- Date published:
2:33 pm, February 25th, 2023 - Comments Off on What To Do About Climate Change
Categories: activism, climate change, Environment, science - Tags:
It is weird, while people are still pushing their dead furniture out onto the roadside, to even consider whether it could have been worse.
But in western Auckland it most certainly could have.
The absorbtive capacity of full Kauri forest compared to a subdivided landscape with impermeable roads and house platforms is massive.
West Auckland’s Waitakere Ranges are a case in point right now.
Each area of New Zealand will respond to accelerated climate change with its own part in a National Adaptation Plan.
But it starts with people with ideas who build on them to make them real. Here’s three little instances that build towards a local adaptation plan.
Gather your activist networks together often, and good things always happen
Ark in the Park started with Forest and Bird Waitakere, just an idea from one person, in a committee with people sitting in a semicircle like any committee.
They loved it. They pulled in their friends at the Waitakere Ranges Protection Society, and more joined in as the momentum built.
Ark in the Park is what they called it. It started in the Waitakeres in 2002 with just 300 hectares under pest management. By comparison Zealandia is 225 hectares and remains so.
It quickly attracted regional funding.
Ark in the Park has now expanded to 2,300 hectares. There’s ambition for more.
There have been big setbacks, responses, policy shifts, and hard fundraising.
They have state and local funding and hundreds of volunteers and several full time staff.
The Kauri are still troubled, but Kokako are thriving in the north of New Zealand for the first time in five decades.
Be Ambitious From the Ground Up all the Way to the Top
Many of the activists across the Waitakeres wanted to protect the entire forest from accelerated deforestation through subdivision.
When Waitakere Council pushed the Waitakere Ranges Heritage Protection Act , we went for protection of 27,700 Hectares.
That’s a step bigger than Abel Tasman National Park at 22,000 hectares.
As local legislation it was unusual for the Opposition to oppose it, but they did.
It passed on the vote of Independent MP Taito Philip Field – who was jailed for bribery and perverting the course of justice the next year. Still, a vote’s a vote.
A rahui placed over the ranges is being gradually lifted as tracks are rebuilt to a higher standard and other closed down to decrease disease vectors against Kauri.
Imagine how many more people would have been hurt and futures ruined, over the last 10 days, if massive unrestrained subdivision had been enabled up the forested river valleys in the last 20 years. Good old Waitakere City Council applied the Sponge City concept to Auckland several decades ago, and thank God they did.
Uplift the Next Generation of Leaders
The predator controlled area of the Waitakeres has a radiating effect over several thousand more hectares of ‘forest living environment’.
The South Titirangi Neighbourhood Network at the southern edge of the Waitakere Ranges has enabled a network of neighbourhood traps across several thousand further hectares.
The northern reaches are complemented by further initiatives such as Forest and Bird Matuku Reserve and other sequestered private native forest in QE2 Trust or similar.
South Titirangi Neighbourhood Network has gained prizes and funding as a totally neighbourhood effort.
As civil society agents they will be essential to rebuilding the streets and neighbourhoods from this latest storm damage in the years to come.
The above requires hundreds and hundreds of people, delivering hundreds of thousands of volunteer hours, over multiple generations. This is what whole-society activism delivers.
Multiple Decades of Activist Success will Make the National Adaptation Plan Possible
We don’t have to be anxious about landscape-scale climate adaptation for communities and for the national environment, when we can rely on a multi-decade record of success.
The Waitakere Ranges, in western and north-western Auckland, are clearly right in the firing line for subtropical downpours we must now expect as New Normal.
In some respects the great forest is still struggling against weeds and disease. The degree of management that achieving mere stasis requires is quite massive.
But the activist networks and the legislative, governance and funding arrangements that protect the forest networks, are our best defence against massively damaging storms from accelerated climate change.
This thing now called climate adaptation, which used to be called resilience, which used to be called sustainability, which used to be called environmentalism, can start with
sitting in a semicircle,
in a committee,
with an idea.