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Joint effort urged to address coastal change

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

The impact of climate change on New Zealand’s coastlines, and how communities adapt, will be the focus of a two-day seminar this week.

Scientists and government officials will take part in the Coastal Parks and Climate Change seminar, held at the Amora Hotel in Auckland from 5-6 May to discuss a collaborative approach to planning for environmental challenges such as extreme weather events and coastal erosion.

"Beaches and coastlines are a central part of New Zealand’s natural heritage. Many of us live near the coast, and many more enjoy recreational activities by the sea," said Andrew Leslie, Chief Executive of the New Zealand Recreation Association.

"The effects of climate change, on natural events such as storms and tides, are having a direct impact on our coastlines. We need to understand this impact, and adapt to it."

Community knowledge and engagement was a vital part of this process, he said.

"More than ever, our responses need to be cross-agency and need to have community buy-in. Communities can provide knowledge about the areas they reside in, and that knowledge can help inform decisions. At the same time, the more communities understand about their environment, the better prepared they will be."

Community participation will be the subject of a talk by Ben Sheeran, Director of Recreation Solutions.

Mr Sheeran is the founder of a citizen science initiative called King Tides. The initiative aims to supplement scientific and technical knowledge with knowledge that the community can provide.

A king tide is an unusually high tide, typically 30 to 50 centimetres higher than average. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has predicted that this will be a typical tide in 30 to 50 years’ time.

The seminar will address climate change and sea level rise, organisational responsibility and response, community engagement and Iwi perspectives on coastal development.

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