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People need to become more involved in environmental efforts if civilisation is to survive much longer, a Massey University lecturer says.
Ecology and environmental science senior lecturer Mike Joy will speak at the Tomahawk Lagoon citizen science reporting day on Saturday.
Pupils from Bayfield High School, John McGlashan College, Otago Girls’ High School and Tahuna Normal Intermediate have spent the past year monitoring the biodiversity, chemical and physical patterns of the lagoon fortnightly and will share their findings this weekend.
Dr Joy was invited to speak at the event by freshwater scientist Marc Schallenberg, of the University of Otago, who has been assisting Andrew Innes and the team monitoring the lagoon.
Dr Joy will speak about the importance of the work the group has been doing and the ‘‘dire state’’ of fresh water in New Zealand.
Government departments had failed to look after fresh water, so it was important for local organisations and ‘‘people on the ground’’ to take over that role, he said.
‘‘There’s lots of these initiatives happening around the country and everything they do is good because it’s about learning about the problem and understanding the problem and taking that on.
‘‘That hands-on approach makes people more aware of what the issues are.’’
He had given ‘‘hundreds’’ of talks to people of all ages around the country and recently toured the lower North Island talking to school pupils.
‘‘I find them incredibly inspirational myself.
‘‘When I am feeling depressed and I talk to these young people I feel that there’s hope.’’
He hoped to highlight the importance of the work the Dunedin school pupils had been doing and push the need for more people to become activists.
‘‘If we want to survive as a civilisation much longer we have to all become more active.
‘‘Activism is our rent for living on the planet.’’