Kevin Toomey a Catholic and Daud Azimullah a Moslem of the Auckland Inter Faith Council talk about the benefits and challenges of bringing the ‘interfaith community’ together including all the various strands of the humanity into one unified global family that lives in peace and prosperity.
Their aim is to promote interfaith cooperation around shared religious values to strengthen the public’s commitment to the values of civic participation, freedom of religion, diversity, and civility in public discourse and to encourage the active involvement of people of faith in every countries political life.
Jeff Phillips originally from the USA studied physics as he wanted to be an astronomer, then switched over to zoology and psychology after being inspired by Dr. John C Lilly and his work with cetacean consciousness where he was invited to California to swim with the dolphins.
The word ‘Civilized’ by definition means to live in cities and includes everything associated and linked to living in tightly organised, structureds, law making, stratified and hierarchical systems.
Jeff goes on to describe the differences between indigenous living and civilisation especially with the extractive economy to that of the consumptive economy where mining, from iron, to diamonds, to gold and coal and to today’s big baddie - uranium. It was either the people for the earth or the people against the earth. The indigenous not owning the land but instead being custodians.
The Resource Management Act (RMA) passed in 1991 in New Zealand at times, controversial Act of Parliament. The RMA promotes the sustainable management of natural and physical resources such as land, air and water. New Zealand's Ministry for the Environment describes the RMA as New Zealand's principal legislation for environmental management.
As the RMA and the decisions made under it by district and regional councils and in courts affect both individuals and businesses in large numbers, the RMA has variously been attacked for being ineffective in managing adverse environmental effects, or overly time-consuming and expensive and concerned with bureaucratic restrictions on legitimate economic activities.
Dr Mels Barton and Sean Freeman speak about the impact of the recent changes to the RMA
Should central government be able to control decisions made by local government? This seems to be the approach of our current government thus undermining local democracy, generally in favour of business interests. One could ask if the RMA is being turned into an economic development act! Changes to the RMA certainly won't build more homes.
The changes to the RMA from 2009 to 2013 have restricted the ability of local government to protect trees on urban allotments to those trees that have been listed on a scheduled list. In Auckland whilst there is some protection for vegetation that is located within sensitive areas such as riparian margins, coastal cliffs and Significant Ecological Areas (SEA’s) such sensitive areas, are not commonly found within our city's boundary. The current Scheduled List of Notable trees amounts to approximately 6000 trees which is less than 15% of our remarkable urban forest. For the remaining trees on private property there is effectively no protection.
Trees have a unique place in our environment. Without them, human life as we know it would not exist. Trees conserve water, make our air breathable, absorb air pollution, support our slopes and form the hub of enormous underground micro-environments that strengthen soil and foster insect life. In a city trees take up a lot of storm water that otherwise may cause flooding.
At a time when we all know the scale of the predicted intensification of building across our city, we have lost the ability to effectively protect our urban forest from property developers. We have lost the ability to protect those living assets which make our city a liveable place.
The country is divided as it hasn’t been since the South African Springbok tour in 1981. And probably along somewhat similar lines. This time it is over a complex international treaty – the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, TPPA (often referred to as the TPP). The negotiations were kept secret for six years, and for good reasons. Analysis of the final agreement shows that the TPPA is not in our interests. Beyond the spin and myths, there are three hard truths about the impacts of the TPPA on New Zealand.