When it comes to climate adaptation and mitigation, should community-led initiatives be encouraged and relied upon to do these actions?
The study investigated the community group, Common Unity Project Aotearoa (CUPA) in Lower Hutt, Wellington, in their initiative to engage community participation in making everyday climate adaptation and mitigation practices, not as a one-off project activity, but on a long-term basis.
CUPA is a charitable trust based in Lower Hutt Wellington. Since it began in 2012, it had initiated several community activities that include:
- growing food for the community,
- making meals,
- repurposing household stuff,
- helping people gain practical skills,
- and other community initiatives that benefit members of the community especially those that belong to minority or marginalised groups.
In New Zealand, local councils plan and prepare for climate change impacts under the Resource Management Act 1991 and the Local Govt Act 2002. Climate change adaptation tends to rely on hard engineering solutions such as building sea walls and large flood control projects.
The study authors argue that improved engagement with communities is needed. And instead of a top-down approach to climate adaptation, a bottom-up approach that starts at the community level can lead to a broader range of options, reduce policy implementation failure, increased on-the-ground understanding of climate change impacts, and increase trust between local government and communities.
They also suggest that transformative societal changes needed for meaningful adaptation and mitigation, which can be accomplished through community-led development actions. Adaptation and mitigation actions have to connect with the livelihood concerns of the community, including poverty alleviation.
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PHOTO CREDT: Lower Hutt by Uploader. – Self-photographed, Public Domain, Link