Bright ideas by Susan Grimsdell

The wrong choice A generation ago NZ kids were 4th out of 41 countries for reading ability, and 3rd for maths.  We were better than world class, we were world leaders.  Teaching strategies used then were ones that worked.  Now our kids are failing miserably.  We are 5th from the bottom of those 41 countries.  The reason kids’ performance has plummeted is that experts decided to radically change the way the 3 Rs are taught.   It seems strange to me that anyone would want to mess with something that was clearly so… Read More

Forestry debris/slash by Susan Grimsdell

It’s something we’ve heard a lot about recently: slash – public enemy number one since the storms and the cyclone struck.  But it didn’t happen because of any natural phenomenon.  There’s nothing natural about billions of tonnes of dead trees and other forestry remains crashing into bridges, destroying roads and ending up on people’s property and on our beaches.  It’s no more natural than if I dumped my garbage on the street.  The companies that left their trash on the ground once they’d made their millions from cutting down trees, own the… Read More

Future present by Susan Grimsdell

The warnings we get about global warming always talk about the future – “by 2030 there will be….”  or “in 5 years’ time sea level will….”   But humans are not good at preparing for the future.  We are a here and now kind of species.  For example, most of us find it impossible to say no to a delicious slice of pizza or piece of cake, even when the old saying fills our mind – “a moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips”.  Oh what the hell, we say and… Read More

Names matter by Susan Grimsdell

Choosing the right name Betty Friedan made a very powerful point way back in 1963.  If a problem has no name, it doesn’t exist. She was talking about the limitations on women’s role in society, and her work marked the beginning of awareness for most people – me for one.   Another point to remember is that whatever name is chosen determines how the  problem will be perceived.   If we label poverty using words that indicate laziness and unwillingness to work, the perception is quite different from a label that indicates bad luck… Read More

Dead End Road by Susan Grimsdell

‘Road to zero’ campaign Even the name is ridiculous.  There will never ever be zero deaths on the roads.  Considering that a PR company here in NZ was paid big dollars to come up with that meaningless and unreal slogan, it doesn’t bode well for what those doing the spending will choose to throw money at next.  Sure enough, just as stupidly, what they’re spending hugely on is urging us to stop being normal human beings, and for all of us to be perfect.  Zero, right?  No margin of error.  As normal… Read More