March 2023 Newsletter - Living within Boundaries

When the climate extremes scientists warned us to expect cause catastrophic flooding, immediate survival overtakes thoughts of prevention. For those who’ve lost their homes and livelihoods the only choice is where and how to build back better.

But what are the ramifications of “better”? Will this cyclone force us to consider profound changes in where we live and how we use Earth’s finite resources?

These wider questions have always been the focus of Our Climate Declaration. Our original convenor Jeanette Fitzsimons, former Green Party co-leader, wrote a small book laying out the principles of an economy where we recognise our limits and where enough is Enough!

This year’s webinar programme continues this focus. On Wednesday April 5 we honour the Australian scholar and ecologist Will Steffen who died last year. He advocated for the concept of the Anthropocene and he initiated, with Johan Rockström at the Stockholm Research Centre, the debate on planetary boundaries as “safe operating spaces” for humanity.

For our first webinar we present one of Steffen’s last videos in which he updates those original nine boundaries. His research gives us cause for thought as we in Aotearoa struggle to reduce emissions in agriculture, transport and energy.

Newsroom’s columnist Rod Oram is our guest for May. He will lead a discussion on pathways for an economics of Degrowth – a nice link to Jeanette’s Economy of Enough.

In June our speaker is Craig Anderson, researcher at NZ’s Institute for Plant and Food Research, based in Ōtautahi Christchurch. His concern is the biological mechanics and capacity of regenerative systems to give us food security and the suitability of our land use practices. This is an area that he says lacks serious research and currently has little or no funding, especially with respect to production systems outside of pastoral agriculture.

Invitations to join us will be sent out prior to each webinar.

Meanwhile, we send greetings and best wishes for your recovery if you have suffered from the cyclone.

Pat Baskett and the team at OCD