Gimme storms. Gimme droughts. Gimme floods. Gimme heatwaves. But don't take away my rugby!
The weekend was lined up perfectly: feed the chooks, collect eggs, milk the goats, play with the children… and then sit on the couch and watch rugby. This was the plan for both Saturday and Sunday: six international test matches over two days.
I had been looking forward to this weekend for months, having registered and paid Spark Sport the first day their World Cup package went on sale. I was even looking forward to Namibia vs Canada.
Then it rained on my parade. And rained and rained and rained.
Typhoon Hagibis dropped record rainfall in several regions of Japan, including 37.1 inches – nearly a metre – in 24 hours in Hakone, Kanagawa Prefecture, on October 12. Eight million people were ordered to evacuate multiple prefectures as the tempest approached. At least 74 are reported to have died.
The strongest storm in six decades to hit the island nation, Hagibis comes with a repair bill running to billions of dollars even though Japan is one of the best-prepared countries regarding "natural disasters". The Japanese understand resilience better than most nations yet the damage from super storms is still considerable. Imagine the costs if they weren't so proactive at investing in resilient infrastructure.
Unfortunately, New Zealand for the most part is a latecomer to the concept of resilience and our own council even later. My observations are that there is little interest in resilience within council and what appear to be clear misconceptions, as well as a leadership void (although Alan Taylor offers a ray of hope).
Chronicle readers will know I'm not impressed by the recent consultation on climate change or other feeble efforts on the environment front. If the right questions aren't being asked then how can we possibly expect robust answers to the actual problems our community faces?
Fortunately most of those answers already exist. It's just a matter of knowing where to look.
Conservation Comment: Fireworks at Petroleum Conference protest
Conservation Comment: Paradise lost timely lesson
I've been travelling a lot lately: first on the train from Palmerston North to Wellington to meet with central government agencies last week and today (October 23) on the train to Auckland for a conference on housing. In all cases the focus has been on climate change and more specifically carbon. This is in stark contrast to similar meetings and conferences over the last five years.
Speaking with the scientists at BRANZ (Building Research Association of New Zealand), much of their research focus and funding has shifted to carbon. Meeting with officials at EECA (Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority), their emphasis is now on electric vehicles and the new "Gen Less" campaign. I noticed that they had even changed their mission statement: "EECA's purpose is to mobilise New Zealanders to be world leaders in clean and clever energy use".
As I write this I'm travelling to this year's Eco Design Advisor conference, which for the first time is climate change themed. The line-up of speakers is amazing and can be viewed here: ecodesignadvisor.org.nz
Other leaders and authorities include Ministry for the Environment, EECA Business, Rockefeller 100 Resilient Cities, Christchurch City Council, Wellington Council, Auckland Council and Horizons Regional Council.
The answers are there waiting for the right questions to be asked.
(*Note: No single weather event can be linked to climate change but what scientists had predicted and now observe is an increasing incidence of extreme weather events.)
* Nelson Lebo is a rugby fan and design consultant specialising in energy efficient homes and climate resilient properties.