climate change, Uncategorized, water quality

Back in the Saddle

Much has happened since I last posted in 2015.

On the personal level I nursed my partner until his death in November 2016. And it has taken since then to regain some equilibrium…but many experiences have helped along the way!!

From my “Hobbitlearning” title, it will be understood that education is a driving force in my life. I loved teaching. I loved being a school principal just as much: same but different and equally creative. So I was thrilled to be asked by current Minister of Education to serve on the Guardians of the Education Conversation for the last two years. new Zealanders as users of the education system needed to share their reaction to what they experienced and it has been my delight to hear, watch, read all those reactions and then to check that the reforms proposed meet and measure up to those conversations. The reforms will take a while to settle in, but the work has been begun.

One of the sad things to observe has been the mistrust between public and government, such as teachers wanting to retain the competitive model because they did not want to cede power to a collaborative system where state agencies might have a role. Rebuilding trust in a  collaborative state system , rather than a competitive system is going to be an enormous task.

But in these intervening years, I have had two more grandchildren born, and my commitment to environmental improvement has become more urgent. So I stood for the Otago Regional Council, and won a seat and then was elected Chair of the Council. And now my work begins. I want to improve public transportation so as we reduce carbon emissions. I must work to clean up our lakes and rivers and restore wetlands. I want to restore and protect our biodiversity in Otago, New Zealand. There are other goals, but these are my main ones for the next three years.

I will try to blog on here weekly over the next three years to share what we as a Council have accomplished, the problems we face, and ask for ways ahead. So this is a move from major comment on education to local response to climate change, to water and to biodiversity.

I will welcome comment.

climate change, climate change refugees, Uncategorized

So…climate change! Where do we begin?

Last night I went to a meeting in Dunedin where people gathered to discuss whether we should be agreeing to the exploration of our waters for oil and gas.

We did focus a little on the risks from exploration and later from the actual wells.

But something troubled me.

We seemed to be missing the basic question. Why are we actually looking for more hydrocarbons?

Why is not our focus on replacement of these hydrocarbons. Let’s manage this replacement as quickly as possible.

The only Green MP in England, Caroline Lucas has made a similar comment, but hers is on fracking.

“For Lucas, the big problem with fracking has nothing to do with the risk that it will cause earthquakes, contaminate the water table or pollute the soil. In fact, she thinks it possible that stringent regulations could minimise those risks. “It’s not that fracking itself is necessarily worse than ordinary gas extraction. It’s the fact that we’re just about to put into place a whole new infrastructure for a whole new fossil-fuel industry, at exactly the time when we need to be reducing our emissions.” The problem, in other words, is climate change”

In New Zealand, our households and industry are mostly powered by renewable energy, although we should be growing that percentage much much faster.

But it is our transport that is fuelled by oil and gas. Where is the research on alternative fuels? Why are we not harnessing the methane produced by hour livestock? What about the use of algae?

I want a clear statement from political parties on the way forward to reduce our dependence on oil and gas and the timeline in which we are going to do this.