Kevin Hester’s unique journey has led him to the conclusion that we are perilously close to the extinction of all complex life on the planet. It is a passage that has encompassed a career of heartfelt activism in his native New Zealand that began by instilling a value system to never be prejudiced to his fellow human beings.
As a teenager, Mr. Hester was active in New Zealand’s anti-apartheid movement. During these formative years, the organization he worked for, H.A.R.T. (Halt All Racial Tours), received a letter from Nelson Mandela on Robbin Island, saying that his work had “shined a light into a very dark cell.” Mr. Hester has a broad and rich career in advocating for social and environmental justice that even included blockading a vessel during the height of New Zealand’s anti-nuclear movement.
An accomplished mariner, Mr. Hester has made 16 ocean passages. And things began to change. Instead of observing thousands of flying fish as he did on his original travels, in his later passages he could not observe any. Likewise, ocean birds began to disappear. While he originally hypothesized that the collapse of these species could be due to over fishing, something did not sit right in his worldview.
In time, Mr. Hester encountered the work of Guy McPherson and encountered the prospect of near-term extinction of our species, and potentially complex life on the biosphere. “It can’t be that bad,” he recalls telling himself. Mr. Hester’s process-oriented, navigational mind did everything it could to undo 62 negative reinforcing feedback loops that led to this conclusion.
Unable to do so, Mr. Hester realized that we are in a world of exponential, amplifying feedbacks. Embracing his maritime worldview, now he strives to do everything he can to warn all human beings before it is too late. A central figure in educating everyone he can about abrupt climate change, he has metaphorically dropped anchor in an exponential world.
In an interview on ReliefAnalysis.com, Mr. Hester covers topics including the challenging future of the neighboring nations of the Pacific Islands, the geopolitical and social order surrounding imminent disruption he feels is about to occur, and his deep concern about the release of methane from the Arctic. Indeed, he and Jennifer Hynes conducted a series of Arctic Methane Emergency Meetings throughout New Zealand this past February.
He conveys an eloquent and stark prediction of how society would react to a gigaton burst of methane, which he feels could occur at any time. How the economic order could unravel quickly. Why investing in 50 year treasury bonds and paying on 30 year mortgages would be questioned by the general public. How the supply chain would fall apart.
Mr. Hester’s latest voyage is perilous journey through troubled waters. A humanitarian and activist to his core, he does not give up on his mission. He urges NGOs and young humanitarians to first, “tell the bloody truth,” and then learn practical, concrete skills that will be useful in a difficult world with a shattered supply chain.
Mr. Hester has dropped anchor, and the world he sees now frames the flying fish of his first passages as among the first specifies to collapse. As the voyage continues, human civilization’s turn to unravel could be on the horizon. It is Mr. Hester’s mission to not give up, and to warn.
Also in this podcast: Migrant issues continue to expand in the Mediterranean, Zika may spread as El Nino shifts to La Nina this year, Cyclone Winston devastates Fiji, food insecurity in Africa, managing the Black Swan, Paul Beckwith’s work on the CO data glitch, the Arctic goes +9C and Northern Hemisphere +1.5-2C with temperature anomalies…and USGS tweets that Arctic Sea Ice may disappear this summer.