2014 Bruce Jesson Lecture Available

On 15 October, Mike Joy delivered the 2014 Bruce Jesson Lecture at Auckland University. His topic, Paradise Squandered; New Zealand’s Environmental Asset Stripping. Mike’s capacity to blend an engaging narrative with the detail in his many informative slides meant an attentive audience, with many thirsty for more information and access to to resources referenced. Mike undertook to write the lecture up for distribution and it is now available in PDF form here.

Of particular note was that this lecture was not just an account of the damage that has been wrought on New Zealand’s environmental assets, but a call to action:

Crucially we must immediately stop the procrastination; we must get the science back and get rid of the politics. We must accept the reality that we can’t collaborate away environmental reality. Community agreement won’t stop the reality of impacts once the conditions for declines and biodiversity losses exist.

He went on to outline key actions required to arrest and then reverse this degradation:

At the many talks I have given to farming groups the usual response is “that’s all very grim, so now give me some solutions”, which translated means give me some (preferably technical) solution so that we can keep doing what we are doing because I’m not prepared to stop doing what I am doing. Of course this is not possible to really achieve improvements, so we must make these simple changes. We must:

  • put a cost on pollution (or premium on not polluting)
  • farm for profitability not for capital gain
  • Immediately move away from fossil fertiliser
  • Immediately move away from imported fertiliser and feed.

Please take the time to download Mike’s lecture, read it, and distribute it as widely as possible.