The sound of failure/It’s dark… Is it always this dark?

Mackenzie.jpgForgive me this riff on impermanence. Last Sunday morning, my little group of middle-aged winos and winemakers (plus a professor or two) left the lodge in Martin’s Bay and crossed a serene Hollyford River on a jetboat. We walked along the edge of the bush on the spit, looking at Maori middens, layering in sand dunes, native plants and the succession from pingao to rimu, pondering the most recent ice age — which carved out the Hollyford valley — and the potential for rising seas to change this wonderful example of coastal ecology. Eventually we arrived at the site of the Mackenzie homestead – built in the 1870s by hardy settlers determined to make their lives in this wet and wild corner of what was then a new land to Europeans. All that remains is the stone fireplace, overgrown with grass, the vague outline of the walls, and some imported trees — the gums are doing very well. I pondered the lives of the settlers in the Hollyford and the scratches they left on the landscape, while New Zealand and the world grasped at bigger issues…

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Bali ha’i, Bali low?

The Bali conference ended with a cliffhanger, but as I was cocooned in a kayak paddling up the coast of the Abel Tasman it passed me by like a fur seal in the night. I did notice a fishy smell, but I don’t think it emanated from Nusa Dua. The big news, of course, was the US climbdown at the last minute, memorably blogged by David Sassoon at Solve Climate. He extensively quotes an eye witness account by Peter Riggs, Director of the Forum on Democracy and Trade:

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