Te Ipukarea Society’s Alanna Smith makes a presentation. TIS/21121010
Thursday night was Rarotonga’s turn to hear some of the ocean health presentations that were presented to the whole of the pa enua by the voyagers from Tāua e Moana – Ocean & I, writes Te Ipukarea Society.
local NGOs, Te Ipukarea Society, Kōrero o te ‘Ōrau and Cook Islands Voyaging
Society, all came together at Tamarind House to share experiences from the
range of marine related issues were discussed including industrial fisheries,
microplastics found in the ocean and the imminent start to deep sea mining
exploration. Climate change impacts on the ocean was a widely shared concern,
from its impacts on invasive species such as taramea (crown of thorns), coral
bleaching, plus weather patterns and changes to water temperatures influencing
tuna fisheries migration patterns.
critical role that the ocean plays in regulating climate and absorbing man made
carbon is just one of the many reasons why rushing into deep sea mining is not
right for the Cook Islands or the planet at this time.
ocean is already under a lot of pressure from climate change, pollution and
overfishing. Deep Sea Mining would only add stress to an already stressed out
member from the audience asked an important question about what individuals can
do to help share knowledge on the impacts of deep sea mining. This excellent question opened up some
interesting discussion on this important issue facing our nation, and how some
people feel like their opinions are not being heard by government and that it
falls on deaf ears.
deep sea mining debate has divided the community and some people feel
disheartened, while others feel empowered to do something, but may not know how
to make a difference.
advice that was given was, firstly, to not underestimate the importance of
chatting to your family, friends, colleagues and using your own platforms
including social media to open up discussion on deep sea mining.
make your voice heard in the legal processes. Making a submission is one of the
most effective means of having your voice heard. Submissions may be on
licensing applications, legislation, regulations or on Environmental Impact
Assessments (EIAs). While the formality
of the process may seem daunting, please know that your local environmental
NGOs will always be willing to advise and support you in this process.
demand more from your politicians. Elections are coming up, so use this
opportunity to advise politicians of your opinions and hold them accountable.
If you do not want them supporting deep sea mining, tell them. Most politicians want the job for life! If they
are not acting in the way you wish, and make promises they do not keep, vote
them out at the next election. Though you may then have to trim your own hedges
consider joining up, volunteering and getting involved with your local
environmental NGO communities. Our people are our greatest resource and
building the capacity of our people is one of the most effective ways of
generating true change.
Dr Teina Rongo summed up on the evening, one of the major successes of Tāua e
Moana, was the experience for the voyagers themselves. By really connecting
with the ocean through the vaka, the experience ignited those voyager’s
relationship with the ocean and helped develop and inspire true ocean champions
who will continue to advocate messages of ocean health.