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It's time, Canterbury Our climate change conversation
Kia ora <<First name>>

There are few topics more widely talked about right now than the current and future impacts of climate change.

‘It’s time, Canterbury’ is focused on sharing knowledge of what climate change means for us here in Waitaha, so that we are better prepared and more resilient to its effects. Through these newsletters, we aim to bring you a round-up of Canterbury-focused news and events. 
Welcome – because It’s time, Canterbury

‘It’s time, Canterbury’ is all about sharing knowledge. Climate change isn’t an easy topic, or a small one. But we have to start somewhere, so we’re starting here – in our region.

‘It’s time, Canterbury’ shares climate change projections for our region between now and the end of the century, which have been provided by the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA).

NIWA's projections are based on two potential emissions scenarios – one where emissions peak in 2040 and decline after that, and a business-as-usual scenario where we continue to find and use fossil fuels at rates similar to what we do today. 

This is a good reminder that we do have choices to make, and the business-as-usual projections provide a stark illustration of what we can expect if we choose to continue living as we do today. 

The ‘It’s time, Canterbury’ campaign is just the beginning of this important mahi.
An unprecedented weather event

The Canterbury flooding at the end of May occurred during a 48-hour period of unprecedented rainfall, which hit particularly hard in the Ashburton/Hakatere River area.

This was potentially the most significant rainfall event on record. So was it due to climate change?

NIWA’s analysis has shown the recent Canterbury rainfall was so extreme in some inland places that it could be expected to happen only once every 200 years.

However, NIWA climate scientist Dr Trevor Carey-Smith said these calculations assume the probability of extreme rainfall has not altered during the past, when in reality we expect the likelihood of such events to increase due to climate change.

"We've already experienced one degree of warming and the effects of the changing climate are with us now," he said. "This is most obvious in temperature-based extremes such as heat waves and droughts. However, more frequent rainfall extremes, such as those that led to the recent Canterbury floods, are consistent with what we expect due to climate change."
Local business, global impact

As a business, how do you embrace sustainability?  

Felicity Bruce from Cocoon Hair Design took out the Emerging Leader award at South Canterbury’s Business Excellence event in June.  She recommends starting by looking for one thing that you would like to change for the better. 

“The rest will flow from there. Ask your team for ideas, share with your clients and friends what you are doing, because starting a conversation opens up opportunities for both people to be inspired.”

Felicity and her team reduce their salon footprint by looking for alternatives.
Innovative techniques, compostable or reusable foil, climate friendly colours all play a part.  Cocoon push suppliers for products that are recyclable, sustainable and cruelty free, they reduce consumables, and repurpose anything and everything.  Old towels go to the mechanics, tint brushes go to kindergartens. 

“We truly care about our planet, and about future generations’ ability to enjoy this beautiful world we live in. Being in a creative environment also gives you the opportunity to challenge classic techniques, creating your own way of doing things that feels right,” she said.
Students’ song sends climate action message

Students from Te Kura o Ōhinetahi Governors Bay School recently joined the call for more climate action by creating their own new music video.

Sasha Harwood wrote the lyrics for ‘Fix it Up’, with help from classmate Kate Rayner. The pair, along with many of their classmates, star in the music video, playing their ukuleles.

The students wrote the song after learning about climate change and the need to plan for life in a changing climate, particularly in coastal areas that are likely to be impacted by sea-level rise.

“We hope to inspire as many others as we can that we can fix it up. We can fix up climate change,’’ said Sasha.

“I think that this song is a call to action and a reminder to everyone that there is hope – everyone has a voice and it’s never too late to make a difference,’’ said Kate.
A roadmap for emission reduction

The Climate Change Commission has laid out a roadmap for New Zealand to reduce emissions and become carbon neutral by 2050, after considering more than 10,000 submissions on its draft advice to Government.

Here is a snapshot of some of the Commission’s key recommendations.

The next 10–15 years:
  • Rapid adoption of electric vehicles and decarbonisation of heavy transport and freight.
  • More biofuels blended into petrol and diesel supply. 
  • Greater investment in waste reduction. 
  • Cow and sheep numbers fall by 13.6%; low-emission breeds will be selected by 2030.
  • Exotic forest planting increases between now and 2030; after 2030 there will be more focus on permanent native planting. 
  • Homes or businesses prevented from connecting to the natural gas network after 2025; in the 2030s, the Government starts phasing out natural gas appliances.
  • Existing public spaces and infrastructure to be retrofitted to prioritise active and public transport, and other low-emissions choices. 

What happens next? 
The Government must develop a comprehensive and cohesive emissions reduction strategy by the end of this year. In the meantime, we can all consider how we make changes in our day-to-day lives to help reduce emissions. 

Canterbury sea level rising faster than expected

A new report shows that sea level has risen twice as fast as expected over the past few decades, based on data gathered at Lyttelton. 

The new data is more in line with what climate change models predict. This is especially relevant in light of projections for Canterbury which show that our sea level may rise by up to 30 cm by the middle of the century, and by up to 80 cm by 2100. The recent storm surges around coastal Wellington show what a difference a little bit of sea level rise can make. 
Adapting to the big dry in Banks Peninsula

There have been dry periods before, but now, the air is hotter, the land is hotter, and evaporation is happening more readily.  Due to limited grass growth, farmers have moved stock off Banks Peninsula for grazing over the winter. 

“Climate change isn't a future problem, it's a problem now,” said Lewis Ferris, Metservice meteorologist.

Climate change projections for Banks Peninsula are for longer dry periods and for more intense downfalls when it does rain.  Frank Film heads to the hills in this six-minute video looking at how Banks Peninsula farmers are adapting to the big dry.
Farmers launch sustainability project

A group of North Canterbury farmers have banded together to investigate practical solutions that balance farm profitability and environmental sustainability.

The three-year, farmer-led sustainability project launched in the Waimakariri district will see farmers working together to identify and monitor new on-farm practices to help address environmental concerns.

Read more from dairy farmer Richard Stalker, who says the project is an opportunity to understand future options and adopt sustainable land-use practices.
Encouraging native regeneration

All around Canterbury, volunteers are undertaking regenerative native planting projects, such as the Te Kākahu Kahukura project on the Southern Port Hills. 

This is a real opportunity for Cantabrians to do something about climate change mitigation locally, and at the same time support native vegetation regeneration and erosion control.

They can even help you mitigate your carbon footprint!
Bye bye plastics

The government has introduced its plan to phase out hard-to-recycle plastic packaging. Over the next four years, all PVC and polystyrene food and drink packaging will be outlawed, as well as many other single-use plastic items such as drink stirrers, cotton buds, produce bags and fruit labels.

In New Zealand we have a poor record on plastic waste, with an estimated 159 g per person being dumped each day.

Reducing plastic waste will help reduce waste to landfill, improve our recycling system and encourage reusable or environmentally responsible alternatives.

We’ve put together some helpful information and resources for moving away from a throwaway society.
Upcoming events

Our Climate Future – free exhibition

7 – 22 August, Darfield Library, Selwyn

28 August – 11 September, Tūranga Library, Christchurch 

To bring more awareness of what climate change means for communities around the country, the Ministry for the Environment has created the ‘Our Climate Future’ pop-up exhibition.

The exhibition gives an overview of why climate change is happening, how it can shape our communities, our whānau and our wellbeing if we do nothing. It also showcases how together, we can choose a better future for ourselves and those to come.
Christchurch Conversations Towards 2030

Next event: Can we be a zero-waste city?

Thinking differently about all the stuff in our lives and the systems we use to manage it.

Saturday 4 September, Tūranga Library, Christchurch

Presentations:1.30-3pm (registration required)

Expo 1-1.30pm & 3-4pm
Christchurch Conversations is a programme of free events, sponsored by ‘It’s time, Canterbury’. Each event invites local and international leaders to inspire and challenge us on our city’s future.

While this is a free event, bookings are required for the presentations.
Share your commitment

Thanks for staying involved in Canterbury’s climate change conversation. 

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