An opportunity to show leadership?
There are two common threads to the climate change story. One is the range of consequences based on the expected rise in temperatures and the second is how to limit that temperature rise by putting more effort in reducing greenhouse gases.
The consequences are well documented. The Ministry of the Environment details the impact scenarios for each region of New Zealand. You can view Northland's potential outcomes at this link.
Mitigation is the tougher challenge. The Paris Climate Agreement aims to hold the increase in global average temperatures to 2°C and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C. However, this requires all countries to determine their national contributions and implement actions to meet those targets. There is no binding obligation for each country but a "name and shame" approach will be used to identify the laggards. So far, here in New Zealand, we have seen little leadership at either national or local government on how we are going to "do our bit".
It is always a challenge to motivate ourselves to take action on things that have a slow burn outcome. Let's face it, we humans are wired to survive immediate threats to our well being rather than, something that may ultimately threaten us more, but happens at such an incremental rate that we are not motivated into action until we realise that we are in the midst of a catastrophe.
You do not have to spend too much time surfing the internet to find inspiration on what other communities are doing (PDF - Local Communities Leading the Way).. Closer to home, Byron Shire in Australia has also decided to take up the initiative rather than wait upon leadership from the Federal Government. The implementation of their low carbon strategy has caught others attention with the mayor being invited to the Paris Climate Conference to share their story with others.
Byron Shire's Mayor Richardson: "This project to create Australia’s first zero emissions community in 10 years has the potential to secure millions of dollars of renewable energy and emission reduction investment, to secure and enhance the rich biodiversity of the region and support local communities establish cooperative models of living. It is the game changer for Byron and can be the game changer for Australia." (Source: echo.net.au)
Is there an opportunity here in the Far North District to start showing similar leadership in NZ that may work to our advantage? Vision Kerikeri believes so and has recently suggested some initiatives to the Council that could help be a catalyst to further change. You can read our submission here (PDF).