Episode 132: Climate (in)action and uncomfortable words

In this podcast I wrap up the week in local political news (Hamilton NZ).  Have a listen or check out the summary below…..

Hamilton’s grey wall of shame is about to get a make-over (at long last).  The $100,000 price-tag will be fundraised by Beyond Tomorrow Trust – who we don’t know much about except that Councillor Ryan Hamilton is a trustee.  According to the Charities register the purpose of the trust was religion and education… regardless, I look forward to the design being one that recognises the cultural significance of that site for Maaori. 

Go Eco presented their ‘State of the Environment’ report which included a presentation by a Hillcrest High Student – who is a first time voter this year – asking for urgency in response to the climate crisis.  He’s involved in the School strikes for climate movement who you can find out more about here.

However, it was the attempt by Mayor Andrew to censor a couple of paragraphs of the report that attracted nationwide media coverage.  You can watch the live streamed video of the meeting here.  In my opinion, councillors who were uncomfortable over words like ‘colonisation’, ‘privilege’, ‘pakeha’ or ‘oppression’ need to start reading history books, getting out into the community they claim to represent and need to reflect rather than get defensive and upset about facts presented.  We’ve got to acknowledge the problem before we can find workable solutions.

Friday the 17th was the last day to send in a submission to the Gambling Commission to oppose Sky City swapping three blackjack tables for 63 pokie machines.

We had the first candidate announcement for the Waikato Regional Council, with former CEO of the Waikato Chamber of Commerce William Durning putting his hat in the ring.  

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What will it take for us to panic? Call to action

<Published first in the Hamilton News 8 February 2019>

If we smell smoke, we have a quick look around the house and if nothing is out of order, go back to what we were doing.  There’s no perceived need to panic.  If the smoke alarm goes off and we see smoke or flames, we evacuate and call emergency services.  We are aware of the danger, and act to minimise loss of life and property.  We panic. 

Greta Thunberg a 16 year old Swedish climate activist, told leaders at Davos last week that she wants us to panic in response to the danger we are facing with climate change.  Lately I too have been wondering why we are so complacent when it comes to the biggest threat that modern humans have faced.  The science is overwhelming, the timeline to act is narrowing – the smoke alarm has gone off and yet we still aren’t panicking, some of us aren’t even looking up. 

When it comes to climate action many of us do nothing more than sign the odd petition, nod in agreement with David Attenborough and leave it to those with economic or political interests to fumble around for solutions that won’t impact their bottom line.  A process that is taking too long and falling far short of what is required.    

Climate change is already happening, D-day is getting closer.  In fact, the world’s leading climate scientists have given us 12 years to limit a catastrophe when life as we know it won’t be possible.  Doesn’t that worry you?  Climate change isn’t just about sunny days and warmer summer swims, it’s loss of ecosystems, frequent devastating storms and droughts, the inability to produce enough food and urupa falling into the ocean.  Why would you let the house burn down if you could lessen the damage by not leaving your cooking unattended?    

What will it take for more of us to be assertive and demand real change?  When will acts of civil disobedience take over from the polite yet ineffective acts we currently do to make ourselves feel like we’re part of the solution?  I like to keep hope as much as the next person; I like to sign petitions and make submissions, but we have to do more.  How will we look our children in the eye when they ask why we ignored the alarm?

Youth are taking climate action in Kirikiriroa on March 15th alongside tens of thousands of others around the world. Join us!

Episode #107 – A new approach to housing & “Drunken nights in Dublin”

Episode #107 Podcast link. 

11:11m – “Painting pictures” a track from 80s pop rock band Step Chant Unit.

15:30m – Connected living and affordable housing – it can be done, but will involve putting our current presumptions and systems aside.  Speakers from around the motu will present the community with innovative ways to address our housing crisis – through land trusts, co-housing, ecological building and truly affordable homes.  In today’s podcast we are joined by organiser – Samantha Rose from SHAMA to hear more about the kaupapa and event.  Tickets are available from eventbrite for $10, or $15 at the door.

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26:07m – “Hamilton” Chris Thompson

29:37m – Pinenut Records released it’s first album by Sneaky Feelings in 2017 and is following up with the release of “Drunken Nights in Dublin” by folk artist Chris Thompson.  44 years after it was recorded.  The provenance of the acetate which was picked up on Ebay last year is fascinating – and the craftmanship that my guest Donald McLeod of Pinenut records has put into pressing the LP and screen-printing the album cover is a testament to good things taking time.  The album is being released at a one-off full band gig at Nivara Lounge on November 24th.

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40:30m – “Fox’s minstrel show” Chris Thompson

44:30m – Top (more than 5) local events.

50:11m “The Simpsons” The Recently Deceived

50:50m – “La la land” Coral

Listen to the podcast here.

Conservation week with Eugenie Sage – Minister of Conservation and Andrea Graves from Riverlea Environment Soc.

Ko te wiki tiaki ao tūroa tenei.  It’s Conservation week from the 15th to the 23rd of Mahuru.  For my 100th show, I’ll be speaking with Eugenie Sage of the Green Party of Aotearoa.  She is the Minister of Conservation and Land Information, the Associate Minister of the Environment and Acting Minister for Women.

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I’ll ask about her year so far – which included criticism of her signing approval for a Chinese company to bottle water at Otakiri Springs – Whakatane.  We’ll discuss protests at the Karangahake gorge over the weekend – resulting in the arrest of 5 people, including ex-Green party member Catherine Delahunty.  Eco and Ag-tourism are an economic opportunity for the Waikato, so I ask how we can ensure it’s sustainability.  With 1080 in the news again, we’ll korero about it’s role in conservation and finally how the coalition and central and local government are working together.

The focus of this year’s te wiki ao tūroa is our backyard – so coming back to local issues I’ve asked Andrea Graves to speak on behalf of the Riverlea Environment Society Inc about the mahi they do; their vision for the area, how development at Peacocke might impact on that and how we can get involved in advocacy and by getting our hands dirty!

Tune in to Free FM 89.0 (Waikato) at 10am this Friday.  Stream live online or wait for the podcast which will be shared on facebook or my website after the show.

Taking on… plastic bags

You have to have been living under a big plastic rock if you weren’t aware of the damage plastic is doing to our planet, in it’s generation and end of life.  So, when I walked into Countdown last night and saw a new plastic bag intended to replace the old plastic bag I sighed…  Here’s what I have to say to those who are having trouble breaking up with the plastic bag.

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Nooooo. Countdown replaces plastic bag with plastic bag.

1,  Suck it up Buttercup.  It’s that simple.  When you consider the damage plastics are doing to our environment, the small sacrifice that we have to make is insignificant.

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11 minutes in your hand, a lifetime in the sand.

2, Use your Scout or Girl Guide experience and Be prepared.  Take one or some of the million bags you already have at home to the supermarket with you next time.

3, Stash stash stash.  Think ahead, put some in your glovebox, roll some up into your handbag or revert back to point 1.

4, You didn’t plan on going to the supermarket and now you have 12 items?  It happens to the best of us – ask for a box… failing that – play tetrix and balance them for your walk to the car – treat it like a game, it’ll be Fun and is infinitely rewarding.  DO NOT CAVE IN to the bag.

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This guy knows

5, You can usually juggle half a dozen pieces of fruit, but if you get caught out use the brown mushroom bags… it might cost you .01c more but provided you fling it into compost or recycling after you reused it – ka pai e hoa.   You might just save a dolphin.

Plastic bags are just the tip of the plastic iceberg.  Personally I think our toughest battle is going to be food packaging – but lets start with the bags.

Now that I have your attention I want to let you know about two fantastic volunteer groups in Hamilton.  Both make reusable bags out of reused fabric to give away!! Check them out, find out where you can get your hands on a bag, donate some fabric or volunteer your time!

Plastic Bag Free Hamilton East and Plastic Bag Free Glenview.

It’s coming up to Plastic Free July – sign up to do the full challenge, or tackle one item… if nothing else let that item be the plastic bag.

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We are not paying “The True Cost” #fashionrevolution

On the 24th of April 2013, 1138 people died and 2500 others were injured when an eight-story building with several garment factories inside collapsed.  The Rana Plaza disaster became a tragic illustration of the consequences of fast fashion, largely thanks to the 2015 documentary “The True Cost”.  I urge you to watch it if you haven’t already.

As a result of this disaster a campaign called #fashionrevolution was launched and this week I looked a little bit more into the social and environmental costs of fashion and what we can do to join this revolution.

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While up until the 1980’s it was more common than not to find “Made in New Zealand” on clothing tags – since then, most manufacturing has been outsourced to developing countries.  There are 40 million garment workers in the world, mostly in Bangladesh and China, with some working in substandard physical conditions and many more being exploited – all for the sake of our obsession with cheap fashion.  While the $2 or $3 a day might seem better than the alternative for people in these countries; the constant pressure to produce more clothing for less money is having an impact.  We, in New Zealand are not paying the True cost of our clothing.  The workers are.

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While pressure continues to provide safe conditions and a living wage for these workers, both in New Zealand and around the world, we are still having to address the fact that fashion is our 2nd biggest polluter after oil.  So, how does fashion impact on our environment?

“The True cost” shared the impact of genetically modified cotton – being intensively farmed and sprayed with Roundup to control pests.  I’m talking large scale – millions of acres of soil being drenched in poison to try to keep up with the demand for fast fashion.  I knew Monsanto was a dirty word – but it wasn’t until I started looking more into it in terms of a cyclical trap for farmers that I realised how significant this is for all of us.  Google it.

After we destroy our soil, air and biodiversity we move to dying textiles with toxic chemicals which not only causes disease and death to workers, but gets into water ways, and the soil they use for food production.   Speaking of water, the 2700 litres required to  produce one t-shirt is a crime in itself, particularly given how many people don’t have access to clean drinking water.

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<Sarcastic tone> But that’s okay because we now have a $5 t-shirt, which is considered disposable.

Clothing has become so cheap that we think nothing when we dispose of it or “donate it” to the op-shop.  But, did you know only 10% of what we donate to op-shops sells in their shop?  The rest is bundled, shipped overseas where they don’t want it either so is incinerated or sent to landfill.  We in New Zealand are not paying the True cost of our clothing.  The environment is.

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So we, as consumers of cheap fashion find ourselves responsible for a dying planet and exploitation of people.  We need systematic change.  That’s where #fashionrevolution comes in.  Change starts with us. 

This list isn’t exhaustive but here are 5 ways you can do something.

  1.  Shop wisely.  Do you really need it?  Chose quality over quantity, or just say “No”. (Added benefit of being good for your wallet too).
  2. Check out the label.  Tearfund is one of the organisations who have made it easy for us to find out how ethical different brands are.  If a label is an “F” leave it on the rack.  Better yet – send a letter requesting ethical compliance.  If we don’t buy it, they can’t justify making it.
  3. Shop local.  We’ve got so many awesome local designers who you can support that there’s no need to ship in your fashion.
  4. Feel it. Think about what happens at the end of a garments’ life.  Fair trade organic cotton, hemp or wool is good because it can break down naturally, unlike synthetic material.  Another way to look after the environment is to avoid polyester or if you do wear it, wash it when it needs it not after every wear.  Microfibres are getting into our waterways and is now in the fish food cycle. Yuk.
  5. Buy second hand.  It keeps clothes in the cycle longer; stops the need for new clothing to be made and again, saves you money without the exploitative side.

#fashionrevolution is held around the 24th of April each year so we don’t forget the lives of those who died bringing us fast fashion.

Zero Below by Katie

In this week’s podcast I chat to zero-waste advocate Katie Hine.  Over the last couple of years, she’s worked towards reducing her waste to just a jar every couple of months, far shy of the 780kg the average Hamiltonian is responsible for each year.  Hear about her journey, and tips on how we can all reduce our environmental impact starting in the home.  (www.zerobelow.co.nz or insta “zerobelowbykatie“)

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Katie Hine has a blog called http://www.zerobelow.co.nz

Earlier in the week Katie and I organised a meet up for those interested in zero-waste which was a great opportunity to share ideas, ask questions and find out what is happening at a community and political level with regards to waste minimisation.  If you’re interested in future meetings, or want to be one of the first to sign a petition to the Hamilton City Council which launches next week – join the Zero-waste Kirikiriroa group on facebook.

In this episode I also talk about the proposed name change to Kirikiriroa and play music from local bands The Shrugs, The Good Fun, Loudhailer, Date Month Year, Ancient Tapes and Snake Oil Peddlers.

 

With thanks to Two Birds Eateries for their support for Kelli from the Tron and FreeFM89.0.  Listen to the podcast here.