Council’s response to Climate Change
There are no longer any illusions about the seriousness of the threat posed to our communities, and the world, by climate change. From shifting weather patterns that threaten food production, to rising sea levels that increase the risk of catastrophic and potentially permanent flooding, the impacts of climate change are global in scope and unprecedented in scale.
That’s not stopping us though from playing our part. Nationally, Northland is at the front of the pack in its collective response to these threats and impacts. In April, all four local councils adopted New Zealand’s first region-wide climate adaptation strategy, the Te Tai Tokerau Climate Adaptation Strategy. This will allow the alignment of climate adaptation work across the province ensuring councils’ strategy and planning work is developed with community resilience action and climate adaptation thinking at its core.
A good example of this in action right now is the Adaptive Pathways pilot programme underway in the Ruawai/Raupō area. A partnership between Kaipara District Council, NRC, tangata whenua and the local community, the pilot programme is the first regional example of adaptive planning in response to climate change and will ensure those communities are planning now for how they grow, so they can make decisions on how best to respond to climate change in the future.
In Otiria and Moerewa, planning has turned into action as work by NRC and local hapū to reduce the impacts of flooding is taking place taking place right now.
NRC is also part of groups such as Climate Adaptation Te Tai Tokerau, the Northern Region District Health Boards Climate Adaptation Project and the Northland Infrastructure Climate Change Project, which are all assessing and preparing for what climate change throws at us. The more information we have, and the more integrated we are, the better we can understand the risks and build the resilience of communities and ecosystems.
Speaking of information, if you haven’t yet the seen the NZ sea level projection tool online, we highly recommend it. Just google NZ SeaRise and you’ll find it. For the first time we’re all now able to see how much, and how fast, sea levels are predicted to rise along individual stretches of coastline. The information will be critical in informing how we help Northland coastal communities adapt to the growing effects of climate change.
Our Enviroschools team are also working hard to advance the climate change message and have been handing out Kete Aronui, which are climate action kits, to some schools and centres across the region. The kete contains materials and korero for schools and centres to set up and gain experience with systems to help in areas such as food waste reduction, water conservation, improving biodiversity, growing food, as well as experimenting with a solar kit.
At council we’re also investing in a growing fleet of EVs as well as increasing our use of solar energy generation.
We all have a role to play in climate action and if we work collectively, we have more chance of finding solutions that actually work.