We’ve been in a climate emergency for 40 years, but now we can’t pretend it is not happening any more!

August 16 2021 by Pierre Marasti

We’ve been in a climate emergency for 40 years, but now we can’t pretend it is not happening any more!

In June 2019 Extinction Rebellion and other community groups made our council declare a climate and ecological emergency. The following year, our government did the same. Not many people took the term emergency seriously though, not even the council nor the government. To this day our emissions are still rising.

But in 2021 there is no more avoiding the Climate Crisis.

Ohau burning down to the ground was just a prelude to communities being wiped out of existence in Canada, in Greece, in California, in Turkey or in Siberia.

The floods that afflicted Ashburton and Westport were a just reminder from mother nature that we are not much safer here than others are in Germany, Belgium, India or China.

Last week, the IPCC released its latest report, it is grim. What we have been experiencing this year will be the new normal from now on. And if we don’t start to radically cut our greenhouse gas emissions, it will become far worse.

What we really need to understand is that, beyond the damages on lives and infrastructure, all these extreme weather events are affecting our food security. How many droughts and floods can our farmers go through before food starts to become scarce?

Some countries are already affected by climate induced famine today, what will the world geopolitics look like when food scarcity becomes a worldwide issue?

We are today at 1.2°c of warming, it is now unavoidable that we will reach 1.5°c of warming this decade. If we don’t act 2°c will happen within 20 years.

Living through 1.5°c of warming will be hard, but if we get close from 2°c of warming we will be at a real risk of witnessing the collapse of our civilisation.

Today is our last chance to act radically enough to avoid 2°c of warming and it will not happen just by magic. We need a collective change of mindset, we need to start questioning the impact of everything we do, of everything we buy. Don’t worry about the ute tax, no one should buy a new petrol vehicle ever again! But even the small things matter, the energy we use at home, the packaging around our food, the stuffs we buy but don’t really use,...

We can’t ignore either that the emissions from international flights to Queenstown dwarf the direct emissions from the district!

Most people don’t like changes, but the laws of physics do not care about us.

Change is unavoidable, we can either embrace positive changes, or we can suffer climate induced changes.

What will you choose to do?

Pierre Marasti
Member of Extinction Rebellion
The opinion expressed above are my personal view

- Pierre Marasti