50 Shades of Green

50 Shades of Green Vindicated

Draft advice to Government states that planting trees to offset carbon emissions is unsustainable.

We thank the Climate Commission for engaging with us as they researched for their draft advice report, we appreciate the acknowledgement that New Zealand cannot plant our way out of climate change, and that where planting is required, native planting or reversion should be the preferred option, something that fits with 50 Shades of Green view of integrated planting on farm.

We think this is a great time to delve deeply into the conversation and we encourage debate around some assumptions within the report which we have concerns about.  

Many Urban New Zealanders may be blissfully unaware of the social and environmental effects on rural communities being delivered by current incentives driving the accelerated planting of monoculture of pine, that doesn’t belong in the NZ ecosystem.  Our view is this not the legacy NZ wants for our landscape, nor will it solve our problems. Intuitively there is a distinct conflict between our love for NZ native and the reality of exotic pines which are changing the NZ landscape irreversibly. 

Long term, changing New Zealand hill country farms into exotic plantations is doing more harm than good[1]   It is playing chicken with our environmental, social and economic future

The Climate Change Commission acknowledges that planting pine increases our vulnerability to climate change and pushes the burden of emissions reductions to later generations.  Since our inception we have been asking for urgent policy change before our regional landscapes are altered forever to become a sea of exotic pine impacting all New Zealand, not just rural and provincial communities.   

Within the report there is reference to little economic impact with the land use change.  We challenge this and urge the Climate Commission  to better research and understand the implications of exotic carbon sinks and their economic impact.  (See evidential report attached)

Including the 1500 strong march on parliament 50SOG have repeatedly said planting exotic trees will achieve little.  For too long the drum we have been beating politically has been falling on deaf ears, and while its pleasing to see that commentary included in the draft advice does seek to address many of these concerns, the disconcerting part is there is absolutely no mechanism to limit or stop carbon emitters continuing their merry way.  

There is a trend now, Simon Upton in his report ‘The next great landscape transformation” and now the climate commission’s report, highlighting the short-sightedness of allowing carbon emitters to offset emissions through the subsidised planting of exotics.  This is one of the first discussions to be had.  We suggest a bit of navel gazing instead of finger pointing.  Ultimately it will be personal choices we make collectively that will determine the future of Aotearoa’s landscapes.

In the meantime, New Zealanders owe it to their children to learn of  the permanent changes happening on their regional landscapes, and that more concerningly, are unlikely to deliver sustainable changes for either the climate or society.  Ironically as a nation and especially for Maori, by 2050 the damage will be done; in the absence of policy changes to afforestation incentives, the Kaitiakitanga of the land which we pride ourselves in, will have been ambushed by a sea of exotic trees and more Tolaga Bays to come.  

We need a mechanism to be provided by Government, to limit emissions offsetting using exotic trees planted on good farmland.  We have a solution for that, simple and effective.

We invite you to speak with us and find out why we are so passionate about our cause and work to deliver mitigation solutions that work with the characteristics of the land we live in and the communities we serve.

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