Climate Justice movement growing in Taranaki
It started with the discovery of a map and a few letters to the Taranaki Daily News paper late last year and now hapu and communities across the Taranaki region are voicing their concerns over new oil and gas exploration permits given out in their rohe with public meetings planned as far south as Whanganui.
The concerns are over a controversial new drilling process called hydraulic fracturing (or fracking) as well as the threat of oil spills in major fishing grounds; soil, air and water contamination; destruction of waahi tapu and of course climate change. The outcry has the petroleum industry on the backfoot for the first time in many years, with a TAG Oil executive calling from Canada to reassure one Okato resident that everything is ok and a media statement this week from the Petroleum Exploration and Production Association of NZ (PEPANZ) calling the industry to rally together to gain the support of the public.
Climate Justice Taranaki is quickly growing and linking up with other community groups working to stop new fossil fuel exploration on the East Cape, Northland and in Southland. A flotilla leaves Auckland this weekend to protest seismic surveying on the East Coast and goes with support from Te Runanga o Te Whānau-ā-Apanui, Greenpeace, Forest and Bird, 350 Aotearoa, Nuclear-Free Seas Flotilla, Board Riders against Drilling and now Climate Camp Aotearoa.
In memory of the massive BP oilspill in the Gulf of Mexico last year, a global day of action against extraction has been called by groups in the USA for April 20th this year. Plans are underway by Climate Justice Taranaki and several other New Zealand groups to make some noise and let people know that fossil fuels should be left in the ground.
We have a small window of opportunity now in the exploration stages where we can stop companies from finding out what lies beneath our land. As communities on the frontlines of fossil fuel production and the effects of climate change we need to rally together like the industry is and put a stop to as much new fossil fuel production as we can. We need to reduce energy consumption and create alternative energies and sustainable infrastructure but while fossil fuels are still readily available nothing will change but an increase in pollution and climate chaos.
Only when we create systematic change to our current mode of social organisation will we be able to bring an end the exploitative economic system. It is not individual change but a collective effort in communities across the globe that will achieve our dream of an equal society.