by Marion Harvey
'Act Green' means focusing on positive things we can all do to create a healthier and safer environment. The need for action arises from the many threats our water, air and soil now face due to population growth, increasing consumption of limited resources and growing pollution from our waste products. Plastic rubbish is now to be found on beaches worldwide, floating in vast rafts in the middle of all the major oceans and even at the bottom of the Mariana Trench, the deepest part of the Pacific Ocean – our own back yard.
The natural world is also being impacted by loss of native plants and animals due to invasive species and diseases that are reaching our shores, encouraged by changing climate that extends their range. The remaining Kauri forests are threatened with extinction, nearly half our lakes and around 90% of our lowland rivers are classed as polluted and our native bee populations are collapsing. In order to promote a cleaner and less polluted world with thriving habitats and wildlife we must find new ways to live more sustainably.
It is easy to feel overwhelmed when we look at the size of the problem, but the fact is that even a small contribution can make a difference.
Positive action can start at home and immediately, with simple things such as establishing a garden, planting a tree, starting a compost heap, using reusable bags, bottles and cups instead of the ‘use once and throwaway’ variety. You can also reduce your carbon footprint easily by walking more, cycling, sharing transport or having a weekly meat-free day.
There are also many opportunities to become involved in voluntary work that will directly help to protect or conserve local habitat, such as at Grovetown Lagoon or Kaipupu Reserve. You can join a local group and work to protect our bird life, clean up our beaches or waterways or join a tree-planting project, and there will be a range of such local groups at the Marlborough Earth Day Party – so come along and get involved!
Concern about climate change spurred me to action. I am very concerned about what sort of legacy we are leaving to future generations if we allow our greenhouse gas emissions to push Earth's temperatures beyond 1.5°C - 2°C. Scientists have described this level of warming as 'dangerous’ as it will have irreversible and devastating effects on global food security, fresh water availability, extreme weather events, heat-waves, droughts and wildfires. I joined Climate Karanga Marlborough to link up with other people who are willing to work hard to inform and motivate others around them to create positive change and persuade our leaders to stop avoiding the problem of excessive fossil fuel burning and do something about it.
You are therefore invited to come along to Marlborough Earth Day Party on April 21st, see what others are already doing to make a positive difference to our future and be inspired to join in. No one can solve these tremendous environmental challenges alone, but working together we can.
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These are a collection of opinion articles principally written by CKM member Tom Powell for the Marlborough Express. Tom is a retired geologist who came to New Zealand in 2004 to work in the geothermal industry on the North Island, is a New Zealand citizen and now lives in Blenheim. Some articles have been written by other CKM members, and their names appear with those articles.