, as an evil twin site. That could be fun.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Free to blog?

Next time you're sitting down to do one of your meaningless blog rants, be thankful you can. A new blog I found via World Changing is The Committee to Protect Bloggers. They state their purpose being as follows:

The Committee to Protect Bloggers is devoted to the protection of bloggers around the world. In a host of countries around the world bloggers are routinely imprisoned for their activities. The blogging community should not leave the responsibility for their well-being in others' hands. The Committee has four primary spheres of activity.
  • CPB will serve as a clearinghouse for information on incarcerated members of our community, as well as those whose lives have been taken from them because of their enthusiasm for the free exchange of information that blogging allows.
  • CPB will serve as a pressure group to force unrecalcitrant governments to free imprisoned bloggers, and make restitution for tortured and murdered ones.
  • CPB will bring to bear the formidable communicative power of the blogosphere to keep pressure on governments to stop
CPB will act as direct agents in negotiations to free imprisoned bloggers. We are driven by our enthusiasm for knowledge, by our affection for the possibilities of blogging, by the love we have for our fellow bloggers and by our belief in the free exchange of ideas. We are guided by Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. First thing’s first. Please join the Committee to Protect Bloggers by sending us your name, email and blog URL. We acknowledge the good work being done by the Committee to Protect Journalists, Reporters Without Borders and Bloggers Without Borders. There will be some overlap between our group and theirs. However, several things set us apart and give us a distinct focus, allowing us to become a valuable addition to the global free-speech community.
  • We are concerned primarily, though not exclusively, with the well-being of the bloggers themselves. Press freedom is extremely valuable and will be agitated for, but our primary concern is keeping bloggers alive and free.
  • We are concerned for them as bloggers, even if some are also journalists or activists.
  • We are a group of bloggers, communicating via blogs, about other bloggers. We have some understanding of our fellows that most other groups do not. We also have immediate access to the communications power of the blogosphere.
As soon as we secure 501(c)3 status and become an official non-profit, we will use this space to solicit donations and free-will membership fees, as well as corporate memberships. In the meantime, please send us all the information you can on bloggers who are, or have been, imprisoned or otherwise the vicitims of state-sanctioned oppression. If there is something else you feel you would like to do for the Committee, please suggest away. If, you are a legal type, we definitely could use help in preparing and submitting our 501(c)3 application.
So thought y'all might want to care about this. Maybe even join and link to their site if you so care.

Useful - Not!

Stalled Trains Hamper Cricket Fans A power failure in overhead lines has cut train services between Wellington and the Hutt Valley. TranzMetro says this is affecting cricket fans headed for the tsunami relief match between the Black Caps and a World XI side at the Westpac Stadium. It says services are unlikely to be restored before 5pm and it has been unable to get any buses to replace the trains.



More on energy politics

Wow there's some bizarre news for you. Federated Farmers extolling the virtues of Green Party policy. Wonders will never cease! While they do have different reasoning behind supporting what Jeanette had to say, it's nice to see that they can agree with us on agreed policy points. In global news a BBC survey puts the Greens on top when it comes to implementing practical measures to combat climate change. Nice one! This survey was not just looking at party policy but also how MPs behave in their own lives. Oh, and the Canadian Greens are calling for a reduction in oil dependence. The Italian Greens are slamming Berlusconi for opening up the nuclear debate.

Nuclear power was banned in Italy following a referendum in 1987, a year after the explosion and fire at the nuclear power plant in Chernobyl, Ukraine. Italy’s four nuclear plants were shut down and dismantled.
And in Russia, the Greens have joined with the indigenous people of the north to protest the construction of oil recovery facilities in the north of Sakhalin Island. They have put out a call for support and you can do so here by signing the letter to the Sakhalin Island Governor and the heads of the oil companies involved. Meanwhile, back here, Contact Energy will have some excitement at their annual meeting next month when their donations to political parties get challenged. New Zealand politics has an interesting connection with business when it comes to political donations. We don't have the large scale funding for policy exchange issues that other countries have. But we do still have a lot of corporate donations happening. Most of them offer equal amounts to the large parties and to the smaller parties. But some still give more, or only give to the pro-business (by their definition of course) parties. As far as I'm aware the Greens are the only party to have a blanket refusal policy on corporate donations. Although, I think the Alliance and NZ First were quite choosy in the last election as to who they accepted money from (please correct or clarify if I'm wrong on this one). I for one, would like to see the end of corporate sponsorship of elections. As one of my biggest heroes Granny D says
Our nation’s leaders have been corrupted by special interests dollars and no longer represent the interests of their constituents.

Friday, January 21, 2005

More saturn gorgeousness

This one is so, so, so pretty!!

Excellent idea

In Rudman's latest Herald column, he hypothesis a situation where an MP declares a prohibition on not having fun. The only problem is, he is dismissing this as a ludicrous idea. I have advocated dictatorship for mandatory funism for years now (the only acceptable form of dictatorship IMHO). And Mr Rudman might remember a former political party advocated a very similar thing. (As an aside, all this recent discussion around peak oil is seeing their policy platform coming closer to reality - quick get your tribes together now so you can get the pick of the cool people!) Mr Rudman, you might think we all take ourselves too seriously. I suggest you get some new friends.

New political doco

World Changing has an interview with Kevin Morrison, a US film maker who has made a doco on Kathryn Blume and her experience with participating in the Lysistrata Project. You can view the trailer here. The film looks pretty interesting and I look forward to being able to see it here. The interview itself is a good discussion about the intersections between art, politics and activism. I am one of those people who likes to demonstrate my oposition to the grey, banality of 'the inevitable' in creative ways so I was impressed to find more discussion of creativity as a political response tool. I recommend a read.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Cool moon views

Lovely day aint it? Check this out!

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Another kind of revolution

Critical Mass Friday 28 January 2005 5:30pm, Civic Square, Wellington Bring your bike, skates, blades or scooter for a celebration of things human-powered. We’ll go for a short ride around town spreading good karma. Critical Mass is a monthly "unorganised coincidence" occurring in hundreds of cities worldwide. Cyclists ride in a group through the city streets to celebrate cycling, fossil-fuel-free transportation, redefining of the social space of our cities and reclaim autonomy in a car dominated society. It's heaps of fun too. Make new friends. Claim your place on the roads. Save the planet. The revolution is coming and it’s riding a bike. BYO music and costume. Invite a friend or 3.

I won't be part of your revolution if I can't dance etc

Got this in the email today so thought I'd share with y'all:

Hello Below is some information about Scottish singer Alistair Hulett who is touring New Zealand in January/February 2005. Alistair has long had a reputation as a left-wing thinker and a singer who gives voice to some of the burning issues in society - including workers' struggles, asbestos poisoning, unemployment, the plight of minorities such as Gypsies and refugees. Alistair lived for some time in NZ and Australia, and many of his songs are about issues from Down Under. His latest CD Red Clydeside tells the story of the charismatic leader John Maclean and the Scottish workers' opposition to the slaughter of World War One. In addition Alistair is a fine singer of traditional Scottish songs and ballads and an entertaining performer. His website is So, if you're wondering where the politics went out of folk music, if you want to hear a singer who's passionate about voicing important issues, or you just want to enjoy Scottish music and a great night out, check out Alistair's itinerary below and go to the concerts. Alistair plays in Taranaki, Auckland, Upper Hutt, Takaka, Auckland Folk Festival, Nelson and I'd be grateful if you could also pass this on to other Green or musical friends. Thanks very much Gill Winter, NZ tour agent Flying Piglets FLYING PIGLETS PRESENT ALISTAIR HULETT Powerful original songs, traditional Scots ballads Alistair Hulett is a powerful and impassioned singer who proudly carries on the folk tradition of the singer as social and political commentator, protester and witness bearer. "One of the defining voices of Scottish music’ said Folk on Tap. Alistair's original songs cover a range of topics from life on the mean city streets to union struggles on the barricades, from love songs to songs about the plight of refugees and Gypsies. The Scots-born singer, guitarist, songwriter and former front man of the Sydney based band Roaring Jack built quite a reputation for himself during the twenty five years he spent in Australia as one of the Folk/Punk scene’s most outspoken exponents. At the same time Alistair was also making his mark on the folk festival circuit around New Zealand and Australia as a fine performer of traditional and self penned songs, backed by his distinctive modal-tuned acoustic guitar. His debut solo release, Dance Of The Underclass is still regarded by many as one of the classic Australian folk albums. When Alistair left Australia in 1996 to return to his native Glasgow, his new collaboration with veteran British fiddle legend, Dave Swarbrick, had already produced their much acclaimed CD release, Saturday Johnny & Jimmy The Rat, and a farewell tour that took the pair round all the major Australian cities. Since then Alistair Hulett and Dave Swarbrick have enthralled audiences throughout Britain, with several national tours and a welcome return jaunt Down Under in 1998. Alistair has also established a solid career as a solo performer. In Sleepy Scotland, his CD of mainly traditional ballads, elicited a glowing response from the now renamed but still as influential Froots magazine, concluding with ‘ a powerful album that demands, - and deserves – one’s full attention and definitely merits seeking out.’ In contrast to the mainly traditional bias of In Sleepy Scotland, the follow-up album, Red Clydeside, saw Dave Swarbrick back on fiddle duties and the emphasis once again fully focussed on Hulett’s own writing. Red Clydeside relates the story of the massive opposition by the workers of Industrial Scotland, led by the charismatic John Maclean, to the slaughter of the First World War. Alistair will present Red Clydeside at Auckland Folk Festival. Alistair Hulett tours New Zealand solo from 22 January to 7 February 2005. He is a headline guest at Auckland Folk Festival and at Waihi Bush Music Festival (Woodbury, near Geraldine) NZ TOUR ITINERARY: Sat 22 Jan 8pm The Upstairs Room, Taranaki. Info: 06 754 6928 or Sun 23 Jan 8pm Devonport Folk Club. Info and bookings 09 445 2227. Tues 25 Jan 8pm Expressions Arts & Entertainment Centre, Upper Hutt. Bookings 04 527 2168 or Thurs 27 Jan 9pm The Mussel Inn, Takaka. 28 - 31 Jan Auckland Folk Festival. Wed 2 Feb Acoustic Routes, Nelson. Info: 03 546 7262 Thurs 3 - Sun 6 Feb Waihi Bush Music Festival, Woodbury, near Geraldine. Info 03 692 2889 or WHAT THE CRITICS SAY ABOUT ALISTAIR HULETT: 'an intense singer, radiating conviction, and a genuinely imaginative lyricist’. - Folk Roots 'A powerful album that demands, - and deserves – one’s full attention and definitely merits seeking out.’ - Froots magazine reviewing Alistair's solo album In Sleepy Scotland The Living Tradition praised Hulett’s command of traditional ballads and suggested ‘if you’ve seen him live you’ll want to buy this. If you buy it you’ll want to see him live' 'A singer, songwriter and interpreter of traditional song par excellence,’ whose knack for song writing ‘propels him into greatness.' Sing Out TOUR CONTACT: Gill Winter ph 06 754 6928

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

procrastinating again!

But this could be useful for my next performance review... I am nerdier than 86% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out!

Cool things about working on the 18th floor #28

Aside from the view earthquakes are fun.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Setting the agenda

Jeanette launched the year with her Picnic for the Planet on Waiheke Island in the sun yesterday afternoon. You can read her speech here and listen to the interview with Morning Report here. Much has been made of the focus on energy and in particular, peak oil. I have quoted the relevant bits from Jeanette's speech below (apologies for the length but this not an issue that can be covered in a sound bite)

Our civilisation is the first to be truly global. It is the first to reach out to other planets, and to develop technologies to manipulate nature at the sub-atomic and sub-genetic level. And it is the first to develop a level of personal comfort that creates the illusion and the expectation that, thanks to our civilisation and our technology, we can forever conquer cold, hunger, pain, illness and eventually death itself. We have done this thanks to the use of one substance: oil. Ours is the only civilisation ever to be based on oil and it is the only one there ever will be. Oil has enabled us to use unprecedented amounts of other natural resources, mining huge quantities of minerals, vacuuming the oceans of fish thousands of miles away, farming intensively till the soil is just stuff you add chemicals to in order to grow mass-production food, felling vast forests, and transporting all this stuff, and ourselves, around the planet. ... It is oil that has enabled the global population and the ecological footprint of our civilisation to grow so large that it threatens the physical limits of the planet itself: its soils, forests, and fish, its beautiful and unique living creatures, and the chemical and physical cycles on which our lives depend. It is oil, along with coal and gas, that has raised the carbon dioxide content of the whole planet’s atmosphere by more than a third since the start of the industrial revolution – a blink in time in the history of the planet. It is oil, and other fossil fuels, that is causing glaciers to melt worldwide; and that appears to be associated with a marked increase in freak climatic events such as storms and floods and heatwaves. It is oil and coal that risks raising the sea level into your seaside homes; allowing tropical pests and diseases like malaria into New Zealand; and extinguishing our threatened plants and animals because they have nowhere else to go. ... Our oil consumption has been so extravagant that we have used up, in just one century, around half of what the planet has to offer. When that half-way point –known as “peak oil” – is reached, it becomes physically impossible to increase production no matter how hard you pump it. When we reach that peak, demand will continue to rise, not just from Western societies that have used most of the oil so far, but also from countries, such as China and India, trying to catch up with our level of motorisation and industrialisation. There is no technology on the horizon that can replace our present consumption of oil, though there are many that can make a contribution. We cannot afford to turn to coal without causing run-away climate change. The only answer is to learn to use energy much more effectively. The point at which demand outstrips the capacity of the wells to supply is the point at which oil prices rise inexorably and countries at the end of the supply line with little military power are likely to miss out. At first, it will cost you three dollars a litre instead of one to fill up your car. Later, there will be absolute shortages, no matter what you are prepared to pay. The cost of farming, fishing, manufacturing and international trade will skyrocket, and our international markets will no longer be able to afford our butter. No-one can say for sure when this peak will be reached. The Government has picked 2037 as its best guess, based on what oil companies, the US Government and the International Energy Agency are saying. To be frank, this is day-dreaming. Discoveries of oil peaked in the 1960s. For many years, we have been burning four times as much as we have been finding. When you look beyond the oil companies to independent, experienced petroleum geologists, you find a consensus that we may well have less than ten years before we reach this terrible tipping point. The end of cheap oil is coming towards us with the force of a tsunami and New Zealand is not ready. Only the Greens are planning for how to cope. If it is oil that has caused the growth of a consumer society that threatens the physical limits of the planet, it is peak oil that is causing an unprecedented attack on the human values that we have, until now, associated with civilisation. History tells us that when civilisations are threatened, empires get nasty. It should come as no surprise, then, that the United States – an empire dependent on oil – is doing everything in its power to secure the world’s fast dwindling oil reserves, even though that means trampling on the very freedoms it purports to uphold. Peak oil is the reason for the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. Peak oil is the reason for the war on terrorism, designed to make us so afraid of being bombed by Islamic fundamentalists that we co-operate in the destruction of our own freedoms. And peak oil is the reason our government, in acquiescing to US fear-mongering over 9/11, has pursued legislation under which you may be imprisoned without charge or fair trial, you may have your assets seized without proof of guilt, and you may be denied information on what you are even accused of, and denied a passport in your own country.
This speech has generated an interesting discussion in the blogosphere. NRT rightly points out that the Greens are determined to see three years with a left wing government. In terms of the environmental issues the Greens care about a left wing government will give us more stability than a right wing government, especially a Don Brash-led one. I can see the headlines now "Brash: the RMA will be gone by tomorrow..." David Young quite successfully points out why people get worried by the Green message. I mean, it must suck having to hear messages that threaten your nice, comfortable suburban existence. I take issue with his comment that:
When we get richer, we can afford to care more about the environment. On the other hand, if we are poor and hungry, living in squalor, we will think only about the next meal.
This is a line that's given to the Greens all the time. The idea that one can only have an environmental consciousness if you have money is rubbish. Environmental consciousness transcends class (as does environmental unconsciousness!). Some of the poorest parts of our world have a greater environmental consciousness than the rest of us. Usually becuase they actually live with the environmental effects of capitalist countries extravagance. (As an aside, one of the first political parties formed in Iraq after the downfall of Saddam Hussein was the Green Party). Sure, I acknowledge that if you looked at the GP membership, you would find that most of our members aren't poor. But I would argue that it is more a function of the types of people who are more likely to join political parties in general. I work with a number of Green supporters and activists who are not actual paid up members but committed to the future of this planet just the same. The main reasons that they don't actually join the party is because of a) money b) unwillingness to get involved in internal party structures and c) they are not able to be politically aligned for whatever reason. But the main issue I have with this line is the assumption that poor people 'don't have time' to think about the world around them. This is an incredibly classist assumption. I think Mr Young might want to go spend some time in some of these communities and he might discover groups of people with much stronger communities than you'll find in this country ie people who talk to each other, cooperate, discuss the world around them etc. Something that is quite difficult to find in middle class suburban Aotearoa (and ironically there's usually someone set out to destroy what great examples of living communities we do have). The other point to be aware of is that in my experience, and I'm sure it's not an uncommon one, people who are 'rich' also lead busy lives. I mean, it's not a part time job making lots of money so one could say "If we are rich and greedy, living in luxury, we will think only about the next wine-tasting." I digress. One other point I will make in response to David however, is his line that "What is needed is more growth, not less." This is an incredibly simplistic statement to make and is made without an ecological, socially-just analysis of growth. Growth for the sake of growth does not automatically make happy, prosperous communities. If one was to use the garden analogy, you can say that a garden is successful because all of the plants are growing really fast, the fact that they are all weeds is not relevant. Or you could say that a garden is successful because there are a wide variety of plants that are specifically planted to nurture each other, not deplete the soil of the nutrients required to maintain future growth, and provide food for the communities that depend on the garden. DPF has finally managed to astound me with his lack of analysis. I mean for someone who is an ovowed capitalist, surely he would recognise the fact that what political decisions are made because it is economically important to do so at the time and all major economic decisions are about resources. In the case of war, the issue is always access to these resources. Sure, there will be some kind of noun attached to it (terrorism was a particularly good one IMHO), but there is always a resource incentive, otherwise what's the point? Honestly, I would think this was accounting 101. Mr Farrar also proves his sketchy grasp on economics with this line "The war in Iraq is costing hundreds of billions of dollars." Exactly! It's costing billions, ie HEAPS more money moving around therefore more growth! Yay happy war fun for everyone. Except of course for the innocent civilans caught in the middle. I suggest you read this book David. Written by about the best MP National has ever had. Some people out there have been claiming that the Greens are scaremongering. Yip, that's one way of describing it and it's one the biggest messaging problems we have. We are trying to communicate bad stuff, stuff you don't want to think about. But someone has to. And quite often you will hear Greens saying stuff that seems a bit far fetched but that would be because it's stuff that will happen in the future. We get ridiculed for it (as Greens did in the 70s for pointing out that massive increases in energy consumption will lead to energy shortages in the future...) and we are often stuck in 'told you so' situations we didn't want to be stuckin. But hey, it aint easy being Green... If any of you understand these issues, genuinely care and would like to do something about it, check out the Green Party Energy campaign page. And for those of you that think Jeanette doesn't know her shit, please educate yourself on her background. Jeanette knows more about energy policy than all of the other MPs in Parliament combined. Thanks Jeanette, reprazent sista!

Sunday, January 16, 2005

dribble dribble

I've been waiting for this for ages. The Huygens probe has finally made it to Titan. Excellent! Check out the ESA site for pictures and even sound clips! Great stuff! Oh god I want to be an astronaut!!

Friday, January 14, 2005

What a beautiful day for protesting

Today the wankers set their sights on Oak Park Ave. So all of the ABA crew were there in full force. Full reports are available at Indymedia. I was particularly saddened today as the buildings marked for destruction were in my old stomping ground. But I was really impressd with the community support for the actions going on, and even even more impressed with the courage of the activists who risked personal injury during the lock on. Awesome stuff! Watching the police, security and various tradesmen standing around trying to figure out how the hell they were going to get the last two out of the building was priceless. And we aint finished yet, in fact, we're just getting started.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Some links for you

I've had a few people asking me over the last week what websites there are about anti-bypass stuff. So thought I might drop them on here too, just in case some of you out there either a) don't know they exist or b) forgot and haven't visited in a while. So... No Bypass is the obvious one to visit. Also Heartbeat Wellington has a good email update list you can join. Another link for the day is an interview with Mangari Maathai who was awarded the Nobel Peace prize in December. She is an amazing, inspiring woman and I recommend reading this interview.

The one city I would actually go to!

Take the quiz: "Which American City Are You?"

San Francisco
Liberal and proud, you'll live your lifestyle however you choose in the face of all that would supress you. Thanks to MTNW

NZ Acheh Support Group update/news

When I first heard the news of the Tsunami my heart went out to all of the victims. But most of all, the people of Acheh. For a group of people already seriously screwed, this disaster has been a major kick in the guts. Although one of the 'good things' has been the Indonesian Government allowing International media and aid in there for the first time in three years. Anyway, there are a number of activities going on in Wellington to support the Achenese people. Please support one of these initiatives. And look forward to a great fundraising gig with great bands coming up in March... (from Acheh support group) The first street collection of the NZ Acheh Support Group raised a really heartening $1400. It was great to see so many people involved and keen. Thanks to CARITAS ( for their help and support which enabled us to get legitimately collect without problems with the WCC. If you would like to make a donation, you can deposit money in the following account: Name: Acheh Support Group Branch: Manners Street Number: 06 0582 269439 00 We are collecting for Yayasan IDEP (Indonesian Development Education and Permaculture/, WALHI (Friends of the Earth Indonesia) and SIRA (Acheh Referendum Information Centre) who are three grassroots NGOs working on the ground in Acheh right now. Upcoming Fundraising Events Friday 4th of February – Fundraising Gig @ Blue Note Starts 7:00pm Cameron Burnell and Don Franks are confirmed to play. Jessie and Jonah are interested as well, which would make for an interesting acoustic series of sets. The idea is to have a later bunch of bands, which are louder. Mr Sterile Assembly may be available among others. Saturday 12th of February – Achehnese Community Dinner @ St Johns Hall Starts 7:00pm Community dinner which will feature music, speaking, and examples of Achehnese dance, and of course wonderful Achehnese food.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Yay it's election year

When I woke up on the 1st of Jan one of the first thoughts that went through my brain was "election year - yes!" I must admit, I am a complete geek when it comes to elections, I love them! Hell of a lot of work but it's one of those rare times where people don't scowl at you as much when you try and get them to think about the state of this mess we're in and what they think should be done about it. NRT has started a conversation about which party (or parties) will end up supporting Labour (cause let's face it National aint gonna win, and if they do, I'm leaving the country to seek political asylum) after the next election. I think Labour has more incentive to swing left than last time. They have certainly learnt some lessons from their hostility to the Greens during the whole Corngate thing. There is a large number of LP members who are quite pissed (still) that Labour is getting confidence and supply support from UF. And ironically, the Government got more support on legislation last year from the Greens than UF. There are a lot of people out there who realise know how much the swing to the conservative right in the last election has affected the Government stand on certain key issues and want to see the left vote stronger next time. In terms of party vote, I doubt Labour is going to lose much support between now and the next election so for those who want to make a real impact, it's the minority party votes that count. The Maori Party will get in on electorate votes but whether they can be considered left or not depends heavily on the policy platform they put out. I suggest they would be wise (although highly deceptive) to not put out too much policy and just let people assume... Winston will inevitably shine again this year as the great campaigner that he is. Although I think their voters may be starting to wonder what happens when Winston leaves... I doubt they will get the same support they did last time. And I would put money on the fact that Helen will not sign any agreements with NZ First. She knows Winston too well. And so does Cullen. I'm guessing the electorate seats will keep Anderton and Dunne around for another three years. At current polling, I doubt they'll bring too mnay more MPs in with them, but you never know. And here's hoping the Greens pick up their vote again. There is the global Green curse of 7-9% to contend with but I reckon they'll go up and bring in another couple of MPs. It would be nice to see Catherine Delahunty finally make it into Parliament. That'd give the boys a shake up. If you haven't enrolled, do so now and don't forget to vote. Cause if you don't vote, you're giving your power to some knee jerk. And we all know what happens when you don't educate yourself about what's going on! Anyway, bring it on I say!