‘Indigenous knowledge and leadership’ needed in tackling the climate crisis
2 October, 2023
Interview by Caeden Tipler, adapted by David Liwei Shi
Activist India Logan-Riley (Ngāti Kahungunu, Rangitāne, Ngāti Rongomaiwahine) says that while it can be hard to think about the future amid a cost of living crisis, the issues causing poverty are also responsible for the climate crisis.
As the election nears, political parties have presented varying policies on addressing the climate crisis.
Action Station Climate Justice Organiser and Kaupapa Māori Researcher, India Logan-Riley (Ngāti Kahungunu, Rangitāne, Ngāti Rongomaiwahine), told 95bFM’s The Wire, that more people want to see climate action from political parties after the impact of extreme weather events like flooding in Tāmaki Makaurau and Cyclone Gabrielle.
“They were devastating. It was the first time we had people die directly as a result of those disasters.”
Labour Party MP, Andrew Little, told The Wire that the government has done “a lot” in terms of climate action, but has “a lot more to do”.
Logan-Riley criticised Prime Minister Chris Hipkins for backpedalling on policies like the proposed container refund scheme, which would help reduce landfill waste levels.
“They have made some important progress in terms of the offshore oil and gas ban and passing the Zero Carbon Act, but that all happened a while ago now.”
Logan-Riley said they understand it can be difficult for people to focus on the climate, when we are simultaneously experiencing an affordability and housing crises.
“It is hard to have conversations about how we prepare for the future when folks are struggling to put food on the table and keep a roof over their head.”
But they highlighted that the issues causing poverty directly correlate to the climate crisis.
“The forces that drive the cost of living are also forces that drive the climate crisis; corporate greed and prioritising profit over the wellbeing of people.”
Logan-Riley added that when a climate disaster occurs, poorer people are more likely to struggle to recover.
Logan-Riley believes a Māori-centred response to climate action is crucial.
“When you displace communities to get oil, or extract from the land without returning those same gifts and generosity back to the land so that it can continue to nourish future generations, you are setting yourself up for really imbalanced circumstances that have driven climate change.”
“We can tackle climate change from a place that really harnesses indigenous knowledge and leadership.”
Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air