It’s time, Canterbury

23 Jun 2021 | Mayoral Forum

The impacts of climate change in Canterbury are being highlighted in a regionwide campaign.

Based on NIWA’s latest climate change projections for the Canterbury region, this new, informative campaign is designed to help communities understand and prepare for the impacts of change.

It includes the itstimecanterbury.co.nz website and Facebook page.

Cantabrians can also pledge support, and sign up to get further information about climate change as it becomes available.

Accessible science about local consequences

Climate change is affecting local ecosystems and communities in Canterbury/Waitaha, and future projections are for worse storms, more frequent floods and droughts, and our sea level continuing to rise.

Projections show that temperatures in our region could rise by up to 1.5°C by 2040 and up to 3.5°C by 2090, with the greatest increases likely to be in the mountains and high country areas already seeing the consequences of rising temperatures, such as drought and wildfire.

Canterbury’s regional, city and district councils have joined together to communicate the projected changes for Canterbury/Waitaha, with the goal of building community understanding and resilience.

Mayoral Forum Chair and Selwyn District Council Mayor Sam Broughton said the ‘It’s time, Canterbury’ campaign will start the conversation with the community about the projected impacts of climate change.

“No matter where you live or what you do, climate change affects everyone. This isn’t an easy topic, but we have to talk about the specifics and take further action to reduce the impacts of climate change, as well as ready ourselves to adapt to it.

“It’s time for Canterbury’s communities to get a clearer picture of what we are seeing and what we are expecting in our own local areas, so that we can all make up our own minds about what we will do to help reduce or manage the impact of our changing climate,” he said.

Improving our world for future generations

Erana Riddell, a mana whenua representative on Environment Canterbury’s Youth Rōpū, said ‘It’s time, Canterbury’ is an important step for the region.

“We know it can’t be just talk – but getting the conversation going is so important. Let’s not freak out. Let’s get the facts and decide what action we can all take. We want to improve our world for our generation and the generations to come.”

Be part of the solution

Environment Canterbury Chair Jenny Hughey said the regional council had been building its understanding of the potential effects of climate change on the region. This included commissioning localised projections and a regional risk assessment.

“Through working with experts in the science of climate change, we aim to provide up-to-date information about the risks and potential impacts here in Canterbury.

“We all know that to curb the worst impacts of climate change, greenhouse gas emissions need to be seriously reduced on a global scale. But there’s plenty we can do locally, and in many of our region’s councils’ new Long-Term Plans, climate change response is at the forefront,” she said.

“Everyone has a part to play, and some of the simplest things people can do include being informed and prepared and talking with others about the changes they make. The ‘It’s time, Canterbury’ website provides a library of local, relevant resources to help develop climate change resilience. It includes a pledge that we encourage Cantabrians to take – essentially a commitment to staying informed, up to date, and therefore a part of the solution,” Chair Hughey said.

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