Community keen for action on climate crisis

Last Sunday over 70 people came together for the Climate Crisis: Time to Take Action workshop at Poihākena Marae. The workshop was spearheaded by passionate local and Raglan Ward Councillor, Lisa Thomson, with support from many other individuals and organisations.

“This day is about community connecting, sharing korero, looking at what we are already doing and what more we can do to adapt to the climate crisis,” said Lisa.

Speakers included inspiring climate students Timi Barbaras from Hamilton and Nikau Hansen from here in Raglan, who both urged adults to wake up and start taking serious action. Timi invited us all to join the Global Climate Strike on September 27 to send a message to our politicians that we take this issue seriously.

“We need to look at the ways we use energy, water, agriculture and transport and make different choices.”Nikau added.

Dallas Butler followed with an overview of Xtreme Zero Waste and the steps we all need to take to reduce our waste: refuse, reduce, reuse, repair/repurpose, recycle. We’re doing well in terms of diverting waste from landfill here in Raglan but Dallas encouraged us all to put some more thought into the waste we are creating through our shopping habits.

After lunch Dr Mike Joy spoke about the biophysical limits to growth and the future of water and food. Dr Joy emphasised how everything around us is dependent on fossil fuel and that we need serious system changes to uncouple from this dependence – not only because of climate change but because these fossil fuels are also running out. He highlighted how our agricultural system powered by fossil fuels (particularly in production of nitrogen fertilisers) has supported unsustainable population growth and contaminated our lands and waterways. He urged us to consider vegetarian diets which are more environmentally friendly than some standard meat-farming practices.

The last speaker, Lauren McLean from Extinction Rebellion Kirikiriroa told us it’s important to pick your battles within the climate movement.  Lauren emphasised the need for hope and connection and said that: “Building community is the key to resilience and adaptation. Kindness and resilience go hand in hand – connecting to each other will help our environment heal.”

The day ended with the group reviewing some of the amazing initiatives happening in Whāingaroa already and discussing how we could build on these foundations to do more. There were some exciting suggestions for what we more we could be doing here in Whāingaroa with an over arching theme of building local connection, self-sustaining systems and resilience within our community and our environment.

Finally the group declared a climate emergency via a resounding vote, this declaration will be presented to the Raglan Community Board and passed on to the Waikato District Council for their consideration.

The Whāingaroa Environment Centre will be working with Raglan Naturally and any individuals keen to be involved to pull together a Community Climate Action Plan. We have an opportunity to build resilience, reduce our greenhouse gases and adapt for climate change if we act now – and we will all need to act in all sorts of ways.  A Whāingaroa/Raglan Climate Action facebook group has been created to continue the momentum and conversations in this space – please join as we all work to adapt to the climate crisis together.

Whaingaroa Environment Centre