These days students pay about $6000 a year for tertiary tuition. Twenty years ago it was about $900 a year. A generation before that it was free, with a living allowance.
I recently heard of a young New Zealander who tried to join her fiancee at home in the United States. She was apparently banned from entering as she had no debts and was deemed a liability to the country, an uncontrollable wild card.
This is how our economy now runs. We ransom our children's future to pay for our present whims and fancies. We consume twice as much as our parents did and they consume twice as much as their parents did. Debt is now rife.
The capitalist mantra of supply and demand is a myth. We are forced to buy rubbish we don't need and to pay for commodified social services that should be free.
The editorial last Thursday - Search For Oil And Gas Will Continue - is sadly the same old story that's been carted out since I was a student. Why don't environmentalists offer solutions? We can't unplug from fossil fuels because there's no real alternative. We must wait for a market solution . . .
Climate Justice Taranaki consistently comments on ways forward without fossil fuels and our website has a lot of well- researched information about many uncostly solutions.
The sad fact is many people can't stomach the thought of reducing their energy consumption because we are bombarded by messaging day and night to keep consuming. Yet reducing consumption is the first thing we all must do before we even attempt to find enough alternatives for a mere portion of our unsustainable lifestyles.
Changing our lives once oil's really run out will be far too late. Just ask anyone who's been through a major disaster.
We have to start taking the devastating state of our planet and communities seriously. We have to start doing something about it now, ourselves. We cannot buy our way out of this one or expect our government - up to its eyeballs in debt - to do it for us. And for those who currently control our economy, this will unfortunately be the end of them . . . but freedom for the rest of us.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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