Yesterday I saw a pheasant on our back lawn. It’s the second pheasant I’ve seen this week. Our property backs onto a nationally significant wetland which is a food source and home to many native and introduced bird species.
I hear the pheasants call quite often, but it’s unusual to have actually seen one twice in such a short time period.
About three weeks ago, NZTA (NZ Transport Agency) started tearing down the trees around the wetland in order to build the State Highway One Expressway.
Their henchmen (liaison officers) told us the work is ‘preparatory’, which is their politically correct word for ‘full steam ahead’.
Anyone who has travelled past Poplar Ave in Raumati will have seen the devastation and degree to which NZTA is desperate to lock the road in place before any agreements can potentially be undone by the next Government in four months’ time.
The double sighting of the pheasant had me wondering whether this was the start of an influx of sightings as birds are forced out of their wetland home in order to search for food and shelter elsewhere.
The polar bear’s message
My musings took my mind to the day before, when a polar bear lumbered up to the National Party’s central North Island conference, but was denied entry. Maybe the polar bear had travelled to NZ in search of food because, like the pheasants, he was losing his food and habitat.
While it is still unclear whether polar bear numbers are actually decreasing, what is clear is that their habitat is being modified at an unprecedented rate.
Climate change deniers have said that localised polar bear populations are stable or increasing, but that could be because they have been forced into find new food sources in towns and rubbish dumps which they previously didn’t wander into.
As one Alaskan native stated “Any idiot can see that climate change is affecting us here. There is no ice where there should be ice”. Another local guide says “I’ve been here 50 years. We used to have icebergs floating offshore and the ice would come right in. Now it’s 150 miles offshore”.
Thanks to mainstream media’s shocking reporting on anything of real value, some of you may have missed the polar bear stunt, organised by Greenpeace’s energy campaigner Steve Abel.
He says the intention was to highlight the fact that the current government over the last six years has done so little on climate change, and has made some decisions that actually make the problem worse.
Most of you will be aware of the awful decisions by the bumbling Minister for Energy and Resources Simon Bridges with regards to deep sea oil drilling and opening our conservation estate for mining, as well as the horrendous changes to the RMA already imposed by this Government.
Further proposed RMA changes with regards to environmental quality, public access to waterways and protection of NZ’s outstanding landscapes were so disastrous that the Government had to back down due to lack of support from its coalition partners.
Oil giant’s threat to Arctic life
The NZ Government has sold the right to explore for oil in deep sea areas off the coast of Northland to Norwegian Oil giant Statoil.
This is the company who are proceeding to move a rig into position at a drill site near the Arctic seabird reserve Bear Island which will be the northernmost oil well on the planet. This will threaten both the native reserve and the ice edge which opens out to the vast Arctic ice cap and, according to Statoil’s own estimates, a spill from their rig would engulf the reserve with a week.
Decisions like this by the current NZ Government highlight their complete ignorance of the impacts on climate change imposed by a dependence on fossil fuels. Their denial and disregard for the experts is reflected in their poor choice as Energy Minister.
While The International Panel on Climate Change (the guys the world employs to tell us about climate change) tell us that the human contribution to climate change is “unequivocally” real, this Government continues to support polluting fossil-fuel dependant industries such as coal and oil.
We know this Government is fixated with producing a ‘rock star’ economy, but the IPCC report also says that the transformation required to a world of clean energy is ‘eminently affordable’ and doesn’t have to wreck the world economy.
It says that if climate change is left unchecked, it poses a grave threat to people and could lead to wars and mass migration but that catastrophic climate change can be averted without sacrificing living standards by abandoning all dirty fossil fuels.
The sooner NZ chooses ‘rock star’ leaders who will make a stand on climate change and capitalise on the true clean, green nature of our environment, the better.
It doesn’t look like that will happen while we have the likes of Simon Bridges and his buddies making decisions about our environment for us.