WelCom News
A newspaper for the Wellington and Palmerston North Catholic Dioceses

Environmental justice – a personal reflection

Leesa Roy

Reflecting on environmental justice over my last few months at Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand leads me to think about what I could do to stop climate change and ‘renew the face the of the earth’.

I live in the city surrounded by concrete – footpaths, roads, buildings, lamp posts. I have a small brick area behind my flat where a shared washing line stands, overlooked by neighbouring houses and apartments. So it is no surprise to me that I often spend time imagining my perfect garden in the countryside.

I would love to plant trees where I live. Not only are they beautiful but they absorb carbon dioxide (CO2), which is the major contributor to climate change. In fact, one tree will absorb up to one tonne of CO2 over its lifetime.

Unfortunately, tree-planting is not an option for me at the moment. So instead I thought more about the practicalities of my city location.

Each Tuesday when I walk home from work, I am astounded at the hundreds of yellow council rubbish bags lined up along the street, destined for the landfill.

According to the Regional Council, 45 percent of the average rubbish bag’s content is made up of organic material. In landfills this material breaks down into methane, a greenhouse gas, and leachate, which can pollute the earth’s water.

I realised that reducing organic waste was something I could do in my city setting. I could start a worm farm!

What a laugh when the worm farm arrived at the Catholic Centre with a note attached saying ‘worms inside’ – a bit of a change from the usual courier packages!

Well, I’m pleased to say that this weekend it looks like my visit to the vegetable market is going to be even more industrious!

Let’s not forget, we can all do something to be better stewards of our environment. Environmental justice resources can be accessed through the Caritas website www.caritas.org.nz or toll free on 0800 221 022.