Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Hikoi confronts changeable weather and changing climate

Photo: Scott Willis, Mandy Mayhem, Lucy Sheppard and Virginia Toy set
off on the bike hikoi to Woodhaugh.

Hikoi confronts changeable weather and changing climate

By Carl Scott and Virginia Toy

On October 10, 2010 Blueskin Bay folk were one of 7,347 groups of
people from 188 countries who took action on climate change in the
101010 Global Climate Work Party organised by 350.org.

'350' refers to the recommendation that atmospheric CO2 concentration
should be maintained at or below 350ppm. Before the Industrial
Revolution, global CO2 levels
were around 275ppm. They have risen considerably since then, due to
burning of fossil fuels, agricultural methane and deforestation.

Concentrations are currently at 392ppm and rising fast. Clearly, this is a very
serious problem. Many are calling it the greatest challenge humanity
has ever faced. It
demands a serious response now, not 'sometime soon'.

So what did Blueskin Bay do about climate change on the 10th of October? Well,
plenty of people got stuck in despite some pretty unpleasant weather.
Climate change is
after all, largely about changing weather patterns. Taking action on
it doesn't wait for a
sunny day!

What really stood out was that Blueskin people are adaptable and
resilient when faced with adverse conditions. We also showed that we
are ready, willing, and able to rise to the challenge of reducing our
carbon footprints.

In Waitati the major feature of the day was "journeys without fossil
fuels". Some
hardy people met early to walk to Dunedin. The weather was pretty foul
at that point, so
they decided to adjourn for coffee, muffins, and political satire, and
then join the later
journey to the beach. A sensible plan!

Four cyclists travelled to town, with a stop-over for tea, cookies and
waffles in front of the fire at
Volco Park on Mt Cargill Rd. Unicycling legend Paul Cardno had already
left to get a head start. He was met at the top of Shortcut Road and
accompanied to Dunedin by Paul Young of Sustainable Dunedin City, who
had ridden out to meet the Waitati travellers.

In Dunedin, the cyclists joined Transition Valley 473 and Cycling
Otago for a bike-repair workshop at Dunedin North Intermediate School.
After an indoor local food picnic they cycled back to Waitati. Another
keen cyclist made the journey from Dunedin to Waitati later in the

Meanwhile sixteen walkers, a cyclist, and four dogs travelled to
Doctors Point beach. They were to have been met by contingents from
Warrington and Purakaunui for a picnic, but that didn't eventuate due
to the weather. It was too cold for picnicking, so some '350' logos
were drawn in the sand, and then they headed home again. The
travellers were met by three other
cyclists part way back. When they were nearly home, their petrol
powered safety/support
van ran out of fuel. The walkers and cyclists carried on unperturbed.
A powerful symbolic
situation if there ever was one.

Many travellers commented that the trips were easier than they thought
they'd be. We can all make some of our journeys, surprisingly easily,
without fossil fuels - even as far as Dunedin.

Meanwhile in Warrington, an Open Source computer software
demsonstartion was held at
Warrington School. Instead of the cancelled beach walk, lots of people
turned up to plant approx 100 trees, shrubs and flaxes along the
Church creek.

In Purakaunui 10 people met to do some gardening, but because of the
rain, ended up in a shed building a portable chook house. Meanwhile
other Purakaunui folk held a discussion about car-pooling.

A new Blueskin group was launched on the 10th. It is known as BLOC - the
Blueskin Low Oil Commuting group. They aim to form a network of people who
want to make some of their journeys to Dunedin without using fossil fuels.

Finally, everyone came together in the evening for an awesome party
with prizes and awards, local food, local beer, climate-change themed
art, and photos from the day. Local
musician Brad Martin performed a solo acoustic set, and then joined
the ukulele ensemble Martha Hill and the Mineshafts, featuring Green
Party co-leader Metiria Turei.

The day was supported very generously with help, financial assistance,
and/or prizes from (in no particular order) Waitati, Warrington, and
Purakanui Schools, Blueskin Bay Library, Blueskin General Store,
Gallery on Blueskin, The Village Potager, Sutherland Nursery, Orokonui
Ecosanctuary, Coast Road Market and Coast Road Retreat (both of
Seacliff), Kelvin and Beverly Lyon Milk Vendors, Yoga Blueskin Bay,
Blueskin Media, Taste Nature organic shop, Selected Works bookshop,
Browns Avanti Plus Cycle Specialists, Mazagran Espresso Bar, McDuffs
Brewery, Citibus, Blueskin Resilient Communities Trust, Sustainable
Dunedin City, Event Traffic Management Otago, Environmental Education
Trust Otago, and DCC Small Grants Scheme.

Thanks also to all of the individuals who participated on the day. We
proved we can feed ourselves superbly - even at a comparatively lean
time of the year - without needing food that's been transported
thousands of kilometres. We proved we can entertain ourselves in fine
style, without spending a fortune or travelling. We proved we have
lots of great local businesses and just generally good people living
out here in the Bay, who are all taking climate change seriously.

Now the important thing is to keep getting to work on lowering our CO2
emissions in the months and years to come. If we get serious about
climate change now, it might not be too late to save our beautiful
little planet.

* BLOC - Blueskin Low Oil Commuting: email Virginia at bloc@geology.co.nz.

* More on the science of '350': www.350.org/en/about/science

* More photos: http://www.transitiontowns.org.nz/node/2728

Ā ā Ē ē Ī ī Ō ō Ū ū
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voluntary/non-profit community publishers in Blueskin Bay (Seacliff,
Warrington, Evansdale, Waitati, Doctors Point), Dunedin, New Zealand.
All material sent to or published by us is "copyleft" in the public
domain and may be freely shared, archived, re-edited and republished.
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