Hat tip to Charlie for tweeting out this happening in Southland yesterday. Save Our Water Otago/Southland (FB page) organised this action outside the local Regional Council office. So good to see some well planned and implemented direct action.
Lots of coverage in local media (radio, TV and print), including this interview on Radio Southland with three of the activists, Matt Coffey, Rosemary Penwarden and Liana Kelly:
We’ve been really concerned about the water ways, right around the South Island. There’s an awful lot of people that get together online and all we do is talk. But we actually wanted to do so something.
That is a great, low key interview with three ordinary people who care and are stepping up. It’s pro-environment, but it’s also pro-farmer (Penwarden comes from a dairying family), with good explanations of Save Our Water’s five demands (see below) and what other people can do to support this action.
(good tunes too Radio Southland).
Save Our Water have a petition,
— TOKO (@TOKOpetitions) March 21, 2018
Matt Coffey filming cow shit in the river bed of the upper Mataura (sound quality improves),
Save Our Water press release at scoop.co.nz:
Wednesday, 21 March 2018, 9:58 am Press Release: Save Our Water
Cattle Manure From Mataura River Bed Dumped at Environment Southland Office
Cattle manure collected from the Mataura River bed was today dumped at the front door of the Environment Southland office in Invercargill.
“I collected this manure out of the Mataura river bed, near where I live.” said Matt Coffey, Southland resident and member of the group Save Our Water Otago/Southland. “Environment Southland are not doing their job so I’m doing it for them. They are responsible for the health of our rivers and streams. Clearly they are not cleaning up our rivers – so I’m delivering this crap to them.”
In 2012 Environment Southland said they would work to improve the sate of our rivers. They expected a 10% improvement by 2020. Since then, the quality of Southland rivers has continued to deteriorate.
The central Southland plains are geologically similar to the Canterbury plains – porous glacial outwash gravel. Like Canterbury, this area is inappropriate for intensive dairying. Nitrates and bacteria (such as campylobacter, responsible for illness and deaths in Havelock North in 2016) travel rapidly through the gravel into streams, rivers and aquifers.
“Dairy conversions and extensions are continuing. Intensive winter grazing is especially damaging in Southland. Wetlands are still being destroyed.” said Save Our Water Otago/Southland’s Liana Kelly.
“When you hear that 97% of rivers are fenced, that is only dairy farms with a stream more than a meter wide and 300ml deep. 77% of the pollution actually comes from the rivers and streams that don’t meet those criteria. Non dairy cattle and other stock are legally allowed to roam freely in the river. That is crazy. We need rules based on science, not convenience.”
The Save Our Water Otago/Southland group says rivers and streams must be improved to a swimmable standard but also liveable for the creatures that depend on them for life; for the trout, galaxids, bullies, mudfish and tuna eels as well as the mayflies, beetles and others.
“We want New Zealanders to understand the scale of the freshwater crisis in Southland. Our southern rivers and streams, loved by trout fishers worldwide, are under attack from intensive farming and intensive winter grazing. This national crisis is hurting our tourism industry.”
Along with the manure, Coffey handed Environment Southland a letter with five key demands from Save Our Water Otago/Southland:
1. Enforceable prosecutions – no more stock in our rivers and streams
2. No more draining of wetlands
3. Active support for transition away from intensive to regenerative farming – start reducing stock numbers
4. Phase out intensive winter grazing, to be replaced with fewer cattle numbers and wintering barns.
5. No new dairy conversions or extensions
“These five demands will help slow the destruction of our rivers and streams.” Coffey said. “We cannot stand by while our children’s birthright – clean fresh water – continues to deteriorate.”
Bonus activism tweet from Canada,
Badass of the day: this woman who after 9 people were arrested for blockading Kinder Morgan's gate this morning, picked up her chair, went into the injunction zone, sat down and started knitting.#BeLikeHer #StopKM #cdnpoli #bcpoli pic.twitter.com/iVIs2kvQYs
— Mike Hudema (@MikeHudema) March 21, 2018