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Emergency action plan for New Zealanders (and others)

We believe that New Zealand, like all other countries, is about to enter a period of extended crisis. The severity and timing of the events that will unfold are uncertain, but the likelihood of major change is increasingly hard to refute.

Because the possible drivers of change are multiple and interconnected — including global warming, resource scarcity and economic collapse — it is not easy to plot a course that will completely protect us from the effects. There will be many surprises. But the combined effect of the ways we each respond will determine the quality of life we can expect. Maintaining our current behaviour is asking for trouble. It will be no use leaving things for the government to fix. Nor will individual survivalism get us far.

We believe it vital that we learn to respect and nurture living beings — including one another — and the world that sustains our life. How well we appreciate the importance of working for the common good will be most clearly reflected in the economic policies we apply. Acknowledging the possible sources of change and consciously preparing for it together will help us make life-enhancing choices.

Being caring and thoughtful involves taking urgent steps to:

reinforce community links

  • practise more cooperative, inclusive and consensual ways of interacting with one another
  • devolve decision-making to the level of the people most affected
  • ensure vulnerable sectors of the community are adequately supported and resourced
  • localise health services and prioritise preventative health care
  • fully engage radio, television and community newspapers in educating ourselves for change
  • forestall any trends toward authoritarian rule

foster the regeneration of land, water, air and living communities

  • invest in personal and shared assets and endeavours to bolster resilience and biodiversity
  • develop long-term ecologically-sound land- and water-use programmes and infrastructure
  • recreate urban areas as integrated ‘village’ communities and reinvest in rural communities
  • use on-site and local resources to meet basic needs
  • implement considered limits to New Zealand’s contribution to greenhouse gas emissions

reorient education

  • base education on an understanding of our finite ecosystem and humanity’s niche within it
  • cultivate a holistic perspective when considering responses and designing solutions
  • develop facilitation and leadership skills
  • refocus educational and research institutions to support local and regional needs
  • have vocational training support a stable economy by promoting regional self-sufficiency
  • implement general training in nonviolent defence and the peaceful resolution of conflict

guarantee the supply and quality of food

  • reserve land for, and invest in, the production of local food from living soil
  • establish seed and food banks
  • promote nutrient-dense food choices
  • protect genetic biodiversity in food production

develop appropriate technology

  • support local enterprise, manufacturing and industry, including clean energy technology
  • create functional, resilient and energy-efficient buildings using local skills and materials
  • invest in high-quality, low-tech maintainable machinery and tools for all purposes
  • divert resources from non-productive to life-sustaining infrastructure
  • concentrate infrastructure development in areas least prone to adverse events
  • promote, develop and maintain local broadband networks
  • refocus urban design to favour walking, bicycle use and public transport
  • extend and electrify rail
  • redevelop domestic shipping for bulk-goods transport
  • redevelop the breeding stock, equipment and skills base for working with draft animals

construct a stable (ecologically-based) economy

  • limit all economic activity to that which protects nature’s capacity to regenerate itself
  • embrace business, finance and insurance models based on reciprocity and cooperation
  • support local providers of products and services that meet basic needs
  • subject international trade agreements to strong sustainability and transparency criteria
  • dismantle the means by which corporations are privileged at citizens’ expense
  • dissolve the exclusive right of banks to create legal tender
  • develop local, regional and national interest-free currencies to forestall liquidity shortfall
  • progressively tax consumption – and its promotion – to minimise resource use
  • progressively tax accumulated wealth and wealth transferred out of New Zealand
  • prepare for increased immigration compatible with land use and infrastructure capacity
  • adopt comprehensive indicators to monitor local and national wellbeing.

We offer this list as a starting point for considering what strategies will best meet the challenges ahead, and invite the input of all concerned people to an ongoing conversation.

New Zealand Fleeing Vesuvius Project Team

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