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Region is taking the jump

The Wairarapa recently entered the front row of an international movement tackling the thoughtless over-consumption and needless actions that contribute dramatically to climate change, the ultimate challenge of our time.

Building on research from behavioural scientists at Leeds University in England, climate campaigners there put together a programme of behaviour changes for the ordinary Joe Bloggs in our communities that the science indicated would lead to a massive 27 per cent reduction in emissions!

Called Take The Jump [takethejump.org and now also takethejump.org.nz], it defines a distinct set of areas or shifts where, based on the scientific studies, relatively small changes could collectively be a gamechanger in contributing to reduced emissions and a far less scary future for us all. [Note that it doesn’t identify recycling, which, as worthy as it is, isn’t one of the shifts key to moving the climate dial].

Take The Jump is getting strong uptake in the UK and is expanding into other developed countries. It somehow struck a chord with a progressive community climate change group in Nelson and, serendipitously, Sustainable Wairarapa picked it up from there.

Yes, citizens should definitely still support protests such as the coming global School Strike for Climate [SS4C] on April 4, lobby our government, and challenge the corporations and big business, as this is where the responsibility for that remaining 73 per cent of emissions lie. However, while these changes are outside our direct control, that 27 per cent is within the grasp of all of us as ordinary citizens. That’s empowering and motivating!

Sure, the research does indicate that this will still wash over a significant wedge of our community who are focused on more immediate things – jobs, life, careers, kids or just surviving day to day. And there is a group at the other end who are already incorporating many of these actions in their lives. However, there is also a group aware of our climate predicament who don’t know where to start or find it all too complicated and overwhelming. That is the group that Take The Jump is aimed at – to encourage them to find hope in doing something, however small, to slow our over-consumption through their collective action.

One of the key attractions to Take The Jump is that it is very non-judgmental. It recognizes that our present behaviours strongly reflect our culture, made possible by the miracle abundance of fossil fuels. It’s been a great ride, but now we must pay the fare. There’s no need to feel guilty about wherever you’re at, but now we really do need to change.

    You’ll hear a lot more about Take The Jump as the year progresses, but in the meantime, have a look online at the websites above [one of which has slightly adapted the programme for the situation here in Aotearoa]. Or contact the local volunteer team driving it at [email protected] or via Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/groups/136765376
    . Or join the team! Maybe you have a group that would like a presentation – a youth group, church group, business group, whatever. Get involved; we’re all in this together!

    Chris Peterson is a long-time MDC councillor and ardent environmentalist.

Roger Parker
Roger Parker
Roger Parker is the Times-Age news director. In the Venn-diagram of his two great loves, news and sport, sports news is the sweet spot.

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