LETTER FROM THE EDITOR
by Sam Clark (he/him)
Another month, another scary storm in Tāmaki – this time, the sky was lit purple and the Sky Tower was struck by lightning. Then, there was torrential rain, a cold snap and hail across the isthmus. This is the third big weather event we’ve had this year, and it’s only May.
Research from Carbon Brief tells us that these extreme weather events are often made more likely or severe by human-induced climate change. Sadly, this will probably happen more and more – but that’s only what’s in front of us. Global warming and rising sea levels are terrible for biodiversity (one of our guest writers, Chris explains this to us on page…). Also, Pacific nations like Kiribati and Tuvalu are especially vulnerable to climate change - we have no time to lose.
Up until recently, we weren’t really experiencing extreme weather to the same extent as other parts of the world. Australia had the bushfires, then there were heatwaves and floods throughout South Asia and West Africa. And that’s not even scratching the surface. For many, climate change leads to widespread displacement, droughts and famine. It’s confronting to see this in the news - but we have to address these issues. And now that we are feeling the full force of climate change in Aotearoa, government inaction is that much more painful to see.
During the last election, Greenpeace analysed political parties in Aotearoa based on environmental policies - such as agriculture, oceans, transport, energy and plastic. The Greens, Te Pāti Māori and Labour consistently tick boxes across the board. Then, you’ve got your conservatives (and borderline deniers) National and Act - surprise, surprise: their policies are crap. If they had it their way, we’d still be drilling for oil.
National’s Maureen Pugh stated earlier this year that she needs to see ‘more evidence’ to believe in climate change, and the same for pharmaceutical drugs. Which begs the question – do National MPs not understand basic science, or do they just pretend like they don’t? Christopher Luxon was quick to wash his hands of Pugh’s statement – but do we really want these people making decisions for us? With this hopeless stance on climate change, and Luxon’s military-style bootcamps for teens, maybe it’s time AUT stops bringing the Nats to campus. I got a jump scare after work last month, when I left the WG elevator and was greeted by a gang of Nats and their blue banners, all ramped up for their regional conference.
Back to the floods. RNZ reported last month that over 4,000 state homes in Tāmaki are built on flood plains, with more in planning. It’s another bleak reminder of how vulnerable, lower socio-economic groups will be the first ones to feel the brunt of climate change. And without some real policy change, it’s going to keep happening.
And Tāmaki is still recovering from the floods. I went to Piha last weekend and after seeing all the slips – the loss is heavy in the air. The Piha Road recently reopened, so if you’re heading out there, make sure to support local businesses however you can.
All my editorials circle back to this – vote! In the last election, we voted Chloe in. So there’s no reason why we can’t do the same this year – and get more Māori, wāhine and tauiwi into parliament.
Stay green and we’ll see you all next sem!