090120WCBRCLig02.JPG We have done changing light bulbs, restricting single use plastic bags, recycling, creating gardens plus insulating home so it must be time to dig deeper.
Are we there yet ?
It seems to take about 40 years for the general public to recognise any changes that need to be made in attitudes to popularly held beliefs.
The recognition of climate change seems to have taken about 70 years. But we may have got there in 2019.
Our house insurance now has a clause allowing the possibility of re-building for "environmental improvements" after a disaster and the Government passed the NZ Zero Carbon Act.
So can we now move on and do things that really claw back our carbon emissions or mitigate the problems?
We have done changing light bulbs, restricting single use plastic bags, recycling, creating gardens plus insulating home so it must be time to dig deeper.
With our insurance company acknowledging solar panels, rainwater tanks and composting as environmental improvements should we expect all local authorities to support all home owners reaching for these too?
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We hear about Regenerative Agriculture more and more. Here farmers are often sequencing carbon into their soil and biomass, going way beyond riparian strips along waterways.
Can we now expect Fonterra, public broadcasters and regional councils to openly support and discuss these farming practises?
These improvements to homes and farms need not only local body support but our Government coming on board too. The Zero Carbon Act is only the beginning.
Transport is something we need to think hard about. Greater import duties on high carbon emitting vehicles may be a start.
Roading projects designs and planning should be required to include cycling and walking possibilities and allowances for major rain events. The Kapiti Expressway seems to have got this but not the new bridge over the Manawatu near Foxton nor our own Mill Rd.
Railways and public transport maintenance and development needs improvement. Can this be done in sensible and useful ways?
Subsidised travel for all students and families with young children and those with disabilities seems fair and useful. The Gold Card allowance could be extended to cover all public transport and all low-income earners whenever they are travelling.
New bus shelters appearing along Whanganui bus routes are a help as no one wants to wait while getting wet.
As we work towards a circular economy where wellbeing and re-using become more important we need to consider indigenous values and rise above inequity and neoclassical economics. Thinking outside the square is required.
We need to heed what our neighbours across the Tasman are experiencing with their extended and severe fire season and accompanying extreme temperatures.
As well as become more aware of our neighbours on Pacific Islands experiencing rising high tides and salination of soils.
We need to go slower, use less and enjoy more!
We need to appreciate this world we have and what is in it. Realising we do not need "more stuff" to clutter it up.
We need to go for quality not quantities. We need to remember that disasters are costly, time consuming and a drain on all affected and their communities and that working to reduce their possibilities and affects is always worthwhile.
Using less carbon will require us to courageously establish more thoughtful ways of living.
May the year 2020 be a thoughtful, happy and fruitful time for us all to work together on solutions which help to progress our world into becoming a safer place for us all to enjoy into the future.
• Lyn and Graham Pearson are Sustainable Whanganui Trustees and in Castlecliff Coast Care