Climate change and its negative impacts, particularly drought, are of major concern to the Hawke’s Bay community a new survey has found.
Around 90% of locals believe climate change is already occurring, according to a survey commissioned by Hawke’s Bay Regional Council.
Chief executive James Palmer says the Regional Council is keenly interested in the results of the survey.
“It’s a good starting point for meaningful conversations with the community about the climate crisis. Our local people care about our environment, they want action, and we need to mobilise together and tackle this head on.”
Two thirds of people want the Regional Council to do more to look after the environment and reduce the impact of climate change, he said.
“We’re already doing a huge amount of work – from our scientists assessing climate impacts, to our advisors working with farmers to plant more trees, to our educators teaching sustainability in schools. We want to hear the community’s ideas on what else we could be doing.”
“Around 55% of those surveyed were prepared to pay more in rates to minimise the impacts of climate change, with the most support for reduction of carbon and erosion through tree planting. This is really encouraging, as we are looking to upscale our tree planting programme. It was interesting to see that people were more willing to pay for tree planting and flood protection than protecting coastal communities,” he said.
Water storage and security were the main areas suggested for improvement by Regional Council.
“These suggestions highlight the importance of our current work - a major investigation into water security, and assessing our water supplies to find out the gap between Hawke’s Bay’s future demand for water and supply.”
Only 12% of residents mentioned that they had regularly used public transport.
“We are focused on getting more people on our go Bay bus service, as well as supporting recreational and commuter cycling on our 200km of Hawke’s Bay Trails.”
“In terms of on the ground action, we were heartened to see that 80% of locals are committed to getting involved in groups. People are taking action to reduce their impact on the environment because they are concerned about future generations,” says Mr Palmer.
“Some survey respondents told us that cost and lack of alternatives can be barriers to taking action. We see our role as educating and enabling the community to take action and work together.”
Regional Council chair Rex Graham says the survey insights are valuable to the Regional Council as it prepares to consult with the community about the Long Term Plan, which sets the direction for the next ten years.
“We recognise that we need to do much more as a region to achieve the transformational change required to reduce our environmental footprint and live more sustainably. We want to lead this conversation and build the partnerships required to make this happen,” he said.
This survey marks the launch of the Regional Council’s climate action campaign, to find out more about the campaign, how you can be involved and to have your say, go to hbrc.govt.nz and search #ClimateActionHB.
29 October 2020
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