Community & Environment

Climate Action Now Summit

A Waikato climate change summit in Hamilton later this month is setting the stage for activists and academics, student leaders, council candidates and community groups to work together on actions to plan, adapt and thrive in a changing climate.

The Waikato CAN (Climate Action Now) Summit is inviting people from across the region to participate in the day, scheduled to coincide with the United Nations Climate Action Youth Summit and Zero Emissions Day on Saturday 21 September.

People interested in attending are encouraged to email climate.action.now@waikatoregion.govt.nz.

“The climate’s changing and so must we,” says Waikato Regional Council and mayoral forum chair, Alan Livingston.

“But climate change, and transitioning to net carbon zero by 2050, is not something councils can address by themselves. All parts of society are required to manage the risks climate change presents.

“That’s why I’m excited about this summit, and especially the opportunity for councils to work with our region’s passionate and energetic young people on developing solutions to such an important and significant issue.”

Sean Hickey, Hamilton City Council’s General Manager for Strategy and Communications, welcomed the announcement of the Waikato CAN.

“This is a great example of how the region’s councils can work together,” Mr Hickey says.

“Our Council has resolved to address the urgency of climate change, and its potential impacts on our city, by working in partnership with our key stakeholders Waikato Tainui, Waikato Regional Council and other strategic partner.”

Mr Hickey says insights from the Waikato CAN will be combined with information the Council is gathering from the community and stakeholders to form our Climate Action Plan.

Last month the Waikato Mayoral Forum threw its support behind the region’s councils working together with the community on a climate change action roadmap, which will step through current and planned regional activities as part of New Zealand’s transition to net carbon zero by 2050.

Waikato CAN organisers are aiming for the event to be carbon neutral and are encouraging people to choose lower emissions travel to the event at Rototuna High School – walk, run, bus, scooter or bike. If there is enough demand, buses will be available to bring people from towns across the region. RSVPs need to be received by organisers to make this happen.

The event will also include a 3D mapping workshop, a creative and engaging approach to developing solutions and identifying actions. The actions will feed into the climate change action roadmap for the Waikato.

“We’ll exchange views and ideas to help us lower our carbon footprint in the Waikato and transfer this knowledge to our communities, workplaces and schools,” Cr Livingston said.

Guest speakers include Professor James Renwick from Victoria University who was awarded the 2018 New Zealand Prime Minister’s Science Prize for communication and Professor Ian White from the University of Waikato, an engaging science communicator and TEDx speaker. They’ll be joined by a number of other speakers providing context around transport, energy, construction, rural land use, the Māori perspective on climate change and how people can turn ‘knowing into doing’ at home.

Cr Livingston said while all councils are factoring climate change into policy, regulatory, operational and corporate support areas, it was important to work together with all Waikato sectors to adopt an agreed roadmap.

The summit has been organised with the support of the Waikato Plan Leadership Committee, Waikato Regional Council, University of Waikato, Go Eco, Xtreme Zero Waste, Enviroschools and School Environment Leaders.

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