Hot enough for ya?
Memories of this summer are going to be the humidity and teasing thunderstorms, although the recent rain is making up for a dry start.
There has been a heap of people at the beach cooling down, which is a good choice as the rivers and streams, particularly those at Kai Iwi, are not so great after rain, and the lakes not so great with the warmth increasing the risk of toxic algal growth.
I used to write about climate change quite a bit when I first started this column, more than three years ago. It's so much more of a mainstream discussion now that I find myself not needing to bring it up in the same way.
But the consequences of this warmer summer are bringing me back to it. I had two friends with migraines on Monday, directly related to the weather. This hotter, dryer and more humid summer creates stress, whether it's coping with tired children, worrying about farm conditions or, in Australia, again, watching fruit bats drop dead from the extreme conditions.
It feels very Groundhog Day to write about what's already happening with our changing climate. I'm starting to think it's all been said.
There are some positive moves, small though they may be. News that Whanganui will be getting its first electric car charging station is fantastic – a move into the 21st century, and strengthening Whanganui's reputation.
As one of my heroes Dr Jane Goodall said: "Cumulatively small decisions, choices, actions, make a very big difference."
I bought a Toyota Prius two years ago. I've never been a car-person but have a lot of affection for my Prius. It's not a plug-in, just a standard hybrid. As the prices come down, I might be able to upgrade to a plug-in one day – or even a full electric, when the range and the charging station networks both grow. It's not just individual choices – we need systems change too.
Apathy can creep in though. Did you watch the latest starving polar bear video or scroll past it like I did? Is there an aspect of human nature in wanting to avoid the harshness of reality? It's too big, it's too hard, it's too far away, and it's easier to put your head under the covers.
Hawaii got a serious wake-up call this week. An alert was mistakenly issued through their formal text warning system advising residents of an imminent missile attack. They had 15 minutes to get to a bomb shelter.
People were overwhelmed, crying, phoning family, but some simply rolled over and went back to sleep. So even when the end of the world is imminent, some of us literally just go back to sleep.
Is that madness or sensible? Maybe getting wiped out by a nuclear bomb while asleep in your own bed is a better option that while in the middle of a frenzied search for a bomb shelter.
But how does that relate to the boiling frog in a pot situation we face today with climate change? My view is it's not time to roll over and go back to sleep. We can't give up on our favourite planet – and that's swimmable rivers too.
"Think global, act local" has been around since the 60s – let's get on with it. While it's great to see the latest report from Ministry for the Environment setting the scene around adaptation (living with a changing climate), we need to keep the focus on mitigation (reducing and offsetting the emissions causing climate change).
As Canadian philosopher Marshall McLuhan wrote: "There are no passengers on Spaceship Earth. We are all crew."
Nicola Patrick is a councillor at Horizons Regional Council, works for Te Kaahui o Rauru and is part of a new social enterprise hub, Thrive. A mum of two boys, she has a science degree and is a Green Party member.