Debs Martin from Forest and Bird will discuss the shrinking space for community involvement in challenging mining and drilling in their areas. Changes past and proposed to the Resource Management Act, the formation of the Environmental Protection Authority, and recent government announcements to fast-track consents on ‘projects of regional significance’ undermine the ability of communities to input into these processes. Debs will discuss these issues and how it effects our campaigning.
Debs Martin is what you’d call a natural activist. Born to an outspoken mother, who dreamt up campaigns like the ‘washing machine protest’ against the Springbok tour, Debs was inspired to follow her mum’s blazing lead. Since then, she’s been involved in countless all nighters, protests and letter-writing marathons speaking out against all manner of social justice (women’s rights, peace) and environmental (nuclear, anti-mining, GE-free NZ, deforestation) issues. After completing a degree in psychology and sociology, she worked as a drug and alcohol counsellor in Hanmer Springs. And it was while wandering the hills with clients that she was inspired to return to Canterbury University, eventually completing a masters degree in political geography. She then worked as an advisor for the Green’s Jeanette Fitzsimons and in 2004 she joined Forest & Bird – leaving behind her long-time Canterbury home to establish a new satellite office in Nelson. Now her attentions are focused largely on saving wild rivers, like the Mokihinui River, protecting the three national parks in her domain and saving some of the last homes of our endangered long-tailed bats. As well as being a seasoned activist, she is also a hard-core tramper, weed-buster, writer, former raft guide & piano teacher.