The Election Roadshow for Climate, an initiative of Extinction Rebellion (XR) supported by Aotearoa Climate Emergency
(ACE), is well on its way to put climate and ecological change at the forefront
of this election.
The Roadshow, which started concurrently from Bluff and Cape Reinga this week, is promoting three election issues: the declaration of a national climate emergency; a Citizens’ Assembly on climate next year; and a green post-COVID-19 economic recovery plan.
Participants from Queenstown and Wānaka gathered hL at the Cardrona Hotel to hear Jim Salinger speak about glacier retreat in the Queenstown Lakes area. He also spoke on his involvement in the New Zealand Intergenerational Climate Ambassadors, a group representing all generations including the Solid Generation (pre 1946), Baby Boomers, GenX, Millennials and Centennials. The group is calling on the next Government to accelerate climate action.
“The climate crisis is major, global, and
perpetual – until we do something about it,” said Salinger. “Since the late
nineteenth century, the white icing that has capped Queenstown-Lakes and the Southern
Alps has been rapidly disappearing. There once was about 120 cubic kilometres
of white ice in Aoteoroa - Land of the Long White Cloud. But alas Aoteoroa is
fast becoming Aoteopoto - Land of the Short White Cloud. By 2019 we only had
about 30 cubic kilometres remaining of permanent ice - this disappearing ice
represents a mere quarter of the former glory of the Southern Alps. The last
two heatwave summers gauged and burnt off a huge amount of this ice.”
In Whangarei, the North Island contingent
of the Roadshow interviewed local resident and environmental activist Catherine
Murupaenga-Ikenn about her concerns for the future of Northland. Catherine
belongs to Te Rarawa Ngati Kuri peoples of the Far North of the North Island,
and her career has seen her working on policy analysis, environmental defence
policy and indigenous rights advocacy with the United Nations.
“The climate emergency has to be the
biggest problem that humanity is facing right now,” said Murupaenga-Ikenn. “For
our communities, this means instability, it means water insecurity, it means
food insecurity and disruption to society. A lot of people are concerned with
employment and jobs, but without a habitable environment, jobs become a moot
point. There’s a lot of mahi to be done; building community resilience, civic
reform to keep our elected officials accountable, education of the issues, and
social injustice to address.”
Murupaenga-Ikenn was concerned for the
future of Northland.
“We are experiencing storms that are meant
to be one in 500-year events more and more frequently, more like every five or
ten years. And these storms come after months of drought. We have to adapt to
this as the new normal. On top of this, the agricultural industry has depleted the
health of our soils, and as a result, the nutritional value of our food is
declining. Things are all happening at once. We have to get back into balance
Murupaenga-Ikenn has expressed her support
for the idea of a Citizens’ Assembly.
“The Citizens’ Assembly is a good tool to
allow people to influence political decision making in between elections. It
has to be a system that complies with Te Tiriti o Waitangi standards. We have
to think about what’s fair and equitable for everyone to participate in the
conversation, moving forward and building solutions for the climate crisis.”
Read edition 992 of the Wānaka Sun here.