Regional council appoints climate action ambassador

Hawke’s Bay Regional Council has appointed Pippa McKelvie-Sebileau to her first role as Climate Action Ambassador.

Pippa McKelvie-Sebileau

Ms. McKelvie-Sebileau, who is originally from Hawke’s Bay, has a background in psychology and public health, and is completing her doctorate in food resilience for communities.

She will focus on making the Regional Council carbon neutral by 2025 and will take a key leadership role in a community-wide response in Hawke’s Bay to become carbon neutral by 2050.

“Most people say our climate is one of the best reasons to live in Hawke’s Bay, but climate change is already impacting our way of life, the ability to swim in the waterways we love and the where we live along the coast.

“Successful adaptation to climate change is not only essential for the economic resilience of our region, but also for the well-being of our communities.”

“This role is about climate action – the Regional Council already has an excellent science base and team of scientists, so it will be about turning that knowledge into practical solutions for our community.

“To engage our community, we must lead them to change and provide an alternative vision for an equitable and resilient future.”

In order to deepen the understanding of climate issues in Hawke’s Bay, a regional inventory of greenhouse gas emissions and a regional risk assessment will be established as a starting point, explains Ms. McKelvie-Sebileau.

Ms. McKelvis-Sebileau will lead the development of a regional climate action plan by engaging in partnerships with mana whenua, to ensure mātauranga Maori perspectives are incorporated, and community groups, industry and local councils to ensure an inclusive approach is taken and social justice is upheld.

This plan will feed into the 2024-2034 multi-year plans of the regional councils.

Environment committee chairman Hinewai Ormsby says it’s fantastic to see this work beginning to prepare the region for climate change – the most pressing and profound environmental issue of our time.

“The Regional Council is working hard to make the region more resilient to climate change through our programs of work, from flood protection to coastal hazards to biodiversity protection.

“However, we must work together as a community to achieve the transformational change needed to reduce our environmental footprint and live more sustainably.”

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Elna M. Lemons