Did Nero fiddle while Rome burned? Or is that expression nothing more than a popular legend? Whichever, that saying today describes leaders who do too little for the masses in times of crisis.

The crises we face today are many with the most significant being climate change.

What is our leadership doing for the masses, to mitigate the causes of climate change and help them adapt to its effects?

Next to nothing is what they are doing.

 

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Climate Change Minister Paula Bennett frames her leadership around the issue effusively, but still takes no actual actions. ‘This is a huge achievement…’ is how she described last April’s signing of the COP21 agreement that was achieved in Paris last December.

Last week Bennett announced that New Zealand would ratify the signed agreement next November, saying ‘This is an ambitious target that won’t be easy for New Zealand to achieve…’

The reality is somewhat different – the target is neither ambitious nor difficult if we take action now.

While she frames her words to make the government look masterly, people around the world are facing uncertainty and actual harm.

In Australia, a government report reveals that climate change is likely to further widen the disadvantages suffered by rural people, over those in urban areas. Having identified the issues, they will now do something about them.

Amongst our Pacific Island neighbours, small island nations are being inundated. They need us to take actions that mitigate the drivers of green house gas emissions and to plan on how they can adapt to its effects.

Ms Bennett is not alone in deploying words instead of actions. As at August 3rd, only 22 of the 180 signatories to the COP21 agreement had actually submitted their commitments to mitigate climate change.

Except for Norway and Peru, those countries are all small, developing nations. Their contributions to todays global greenhouse gas emissions are minuscule. Yet many are the most significantly affected. Amongst our near neighbours, those countries include Fiji, Samoa and Tuvalu.

These Pacifica peoples were represented at last weeks Climate Workshop. Hosted jointly by Sinoti Samoa, the Methodist Public Issues Network, and the Anglican Auckland Diocesan Climate Change Action Group, the workshop brought together climate scientists, negotiators, activists and doers.

Whilst the government talks, the scientists are clear, the negotiators are optimistic, the activists are raising awareness and the doers are taking action.

Here in Franklin, climate actions are happening.

The Franklin Food Forest project represents one of those actions.

Another is being taken by St Andrews Anglican Church with their communal food gardens project.

Each of these actions is reducing the community’s green house gas emissions, is sequestering atmospheric carbon, is making our community more sustainable and is reducing social injustices

What other climate actions do you know of in Franklin country? Let me know by leaving a comment below.