Let's face it: we're in a mess.
Everyone's saying the world economy is sliding into a depression (at least) as bad as the 1930s. The whole damn system just about collapsed last month, and the shock waves are only just beginning.
Add to that a couple of simple facts – the rapidly worsening effects of climate change and the looming scarcity of oil – and some days I reckon we're totally screwed. End of story.
But thankfully, some people don't give up so easily:
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon last month called for a "Green New Deal" that would rebuild and reshape the economy of planet Earth in ways reminiscent of the programs that President Franklin Roosevelt used to revitalize the economy of the United States during the Great Depression. Indeed, even as the slowing economy and falling oil prices make it harder to justify huge new investments in a green economy, there's a strong counterargument that now is precisely the time to make them.
From the UN to the International Energy Agency, from economic think tanks to cabinet rooms, the recognition is growing that shifting to sustainability is not an unaffordable luxury – it's actually the best way to climb out of this economic hole.
Government-led job creation and infrastructure investment is what saved us from the last depression. Sadly, of course, much of that investment went towards fighting a vast and terrible war. This time, thankfully, there's a much better use for our ingenuity and manpower: saving the planet.
A number of governments around the world are starting to take up the challenge. Sadly, here in New Zealand, both National and Labour seem to believe that the financial crisis means we need to put environmental efforts on the back burner – as if it were possible to ask the planet to just hold off on climate change and peak oil until property prices go up again…
That's why we need as many Green Party MPs in parliament as possible – whoever forms the next government. We need a loud and effective push for a Green New Deal in New Zealand.
Deregulated markets and endless-growth economics is what got us into this mess, both environmentally and financially. Carrying on the same way is only going to dig a deeper hole, as oil becomes scarcer and the world becomes less hospitable. We're staring catastrophe in the face; let's not fiddle while Rome burns.
So please: this Saturday, don't vote out of cynicism or greed. Don't vote because you're sick of Helen or you can't trust John. Don't vote for tax cuts or a nice smile, or meaningless platitudes about "steady hands" and "strong leadership."
Vote for hope. Vote for reality. Vote for what you know in your heart is right.
For me, that means voting Green.