Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Life, Art, whatever

From the Listener, 20th April 1992, a review of Feral City by Rosie Scott

Rosie Scott has a vision of Auckland at an unspecified date early in the next millenium in "the darkness of the post Thatcher/Rogernomics holocaust," and it is not a pretty sight. The city centre has become a ghetto, populated mostly by drug addicts and "street people" where Aids is rampant and people die on the streets every day. Thanks to privatisation, the city's public library has been boarded up and the university's premises have been shifted from the inner city to the North Shore.
From the New Zealand Herald, 9th June 2009, National News

The Cabinet has signed off on Mr Hide's request for the Department of Internal Affairs to review local government law, including the removal of the requirement for councils to deliver on "community outcomes" such as social, environmental and cultural "wellbeing" which Mr Hide said pushed councils into providing services well beyond their core roles.

Now could be a good time for a reprint of Ms Scott's novel.

Postscript: I started reading the novel after posting; unfortunately, my willing suspension of disbelief collapsed halfway through the first sentence: "I came most of the way on the train because I wanted to sit quietly..." They still have trains; this can't be the future.

12 comments:

Peter in Dundee said...

Of course there will be trains Paul, but only electrified ones. The rich of course will swan about in electric cars but after Peak Oil the puny NZ$ will not be able to purchase any of the remaining stocks. Not even the buses will run.

So of course the train. Wake up and smell that smell of hot brakes and the grease they use.

George said...

Are you saying this isn't the future?

I demand a refund.

Keri h said...

In teresting that Rosie lives in australia & has done for a considerable time...

Aw Peter - methane/wind or solar-power/electric derivatives of those-

and, berloody hell, we havent yet got into tide-generated sparks-

Peter in Dundee said...

Indeed Keri, a country with NZ's coastline should be very rich in tidal/wave power generation. I have wondered for a while how much power you could get out of turbines bolted to the floor of Cook Strait or some of the channels in the Sounds. Seabed mounted turbines would mean you could put them at the mouths of some of the Fiords and the tourists need see nothing of it.

I'd march with you if they wanted to put a barrage across the river mouth at Okarito though.

Here in Scotland there are a couple of companies that have been at the forefront of developing these technologies. Do you think they can find customers here in the UK? Production is in danger of moving offshore closer to their markets (Portugal is buying). It's criminal.

The problem with putting solar on a vehicle is you don't get enough juice. Those solar powered cars are very light, carry one and go slowly. And that is when they are in bright sunny deserts. Wind and tidal/wave would be my bets.

Having said that, biofuels from algae could also fuel the future. I would love to see some figures on how much you could potentially get out of growing algae on the sewerage of a city like Dunedin, 100k people relative to transport needs of that city. There is still lots of carbon in sewerage and it costs us to dispose of it. Seems a no brainer to me. If I ran a sewerage plant I'd be itching to get into the petrochemicals industry ;-)

porc-├ępic said...

After the small-minded critical savaging received by Feral City at the time of its publication, it hardly seems a point against Scott that she chose to live somewhere more convivial.

Uroskin said...

The privatisation of libraries won't stop me from treating Borders as a public library and read books there too.

Pablo said...

For Keri & Peter, this is based in the Kaipara Harbour just north of Auckland:

http://www.crest-energy.com/index.htm

keri h said...

That's interesting Pablo - thanks for the link.

We've had spokespeople for wave-generated energy here on the West Coast: I'll check the dvd handout, & see whether they were Crest

-and Peter, thoroughly agree about the vast waste of sewerage in an energy-generating context. As we know, Dunedin (a place I have strong links with and enjoy, as a city) is still pushing it out into the seas...as are places on the Coast...

Paul said...

Uroskin: I too think of Borders as a late-night public library. Nobody seems to mind

Paul said...

Keri, et al. I heard on NatRad today that the CleanGreenNewZealand campaign is 10 years old. And still we are dumping our sewerage into the sea and we have done precious little with our wave and wind power. And still grumpy old men come on the radio and talk about Nuclear as the only option.

[Sigh]

Peter in Dundee said...

Agreed Keri, thanks for the link Pablo and it's a most interesting project. The Kaipara would seem to be a most suitable site. Could you imagine the volume of water that must flow in and out of the Manukau through the heads twice a day? It's not the only example in NZ either.

Peter in Dundee said...

Also the problems with nuclear in NZ is not just that it would ruin one of our prime selling points for produce and tourism, it would require a lot of hard currency firstly for the expertise and training that would have to be bought in but secondly for the fuel. Exactly how is that different from importing oil?

NZ is a windy place with many tidal currents and reliable ocean waves arriving on our shores. We have plentiful hydro power and we sit on one of the world's most active hydrothermal regions we are currently under exploiting. All that is before and in addition to the growing ability for homeowners to get into micro generation. The Germans have solar roof tiles that look like normal tiles and turn and entire roof into a solar plant, there are mini turbines or larger ones a group of houses could erect communally. There are plenty of small watercourses a mini turbine could sit on or in a side race like we used to build for watermills if it would interfere with wildlife. I see plenty of old ones here in Scotland. It just needs vision.

A Michelin tyre factory a mile from here put in two giant wind turbines a couple of years ago and they provide 20% of their energy requirement. Sometimes they only way I know there is a wind is because they are slowly turning. I think wind turbines are stately and elegant. When the sky is black in the north and the sun strikes them they glow and seem to throw sparks.