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Climate Change Bill Draft – let’s do this!

We can shout. We can moan. We can use our reusable cup. We can gather in the streets and refuse to go into school until something is done about Climate Change! But in reality…. all you’re achieving is missing your schoolwork and raising your blood pressure.

Sadly national (and international) climate change action must take full effect through the slowly grinding wheel of politics. Booooooring.

Yes, it is boring. And it’s high level. And it’s so darn difficult to read legislation and policy blah when actually I just want to throw something goddamit! Hey you Trump, stop being an arsehole already. Hey, you Brexiteers, stop arguing about the backstop when the world’s drowning already….

But alas that’s how the world works. so what can we actually do. Well you’ve got one day. If you do one thing then stop reading this and read this instead. then go here and do this.

Chances are you’re already too late by the time you read this. In a nutshell it’s a link to providing your two cents worth on the Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Bill where you can try to bring about change through the ‘right channels’. We decided to add our own input through an Economate submission encouraging the Government to make initiatives cross-Ministerial so that accountability sits across all aspects of industry. We also laid out the example of how Economate links Construction with Education. Finally we asked the Government to integrate Climate Change initiatives into the core education. Yes, education. That’s the key to including those poor little buggers who are going to inherit this mess!

Here’s a copy of our submission below:

Climate change targets and initiatives needs to reflect throughout ALL Ministries. This way it allows permeation through all industries:

  • manufacturing and construction
  • education
  • retail
  • entertainment
  • tourism
  • farming and forestry

We wish to make the following recommendations on behalf of a not-for-profit that seeks to connect construction companies with schools towards waste diversion. Therefore our slant is towards linking different industries of construction and education towards mutual benefit.

Cross industry and cross Ministry

Do not confine targets to one Ministry whereupon it becomes a case of preaching to the choir. There is accountability to all industries that fall under the entire range of Ministries. For example:

Preconsumer construction waste is entering landfill. This accounts for nearly 12% of Wellington’s total landfill volume and is only the measurement available from council managed landfill – those under privately run landfill sites are not even accessible. This is not acceptable.

Barriers towards waste diversion include waste levies and landfill costs that are too low – there is little incentive to divert waste when under pressure.

  • Increase waste levies and landfill costs
  • Make privately owned landfill accountable

However a waste diversion scheme in Wellington run by Economate helps directly link construction companies to schools to divert preconsumer waste. This directly reduces:

  • The amount of waste entering landfill
  • The amount of raw timber purchased by school technology departments
  • The amount of money spent on landfill by construction companies
  • The amount of money spent on raw materials by schools

Subsequently the materials diverted encourage:

  • Sustainability ethos in schools and construction companies
  • Problem solving for students around using materials
  • Ability for students to construct items at cost saving
  • Ability for construction companies to target potential apprentices for Gateway schemes improving both employment options and trades deficits

Education Sector must play their part

Alongside this the education sector must play a vital role in addres future climate change. Issues of and targets for sustainability must permeate through the broader curriculum and not be seen as a topic able to be tacked onto the end of core subjects.

Climate change is a core subject since Generation Z will be inheriting future problems. Involving Generation Z in problem solving and taking ownership of finding the solution and holding leaders accountable simply makes sense.

Please consider this approach. If New Zealand introduced Sustainability classes – with its proactive approach rather than problem-led ‘Climate Change’ – then this would set it on the world sage for influencing education.

This would be a bold move and one outside the initial remit of the Ministry. However it would set the scene for cross-Ministerial and cross-industrial collaboration.

Furthermore this could support current educational focus on Pasifika and Maori achievement drives since Pasific Islands are those currently at greatest initial threat of sea level rise (Pacific Climate Change Conference 2018). This supports Pasifika students to understand the threat to their genealogical history and the opportunities around finding solutions.

  • Encourage links between industry and education to encourage problem solving
  • Introduce cross-Ministerial targets
  • Introduce sustainability as a core subject for education
  • Introduce educational targets so that climate change is given as much emphasis in the curriculum as Te Tiriti O Waitangi, Pasifika and Maori achievements.

The Climate Change Bill must be embedded in education for this to reach the next generation of decision makers. We challenge this committee to put pressure on our own government to take accountability across all of it’s Ministries.

Opinion piece. Nick Cottrell.