My key reason for running for Northland Regional Council is my deep love for our home – our taiao/natural environment. I’m super concerned that if we don’t do something quick smart, the backyard that we so love living and playing in will become a distant memory for our not-so-far-in-the-future generations.
Lots of contributors, including pests, invasive weeds and of course, human impact. Consider this; back in 2017 the Clean Water Report states that 71% of Northland lakes and rivers are either poor or intermittent (i.e. unswimmable) leaving just 29% from fair to excellent (excellent under 5%).
One of the challenges is that for most of us, when we look out the window, she looks pretty good. Well, she isn’t, and we need to do something about it.
On behalf of the Northland Conservation Board, I had the privilege of leading a community conversation asking Northlanders to outline their hopes and fears for the now and future of our taiao/natural environment. The results were insightful to say the least.
78% of respondents told us they are currently worried about te taiao/the natural environment. 54% said they are worried for the future, with 44% remaining hopeful (yay!) The top five concerns been:
loss of taiao/natural environment, pollution, climate change, pests and weeds.
The report, titled Flicking the Switch, captures the feedback and proposed solutions, along with providing a foundation for future strategy and action. You can learn more here.
Although I had a strong sense of the need to rethink the way we do, this kaupapa/project really provided clarity, which I shared with an observation piece in the report. Following is an extract.
‘We are living in challenging times. Globally. Nationally. Locally. It’s a shake up on many levels, causing much anxiety, uncertainty and fear … our current trajectory suggests continued demise of our natural resources and serious challenges for humanity moving forward. It can and is overwhelming at times.
We have a number of choices. The decision to change trajectory sits solely with us. Humanity. It will mean flicking the switch. Moving from how we currently ‘do’ to an approach that recognises and celebrates our interconnectedness.
There is a call to put te taiao/the natural environment back at our centre. To recognise and learn to work with the flow of Mother Nature – a Te Ao Māori approach. This simply acknowledges the interconnectedness and interrelationship of all living and non-living things.
It will require a rethink. A move from take, use and dump to a circular system that takes into account and mitigates all aspects of the process. Ensuring a more harmonious flow that benefits both humanity and the planet that we rely on for survival.
Promoting the benefits of a life connected to and living in accord with nature, will see a return to respecting and valuing all that we have, including each other.’
My commitment is to advocate for the findings in Flicking the Switch, to see Northlanders wisdom implemented - community led and government enabled, leading to a resurgence in the health of our backyard.
We all have a hand to play.