Saving the Black Robin – Auckland, May 28 – 30, 2009

New Zealanders once brought the black robin, the world’s rarest bird, back from the brink of extinction. There were only six birds left – the only black robins left in the world. It wasn’t just government money and scientific skills that saved the robin (though they were essential – and willingly given); the people involved made several rapid but brilliant decisions, based on ‘gut-level’ thinking, well beyond what any text book or scientific article could tell them.

This New Zealand quality is a gift for the world. They have also saved the kakapo (the biggest parrot in the world), one species of kiwi, a tuatara (a reptile older than the dinosaurs) and many other species. It says to me that the right combination of knowledge, commitment and God-given genius can rescue our future.

Auckland is a watery place. Low volcanic hills rise from bays and rivers. The knowledge required is deep knowledge: what moves us, what moves the world. The commitment is based on a love of life – “in all its diversity”, as the Earth Charter says. The God-given genius? For this we are waiting. Auckland, with its earth rising from water, may be the image we seek.

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