Community-led retreat means moving homes, businesses, sites of cultural significance or taonga out of harm’s way in a carefully planned process that involves the community at every step. Our climate is changing due to human-induced greenhouse gas emissions which are warming the global climate system.
Aotearoa New Zealand’s first National Climate Change Risk Assessment found that New Zealand’s climate is warming, sea levels are rising, and extreme weather events are becoming more frequent and intense.
We are significantly exposed to natural hazards such as floods and erosion. Around 750,000 New Zealanders, and 500,000 buildings worth more than $145 billion are near rivers and in coastal areas already exposed to extreme flooding. There are also a number of major urban centres, taonga and sites of cultural importance at risk.
The impacts of natural hazards are felt by everyone. Climate change is likely to make these events more frequent and severe.
Community led-retreat is just one type of adaptation response
We can adapt to climate impacts by:
- protecting our assets
- building stop banks or sea walls
- improving stormwater systems
accommodating for the change
- raising properties
- rebuilding more resiliently
- avoiding development in high-risk areas
There are parts of New Zealand which are likely to become impossible to protect, due to climate change.
Community-led retreat means moving homes, businesses, sites of cultural significance or taonga out of harm’s way, in a carefully planned process that involves the community at every step.
That can be done before a natural disaster or severe weather event happens, or afterwards.
The image below illustrates the avoid, protect, accommodate and retreat options.