In Extinction Rebellion’s second presentation to Auckland Council in recent months, they stressed the seriousness and need for speed on climate action.
In July, Extinction Rebellion representative Dr. Mairi Jay presented to the Environment and Climate Change Committee, calling for emissions data to be released regularly.
At the Planning Committe on September 1, Jay returned with new calls for action from Auckland Council.
“Climate change has been roaring ahead in the last few years and we can not help feeling that council, for all its emergency declarations, is still too slow,” Jay said.
“There is a geography to Auckland that is quite complicated. Different parts of the city will experience different sorts of emergencies.”
“If you are up in the North East, on one of the cliffs, you could well find yourself collapsing into the coast.
For Papakura and Manukau, one thing that is really going to be difficult for people there is going to be the heat.”
“Auckland will not escape, it will get much worse. We can predict the damage and to an extent we can plan for it and avoid it.”
Jay said council could provide design guides around passive cooling, design public open spaces with plenty of shade and drinking fountains and public buildings needed to have air conditioning.
Cr Pippa Coom assured Jay that issues in her July presentation like emissions data being released regularly were “in the system” and being looked at by staff.
“We are following up on that previous presentation,” Coom said.
“As we have seen in Europe, people have really had to shelter in community facilities away from the heat with the big heat waves.”
Jay later responded to Coom’s assurance with frustration.
“Folks, it is really urgent. Cr Coom, you said it is in the system. Well it has been in the system since July and I could not help but thinking gosh things move slowly in council. Can’t we do anything better?”
“It really is over to you to take on a lot of the responsibility of this community coping with climate change.”
Cr Christine Fletcher said council was doing a lot on public transport and cycle ways but felt there were other “confronting” challenges that needed focus.
“I think one of the biggest challenges … is going to be managed retreat. When I think of the Manukau Harbour, the subdivisions that have been allowed and the consequences of that going into the future,” Fletcher said.
“We do not want to alarm people unduly but nor can we ignore it and it needs to be started very early.”