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Not enough action

Opinion Piece

I was disappointed that nearly half of the respondents to your online poll consider Gisborne District Council is doing enough or too much with regard to climate change.

It is hard to believe that so many people care so little for our long-term future, or still don't know the level of the threats we face from a changing climate.

After a decade of hammering this message, I still struggle with the realisation others are happy to continue on as usual, despite knowing the dilemma we are in.

I had hoped by now most people in our community would be ready to support meaningful action and preparation for what's coming.

The results of your poll suggest to me that the facts of climate change may be just too inconvenient for people to accept.

I admit surprise that this came from the same source of voters who produced a majority “yes” vote last year on your poll for GDC declaring a Climate Emergency.

Seems it was also an inconvenient truth for the council, when our councillors rejected Tairawhiti Youth Environment group's 1200-signature petition.

Again, a Climate Emergency declaration was a pre-election issue supported by most of the successful candidates. Our region is in a minority now in not declaring one.

If I am an “alarmist”, it is because this climate change we are in is alarming. If I am a “perpetual Doom and Gloomer”, it is because there's too little action on the growing climate crisis.

The planet is heating up — and so is talk about climate change.

The Oxford Dictionary made “climate emergency” last year's word of the year. The annual United Nations climate talks in Madrid last month were a failure. Youth climate activists and Extinction Rebellion groups still take to the streets to demand increased action.

Our district is dragging the chain both in local attitudes and council action.

Science can only take us so far — environmentalists, humanists, sociologists, activists and all the people who care will have to take us the rest of the way, by influencing central and local governments.

Please be less selfish in thought and behaviour. The future of life on Earth depends on our collective response.

Bob Hughes

  1. Martin Hanson says:

    Even worse, some people think that the council are doing too much. Words fail.

    1. G R Webb says:

      5000 or so people thought we should bring koalas into New Zealand. There are no bounds to stupidity.

      But the more serious question is what does local government do? Mr Hughes last week conceded that there wasn’t much that we could do in the district to stop climate change happening. But he’s now still bleating on about it.

  2. Bob Hughes says:

    A few words from today’s piece responding to last week’s GH online poll.
    To the cop-out comments.
    Yes, it does matter, it is not too late at all to do something. No matter how long it has been warming, it is surviving the effects that counts, and the doom and gloom belongs to the do-nothing attitude – all of us are highly responsible.
    How about something positive from that Gordon.

  3. G R Webb says:

    This country’s contribution to global warming is so miniscule (at an estimated 0.17% percent of global carbon emissions) that any attempt at mitigation on our part, while giant industrial economies such as China, India and the US go unchecked, is little more than tokenism. But it’s a token gesture that will come at an enormous cost.

  4. Bob Hughes says:

    Gordon, never mind China, India and the US for now.
    The enormous cost is in the tokenism and inaction that you sponsor.
    A lack of mitigation will lead to quick fixes like a need to “depopulate rapidly” that will come at enormous costs. You said it, there are (indeed) no bounds to stupidity.

  5. G R Webb says:

    So, Bob, spell out for us the action and the mitigation measures that you propose.