One of the advantages of the lockdown has been the reduction of human activity and the resulting lowering of carbon emissions which has cleaned the air. The sea, rivers and land have also benefited and in a sense the natural world has been able to rest a little while we fight the COVID virus.
I am lucky enough to enjoy the sights, sounds and smells of nature from my deck as a reserve borders our house. This time of reflection has been valuable and I urge all students to spend a bit of time today to quietly watch the sun rise (or set), seeing clouds blow past, listen to the wonderful bird song, wonderful silence or rustling of the leaves in the trees.
In our Charter we emphasise the need for students to connect – with each other, nature and themselves. Lockdown has given us a golden opportunity to appreciate nature and each other and as we do this we start to connect with our true selves.
We are at a critical time in the fight against COVID-19 when we start to work our way back to a “new normal”. Let us not, in our excitement, waste the opportunity to respect nature, to be true guardians or custodians of the land following the principles of “kaitiakitanga”. Conserve, protect and honour mother earth.
A final point to ponder is how well the people of New Zealand and the world have mobilised and united to fight the virus, find a vaccine and make individual and collective sacrifices during lockdown. Yet thousands die of respiratory illnesses caused by pollution, millions live in unsanitary conditions, floods and droughts threaten lives and livelihoods, whole islands and communities face the risk of losing their homes owing to climate change – can the world unite in the same way as we fought COVID-19 to preserve the environment to secure our future?
What role will each of us play to make the world a better place?
Growing greatness – Kia mana ake!