Newsletter June 2024

Welcome to our newsletter for June 2024. We begin this newsletter with a short biography of our new Convenor, Beverley Short. This is followed by a piece by Derek LeDayn about an important choice facing Our Climate Declaration, and a reminder of our upcoming webinar with Sir Peter Gluckman.

Portrait photo of Beverley Short

Short Biography of New Convenor for Our Climate Declaration, Beverley Short

Dear supporters, old and new.
I put my name forward to take over the position of Convenor, and this was approved at the AGM on May 24. Pat Baskett is now Secretary, and we will work quite closely while I settle in.
Derek LeDayn comes on board as a short term consultant and his expertise on constitutions and processes around them, will be very useful.
Otherwise the set up for running OCD remains pretty much the same.

My birthplace is Otaki, on the Kapiti Coast. My rural childhood in various Māori schools where my parents taught, caused me to feel culture shock when we moved back to the Wellington area. As a nurse and as a mother I have moved around New Zealand and even to Oregon in the USA.  That state was known as the recycling state, which I found refreshing.

My interest in Environmental activism deepened while living in Okura and working with the Friends of Okura Bush. This is hands on environmental protection, dealing with various organisations. The world is waking up to an uncertain future, and as a result, there is a wealth of knowledge out there and some very inspiring people who are promoting a way forward.

I look forward to helping with Our Climate Declaration. I met, Jeanette Fitzsimons, along with Rod Donald, in Christchurch, when I was working with the Alliance. Both set great examples for us all to follow.

Photo of Derek LeDayn

An Existential Decision
by Derek LeDayn

Our Climate Declaration is faced with an existential decision, and must choose one of three options:

  1. Revise and upgrade the Rules (or Constitution, the terms are interchangeable) and apply for re-registration before 5 April 2026 under the new Incorporated Societies Act 2022, and continue as a registered charity.
  2. Wind up as an incorporated society, distribute remaining funds, and cease to be a registered charity.
  3. Do nothing apart from continue as is, be struck off the register after 5 April, and cease to exist as an incorporated society and registered charity.

A choice is necessary. The new Act has significant new requirements which the Constitution must contain as listed in section 26 of the Act (for example a procedure for resolving disputes). By 5 April 2026 all societies in Aotearoa New Zealand must apply to re-register, or be struck off the register. April 2026 is 22 months from now, and that may seem like plenty of time to think about it later. However I suggest that a responsible choice is option 1 or 2, which to do properly may take many months duration and many days work.

Of course if OCD chose to cease as an incorporated society and registered charity, through option 1 or 3, it could continue to exist or relaunch as an informal group or network, as an un-incorporated society. This would not be a legal entity and have no legal obligations for reporting.

This is a gentle reminder that our next webinar is on June 12th at 7:30PM!

Climate change: simultaneous views from above and below

Presented by:
Sir Peter Gluckman ONZ KNZM FRS
President, International Science Council
Director: Koi Tū; the Centre for Informed Futures.

Webinar Abstract

In 2015 in a much more settled geopolitical era, the United Nations unanimously adopted Agenda 2030 which is largely described in the accompanying Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 10 years later, both political and scientific progress has been disappointing; this year the multilateral system will gather for the Summit of the Futures. Climate action is detailed in SDG 13 and like actions across the other sixteen goals, progress has been disappointing.   The reasons are multiple; the failure of political systems to think long-term, the increasingly divided and geopolitically tense multilateral stage, and especially the interconnected nature of the SDGs which makes it difficult to progress on one without considering the others.

Science itself has continued to focus largely on describing the problem with less attention to producing actionable knowledge; the latter requires new modes of doing research. Technological progress is being made but it too has spillover costs. Societies, including our own, will have complex choices to make over employing some technologies which may well be needed or would beneficially change the trajectory of warming.

Actionable knowledge needs to impact on citizens locally, create narratives that bring consensual action, effect policy makers nationally, and hopefully drive nation states to collectively understand that it truly is in their self-interest for more effective global action. This is a major challenge for diplomacy and New Zealand needs to rebuild its efforts in science diplomacy.

The challenge is how to address it in a way that maintains societal cohesion rather than promotes fragmentation and reactions and accusations of alarmism. Neither data nor alarmism alone will change the future. We must address the political reality that all citizens need to accept the tradeoffs and choices that need to be made. How to change the conversation while maintaining a democratic ethos is central to progress in addressing climate change.

Date: Wednesday June 12th
Time: 7:30PM

Zoom link:
Passcode: 643569

Portrait photo of Sir Peter Gluckman

Sir Peter Gluckman ONZ KNZM MBChB DSc FRSNZ FTWAS FMedSci FRS FISC is president of the International Science Council (ISC) (2021-2024). He was foundation chair of the International Network of Government Science Advice (INGSA) (2014-2021).  Sir Peter originally trained as a pediatrician and biomedical scientist and holds a Distinguished University Professorship in the University of Auckland where he heads the Centre for Informed Futures, New Zealand.  From 2009-2018 he was the first Chief Science Advisor to the Prime Minister of New Zealand. He was made a Knight of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2009, made a member of the Order of New Zealand (ONZ, 2015, the highest civilian honour in NZ limited to 20 living New Zealanders) and received the Rutherford Medal (New Zealand’s highest scientific award) in 2001.  Amongst international awards he was awarded Singapore’s highest scientific honour, the Presidential Science and Technology medal in 2021 and the American Association for Advancement of Sciences Science Diplomacy award in 2016.

See you there!

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