New Zealand To Test Humanitarian Emigre Visas

While environmental groups are tackling climate change on a grander scale, startups are handling smaller projects. Though it’s clear that innovations like Off Grid Box and SkyCool are making an impact, change can’t come quickly enough. To assist Pacific islanders displaced by natural disasters, New Zealand hopes to distribute refugee visas.

“There might be a new, an experimental humanitarian visa category for people from the Pacific who are displaced by rising seas stemming from climate change,” [said] James Shaw, New Zealand’s climate change minister… “and it is a piece of work that we intend to do in partnership with the Pacific Islands.”

The country is recovering from the repercussions of denying sanctuary to two deposed Tuvalu families. It seems the 1951 refuge convention, which defines a refugee as someone at risk of persecution, is making room for climate change as a legitimate oppressor.

“The lives and livelihoods of many of our Pacific neighbors are already being threatened and we need to start preparing for the inevitable influx of climate refugees,”

In the coming years, New Zealand will also up its refuge quota to 5,000 per annum. Looks like a storm of change has come.

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New Zealand To Plant 1 Billion Trees In 10 Years

Drone technology, among other things, has made reforestation more effective than it has ever been. An abundance of more systematic methods of tree-planting is inspiring many to participate in cutting carbon emissions. For New Zealand in particular, the idea is to go big or go home. Its ambitious government has sworn to plant 270,000 trees a day in order to reach its target of 1 billion in just a decade.

“It’s going to take commitment… we would expect and we would hope that [the Government] is going to try and enlist a private sector investor here because… trying to do it by themselves isn’t a clever idea.” [says Forest Owners Association CEO David Rhodes.]

As a country so heavily reliant on lush forestry, it’s no surprise that New Zealand has previously attempted projects of this scale. The 90s saw some success, with workers planting nearly 100,000 hectares of trees annually. Though 1 billion trees seems to be the government’s greatest obstacle, it’s working with the forest industry that is.

“It’s not just new planting, but sending the right signals to the current investors that it’s worth getting back into the game.”

With hundreds of jobs bound to become available, I can’t imagine seeing this project hit the back burner.

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