Your new job starts TODAY!
This is Nigel Clarke.
He is a Senior Harbour and Catchment Advisor and water activist.
“When I first started 20 years ago, I wrote some of the first water policy documents in New Zealand and I was called a screaming, looney, greeny. What I was writing then is standard now.” Nigel said.
With the growing water quality issues across the Wellington Region and many other places around New Zealand, Nigel wants Kiwis to think differently about our water system. “Water quality and harbour health is the result of the problem. It’s not the problem. The problem is that we’ve lost our connection to nature. Getting good water isn’t about turning on a tap. It’s about having good water in our streams that we can use. Having a good harbour means having a good nursery for our fish to live and flourish. People have lost that connection and don’t understand the web of life. We rely on these things to survive and the symptoms are scary and can make us feel unempowered.” Nigel said.
With Covid-19 upon us and looming isolation for weeks to come, Nigel thinks there is a silver lining. “We have a unique opportunity. We can’t go into work. We can’t spend time at events or with friends but we can spend time in our neighbourhoods walking and in nature. As parents we can help our kids reconnect with the environment. We have more time to care about the small things, which are really the big things.” He said.
“We have plastics, microplastics, microtextiles that go into the fish and they die. One of the main reasons seagulls are dying is because of plastics being eaten by them.” Nigel said. The NZ statistics are concerning with “around three-quarters of fish, one-third of invertebrates, and one-third of plants being threatened with, or at risk of extinction.” (Ministry of the Environment, 2017). This is primarily the result of human caused pollution.
His recommendation for this time of isolation is to take on a new job. “Make it your mission and life’s work during this time of isolation to reconnect with nature. Get outside. Enjoy the environment in your community and bring a bag with you each time. Become more aware of what’s around you. Use wearing gloves to prevent spreading Covid-19 to your advantage and pick up litter while you’re at it. Make it your goal to fill a bag every time you go for a walk. Get your family to do it too. Work on it as a community (while maintaining your 2 metre distance). If we all do it we could use this precious time to clean our whole earth and change our mindset about the environment too. One day in the near future this pandemic will end and we will be concerned about our planet again. Let’s take this time to shift, recalibrate and take care of our water – because we need to, and we all have time now” Nigel said.
You can incrementally help our waterways by collecting litter every time you walk anywhere. Make it a game between you and your family – whoever collects the most trash wins a prize each day. If we do this everyday, maybe someday we’ll live in a world where there is no trash floating in our ocean.