JUNE  20TH 2004


Everyone hates change. We spend our lives trying to adapt to the people, circumstances and activities that surround us, and as soon as we think we have succeeded we have to start over and over again. It is understandable that we support
any philosophy, movement or political party which promises to keep things as they are, so we can relax and enjoy our life instead of having , once more, to face yet another challenge.

We can so easily fall into the trap of believing that all change is wrong, that it can be stopped. We live in the best of all possible worlds and there is no such thing as a change for the better.

The environmental movement is based on the proposition that not only is all change wrong and harmful, but it is entirely caused by human activity. Without humans there would be an ideal, unchanged and unchangeable world. Other organisms, plants,
animals and birds alike would stay exactly as they were, forever. It is only our activity that is responsible for altering this idyllic world.

Our climate has always changed and always will. But now "Climate Change", as defined by the Framework Convention on Climate Change, is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity. We must strive to stop it. The climate must be "stabilized",
returned to the pristine state which existed before humans messed it up.

Various movements have been established to stop, or at least delay, change.
Conservatism wishes to retain existing political institutions. Those on the top of the heap want to stay there and they persuade the rest of us to keep it that way. Conservation takes this further. What is past is the best, what is present must be
kept that way or even reversed into the past.  The latest, and most comprehensive attempt to prevent change, sustainability  attempts to prevent all forms of change.
It is a tribute to Dr Pangloss.

One of the most effective English Kings, Knut Sveinsson (Canute the Great) is renowned for his refusal to try and prevent the tide from advancing. He provides an example top the apostles of sustainability.

Change means evolution. Since everything without exception evolves, sustainability is impossible. The various organisations that have been set up to promote sustainability are doomed to fail.

It is argued on behalf of sustainability that we must organise the world for the sake of future generations. We must impose on our grandchildren the same strait jacket we have created for ourselves. Children usually have the good sense to challenge the supposed wisdom of parents, to build a different world of their own. They will not thank us for trying to impose on them our outdated ideas.

"Sustainable Development" is a contradiction in terms. The whole point of sustainability is to prevent development. Development inevitably involves change, preferably for the better, but if it alters anything it is not sustainable, so it must be prevented.

Sustainability means resistance to new technology and new ideas. It means automatic opposition to nuclear energy, genetic engineering, battery farming, cloning, stem cell research, better roads, new buildings and factories, abortion, gay marriage.
Jobs lost are more important than jobs gained. Extinct or endangered species are more important than emerging, new  species. The oil is about to run out, the soil is being ruined, we must stop using cars (though nobody seems to want to restore the
horse and cart).  "Ethics",  based on outdated ideas, are always more important than improved human welfare or reduced disease.

Change is inevitable. We must try to understand it, use it to our advantage. The only thing we cannot do is stop it.

Vincent Gray
75 Silverstream Road
Crofton Downs
Wellington 6004
New Zealand
Phone/Fax (064) 4 9735939
"It's not the things you don't know that fool you.
It's the things you do know that ain't so"
Josh Billings