Listen to the kids
Next week thousands of students across the country will ‘strike’ over the lack of action being taken to combat climate change, the biggest and most urgent threat to humanity’s existence on this planet. If we care about the planet our children will inherit from us then we need to step up the communitywide conversation about how we can change our fossil-fuelled ways.
Two initiatives in Kaitaia last week were moves in the right direction. The massive 100kW solar power system at Kaitaia College not only supplies clean, renewable, cheap energy for the school, but is helping to spread the message that there are alternatives to our current carbon-heavy energy use. By integrating renewable energy into the curriculum, along with energy monitoring and conservation, these ideas will spread rapidly through our community, leading to more renewable energy projects and behavioural changes.
Transition Towns Kaitaia hosted environmental economist Khurram Rao to front a discussion on why New Zealand won’t reach the target of a 30 per cent reduction on 2005 emissions in the next decade. Khurram stated that our current energy efficient targets and carbon price policies won’t be enough to reach this goal, and that central government needs to adopt energy action plans in the transport, industry and residential sectors.
Last year the NRC signed the Local Government NZ Climate Change Declaration, which set out principles and aspirations addressing the challenges of climate change. It realised that councils and the government, need to work with communities, providing good information and resources so they can make the best decisions themselves.
I’m hoping the work we’ve done in promoting electric vehicles and supporting the electric charging network in Northland will be encouraging locals to turn over a new leaf, a Nissan Leaf to be precise. These cars run at an equivalent cost of 30 cents per litre and produce no greenhouse gas emissions. A secondhand model costs around 10 to 15 grand, but has minimal running costs and is virtuallymaintenance free.
We’re helping with the establishment of ‘fast’ charging networks in Northland. Last year Whanga¯rei was crowned the most EV-friendly city in New Zealand. Our HQ in Whanga¯rei has installed its own rooftop solar system, which charges the 12 electric vehicles in our fleet and offers free charging just outside our office.
We’re also working with communities to understand, prepare for and build resilience to the physical impacts of climate change. Our 3200km of coastline and adjacent low-lying land creates coastal and flood hazards that will only increase with sea level rise and flash flooding. We’ve invested heavily in modelling and mapping these hazards, so if you are living in these areas you may want to check out https:/ /nrcgis.maps.arcgis.com/apps/ webappviewer/index.html?id=81b 958563a2c40ec89f2f60efc99b13b to estimate your current and future risks.
"I’m hoping the work we’ve done in promoting electric vehicles and supporting the electric charging network in Northland will be encouraging locals to turn over a new leaf..."