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The Essential Elements -Earth, Air, Fire and Water

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Getting Philosophical about the Wellington Regional Council.

 Earth, Air, Fire and Water - These are the essential elements of the Greater Wellington Regional Council’s stewardship of our resources.

Charged with responsibility for managing these basic necessities of
our life and our world, the Greater Wellington Regional Council guards and manages our rivers and streams, our coastline, our air pollution, our forests and parks.

Kapiti Island for Greater Wellington Regional CouncilThey do not get involved in the minutiae of our everyday life but instead watch at a higher level to ensure we do not misuse nature’s resources. Their interest is in the environment and in its sustainability. I define sustainability as ensuring our resources are there and able to be used by future generations.

The essential elements of Earth, Air, Fire and Water have been revered since human life began. The Greek philosophers referred to these elements as the basis for many religions.

On a recent trip to Iran, where it was apparent there was no guiding hand to ensure good use of the land with the exception of their management scarce water, I learned more of these essential elements and how they have influenced life under many guises. (See separate article –Water Storage – An Elegant Solution)

Islam is the religion of Iran but the Zoroastrian religion is much older than either Christianity or Islam. From circa sixth century BC, it has as its guiding principles the protection of the elements necessary for life, that is, earth, air, fire and water.

In this gentle ancient religion are the very elements the Greater Wellington Regional Council has under its care. They, (GWRC) carry out ongoing environmental monitoring of air quality, water quality and quantity and soil quality. The element fire is encapsulated in public transport.

Critical for Kapiti will be the agreement of GWRC in the ongoing development of our long term sustainable water solution. The health of the aquifers is as important as the state of our rivers. Restoring the wetlands, streams, dunes and estuaries are critical to our aquifers. Keeping our rivers clean, their flows sustainable, means a partnership with other councils and with the community.

When I look at our transport needs holistically, taking into account all our communities and their diverse needs, I ask at what cost? What is the cost to the individual, the community, the environment? Good transport equals a prosperous community and without question the more people we can get to use public transport the better our environment is. At issue is the balance between the public good and the private benefit and where the costs lie.

And so, to the last element – the earth. GWRC is charged with pest management and improving the biodiversity of the land and for soil conservation. GWRC’s vision of a prepared, healthy, prosperous, connected community is a perfect fit to the principles of the elements venerated for centuries

That philosophy is stated by GWRC in the introduction of their draft annual plan – ‘We have clean water, fresh air and healthy soils. Well functioning and diverse ecosystems make up an environment that can support our needs. Recourses are used efficiently. There is minimal waste and pollution.’ – are all principles the Zoroastrians have lived by for centuries and they still do.

The sometimes heavy hand of the Greater Wellington Regional Council is really the guiding hand of sustainability. Be foresighted and don’t knock it.