Tauranga community engages with climate change solutions

Tauranga community engages with climate change solutions

In conjunction with the Do the Math tour of Australia and New Zealand, the team at Tauranga Monthly Film Night screened Do the Math, a documentary by founder Bill McKibben.

McKibben is an author, environmentalist and activist who has generated a huge following across the globe. His 42-minute documentary follows the gathering movement to change the maths of the climate crisis and challenge the fossil fuel industry. It highlights how we are on a crash course to catastrophic climate change if we don’t change the way we do business and go about sourcing more renewable forms of energy.

McKibben also raises awareness by divesting out of high-carbon-polluting industries. He suggests that people do this by contacting investment advisors or portfolio managers and rebalancing their portfolio by aligning with more sustainable businesses. 

Watch the trailer for Do the Math:

While much of the film focused on initiatives in the US, many of the fundamental ideas and initiatives also apply to New Zealand. After the film, the floor was opened for debate with some wonderful ideas and solutions being recorded. Some of the discussion revolved around the obvious, such as further development of cycle-friendly roads, the use and development of solar energy and other renewable energy initiatives, as well as ending the drilling and mining of natural resources across New Zealand. Many people highlighted how our current system of ‘take–make-waste’ is not sustainable.

Other discussion points included:

Efficient waste systems

- Building more efficient waste systems such as biological reprocessing and recoverable materials processing that reclaim organic plants, food, scraps and paper products. These can be recovered through composting and digestion processes to decompose organic matter.

- Energy recovery, which is system of converting waste material either directly or indirectly into another type of fuel was also outlined.

Improved building codes

- Moving towards the use of more sustainable materials and reducing the need for highly processed and energy intensive materials that are usually transported long distances.

Agricultural transformation

- Changing the focus from energy and carbon intensive agriculture that is highly polluting in both introduced toxins and carbon emissions to a more localised system that encourages natural regenerative methods and builds soils.

Many people also expressed the lunacy of the current model of importing foods such as kiwifruit from other countries when we are in the heart of the kiwifruit industry.

Collaborative consumption

TIME magazine rated collaborative consumption as one of the top ten ideas that will change the world over the coming year. Collaborative consumption describes the shift in consumer values from ownership to access. The Collaborative Consumption website states that, "Together, entire communities and cities around the world are using network technologies to do more with less by renting, lending, swapping, bartering, gifting and sharing products on a scale never before possible."

Some examples currently in play in the Tauranga region include: car-pooling, toy libraries, book libraries, time banking and community gardening. Another idea being developed locally is a tool-sharing system.   

Political advocacy and community engagement

A number of people expressed frustration that political systems are reactionary in nature and will only take action when it is politically safe to advocate sweeping changes. Frustration at the lack of attention the mainstream media gives to such important issues highlighted the fact that people must become more vocal at bringing awareness to such matters. Many people are simply not aware of the implications that such climate shifts will bring, due largely to the fact that media outlets find this a difficult topic to cover.

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