Anaethetist Peter Lloyd, a panel member at the Hawke’s Bay social justice seminar, outlined the many environmental challenges facing our world to around 30 people gathered at St Mary’s parish Taradale on Sunday 20 August.
‘We are not just eating the bounty of nature,’ he said. ‘We are eating the seedstock.’
He said history had shown many times that it is human nature to overwhelm a natural environment, even when catastrophe seems inevitable.
He gave as an example the fate of Easter Island, where a society which was dependant on canoes for their fish – their only source of protein – nevertheless cut down all the trees on the island. ‘We humans contain seeds of destruction. We have to learn to change and bring ourselves back from the abyss.’
Other panel members had a more hopeful view of humanity’s chances. ‘I’m hard-wired to survive, to hope, to love,’ said Col Brown. ‘I’ve got to have hope in the Creator.’
Hawke’s Bay regional councillor chair Eileen von Dadelszen, a member of Havelock North parish, said her response to the environmental crisis was as a mother. ‘Mothers live in hope’.
She said it is hard now to remember that concern for the environment was an unfamiliar concept for many New Zealanders until quite recently. ‘In 1969, when I was studying planning, the world environment was not used.’ Eileen said that although she came from a strong background of Catholic social concern, she didn’t find her concern about the environment reflected in the church’s teachings.
As a regional councillor, she is aware that Catholic schools have not taken up environmental education opportunities as frequently as state schools, and would like to encourage more involvement by Catholic schools and students.
Eileen encouraged seminar participants to extend a frequently used quote: ‘Think globally, act locally….respond personally.’