Q What is your main aim in terms of the work you do trying to protect the environment?
Steve:My aim is to let people see that we face a difficult future unless we act now.
When I started work, over 40 years ago, climate change and sea level rise were under the radar. Since the 1970s I have had to adapt to including their impacts on coastal projects.
You want projects to last for many years, and I have therefore become very conscious of the problems we face.
Q How do you do this?
Barbara: plan and organise planting days and also care for the plants.
The work involves clearing, planting, weeding, watering until established, fundraising and working with other organisations on joint ventures.
We encourage school and community involvement and try to enthuse people about Central Otago’s special plants.
Q What are some of the examples of the work you have done where you have already seen results?
Steve:I report to councils on the coastal impacts of building on the coast.
Again I note, for example, that a new or renovated house will actually have to be removed at some time in the near future because of erosion.
Q Last week’s climate change protest aimed to get the Government doing more. What more do you think the Government could do?
Steve:We have targets for reducing carbon use. I want to see a detailed plan of every step required to get there – changes we all have to make, and their timing. This will make us all realise the cost we have to bear now to avoid greater costs in the future.
Q How achievable do you think it is?
Steve and Barbara: We are a little pessimistic about reining in global warming, because of widespread denial and lack of action, and political short-term interests.
We totally support the high school students’ stand and we feel they have an important role to play.