Caribe Tarawa Climate of the Nation 2012

Jul 24, 2012 - 1:00am

Caribe Tarawa has fond memories of his childhood, “living off the land quite a bit” in New Zealand.  

“Crisp, fresh air, green grass – it’s all 100 per cent natural, like that travel campaign says. But you know, it’s true. I’ve lived in it and I’d hate to see it go. I want to share that with my kids and I mean future generations by that too.”

His love of nature is clear when he speaks of fishing as a child with his father. Now 35, the Maori descendent takes four of his five children on the small family boat. At just a few months of age, the youngest won’t join the outings for some time.

“I love nature and getting outside. Anything that’s going to destroy that type of stuff I am concerned about,” he says. Hence, his belief in climate change.

“Is it happening? Statistics and scientific studies are doing these reports and it seems to that things are changing. So I suppose it is happening.”

“All you have to do is compare the economies of the world. We are producing a lot of CO2 compared to 150 years ago. So obviously something is changing.”

Caribe is a land surveyor by profession and lives in Newcastle.

He is careful to consider personal action for the environment when possible. The household is big on recycling (they recently upsized their bin), and in renovating the house they bought two years ago they’ve included insulation and LED lights, or “anything to reduce the power bill.”

He looked into solar but found the return on investment too far ahead.

“We have a young family and are a single-income home,” he says. “It’s a matter of bills but also reducing things that are harmful to the environment.”

Caribe, like many people that were involved in the Climate of the Nation research, is confused about the government’s carbon pricing legislation.

“As far as the environment goes, it’s a good thing. But is it a good thing for society in regards to your pocket? Once companies make less money they will put prices up and impact society.”

The $500 in government assistance Caribe’s family just received as part of the legislation is “better than nothing.” But it makes you wonder, he says. “Companies have to pay, we get compensation. You gotta scratch your head.”

He fears the compensation won’t cover the cost increases the family might experience throughout the year. “It feels a lot like a token gesture,” he says.

“On one hand it will bring bills up, on the other hand the underlying reason to do it is the environment. So if I say that I don’t agree with [the carbon legislation] do I not support climate change, which I do? It’s very confusing.”


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