I have visited the Expressway construction site at the end of Te Roto Drive in Paraparaumu with my son’s kindergarten.
The visit was organised by the Expressway Alliance team so that children could ‘see what was happening.’
The Expressway Alliance has been approaching most of the schools and preschools in the area with similar invitations. I decided not to go on a similar previous tri p with my daughter’s school but my son would have missed out if I hadn’t accompanied him and he was keen to see the diggers working.
But after about 20 minutes of watching the huge machines and listening to the men talking, I just couldn’t take it anymore. These massive machines transport 260 wheelbarrows of dirt in one load, and dozens of them operate every day. The tyres are the size of a small car and their exhaust pipes constantly emit the by-products of the fossil fuels they operate on.
While the other families, the children and my son smiled and waved at the diggers and motor scrapers going back and forth and back and forth to build the motorway, I couldn’t help but feel that the whole situation was just too bizarre and surreal.
My head was going crazy because there are a group of scientists which the world employs called the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
They are scientists from all around the world and their job is to tell us about climate change.
Their 2014 report says that climate change is “unequivocally due to human dependence on fossil fuels” and that with ‘continued dependence on fossil fuels, there will be war, famine and mass death.’
These are the scientist’s words, not mine. This is a group of internationally renowned scientists paid by us to tell us about climate change using the words War, Famine and Death.
We had been encouraged by the Alliance staff to ask any questions we wanted to, so after a while, I quietly went up to the main worker and asked him one question:
“When the IPCC tells us that our dependence on fossil fuels will result in war, famine and death, how can you reconcile that with what you are showing the children here”?
War. Famine. Death.
Because this is the future we are committing these children to. It is insane to be using massive machines made with fossil fuels, which run on fossil fuels to build motorways that will produce more traffic which will run on fossil fuels.
The truth is these children will probably never get to use this motorway because fossil fuels are running out and only rich people will be able to afford petrol.
Not to mention the tolls that will inevitably be imposed on the Expressway which will make it prohibitive for the average Kiwi (like the Auckland motorway which is currently having it’s toll price increased).
That is, if the children can even go out in the atmosphere which is already way above the 350 ppm (parts per million) of carbon dioxide at which life can safely be sustained.
We are currently at 400 ppm, and we’re adding 2 ppm of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere every year.
War. Famine. Death.