by Andrew Rundle-Keswick
Yesterday Guy McPherson met with a group of us at Tapu te Ranga Marae in Wellington, New Zealand. Guy’s presentation is embedded below, along with subsequent discussion.
We had a very interesting and lively discussion.
Part way though the discussion one of the participants, Robert Atack raised up the subject of the possibility that any child born today, won’t make it past their 20th birthday, and asked the question why are people still having kids. (This is not a direct quote, just the essence of the discussion that I remember.) The response from the room was very loud and strong against him and I wanted to jump in and offer my support for a conversation exploring the issues he was raising. At the time, as I was sitting there listening to the strong back forth flow of discussion, I couldn’t think of anything to say. It’s only now (at 3am) that the points that I would have liked to have raised have come to mind.
If I had not had a brain freeze and had had the courage to stand up and comment to the angry room, this is what I might have said.
During the tea break some of us were discussing the film “The Road” based on the novel by Cormac McCarthy. As a parent when I watched that film I tried to decide what I would do for my children if (or when) the world degrades to that level of Anarchy (state of disorder). If you haven’t seen “The Road” substitute your favourite Hollywood dystopian film (“Book of Eli” through to “Mad Max”).
If I was in a world similar to “The Road”, where cannibalism was rife, what would I choose for my children, the way out (of suicide) that the character of the mother did in that film, by walking out on her husband and child to freeze to death in the snow. Or would I be more like the father and try to struggle on in a slowly deteriorating world trying to bring up my child in that horrible world where a highlight of my child’s life is to have the experience of having a coke with my dad. (Even in a dystopian movie coke has to get its advertising in.) Or is there a 3rd choice, which is to have the guts to help my son and daughter to commit suicide (IE some sort of family drink the kool-aid thing), or be willing to kill them my self. When my wife and I finally got to grips with all the information from “Nature Bats Last” and other such sites, we had a conversation about if we had known earlier would we still have had our children? Don’t get me wrong, I love my 2 children very dearly and now that I have them I wouldn’t give them up, so I guess my choice would be to do as the father did in “The Road” and do my best to give my children the best life I can provide.
These are the sort of questions I think we need to be willing to talk about and I know this is not an easy subject to talk about and I was very disappointed that a room of people (many of whom had listened to Guy’s talk on Friday night at the Dowse) were not more willing to be open to discuss these issues.
So I wish to apologise to Robert for not standing up and supporting him and encouraging the room to be willing to consider his point of view.
23 October 2014 podcast with Tim Lynch in New Zealand: Dr Guy McPherson – Collapse, Disruption, Runaway Greenhouse Gases and Ecological Overshoot