In 1983 Gerry started a ginger group, Engineers for Social Responsibility.
The president of the New Zealand Institution of Engineers, Sir John Ingram (also chair of NZ Steel) tagged them ‘the lunatic fringe, but his successor Alec Stirrat was kinder. He called them ‘the conscience of the engineering profession.
In the early days of ESR, some uninformed IPENZ members expressed their concerns;
that ESR is an activist group associating with non-engineers known to incite treason".
This was initially concerned with the the possibility of Global Nuclear War and the conservative element in NZ, wanted NZ to remain within the Western Alliances's Nuclear Umbrella.
In association with International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) and Scientists Against Nuclear Arms (SANA), ESR under the Chairmanship of Professor Jack Woodward prepared a series of 17 fact sheets.
These sheets were designed to describe in a concise manner important facts from scientific and medical literature about the dangers of nuclear war in a way which could be easily understood by non-technical people.
The fact sheets were distributed to secondary schools, and libraries in the Auckland area, members of Parliament and other decision makers throughout New Zealand, and to certain embassies and South Pacific heads of state. Users were encouraged to copy and redistribute the sheets. The sheets receive much commendation.
So what of today, how are we as an individual and as a collective to be socially responsible? Especially as we learn daily of the escalating challenges that come to meet us via the local and global media plus earth changes and strange weather patterns.
This interview with Gerry Coates in a more private capacity, looks at the current challenges facing us as both a nation and from a global perspective.
Recent news of the huge melting of ice in the Arctic circle and that between January and July 2012, the United States has broken 40,000 heat temperature records, ramps up the challenge of global warming, even as we have suffered from the opposite swing of the pendulum and experience cold wet snaps here in NZ.
The question of population too is an ever increasing dilemma that is verging on a crisis.
However, due to the overwhelming nature of the predicaments that we are faced with, how do we 'snap' out of our indifference to what is 'lapping up' to the very foundations of our civilization?
Covering diverse subject matter of:
Dealing with business people who think that they can carry on with business as usual, as if there is no concern to exploiting our planet continuously.
Where are our champions for our planet and future?
Mentioning James Lovelock, Al Gore and their drawbacks and the forthright articulations by David Suzuki and previously Teddy Goldsmith and the sad loss of Sir Peter Blake. Plus Tim Flannery who recently stated 'if we want change we have to get people to get the politicians to change.'
In particular we need a business champion with drive, mana and charisma.
Lester Brown, of World Watch …… his new book called World on the Edge covers three ways of instigating the much needed change if we are to bring our civilization back from the very brink of collapse. This will entail huge limits to growth. Limits that we have in many ways already exceeded.
Covering the costing of finite resources and the priorities of expenditure re armaments and that well over a trillion dollars is spent by the global military annually.
Plus, what is the 'true' story regarding the amount of oil we have = peak oil?
All this and more as we as a global family urgently have to come to grips with denial to avoidance to indifference ... to our common future.
As well as this excellent NZ site;
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Tim Lynch, is a New Zealander, who is fortunate in that he has whakapapa, or a bloodline that connects him to the Aotearoan Maori. He has been involved as an activist for over 40 years - within the ecological, educational, holistic, metaphysical, spiritual & nuclear free movements. He sees the urgency of the full spectrum challenges that are coming to meet us, and is putting his whole life into being an advocate for todays and tomorrows children. 'To Mobilise Consciousness.'