Instead of Dam Thinking from the 50s, Look to the Landscape

Reblogging with edits away from the previous focus on just the Ruataniwha Dam.


Rethinking, reimagining land, community & economy. Unless we fundamentally change away from the dominant ideas expressed by Treasury, the current public service model, the right wing political parties and their corporate sponsors, then I think we will be fighting environmental, social and provincial degradation for a very long time.

The root causes of decline are in the simplistic, linear and mechanical thinking they remain wedded to. Fiddling around the edges will not suffice.

The trouble is that the shadows on the wall they see are the only world they know. And if someone should point out the colours and life beyond the cave entrance, they will continue to recoil with horror. I’m not sure how you change this within the time constraints we have.

We could get a change in thinking from our obsession with quantified homogeneous industrial scale to realising that building capacities in landscapes (and social-scapes) creates a more resilient, sustainable, meaningful and prosperous future.

There are so many wonderful thinkers, doers and writers who have demonstrated that truth – in landscapes, in communities, and in regional economies. But they all have Humanities souls. They feel and connect, and are happy within the complexity and uncertainty of life.

Perhaps we ought to start with teaching our children that.

Source: Instead of Dam Thinking from the 50s, Look to the Landscape

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4 Responses to Instead of Dam Thinking from the 50s, Look to the Landscape

  1. Greg Donnison says:

    Hi Chris, I read your blog with interest, as someone who sits somewhere in the middle of the political spectrum but with a strong desire to see environment protection take a leading role in govt policy setting. Your comment “I’m not sure how you change this within the time constraints we have” is instructive. Is not part of the answer to take a pragmatic approach and work with what is in front of you? The Greens refusal to entertain any thought of working alongside National to help foster change on environmental policy means, potentially, 3 more years of (in)action.

    • cjkperley says:

      Working with the current National Party would be supporting the model that extracts from life – our communities and our planet – for the benefit of fewer and fewer. Tagging a token environmental concession onto a model that is taking us toward the cliff is not the answer. We have to change core thinking, not add a token green flag onto a runaway train.

  2. Greg Donnison says:

    Of course the flipside to that argument is that unless you get on board and try to put the brakes on, then surely a bigger mess to clean up. Here’s hoping for a Labour led coalition.

    • cjkperley says:

      I think any change in National will have to come from within. When they realise that they are unlikely to be able to form a future government with their Corporate vs SME, community & environment view of life, then they may change from the far right. If Greens went with them, they would not get that chance at self reflection. A little bit of internal thinking wouldn’t go amiss in that party where thought is not held in high regard.

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