Winter Newsletter 2023

Photo of a group of young people holding a banner that says "It's time for a Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty"

Tēnā koutou katoa! Ngā mihi mahana
Our webinar programme continues – see below

As your convenor I’d like to share my thoughts on the recent visits of Prime Minister Hipkins to our Western allies – along with reflections on an aspect of our history.

Before the climate crisis we feared annihilation by nuclear war. Public opinion and anti-nuclear activism were so strong last century that the Labour government of David Lange passed legislation in 1987 banning nuclear-armed or powered warships from our territorial waters.

Such boldness didn’t get us kicked out of ANZUS. No subsequent government has ever suggested repealing the Act. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s website boasts:

“The fight against nuclear weapons provides one of the most sustained examples of the independence with which New Zealand has crafted much of its foreign policy.”

Things have changed – except for the nukes. Our foreign policies are mired in the immediate uncertainties of global trade and ensuring our allegiance to the block of western democracies.

How would it have been if Hipkins had taken the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty on his recent trip to Europe and insisted that its dimensions are wider than the geopolitical insecurities of the North?

This treaty, with its echoes of our nuclear-free legislation, was presented to the UN General Assembly in September 2022 by Vanuatu. In November Tuvalu took it to COP 27 in Egypt. Since then it has been endorsed by most Pacific states as well as the European parliament and the World Health Organisation.

Here are the words of the Fiji government’s international relations officer Genevieve Jiva:

“The time for bold, ambitious and transformative measures is now. Fiji reaffirms our support for the Port Vila call for a just transition to a Fossil-free Pacific and in calling for the development of a Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty, to ensure we meet the goals established under the Paris Agreement.”

A broader network of over 700 elected officials from 85 countries have also expressed their support. The realization is slowly dawning that the climate crisis is ubiquitous - sea level rise in the Pacific is but one of its existential threats.

But it will need a strong push at November’s  COP 28 in Dubai in order to overcome the lobbying of the major fossil fuel companies and the weak-heartedness of governments afraid to enact the changes needed.

Hipkins could have been bold on behalf of the Pacific which is our region. As the election approaches we need to make our climate concerns strongly clear to those we vote for.

Our next webinar is Wednesday 2 August at 7pm:

Shelter in our changing climate: challenges and pathways

Photo of Scott Willis in front of plants

In August our guest is Scott Willis, a director of Climate Navigator, a sustainability and climate risk consultancy, based in Ōtepoti Dunedin. Scott has worked to deliver climate solutions since the mid 2000s, focussing on rural transitions, energy solutions and climate safe housing. In this webinar he will talk about the current housing crisis, situate it within the metacrisis / collapse in eco-social systems, and look at current Government programmes and pathways for affordable, climate safe shelter.

Date: Wednesday, 2 August, 2023
Time: 7pm

Zoom link:
Meeting ID: 857 6222 7656
Passcode: 289725

See you there!
OCD Team – Pat Baskett, Joanna Santa Barbara, Jack Santa Barbara, Paul Bruce, Robin Treadwell, Torfrida Wainwright, Molly Melhuish, Gareth Jones

The recording of our previous webinar is now available on our website. It features guest Craig Anderson discussing food security, land use, and more.

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