Climate change - time to call it what it is - an EMERGENCY
The UK newspaper, The Guardian, recently announced the update of its "style guide” to reflect the extremely worrisome situation more accurately, now preferring to call it a “climate emergency, crisis or breakdown” and “global heating” is favoured over “global warming”.
In New Zealand, recognition of the crisis has recently come in the form of declarations of a climate emergency by; Nelson City, Environment Canterbury, Kapiti District and Christchurch City Councils declaring a “Climate Emergency”, a move that is being promoted by the activist group Extinction Rebellion.
Climate Change Minister James Shaw supported Nelson City Council’s decision to declare “Climate Emergency”: "We're already seeing the impact of climate change in New Zealand ... we've always had storms and droughts and fires, we now have clear evidence that the frequency and severity of those issues is increasing." He said that though the word 'emergency' might seem "very alarming", it was in his view an accurate description of climate change and its effects. "Humans have demonstrated in our history that we're quite good at dealing with short term emergencies, but were not very well set-up, and tend not to handle very well, slow-moving crises and climate change is one of those that occurs over decades."
While the Zero Carbon Bill introduced to Parliament on May 9 will hopefully be passed into law within this year, the urgent action that is required to stop this turning into a catastrophe needed to be started years ago. We cannot afford to waste any more time!
We hail the Councils that have now declared a climate emergency and strongly encourage and request other Councils to follow with similar declarations and, even more urgently, action for their areas of responsibility.
Where Councillors appear too timid, the upcoming local elections will provide citizens to elect other, more forward looking candidates to enable the required changes and actions.
There is no time to lose or we will be dealing with a