Intergenerational inequity looks set to define the
21st century, Richard Reeve believes.
An impression of what the trial lignite briquette plant in
Southland will look like. Image supplied.
Ours is the epoch of generational organised crime.
At present, reluctant to put that most efficient slave, the
fossil fuel, to bed, we continue a way of life that we know
full well will impact on literally billions of lives in the
generations to come.
We can no longer hide in historical relativism to protect our
We are both richer and poorer than ever before, and there are
more of us than ever before.
In 1936 there were 2.6 billion people; there are now seven
According to the Population Reference Bureau, more than half
the world live on less than $NZ2.40 a day.
One percent of the population currently own more than 40% of
the global wealth.
At the time of writing, the World Bank reports that high food
prices, disconcerting to Westerners, are intensifying a
catastrophe in drought-stricken Africa, with 12 million
people facing death by starvation.
While New Zealand's sons and daughters grow clinically obese
on saturated fat, in the Horn of Africa 40% of children under
5 are suffering from severe malnutrition.
Living in one of the world's more resource-abundant
countries, we kid ourselves that these remote isles will be
shielded from the fallout of ongoing catastrophe.
Climate change at present remains a mere tax, a speed hump
perfunctorily negotiated on the way to work.
Peak oil is certainly a pinch at the pump, but not yet the
impending collapse of a type of civilisation.
Instead, smiling politicians still pander, post-2008, to the
leveraged material expectations of the most privileged age
group in history, the baby-boomers.
From an early age, their children, Generations X, Y and Z,
have been encouraged to pursue wealth with a view to
maintaining the comfort zone that this demographic
established as the norm.
Initially, the comfort zone meant land, four walls and a
Now, notwithstanding an abyss of global debt, it means plasma
televisions, weekend trips to Sydney, Blackberries, multiple