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Do not get too comfortable

9 May 2022

This autumn has been fantastic.

As I took my daily walk to the supermarket last week I could not believe just how mild and summer-like the weather was.

Normally, by early or mid-April I'm back into my big-boy (long) pants and my shorts and tees get folded into a drawer for storage until November or December, when the weather starts warming again. However, this year I've been wearing that summer apparel right through April and well into early May.

This weekend was another example of just how glorious this late-autumn weather has been.

The sun was shining, there was barely a breath of wind and the temperatures were more like those of a mid-summer's day than truly indicative of us being just six weeks or so from the shortest day of the year.

Leaf-fall is also late this year. Although the leaves have turned a beautiful crimson and orange colour, a lack of strong wind has meant that most are still attached and that's made for a brilliant display all across town.

What's more... it's now the 9th of May and we've only had a couple of very light frosts so far this year -- that's pretty much unheard of.

So what is all this telling us?

Well I guess it's that climate-change thing we've been warned about. However, if climate change means that summer lasts three months longer than usual then I say "Bring It On!".

Unfortunately there are some significant downsides to a rapidly warming planet, as those on the Indian subcontinent are currently discovering. Temperatures there have been outrageously hot, reaching and sometimes surpassing 50 degrees C during the day. This, combined with high levels of humidity, are currently taking a heavy toll in human lives.

I guess that eventually, warming temperatures will make certain parts of the world uninhabitable and force populations to relocate.

Down these parts, in the more temperate regions of the planet, we also need to start planning ahead for the changes that are being thrust upon us.

I have always been concerned about the vulnerability of NZ's economy to its lack of true diversity.

We presently live off the cow's back (and udders). A huge swathe of our economy is based around primary industries and those are the ones most likely to suffer under the effects of climate change.

We've already seen that severe flooding (predicted to get significantl worse in coming years) can wipe out an entire season's worth of crops and warmer temperatures also pose a threat in terms of pest species that will thrive here.

Then there is the effect of rising temperatures on the profile of what we can successfully and productively farm. I see that in Australia they are predicting that the rising temperatures will make some grape varieties much harder to grow and that could significantly impact their huge wine industry. I dare say the same could happen here.

So the question we must ask is: are we thinking and planning far enough ahead to adequately mitigate and manage the risks that climate change brings to our economy and our primary industries in particular?

Or, as usual, are we simply going to wait until it's too late and then go into panic mode?

Ought we take our direction from the Bible, which states "Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die"

You tell me...

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