Newsletter November 2023

Kia ora katoa!

This newsletter focuses on activities undertaken in local communities for their survival and resilience.

What we do in our daily lives has significance at all levels, given the constant effort required to feel positive! Here’s a reminder of the worst bad news we face.

The key date is 2030. If the most severe climate impacts are to be avoided global emissions must be 43% lower than in 2019. Yet UN estimates show that if current rates continue, by 2030 we will have achieved reductions of a mere 2%.

It’s not just the forthcoming COP28 meeting that will determine where we go from here. It’s all of us. We hope you find the following accounts and suggestions heart-warming.

Support for our Climate Action Grants - established to honour Jeanette Fitzsimons and the values on which she based her life - has enabled us to make three awards in 2023.

  • Our 2023 major grant went to the East Coast Exchange, to be shared amongst three Rangitahi /youth Climate Action projects which will play a role in cleaning up the huge environmental mess left by the summer’s cyclone.
    • The Slash for Cash project aims to collect wood debris and make biochar fertilizer and charcoal briquettes. In Wairoa this enterprise is being led by local rangitahi Hine Aio Apatari and Christian Belmont.
    • Tairāwhiti Enviroschools Climate leaders are supported for their work in increasing awareness and working for change at local and government levels.
    • The Slash to Treasure workshops, run by Te Waiotu Fairlie, collect forestry debris and, with the addition of recycled shredded paper from the local library, are making sheets of paper.
  • Meila Picard worked with Nelson City Council on a project called the Sub-National Carbon model which allows users to track and calculate emissions through to an end date, such as 2050, under a range of different scenarios.
    Our grant enables her to develop this work so that regions can understand what initiatives will be necessary to meet their targets. Meila says “By understanding what is required by the council and the public to achieve emissions reductions, better plans can be put in place to set everybody up for success in creating a low emissions region, country and ultimately, world.”
  • “Climate Commons” is a recent documentary made by Sija Soman to explore and understand the impacts of climate change on different areas of our lives in Aotearoa New Zealand. The film is rich in local content with inspiring stories of indigenous approaches and communities working together to provide practical solutions.
    We made a grant to Sija’s young assistant McKenna Lesley who will work towards its wide distribution.

Our plans for 2024 will partly depend on the donations we receive. Our present focus is on communities in the East Coast-Tairāwhiti areas where recovery from the cyclone of February 2023 will require long term support.

Donate to the Jeanette Fitzsimons Climate Action Grants fund:
Kiwibank # 38 9018 0711725 01 – see end of Newsletter for more details.

This is a gentle reminder that our next webinar is next Wednesday (November 29th) at 7:00pm!

WEBINAR: The Behavioural Crisis Driving Ecological Overshoot

Date: 29th November, 2023
Time: 7 to 8:30 PM

Meeting ID: 916 9448 2005
Password: 298678

Joseph J. Merz is the Co-founder of a number of organisations. He is the Founder and Chairman of the Merz Institute - a research institute largely focused on addressing ecological overshoot at a behavioural level. Joseph serves on the Executive Committee of the Stable Planet Alliance, and is also a Senior Fellow of the Global EverGreening Alliance.

Mat Maroni is Strategic Lead at Merz Institute's Overshoot Behaviour Lab. His primary role is Chief Strategy Officer Asia Pacific for one of the largest global advertising networks. He has been at the forefront of communication strategy across Europe and Asia Pacific for the last 20 years, advising brands both within agencies and directly as consultant. Across this time he has delivered globally recognised, multi-award winning campaigns and authored for a range of industry media and the World Advertising Research Center.

Nandita Bajaj is the Executive Director of the Population Balance, a US nonprofit that works to inspire behavioural and system change towards a smaller human footprint that embraces planetary boundaries. She is an adjunct lecturer at the Institute for Humane Education at Antioch University, where she teaches about the combined impacts of pronatalism and human expansionism on reproductive, ecological, and intergenerational justice. In addition to a number of peer-reviewed papers and forthcoming book chapters, her work has appeared in major news outlets including Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, The Washington Post, The Guardian, Newsweek, Ms. Magazine, The Globe and Mail, and National Post. Nandita has an MEd. (Humane Education) from Antioch University, a BEng. (Aerospace Engineering) from Toronto Metropolitan University, and a BEd. from University of Toronto.

Background Reading: The Behavioural Crisis Driving Ecological Overshoot

This Webinar is co-sponsored by:

Wise Response logoDegrowth Aotearoa New Zealand logo

Our Climate Declaration logoEngineers for Social Responsibility logo

We end the year with our final Webinar:

Take the Jump – a global behaviour change movement to reduce carbon emissions with less stuff and more joy.

Wednesday 6th December at 7.30pm – note later start

Meeting ID: 865 0728 8942
Passcode: 648861

“Take the Jump” is a global behaviour change movement that is positive, engaging and aims to reach people who are concerned about climate change but uncertain what they can do. The movement grew out of a C40 cities study (The Future of Urban Consumption in a 1.5oC World), and is led by a UK-based team. Since 2022, the Nelson Tasman Climate Forum (NTCF), a largely volunteer community organisation, has been customising “Take the Jump” for Kiwis, adjusting the messaging and content to our culture and context.

This talk will be in two parts: Tom Bailey from the global “Take the Jump” team will talk on how Take the Jump was conceived and designed, on the scientific evidence behind the six lifestyle shifts that the movement has prioritised, on the importance of the 5 “Foundation” principles of the movement and on the experience of rolling out Take the Jump in the UK and beyond.

Portrait photo of Tom Bailey

Tom has multidisciplinary experience as a green energy engineer and policy analyst, research leader, program manager, strategist and communicator. Currently he is the Charity Director at Take the Jump. He was lead author of the UK Labour Party's Energy and Climate Policy in the build-up to the UK 2019 election. He spent six years at C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group as Head of Research and then Head of Special Projects, where he worked with Kate Raworth’s team to engage global cities in adopting the principles of Doughnut Economics.

Dr Chris Wheatley from the Nelson Tasman Climate Forum (NTCF) will then explain the modifications that have been made to tailor the shifts to Aotearoa’s culture and context – including the addition of the 7th nature-based shift - and on how the movement is growing in the Nelson-Tasman region and beyond (including with Councils).

Portrait photo of Dr. Chris Wheatley

Chris was originally from the UK, and has lived in Aotearoa New Zealand since 2000. Until 2020 he worked in international agricultural/rural/environmental research and development projects and programmes across Latin America and SE Asia. Chris was a founding member of the NTCF in 2020, and is now Deputy Co-Chair. Since 2018, Chris has also been a Trustee of the Farewell -Wharariki HealthPost Nature Trust, supporting ecological restoration of the Onetahua/Farewell Spit area.

Global movement:
Aotearoa New Zealand:

CALL OUT TO Our Climate Declaration MEMBERS 

Are You Interested in and Able to Contribute to a Project to Develop Resilient Communities Across NZ?

DANZ (Degrowth Aotearoa New Zealand) would like to develop a project to support and promote the development of Resilient Communities across NZ from a degrowth perspective. Such communities would be consistent with the Economy of Enough vision that OCD has been promoting since its inception. DANZ would welcome OCD member participation in developing and implementing this project.

The idea is to develop:

  • a framework for Resilient Communities from a degrowth perspective, based on universal basic needs
  • identify community level activities and resources which promote and provide resilience
  • potentially obtain funding
  • develop and support a resource team to travel the country and help facilitate the establishment of local groups to build community resilience.

We see such a project as consistent with DANZ’s vision and mission of reducing energy and material throughput in our economy, and focusing what energy and natural materials we do use on ensuring basic human needs are met for everyone.

The notion of “resilient communities” has become somewhat of a buzz word in both environmental and even some government circles, but generally without much definition or detail. Climate adaptation programmes are said to involve resilient communities, and the National Emergency Management Agency also identifies resilient communities as critical resources for responding to natural disasters.

Food, water, shelter, health care, communication, and social supports are what are needed in emergency situations.

This project would be built on the premise that the more locally these basic resources are distributed, and the more widespread they are throughout the country, the more useful they will be when a disaster hits. Affected communities will be better able to meet their own needs, and neighbouring communities will be available to provide support as well.

The recent intense weather events in the North Island made it clear that many communities where left to their own devices because government resources were overwhelmed by the scale of the disruption.

Developing resilient communities will involve people connecting locally and engaging in common cause. There are of course many groups throughout the country who are already engaged in some aspect of such a movement. Such groups could become hubs around which more comprehensive resources and services could be made available in each community. Part of this project’s task would be to connect these groups, and provide support to enhance their outreach and effectiveness.

This is a call out to members, and beyond, who feel they could contribute in some way to this project. Feel free to pass this survey on to anyone you think might be interested in contributing to this project.

If you would like to contribute to this project in some way, please let us know by completing the survey attached here. Once the survey results are summarized, we will be in touch to move to next steps.

Thanks for considering being part of this initiative.

If you would like to participate in some way, please complete the survey within one week – many thanks!
Jack Santa Barbara


The team at Our Climate Declaration look forward to communicating with you next year and wish you ngā mihi mahana!
Pat Baskett, Paul Bruce, Jack Santa Barbara, Joanna Santa Barbara, Robin Treadwell, Molly Melhuish, Torfrida Wainwright, Gareth Jones.

Your donation will help us to continue our work for a world that is safe for humanity.

Donate to Our Climate Declaration general fund:
Kiwibank # 38 9018 0711725 00

Donate to the Jeanette Fitzsimons Climate Action Grants fund:
Kiwibank # 38 9018 0711725 01

Our number as a registered charity is: CC60027

Please let us know when you make a donation - Contact us or email [email protected]

Thank you. Your donation will be wisely spent.