Heeding the warnings

Given fair warning, Paul Burt takes care with the zip on a new pair of jeans.

In Home Block6 Minutes

Given fair warning, Paul Burt takes care with the zip on a new pair of jeans.

SOMETIMES IT IS HARD NOT TO BE filled with despair over where we are going as a species. Front of mind is the despicably immoral behaviour that regimes and individuals are inflicting on innocents around the world. But there are also more subtle signals that indicate we are losing the self-awareness and perception that saw us overtake the other great apes on the evolutionary ladder.

Has our advance stumbled and are we heading back toward the simple cells from which we sprang?

With fashion not high on my list of priorities, my clothing purchases are few and far between. It was a surprise on buying a pair of jeans recently that the “fly” had a warning label attached. “This apparatus may harm your penis.”

I took note to exercise more care but the efforts of manufacturers to keep me safe didn’t stop there. Needing to inspect the inside of a piece of machinery, the internet sent me a cheap endoscope – $50 and doing my bit for the Chinese economy, a small payback for all those briskets and flaps they are taking off our hands.

Apparently though, even the communists fear litigation because there is a warning on the box that this tool is not for personal use. It hadn’t previously occurred to me to bypass the overburdened health system and perform my own colonoscopy. On reflection there would be no waiting time and a considerable cost saving and with the help of Dr Google. How hard could it be?

This is the lighter side of a sad situation. We are no longer the motivated, independent, self-reliant achievers we once were and I am in fear of what our No. 8-wired mentality is being replaced with.

Like an appendage caught in a zipper we have gone soft and are ripe for the mothering and smothering dispensed from the Beehive. When a Government minister boasts that 70% of Kiwis are on some form of national assistance there is need for concern. Likewise, major alarm bells should ring when the world rankings for numeracy and literacy are published.

Our backward direction began years ago with the trendy view that rote learning was demeaning and children could be free-thinking problem solvers right from the get go. If we allow children to grow up without confidence in numbers and words we are setting them up to fail.

It’s logical to me that parents take a major role in childhood learning but when the issues of going to school hungry or not attending at all are raised, the powers that be never mention the responsibilities of parents. If we don’t address every failing in a system for fear of offending certain parties, we will never improve the situation.

We have to start expecting (demanding) more of people, including our political leaders. Are both sides of the divide working to genuinely improve the three tiers of society or are they just power hungry, distracted with posturing and point scoring.

Take the agricultural emissions argument. There is more than enough science available to establish the facts. If the facts are interpreted fairly there should be no rational dispute. What we have is a political agenda with selective information skewed to suit an ideology.

All fervent arguments come with a natural bias. In our ordinary lives this is woven into discussion without too much harm being done. However, I believe we have a right to expect the important players who map our future to be above these immature manoeuverings. A quote from the top last week says it all: “we will listen but we won’t change our position”. From an elected representative the arrogance is appalling.

We, like many farmers, pay the mortgage, the rates and substantial other costs to protect large areas of native forest on our farm. I would happily pay the cost of livestock emissions knowing that income from native forest sequestration put us in balance. The present rules don’t allow this.

We have many urban visitors to the farm and I have yet to find one who is aware of this situation and certainly no-one, once it is explained who agrees with it.

I can see the opportunity in using a climate positive response as an international marketing advantage but as a radio announcer observed, putting heat on the golden goose is a tricky business. I can see a bigger opportunity in exposing urban New Zealand to the real situation down on the farm.