June 2021 Newsletter Pānui

June 2021 Newsletter Pānui

Kia ora Romelli,

In a month of many highlights for OraTaiao – as featured below: responding to the Climate Commission’s final advice, submitting on Hīkina te Kohupara / Pathways to Net Zero, and more – the Sustainable Healthcare and Climate Health conference, in particular, deserves celebrating. For painting a full colour picture of the potential within our healthcare sector as well as its past. A past that still, overtly and covertly, colours attitudes and practices today.  A past and a potential shared across Aotearoa. As a call to action and a summary, let me offer this acronym for applying to our lives and our mahi: AHH!

Aromatawi  = assess for bias, inequities, and racism; for wasteful practices, for inefficient processes and missed opportunities
Hanga = create new partnerships, policies, procurement contracts, programmes; new  solutions that honour our commitment to Māori, to equity and to Te Tiriti o Waitangi, to our climate, to decarbonisation, and supporting health. Decolonisation and decarbonisation
Horapa = disseminate the ideas, korero, share the new ways…

Just 3.5% of an organisation need to be on side with a movement or intention to make significant change! 
Extending the potential: warmest of welcomes to all new OraTaiao members. On behalf of the exec and all other members, we hope you find being part of this growing network a rewarding experience.
An invitation to share: Pacific Islands Climate Action Network - PICAN seeks young Pacific leaders interested in participating in climate diplomacy. Hurry though: applications close 30 June.
Thanks for caring. We look forward to your korero.

Ngā mihi, noho ora mai

Dr Dermot Coffey, OraTaiao Co-Convenor

June 2021 Newsletter


Update on OraTaiao activities
National happenings
International news
Good news, interesting links, books

Update on OraTaiao activities

OraTaiao members bookend Government's release of Climate Change Commission’s final advice
OraTaiao members took part in the pre-release lock up (9 June) and post-release discussion/s around the Climate Change Commission’s (CCC) advice to Government. (Special thanks to Liz Springford!) The final report reflects some attention has been given to OraTaiao’s earlier submission, yet advice provided regarding equity and health still remain disappointing.  

Sustainable healthcare and climate health conference, held 22-23 June, drew enthusiastic delegates to Wellington, online, and to hubs in Auckland and Christchurch to hear speakers on-site and virtually, from around the world, as they presented practical, inspirational, and challenging ways of Re-thinking Sustainable Health in Aotearoa. Convened by the University of Otago, OraTaiao, Sustainable Health Sector National Network, Global Green and Healthy Hospitals, and coordinated by Climate and Health Alliance, the paperless event worked hard to mitigate its own carbon footprint while sharing examples of how that - and much more - is being done in healthcare settings worldwide. Special thanks for the tireless efforts of OraTaiao Executive members, Matthew Jenks and Summer Wright, alongside all those of our conference partners, and for the continued commitment of all our volunteers, and delegates. 

Photo by Shane Rounce on Unsplash
Submission offers clarity of vision for the transport system transformation
Led by OraTaiao exec member Matt Jenks, and drawing from a previous OraTaiao submission, a team response to Hīkina te Kohupara / Pathways to Net Zero argued: to guide a just, effective, and equitable transformation of the transport system requires true Māori partnership, and to shape its new foundation, requires the well-documented climate change mitigation strategies delivering health and wellbeing co-benefits. Ngā mihi Matt, David Rees, James Hamill, and Caroline Shaw. Shout out to members submitting individually (e.g. Liz Springford!).

photo by Andrew Gook on Unsplash

National happenings

School Strike 4 Climate Auckland apologises for being racist and disbands ‘on the suggestion and guidance of black, indigenous and people of colour members of the group.’ Others tautoko the long overdue dissolution, saying the widespread issue of racism means ‘Pākehā-dominated climate groups get all the air time and resources, but they do not grasp the legacy of colonial violence and oppression.’
The School Strike 4 Climate body said it supported Auckland's decision to disband and that each regional group is deciding what steps to take to decolonise the movement. 

Without policy input the cost of health-and-climate-friendly diets will remain high according to a recent New Zealand study reported in the British Medical Journal that compared the costs of a typical New Zealand diet and more healthy plant-based diets. The study: cites the higher cost of dairy alternatives and high-protein plant foods in New Zealand; found the incorporation of less animal-based products and processed foods into diets corresponded with a lower climate impact; and indicates a need for further monitoring and policies ‘to support population transitions that are country specific from current diets to sustainable healthy diets.’

  • Read: Cost and greenhouse gas emissions of current, healthy, flexitarian and vegan diets in Aotearoa here.

Photo by Ella Olsson on Unsplash

Government urged to improve health and the climate via food procurement policy revision. The OraTaiao Food Working Group in late May sent their evidence-based policy statement to Ministers across Government asking that they take an immediately actionable step: change policy to change practice - provide locally grown and sustainable food. Such policy would govern all public-sector departments undertaking large-scale purchasing and provision of food (e.g. hospitals, schools, prisons) and would be a long overdue improvement with multiple co-benefits shown to also result in significant savings rather than increased costs ie the definition of 'low-hanging fruit' and a healthy step toward carbon-neutrality of the sector. Ngā mihi to Penny Field, Louise Mainvil, and Anna De Mello. 

Photo by Taylor Sondgeroth on Unsplash

IAG Climate Change Poll finds New Zealanders want climate change action without bearing the cost. Significantly more respondents now than in 2018 feel ‘the government should lead the way in reducing the country's carbon emission,’ and it’s ‘incumbent on companies, not individuals, to limit their effects on the environment.’
Less than a quarter of the 1000 survey respondents agreed the country is moving fast enough to achieve its emission targets, and a bit over a third see the targets as even achievable. While many respondents recognised there would be trade-offs, the majority are against the government raising taxes to fund its response to climate change, and just 4 percent agree possible higher costs of doing business should be passed onto consumers.

2012 webcomic by Brazilian artist Lute

Oxfam launches petition campaign on behalf of Pacific neighbours already bearing the impact of climate destruction. The petition, being launched this week, urges greater action from New Zealand’s Government to help keep global heating to 1.5°C through reduced farming pollution and to support farmers to transition to sustainable food production. Please share widely.

photo supplied by Oxfam 

Climate Justice Taranaki petition declares: carbon neutral by 2050 is far too late in this climate emergency. Across Aotearoa, over 20 organisations, including OraTaiao, are putting their weight behind ‘an urgent demand that the government do more and do it faster to transition us off fossil fuels.’ Spokespersons note 'an alarming increase of petroleum activities in Taranaki' such as 'Todd Energy’s 24 new wells beng drilled around Tikorangi and Greymouth Petroleum’s widespread seismic surveys across the province' is not consistent with Aotearoa's obligations to reduce greenhouse emissions and contribute to keeping global warming below 1.5°C. Please share widely.

International news

Free public transport thriving in towns across France, deemed a success … by some. Advocates keen to roll out larger-scale initiatives face mixed reactions with a 2018 study saying it would serve to deepen inequalities.  

NASA finds drastic emissions reductions as an unexpected consequence of global COVID lockdowns resulted in a net global effect of a 2% drop in global ozone, ‘half the amount that the most aggressive NOx emission controls considered by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change…were expected to produce over a 30-year period.’

New GCHA report warns Governments: risks remain long after the last flame is out; public health systems must prepare for the impact that longer and more frequent exposure to fire smoke has on the health of large populations. Recurring air pollution events such as from wildfires will become bigger and more frequent as the climate crisis deepens bringing long term consequences, more so for those with respiratory conditions, children, and the elderly;  communities and health systems must prepare.

image source 

Good news, interesting links, books

Mind-boggling magnets could unlock plentiful power Powerful magnets are bringing abundant, pollution-free electricity a step closer 

New Zealand | Climate Action Tracker (CAT) acknowledges New Zealand as one of the few countries to have a zero emissions goal enshrined in law, its Zero Carbon Act. Yet it also said this about the nation's Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs): 'if all government NDCs were in this range, warming would reach over 2°C and up to 3°C.' Note: CAT is not yet updated with the June advice from the Climate Change Commission. So watch this space and share widely. 

Helen Clark, former Prime Minister and editor of “Climate Aotearoa: What's happening and what we can do about it” shares her thoughts on what New Zealand is, can, and should be doing on climate issues. 

Food giants recognise and jump to the growing trend towards plant-based food


Warm wishes for Matariki and, upcoming, for Kiribati language week.

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