New Zealand Bans Offshore Drilling

New Zealand Bans Offshore Drilling

A Big Win For Climate Action

Jacinda Ardern, New Zealand’s prime minister, announced today that there would be no future oil drilling in the country’s waters (Financial Times). Although you might not consider the country itself to be especially large (about half the size of California), it’s actually an enormously substantial territory.

New Zealand’s waters, aka its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), cover approximately 4 million square kilometers. That makes this ban an especially amazing achievement!🙌 The declaration comes at a pivotal moment in the global push to combat climate change. It’s definitely a significant win for the environment!

The NZ Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern
The NZ Prime Minister made the commitment to ban offshore drilling.

Aiming for Carbon Neutral

While New Zealand isn’t necessarily the first country to announce such a ban (France, Belize and Costa Rica have made similar commitments), it is the first significant producer to do so. Much like what went down in my native Canada, the previous Kiwi governments had sought to exploit the country’s oil potential.

However (unlike Canada, which maintains its petroleum fixation despite having voted for a government that platformed for change), the current NZ government’s decision is a major policy shift. Those who work with and enjoy the country’s natural environment couldn’t be prouder!

Related image

Progressive Environment Consciousness

Just last year the Māori (NZ’s Indigenous People) won yet another tremendous victory for the environment in getting the government to recognize the Whanganui river with the same legal rights as a person (The Guardian). It was a global first!

This continued fight to recognize and protect the country’s water and environment is led by a number of motivated individuals and their brilliant organizations. The declared ban is a direct result of their awesome efforts.

Citizen Action
Click the image for more details on the climate movement.

Advocating the End of Offshore Drilling

Offshore drilling is a threat to both humans, wildlife, and the climate. Given our civilization’s now limited carbon credit in the face of potential runaway climate change, we definitely need to keep those oil reserves where they are.

Organizations like Greenpeace New Zealand and 350.ORG (NZ) have already been advocating for the environment for years now. They help engaged citizens (see Saving Democracy) to have their communal voices heard. Thankfully, the Prime Minister of New Zealand has listened. It’s now past lime for other political leaders to do the same.

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