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Business journalist Rod Oram contributes weekly to Newsroom, Nine to Noon, and Newstalk ZB. He is a public speaker on deep sustainability, business, economics, and innovation. Rod is a member of the Edmund Hillary Fellowship, which brings together innovators and investors from here and abroad who seek to contribute to global change from Aotearoa.

In Citigroup's annual global journalism awards, Rod was the winner in 2019 in the General Business category in the Australia and NZ region for his columns in Newsroom on Fonterra; and he was the NZ Journalist of the year. In the 2020 and 2018 New Zealand Shareholders' Association Business Journalism Awards, Rod won the Business Commentary category for his Newsroom columns.

In 2016, Bridget Williams Books published his most recent book, Three Cities: Seeking Hope in the Anthropocene, details at



The Hinge of History

The future of humankind hangs on our response to the climate crisis in this decade.

"This is literally the last decade in which authentic, grounded hope will be available to anchor everything we can do to serve our families, friends and future generations. Who knows what lies beyond this decade? But if we haven't dramatically changed our ways by then, genuine hope will have become the scarcest resource on Earth."

This is the stark judgement of Sir Jonathon Porritt, the British environmental leader and a cofounder of The Aotearoa Circle, a group of business, government and civil society leaders who are putting natural capital at the heart of our nation's future, in his latest book Hope in Hell: A Decade to Confront the Climate Emergency.

Over this decade we Kiwis, along with the rest of humanity, have to devise and embed deep transformations in every relationship we have with the Living Earth - cultural, social, and spiritual and thus environmental, economic, technological and material, to name only the main ones.

Only then we will we give Earth Systems a chance to recover and regenerate. Deep reductions in our greenhouse gas emissions to tackle the climate crisis is only the beginning. Our ultimate challenge is to ensure everything we do works with nature and not against it. Everything we borrow from nature to feed ourselves, create our built-environments, meet our material needs, run our economies and fulfil our social and cultural desires we have to return to nature in unpolluted forms. 

That's the simplest definition of the circular economy. Such a system is the only way ecosystems will recover, become more resilient and thus capable of supporting human life on the Earth. If we succeed, it will be possible for 10bn people to live well and sustainably on this planet.

In this presentation, I'll briefly make the global case for urgent, radical transformation; describe practical, distinctive roles Aotearoa has to play in that; take stock of our current progress; and offer some examples of the healthy future we will earn.

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