The Brighton Observatory of Environment and Economics (BOEE)
New Zealand’s adaptation institute
BOEE is a charity registered in New Zealand (#CC58284) governed by a Board of Trustees incorporated as a Trust Board under the provisions of the Charitable Trusts Act, 1957. We are named for the Township of Brighton at the mouth of the Fox River which was ‘swallowed by the sea’ in the 1880s.
For New Zealand, the impact of the effects of climate change on our economy, people, and environment is the greatest threat we face. Paradoxically, it is also our greatest opportunity:
“…This [adaptation to climate change] is the opportunity of a lifetime, perhaps the only opportunity in this lifetime, to upgrade our businesses and our economy …” [our emphasis]1.
BOEE is a new interdisciplinary pluralist science-based research institute, we formally began operations in 2020. We exist to facilitate adaptation to the effects of climate change for communities, businesses, and government, and form a nexus where they meet.
Our projects identify and engage process-critical barriers, (jigsaw pieces) that if not resolved will become barriers to realistic economic, compassionate, and environmental adaptation pathways. These jigsaw pieces are too small for government, but too large for individual communities/businesses.
We are located in New Brighton: a coastal village facing future climate impacts; in Christchurch, a city of often missed opportunity; and in Canterbury where economic impacts of climate are national in scale.
With our local connection and international reach, our collaborative center of knowledge and experience can facilitate part of New Zealand’s journey beyond our current economy. As a charity we seek funding from government, businesses and charitable sources.
For businesses, we operate at high granularity to identify individual technical business and environmental solutions that grow the new economy and hence facilitate economic and environmental resilience. Adaptation is not about writing off sunk investment, but instead about using it differently. For communities and local governments our purpose is to reduce the technical inequity of adaptation conversations and decision-making. We facilitate processes that will result in increased resilience and wellbeing of the parties and environment/economy going forward. We do this by education, technical, environmental and economic advice, building relationship and trust to facilitate collaboration not consultation.
In summary we exist to expedite adaptation in the NZ economy to reduce the period and extent of economic, social and environmental damage and disorder of our adaptation journey. We achieve this by working with and facilitating education and communication with and between Communities, Businesses and Government(s), providing leadership, undertaking research and reporting the results.
He moana pukepuke ekengia e te waka (Rough seas can still be navigated).
1 Jacinda Ardern’s, closing address to the Climate Change and Business Conference, Auckland, October, 2018.