At the August club night we attended a thought provoking presentation from John McArthur of the Waikato Tramping Club on the impacts now and in the future from climate change as a result of continually increasing levels of carbon emissions into our atmosphere – both for tramping activities and for the future conditions in which we and those that follow us will live.

It is a sobering story, but one which does not really come as a surprise – we know already the impacts of receding glaciers and ice fields, of milder winters, of “unusually” hot and dry conditions, and of more and more heavy rain events.

Several years ago DOC flagged the challenges they face maintaining backcountry tracks and huts in a world of weather extremes. And we saw this last summer with cyclone Gita closing roads to Flora Saddle and the Cobb Valley amongst other infrastructure carnage while some of us were experiencing a fairly normal wet tramping day just a few kms further south. The Cobb Valley road is still not open, although this is expected to happen during the spring.

The challenge from John for us was – what are you going to do about it? Starting with a challenge to understand and reduce our own personal carbon emissions, the discussion then moved into the interesting territory of carbon credits – at a national level it is easy enough to grasp the notion of balancing carbon emissions by planting new and expanded forests that have the capability to absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere into a “carbon sink”. Already a number of business activities are required to balance their emissions with the purchase of carbon credits from carbon sink creators.

John’s message was this is not just a business or government action – it is something we can all take responsibility for. He has the expertise to help people understand their personal carbon emissions, to advise on reducing emissions (and living costs) and on how we can offset our emissions via purchasing our own carbon credits.

Think about it ….

John can be contacted at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 021 288 9641.

Tony Walton