Jeanette Fitzsimons, former co-leader of the Green Party,
discusses challenges to New Zealand's future. Photo by
Learning to say ''enough'' to growth is the key to
avoiding future economic and environmental collapse, former
Green Party co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons urged during a talk
in Dunedin yesterday.
Ms Fitzsimons spoke about ''Enough: the challenges of a
post-growth economy'', in a 5.30pm public address to about
250 people at the University of Otago Castle 1 lecture
''There's a big change in our way of life coming. It's coming
whether we like it or not.''
She urged people to pursue a more sustainable and egalitarian
society before negative changes were forced by circumstances
in the future.
Ms Fitzsimons, who was born in Dunedin and grew up in
Mosgiel, said she always attracted her largest audiences when
she gave public talks in Dunedin, and was not sure why.
She warned of mounting signs of global warming, and of
extreme regional weather events, such as the recent
hurricanes which had hit the United States.
And she also highlighted growing problems with the global oil
Some of the early oil finds, such as in Saudi Arabia, had
proved easy to access and extract, with the energy equivalent
of one barrel of oil required to extract 100 barrels from the
But recent less promising finds were now yielding only three
to five barrels of oil for every barrel expended in energy to
She warned against the ''thrashing of the tail of the
dinosaur'' as the end of the previous unsustainable approach
was accompanied by increasingly damaging attempts to exploit
During a later question-and-answer session, she said she was
''appalled at the amount of hostility'' involved in repeated
criticism of ''dole bludgers'' and said corporate tax evasion
deserved more attention.
Human psychology and attitudes to consumption would prove
If people continued to fixate on accumulating material
possessions they would ''keep consuming''.
Yesterday's talk was part of a series of lectures by Ms
Fitzsimons on the same topic, organised throughout the
country by the Quakers. Yesterday's event was co-hosted by
the Otago University Centre for Sustainability.