World 'bleeding to death'
Retired professor Guy McPherson's view of the living world is fairly blunt.
The planet has a spurting wound and governments are pumping on its chest to try and make it stand up again, he says.
"Central banks and corporations of the world are selling blood for transfusions and the environmentalists are running around cleaning up the blood on the sidewalk."
The former University of Arizona professor of natural resources, ecology and evolutionary biology is in New Plymouth this week to talk about how to make living more "durable". His talk will focus on what he calls the twin sides of the fossil fuel coin: energy decline and global climate change.
"Global climate change is on track to cause human extinction," he said.
Dependence on fossil fuels contributed to environmental decay, water and air pollution.
"As a consequence, the set of living arrangements that society has become accustomed to will be gone, and sooner than we think," he said.
Prof McPherson left his role as a professor some years ago as his moral viewpoint began to trump the way he lived.
He moved off-grid to New Mexico, USA, where he now lives within a community-based alternative lifestyle.
"It's a very sparsely inhabited area, with very few humans by design. We're living outside government influence because governments are not our friends," he said.
The majority of people in his community are committed to things such as growing their own food, which Prof McPherson said was one thing people could do to become more durable. "There are many things we can do as individuals and communities to prepare for a different future than what we've seen in the past.
"We can secure clean water. We can secure healthy food. We can secure the means to maintain our body temperature at a safe level, and we can develop and maintain a decent human community.
"Those four things are all we need to thrive, not merely survive, but thrive."
He said New Zealanders had an incredible chance to take advantage of sustainable living.
"The entire southern hemisphere is much better suited to deal with climate change.
"You have this maritime climate, and all of this rainfall, and things that are amazing in terms of the natural world here in New Zealand and New Plymouth."
Prof McPherson said his goal is to start a conversation, so people will take responsibility for themselves and their neighbours.
"And if we don't have a complete collapse – which is impossible to imagine in my mind – then we will have just made a better world regardless. And that's not such a horrible thing."
Taranaki Daily News