Citizenship

We have just been to a very frustrating council meeting. Helena put in a submission to the council. It was their annual plan which probably had no interest as such for Helena but she does think the council does things – our rubbish, the bike path being built around the corner, roads, she hears me rant about council housing (they want to divest themselves and not be the community organisation they are by definition) and Helena does think about climate change. Helena asked me if she had to write what I say and I told her the whole point was that they were asking her so she wrote:

It says “i hate climate change because if it goes on for much longer we will all die the plants and animals to.” We took it in to the council and big ups to the man behind the desk who read it back to her without hesitating on the spelling. It’s a big deal her actually writing, she “hates” it. He also gave her a pen, she was stoked.

They had the hearings and I suspect lots of us ratepayers said stuff like I did like, “spending more money on a new loo than climate change?”  I think I said “what are you waiting for, pestilence?”

So today we went to an “Extraordinary meeting” of the council to hopefully pass a motion to declare climate change an emergency. I showed Helena where she would have sat should she have said yes to wanting to be heard and we talked about the bells (you get only a few minutes to speak). They were running late… so we go do the weekly shop and come back and we get to the see a little of the detail of the council workings before they start the “Extraordinary” meeting. The mayor did a little speal about how this is a “now” issue and referred to the degree of feedback about people’s concerns, as well as her recent trip yo Denmark!. I think she must have a recent ah ha moment. I’m not sure what to tell Helena. They argued in the form of pretending to ask questions, the meaning of the word emergency…. and if this meant spending more money, how much money the recent fires cost?. Some of these statement questions were prefaced by some kind of ‘you know I take climate change seriously BUT….’ how about an amendment to delay the process? The chief executive spoke really well on how the council was already dealing with costs of climate change and will be again and this was a way of the council letting us the people who pay them know that they were on the ball. We had to leave. I didn’t really want her to feel the process was tedious, I wanted her to feel she can do something about things she cares about.

Three hours it took but at least they passed the motion. Helena gave me a yay, happy hug when I told her, she was genuinely pleased.

And a week later… we are with the student strike trying to make sure it isn’t all words.

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