This is a pivotal moment in history. This is a time where all previous assumptions can be reassessed; Where we can see clearer than ever how broken ‘normal’ was, and use the recovery to build a far better, fairer and more sustainable society!!
It may feel like a doubly strange time because despite the awareness of how important decisions made now are, it has been difficult to know what we can do about it while in lockdown. There have been a lot of awesome discussions and work being done, but it’s been hard to know how to be a part of it and make the movement for positive change more powerful.
Well, this is where we get involved!! We’ve done some research and have put together some really tangible, really important, really achievable things you can do that will be immensely helpful in the push to finally rectify some of the huge underlying problems that have led us to this point of multiple crises.
While you might be seeing a lot of awesome discussions going on with really great ideas, these ideas are by no means a given; and need huge public buy-in if they’re going to get implemented. And that, my friends, is where we come in.
Things you can do:
1. Shovel Ready Projects
Applications have closed with 3700 submissions! These range from large-scale conservation projects to new motorways; so the decisions made here will be huge for shaping the future. Right now, a team led by Mark Bins are picking which ones get funded. Address letters to him advocating for natural infrastructure – whatever you think is important! See here for some ideas. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
This is a set of funds which councils can apply to for more ‘people friendly cities.’ Email email@example.com with what things you want to see in Wellington. There is more immediate access to some funds for safe measures for continuing Level 3 lockdown, such as pop up cycle ways and wider footpaths. Make sure councils are prioritising this- while it’s temporary measures, it normalises active transport and takes spacial priorities away from cars. Also make sure there is an importance placed on listening to the needs of people with disabilities. Transport is the biggest source of emissions in Wellington, so keep pushing on this!
4. Future economy of Wellington
This one might be a bit more niche- but as yet there are no visible resources on what a climate-safe economy for Wellington would look like. Some research on how a rebuild could combine with meeting social needs without overstepping environmental limits would be a really valuable resource! If anyone is interested in working on this, get in touch (firstname.lastname@example.org) and we’ll put a team together.
5. Building visible public support for change
WCC is about to release their annual plan, which will have a huge influence on shaping the rebuild. With a majority of progressive councillors, it is likely to be a really progressive plan- and there will be significant pushback. We need as many people as possible to be vocal in support of progressive policy!
Here are three ways you can be influential:
· Write letters to council showing your support
· Attend public participation sessions at council –we’ll have a guide on this coming soon
· Write op-eds and letters to the editor (awesome guide from Choose Clean Water here:)
· If you have social circles outside of the ‘greeny bubble,’ chat to them! We can often be preaching to the choir with no idea what is going on outside our lovely bubbles, so if you can raise awareness in wider circles that would be amazing! Here is a really great resource on how to effectively talk to people with different opinions to you.
Tips for writing letters to council:
This is super valuable, do not underestimate your potential to influence!
* Write to all at once with the address email@example.com – this keeps them accountable to each other, knowing all the others have seen it too.
* It’s better to ask questions rather than state opinions, as questions force them to go and find an answer, thereby more strongly putting your topic on the radar.
* Keep it short and to the point- ideally so the whole email is visible on one page with no need to scroll
Some of these might seem like small things. But if we have learned anything from Covid-19, it’s how interconnected and interdependent we are; how each of our own small actions has influence way beyond what we might think. Look at the below image about virus spread and imagine instead of the virus spreading, it’s a social movement. We all do our little piece, and together we shape everything!
So, get to it!!
If you have any questions, thoughts or ideas please get in touch! J
Kia kaha, aroha nui
Te Upoko o te Ika Climate Community