How to stop, the elephant in your crop

Elephants have long fascinated me. I think it goes back to tv series from the early/mid 1970s called ‘Elephant Boy‘. This was a Australian/ English/ German production that was filmed in Sri Lanka and loosely based on the book ‘Toomai, the elephant boy‘ by Rudyard Kipling. I don’t remember a…

Community adaptation planning: working with locals to achieve resilience

“Are you ready for climate change?” This was a question asked by a classmate in a planning class when I was a first-year university student. This was an awkward question to respond to.  The challenge for a first year student should be with assignment deadlines and not climate issues. Doesn’t…

Alien invasions in progress

“Globalization is a fact, because of technology, because of an integrated global supply chain, because of changes in transportation. And we are not going to be able to build a wall around that.” This quote by Barack Obama, has even more relevance today than it had ten years ago. It…

Kaikōura: whale-watching (or wailing at watchers?)

As a picturesque little town nested between mountain ranges and the Pacific Ocean on the east coast of New Zealand’s South Island, Kaikōura is known for its marine life encounters. Due to the specific offshore topography including deep dropping continental shelves and a U-shaped canyon, two oceanic currents meet and…

The elephant in the room

Many things affect our lives. Only some of these things get the notice that they deserve. We tend to fixate on the big, flashy events, while other linked events, just as important, are overlooked. One big and flashy event in my life was the Canterbury Quakes. The 7.1 quake of September…

GMO research and environmentally concerned New Zealanders

New Zealand is a small, sparsely populate, faraway place to most people. It evokes romanticised images of wild spaces and good people who sympathise with their natural habitat. Naturally, there have always been efforts to create a meaningful identity for our country that reflects this internationally and entices visitors. ‘Clean…

The pest question: this is why you’ll always find me in the kitchen at parties

“So, what do you do?” It’s a common question that we often ask when meeting people for the first time, usually at parties or social events. For the last year or two I get a sinking feeling when I’m asked this. I usually know where it will end up. “So,…

Shock and terroir: Pinot noir from different NZ wine regions does taste different!

Pinot Noir is one of the most popular red wine varieties in New Zealand and is considered as a premium product based on the price per volume. It attracts a huge number of fans that fall in love with its a ‘little bit smoky and chocolate’ flavour, fine-grained texture, and refreshing light to…

When is a weed a weed? Canterbury’s gardening choices effect native conservation.

In the Canterbury region there is a considerable lack of native green spaces. The landscape is dominated by exotic agricultural and domestic species, which creates the now famous patckwork-esque landscape Canterbury is well known for. The sheer impact of urban and rural expansion on the Canterbury plains is very apparent….

Don’t wait for gaint eagles: Tolkien’s solution when all seems lost

Tolkien was a literature scholar and had some interesting ideas about stories and the world. One of these ideas was that of the ‘eucatastrophe’. A criticism of Tolkien’s work is that sudden unlooked for events provide happy outcomes when all seems lost. Giant eagles rescue the heroes from likely death and…