Climate Change Survivalism Is Not The Answer


FOR 700 YEARS the little fishing town of Lamu has lived sustainably. Empires have risen and fallen, and still the lateen-sailed dhows have ventured out upon the Indian Ocean and returned laden with fish. The town boasts a unique and distinctive architecture: so distinctive that UNESCO declared it a World Heritage Site. Surely, that would be enough to keep the people of this little town, situated on the northern coast of Kenya, safe from the depredations of the wider world?

Sadly, no. Not far from Lamu town, the Chinese are engaged in one of the biggest construction projects in Africa. They are dredging and polluting the pristine channels between the islands of the Lamu archipelago in preparation for building a massive sea-port. Why a seaport? So their huge coal-carriers have somewhere to unload their cargo. What will Kenya do with all that coal? Why, it will burn it in the huge coal-fired power-station the Chinese are building.

But, didn’t Kenya sign-up to the Paris Climate Accord? Isn’t it pledged to reduce its carbon emissions? Yes it is. Even worse, when the coal-fired plant is in operation, it will increase Kenya’s carbon emissions by a factor of 7. So, the town of Lamu, and its fishing fleet, will not be the only ones to suffer from the malign effects of China’s “Belt-and-Road” construction binge. We all will.

This is the madness that Martyn Bradbury, the editor of The Daily Blog, drew to our attention in his blog entitled “We Are 31 Years Away From Civilisation Collapse Yet The Things We Argue And Debate Right Now Are So Petty.

Despairing of the major powers ever agreeing to take the steps necessary to slow global warming, Martyn drew up what amounts to a survivalist agenda for New Zealand. Quite rightly, I believe, he regards these islands as being better positioned than just about anywhere else on the planet to weather the worst aspects of Climate Change. Our government, says Martyn, should act now to prepare us for the dark times to come.

Buried amid the many very sensible suggestions for making this country as self-sufficient as possible, I noticed one proposal that sent a chill down my spine. There must be, according to Martyn, a “large scale increase in Navy, Army & Airforce”. Clearly, like so many survivalists, Martyn anticipates the arrival of unwelcome visitors, and he is determined to be ready for them.

When the pitiful boatloads of climate refugees begin to appear off our coast, New Zealanders must possess the necessary military hardware to drive them from our shores. Even if they have nowhere else to go? Absolutely. New Zealand will be in the same position as a lifeboat which has reached its maximum occupancy. If any more survivors of the shipwreck attempt to climb aboard, then the lifeboat will capsize and sink, drowning everyone. To save those lucky enough to have found their place of safety, everyone else must be beaten back.

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But what sort of people would we become if we were willing to countenance, day after day, the destruction of refugee vessels, and the inevitable drowning of hundreds, and, ultimately, tens-of-thousands, of desperate men, women and children? You might say that the worthy end (the survival of civilisation in these isolated islands) justifies the terrible means required to achieve it. I would say that the means we adopt to achieve our ends will inevitably determine those ends. A civilisation predicated on the murder of tens-of-thousands of desperate human-beings cannot be anything other than a horror story.

Besides, New Zealand does not possess the sort of military-industrial complex capable of supplying its government with the array of munitions required to send the fleets of climate refugees to the bottom of the sea. To acquire the warships, reconnaissance aircraft, fighter-bombers, long-range missiles and satellite guidance systems such a policy necessitates, we would have to enlist the aid of either the United States or China. Which would make New Zealand their ultimate bolt-hole – not ours.

They might consent to let us live on as their hewers of wood and drawers of water. We do, after all, have a global reputation as efficient producers of food. But, make no mistake, that is what we would be: the servants (or slaves?) of whoever ended up taking over New Zealand. The most trusted of us might be permitted to serve alongside the soldiers, sailors and airmen of the occupying power. And every now and then, the most prolific of these local butchers would be awarded a medal. The land of Shepherd, Rutherford and Hillary would have become the land of remorseless killers.

Personally, I’d rather New Zealand, generous and welcoming to the end, sank below the weight of those to whom we never failed to offer a helping hand.

To those who told him that, in the end, it was better to be Red than dead, the celebrated Russian novelist, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, always retorted: “No, better to be dead, than live as a scoundrel!”

I couldn’t agree more.


  1. Reminds me of “On The Beach” A similar and possibly more likely scenario. Have you checked out what Jeremy Corbyn’s big brother Piers thinks about it?
    It also aligns with the stance of a conscientious objector. Basically war constitutes the abject failure of mankind and civilisation to apply his / her enormous potential of imagination and design. So much so that the objector is not prepared to engage in it whatever the personal consequences; and fair enough.
    D J S

  2. What, no. Y’know being peaceful and all that isn’t cheap Y’know. It just means every con-artist looking for an easy mark will find one.

    New Zealand search and rescue zone stretches from Antartica up past Fiji and from the east EEZ of Australia to half way to Hawai so a massive search area, 2nd to Australia. But unlike Australia we don’t don’t spend 25 million people, we only have 5 million to do the same job.

    And we won’t bloody well be turning boat people around or murdering them or some stupid shit. We will be processing refugees as per what ever UN protocols say at the time and accepting the number of refugees we can and finding places for the ones we can’t. This we will need an Army, an Air Force and a Navy worth a billions dollars more than is currently spent on defence raising defence spending to over 4 billion annually.

    Y’know what I mean? Being kind to refugees ain’t cheap.

  3. Chris is right about the futility of expanding our military capability. We can never find the resources large enough to save us from any plausible attacker and we would bankrupt ourselves in the meantime. We are one of the best placed countries in the world to survive global warming and for that reason we will be of interest to not only of refugees but to China, and the USA is very interested in anything that interests China – as anyone half awake must have noticed.
    In short we are stuck between a rock and a hard place. Our best hope is peace and neutrality. Its a very slim hope but there is nothing better on offer. Building a military defence is just madness.

    • You shouldn’t be let anywhere near National security.

      First off yeas we can expand NZDF.

      And yes we do have the resources to defend New Zealand in an all out war.

      So Singapore has 5 million people, no agriculture, no minerals reserves so they don’t make anything yet they’ve designed and built a military that can break a naval Blockade.

      I don’t believe for a secound that New Zealand with all its natural blessings and a decent plan couldn’t put up a decent fight.

      • Absolutely agree Sam, throw heaps of money at Defence & Military hardware, personnel , training, recruitment, the whole nine yards. We could so make it real difficult for invaders, one could argue it is our responsibility to do so, rather than just lie down and be overtaken by god knows who.

      • Sam, your eulogy about Singapore is irrelevant. Its true that it is wealthy yet “doesn’t make anything”. How do they do it? Isn’t Singapore the nasty little country that produces slave labour camps on orders from its multinational customers, who want to pay the lowest labour rates but dont want to get their hands dirty. Not a good role model for NZ, Sam, though NZ could finish up as a massive labour camp for China (a word you studiously avoid). Of course its a word Singapore never worries about because it is already 76% Chinese.
        If we were attacked by any country less than China, or refugees from such countries, to access our food and natural resources, I imagine that our allies would come to our aid and given a few words from the US, that country would back off. However, if the aggressor were China we would be totally alone. No one, even the US, is going to start WW3 over NZ, so China is the only game in town. It would be nice to think that we “would put up a decent fight” but according to Wikipedia, NZ can put 9000 regular soldiers (and preciously little else), into the field, China has 2 million. How long can we last, Sam? Do we even have those many bullets.
        It is then suggested that we can build up our Forces, starting from almost zero, to a point where we ‘can put up a good fight’. Where does this weaponry come from? NZ has no military industry to talk of. Everything will have to be imported. Bang goes our balance of payments, sacrificed to utterly unrepayable debt and, if we actually use these weapons, bang goes our commitment to reduce carbon emissions. Nothing is as bad for carbon emissions as flat out war.
        All those people advocating warfare must accept that the battle to reduce carbon emissions will be lost. When I saw those crazy words of Martyn’s I realised that humanity is a failed experiment of nature’s. We must now concentrate on saving the planet. Humanity is past redemption.

      • I don’t know where you got your figures about Singapore labour and productivity. They have the highest standards of living in the world, zero homelessness, full employment. Singapore literally tops the most liveable nation in the world. Please explain where you got your slave labour camps from?

        So significant is The Minister of Defence, Ron Marks speech at tech Shangri La Dialgloue a few weeks ago in Singapore where he stated that The Government will be growing the defence forces to meet future challenges. Already looked in is the Armies Future Land Operating Concept (FLOCK) which specifies an Army of 5000 regulars + about 1200 reserves so less than the 8000 army personal today. That just leaves expansion of The Navy and Airforce.

        It’s very unlikely that New Zealand will get back into the fighter game and I believe the P-8 production line will be shutting down some time in the 2020’z so that just leaves the potential for the Airforce to grow its 2nd tier capabilities by expanding its King Air and Rotary Fleets. The Navy will likely receive a 3rd and and the Cantabury Replacemnt Programe will likely replace her with a larger Landing Helicopter a Dock vessel that can park 4 NH90’s on its flight deck. The Navey will also be looking to improve on its fisheries and resource patrol lifting it from the 100 odd days it logs today to its mediators 300 patrol days.

        As for A2AD or denying an enemy fleet easy access to New Zealand’s resources and the resources of the Southern Ocean and South Pacific well we fight that fight in Australia as no Fleet in exestance could get around the American Continant unmolested. So all of New Zealands Defence Assets must be deployable by sea or by air and it must have the range to operate from New Zealand Land Bases and make it across vast oceans.

        Y’know? It’s actually not that difficult to mount a decent defence if you know what you are doing and base your assumptions on responsible data.

    • Um, Dennis, Defense of the Realm is the govt’s primary job.

      We can’t assume that in the event of large numbers of climate refugees arriving overtly or otherwise, that we, our children and our grandchildren, will encounter immigrants saying, “Well that’s alright then,” when we tell them that we’re all about kindness and being nice.

      At the very least, we may need the NZDF to keep law and order.

      The NZ government was happy to use the NZDF in 1951 to stop Kiwis being kind and nice giving food to our own hungry striking watersiders, and threatened penalties against those NZ’ers who helped other NZ’ers back then. That’s quite a sobering use of our armed forces when you think about it – and that’s because it was in the interests of the national economy.

      We have little idea of what scenarios may pan out if the planet dies significantly further, but we’re already a bolt hole for citizens of the three current major world powers all buying themselves properties here, and accepting being servile serfs may not necessarily be a peaceful process in itself.

  4. Throwing up what our little place does in the probable eventuality is good. Doubt it will have much effectuality. I feel so good being able to enunciate in this silly-arse moment. Hate the blubber layer of today.

    Can’t really live fulla-fruits with this dire future.

  5. Oh ffs, Chris Trotter, Martyn is right, we need to arm ourselves, sadly the government has decided to rush and ban a whole lot of guns that may be needed to defend this soil on these isles from potentially unwanted invaders of whatever kind.

    We are being disarmed and told to rely on a corrupt and weak and useless police force and an underresourced military.

    The only way to defend NZ Inc is by having a massive ‘army’ of volunteers, armed well with good and effective ordinary weaponry, that can be used against anyone who illegally sets foot on the soil here. We do not need large gun ships, aircrafts and the larger tanks and so, we need effective guns and granades and many other
    usual weaponry, to beat the shits out of unwanted

    You can continue to live in fantasy land and dream of global internationalist solidarity, it WILL NOT happen.

    You will serve this country and its people up on a platter for others to take, that is the truth.

    To simply trust in humans of whatever kind, who tend to be greedy and untrustworthy, you have lost the plot, mate.

    We face massive challenges, most are living in idiot country territory, I saw it yesterday here in Auckland. They really rely on a totally unsustainable economic and social system that will most definitely collapse sooner or later.

    Better prepare for the WORST.

    • It’s not a simple question of “…beat the shits out of unwanted visitors”, Marc, it is the possibility of a breakdown in law and order, should NZ become inundated with illegal refugees.

      Already we have witnessed Muslim women being subjected to public bullying by NZ’ers, and told to go back to their own country etc.

      Their fears and discomfort were in no way helped by the brown-skinned women who lied to the Auckland vigil in support of massacred Muslims, by publicly proclaiming, “White people hate us,” viz, brown-skinned NZ people. No-body needed that.

      Indian and Chinese NZ’ers are regularly treated, at the very least, disparagingly, including by my own neighbours who refer to Chinese neighbours as, ‘them’ and, ‘the Asians.’

      We have large numbers of deprived down-trodden New Zealanders
      struggling to live in primitive conditions such as winter tents – or on park benches. Cars for the luckier ones. Third world health
      issues rampant among our children.

      Our governments have failed to address these shocking inequalities among our own people and actually exacerbated the
      homelessness issues, and lied about that too, and have done little to practically address the worsening gap between the ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots.’

      If, as a country, we are unable to sort ourselves out and continue to accept having an underclass living on a treadmill, then I think it not unreasonable to expect that an influx of outsiders, and outsiders in need and traumatised and damaged, will not have a major effect on our already shonky social order.

      This is not suggesting that we go down the beaches and shoot at boatloads of refugees, it is suggesting that we are nuts if we do not try to anticipate the possible impact of future encounters, not just with planet earth, but with large numbers its rejected people.

  6. If NZ itself is not under the ocean waves and we do become inundated with refugees who make it…across the Tasman…, yes they will most likely be ozzies don’t ya think….defending wot we got would be like a mouse trying to squash an elephant – impossible. Am in complete agreement with Chris and also shook my head when I read MB’s solution.

  7. I am with Martyn. Hope for the best, plan for the worst.
    It is a true Lifeboat analogy. The lifeboat can only support so many before it capsizes. In the face of mass climate migration of potentially hundreds of millions, we just let everybody in? I find the logic really odd, if they cannot live, then we shouldn’t either? Really? We are lucky, phenomonally lucky. I appreciate that good fortune every day. But I am as full on Doomer as Bradbury is here. A robust NZDF is absolutely required.

  8. I think we should crop dust any and all refugees with ecstacy powder before they land, then once ashore and all loved up? We crop dust them with typhoid then bull doze their emaciated little bodies into the sea. Give them a decent send off.

    Alexander Solzhenitsyn, always retorted:
    “No, better to be dead, than live as a scoundrel!”
    No it’s not. I’ll go full scoundrel if I must thanks.
    I’m all for hugs and smooches of thine neighbour etc but if it came to push and shove? Fuck that. Come anywhere near my stuff and I’ll blow your sea sicky, wind blown, sunburned fucking head off. It was their nest, they shat in it, therefore they sleep in it.
    I’m mindful of the Sentinelese.
    They’re keeping a terrible, greedy, grasping, mentally fucked global populace at bay with bows, arrows and no small amount of resolve.
    That Japanese fellow who went there to preach God Bothery jibberish? They fucked him up then buried him in the beach. Fair enough!
    Ask yourself? Who’s side, then, do you think God’s really on?

  9. I think Martyns military up-spend was designed to defend against bolt-hole seekers among the powers at least as much against refugees. If at all the latter. Though that would be logical in extremis. Reality comes first. We’re descendants of those who preferred women.

  10. The story of the deluge and the ark is an ancient paradigm for catastrophe and survival. A story of a prophecy of destruction and of a call to righteousness which is ignored by the masses but heeded by a select few who seek and find their own salvation in the ark.
    The point is we will not survive as a community or as individuals if we continue to sin. We must choose righteousness rather than selfishness if we wish to find ourselves among nga morehu.
    That is not at all self-evident. The New Zealand government policy is that it will continue to sin – that is to destroy our world, and ally itself with those who make war on God – while acquiring sufficient military force to repel those who seek refuge here when the deluge comes upon us.
    But as Chris suggests, it will not work like that.
    A regime which wants to carry on sinning, but at the same time wishes to be spared the consequences of sin, will get what it deserves and not what it wants.
    If we take the course proposed by the colonial regime, New Zealanders will be at each others throats and the land will be laid to waste long before any refugee armada appears on the horizon.
    The rule here is that whoever arrives on the land is offered a meal, a mattress and a mattock. That will remain so regardless of what is happening in the world beyond.
    “Kororia ki Te Atua, rongomarie ki te whenua, whakaaro pai ki nga tangata katoa” is our best defence against any kind of calamity.

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