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Climate change? Don’t bill me.

Environment Issues Climate HBRC

Tom Belford27 October 2020

It’s hardly gratifying to see that, on the surface, barely half of respondents (52%) to a HBRC-sponsored survey claim to be ‘somewhat concerned’ or ‘very concerned’ about the ‘impact climate change may have on your quality of life’.

My god … what does it take?!

The number are slightly better when the question is: ‘How concerned are you about the impact of climate change in our region?’ That more parochial version draws 29% ‘somewhat concerned’ and 33% ‘very concerned’.

Taken together, leaving 38-48% of us not concerned or ‘in the middle’.

Not exactly broad or encouraging recognition of an existential threat to the planet. [I’m sure I’ll hear from the 7-10% ‘not at all concerned’ for that comment.)

BayBuzz has had the opportunity to study the responses to this survey in detail and will be discussing the findings in our Nov/Dec magazine.

For now, I’ll just note that the survey was motivated by the Regional Council’s interest in determining whether it should play a larger role in the issue — i.e., dare we lead?

On that specific point, the question was: ‘How much do you agree or disagree that HBRC is doing enough to prevent and reduce the impact of climate change?’

Not a well-crafted research question, but nevertheless, if one disagreed, that means one might infer that person believes the Regional Council needs to do more.

And only 31% strongly or somewhat disagreed, thereby signalling ‘do more’ to HBRC.

Interestingly, there’s a strong generational difference within this response – in fact, 41% those under age 40 want HBRC to do more, while only 22% of those 65+ feel that way.

Make an educated guess as to which of those groups pays more of the HBRC’s rates and you’ll begin to understand why the Regional Council is yet to take the bull by the horns on this issue.

Indeed, the Council still has a significant chore ahead to convince ratepayers that HBRC’s two most significant mitigation challenges – protecting us from heightened risk of inland flooding and protecting coastal communities from sea level rise and inundation – should be publicly funded. Three-in-ten say they are not prepared to pay more for the former and 42% aren’t keen to pay for the latter.

The HBRC was looking for answers. What they found was only a moderate level of concern matched by lack of fervour for HBRC to do more and significant resistance to paying the bill.

So how should they respond?

Hopefully the Regional Council will not fold its tent, but instead conclude from this survey that it indeed needs to mount a significant educational campaign … to be followed by action. Because – whether ratepayers like it or not – the issue is real and mounting … and endangering our region (if that’s the bare extent of our existential horizon).

Leadership is required — it can’t be ducked — on climate change.

Tom Belford27 October 2020

10 responses to “Climate change? Don’t bill me.”

  1. Stu says:

    Merge some of these councils. A seperate Regional Council is ridiculous. Invest the savings in climate change mitigation. Job done.

  2. Paul says:

    That’s because the regional council along with the district councils are run by self serving fools with no common sense. They are wastrels who use rate payer money for ridiculously stupid ideas that make no difference. Not just the current council but the previous ten years have been the same.

  3. Eddie Hamilton says:

    Surely we can see a massive drive for human birth control is needed. We need to stop breeding so prolifically and stop building more and more housing, taking more and more of natural land and resources. Force a change now before Covid-19 and its successors do the job for us in an uncontrollable manner.

  4. Marilyn Scott says:

    Interested in who was surveyed and when? We are ratepayers but did not get canvassed re climate change.

  5. Rose Chapman says:

    I’ve always wondered what existential actually meant!

  6. Joan Ruffell says:

    I wasn’t surveyed. Am very concerned. Would be prepared to pay more re inland flooding but not so much coastal as feel that is pointless.

  7. Dave says:

    Eddie is right; human population control is the only answer to the myriad environmental problems we face. That means at local, national and international levels.

  8. Lynne Anderson says:

    Agree with Eddie and Dave – over population is “the elephant in the room”

  9. Brian Mangin says:

    I’m Interested in who was and how people were selected to be surveyed and when? We are ratepayers but did not get canvassed re climate change. Maybe I missed it in so much surveying of us all these days.

  10. Pippa McKelvie-Sebileau says:

    Great article – will be looking forward to reading your analysis of these results – and assumably the HBRC’s as they will be publishing the results? These results are really disappointing – not only the poorly crafted research question that mixes mitigation and adaptation, but concerns around how they obtained their sample…? Here’s hoping it was a biased sample that will need redoing, otherwise the impact for our coastal, food-producing region is extremely concerning!

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