Scientist visits city to talk degrowth and climate

Dr Mike Joy. Photo: Victoria Univesity.

A well-known Kiwi scientist is visiting Tauranga on June 28, to explain the concept of degrowth, and why we can't become a sustainable region without addressing the problems caused by rapid growth.

Prominent freshwater ecologist and science communicator Dr Mike Joy is being hosted by the Sustainable Bay of Plenty Trust to talk on Degrowth & Climate Change at Holy Trinity in Tauranga City, from 7pm Wednesday, June 28.

Dr Mike Joy was a top researcher role at Victoria University of Wellington until recently; today he's part of Degrowth Aotearoa New Zealand, which formed by a small group of individuals passionately dedicated to raising awareness about the urgent need to find ways of living within biophysical limits.

Mike has previously received Forest & Bird's Old Blue award, the Ecology in Action award from the NZ Ecological Society, and the Royal Society of NZs Charles Fleming Award for Environmental Achievement.

The Tauranga event on June 28 is free to the public, with Sustainable BOP executive director Glen Crowther hoping Western Bay of Plenty residents will take advantage of the opportunity to hear Dr Mike speak, and to facilitate open discussion on the topic.

Black growth

Mike will talk about how economic growth driven by fossil fuels (black growth) has resulted in massive ecological devastation. He believes ‘green growth' just replaces fossil fuels with renewable energy and traps us in this spiral of environmental damage.

'All growth requires more consumption, which requires mining more non-renewable materials and more energy, which is unsustainable. To decarbonise, managed degrowth is our only good option.”

Mike says only 13 per cent of global energy consumption comes from renewables. 'Renewables could soon overtake coal generated electricity, but electricity is only 20 per cent of total energy use.

'Replacing fossil energy with renewable energy requires much more land to produce the same amount of energy. For example, the UK would require its entire landmass and Singapore would need an area of 60 Singapores.

'What's more, global energy consumption is increasing faster than we are adding renewable generation. 'So, if we fixate on replacing fossil fuels with renewables, and don't reduce consumption and waste, we'll simply swap one race to destruction with another.

Mike says maintaining industrial civilisation is the real cause of our climate crisis and all other environmental problems. '‘Green growth' – attempting to maintain life as usual v will destroy the life-supporting capacity of our planet.”

Stop obsession

Traditionally, environmentalists tried to protect water, rainforests, and endangered animals – however today environmentalism usually means reducing carbon emissions and the goal is to reach net zero carbon by 2050 at any cost.

'The word ‘net' is based on a delusion and avoids the need to reduce our energy consumption and protect our environment.

'We must somehow stop this obsession with growth and instead consume less and waste less, or we will destroy our life-sustaining systems. True environmentalism protects those systems — rather than just maintaining our industrial way of life, but without carbon emissions.”

Hear Mike talk on Wednesday, June 28, at Holy Trinity in Tauranga City from 7pm. Entry is free, but donations ae welcome.

1 comment


Posted on 27-06-2023 17:53 | By Let's get real

So logic would suggest stopping population growth and switching to nuclear power generation. But you can't stay on the government funded gravy-train if you actually solve a problem. The land required to generate power naturally will mean that we can't provide food for the population.

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