I have known Jeanette Fitzsimons for more than 30 years. Back then, she was worrying we were running out of oil and gas. She's now popped up as co-skipper of the protest vessel Vega trying to make it difficult for Anadarko to find more.
Her worry used to be that we were running out. Now her worry is that we are finding too much.
It's a total back-flip but her solution remains the same - we must give up the good life and de-industrialise.
At a seminar all those years ago, Jeanette explained that she was awoken to a world of worry by The Limits to Growth. The book had rocked me too. With Rachel Carson's Since Silent Spring and Paul Ehrlich's Population Bomb, it made me a hard-core Greenie and set me off studying environmental science to save the world.
But by the time I got to attend Jeanette's seminar, I knew the studies were deeply flawed. Wider study, plus the failure of their predictions, had revealed that.
I'd also had the benefit of working on North Sea oil rigs and seeing first-hand the incredible ingenuity and engineering that had opened up new and exciting oil fields never thought possible.
All industry is amazing, but the oil and gas industry is especially so. It's the industry that powers all others and provides even the poorest in the modern world a standard of living that kings 100 years ago could not have dreamed of. It's also safer, cleaner and more-productive than ever.
Rodney Hide is dead right here. We never get over the irony of the Greens and Greenpeace availing themselves of all the benefits of oil and gas prospecting whilst opposing it with an almost-religious fervour.
How much did Kennedy Graham's carbon footprint grow with his recent trip to climate change talks in Warsaw? Gareth Hughes travels the length and breadth of Aotearoa (sometimes more than once a day!) lecturing all who will listen about the evils of drilling and fracking; where does the aviation fuel come from?
And as Hughes, Russel Norman and Metiria Turei take to social media to oppose anything that looks like progress, have they ever thought how many of the components of their computers and smartphones come from drilling and mining? They probably have, but they don't like the answer.
Hide continues, debunking the myth of peak oil:
Oil and gas continues to power and to feed the world, and to do so against all predictions. The Limits to Growth computer printouts had solemnly predicted that the world would run out of oil in 1990 and gas in 1992.
We didn't. In 1972, global reserves of oil were 455 billion barrels. Since then we have burned through a trillion barrels. That's more than double the 1972 reserves. And today's reserves? 1.2 trillion barrels.
We burn more fossil fuels than ever before and have more reserves than ever before. We are not running out.
Jeanette Fitzsimons has not been cheered by the new discoveries. Far from it. She is now actively working to prevent further exploration. She has shifted the worry from the lack of oil and gas to a concern that the world has too much.
The new worry is the effect of drilling on our beaches and the impact burning fossil fuels has on the world's climate.
I argued with Jeanette more than 30 years ago that her predictions were wrong. I explained using reason and data. I made absolutely no headway. I would have no more luck today.
There is nothing that would convince Jeanette that discovering and exploiting fossil fuels is a good idea. The problem she has with fossil fuels is not one of economics or science. It's philosophical.
Jeanette opposes industrialised living. She wants the world to live more simply and more in harmony with the natural world. It's not enough for her to live as she chooses. Her mission is to force the rest of us to live as she says.
Exactly. The Greens are the classic "do as we say, but not as we do" party. Some would even go as far as to describe their stance as "hippy-crisy".
And Hide closes, using the dreaded "C" word to describe the Greens; cult:
We have green policy after green policy making fossil fuels ever more expensive. We have continuous and hysterical protests in response to surveys and exploration for oil and gas, let alone its continued exploitation.
I long ago parted company with the green movement. That was when I realised it was a cult with always the same answer, no matter the science and no matter the obvious failure of previous scary predictions. I also thought it a failing that green sustainability meant billions of people must die.
Back in the day, the greenies viewed the big human die-off as part and parcel of getting back into harmony with nature. Funny, they don't talk about that so much now.
The Greens reside in a leafy suburb in Utopia, whilst the rest of us inhabit the real world. Unfortunately, things in Utopia aren't as flash these days as they were when Sir Thomas More wrote about it, so they have to interact with the real world, and they are not slow to avail themselves of our technological advances.
Well done to Rodney Hide for pointing this out.