The script for a speech I delivered last weekend.
KO ORA TÄTO
KO WHARITE TE MAUNGA
KO MANAWATU TE AWA
NÖ TE PAPA-I-AHAU ATU
KO JUDD TÖKU WHÄNAU
KO MAURICE JUDD TÖKU INGOA
WHARITE IS THE MOUNTAIN
MANAWATU IS THE RIVER
I AM FROM PALMERSTON NORTH
JUDD IS THE FAMILY
MY NAME IS MAURICE JUDD
Three Lessons from Eight years of Blogging.
In 2011 I began writing a blog. I didn’t know then but this has become a deeply personal and important part of my life. Today I will tell you why. And I will encourage you to begin blogging as well.
Before I being with my three reasons, I would like to introduce you to Professor Micheal Heartshorn, my postgraduate supervisor at Canterbury University Christchurch. He was English, with a collared white shirt with tie. Everyday. And an incredible enthusiasm for physical organic chemistry and an amazing supervisor.
In 1986 when I wrote my Masters. I wrote with a blue Biro onto paper. I was one of the last to write a thesis longhand. Every hand written page was perfect; at least that is what I thought. Prof. thought otherwise and he would return my drafts covered with red pen corrections. I remember trudging back to my flat. Falling onto my bed and lying there in despair. Writing is hard. After maybe half an hour I would swear to myself. “OK what’s the B.. done. Lets work it out”.
That’s how I began to learn to write, although I do admit. He insisted I write in the third person passive. Writing is not easy to me. And I don’t mark in red pen.
Lesson 1: Bats
In December 2012, my wife, son and daughter went bat hunting. My daughter was 10 and my son 15. I remember it clearly. We drove to Balance, through the Manawatu gorge and stopped at the entrance to a piece of low lying forest, where we were met by five other conservationist families and a Department of Conservation field worker. We met on night-fall as that is when bats are active. (Bats are New Zealand’s only native mammal). We were issued with palm sized bat monitors, so we could hear any bats and off we went into the forest as night fell. Unfortunately we did not find any bats.
This is what I wrote. “The forest is different at night. Closed in and somehow huge. Ancient fears fill hearts and heads. We were perfectly safe, there are no predators in New Zealand, we were on a well marked track with adults and torches; however, the response to the immenseness of the forest was strong, the children grew quiet. We felt small in the immensity of nature. That is a powerful experience. Profound and humbling.”
I write to remember.
I also write to think.
Ladies and gentlemen. Writing a blog can help strengthen you thinking. It’s called “thinking on the page” and is a key critical thinking skill. That is lesson two.
The Tragedy of the Commons is where a shared resource, like a hostel kitchen or the atmosphere is trashed because no one is in charge. There are two solutions: privatization or cooperation. Many people say New Zealanders should not lead solving climate change because New Zealand is too small and because of the cost. Here is part of what I wrote.
“The most important reason we need to begin acting on climate change is because it represents an opportunity for our innovators and entrepreneurs. My favorite business quotation is from Peter Drucker when he said, “Every social and environmental problem is an opportunity for business” (Or words to that effect). It seems to me that far too many people are stuck in the narratives that “New Zealand is too small or solving climate change is a cost”. We must challenge those narratives. Climate change is an opportunity. My problem with the size and cost stories is that they discourage innovation and entrepreneurship. For me, Homo sapiens cooperating is a core value of our species; we cooperate as scientists, business folk and artists… and engineers. That’s us at our most human, cooperative best. That is how we have prevailed and grown. That is where our best hope lies now, and that is how we will escape the “Tragedy of the Commons”“.
I write to think.
The third advantage of writing regularly, is that it gives me an excuse to keep learning. I am introducing Dave Armstrong. He was a Math’s teacher; for a year. Now he writes plays and television dramas and is a science communicator. He writes a column every week in the Dominion Post. And he was the leader in the Writing for Science Workshops organized by Victoria University for people like me. Mad science communication enthusiasts.
This is what I wrote on my blog.
“It’s a strange day when I rise at 5 (That’s normal), on the road at 6.15 (That’s strange), on a train at 7.30 (before the estimate) and in Wellington at 8.30 for the 10 o’clock workshop (Bugger). But worth it
We were asked to tell one quirky fact about us. I play guitar, Dave makes a living telling science stories (He’s the one leading the workshop), Marina studied spider monkeys, Makita sailed tall ships, Lorraine came from Townsville, Ursula and Perry study earthquakes (Perry is a hobbit name) and Wendy’s a walking breathing yoga study. We all love science stories and want to write them. All unique and all passionate; it’s such a wonderful thing being in a room with sixteen other science enthusiasts.”
I think it is important to get the words down. Silence is invisible.
So writing my blog keeps me learning and to be honest I love learning.
That is my third lesson from eight years of blogging. I love learning to write.
Ladies and Gentlemen
I’ve written regularly for eight years now.
I’ve many deep memories.
I’ve thought deeply about important questions.
I’ve learned much more about writing.
I invite you to begin writing too.
You will love it as much as I do.
Kia Toa, Kia Ngakauni
Have courage, desire greatly.
Tena kotu, Tena kotu, Tena kotu
This is a photograph of the Manawatu river with Wharite under cloud in the background.