Reminders good and bad

15/08/2011

My grandfather was nominally a Presbyterian. However, although he rarely attended church he wouldn’t attend the marriage of one of his sons because he was marrying a Catholic.

Last night’s Sunday Theatre Tangiwai was a reminder of the religious bigotry that was common in the 1950s.

The story of Nerissa Love and her fiancée New Zealand cricketer Bob Blair was a moving portrayal of one of our country’s greatest tragedies and it was also a reminder of how good television can be.

If you didn’t see the film last night, the link above will take you to it.

Jacqueline Smith tells the story behind the film here.

The Tangiwai blog is collecting personal stories of the disaster.

NZ History tells the story of the Boxing Day cricket test.


Saturday smiles

09/08/2008

Friday is poetry day at Homepaddock and now, because the joke in the weekly Ag Letter* is too good not to share, I’m starting Saturday Smiles.

A young monk arrives at the monastery and is assigned to helping the other monks who are copying the old canons and laws of the church by hand.

He notices, however, that all of the monks are copying from copies, not from the original manuscript. So, he goes to the head abbot to question this, pointing out that if someone made even a small error in the first copy, it would never be picked up and that error would be continued in all of the subsequent copies.

The head monk, says, “We have been copying from the copies for centuries, but you make a good point, my son.”

He goes down into the dark caves underneath the monastery where the original manuscripts are held as archives in a locked vault that hasn’t been opened for hundreds of years.

Hours go by and nobody sees the old abbot. So, the young monk gets worried and goes down to look for him.

He sees him banging his head against the wall and wailing, “We missed the “R”!, we missed the “R” !”

His forehead is all bloody and bruised and he is crying uncontrollably.

The young monk asks the old abbot, “What’s wrong, father?”

With a choking voice, the old abbot replies, “The word was…CELEBRATE!!!”

 

This reminds me of a true story about a local vicar who was talking about the other clergy in town.

 

“The priest is a good bloke, he enjoys a whisky but of course he’s Catholic so he’s celibate. Then there’s the Minister, he’s a good bloke too, got a lovely wife and several children but he’s Presbyterian and doesn’t drink,” the vicar said. Then he added with a smile, “I’m an Anglican.”

*(The Ag Letter is an email newsletter published by Baker & Associates which provides management and marketing information for sheep, beef and dairy farmers. You can view a recent issue and subscribe to it here.)


Don’t have to be Green to be green

04/08/2008

He had been drinking and there was something about his eyes that suggested he had been popping outside to smoke something other than tobacco, but there was no doubting his conviction.

 

“If you’ve got any concern at all about the environment and the future of the planet you’d have to be Green,” he said.

 

I told him that was like me telling me he couldn’t be a Christian unless he was a Presbyterian. He didn’t get the analogy, nor did he believe it was possible to share his concern for the environment without supporting his politics. While he is not necessarily representative of the Greens his attitude helps to explain why his Party’s dealings with farmers do little to dampen fears of their policies and agenda.

 

There is an evangelical zeal to some of their pronouncements and beliefs which makes many who share their concern for the environment uncomfortable. This discomfort is increased because much of what they stand for and advocate is at the radical left end of the political spectrum, not just in environmental matters but in social and economic areas too.

 

However, it is possible to be not just concerned about, but committed to improving the quality of our air, soil and water; conserving scarce resources; and generally minimising our environmental footprints while also supporting free trade and an open economy.

 

The Green missionary in the bar couldn’t accept that conventional farmers can be environmentalists too, but when our land is our biggest asset it is in our best interests to look after it. And if they can’t credit us with doing this for its own sake there is also a strong financial motivation for implementing good environmental practices. Increasingly competitive markets and sophisticated consumers are demanding proof that the food they eat and fabric they wear come from clean, green farms.

 

With a higher value on quality there are financial gains from being green, but some struggle to realise the reverse is also true and that environmental improvements do not just come from, but require, better financial returns. Attaining and maintaining high standards of air, soil and water quality is not cheap. It takes a lot of money to conserve native bush; plant trees to provide shelter, reduce erosion, counter CO2 emissions; fence then establish riparian strips along water ways and do all the other things necessary for environmental protection and enhancement.

 

It may be a cliché, but it is still true: good farmers are not land owners; we are stewards with a very real responsibility to ensure we look after it for future generations. And when we are faced with evidence, day by day, year by year, that literally and figuratively we reap what we sow; it is easy to understand why we must be green. Although contrary to the belief of the bloke in the bar, that doesn’t mean we also have to be Green.

 


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