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Climate change and the threat of social disaster

The Aotearoa New Zealand Association of Social Workers supports protesters gathered around the country to highlight the dangers of climate change.

Climate change is the defining issue of our time, posing potentially catastrophic risks to society- even, in the worst-case scenario, to organised human life itself.

“In Aotearoa New Zealand, a land of relative prosperity and plenty, we have the chance to do our bit to reduce emissions and to take sufficient preventative and preparative actions to protect future generations,” ANZASW Chief Executive Lucy Sandford-Reed said.

“Untold social wreckage, from which none of us will be able to escape, will be visited on the world if temperatures rise too high and feedback loops accelerate the problem beyond anything humans can control,” she noted.

“Even in more optimistic projections, extreme weather events, including droughts and flooding, will occur, causing severe disruption everywhere, disproportionately hitting the poorest and most vulnerable communities hardest,” she continued.

“While this will certainly apply to us here at home, our neighbours in South Pacific and Asia will be among the worst hit worldwide. Indigenous communities in these regions are set to be particularly affected. The impact of lack of food security, reduced access to medicines, healthcare and livelihoods will be felt most acutely by those who already experience disadvantage,” she observed.

“Returning to Aotearoa, we should all consider what we can do to ensure a positive future for our islands, protecting its natural Taonga and averting the risk of devastating environmental and social breakdown in coming decades,” Sandford-Reed said.

“Climate is a social justice issue- and the stakes couldn’t be higher,” she concluded.

The Association’s banner is being carried by members participating in the capital today; other members have decided to participate as individuals.


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