flipside of the rhetoric

It occurs to me that it is very easy to trumpet what one individual or party has been doing in support of a concept like sustainability, but much harder to appear the epitome of the concept when you must recount what you have done that flies in the face of sustainability. I ponder this as I survey the pamphlet a certain local National MP circulated in Hamilton. Divorced of context, it cites a plethora of achievements that would warm the cockles of many hearts.

Then I review the Forest & Bird EnviroPoll in which the three major parties (yeah three, you read right) responded to six somewhat loaded questions on environmental management in New Zealand. Again, it showed that citing achievements can collaborate your rhetoric, even if your party’s policies are the antithesis of sustainability and all that that implies.

Perhaps to go beyond the rhetoric we need to look at what a party or individual has done that is antithetical to sustainability. Perhaps not ask them – one doubts they’d be forthcoming. But if you consider the example of say Hamilton City Council, you may find that the small gains that might be cited in such an assessment would be quickly offset by pots and pots of money being poured into giant (and shortly redundant) roads. The net outcomes will likely show that the wee poppets are firmly grounded in the Stone Age…

So maybe it isn’t what you do that’s good; it’s maybe what you don’t do that’s good: that is where the real losses are felt, and any gains are well-offset….


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