The Council’s 10 Year Plan’s ‘climate change’ position is remarkable in its minimalism, absence of vision and lack of understanding of the enormous impacts climate change and biodiversity loss will do to the way we survive in our district and around this country and the globe.
All previous measurements of CO2 levels in the past indicate that while we are predominantly in a latency period as oceans continue to absorb most CO2, we are heading for long term considerable temperature and sea level rises for many millennium.
We cannot stop these changes occurring to our world, even if we were to make good on our global promises and reduce carbon dioxide emissions substantially right now , but we can take action now to somewhat mitigate the extreme risks that climate change will bring to both humans, and other species that we depend upon for our survival- both the known and the currently unknown species.
Additionally, there is now considerable evidence that the loss of species diversity globally is likely to significantly reduce survivability risks for humans in the medium to long term. Retaining and restoring as much biodiversity in our communities as possible is therefore just as vital as attempting to reduce the impact of global heating.
Growing more trees that live for centuries is one of the key opportunities to reduce the impacts of rising levels of CO2, reduce species loss, provide some protection from intense weather events, enhance human wellbeing, and provide shade in summer and warmth in winter.
BELOW ARE Just some of the key changes required :
- Develop a well-funded programme to develop a local nursery to grow native plants indigenous to this locality, for both Council planting regimes, and also for property owners and community agencies.
- Provide an educational resource (online and in person) on how to plant and grow more native vegetation and its importance to our communities and the planet.
- Ensure all available areas in the surrounding hills are replanted in native trees (not pines, which dry out the atmosphere and ground). This will not only create more habitat for native birds, insects and other biota, but also, once the trees are established, help restore rainfall levels in summer to what they were prior to settlement, and somewhat mediate temperature fluctuations.
- Plant native plant corridors from the hills to the coast to ensure long term viability of native wildlife.
- Ensure all existing non-pine tree’d areas are maintained and extended on public and private lands..
- Plant all available park and reserve areas with native trees. There are far too many grass areas in our district with no trees, which serve no use, other than to employ lawn mowers and produce more CO2.
- Ensure streams that have been buried in culverts are re-opened to the air, and the water margins planted in native plants.
- Provide incentives for businesses to plant trees on their properties- e.g. rates rebates.
- Provide stronger guidance and enforcement of local agricultural businesses about their use of toxic pesticides, artificial fertilizers, and the considerable current threat to human welfare of groundwater contaminated with fertilizer runoff, particularly nitrates.
- Financial and other encouragement for local food producers to become organic growers.
- Develop a project alongside other local councils and the NZ Transport Agency to develop a low emission public rapid light transit system using electric public vehicles.
- Council needs to be encouraging businesses and services to be truly sustainable and to use organic sources wherever possible whilst discouraging businesses that damage the remainder of our living environment through fines and regulation.
- Council needs to establish a bio-impact measure for all goods and services within its catchment. Ie a simple graded scale that measures a business’ impact on climate change and species loss, so that consumers can start to make more informed choices about the products they consume.
- Long term planning for ocean level rises, which will progressively increase; particularly road access to our coastal towns.
My Council’s response below to anyone who made a submission to them on climate change… As can be clearly seen, there is no recognition that traditional cost/benefit analysis processes do not work when it comes to nature, and no recognition of the gravity of the environmental crises that have started to impact us, and will increasingly do so.
Nor is there any recognition of the other equally disastrous impacts of environmental damage; particularly species loss.
This planning strategy of burying one’s head in the sand is an option pursued by many local and central governments across the world…
We are experiencing more frequent weather extremes and effects, including floods, droughts and fires as a consequence of our changing climate. We have a large coastline, inhabited by thousands of residents. Adding to the complexity, much of our public infrastructure is built near the coast. Where to spend our time, effort, and funds to best prepare the <x> community for the likely effects of climate change and mitigate our greenhouse gas emissions is a key decision we needed to make. We asked you which of two spending options you preferred for Council to take to respond to climate change.
We decided to proceed with an affordable level of investment spread over the next 10 years. Once we have measured Council’s baseline emissions, we will investigate methods to reduce our emissions. The <x> Climate Action Plan is designed to be a living document. Suggestions from submitters and new knowledge (e.g. results from our emissions measurements) can be incorporated into a review of the Action Plan. The financial implications can then be worked through in further detail and consideration given to including them in future Annual or Long Term Plans.