There have been two letters to the editor in recent days critical of those who protested about deep-sea oil drilling.
These letters were similar in tone and themes and between them they make four points.
First, oil exploration is needed to provide for our energy and transport needs, secondly it would be good for the economy, thirdly it would provide jobs, and fourthly we need to accept the risks associated with deep-sea drilling.
All four assumptions are false.
It is now clear that alterative clean energy is able to provide for all of our energy needs.
Gearing up to produce clean energy would provide a boost to our economy equivalent to the long boom that followed World War II.
This boom took New Zealand into the modern world.
This long boom extended over 40 years and had never been achieved before or since. The results for the economy from oil exploration and production would be puny by comparison. The real benefactors would be the oil companies.
Fossil fuel energy use stands at the heart of global warming and climate change and those who promote this idea are dwelling in the past and fail to recognise that the world has changed. It also fails to recognise that modern civilisation as we know it is on the line because of humanity's dependence on fossil fuel. Those who want to see more oil exploration suffer from the ''Rip Van Winkle Syndrome''.
They have been asleep and now fail to recognise that the world of the 20th Syndrome is a widespread problem in our country stemming from the current government down to many others, including the writers of the letters I have referred to.
The economy is doing relatively well, but many fail to recognise the fragility of the global economy upon which we depend and in turn depends upon high milk prices and the Christchurch rebuild. The global food system is vulnerable to marked fluctuations and high milk prices might not last.
Fortunately there are growing numbers who have woken up and want changes made.
This is what gives Neil McKinnon and many others hope, and they are excited about making change happen. These changes are based on an economy poised to deliver an alternative energy system the technologies of which are robust and well proven.
It's true that those who have awakened are still dependent upon oil and on the oil driven cars. Their mobility depends on them, but it doesn't mean we are happy about it. We look forward to the day when our transport needs are not dependent upon oil driven vehicles.
Finally, the risks associated with deep-sea oil drilling are simply not worth taking, and don't need to be taken, when there are realistic alternative ways forward.
- The Timaru Herald