The Environment

Arden Morunga, a year 10 student, shares his whakaaro (thoughts) on the current landscape of our taiao (environment) and what we need to start doing in order to "leave a positive legacy for the future, our tamariki".

Pollution and the environment are potentially the most important issues of our time. The fact of the matter is, my generation will bear the brunt of the consequences of past generations’ ineptitude and partisan politicking that has impeded real progress to prevent or mitigate these disastrous issues and their implications. We forget our rubbish ruins: the river, once teeming with vibrant wildlife, now turned into a waterway of waste to the fertile land killed by the sun’s fueled ferocity and heat. Everyday, in cities around the world, smog blankets the sky, clean air is no longer a reality but a luxury to many people, living in concrete slums, or the slums in countries like the Philippines where our waste is dumped according to sources like BBC news. But we forget, instead, we virtue signal or deny this happens at all. But the pollution will only get worse and environmental calamities will happen more often. Through our ignorance, we forget the effects of our actions and the consequences that are yet to come, but millions of displaced peoples remember, they remember their livelihoods hurled away in the cyclone, or drowned in a flash flood, or ripped away in wild storms. We, the perpetrators forget, but the victims will carry that memory with them. 


We mustn’t get caught up in politicking at both ends of the extremes, but unify to make pragmatic decisions that secure our future, safeguard our economy and save our environment. We must not jeopardise our growth but learn to make our environmental efforts part of our growth, economically and socially. We must unleash the boundless potential of the free market and private industry to pioneer as they have so many times before. We must encourage ingenuity and condemn extremism and radical ideas that alienate and polarise us. This can be done by investing in renewable energies in a transitory process from fossil fuels. We should not penalise the use of fossil fuels, but incentivize and invest in renewables/sustainables, so we can transition in a process that ensures we have the ability to sustain ourselves with cleaner energy and cleaner alternatives where it is feasible. This will mean that we can work toward energy independence, which should be at the forefront of developing clean energy. By doing this, we can mitigate the environmental damage whilst promoting our country’s sovereignty. We can then encourage smart transitions to more eco-friendly materials in other everyday items such as plastic bags as we are doing. We have a tough road ahead, but I have faith that if we can unite behind a pragmatic, conservative approach that simultaneously encourages economic growth alongside environmentally conscious development and free market ingenuity, we will take our world back from the snare of pollution and environmental decay, and embrace Aotearoa’s energy sovereignty and our cleaner global community. Our generation is the kaitiaki of the land and it is imperative we learn from the mistakes overseas to ensure we leave a positive legacy for the future, our tamariki.

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