Our Climate Declaration

Welcome to our update for September. This month we celebrate a couple of new Climate Action Plans, we ask for help, we share some good reading and have some questions you can ask candidates as we near election time.

Help Needed
Are you good at design?
We need a logo – distinctive, simple, that we can use on the website, Facebook and other materials. If anyone has talents in this direction please offer – we have had two offers which in the end had to withdraw for time pressures.
Are you good at deciphering handwriting?
We could use help to enter signatures on the website, from people who have signed up on paper. We prefer for people to enter their own, but sometimes it is better to collect their signatures on paper than risk them forgetting to do it when they get home. Many hands would make lighter work of this.
Whats new on the website?
Image of cover of book
Jeanette Fitzsimons comments on Paul Hawken’s best-seller on the 100 most effective things societies can do to prevent climate change.
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Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment
Joanna Santa Barbara comments on Jan Wright’s final report in this role, and her concerns that NZ has no pathway to reducing greenhouse emissions.
Image graph of carbon price
Carbon charge or ETS?
Jeanette Fitzsimons discusses our conversation with Catherine Leining and Suzi Kerr from Motu on the best way to price emissions. You can also watch the video.
Image of Kai Waka Proprietors
Climate Action Plans
Joanna has discovered some great action plans already exist. One developed by Greenwood Medical Centre and one by the Kai Waka cafe which serves local food with no or minimal packaging and 100% renewable electricity.
Training Workshops
On 30 July Lucette held a training workshop in Christchurch for 9 people.They focussed on existing groups to approach with the declaration who might embark on a climate action plan. The same weekend Joanna and Sean Weaver led a training day in Motueka attended by 14. They focussed on building self-confidence; having effective climate conversations; role-playing; and taking the Declaration to other groups who might take action. If you would like a speaker on the Declaration, or a training workshop in your area, contact us.
Image of Scott Willis
Who's doing good?
A new section on our website with two pieces by Pat Baskett on positive local action in Blueskin Bay (Dunedin) and Mt Eden (Auckland)
What else has been happening?
Talks on the Declaration have been held in Auckland, Thames, Tamahere (near Hamilton) and North Canterbury. We are keen to do more. Joanna spoke to the ECO conference about the Declaration, emphasising that local grassroots action is complementary to the work of other groups which is aimed at central government. Regular Declaration stalls have begun in the Motueka market. Joanna says: “Numerous people came to the table to discuss the issue and sign the Declaration. Some were quite passionate about climate change. No one came to argue whether it was happening.” Others could do this too!! Dunedin members are working with local schools to help them replace coal in their boilers with renewable fuels such as waste wood. This is a long term project!
Getting more names added
If this were a petition we would by now have collected far more than the 2,000 signatures we have. But it is far more demanding than a petition. It asks people to read a whole page carefully and commit to working towards implementing it. It also asks that this work be carried out in communities – something our culture is not used to doing. Getting involved in climate action plans, and talking to strangers about climate change is a heap more challenging than a “sign and forget” petition – but also more rewarding. So it will grow slowly, but that growth will mean a lot more. Help us get more people involved by taking it to markets, meetings, and groups you are part of.
What are you doing?
Please let us know what you are doing. Have you got more people to sign? Had interesting climate conversations? Shared the website material on Facebook? Held a stall in your local market? We’d love to share what you are doing.
Questions for Candidates
Elections are an ideal time to progress the third part of Our Climate Declaration – to pressure potential governments to stop the bad stuff and to bring on the good. Direct, straight forward questions to candidates should leave no room for waffle. Here are some suggestions:
  • Does your party have a policy for a staged transition away from diesel-and petrol-fuelled transport to electric public systems?
  • Does the candidate support plans for the opening of more coal mines on the West Coast?
  • Will the candidate’s party end deep sea oil exploration and fracking for oil and gas?
  • If your party becomes government will it halt the expansion of industrialised agriculture?
  • Will your party establish a Climate Commission to set a carbon budget and a plan to meet it?
  • Does your party support setting a price for carbon and making this price the basis of a carbon charge/tax or a realistic, meaningful ETS?
  • Will your party oblige Kiwirail to reverse its decision on de-electrification of the main trunk?
  • Will your party ensure that over the next term all houses are insulated?
  • Will your party initiate the replanting of a million hectares of marginal land with native forest as an effective carbon sink?
Blunt questions requiring a simple yes/no answer can beg a host of issues, along the lines of “Yes, but….” Or “No, on the condition that…” These make for excellent follow-up discussion but we need not to let candidates off the hook. We need to look ahead and enact now policies that will change the way live – ultimately for the better.
Thanks, we hope you have enjoyed this update as much as we enjoyed writing it.

The team
Our Climate Declaration

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