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Climate Change Change Pt 1: What are we waiting for?

Written By: - Date published: 9:20 am, May 3rd, 2016 - 48 comments
Categories: activism, climate change, Deep stuff, democratic participation, energy, Environment, global warming, International, political alternatives, sustainability, vision - Tags: , , ,

A decade ago, and a good handful of years before the appearance of modern, government-enforced punitive austerity, there was a grass roots movement based in the US that attempted to show people how they could meaningfully respond to Climate Change. It was called the Riot for Austerity, and its goal was for individuals and families to demonstrate that they could cut their energy consumption by 90% (relative to most North Americans). The impetus was 2006 figures that showed such a reduction was critical in preventing disastrous climate change. The movement was intrinsically away from consumption towards non-consumption. The challenge came from people’s reactions to the figures and the perception that such change was impossible therefore there was no point in talking about it. The founders of the Riot wanted to not only prove it was possible, but to counter the very notion that we cannot make radical change, and instead to provide a vision and pathway for Westerners to do what is required.

There were two other critical underpinnings. One was that whatever technological solutions might theoretically be possible to transition to a post-carbon world without sacrificing our lifestyles (the electric car myth), we simply no longer had the time to wait for that transition. Even with the best political will in the world, the amount of time needed to rebuild all the infrastructure to be post-carbon was far too long if we wanted to prevent CC. The other underpinning was the understanding that governments are not going to make the necessary changes. Ten years on this has been proven. The Riot for Austerity was saying we, the people, have to change now and we cannot wait for policy or regulation to force us.

The Riot outlined seven areas for household reduction

• Electricity
• Heating and Cooking Energy
• Petrol/Diesel/Transportation Energy
• Waste/Rubbish
• Water Usage
• Consumer Good Consumption
• Food Energy Consumption.

In the end thousands of people from many countries joined the experiment, and included poor and rich, urban and rural, elderly, families with children and people with disabilities. Some of the key things they discovered were:

1. The project was surprisingly fun.
2. There is a principle that when one engages in non-consumption other satisfying experiences arise. It’s not primarily about deprivation, and non-consumption experiences can be as satisfying as consuming especially when there is collective purpose (this has also been the experience of people at home outside of war zones during war time).
3. The first 50% reduction is relatively easy and something that most people can achieve.
4. The next chunk of reduction is harder, and most people/families found they had their particular sticking points e.g. people living in the country found it much harder to reduce transport energy.
5. Significant numbers of people were able to achieve up to 90% for a lot of the time.

What can we do?

The purpose of this post is an invitation to start building a pathway that helps people, including us, to change. Many people understand Climate Change and want to change but feel powerless. We need solutions we can take part in. Not solutions to the bigger-than-we-can-cope with global issues, we need that too, but focussing on that alone engenders more powerlessness and prevents us from acting. Instead we need solutions that are tools we all can pick up and start using right now.

Others of us are unwilling or afraid to change because we don’t want to give up our lifestyles and we can’t imagine a life beyond carbon and consumption that isn’t just downright desperate. We also need to be presented with solutions we can take part in, but in addition we need to be shown that life without high consumption is not a meaningless or drudgery-filled life. We already know that consumption doesn’t buy happiness, so let’s find the ways to make that real.

In order to start changing we don’t have to argue about which are the most relevant figures, or who should be doing what, or how useless the government is. Those conversations still need to happen, but they shouldn’t stop us from changing right now. Alongside all the political discussion about what our leaders or nation should be doing, we have to start taking action ourselves. No-one is coming to save us.

Sharon Astyk, Peak Oil and Climate Change writer and activist, and one of the founders of the Riot for Austerity, talks about three reasons why we should change even if we believe the rest of the world isn’t.

The first reason: it’s not that hard and it brings its own rewards.

The second reason: this analogy from Dmitri Orlov If you are going to fall out of a window, it’s better to fall out of the first floor than higher up. We going to have to change eventually, so better to do so in a way that lessens the damage. Everything we can do now is going to make it much easier in the future both in terms of limiting the worst effects of Climate Change and in terms of adapting.

The third reason: it is the only ethical thing we can do. We in the developed world have created Climate Change, are using far more than our fair share of the planet’s resources, and we are eating the future that should belong to later generations. This behaviour too will come to an end at some point, but we have a choice to do the right thing instead of the wrong thing, not out of self-interest but just because it is right.

I would add another reason: if governments did the right thing, it would still require us all to support that and be willing to change. In other words, change isn’t possible without us. There is also no reason why we cannot lead the change.

So where to next? Some key starting points for discussion:

• The name Riot for Austerity has passed its use by date (for obvious reasons, although I love the idea of reclaiming it). But it does highlight that we need new language for talking about the politics of grass roots, proactive, climate change activism that is centred in the primacy of our own lives. This presents dilemmas for the Left, who tend to see political solutions as being collective. But we also know that the collective can arise out of our lives when we work together.

• NZ needs to come up with its own process of providing grass roots solutions, ones that are specific to our land, cultures and politics.

• Solutions have to be practical, accessible right now, and accessible to many different kinds of people. One size doesn’t have to fit all.

• We need to be careful not to focus on the superficial or pay lip service to change, but we also need to encourage people to do whatever they can even if they can’t do it perfectly.

• As important as GHG emission reduction is the societal shift in consciousness and in willingness that will enable us to change fast and big enough in the time we have left. We need a snowball effect.

• We don’t have to get hung up on the numbers. Astyk and co were from the part of the culture already deeply involved in climate change and peak oil, so 90% was the right goal for them. If 90% is too scary for us, or so much that we can’t get our head around it, then we choose something we can manage. The thing that stood out for me was that a 50% reduction was relatively easy for people to achieve. That’s radical. Rather than focussing on whether that’s enough or too much, we just have to start changing now. Once we start changing we will be able to see what we need to do next.

• We need to put our money where our mouth is. Or where our hearts are. It’s not enough to be concerned.

I’m not suggesting that the Standardistas adopt the Riot. But I think those of us who are already aware of the seriousness of the situation need to start looking at actual examples of what people have been doing and take on board that these actions are politics of the most urgent kind.

Weka

Note: if you want to debate whether climate change is real, please go somewhere else. That debate is over. If you want to debate that there is nothing we can do, or that NZ is too small to make a difference, please go somewhere else, this post and conversation isn’t for you. Anyone running either of those or other kinds of denialist lines will be moderated.

If you want to talk about what the government or political parties should be doing, or that CC is the responsibility of governments not individuals, please go to Open Mike. This post is for discussion about what NZers can do themselves and how that is part of the politics of Climate Change.

48 comments on “Climate Change Change Pt 1: What are we waiting for? ”

  1. Colonial Viper 1

    A very good and timely post. Focussing on Wellington as the source of answers is definitely past its “used by date.”

    • RedLogix 1.1

      Lots of kudos from me too weka. I’ve not the time to add to this conversation right now, but this is exactly the unifying and energising action plan the left needs.

      Time for discussion is well past … now it is about action and helping each other.

  2. johnm 2

    ” The vast majority of Americans now believe that ACD is real and ongoing, and that the US government needs to do something about it. ” Meaning Americans themselves will have to change.

    http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/35860-as-climate-disruption-advances-un-warns-the-future-is-happening-now

  3. Bill 3

    Taking those seven points from ‘The Riot’ and, off the cuff, applying my current rural situation to them. This sentence has been added after the rest of the comment was written, but in terms of mitigation and adaptation, I’d pick an independent water and waste supply plus a vege patch as some of the more do-able and practical things for most people…much of the rest is based habit or attitude and behaviour.

    Electricity. My current domestic use is just under 10 units a day. That’s low in the scheme of things. If I wasn’t piss poor, I’d invest in some solar (I have a north facing roof). The only reduction I can think of given my current financial situation is to have a functioning wet back for hot water (that will take a lot of scrimping and saving to bring into existence) and replacing any domestic appliances (when and if they are needed and affordable) with the highest energy rating appliance on the market.

    Heating and Cooking . Almost all of my heating comes from burning wood. The last time that I chainsawed and transported a year’s supply, I probably used somewhere in the region of 20 litres of petrol for chainsaw + transport. Only heating the room I’m occupying obviously cuts down on fuel use (fossil or otherwise). I cook with electric, but if my woodburner was a free standing one (not possible), I’d have no qualms cooking on it. There is a wood fueled barbecue outside that, if a windbreak was constructed and some stuff around it organised, could be used on most days. I do know of people who routinely cooked out of doors on ‘converted’ woodburners they’d constructed shelter around.

    Transport I don’t own or run a motor vehicle. Never have. So any car journeys I take – they’re infrequent – are as a passenger. I don’t fly. The most diesel I’d consume would be from jumping on the bus – which I do less and less often given that I regularly cycle to town (electric bike requiring 300W of domestic electricity – about 30c I think)

    Waste/Rubbish Autonomous waste system that could be improved on, or sidelined if I constructed a composting toilet. One 40l bag of household waste per month. Sometimes less. Food waste goes to comport or to chickens. Paper waste lights the fire. I avoid packaging where possible and recycle where possible…sometimes able to up-cycle. (eg – plastic bottles as watering contraptions in veg patch)

    Water usage All domestic water comes from the roof – a 10 000 litre water tank seems to suffice.

    Consumer goods consumption I’ve never been much of a consumer. Most consumer items I have are second hand or donated, and those that were bought new were done for practical reasons, not fashionable ones…and they get used ’til they die.

    Food energy I avoid Fonterra products like the plague…all that coal to produce powder that is then reconstituted and sold as milk, butter etc – fuck that. Vege garden/ local food/seed swapping. Predominantly wild meat consumption. (Not necessarily low carbon). Tend to not bother with foodstuffs brought in from overseas (again, not necessarily the low carbon option).

    Not on the list, but not having a job is probably one of the biggest areas of saving or cutting back and, given numbers, has a potential domino effect – no-one needs to heat a factory or building for me and service it in the multitude of ways buildings need serviced and no-one needs to provide energy hungry ‘human services’ such as transport or takeaways/cafes for lunch breaks.

    • No need to boycott Fonterra. That milk powder they produce is sold as powder, mostly overseas, to people who specifically want to buy milk powder. The milk, butter etc from Fonterra that’s on your supermarket shelves is just milk, butter etc – it’s certainly not reconstituted from powder.

      • weka 3.1.1

        Plenty of other good reasons to boycott Fonterra, including CC related ones. That whole model is hugely problematic on multiple levels and would make a good political focus. Needs care though, because so many people’s livelihoods are tied into Fonterra now (and I’m not talking about big business owners). But they do need to be held accountable. Like Bill I will avoid buying Fonterra sourced products whenever I can.

        • Bill 3.1.1.1

          pfft! Fonterra products are full of ‘milk solids’. I didn’t want to respond to this comment before to avoid a screed of distraction. But site search ‘mouse trawler’ – I think that was the handle. Long back and forth on Fonterra butter….they’d never commented before and never did again…make of that what you will (not quite true – just did the search. Regardless.).

          Milking a Land of Plenty?

    • Magisterium 3.2

      The biggest thing any human can commit to doing for the environment is never having children.

      • Bill 3.2.1

        For the environment – maybe. In terms of 2 degrees warming – irrelevant.

    • maui 3.3

      Interesting Bill, that sort of lifestyle is like stepping back in time a couple of generations.. or three or four! I think there must be great satisfaction in providing for your own needs in such a way.

      Can you expand on what an autonomous waste system is? Or provide a link to something that does something similar?

      I’m also interested in your wild meat source, are we talking wild pig or homekilled lamb/mutton, fishing?

      • Bill 3.3.1

        The ‘stepping back’ is just a natural consequence of poverty – there’s nothing else to it. I don’t provide to my own needs, so much as do what I can do to ameliorate my state of poverty. The odd observation might be that puts me ahead of the curve when we put things in a CC context.

        All I mean by ‘autonomous waste system’ is shit disposal independent of reticulated waste management…not on ‘the mains’. ..we could be talking septic tank and then considering how it’s emptied. In days gone by it would be bucketed out and spread. These days a tanker is called once every several years and it winds up in the municipal sewerage plant.

        Wild meat comes for the most part from a retailer that sells goat, wallaby, tar….no wild pig. No home kill. My hypocrisy is that I can’t stomach killing. The rabbits and chooks get a ‘free pass’….for now.

  4. Rosie 4

    Thanks weka. Good thoughtful argument for what individuals can do to lessen contribution to GHG emissions, and WHY we should

    While I’m not been part of any organised plan such as riot for austerity (agree it needs a new name) to reduce personal consumption it’s something our household has attempted to do for many years. I have no idea what percentage we have saved either. Admittedly when you’ve got a financial struggle going on, there is far less to cut back on in the first place – the sacrifice isn’t that great.

    From the 7 points:

    • Electricity
    • Heating and Cooking Energy
    • Petrol/Diesel/Transportation Energy
    • Waste/Rubbish
    • Water Usage
    • Consumer Good Consumption
    • Food Energy Consumption.

    Electricity. Our bill for gas and power for two people is $140 year round. I don’t know how many units that is. We have gas hot water and stove stop cooking. Would prefer solar panels for power and hot water. If the developer hadn’t been as backwards as he is he would have offered all residents a bulk deal on solar power installation at the time of building their homes. There are 550 homes now with plans to reach 1000. We could have had a community wind turbine too but I digress………

    Heating is provided by an efficient new woodburner. A 16KW free standing woodburner heats the entire house due to the open plan nature of the house. We purchased this house with energy efficiency in mind. Electric heat has very rarely been used in the four years we’ve been here. House is double glazed and well insulated, north facing, all day sun.

    Transport fuel. The car is limited to a travelling distance of 70km a week. The downside is we live far away from amenities. The upside is we have a bus stop outside which we use to get to town. Don’t fly anywhere. Haven’t been on a domestic flight even for 8 years. Heads up: a trip between Akld to Wgtn will cost
    $119 on the train. A better way to travel.

    Rubbish. Everything that can be recycled is. Food scraps are composted. Could do better though.

    Water: On town water and adhere to watering restrictions. On trips to Pito One when we have a number of things to do in that area we collect drinking water at the artesian spring:

    http://www.louisepurvis.com/public-works/te-puna-wai-ora

    Consumer goods consumption. Even when I had money I was never much of a consumer of material goods. There simply aren’t trips to shops to purchase “things”. All my clothes are old but still do the job, mostly, shoes get repaired. There are no new electronic goods, partly to do with the ethics of those industries in regard to workers rights abuses and mineral exploitation. Everything broken is usually fixed.

    Food. Mainly stick to the staples, NZ grown where possible. Have reduced dairy consumption greatly in the last few months and have swapped to the odd bit of sheep and goat cheese, less polluting than the dairy industry and healthier (?) Would like to get to know a fisher person to eat really fresh locally caught fish. Don’t eat land meat or poultry.

  5. Rosie 5

    Folks may be familiar with the “9 billion to feed by 2050” quote. Here’s a relevant quote from a quick google search related to that:

    “Most of us have a hazy idea that climate change, population growth and inequality are imperilling life on earth – including our lives – but Bourne’s facts sharpen those fears. There are 805 million malnourished people on the planet and the global population is expected to reach nine billion by 2050. Climate change could make half the world’s current farmland unsuitable; agriculture, ironically, produces a third of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. We are, argues Bourne, farming ourselves out of food.”

    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/oct/13/agriculture-farming-food-addiction-meat-harvest-hungry-world

    I’m not suggesting people go vegetarian. I’m suggesting, that in order to take the heat off our food resources, folks, consider………..breaking out the condoms?

    Reproduction is a deeply personal aspect of our lives which no one else has the right to be critical of, whether a person chooses to have children or chooses not to have children. (I say this in case anyone thinks I am making judgements about parental status, which I am most definitely not).

    What I would say, in a time of impending food scarcity in relation to CC, would it not be wise to consider choosing to go child free if you have any thing less than a burning desire to have children?

      • Reddelusion 5.1.1

        Read it Robert, one comment, nut bar

      • Rosie 5.1.2

        Hi Robert. I’ve heard of this movement, but admit I’ve not studied it closely, Um. Possibly a bit of a drastic approach though…………

        I’d rather people just think about carefully about the new humans they bring to planet and ask themselves what are their motivations for conceiving. I’ve no problem with people raising children in a thoughtful socially and environmentally sound way.

        • weka 5.1.2.1

          I agree, thoughtfulness and awareness seem key.

          I reckon it’s also about what’s the population that a given land base can support? And then how many people do we need to manage that land base sustainably. In NZ we could probably work with the population we have and stablise it pretty easily, but changing attitudes around entitlement to having children would be pretty interesting. Good to have the discussion about it.

  6. Molly 6

    Just an event that Aucklanders might be interested that has come through on one of my subscriptions, which might help those interested in knowing how they can make changes;

    TEMP climate change forum
    Key note speakers Jim Salinger and Niki Harre with two interactive art workshops.
    Lopdell House, 418 Titirangi Road, Titirangi

    Tue 24 May, 1:00pm

    The second forum as part of the TEMP project, an outdoor art science experience contributing to the conversation about climate change, aiming to raise awareness of the issues and to act as a catalyst for discussion and action at a personal, local and national level.

    Email info@ceac.org.nz to register and for more information about TEMP visit http://www.tempauckland.org.nz

    (weka, plse move to Open Mike if you feel this is posted in the wrong place)

    • weka 6.1

      That looks so interesting Molly, thanks. (it’s perfect for this thread). Connecting the Arts with CC action makes so much sense. And with science!

  7. adam 7

    Thanks weka what a great post.

    Like Bills’ list, never owned a car. Own a electric Bike – so cheap to run.

    Live in a house where the cooking heats the house, we live in a nice wee small place in Auckland. Got a small hot water cylinder, works well for two. And use the sun a lot to heat the place.

    Working from home helps. Means I can open windows and close curtains – thus retain warmth or keep it cool with out power consumption.

    I buy local when can, and have finally found a localish butcher – hidden away in the back of one tree hill. Fruit and veg always brought in season – so no strawberries for me in May. One vice, canned hummus from Lebanon.

    We doing pretty good, hardly buy new, except beds and bedding. This computer is second hand – dragged out of a skip.

    Also running Linux – But Iprent probably knows that already.

    • weka 7.1

      “Working from home helps. Means I can open windows and close curtains – thus retain warmth or keep it cool with out power consumption.”

      That’s such a good point! Relocalising work at or close to home has huge advantages for climate change reduction, rebuilding communities, improving personal and family life. It also ties in nicely with the ideas around the coming job shortages (whether we think it’s automation or power down that brings that). Finding ways of being productive at home needs some attention,.

  8. Bill 8

    How to kick it up a gear and make it community based? Has anyone here tried holding a public meeting? I don’t mean the type where a supposed authority on CC ‘flies in’ to make some presentation, but one advertised within a community and run by the community?

    I suspect that whereas a few years ago the numbers turning up would be one, or close to one, that things have changed.

    Obviously, any such meeting would be fairly useless as a one off event and would ideally be used as a springboard for wide-ranging, on-going and community based organising and learning.

  9. Jenny Kirk 9

    There’s a movement called Transition Towns – seems to be quite active in Whangarei – and highlights a number of local “events” which mostly are to do with living sustainably. Alongside that, there’s another movement to grow “Forest Gardens” and something else – “Community Gardens” – I think the two are different. The Community Gardens are for people to help develop the garden on spare land, and grow veges, fruit etc for everyone to share.
    These, presumably, are the sorts of actions Weka is talking about – they probably only reach a few people at a time, but a few is better than nothing !

    • weka 9.1

      Yes, those are definitely some of the things I was thinking about Jenny.

      Here’s the list of Transition Town in NZ. Some of them aren’t active online, and from what I can tell keeping up a web presence was not high on the list of priorties for some.

      http://www.transitiontowns.org.nz/groups

      In the SI Oamaru and some of the Dunedin ones are the most active I’ve come across.

      Other groups morphed into something other than a TT, eg Lyttleton has Project Lyttleton, which is an impressive array of community projects for a relatively small community.

      http://www.lyttelton.net.nz/

      I think that every rohe in NZ how has sustainability projects, which is a huge change in the past ten or 15 years. Lots to build on. Not sure what the next stage is.

  10. weka 10

    Thanks for the thoughtful comments everyone. A couple of things jump out at me.

    One is that if we are looking at measures of reduction I think that this could vary for different people. The Riot chose 90% of the US average ie they weren’t measuring the reduction against their own consumption. So people already doing well in an area could focus on other areas rather then eking out the last few drops by comparing to themselves.

    They even had calculators to help people figure it out in their own lives (it’s imperial though). Plus I think the US averages were published at the start of the project.

    http://www.freemanplace.com/r4a/calculator.php

    I’m thinking that people on very low incomes have far less leeway to make changes, and often are low consumption anyway. Whereas people relatively well off could easily work with the NZ averages as a yardstick against which to measure change.

    Reading through I was also thinking about what motivates me to change. Have to admit that in the past few weeks I’ve been finding the news on CC scarey (which prompted me to get on with it and write the post). And now reading other people’s experiences I feel much more motivated to keep on with change in my own life. So thanks for that 🙂

    I used to be better than I am now, so this is timely to working back to when I felt good about what I was doing. I’m also mindful of the usefulness of looking at some of the things I could reduce or give up but really don’t want to.

    • Jenny Kirk 10.1

      I feel like that, Weka – the news on CC IS scarey ….. and one of the guys working on a community garden (I should say, more than working, I think he initiated it) was also
      saying just the other day that things like their community garden are going to be absolutely necessary in the future – because of climate change.

      We HAD a place which was reasonably self-sufficient – tanks of water, a new composting greywater sewage system, fruit trees, vege garden, gas for stove elements, wood burner which could have cooked stews and soups if needed – BUT
      circumstances changed and now we’ve downsized to a place which is ALL electric and reliant on city water pipes, but closer to city centre so transport less of a hassle, and NO garden to speak of – so now I’m wondering what we’ll do WHEN and IF the eventual catastrophe happens. Hide under the bed, I think !!

      • weka 10.1.1

        Sharon Astyk who I reference in the post went on to write a lot about adapting in place. The idea was that for those of us that couldn’t build or move to the ideal location for surviving the powerdown, we could adapt where we were and in fact there were many benefits in that that weren’t in the more ‘ideal’ places. Proximity was one. People living on off grid homesteads weren’t necessarily better off than people living in towns who had far less problems with transport, community etc. Maybe it will be your neighbours that grow food for you while you look after their kids kind of thing. I think co-operation is going to be the biggest issue we face to be honest.

        I live rurally, and many of the people in the immediate area are solid, practical types who will do well having to be more self sufficient, but I don’t know them that well and I have no idea how things would go down if we had a significant crash. I guess I assume I would move in with friends maybe.

  11. corokia 11

    Arranging our personal lives to have as low a CO2 footprint as possible is important. Walking the walk, not just talking the talk and its good to be able to show others that its a comfortable way of living and doesn’t mean hair shirts and living in caves.

    BUT we need change at a community level, not just on a small scale one. At the local body level changes need be made to improve public transport, food resilience and so much more.

    I suggest that with local body elections coming up this year (and with what seems to be a bit more attention being paid to climate change in the NZ media) it would be useful to put as much effort as possible into getting informed, practical people onto local community boards and councils. Those with the right skills should stand for these positions and the rest of us make lots of noise and support them. Write to local papers to get through to the older generation and get onto social media to get through to the rest and vote good people in.

    • weka 11.2

      +1 that! I think the Greens are looking at running candidates, hopefullly Labour too, but it would be great to see just more good people and have the community support them.

      Maybe we can focus on the elections on ts, although it’s tricky because of the geographical nature.

      • Rosie 11.2.1

        I want to come back to the topic of local body elections and climate change policy or a lack or, at a later date. (Got to dash for the day now) What I’ve observed is local councils are a HUGE part of the problem who will always put some vague untested short term business advantage over human and environmental need.

        We have had constant examples of this in TS over the years. Recent ones would be Ruataniwha Dam in the Hawkes Bay, Kiwi Blue taking Ashburton’s water and Taranaki retrospectively issuing resource consents for an energy company (Shell/Todd?) to do seismic testing on farm land.

        To my mind , with the low turnouts at local body elections and the ongoing appearance of a lack of accountability and indifference to the public voice we have a real challenge with our councils and getting them on board with CC policy and resilience.

        I have no faith in any party candidates either btw. Having a “green” mayor here in Wellington and Labour councillors has done nothing for us. In fact it has been the opposite but that’s too long a story to get into now.

        • weka 11.2.1.1

          Will be interested to hear more Rosie.

          I think we have many examples of councils doing bullshit things, but also some examples of councils doing good things.

          Off the top of my head I’m thinking about Dunedin City Council’s Peak Oil report, and I’ve heard that they’re relatively supportive of sustainability projects eg allowing fruit tree planting on council land. So I think it’s going to vary from council to council (and yeah, DCC did build a waste of space stadium agains the will of the people, so I’m not blind to how money interests are influencing things there).

          I agree that low turn out and engagement are a big part of the problem. Nationals reform of the local body act is significant too.

          Celia Wade might be a “green” Mayor*, but she’s not a Green Party Mayor. AFAIK the GP have clear protocols about what standing under their banner means. Wade-Brown stood as an independent. That’s a completely different thing and sure, people will green wash all sorts of things including election campaigns. I don’t know anything about what Labour do.

          *except she’s not even that, so maybe we should just stop ascribing that to her?

          • Rosie 11.2.1.1.1

            Just quickly, Celia Wade Brown carries that tag because she fosters that image herself. Wellingtonians are well aware that she came on the independent ticket. She frequently refers to her environmental principles and philosophies in speeches and interviews and has built for herself a “green” persona.

            I was initially sucked in by it, and voted for her twice until I realised it was all greenwash.

            There are some minor environmental concessions like the free native plants for your council berms scheme (which is great. I have 50 plants on my berm) and more serious considerations like installing cycleways but there has never been any clear approach to tackling climate change. It’s been BAU and there is even a push to build an unpopular runway extension out into Lyall Bay that two international airlines have said they won’t even use, plus a massive convention centre that we don’t need. Millions have been spent on both projects already by an extremely indebted council.
            There has been no thought given to a city adapting to the challenges and obstacles of living in the anthropocene.

    • Bill 11.3

      So, I’m just going to say – fuck the local body elections and that layer of bureaucratic ‘overseer’ nonsense. It’s down to us – to you and me and you and you and you.. Our current institutions are incapable of doing or managing what must be done…the evidence of that is right before our eyes – our institutions have instigated nothing this past quarter of a century.

      • weka 11.3.1

        There’s a pretty clear link between Regional Councils being stacked with farmers and polluted water ways. Put different people in council and get different implemenation of regulation. People organise and the councils will follow, but only if the people in the councils don’t have vested interests.

        In other words, we can do both.

        • Bill 11.3.1.1

          Yeah. Where we straddle both worlds. ‘Cept it’s abundantly clear there are two worlds with a wall of exclusion riding up the middle of them. Which is fine. Power – real power – resides on this side of the wall.

        • miravox 11.3.1.2

          Timely post weka, thanks.

          As to local body elections – yes, the politicians will change if the people force it. But people don’t.

          In Wellington, in my experience, the election of councillors via STV is described as time consuming and complicated so people either don’t vote or vote for the names they know.

          Many don’t see the value in local body politics, or the impact except if their rubbish isn’t collected or a resource consent is disputed. The organisational structures and processes are too complicated. People are disengaged and voter turnout reflects this.

          I don’t know what the answer is, but the current system is pretty much broken in terms of consistent public engagement with the political and decision-making processes.

  12. Philj 12

    Thanks to all for this post. We are in this together. Why can’t we meet face to face in our own locations for a social/chat? Could be fun.
    Change is coming, be prepared.

  13. Bill 13

    An ironic, (or is it acerbic?) comment at the arse end of the post, but…

    what about my latest i-phone and app and gizmo and need! And the desperate importance of flying to Auckland, Wellington, Sydney, London, New York, Paris…. and that necessary holiday in Fiji or Indonesia to escape my humdrum (maybe I’ll just hook up the outboard and go fishing) and …I’m so important and exceptional…but my fingers break from the wringing over how crucial it is that somebody do something!

    Motherless Fuckers that you are.

    • weka 13.1

      That pretty much sums up that aspect of the situation. However in the spirit of the post 😉 I think the gizmo people also need to be offered something in order for them to give up the things they perceive as necessary to having a good life. I think it’s unlikely they will have a crisis of conscience and give them up from that.

  14. One Two 14

    Very good post, weka

    Promoting attainable examples is the to go, IMO

    Repeated articles about weather events and temperatures becomes counter productive

    • weka 14.1

      Thanks, that’s pretty much my feeling too, although I think it needs to be a balance between telling people the reality and giving them things they can do.

      NZ loves to talk about the weather. At the moment the weather is downright odd, so when people start talking about it, I’m using it as an in to talk about climate change. Not politicising it, just saying that I’m worried and asking them what they think about climate change, letting them talk and seeing where it goes. Listening too.

  15. One Two 15

    Very good post, weka

    Promoting attainable examples is the way to go, IMO

    Repeated articles about weather events and temperatures becomes counter productive

    • Pat 15.1

      both are needed….think of the outcry about the lack of reporting re CC over the past years, the percentage even thinking about ANY form of action is tiny and are generally not seeking out the information for themselves….the target audience is not the choir.

  16. Jenny 16

    Climate Change Change Pt 1:
    What are we waiting for?

    By Weka

    Hi Weka,
    When do you think we can we expect Part 2 ?

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