Embarking on staying on the ground

November 3, 2018

Melanie makes a lot of sense. I am part of a group called Grounded Grannies (#groundedgrannies) who have also decided that we have had a lot of good times, and if we care about our children, we should be the first to first to give up flying.

I recently pledged to the mighty powers of Facebook that I’m signing up for a No Fly 2019 (And probably beyond). A fair question would be- Why would anyone want to do that? Well, let me explain.

This year I have grown increasingly concerned with climate change, and increasingly frustrated with the responses that continuously point at what others are doing; with the ever-present reluctance to address our own lifestyles. As part of a paper at Uni, I found out my ecological footprint was about two and a half times what I am “allocated” if we are to stay inside planetary boundaries. This was largely because of an international flight- basically there’s no way you can live within planetary boundaries if you fly internationally.

I got further into the aviation conundrum in other assignments. As you might expect, following the above paragraph, there is pretty much no way we can…

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Wellington’s annual plan: tackle climate change through transport choice

May 21, 2017

Brilliant submission from Cycle Aware Wellington to the WCC Annual Plan

Cycle Aware Wellington

Annual Plan

WCC is consulting on its 2017/2018 Annual Plan.

We say:

  • Reduce fossil fuel emissions by increasing cycling mode share
  • Reduce car trips by not subsidising on street parking
  • Don’t over consult on cycling projects
  • Move rapidly to a cycle friendly city through trial projects
  • Gather data about the use and impact of cycle facilities
  • Reduce traffic speeds
  • New housing developments should provide for active and public transport

You can read our full submission here

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Press Release: Multiple risks ignored in proposed new airport terminal – New Plymouth

May 15, 2017

Council’s business case on the proposed airport expansion totally ignores climate change and the financial risks and liability associated with it…

Climate Justice Taranaki

The New Plymouth District Council proposes to borrow close to $30 million on a new, larger airport terminal with a unique cultural design. Climate Justice Taranaki Inc. raises serious questions about the risk assessment and business case behind the proposal.

IMG_20160915_091250 airport rig LR CJT

I was gobsmacked when I arrived at the airport, and there was a huge drill rig right there in front of the café. It was last September. It was apparently there to plug old wells.

There is no relief in thinking that the airport wells are not producing and are therefore safe. In fact, the likelihood of an abandoned well leaking increases over time. The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment has made it clear that once a well is abandoned and ‘signed off’, any leaks or other problems become the responsibility of the landowner,” said Catherine Cheung, Researcher of Climate Justice Taranaki Inc..

The danger of oil…

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Exploitative verses sharing economy

May 8, 2017

Well written – about time that we drew the linkages between our exploitative companies and theirs – your councillors are asleep at the wheel!

Climate Justice Taranaki

blasted home colorado 9News phosphate sharing combined

Photos: Explosion at a Colorado home on 1 May 2017 (photo 9News); Phosphate mining in Western Sahara (photo AFP); Sharing economy infographics

On 17th April, a home in Colorado was blasted to the ground, killing two people. The home was 178 feet (54 metres) from a recently restarted old gas well operated by Anadarko. The cause of the explosion: gas leak from a cut flow line off the gas well.

Such a loss is both terrible and preventable.  Many questions need to be answered:

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Cycle paths: quake proofing our transport network

November 29, 2016

A real need remains to build on the success of Ara Tawa by securing a resilient route for bikes from the Wellington CBD to the fantastic stretch from Tawa to Pukuerua Bay. Onslow college in the south is especially poorly served, which results in very few students cycling.

Cycle Aware Wellington

Te Ara Tawa - Porirua trail Ara Tawa between Kenepuru and Porirua

With all the fuss about Island Bay, you may not be aware of Wellington and Porirua Councils’ success in creating a 20km cycle route leading north out of the City, which, as well as providing for commuting and recreation, could be a vital part of our post earthquake transport network.

What is this lifesaving route? It starts at Takapu Rd Station as Ara Tawa, heading north beside the railway line, past Tawa College and on to join Porirua’s Ara Harakeke past the city centre to Pukerua Bay.

When the “big one” arrives, this cycle route could be vital for people making their way home from Wellington CBD. Although there have been practices for people to find out whether they can walk home, biking will be a lot more efficient and quicker. In fact it’s an argument for biking to work, or at least having a bike at…

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Dear Sarah (and Chris)…An open letter from a person who bikes

October 26, 2016

Cycle Aware Wellington

Get on with it Rally Back in 2015 people who bike demanded that WCC “lift its act” – will the new Council up its game?

An open letter to Sarah Free (WCC councillor, Public Transport, Cycling and Walking) and (Chris Calvi-Freeman (WCC councillor, Transport strategy and operations) from a person who bikes.

Dear Sarah and Chris

Congratulations on your new roles. Here’s three things to think about as we work to make Wellington a livable city: transport strategy criteria, parking, and trial projects.

Three criteria for Transport strategy

We need to recognise the elephant on the roadway: the imminent threat of climate change. 56% of Wellington’s carbon emissions are from transport. While Wellington has a policy of becoming a “low carbon capital” we seem to have trouble in translating this into transport strategy. The UN is appealing for countries to “invest at least 20 per cent of their transport budgets in walking and cycling infrastructure to save lives, reverse…

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Media Release: Landfarming – Toxic waste disposal or recycling of rocks, mud and minerals?

July 20, 2016

Taranaki people need our support to stop this “land farming” toxic liquids from oil and gas wells including heavy metals back onto productive farmland.

Climate Justice Taranaki

BTW Oeo landfarm incidence 2014 TRC 1280327 Photos from TRC monitoring report on BTW Oeo landfarm, June 2014

Petroleum Exploration and Production Association of New Zealand (PEPANZ) Chief Executive Cameron Madgwick said, “landfarming is nothing more than taking the ground-up rocks, mud and minerals left over from drilling activities and recycling them by placing them underneath the topsoil.

Unfortunately, the facts tell a different story. As Climate Justice Taranaki Inc. (CJT) pointed out at the public hearings on the Proposed South Taranaki District Plan, the euphemistically termed ‘landfarming’ is actually the spreading of contaminated oil/gas wastes on farmland, and mostly on the coast in South Taranaki.

By avoiding unpleasant words like ‘carcinogenic, heavy metals and toxic waste disposal’, and using relatively benign words like ‘rocks, mud and recycling’, the industry wants us to believe that it is a good thing to use farmland for disposal of contaminated wastes that the industry generates,”…

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Island Bay Cycleway gets the green light

June 28, 2016

Very useful report on the Island Bay cycleway which should help WCC ensure a higher standard is reached in the design of the next routes.

Cycle Aware Wellington

AlbertStMelbourne Albert St, Melbourne – physical separation of parking, as suggested by the Safety Audit

WCC have released the Safety Audit (which includes a peer review) of the Island Bay Cycleway. Cycle Aware welcomes the report. There are no serious concerns with the design of the cycleway, and the suggested improvements should help to allay residents’ concerns about the change to their roading environment.

So what issues were raised?

  • The most important issue was the “ghost markings”. The contractors had left some old road markings visible, which could lead to confusion at night. WCC is fixing this issue, which is about the implementation, rather than the design of the cycleway.
  • Parking obscuring the view of cyclists when entering or leaving driveways. In order to keep as much on street parking as possible, the design allowed parking to within 1m of entrances. WCC will consult with residents to keep 3-8m clear at entrances. In effect, residents will…

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Footpath biking – should it be allowed?

May 16, 2016

‘Five Point Hierarchy of Measures’, states that the most important things which would help cyclists were to reduce the volume and then slow the speed of motor traffic. This is what needs tackling – not taking an ‘easy way out’ and transferring the threat onto an even more vulnerable group, people on foot.

Cycle Aware Wellington

Leah-and-SylviaShould children and other vulnerable users be allowed to bike on the footpath? Roger Boulter, an experienced cycling infrastructure planner, gives his view.

A petition has been presented to Parliament calling for “children under 14 years of age (and accompanying adults), seniors over the age of 65, and vulnerable users (such as those with mental or physical disabilities)” to be able to legally cycle on roadside footpaths.

Lower Hutt mother Jo Clendon, who started this petition, seems responsible and well-intentioned, but I’m appalled and saddened that some CAN members support this. The well-respected ‘road user hierarchy’ places pedestrians at a higher priority than cyclists. Pedestrian advocacy group Living Streets Aotearoa oppose this petition.

It gets more serious, though. One of the most important findings in the history of planning for cycling was the 1996 ‘Five Point Hierarchy of Measures’, stating that the most important things which would…

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Trolleys are part of the solution

May 1, 2016

Infratil has signed a US$30m deal with Wrightspeed to supply an electric powertrain technology for its public transport business through NZ Bus. NZ Bus recently announced that their Wellington trol…

Source: Trolleys are part of the solution