Introducing Martin Lukes Community Liaison Officer with Agenda 21.
Article by Martin Lukes
Apart from being my last year at Lincoln, 1992 was important.This was the year that the United Nations got their act together and held an Earth Summit in Rio De Janiero. Many important global environmental problems were discussed; the ozone hole, tropical rainforest destruction and driftnet fishing were important topics. A major focus of the United Nations conference on the Environment and Development was developing a framework to take the world into the 21st century. This framework was named Agenda 21 and concentrated on issues and processes which would ensure a sustainable environmental future.
A key factor with the United Nation's Agenda 21 is that it is a global vision which can only succeed if implemented on a local level. The Agenda 21 committee in Christchurch is committed to seeing that Agenda 21 concepts are discussed and applied in Christchurch.
In 1994 funding was provided to enable a major project to be implemented. Beginning in July, this project concentrates on biodiversity. Biodiversity is a complex concept. Basically it describes the range of linkages between species. If there are plenty of linkages then there will be rich biodiversity.
Biodiversity is an extremely important concept because on a global level it is rapidly decreasing. Tropical rainforest destruction, urbanisation, over fishing and bad land management are all threats to biodiversity on a global scale. In New Zealand our indigenous flora and fauna have been severely effected by introduced predators and loss of habitats. Since human arrival over 40 species of birds have been made extinct. Many other bird species are endangered.
In Christchurch the original habitat has been highly modified by urbanisation and agriculture. Wetlands have been drained and forests cleared. Few native birds are found within the city and Christchurch is recognised more for it's English character.
Despite the loss of original habitats there is a tremendous opportunity to restore native vegetation in appropriate areas. Already there are a large number of organisations and individuals who are involved with planting native trees and restoring the original vegetation. The aim of the Agenda 21 project is to promote the need for greater native biodiversity in Christchurch. Increasing the biodiversity in Christchurch will be consistent with the United Nations Convention on Biodiversity, signed by over 150 countries in 1992.
For more information or to be involved with the Biodiversity Project
please contact: Martin Lukes on 379 8197.
You are most welcome to join Agenda 21 for the grand sum of $5.00.
**A new publication is now available from the Agenda 21 Committee: "INDIGENOUS ECOSYSTEMS of Otautahi Christchurch". This booklet presents detailed and well researched information about the suitability of several different areas of Christchurch for growing native plant species. A street map of Christchurch has been placed over a map of land surfaces in Christchurch colour coded according to their approximate age and soil development. Lists of native trees, shrubs, climbers and groundcovers have been compiled to guide nurseries, and members of the public to the plants that belong naurally within different parts of the city. Home gardeners will be able to select and grow the native plants of their neighbourhood.
For details on obtaining this valuable resource contact Martin Lukes in the Environment Centre within the Arts Centre of Christchurch, at the telephone number listed above.