Climate change is real and we humans have contributed significantly to this. I have no doubt in my mind now. The scientific evidence is there. More importantly people on the ground are experiencing profound changes. Hearing this from local people is one of the most important things that I gained from travelling through Asia to Europe with my family in the first half of this year. If you haven’t read our blog from this journey check in the archives.
Another important thing that I gained was a deepened sense of hope amidst the very clear evidence of overpopulation, pollution and environmental degradation in many countries. There are people, a minority still, who are acting for the future now. I’ve talked about this as I shared stories from our journey.
What I also gained was a deepened understanding of the long-term connection to nature that exists in many countries, both eastern and western. This connection is not always obvious, but it is evident in some landscapes and in the things that some people are now doing. There is a renewal, a reawakening, a rethinking of things that is beginning to emerge. My experience of this was cause for reflection on New Zealand where we are still working out how to live together and with our unique, but hugely modified, environment.
With only 4 million people and an abundance of natural resources, surely we can get it right? If we can’t, who can? What we need to do, and this is a very big challenge for New Zealanders, is to embrace our past, look beyond our differences and start working together for our collective future much more than we are. I hear it said that we can’t look forward until we have effectively dealt with the past or resolved our differences. Will we ever? There is a different way. By working positively together for our shared future we will also find ways to address the many social, economic and environmental issues that we have. In my view it is a matter of urgency that we do this. Change is happening in the world to a much greater degree and at a much faster rate than we fully appreciate here in New Zealand. I’m not a doomsday person but I do believe that we are either going to choose or be compelled to work together much more than we presently are. If we do this by choice and with vision then we have real potential to provide leadership for the world.