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). Since New Zealand’s waters, aka its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), cover approximately 4 million square kilometers, this is an especially amazing achievement! The declaration comes at a pivotal moment in the global push to combat climate change, and a is big win for the environment.
Indeed, while New Zealand was not 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!
A History of 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.
Advocating the End of Offshore Drilling
Offshore drilling is a threat to both wildlife and humans, and given humanity’s limited carbon credit in the face of potential runaway climate change, we need to keep those oil reserves where they are. Organizations like Greenpeace New Zealand and 350.ORG (NZ) have been helping (for years now) engaged citizens (see Saving Democracy) to have their communal voices heard. Thankfully, the new prime minister has listened.