A Climate Emergency?

So, Auckland Council have declared a “Climate Emergency”.

In the words of Councillor Penny Hulse, chair of Auckland Council’s Environment and Community committee, this declaration is “a call to action for Council to take seriously, its role in climate change.”  She went on to say that Council needs to “… make sure that all policies we set and budgets we set, are set with a climate change lens in mind.”

That is signalling a clear intention to take action.  But it’s not actually taking action is it?

If the emergency were say, seismic readings indicating an increased likelihood of a volcanic eruption, then for sure, Civil Defence would be activated and we would see real actions aimed at protecting Auckland’s population and property.

To be fair to Council, they are taking some actions around climate change.  They have drafted a plan – the Auckland Climate Action Plan (ACAP) – that will go out to public consultation in July/August.  They adopted the Auckland Plan and Unitary Plans adopted in 2018.  Then they have plans in development around: Strategic Asset Management; Measuring Asset Performance; establishing a Landslide remediation fund; profiling spatial dimension community asset risks (flooding); a Natural Hazards Risk Management Action Plan; a Natural Hazards Research Plan and plans for Coastal Compartment Management.

They have implemented a Live Lightly programme, a Sustainable Schools Plan and a Waste Management & Minimisation Plan. 

The current state of Council’s Climate Change mitigation and adaptation actions is an impressive list of plans but contains little in the way of what is needed – actual climate mitigation actions.

Some people will leap to Auckland Council’s defence and say that I am being unfair, that the thinking and planning work needs to be done before actions are implemented.  They are right, that desktop work does need to be done.  But.

Actually, action is required to mitigate the drivers of global warming.
(excerpt from Auckland Council report “Climate Change Risks in Auckland”

Can we afford to wait to see if these plans and intentions translate to an actual reduction in Auckland’s emissions?  If the emergency were say, seismic readings indicating an increased likelihood of a volcanic eruption, then for sure, Civil Defence would be activated and we would see real actions aimed at protecting.

Perhaps Council see no hope for mitigation actions having an impact worthy of going for.  That seems so in the framing of this header in their risk assessment report.

This may be why their report Climate Change Risks in Auckland focuses more on adaptation and less on mitigation.  Perhaps that too is unfair on Council, for the report is a risk assessment and as they say in the report, “Understanding the climate change risks and impacts on vulnerability for Auckland is imperative to both mitigate and adapt to climate change and to inform planning and decision making.”  

If it leads to a new climate change lens, where the word “URGENT” is writ large across it, then perhaps we will do what needs to be done – to reduce fossil fuel CO2 emissions.

Actually, taking mitigation actions is not that difficult.  As we have experienced in many of the St Andrews events and projects this past year or three:

  • Our Earth Day events have been carbon negative – we have sequestered more atmospheric CO2 than was emitted in the running of the events plus that emitted by all the people attending them.
  • Our communal food garden has
    • provided food-miles-free food
    • not required any artificial fertilisers
    • used no town-supply water even given the particularly dry summer we just had
    • reduced wastes going to landfill with kitchen waste from parish events going to the worm farm plus garden waste going to the compost
    • provide an opportunity for local people to gather as Friends of St Andrew’s Food Garden
  • Six “Grow Your Own Food” courses have taught many people how to increase their self-resilience.

These are all real climate actions that any parish can implement. For advice on how your parish can do similar things, call the Sustainability Fieldworker, John, on 021 46 36 86.


Celebrating World Earth Day 2019

Please come and celebrate World Earth Day 2019 with us on
Saturday 27th April at St Andrews Anglican Church, 43 Queen St, Pukekohe or on
Sunday 28th April at Footbridge Estate in Bombay, 59 Chamberlain Road, Bombay.

With the impacts of climate change being increasingly felt here in New Zealand and around the world, not only do we need to reduce carbon emissions from our human activities, we need to also remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Earth Day is on 22nd April each year.  For each of the past two years, we have had small scale events – at St Andrews, Pukekohe. in 2017, and at St Paul’s, Buckland, last year.

The Charcoal Fire nearing the time to extinguish it to create the biochar.
The Charcoal Fire nearing the time to extinguish it to create the biochar.

Time to extinguish the 2017 fire so that the char we want is not all burned to ash. The young ladies had some fun with that and no one got wet.

Jan Wallace, vicar of At Andrews extinguishing the 2018 Charcoal Fire under the supervision of the local fire brigade.

For our 2019 Earth Day event we aim to sequester 1-2 tonnes of atmospheric CO2 in the biochar we will bury plus an additional 14 tonnes over 10 years with the fruit trees planted atop the biochar.  That will make this event more than carbon neutral.
So come on the Saturday with your children (little eco-warriers) to experience the Charcoal Fire
Or come on the second day (Sunday 28th April) to learn more about our climate actions in the seminar series:
Innovations & Sustainability Seminars (3pm – 4:20 pm)
  1. Biological treatments of agricultural pests and diseases
    Dr Stephen Ford
  2. New Zealand’s transition to a low emissions economy
    Rod Oram
  3. The need to sequester atmospheric carbon and biochar’s role in achieving that
    John Allen
  4. Ecotheology: Climate Action from a Church perspective
    Dr. Nicola Hoggard Creegan

Our objectives for this event are:

  1. to acknowledge and celebrate World Earth Day 2019 (22 April)
  2. for children to learn through fun and activities, about climate actions (Saturday)
  3. to offer seminars (Sunday) as a means for people to learn about:
    1. Biological treatments of agricultural pests and diseases
    2. New Zealand’s transition to a low emissions economy
    3. The need to sequester atmospheric carbon and biochar’s role in achieving that
    4. Ecotheology: Climate Action from a Church perspective
  4. To make the event carbon-negative***

***  Carbon-negative: burying more carbon, in the form of biochar, than is burned in getting to/from and used in planning and running the event.  Plus we will plant 50 fruit trees (==500 stems/Ha) over the biochar, sequestering CO2 at a rate of 14.1T/year for 10 years.

To print the brochure: Click the image to open it in a new window and print it.

Our programme is

Day 1: Saturday 27th April, 8 am to 12 noon.
@ St Andrews Anglican Church, 43 Queen St, Pukekohe

The Charcoal Fire
Lighting at 8 am using a top-down burn method to reduce smoke and carbon emissions
Quenching at 11:40 am
Attendees can take a lump of char home with them

Static Display of Biochar production tech
8:00 am – 12:00 pm

Climate Q&A Forum
The need to take climate actions to hold global warming to well below 2°C… 9:00 am – 11:30 am

Children’s games and activities
9am – 11:30 am

Sausage sizzle and drinks available
9am – 12 pm

Day 2: Sunday 28th April
@ Footbridge Estate for Innovation & Sustainability,
59 Chamberlain Rd, Bombay

The Charcoal Fire
Lighting at 1 pm using a top-down burn method to reduce smoke and carbon emissions
Quenching at 4:30 pm
Attendees can take a lump of char home with them

Innovations & Sustainability Seminars

    1. Biological treatments of agricultural pests and diseases
      Dr Stephen Ford
    2. New Zealand’s transition to a low emissions economy
      Rod Oram
    3. The need to sequester atmospheric carbon and biochar’s role in achieving that
      John Allen
    4. Ecotheology: Climate Action from a Church perspective
      Dr. Nicola Hoggard Creegan

Static Display of Biochar production tech
1:00 pm – 5:00 pm

Vintage High Tea
Food for sale at 1pm and 2:30pm.
$35 pp. 
Bookings essential – email Ngaire@footbridge.co.nz

To make the event carbon-negative, after the event we will:

Establish the Terra Preta Orchard:

  • Burning 1.5T dry wood will yield around 400 Kg biochar
  • Burying that 400Kg biochar ½m below the soil surface will sequester around 1.5T CO2
  • Inoculating the biochar with compost/vermicast tea will activate it with soil micro-organisms
  • Covering the biochar with excavated soil ensures the char is retained
  • Planting 50 fruit trees will sequester a further 1.4 T CO2 each year for 20 years
  • Event emissions are estimated at 1.5 T CO2e

Sustainability Matters

October has been an impactful month from a sustainability perspective.

The Government last week released a new report Essential Freshwater: Healthy Water, Fairly Allocated, on how to improve the quality of our freshwater systems.

We will all be affected by new rules, to be in place by 2020, that are intended to halt the degradation of our freshwater systems.  Those rules ought result in a noticeable improvement in freshwater quality within five years.

Then, on World Food Day, leaders in the global food movement set out their clear opposition to “gene drives” in a new report, Forcing the Farm.

The report explored controversial new genetic engineering technologies, the same tech that our government have proposed as a means to make the country pest free.

The authors of the report present case studies on how gene drive organisms could entrench industrial agriculture and threaten food sovereignty.  Their arguments are compelling.

Then there was a new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that highlighted just how dire our inaction on mitigating the drivers of global warming will be.

The report, which was commissioned by the United Nations, assesses the consequences of global average temperatures rising by 1.5°C.  The climate actions required to avoid that level of warming do not make for edifying reading – we have as little as 12 years to slash global emissions by some 45 percent.

The report is unequivocal – in case you hadn’t noticed, our climate is changing now.  So political and social action and commitment is required now.  There can be no more procrastinating.

When it comes to the risks to humans from climate change, it is often the people least able to take action, who will be affected the most.  This includes the poor and the elderly, our pacific neighbours who may be displaced from their homes due to sea level rise and our grandchildren.

What climate actions can you take?

There are two prime drivers of global warming.

One is the emission of new carbon to the atmosphere when we burn fossil fuels.  So cutting down on your fossil fuel use by driving less is a great climate action.

The other is the removal of carbon sinks when we cut trees down.  So planting trees is a great climate action too.

Less impactful but still beneficial actions you can take are in the areas of household energy, food, waste and water systems.  These four areas of sustainability are all founding principles of the St Andrews (Pukekohe) communal food garden.  

At a parish level, energy audits, starting a food garden (or food hub), composting of food and garden wastes and rain water harvesting are all easy-to-take climate and sustainability actions.  And community building can be achieved by adding a Friend’s of the Food Garden group or a Grow Your Own Food course, alongside the food garden, will provide a base from which people can learn how to make small changes to their carbon footprint.  These actions will also help us build resilience as we move steadily towards having to adapt to climate change.

Ecological Overshoot is a tragedy, not a tactic

It’s an easy and sometimes advantageous strategy to overshoot a mark we have in our sights.

When selling a house, it is usually the case that the asking price is set higher than the expected selling price.  It gives some wriggle room for the negotiations between buyer and seller.

And in salary negotiations, a confident job applicant has been known to overshoot the job’s salary target in the hope of influencing the employer to anchor salary negotiations at a higher level.  That tactic can backfire on those who do not know the realistic salary expectations of the job.

It’s a tactic used in golf.  The chance of holing a putt increases by weighting the shot for the ball to go past the hole, rather than dropping in to the hole on it’s dying rotation.    The downside of this overshoot strategy is that when one misses the target, the next putt may be even more difficult.

So it seems to be when setting carbon emission targets.  The Paris target of less than 2 °C of warming, will be difficult to achieve.  So we see the tendency to allow global GHG concentrations to rise above the target level in the expectation of bringing them back down at a future time.

Technology may or may not satisfy the expectation.

If it does, then the costs of meeting the target will inevitably have risen over that time of procrastination.

If it does not, then there will be no consequence to the procrastinators – that will fall on future generations.

We can see this lose-lose overshoot strategy playing out now in the concept of Overshoot Day.

Developed by the Global Footprint Network, Overshoot Day is a means to flag the date on which we ask more from nature, than our planet can renew in a year.


Today (August 1st) is World Overshoot Day.  This date reflects human demand for ecological resources across the planet, being 1.7 times what the Earth can sustainably meet.

New Zealand had it’s own Overshoot Day.  May 1st was the date on which Earth Overshoot Day would have fallen if all of humanity consumed like we do. Our demand for the earth’s resources is equivalent to more than three earths.

What will life be like when the rest of humanity demands what we have and take for granted?

When selling a house, negotiating a salary or playing a golf shot, overshooting the target may be a valid tactic.  When overshooting the capacity of the Earth to supply resources, it is a tragedy in the making.

Submission on the Zero Carbon Bill

Anglicans CAN logoThis submission represents the collective views of the Anglican’s Climate Action Network (Anglicans CAN), Auckland, and does not purport to be the position of the Anglican Church of Aotearoa New Zealand. Anglicans CAN is a group of Anglicans who have been raising awareness, providing education and supporting political action on climate change issues since 2006 under the Cherished-Earth.nz initiative.

Cherished Earth is a climate justice initiative of the Anglican Diocese of Auckland. e initiative is about taking actions that connect Christian faith with caring for creation, and is the practical outworking of a commitment made in 2006 by the Anglican Bishops of Aotearoa New Zealand, including Māori, Pacifika and Pākehā.


Anglicans CAN supports the need to create certainty around New Zealand’s response to the challenges of our changing climate. We offer these considerations around the intentions of the proposed Zero Carbon Bill.

The overarching principle to apply in developing the Zero Carbon Bill, must be one of social justice, not just for New Zealanders, but for all peoples of the world and for future generations.  This implies equality in terms of the distribution of wealth, opportunities, privileges and obligations.

For example, our climate actions must recognise the rights of people in developing countries to achieve the same standard of living and privileges that we take for granted. As the Earth cannot sustain our level of consumption of resources, it follows that our obligation is to reduce our consumption of the things we want but do not need.

Another example is that if incentives and subsidies are to be made available, they must be able to be taken up by anyone, regardless of income, assets or standing in the community.

The numbered paragraphs within this submission correspond to the questions posed in the Zero Carbon Bill Discussion Document.

1. The Government must set an ambitious 2050 target in legislation now.
A goal around “net zero emissions” is not adequate because it assumes an unspecified level of gross carbon emissions with offsetting to achieve a net position. Offsetting unconstrained gross emissions is not sustainable because the supply of land suitable for tree planting is limited, and the Government cannot guarantee that it will be able to purchase international carbon credits indefinitely.

That 2050 reduction target must focus predominantly on the release of new carbon to the atmosphere, and less on the recycling of existing carbon gases. New carbon is defined as carbon that is locked into the earth as coal, oil and natural gas, and is therefore, not already within the existing carbon cycle.

Carbon Dioxide generated by the burning and mining of previously sequestered fossil fuels is an example of new carbon. Methane emissions from the exploration and mining of fossil fuels is another example. The emissions from these sources must go to zero.

Biological sources of methane generated by the agricultural sector, is an example of a gas already within the existing carbon cycle. The emissions from this source have already stabilised (since 2011) and have grown by only 5.6% since 1990 (calculated from the 2016 Greenhouse Gas Inventory published by the Ministry for the Environment).

2. Anglicans CAN support none of the three options presented as the “best” target:

  1. net zero carbon dioxide excludes nitrous oxide and so this option cannot be supported.
  2. net zero long-lived gases and stabilised short-lived gases does not explicitly provide for zero new carbon gases and so this option cannot be supported.
  3. 3. net zero all gases (CO2, CH4, N2O) ignores the fundamental differences between short and long- lived gases and so this option cannot be supported.

In place of these “best” target options we propose ones that:

  1. target gross zero emissions of CO2 from fossil fuel sources (2016: 84% of total CO2)
  2. target methane being stabilised at 1990 levels (2016: a 4% reduction to 1990 levels)
  3. for N2O, targets:
    – gross zero emissions from manure management (2016: 1% of total N2O)
    – 50% reduction of N2O from agricultural soils (2016: 94% of total N2O)
    – gross zero emissions from the application of nitrogenous fertilisers to land

3. How should New Zealand meet it’s targets?
Use of the term “net emissions” in each of the three options within the discussion document, make the explicit assumption that tree planting will offset gross emissions and that any shortfall on the target, will be offset with international carbon credits. Anglicans CAN do not see this as an acceptable response to the very serious challenges that global warming represents.

Our submission distinguishes between the emissions of new carbon from the mining and burning of fossil fuels, and the recycling of existing atmospheric and oceanic carbon already within the carbon cycle. Emissions of new carbon must go to zero in gross terms; they must not be off-settable through tree planting nor the purchase of international credits.

Having a target for zero new carbon means that tree planting can be focused on the removal (sequestering) of CO2 from the atmosphere. We recommended a separate target be set for the tonnage of CO2 removal by tree plantings.

4. Revisions to the 2050 targets.
We agree that the 2050 target could be revised but with the proviso that any revised target be no lesser a reduction target than exists already.  That is, once the initial target is set, any revised target may be increased but not reduced. We believe that it is very important that the Zero Carbon Act be protected from dilution by political interference.

It is acknowledged that the Act could need to be repealed. We envisage this only in exceptional circumstances, and then only following a public referendum that approves such a repeal.

5. Yes, we agree with the proposal for three successive budgets, each of ve years’ duration.

6. Yes, the Government should be able to alter the last emissions budget (years 10 – 15) but only during the term of the first budget period.

7. No, the Government should not have the ability to review and adjust the second emissions budget.  Any government having this ability, would work to negate the certainty the Act would provide, especially in the build up to government elections.

8. Anglicans CAN believe the Climate Change Commission ought have a role greater than just advising the government on policy decisions. In particular, we believe the Commission must have a regulatory role as noted in point 11 below. We have no view on the considerations the proposed Climate Change Commission may take in to account.

9. Yes, the Zero Carbon Bill must require Governments to set out plans within a certain timeframe to achieve the emissions budgets.

10. The single most important issue for the Government to consider in setting plans to meet budgets is that our economic system does not support economics based on planetary/national resource boundaries. For example, the work of the Global Footprint Network suggests that our present use of global resources, requires 1.7 earths to meet our demand. If every person lived like New Zealanders, we would require 3 Earths to meet the demand for resources. Such levels of resource use are clearly not sustainable, pointing up the need for an economic system that works within planetary boundaries.

11. The Climate Change Commission ought have a regulatory role (perhaps along the lines of the Reserve Bank and Commerce Commission) to ensure that actions are taken, and not just talked about. Such a role should be protected against political appointments and interference.

12. The NZETS needs to be replaced with a Carbon Tax.  The current pragmatism around there not being enough differentiation between an ETS and a Carbon Tax to justify the costs of changing over, ignores the ineffectiveness and abuses of the ETS that have occurred to date.

13. The proposed expertise that the Climate Commission must have is agreed to with the following additions:

  • Systems thinking expertise should be specifically included. Without this level of expertise, there is a danger that a reductionist approach to the issues will be adopted, leading to incomplete analyses and ineffective actions that work to sustain business as usual.
  • Likewise, a problem solving ability should be listed within the expertise requirements.

14. The Carbon Zero Bill ought not cover climate change adaptation.
To do so, runs the risk of taking the focus away from the urgent need to mitigate the drivers of global warming.

Adaptation strategies do need to be developed, but within their own enabling legislation.

15. The new functions around adaptation to climate change are NOT agreed with:
We believe that adaptation measures (including the new functions proposed) are necessary, but not desirable within climate mitigation legislation.

16. An adaptation reporting power should be established, but done so within a separate Climate Adaptation Bill and outside of the powers of the Zero Carbon Bill.

Dramatic videos flag a serious warning

As dramatic as these two videos are, they are not entertainment, to be oohed and aahed over.  They are warnings of rapid changes in the earth’s equilibrium.

The first video is from Canada: “There is twice as much carbon in the permafrost than there is in the atmosphere.  So if all the carbon in permafrost turned in to CO2, it would triple the CO2 in the atmosphere”


The second video is from Siberia.  If the sober words of the Canadian researchers do not worry you, then perhaps this dramatic footage will.


What to do?  Here’s an idea:

Anglicans in Canada pledging to make lifestyle changes to tackle climate change

Posted on: March 10, 2017 3:49 PM

Climate change-induced permafrost melting endangers the foundation of St. Mary with St. Mark Anglican Church in Mayo, Yukon, according to parishioners taking part in a Lenten project to fight climate change
Photo Credit: St. Mary with St. Mark Anglican Church

Be a light switcher to save cash and the planet

After testing more than 3,000 different theories before finding one that worked, Thomas Edison was reported as saying “Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.”

A corollary of this Edison quote is that the most certain way to fail, is to give up. Which is what Professor Guy McPherson is doing, giving up.

Those particular 3,000 theories were about finding a filament that worked in the new electric light bulb.

Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

Edison’s incandescent light was launched at a public ceremony in December 1879.  His belief then, that electricity would become so cheap that only the rich would burn candles, was proved correct.  And hasn’t our society become a better place for that invention?

Today, 137 years later, we need to move away from that old technology, not because of the cost of electricity, but because of the need to dramatically cut greenhouse gas emissions.

LEDs are the new lighting technology and many will be skeptical that replacing old light bulbs will have a material impact on climate change.

For sure, replacing one light bulb has only a small impact.  But if each New Zealand household, more than 1.5 million of them, replaced them all, then the impact would be significant.

How significant?  Stay with me while we do some easy maths.

Based on the average burn time for a light bulb of three hours each day for a year, a 60 watt incandescent bulb will burn 66 units of electricity and emit 9.8 kg of carbon to the atmosphere.  That’s the equivalent emissions from driving 32km in a large car.

The equivalent seven watt LED will burn less than eight units of electricity over a year and emit nearly 1.1 kg of the carbon – less than a 4 km drive in that same large car.

As well as helping save the world, light switchers will save cash too.

At $0.30 for each unit of electricity and a 3-hour burn time per day, a $9.95 LED bulb is paid for through electricity savings in just seven months.  That’s an incredible 172% return on investment.

Those returns are much greater when we factor in the lifetime savings of switching to an LED bulb – over $240 through replacing an LED once every 14 years instead of replacing an incandescent every year for each of 14 years.

led-bulb-green-backgroundThese comparison apply to LEDs of the same brightness and with a range of colour tints available, switching to an LED, gives no loss of light quality.

Being a light switcher is an easy do, will save you cash as well as demonstrating that we are not giving up on saving the planet.

Biochar a foil to doomsayer Guy McPherson

Climate doomsayer Guy McPherson was in Auckland last week, talking about Runaway Abrupt Climate Change.

I do not call him a doomsayer to belittle him or what he has to say.  For he is saying things that need to be said, things that too few want to acknowledge, let alone take action on.

When McPherson says “the situation (climate change) is far worse than it was (in 2014)”, the scientific evidence proves him right.  Atmospheric carbon levels have now exceeded 400 ppm and 2016 is projected to be the hottest year on record.

But then he goes on to say, “There’s no point trying to fight climate change … there’s nothing we can do to stop it”.  His denial of our will to survive is beyond defeatist.

For sure, the task of bringing atmospheric carbon back to levels the earth can sustain is ginormous.  But not even worth trying for?

As Yoda said in the future, “Do or do not. There is no try.”

And do two things we must, if McPherson’s non-future is to be avoided.

One is to eliminate burning fossil fuels.  As unlikely as that is, it will not avoid catastrophic climate change as the carbon already in the atmosphere will continue to drive warming for decades yet.

Second is to take carbon out of the atmosphere.

High tech Carbon Capture and Storage processes are seen by many as the way to save the world.  But they either do not work yet, or are too expensive.  While politicians wait for technologic fixes, the risks become ever more dire.

There are two low tech means to sequestering atmospheric carbon that could be implemented from tomorrow if there was the political nous.

First is planting trees.  We can and should do that, but it will have only a small impact in the time scale McPherson talks about.

Biochar_1694Second is to make biochar and bury it in agricultural soils.

Making biochar from forestry and municipal waste would give us the win-win-win of renewable biofuels, improved soils and less atmospheric carbon.

This sounds an easy do but the scale of the challenge before us is daunting.

To hold global warming to under 2°C, atmospheric carbon needs to be under 350 ppm.  If emissions reductions had begun in 2005, a reduction rate of only 3.5% per year may have sufficed.  Starting today, the required reduction rate is 6% and if delayed until 2020, then it is 15%.   Biochar sequestration can achieve a 12% rate.  So doable it is if we start now.

As discussed last week, it is our perception of the risks that determines whether we take precautions or not.  If we assess a low risk to catastrophic climate change, Guy McPherson will be proved right.

Climate action: is there a place for the church?

Church leaders, lay people, activists, scientists and politicians gathered in Mangere on Saturday, 20 August for a Church Climate Workshop to explore what churches can do to address climate change. The workshop was an ecumenical event co-hosted by the Methodist Public Issues network, Sinoti Samoa and the Anglican Diocesan Climate Change Action Group.

Over 120 people were in attendance with Methodists, Anglicans, Catholics, Presbyterians and Quakers coming from across the country to discuss what their congregations could do.

(L-R) Su’a William Sio; Korea Tiumalu; Dr Adrian Macey; Revd Prince Devanandan; … (hidden Prof. James Renwick);  organiser Betsan Martin

Keynote speakers were scientist Professor James Renwick, former climate negotiator Dr Adrian Macey, Mangere MP Su’a William Sio and Pacific Climate Warriors spokesperson Koreti Tiumalu.

Matheson Russell, convenor of the Diocesan Climate Change Action Group highlighted what already has been done in some churches including divesting from fossil fuel companies, statements by the Anglican bishops, and local initiatives to make church buildings energy efficient.

But the emphasis of the workshop was on the need for more action, urgently required to limit the worst effects of climate change, especially for our Pacific neighbours.

Koreti Tiumalu, leader of the Pacific Climate Warriors inspired everyone with the prayerful, culturally based and courageous actions of her group. She detailed their venturing to sea in vaka near Newcastle, Australia to protest against coal mining expansion, and a prayer vigil at the Vatican during the COP21 proceedings, where the group of Pacific youth were able to give a fine mat woven in Tonga to Pope Francis.

University of Victoria Wellington environmental scientist James Renwick showed graphs that detailed the dramatic increase in global temperatures over the last 150 years. 2015 temperatures were the highest on record, and 2016 looks set to be even hotter. He says the time for action is now, rather than waiting a decade or more to implement real change. “If we continue at this rate, we could be facing an ice free Arctic in a few decades.”

President elect of the Methodist Church Revd. Prince Devanandan proposed that clergy start preaching on climate change, and emphasized the major need to re-orient the education programmes of the church – theological education, and parish level adult and children’s education.

He also interviewed Cardinal John Dew as a special discussion for the workshop, reflecting on the papal encyclical on climate change ‘Laudato Si’. They explored questions of dominion and stewardship, and the links between poverty and the environment. Cardinal Dew emphasized the gift of ‘Laudato Si’ for all churches, indeed for all peoples.

Cardinal Dew suggested it is time for advocacy from churches. While working in our own organizations and institutions, we can bring an ethical approach to press for action from business leaders and government.

The workshop gave opportunities for attendees to find out and partner with the practical work and advocacy of climate organizations Generation Zero, 350 Aotearoa, Christian World Service, Coal Action Network, and A Rocha, as well as our own Diocesan Climate Change Action Group.

Part of the 120-plus audience listening to a range of climate activists. 

Churches were also encouraged to sign up for the ‘Pray for the Pacific’ campaign, where participating churches will hold a special service either on September 4th or 11th to pray for the Pacific and start a conversation about rising sea levels, coastal erosion, and changing weather patterns.

Ms Tiumalu said: “We cannot build a Pacific Climate Movement without engaging our faith communities. Faith is pivotal to our people, and like the ocean, it connects us. In the face of the climate crisis, we need prayer to carry our people and faith to build resilience.”