Economist Gareth Morgan challenged New Zealanders this week on national radio to act to stop degrading our environment .
Across the Tasman the Lock the Gate farmers and activists have blocked mining companies from accessing their land to extract gas from coal seams. Although legally entitled to do so these companies have withdrawn in the face of concerted, widespread community opposition.
Drew Hutton from the Lock the Gate movement spoke in Hamilton this week of the impact and risks of large scale coal seam gas extraction. The most observable impact is the loss of productive farmland to gas fields on a massive scale. Less apparent but seriously concerning is the risk of contamination of water supplies, the dangers of acid waste water post extraction and the escape of methane to the atmosphere.
A local group has now formed to monitor these technologies in the Waikato.
At the Waikato Interfaith Forum on Tuesday night representatives of several faith communities linked their religious teachings to caring for the earth. It is encouraging that a group from widely varying backgrounds should do so with such a degree of consensus. This week the Federation of Islamic Associations in New Zealand mark Islamic Awareness Week with a focus on the environment. This Saturday our Interfaith Forum will demonstrate their practical commitment to the environment at a community planting at Lake Waiwhakareke to continue the restoration of this area.