There is an increasing sense of urgency behind international calls for actions that provide solutions to the myriad problem now collectively labelled a climate emergency.  The root cause of the problems we now face has been understood for 30 years, yet governments around the world have taken few actions in that time to even address the issues, let alone solve them.

That root cause is simple in concept: in only a few hundred years, human activities have tipped the balance of nature’s carbon cycle, from one that assured a ‘goldilocks zone’ for human, flora and fauna habitation, to one in which species extinction and displacement is accelerating.  

We have upset the carbon cycle so much, that Nature no longer has the capacity to maintain a balance, resulting in the greenhouse effect which drives global warming that in turn leads to climate change, ocean acidification, sea level rise and more consequences.

There are but two prime means that we have upset the balance of the carbon cycle.  One is the mining and burning of fossil fuels that add new greenhouse gases to atmosphere.  The other is the harvesting of nature’s carbon sinks – forests – that leave more greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.  Actually, recent science research is suggesting that climate change is also driven directly from deforestation, again by human activity upsetting a cycle of nature – this time, the water cycle.

It is these two things that the world needs to address.  It is these two things that we, as individuals and households, can address.

This discussion document is the first in a series of four Discussion Documents that will lead to the preparation of an over-arching Pukekohe Parish Plan for Sustainability (PPP4S).  This document covers the mitigation of those two prime drivers of global warming and will lead to a Zero Carbon Plan.  Future documents will lead to separate but related plans covering adaptation to climate change; assuring social justice in the transition; and living wisely within God’s creation.

Please give this discussion document your consideration. Critique it, praise it, criticise it, but please, do not ignore it. It is our ability to care that creates strong communities and just democracies. We need people now, more than ever, who care for creation and care for others.

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