Author Archives: cjkperley

Hitchhiker’s Guide to Homo sapiens

Historical Footnote: Homo sapiens Once, on the ex-planet Earth, there was a species Homo sapiens – who were ironically not very sapiens (wise) at all.  They became extinct after about 80,000 years in existence, which is pretty dumb.  Homo erectus … Continue reading

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What is Progress and How do we get There?

I have Tom Wessels’ The Myth of Progress on a shelf.  Tom has produced some wonderful books on historically continuous change across our wider landscapes.  He sees patterns in that place where people and landscapes meet.  He takes to task what we mean by … Continue reading

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Bizarre Economic Beliefs – Finding the Black Cat that Isn’t There

More evidence has come out that tax cuts don’t lead to economic growth, and let’s not go into how people ought to measure progress or growth.  But isn’t small government, and commensurately low tax rates, what the Neoliberal economists have … Continue reading

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Reimagining Science for Our Future

Where will science be in the future?  If we argue against the excesses and anomalies of Modernity – the metaphor of the reducible machine, knowable by breaking everything into soulless bits – and we also argue that many of the philosophical … Continue reading

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A Curious Proposition – to Know Something is it Better to be Separate?

To know something, really *know* something, do you have to have a deeper connection? Do you have to love it, belong to it, to know it?  Or do you do the opposite, and sit outside? We have presumed that objectifying … Continue reading

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The Fragility of Authoritarianism

I am fascinated by our propensity to tilt toward authoritarianism in certain times. They provide a delusion of hope.  Someone promises to make it all better, and something in us is attracted to the personality cult of bullies and what … Continue reading

Posted in Resilience Thinking, Thought Pieces | 1 Comment

The Systems View – But what else have you done?

Why don’t we teach our kids to think like this – in feedbacks and multiple effects, not simple lines of one thing’s effect on only one other thing?   It’s idiotic.  You never do one thing.  Especially not those things … Continue reading

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The Future of Managing Water in our Landscapes – Go Local Scale

There are so many examples both past and present where taking a decentralised approach to managing water in dry landscapes provides multiple benefits.  Such examples tend to be low capital as well as suited to a particular people and place – … Continue reading

Posted in Land Use, Thought Pieces | 4 Comments

Weave our Philosophy around The Flux of Things

Musings from an old blog about how a forest flows.  It is a metaphor on life.   Is thinking the way AN Whitehead argued – The Flux of Things as the essence of it all, with the observer a part … Continue reading

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Kill Creativity and March to Nowhere

This is inspired by a conversation with a dear friend who doesn’t hug much. I have a question … well, two.  First one.  Do we make room for creativity anymore – for the synthesisers? (My friend was one of the … Continue reading

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Edible Landscapes – Away from the Factory Model

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The Future of NZ Farming… Or… If you don’t learn from your experiences …. you’re f%#!&

I have a copy of James Rebank’s A Shepherd’s Life.  It was where I first came across the word “Hefted” – of animals or humans embedded in a place – intuitively in sync and harmony with … Source: The Future … Continue reading

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The Future of NZ Farming… Or… If you don’t learn from your experiences …. you’re f%#!&

I have a copy of James Rebank’s A Shepherd’s Life.  It was where I first came across the word “Hefted” – of animals or humans embedded in a place – intuitively in sync and harmony with place – of it … Continue reading

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Ways of Seeing II: The Mechanical View and the Treadmill of Techno-Fixes

I end up getting buried in arguments with technologists about GE vs no-GE and it really is pointless unless we can go a step deeper into the *context* of how and where we apply science and technology. I am accused … Continue reading

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The Wisdom of Intimacy

Edward Abbey – he of Desert Solitaire, one of the classics questioning the values of our modern world – wrote a short and scathing essay of a laboratory scientist intent on studying dog behaviour because “no one had done it … Continue reading

Posted in Land Use, Thought Pieces, Ways of Seeing | 5 Comments

Everything is Connected: Make it Sing

If we could only see the landscapes and our cities and towns as multifunctional systems rather than machines of single function silos, we could achieve so much. Low impact design. Soft systems. Rebuild landscape function. Agroecological. But we were taught … Continue reading

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Who is a Forester, a Farmer, A Fisher?

These are the sentiments of a husbandman, a farmer, a forester.  You can teach all the agronomic head stuff you want, pile on the degrees; but if you don’t have the heart to see more in land, plants, animals and … Continue reading

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The Trumps of History

Written when Donald Trump was elected President. And now he is there and it isn’t just a dream. And he hasn’t stopped the knee jerk, foolish rhetoric. He really is that unsuited to preside.

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Building Land Systems for Drought-Flood Resilience

Reblogging because we are in the grip of another drought in Hawke’s Bay, and nothing much has changed. Yet there are all the examples in the world from which to learn, and beautifully written books by some of the minds … Continue reading

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The Gods of Technocracy and the Death of Belonging

I’m curious about how we lose empathy – in self or as a whole culture – toward people, or life, or land.  How we lose that sense that we are all connected, that we belong to each other.  How do … Continue reading

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What’s Good about Gorse

I recall some time in the distant past having to put up with Wordsworth going on a bit about ‘golden’ daffodils.  Saccharine sweet.  They’re not even golden.  More yellow really – similar to broom.  Now for the colour of deep, … Continue reading

Posted in Land Use, Landscape function, Thought Pieces | 2 Comments

Four Arguments Against GM Food Production

The argument for GM Food is supported by those taking a number of positions: 1. That GM will increase food production and we need to feed the world (false on both counts); 2. that GM will provide business opportunities for our … Continue reading

Posted in Land Use, Thought Pieces | 5 Comments

Elation and the Wharves of Home

Part of my healing was to get to the end of that wharf. I’d come almost six hours, with a night a little to the north of middle. I’d started with a feeling of elation that is hard to explain. … Continue reading

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Greed, Cruelty & Ingratitude – and a Short Future

I’ve been reading David James Duncan’s The River Why.  The movie does absolutely no justice to this book.  I suppose big philosophy books like Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, or Catch 22, will always struggle to get the questions … Continue reading

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Reflections on Wisdom, and the Log from the Sea of Cortez

Reblogging because of a conversation with a High School teacher at Lake Karapiro today, recovering from a couple of Waka Ama races. We talked of the rise of the administrative and mechanical minds destroying effectiveness in pursuit of various charades … Continue reading

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Neoliberalism Kills Strategic Thought – and that is Killing our Future

Tactic one for changing our political environment. Hmmmmm….. How about, as the first one, we refocus on strategy, not technocratic analysis?  Strategy requires thinking qualitatively – long and broad through connections.  Where are we wanting to go?  What are the … Continue reading

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Reforming our Regional Economy – III: Never be a Colony

The South Island West Coast of New Zealand is a colony of its eastern neighbour Canterbury.  Think of all the gold, the beautiful timber, the coal, the fish.  Think of the tourism dollars flowing from that extraordinary raised coastal road … Continue reading

Posted in Building Regional Economies, Thought Pieces | 3 Comments

Rebuilding our Relationship with Land – The Emerging World View

Here lie so many interesting questions – the idea of land ‘ownership’.  Is it a modern social construct? We used to live in tribal common lands – in much of Europe as well as in Aotearoa; in land referred to … Continue reading

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Reforming our Regional Economy II – Making Magic in the Landscape

In the late 1940s my father came down from the East Coast to be a shepherd on Omakere Station in Central Hawke’s Bay.  Part of the work was removing regenerated shrublands of manuka and kanuka and turning them into pasture … Continue reading

Posted in Building Regional Economies, Land Use, Thought Pieces | 4 Comments

Reforming our Regional Economy I: Value over Volume

Why do we manage land the way we do?  Why does New Zealand focus on ever-more gross production over a great scale of sameness?  Why do we talk of “feeding the world” when we can at best feed 40 million … Continue reading

Posted in agricultural strategy, Building Regional Economies, Industrial Mindset, Land Use, Land use strategy, Primary Sector Strategy, Thought Pieces | 4 Comments

Smash the Machines in our Minds

I was going to write something about how to create a better economy … and society … and culture … and environment – because they all go together, because they are all connected, and you cannot know, understand or make … Continue reading

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My Red Admirals

Yesterday, a Monday, I saw my first Red Admiral since a day in April 2015.  You will say I am not observant.  I would say I am …. at least for land and the things in the scape of land. Don’t … Continue reading

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A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall …. Unless

I had an interesting conversation today heading into the beauty of the Eastern Wairarapa on the road to Castlepoint and Riversdale.  The question was put, why do you even care about the future?  The planet will be fine.  People are … Continue reading

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Expedient ‘Government’: Build the Slag Heaps of Tomorrow for New Zealand

John Key has resigned. Some of the media is trumpeting the myth that New Zealanders has been well looked after under his term. This rankles. Just because a deal maker and spin doctor in a suit tells us that we … Continue reading

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Twining the Spirals: Is Real Beauty Reciprocal?

I keep notes, in a black Moleskine notebook with its history and paper, Bruce Chatwin and all that.  They come in various sizes and lie in a drawer.  Some on a shelf.  I’ve been writing less in them since I … Continue reading

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Measuring the Marigolds – An Anthem for our Time?

There is a part of me – that part steeped in my education – that seeks to dig deep into knowing, and from there, solution.  I think I try to dig deeper than most – and depth comes from synthesis … Continue reading

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Propaganda and the Rhetoric of the Ruataniwha Dam

I published this over a year ago, and it still gets a lot of traffic. The Ruataniwha Dam is now under review, and the new Hawke’s Bay Regional Council is doing quite frankly an excellent job of peeling back the … Continue reading

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Creating Disorder and the Capacity to Renew

What does stability mean?  How do you provide for it?  If you are student of ecology you see patterns of disturbance everywhere.   Stability comes from dancing through the inevitable disturbance.  Functional integrity comes from a position of accepting change … Continue reading

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What Kind of Times are These?

I drove home from the Otaki Gorge this afternoon. Stopped on the one lane suspension bridge thirty metres over the gorge.  Wanted to just sit there, in the car.  Own it.  Just breathe it in.  But a car was behind … Continue reading

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Reframing our Water as a Commons

I’m reblogging this because the current (Spring) sprinkler ban by Hastings District Council has once again raised the whole issue of why – oh for heaven’s sake why – we give our water – *our* water – away to an … Continue reading

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A Forest Flows

Have to repost. The whole idea of a mechanical world is destroying us, and it is a wrong view. It doesn’t have to be this way. It cannot continue to be this way. There are ways of seeing that are … Continue reading

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Can Neoliberalism and Social Democracy be Compatible?

Where does Social Democracy finish and Neoliberalism start?  Can both co-exist at the margin between the two?  Some argue that they are on a continuum.   I’m not at all convinced.  That seems a Third Way argument, heartless mechanical Neoliberalism … Continue reading

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Principles of Truth, Open Dialogue and Compassion …. and Trump

The Guardian’s Oliver Milman has written that Trump is to scrap Nasa climate research in crackdown on ‘politicized science’.  It is an ironic title.  His politicised science framed as cracking down on politicised science.  Orwellian.  Corporate science is truth.  My … Continue reading

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The Trumps of History

In the 20s, the Weimar republic – post WW I Germany – had hyperinflation; wheelbarrows of money, widespread penury.  The Allies had imposed vengeful and immoral reparations.  Most people suffered.  Austerity reigned. There are system effects; consequences. Suffering creates resentment. … Continue reading

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The Art of Space – Realising the Potential of our Lands and CityScapes

I am struck by the similarities we face when we look at land and cityscapes.  Patterns, connections, things that do many things at once, that mean this as well as that.  You have to hold a few ideas simultaneously in … Continue reading

Posted in Land Use, Thought Pieces | 2 Comments

Is the Banality of Evil Back Again?

Reading about Hannah Arendt, who wrote about the Banality of Evil and the Eichmann trial. He was everybody’s functionary. Think the postal clerk with no moral concern for the purpose of his office – just act as part of the ‘machinery … Continue reading

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Have some Bliss

I remember studying ee cummings’ poems in high school.  He always spoke to me more than Shakespeare and the great British romantics. Partly it was the interesting fact he went all lower case with his name. Rebel! But he also … Continue reading

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Coping with Uncertainty – What does it Mean?

Encapsulating thoughts for the day.  I struggle to get across what it means if you accept you cannot determine your future.  What it means to build resilience.  How does this make life different?  How does it change our focus in … Continue reading

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An Economic Doctrine cannot start from the Assumption that we do not Belong

One of the assumptions I found so bizarre in Neoliberal ‘thought’ was the idea of asociality – that people are individuals outside of any society, making selfish, ‘rational’ ‘utility maximising’ decisions as if we do not belong. It is the … Continue reading

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Teaching Wisdom – To Know the World, you Have to Live in the World

“To know the world, you have to live in the world.” Carol Black has written a beautiful and insightful essay on connection between children and the outdoors, knowing, and what education ought to be.  It resonates with me.  I think … Continue reading

Posted in Land Use, Thought Pieces, Virtues, Ways of Seeing | 9 Comments