Archive for the ‘Films/Shows/Talks’ Category

Death and Dying are subjects of particular interest to those of us who have reached our three score years and ten. Ruth McManus, Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Canterbury, researches the social aspects of death and dying with a particular focus on how death can be sustainable. Ruth said that death and dying are some of the hardest things for the living to get their heads around. She has just published a book called The Sustainable Dead (not yet available at Christchurch City Libraries, but I’ve requested that they buy it).

Most of the world now lives in an urban environment, and cemeteries were one of the first planned parts of the urban environment. We have funerals and memorials because we want to remember, and it’s important that what we do with the dead fits our values. We want our beliefs to be visible in what we do with our dead, but since the 1970s there has been pressure on what is possible. In many cities, including Christchurch, cemeteries are filling up and we can no longer set land aside for cemeteries because the land is needed for the living. In Gisborne a hold has been put on burials in the main cemetery because of groundwater issues since the cyclone.

Our ageing population is increasing the demand for burials, and this is expected to spike in the next thirty years. There is a growing political awareness of our environmental footprint, together with growing global interest in heritage and genealogy. It’s important to leave a mark for future generations, yet we want to do death in a way that matches our life. Doing things in a modern way need not mean leaving cultural expectations behind. Ruth showed a photo of the Victoria Road Chinese Christian Cemetery in Hong Kong, where the historic graveyard is now overlooked by a cluster of high rise columbaria. Both of these have a view over the water which is important for feng shui.

In some places in Europe graves are no longer held in perpetuity, and recycling the space is an acceptable practice. In London City Cemetery some of the graves are now marked for possible reclamation, and new bodies may be placed in an existing grave.

The first eco-burial ground in the U.K. was in Sheffield. Here bodies are buried shallowly so they decompose quickly. Although the idea is that the ground is left in a natural state, people are still inclined to leave markers, such as trees that are not native to the area, and plastic items.

In Aotearoa 85 people die each day, and their bodies need to be disposed of. Our perception of acceptable land use is changing, and concerns are ecological sustainability, cultural recognition, and heritage. The biggest tension in the area of bodily disposal is between hi tech and low tech. There are now ten sites for eco-burial in Aotearoa. One of these is in Diamond Harbour on Banks Peninsula. This opened in November 2017 with just twelve burial sites. By June 2019 more than half of these had been filled. Eco or natural burial means the body is wrapped in a shroud, and placed in a shallow plot, within the depth of living soil, which leads to quick decomposition.

An eco-funeral is NOT the same as eco-burial. In an eco-funeral people may be encouraged to attend by Zoom (rather than using fossil fuels). The coffin may be made from recycled wood, with natural fabrics used.

Lobbyists for alternative models of disposal are split, not along lines of sustainability but the technological path to it. The Co-operative Society in U.K. says: The natural burial lobby have already lost the argument because what they propose isn’t demographically viable.

Low tech solutions such as eco-burial are a niche market solution, suitable for people who are wealthy, need to be well planned and organised, and often have a hi tech component (e.g. GPS identification of plots). The large providers understand this. The focus needs to be on the high tech end of sustainable bodily disposal as hi tech solutions are often more sustainable.

Cryomation uses liquid nitrogen and vibration to freeze body parts, then break them into fragments which can be absorbed in the microbe layer, but this has never been a practical solution.

Resomation or Alkaline Hydrolysis where the body is dissolved in lime and heated, has zero environmental impact. It was patented in 1888 in the U.S. where it was originally used to dispose of typhoid and cholera corpses. During the U.K. epidemic of mad cow disease it was brought in to deal with the toxicity of infected animals. A local council in West Yorkshire has started legislation to allow Resomation for humans. Currently it is legal in some parts of the U.S. for medical purposes. It is also legally used on the Gold Coast of Australia. The process which is non-polluting leaves cremation-like ash and a nutrient fluid which is good for plants. (Ruth noted that the ash from cremations is not a fertiliser.) Items such as artificial joints, heart valves, screws, and stents emerge cleanly and can be re-used. There are two organisations, including one in Christchurch, who would like to do this in Aotearoa, but a law change is required first, and the Ministry of Health has been slow to progress this. Once the law is changed Alkaline Hydrolysis could be brought in quickly. I have requested it in my Advance Care Plan, and hope it may be available when my time comes. Have you thought about what might happen to your body when you no longer need it?

While the popular and media focus is on eco or green burial, the real trend is to hi tech sustainable solutions such as Alkaline Hydrolysis.

This zero impact would suit me
with fluid that might feed a tree

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We were given a thorough review of ageing, by Dick Sainsbury, Emeritus Professor of Geriatric Medicine at Christchurch School of Medicine and Health Sciences. He did his M.A. thesis on Older People and Ageing in the fiction of Thomas Hardy.

Dick started with a quote from Henry Ford: Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at 20 or 80. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. This was encouraging for his audience who were there because they want to keep learning. He said that older years are a bonus, and can be considered a time of productivity, rather than being in the departure lounge of life. It’s important to maintain physical, psychological, and social functions in old age. There are several forces that can affect older people:

Chronological – the number of years lived
Biological – genetics and disease
Sociological – you may be as old as others (society) make you
Psychological – as old as you make yourself

To age healthily (or to be healthy at any time) requires the maintenance of good health, and the reduction of risks, but there are no cast iron guarantees. There are some myths about old age which can lead to a tendency not to seek help, because we think problems are caused by age. Dick told of the 99 year old who had a bad knee, and whose doctor said it could be expected at his age. The man replied that his other knee was also 99 but fit and well.

Ageing well requires a positive attitude to ageing, which can improve health outcomes. We need to eat well and maintain a healthy body weight. Regular physical exercise is important, e.g resistance exercise. (I detest those sit to stand exercises, but do them at least weekly.) It’s important to remain socially connected, to get plenty of sleep, and to find meaning and joy in your life. Dick suggested writing your memoirs as a way of doing the latter. He didn’t specifically mention the Five Ways to Wellbeing, but they would fit in here too.

Tennyson wrote: Old age hath yet his honour and his toil; Death closes all: but something ere the end, Some work of noble note, may yet be done . . .

Memory loss is not an inevitable consequence of ageing. 65% of 85 year olds have no memory loss. Some of us may have Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) which is different from dementia. Personally, I have for years been inclined to write things down rather than rely solely on my memory – not sure if that counts as MCI? MCI is a self-reported lapse of memory, whereas dementia is often reported by others. 50% of those with MCI will not progress to dementia, but it is important to have early assessment to enable future planning, and to maintain physical and mental activity. There is active research on MCI in Aotearoa, and more info on this can be obtained from Alzheimer’s Canterbury.

An interesting article on ageing in Aotearoa was published in the Australian Women’s Weekly in 2015. So, why are populations ageing? In 1850, 50% of people in Manchester, England died before the age of 12. During the later Victorian period people started to live longer because of improved sanitation, housing, and food, together with less disease. Although we are living longer, the age to which we are likely to live in good health without disability is not increasing at the same rate as life expectancy.

As well as having a regular medical review, it’s important to plan ahead, and have an Enduring Power of Attorney and Advance Care Plan.

Asked about whether Joe Biden reflects the United States’ attitude to ageing, Dick said he hopes Joe is being carefully assessed, and that his gait can sometimes be worrying. Recommended readings are In Sickness and in Power by David Owen, and The Pathology of Leadership by Hugh L’Etang, both of which consider medical problems in leadership.

Asked whether romance is okay in the late 80s, Dick said it’s important at any age, and too good to be wasted on the young. He quoted Alex Comfort who said: The things that stop you having sex with age are exactly the same as those that stop you riding a bicycle.

This was a comprehensive talk which affirmed for me that although I live more slowly these days I’m doing plenty of things that will help me stay healthy as I age. I hope you are too?

I like this card sent to me by an ‘old’ friend

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People spoke of their experiences of travelling in Iran (formerly Persia) after Helen Tait told of her 24 day trip there in 2019.

Iran’s population has more than twice the density of Aotearoa, and there is an overwhelming tradition of hospitality. Before the coup that deposed the Shah in 1979 there was a great deal of discontent and resentment as his regime was seen to be brutal and corrupt. Different groups had different ideas as to what the change should be and eventually the Muslim religion was chosen as a focal point. However increasing religious observance led to the disenchantment of many. In 2020 the GAMAAN survey showed that 72% were opposed to the mandatory wearing of the hijab, which has led to recent violent protests.

In 2019 Helen observed only casual use of the hijab by young women. The society appeared to be loosening up and moving away from strict control. Consequently she was stunned to learn of the recent repression which represents a small minority ruling a well-informed larger group.

A women who visited Iran in 1977 said she saw no hijabs then in Tehran, which appeared very free and Americanized with quality restaurants, although the situation was different in Isfahan.

The question was asked how such a small minority of religious clerics have managed to maintain and increase their authority and it was pointed out that it requires only 5% of a population to be convinced and willing to use arms to enforce an idea for it to happen.

We heard that an increasing percentage (8% in the Gamaan survey) of the population now identify as Zoroastrian as they see that religion as being patriotic and specifically Persian.

In recent days it has been distressing to learn that students in girls’ schools have been poisoned in what may be an effort to further limit female education.

A Persian woman sans hijab
may be ill-treated for her garb

A souvenir from Persia

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The first Women’s Refuge in New Zealand (and possibly the world) started just round the corner from my home, at 249 Kilmore Street. Rosemary Howard spoke of how this came about. There were no photos to illustrate her talk, partly because of the time (1970s) and partly because of the need to keep Refuge secret.

In the 1970s Rosemary, who described herself as independent, curious and naive, moved from the North Island to study Sociology at the University of Canterbury. Subjects such as the Role of Women, Deviant Behaviour, and Race Relations were greatly stimulating and made her think about the structure of our society. At the age of 19 she joined a group of 60 people, academic and professional, who were thinking about alternative ways of living and how they might develop community and share childcare.

When a large historic house in Merivale, Chippenham Lodge built in 1862 and probably designed by Benjamin Mountfort, came up for sale in 1971 with a price of $20,000 they decided to buy it, and the community began. In an early version of crowdfunding they were able to raise the capital needed. Next they bought the house next door in Mansfield Avenue which cost $24,000. To support and nurture their ideas about sustainability they also bought Cricklegrass Farm at Oxford for $14,000. In 1972 there were 24 adults and about 10 children living on the three properties.

The intention of the community was to share resources and effect social change. Shared roles and childcare gave members the freedom to be involved in various projects such as Greenpeace and Four Avenues Alternative School, and they became social activists. I remember going to a Green Party dinner at Chippenham in the later 1980s, where the entrance pathway was attractively outlined with tea light candles.

In the 1970s Women’s Liberation was a strong movement in Aotearoa. Organisations such as the National Organization of Women and Zonta were all thinking and asking questions about the limitations placed on women, e.g.abortion law reform and equal pay. Women could not enter a public bar, and banks refused to accept a woman as a signatory for a loan. When Rosemary was refused equal pay at Watties she chained herself to a pea harvester. Broadsheet magazine, first published in 1972 fuelled the fire of many women and led to the United Women’s Conventions and the Radical Feminist Network. Women from all walks of life were talking and asking questions about patriarchy.

A meeting place for local women was needed, and the Chippenham group rented half a house at 249 Kilmore Street as a place where women could meet and talk about their oppression. (The house has since been replaced by townhouses.) Books about feminism were being circulated. The power imbalance between the sexes was recognised. The focus of this Women’s Centre was to talk about how they could change society. Then injured women started to arrive in great distress, with children and hastily packed bags. The Centre, staffed by a roster of women, became a Safe House.

They thought there would be just a few isolated cases, rented the other half of the house, and were soon overflowing with distressed women. It was decided to retain the Kilmore Street house as a discussion centre and look for another Safe House. They approached the Christchurch City Council who were initially not interested in assisting battered women. Rosemary refused to leave the Council offices until they gave her a house, which they eventually did, in Hastings Street, Sydenham, and so the first Women’s Refuge in Aotearoa was established. Previously women who experienced domestic violence might go to their local church or to the Society for the Protection of Home and Family, but the topic of violence against women was not to be mentioned. The police were not supportive at the time, but were persuaded to run some staff education programmes.

From 1973 to 1977 the Refuge was run by a roster of volunteers and many women from the Chippenham Community were involved. Other women asked how they could help – some gave goods, others pledged a dollar a week. In 1973 the Labour Government introduced the Domestic Purposes Benefit (DPB) which gave single mothers the opportunity for economic independence. The Refuge set up a network of contacts in Christchurch to assist women with accessing DPB and State Housing.

Fundraising was an important activity. For instance Refuge ran a champagne party at the Arts Centre supported by the Court Theatre. Actors offered a play called The Liberation of the Shrew and a substantial amount was raised. Rosemary spoke to service clubs asking for money, but the response was often negative, because the reality of domestic violence was not believed.

The beginning of Refuge has not been well-documented, because the work was all voluntary, underground, and secret. In 1977 some roles became paid with Government funding. Importantly the issue of domestic violence in this country was recognised. Instances of this increased after the Christchurch earthquakes, and again with Cyclone Gabrielle so vigilance and activism are still required.

On the Avon Ōtākaro riverbank near The Bricks there are two kowhai trees planted by Daphne Terpstra, Dame Ann Hercus, and Lady Hay to mark National Awareness Week for Women’s Refuges throughout New Zealand in 1988. Daphne was the woman we bought our cottage from, and she told us that it had sometimes been used for the overflow from the Refuge. I wonder if this site was chosen for the memorial because of its proximity to 249 Kilmore Street.

Memorial kowhai trees on riverbank

In the 1990s I worked at the Women’s Centre which was then in Cathedral Square. It had been set up as a link between Refuge and the wider community. The women there taught me about power and control, and about working collectively.

Do you have Refuge memories you’d care to share publicly?

The women looking after others
with care for children and their mothers

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Michael Brown told of how he and his family sailed from Lyttelton to Tonga and Fiji, then back again in the early 1990s. He and his wife Sue are both writers, and Michael is an excellent storyteller, who didn’t hide his emotion when relating some of the more moving parts of his narrative.

One day Michael and Sue shared that they’d both been dreaming of making a voyage, and they decided to go ahead, together with their two sons who were aged 10 and 6 at the time they left. Sue had no sailing experience, and Michael’s was limited to a small P class yacht when he was at school. A campaign was launched (mainly by women) to try and stop them taking their children into danger, but they went ahead regardless. They had some practice voyages around the coast, then the family of four set off from Lyttelton.

Their boat was similar to this

Mt Pinatubo had recently erupted, which meant the weather in the Pacific was the worst it had been for half a century. Out of Lyttelton they encountered a gale near Kaikoura and their mainsail blew out, so they needed to return to Lyttelton for repairs. Michael related how in a hurricane force storm the only two things above water were his head and the mast. Having survived that felt fantastic, and they kept going into the next gales.

South-west of Tonga they sailed past Ata Island where a group of six Tongan boys had been shipwrecked in1965 and waited 15 months to be rescued. Contrary to the story of The Lord of the Flies these boys had been well organised and were in perfect health. Michael reported that his sons had similarly stepped up and met all challenges while afloat. However, when they were on land they reverted to usual boyish behaviour. The two boys kept daily diaries, and did Correspondence School work while they were away.

Michael and Sue wrote a book about their adventures titled The Taming of the Crew, which is available at Tūranga for in-library use only, and can be purchased from Amazon.

This courageous family of four
weren’t daunted by the risks offshore

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Mayor’s Musings

Our new Mayor, Phil Mauger, addressed this year’s first meeting of U.3.A. Phil is very different from our previous Mayor, Lianne Dalziel, and I miss her. I have yet to meet anyone who voted for Phil, but as the turnout for the local body elections was low, that is perhaps not surprising.

Phil is enthusiastic for his new role and told us the last few months have been a very big learning curve for him.

Mayor Phil Mauger

He spoke about the City’s Annual Plan, the draft of which will be out for comment next month. At it stands there will be a rates rise of 5.6%, and recent revaluations mean lower priced houses will have a higher percentage rates rise.

The longer term plan looks at development and growth in Greater Christchurch. Spatial planning identifies where residential growth can occur, and where transport and activities could go. Plan Change 14 would give effect to the Government’s demand for intensification of housing. Planning would move to regional committees, but there is concern that local communities may not be able to have input about their areas, and any transition will not be easy. Christchurch is the only city who did not accept the Government’s plan for intensification, and the Council is working to get exemptions.

Long term the city faces challenges over inflation, insurance, and interest rates. Phil suggests the Council could sell the tiny bits of surplus land it owns. At present 16 cents of every rates dollar goes to servicing debt. Our city is on the cusp of realising the investment of the past decade, and we need to balance needs and challenges. He pointed out that Te Pai, the Convention Centre, brought in $45 million in its first year of operation, and believes the new Metro Sports Centre and Stadium will bring in even more.

Questioned about the Airport Company’s plans to build a new airport in Tarras, Central Otago, Phil said it would be unlikely to benefit Christchurch. Going ahead with the project depends on getting resource consent, and that is unlikely, especially with climate change.

When an audience member noted that in the past Government has ignored local knowledge and advice, Phil responded that a better relationship with Government is being developed and they are listening to us.

Referring to Three Waters, Phil pointed out that an alternative proposal has been endorsed by 39 Mayors, which offers Government an escape route. He believes the original proposal would lead to problems similar to those that have been experienced with the amalgamation of Polytechs.

Our new Mayor wants to keep rates down
and keep good services in town

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I was keen to see this film after reading the autobiography of filmmaker Gaylene Preston, but I must admit I found it depressing. It covers the year in 2016 when Helen Clark made a bid to be the first woman Secretary General of the United Nations. For the first time the process for election was supposed to be open and transparent, but in fact the same old men made the same old decisions. If we want change at the U.N. the whole system will need to change and this is now unlikely to happen for another decade, if ever.

Helen Clark is always an interesting woman, and it was good to see how she kept regular contact with and cared for her aging father. This would have been a very different film if Helen’s bid had been successful.

A friend in Wellington kindly sent me this DVD as a gift. I will not want to watch it again, so if you’re interested, please let me know, and I will pass it on.

She tried for top job at U.N.
but was rebuffed by biased men

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My Dunedin motel had a bench-top induction unit. I’d never used one of these, and there were no instructions, but I managed to poach two eggs for breakfast and felt pleased with myself. The rain had stopped so I headed downtown with a small umbrella but no parka. Tired of carrying a backpack with everything in it I took just a handbag which included a shopping bag. After my success in getting a bus ride back to the motel the previous day I looked hopefully at the stop across the road, but it seemed I’d just missed one bus and although several routes go that way the Saturday timetable indicated I might wait an hour for another.

Mural in George Street

So I walked towards the Octagon, stopping at a pharmacy which offered free hearing tests. My G.P. has suggested it would be worthwhile getting an assessment of my hearing which could provide a base line in case of later need, so I went in. The self-test by Triton Hearing consisted of listening through headphones and entering the digits I heard on a keyboard. They later emailed me to say my result is a strong indicator of hearing difficulties and a full diagnostic hearing assessment is recommended, but I plan to wait until I notice difficulties.

Near the Octagon I was surprised to be greeted by an old friend from Christchurch. She was coming from the Farmers’ Market at the Railway Station which was where I was headed. This is a great venue with a wide variety of stalls, all selling food or plants, no craft items at all.

Farmers’ Market at Dunedin Railway Station

I couldn’t resist some fine looking radishes, and bought tiny turnips to take back to Christchurch. I stopped to rest on the bus stop near the New World Supermarket where the only passing buses were cruise ship shuttles, so I walked all the way back to the motel, and on the way discovered the Playhouse Theatre.

Fantasy mural beside the Playhouse Theatre

Back at the motel I managed to get my tablet connected to WiFi, which was useful for checking email and the weather forecast, but I couldn’t access this blog. At lunch time I finally manged to open the bottle of fruit juice I’d bought the day before. Because I’m “losing my grip” I usually get Stephen to unscrew any difficult tops, and this had eluded me the previous evening. I was able to pierce some of the small metal connections with the tip of a vegetable knife and the juice tasted good.

Despite the forecast of rain I left my parka behind when I headed to Otago Museum. I was keen to visit their Tropical Forest, but felt it wasn’t as good as it had been on previous visits. There weren’t as many butterflies, although I did get one to perch on my finger. The quail, which I adore, have all been replaced by a few parakeets.

Butterfly on my finger

In the early evening I went to the Playhouse Theatre and saw The Real Inspector Hound by Tom Stoppard, performed by the Dunedin Repertory Society. A rather strange play, but well performed in an old theatre with difficult access. I felt some of the acting was over the top, but probably suitable for the piece.

Dunedin has a lot to see
all close to centre of city

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Russian aggression against Ukraine and the new media ecology was the subject of an enthralling talk by Natalia Chaban. She is a Professor in the Department of Media and Communications at the University of Canterbury, and the President of the Australia and New Zealand Ukraine Studies Association. Natalia comes from Ukraine, and researches political communications, but never thought she would be studying a war in her own country. Having been in Aotearoa since 2002, Natalia can see the Ukraine conflict both from within and from outside.

She spoke of how media love war, scandal, and bloodshed, but the level of media attention on Ukraine in Aotearoa has now dropped. The Western audience has little patience for a long and costly war where they see no clear threat, and the goal of the Ukrainian Government is to make sure the war is not forgotten.

In 2014 Russia annexed Crimea and the Donbas region. The shooting down of Malaysia Airlines Flight17, and the humanitarian crisis in Donbas was news at the time, but the war smouldered on for eight years, with little attention until Russia invaded Ukraine in February of this year. So, what is different in 2022? The Global Soft Power Index shows that there has been a change, with improved perception of Ukraine.

Ukraine is the largest country in Europe, with a relatively old population of 43 million. By 6 September12 million had left the country and 7 million had been internally displaced. Natalia’s parents evacuated from Ukraine a few days after the invasion. A car journey that would usually take 24 hours took them three days. They were unable to sleep because the line of cars kept slowly moving. The Government had asked evacuees not to use GPS as this would alert the Russians to where the cars were, so Natalia navigated for her parents from her home in Christchurch.

Natalia comes from the city of Cherkasy in central Ukraine where there were 34 schools. She and her sister went to Russian-speaking schools, because at that time it was the best option to prepare for a professional career. Before the collapse of the Soviet Union four schools were Ukrainian-speaking, and 30 were Russian-speaking. After independence this ratio was completely reversed. Natalia pointed out that ethnicity doesn’t mean patriotism, and many ethnic Russians are fiercely devoted to Ukraine. In post Soviet Ukraine there was democracy and freedom, with new values formed, and this is why Ukraine is determined to keep fighting. This short video shows how the country was flourishing before the invasion.

The war in Ukraine is the first to have been fully fought with immediate internet information, and information about the war is much more accessible than it was in 2014. President Zelenskyy had for the previous decade been a scathing satirical commentator. He is a lawyer, a businessman, and a millionaire, having made his money from a humour empire. Zelenskyy is often seen with people, in contrast to Russia’s President Putin. He understands the media, is accommodating, open, and sincere, and knows the power of dramatic scenes. Through Zoom diplomacy he meets with policy-makers all round the world, and receives standing ovations. He also pursues celebrity diplomacy, with stars such as Mark Hamill (Luke Sky-walker). All his top advisers have a sense of humour, and he collaborates with exiled Russian opposition commentators.

Ukraine has benefitted from psychological operations such as winning the Eurovision Song Contest. Ukrainian soldiers dancing on TikTok show the human side of the Ukrainian army. First Lady Olena Zelenska has proved to be the country’s secret weapon. When she appeared on the cover of Vogue wearing ordinary clothes and sitting in a traditionally masculine pose she inspired a new tag #Sit like a girl.

When asked why it is that no-one smiles in Russia, Natalia explained that scientifically different cultures have different neutral faces. There is a pre-Christian belief in the Soviet area that you need to not smile to deceive the spirits into thinking that things are not going well for you, so they don’t try to make things worse. When she took her baby to Ukraine her husband was surprised that people commented “ugly baby”, but this was done to deceive the spirits.

Internet trolls were active in Ukraine before the invasion, and since then activity has multiplied. Natalia noted that just yesterday a Russian businessman, a close ally of Putin, admitted that he had interfered in the U.S. elections, and would continue to do so. The power of global social media is strong and to avoid being manipulated people need to develop the skills to compare different perspectives.

Asked about the bombing of power stations and what this will mean in a severe winter, Natalia said the effects on electricity, water supply, and sewage were very stressful. However such bombing makes people angrier, and more determined, and strengthens their resolve. Ukraine has many nuclear and hydro power stations, but the distribution infrastructure is under threat. The Government has asked those who left the country not to return during winter. It’s likely that three million people from Kyev will be evacuated to the countryside. Ukraine is looking for solutions and not giving up.

When asked how Aotearoa can best help Ukraine, Natalia said we are already doing much with targetted sanctions, special visas, and support in global forums. Individuals can donate money to the National Bank of Ukraine. Most important is to discuss the situation with our family, friends, and networks, to ensure the world keeps talking about it.

We need to stand beside Ukraine
until they can be free again

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Equitable Energy

Sheralee MacDonald,who is an Innovation Facilitator for Orion, told us of various ways in which that company is assisting work towards a zero carbon future which we aim to reach by 2050. Orion is the community-owned electricity distributor for Canterbury, covering the area from the Waimakariri to the Rakaia, and up to Arthur’s Pass. Locally we get electricity mainly from the hydro power station at Lake Coleridge, but there are currently many proposals being considered for large solar farms, including Kowhai Park near the Christchurch Airport.

It’s surprising to know that in 1918 there were 200 electric trucks in Christchurch, although their speed and range was limited.

In recent years there has been a huge increase in the number of solar panels being installed on houses, and the number of shared vehicles is growing, all helping us to limit our carbon emissions. We will need more electricity as coal use decreases and more people move to electric vehicles. The challenge is to balance supply with demand.

Energy Equity is a strategy to ensure that no-one is left behind because they can’t afford new technologies. For example, through Empower Energy those who have extra solar power can donate it to those who need it.

People who live in housing units where different owners have different electricity retailers can share solar energy through Multiple Trading Relationships. If you’d like to know more about surveys and trials under way Orion have a forum for this.

Electrical energy is a basic human need, and a change in our behaviour is as necessary as new technology. I didn’t learn much that was new from Sheralee’s presentation, but it was interesting to get an overview.

Unfortunately we devour
a bit too much electric power

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