August/ September 2017

LongBeach4MMIt is not so much national governments that are driving the climate change agenda but local governments, civil movements, and non-governmental organisations. The rise of the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group represents 650+ million people and a quarter of the global economy. While these are global megacities our own city is part of the Compact of Mayors, which is an agreement and commitment to accelerate more ambitious, collaborative, and sustainable local climate action, and aligned with the C40.

Collective action starts here in our hometown. Back in May we held a “Building Community Resilience” workshop, and we were really grateful for the good ideas that came out of that exercise. We’re now looking at how we can help get more action going. Recently we were hit again by a combined high rainfall and high tide event resulting in flooding, slips and general disruption. At the Trust we work on the chronic problem of climate change, and our particular work centres on developing a local energy supply and planning and working to build climate safe housing. During the July flooding most residents were able to look after themselves, but things could have been much worse without the many residents out helping, the Volunteer Fire brigade acting as a first responder and Mandy Mayhem-Bullock’s fantastic communication on social media. Often it's the post-event situation that is more difficult to manage. We’re grateful for the DCC’s provision of skips and help, but now we need to work out ways to avoid the risks such events present. We’ve faced floods before, but the incremental increase in flooding and other climate related events means that, while we probably have time to prepare, we don’t have time to dally.

The Climate Safe House project is now one of our three main project areas. We’ve completed all the research, done the interviews, collated the survey responses, identified the where and when of the risks. We don’t have much confidence in the government coming to our rescue. We’re working on a shoe-string budget, but we have great momentum and we’re aiming to fund the construction of a model climate safe house that is environmentally friendly, energy efficient and transportable. We want all members of our community to have access to affordable, warm, safe, cosy homes.

We continue to offer services such as:

  • The Cosy Energy Advice line (Tel: 929 1323) for free household energy advice
  • Cosy Homes Assessments, providing an assessment of your home and suggestions for improvements
  • Healthy Rental Certification, to help landlords meet their legal obligations to provide quality rental accomodation
  • Bulk firewood supply in delivery size of 25 tonnes of freshly milled logs, which requires seasoning.

Because community sector funding is tight this year, we expect to be putting these services on ice in September in order to concentrate on our project areas.

Remember the Trust’s Annual General Meeting on Saturday the 16th of September, in the Blueskin Library meeting room. All are welcome. Our office is in the old dental clinic at Waitati School. Look us up on Facebook as Blueskin Resilient Communities Trust, on Twitter as @BlueskinPower and you can call the office on 03 4822048 directly to find out more about any of our work. You can contact us by email at: office@brct.org.nz.

By Scott Willis