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Baby boomers must crack on with vision

This year is Forest & Bird’s centennial, marking 100 years of effort across the country to turn the tide on the incremental loss of our indigenous plants and animals that are so unique in the world.

So now is an appropriate time to look ahead at the possibilities – and the probabilities – for nature over the next 100 years.

Among the possibilities are hopeful signs that messages from Forest & Bird are now far more evident in the wider community.

For example, appreciation and understanding of nature and our connectedness to and dependence on it appears to be growing in the hearts and minds of the upcoming generation of decision-makers and voters.

The job of the fading baby boomers is to try and arrest the decline and losses before new voices are empowered.

What’s more, New Zealand’s remarkable, aspirational vision to be predator-free by 2050 is now mainstream.

Many groups across the country are getting on board with the mahi.

Here in Wairarapa we have Jane Lenting and the South Wairarapa Biodiversity Group running traplines in Martinborough to protect the awesome kārearea [native falcons] nesting in the vicinity.

P2K, the Pūkaha to Kawakawa Large Landscape initiative, is about to launch an urban trapping programme supported by a council grant, inspired by the hugely successful Predator Free Miramar example in Wellington.

The Government-led Predator Free 2050 strategy includes three of the key predators: rats, mustelids [stoats, weasels, ferrets], and possums.

Other problem species are mice, hedgehogs and cats.

Hopefully, they will be included when Predator Free 2050 is reviewed next year.

Another hopeful sign is the renaissance of te ao Māori, or the Māori worldview.

Te ao Māori more honestly recognises our true place, not as the ‘lords of creation’, but as just another thread in te taiao.

That realisation may well be a critical lesson for us with a Western mindset – to accept that, in the end, it will be Nature and not us – no matter how smart we are with technology – that will call the shots.

Laudable as these and many other developments may be however, it won’t be sufficient to just get rid of the predators or restore a few habitats and plant a heap of native trees.

We also need greater determination to address climate change and our relentless consumption.

This all comes down to breaking our addiction to the fossil fuels that underpin and drive our extravagant way of life.

In response to the climate change challenge, Forest & Bird has collaborated with more than 40 other organisations to create a powerful 10-point plan for climate action.

We are encouraging all political parties to implement the ten points as part of an urgent Climate Shift.

Head to climateshift.org to show your support for meaningful climate action this election.

The Wairarapa Midweek has partnered with conservation groups to put a spotlight on conservation efforts locally.

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