Extinction Rebellion swarm, 19 May

Last Thursday some of us joined Extinction Rebellion Te Whanganui-a-Tara / Wellington in a swarm on the streets outside Parliament. With protest signs upheld, we did a circuit around two Molesworth Street intersections, stopping traffic at for around five seconds each time.

At the first swarm, delayed motorists tooted their horns as expected. At the second swarm, one particularly belligerent driver continued to roll into one of the protesters (who is unhurt). At the third, drivers in both oncoming lanes did this. I personally found this very concerning (but then, I am a newbie at disruption tactics).

We hoped the affected drivers stopped thinking about how inconvenienced they were, long enough to consider why we were doing this in the first place.

Painting the town green

On Monday members of a range of climate groups got together to chalk-bomb Wellington’s busiest intersections. Below is the media release that followed.

‘Monday night at midnight (16 May) a coalition of climate activists were out chalk-bombing the streets of Wellington, expressing their disappointment and anger over the inadequate nature of the Emissions Response Plan. The new plan proposes our country buys its way out of excess greenhouse gases (GHG) through overseas carbon offsets. 

In the face of the escalating GHG emanating from Aotearoa, people from several climate organisations – 350.org, XR, Fridays For Future, and the Fossil Free State Sector Coalition, had come together from the recent Climate Justice Hui to look at possible steps to turn around the juggernaut that is the climate crisis. 

“Seeing cars driving over a chalk image of our planetary home is more than a metaphor” said Francesca Pouwers of Fridays For Future.

Multi coloured signs appeared all over our city’s intersections Monday night. Sadly, the chalk images are washed away – but the serious points about what must be done, remain. They are summarised in statements like “Too Much Emission Here”, “Less Cow Now” and “Decarbonise Decolonise”. These are things we must address. Then we can make the necessary changes to avert what looms in the future.

With the Budget being released tomorrow, 19th May, more action can be expected, with XR calling people to gather at midday at the corner of Hill St and Molesworth.

Fridays For Future relocating to Midland Park

Starting on 20 May 2022 (after the Budget) we will take our protest to the front of the Fonterra building at Midland Park.

A prime climate criminal, they were the target of a light show on Earth Day (courtesy of 350 Aotearoa). Fonterra is Aotearoa New Zealand’s biggest climate polluter, yet they continue to increase dairy herds and burn coal and gas.

Please join us outside the Fonterra Building, Midland Park, central Wellington – every Friday 12.30 – 1.30pm.

Climate reading list

Here’s a list of good reads found by our members

Healthy and Climate-Friendly Eating Patterns in the New Zealand Context

A study published in 2020 in Environmental Health Perspectives looked at the greenhouse gas emissions of different foods and dietary patterns.

The University of Otago researchers developed a New Zealand-specific food emissions database for 346 commonly eaten foods . The database calculated the total emissions for each food and considered each part of the food’s lifecycle, such as farming and processing, transportation, packaging, warehouse and distribution and refrigeration needs for chilled products. 

Read the article here.

Or you can skip the reading and just study this infographic –

A guide to climate change related obligations of local government authorities

This is a general guide for local communities when talking to local authorities about their climate change related legal obligations and processes, prepared by Lawyers for Climate.

Read it here.

To fight inflation, we must fight climate change

An opinion piece published in The Hill (US-based) that discusses climate change’s influence on the cost of living.

Read it here.

I helped Indigenous peoples beat Chevron in court and they put me on house arrest. It didn’t work.

Steven Donziger is a US lawyer who has spent much of the last 28 years fighting Chevron and the fossil industry on behalf of Indigenous peoples, over the destruction of the Amazon and our larger planet.

Read the article here.

And now, this –

Climate Justice Hui and Potluck 26 May

The next Potluck Hui will be on the 26th of May at the Sustainability Trust at 5.30pm. Put it in your calendar!

Sustainability Trust is at 2 Forresters Lane, Te Aro, Te Whanganui-a-Tara (Wellington) 6011

Come and share your climate action mahi, collaborate, and eat some yummy kai.

Bring some food to share (or if you prefer, bring something to nibble on for yourself).

RSVP to Alana Kane (She/her) at alana@350.org.nz

Everyone is welcome so please share with your networks!

This event is hosted by 350 Aotearoa, Generation Zero and the Fossil Free State Sector Coalition

So what are our “Seven calls to action”?

We mentioned seven calls to action in our last letter to Grant Robertson, and Francesca spoke about them during our Earth Day action. In case you missed both, here it is all laid out for you…

# Invest In the Planet: Our 7 Calls for action on Earth Day 2022 to protect planet & people 

  1. Permanently reduce the cost of public transport and increase tax on fossil fuels, provided options are in place such as transport on demand.
  2. Put a ban on synthetic nitrogen as a way forward to transform agriculture in Aotearoa. Regenerate our soils, our rivers, our water and reduce herd sizes!
  3. Bring back high-quality products which last and can be repaired. Make it mandatory for businesses to supply spare parts.
  4. Commit to 30 % upwards of ocean sanctuaries
  5. Ban bottom trawling and police sustainable fishing
  6. Upscale/improve recycling of household and industrial waste management systems   
  7. Last but not least: Commit to a Green Oath  to Tend to Planet and People, not Profit. 

A green oath is fundamental to Green Growth- a path of economic growth that uses the earth’s resources in a sustainable way.  A green oath is also crucial to ‘getting ethical’ and redistributing wealth and power in order to take care of planet and people, not profit. We call for the government to take the lead and model this stewardship, this kaitiakitanga, needed to turn our economy around. We need our leaders to tell the story of how we can restore and create a more sustainable way of life on planet Earth.

This is what such an oath could encompass:

  1. Act in service of a flourishing web of life.  Tend to the health of Planet and People by embedding the economy in the living world. Nature is an part of our economic system. Feel the pulse of its feedback loops. 
  2. Be thoughtful in policy making. Always seek to minimise the risk of harm to our planet and people, especially to those that are most vulnerable now. 
  3. Respect the autonomy of communities through engagement and consent.  Commit to a deliberative economy so the voices of all people are heard.   Respect the wisdom of indigenous communities who lived closer to Nature than we now do, as expressed in Te Tiriti within Aoteroa New Zealand.
  4. Work with humility, be transparent and reflect on the assumptions and shortcomings of any economic models we use. Commit to an economic model that is regenerative by design and that is dependent on alternative energy systems that mimic nature. 

(Adapted from Doughnut Economics K Raworth, p161.)

We call on you, our leaders to take this oath, to act swiftly and have regular press conferences to tell us of the measures put in place to combat climate change and

 protect our planet and people.

Francesca Pouwer for Fridays For Future         Wellington, Te Upoko o Te Ika, Aotearoa https://www.fridaysforfuture.nz

Climate accountability now! Sign this petition

Bernard Schofield’s petition is now open. It asks the Government for fortnightly press conferences to inform the public on the country’s progress in reducing greenhouse gases.

Regular press conferences specifically about climate change will encourage reporters with specialised knowledge to attend and will give them the opportunity to question Government closely on this crucial issue.

The petition, and more information about it, is on Action Station https://our.actionstation.org.nz/petitions/action-on-climate-emergency.

Photos from Earth Day

Iona Pannett accepting letter from Paul Bruce (Guardians of the Bays)