Death of a canary
Blogger: Central North Island Field Officer, Al Fleming
KCC Co-ordinator Ann Graeme and I arrived at the Auckland Town Hall just in time to see the East coast iwi Te Whanau a Apanui arrive en masse.
As they walked their Taiaha slashed through the air faster than a BP executive backpedalling on the safety of deep-sea oil drilling.
We had come to see prominent climate scientist James Hansen at his final NZ presentation – a scientist who was the first to bring climate change to the world’s attention in 1988.
To warm the atmosphere (no pun intended), Flip Grater and Emma Paki performed an entrancing waiatas and the be-goggled actor Anatonio Te Maioha vigorously narrated a horse-race which featured such racers such as ‘global warming’, ‘sustainable development’ and ‘sunshine energy’.
King Kapisi and Nandor Tanczos busted out some rhymes while Te Radar MCed the whole shebang.
From there the conference took a more serious tone as Rev Suamalie Niasali from Tuvalu explained how people from his tiny island were the first Environgrants (not Immigrants) in the world, displaced from their homeland by global warming and sea level rise.
This struck a chord as many nations in the Pacific will be amongst the first.
As a leading Pacific nation New Zealand (and Australia) needed to walk the talk and address greenhouse gas emissions in our own backyards!
James Hansen noted the increase in average air temperatures and the occurrence of large forest fires in Australia, United States, Greece and Russia.
Research had recorded the shift of climate zones towards the poles at a rate of approx 5 to 10 kilometres a year! Animals and plants which had evolved in relatively stable zones can’t adapt and 20 to 40% of the current 2 million species on earth would not survive.
The loss of even one keystone species, such as Antarctica krill, could have cascading effects throughout food-webs right back at us!
The greed of individuals today has set up an intergenerational inequity whereby the tipping point could be reached within our children or their children’s lifetime, i.e. before the end of this century.
This intergenerational debt he believes is best acted upon immediately – we need to leave oil and coal in the ground and move to alternative energy sources now rather that when it’s all too late! Makes sense ah?
The proposed mining of dirty coal (lignite) from Southland is exactly what we shouldn’t be doing. I attended one of the grass roots workshops after the event where Coal Action Network is leading the charge to halt this crime against our culture.
He outlined the fee and dividend system as a solution. This is opposed to the current cap and trade scheme as used under the Kyoto protocol. British Columbia and Canada already implemented the fee and dividend system and apparently it is working well.