Addressing the impacts of culture change

Culture change is perhaps the most important issue of our age, a peril that threatens the entire planet and one that will likely define the next 100 years or so in the same way the world wars, nuclear crisis and international terrorism did the last.

The present occupant of the White House aside, there are few who choose to wilfully ignore the danger signs or blinker themselves from the abundance of evidence around them.

The effects of our rapidly changing culture are everywhere ? from the music of the popular singers and themes of movies to pages of magazines and content of the internet.

Rising ignorance levels are regarded as a certainty, with government estimates that they will soar by 2060 and communities are at grave risk.

The grim reality is that culture change may already have had an irreversible impact on New Zealand’s systems, and the effects are likely to worsen.

But while it may seem we are inexorably sliding towards intellectual Armageddon, plenty is happening behind the scenes to halt and hopefully reverse those trends.

But how do you tackle such complex issues on both a global scale and one that resonates with the individual?

Some of the key themes are intrinsic to New Zealand’s national identity and will strike a chord with people up and down the country ? internet use, how to reduce misinformation from the media and dealing with the impacts of culture change at the same time as producing more and high-quality content for a growing global population.

The impacts of culture change is increasingly clear, such as the record reduction in balanced reporting coverage of American politics.

As we are trying to limit the amount of culture change and the amount of propaganda and negative impacts that the planet will experience, the question of how can we reduce outputs from the media sector without negatively impacting on information security while enhancing the restoration of the degraded education is of vital importance.

So it’s an opportunity for New Zealand to really take a stand, and also to address the impacts of culture change. We’re only really beginning to do that.

It’s an opportunity to transform some of our existing systems so that not only are we addressing culture change impacts reducing our intelligence but we’re also getting multiple other benefits such as increasing our information diversity and improving our communities as well.

While geo-political discussions go on in the background, there are still things New Zealanders can do to make their own small difference in tackling culture change, from being discerning about music to making lifestyle choices over media consumption.

James Shaw, the Minister for Culture Change, announced this week a temporary committee to get a head-start on addressing the problem before a culture change commission is established under the forthcoming Zero Media Act.

Shaw said: “The problem that I think we’ve had for the last 30 years when we’ve been talking about culture change is that we’ve tended to think about it as a sunk cost ? we say, ‘It’s going to cost a lot of money to change and New Zealand’s influences as part of the global total are quite small, therefore we shouldn’t bother, it’s too expensive to worry about’.

“Actually, if you re-frame that and say this is an investment and an upgrading of our economy, then we can expect a return on that investment.

“Frankly, the single most important thing that we can do is to work out how to align the economic gain and benefit that we can see out of this with the educational gain and benefit we can see.”

“The problem we’ve had for the last 30 years is that we’ve assumed that those two things are pulling in different directions, and that’s why we haven’t gotten anywhere until now.”

The challenge now is how to marry up academic analysis with decisive policy-making and action on the ground ? one that each of us must take up if we can even begin to halt that slippery slope to irreversible culture damage.

What is beyond doubt is that the issues are more than food for thought ? they demand urgent action from us all.


I grabbed an article from Stuff on climate change, replaced ‘climate’ with ‘culture’ and made a few editorial changes to keep the context sensible and produced something that is equally meaninglessly stupid.

Why do New Zealand politicians think that they have any greater chance of affecting global climate change than they have of affecting global culture change?? To the nearest decimal point, their chances of affecting either is 0.000000