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Posts Tagged ‘climate change’

Change for the Oceans

Monday, September 6th, 2010

Given enough time, sea life could adapt to climate change Sadly animals evolve far too slowly. But we can change as quickly as we choose to. Small actions can make a real difference.

This video was produced by Free Range Studios for Monterey Bay Aquarium. Narration by John Cleese who carries a reusable bag and to date has refused 3,982 plastic water bottles.

Become an NZYD Agent of Change

Thursday, August 26th, 2010

Hey everyone!

New Zealand Youth Delegation 2010 is really taking off in a big way. Delegates all around the country are hitting schools, youth groups and politicians offices, spreading the word about climate change and the climate change youth movement!

But we need YOUR help! Do you have a group or school that would interested in learning about climate change and the youth connection? are YOU interested in helping others become more inspired to act on climate change? If so, we’d love to hear about it!

We need passionate young people to become our ‘Agents of Change’, to help us reach new communities, schools, youth groups, churches and pretty much any place where there are keen young people. We’d also love it if you could be part of the workshop in your community by running them alongside delegates from your region, if you feel comfortable doing so.

Workshops will focus on:

  • Educating youth on how climate change is affecting people from around the world and how so many are responding to the challenge in smart and courageous ways.
  • Inspiring young people to take action within their communities.
  • Listening to what youth people think and feed that back to ourreaders, both here and on the international stage.

fabWorkshops would involve a short presentation, some conversation and the opportunity for people to contribute to the NZYD F.A.B. Fern. The F.A.B Fern Campaign (Fair, Ambitious, Binding) uses the classic Kiwi icon of a fern as a canvas to collect messages from New Zealand youth. This would include messages on the kind of commitments they’re taking in their own communities and homes to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions as well as what do they want our government and world leaders at COP16 to know?

NZYD will present these messages to New Zealand’s leaders in the lead-up to the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Cancun, Mexico, and to the international community gathered at the conference itself in December.

nzyd-crewThere are delegates in Wellington (Jessie, Chelsea, Emma), Auckland (Rick, Kirk, Luke, Rachel, Emily), Wairarapa (Brittany), Christchurch (Suzanna) and Dunedin (Paul, Mike) all with HEAPS of other exciting events and opportunites on the go that they would love your input into as well. So if you are interested you can either email us nzyouthdelegation@gmail.com or call 021 042 7430 (Kirk) and let us know what region you have connections to or would like to help out in.

More info about NYYD here: http://youthdelegation.org.nz

Emma (on behalf of the NZYDers)

Coalition of the willing

Monday, July 5th, 2010

Coalition of The Willing is a film that discusses how we can use new internet technologies to leverage the powers of activists, experts, and ordinary citizens in collaborative ventures to combat climate change

For more information about the who, the how and the why, check out the Coalition of the Willing website.

The President’s Dilemma (Rising Sea Levels in Kiribati)

Friday, March 26th, 2010

In Kiribati each tide is now a ‘king tide’ with waves which can wash over the 2 metre high islands. Drinking water which was once fresh is now getting salty; food can no longer be grown in the ground; and the islands themselves are washing away - fast. The younger generation have been encouraged to get a good education so they can live somewhere else in the world without being a burden to others. Those who remain will need to find funds to build sea walls, introduce crops for the new climate and catch the rain.

But for the I-Kiribati who remain, the clock will be ticking…

Do good lives have to cost the earth?

Friday, March 19th, 2010

windOn the face of it, it would seem we must make impossible sacrifices if we want to do our bit for the environment and lead more sustainable, less damaging lives. This book shows that isn’t the case at all. It brings together household names who share a conviction that, on the contrary, living well needn’t cost the earth - and will tell you why and how.

Their collective vision, covering areas from architecture and politics to food and happiness, will completely reframe the way you think about climate change and what you’re willing to do about it. Far from the usual doom and gloom, many here argue that climate change presents a once-in-a-century opportunity to address a whole basket of problems with energy and imagination.

You can join our library and get books and DVDs out for Free!

Earth Hour - 27 March

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

earth_hourSaturday, 27 March 2010, 8:30pm, nationwide.


In 2009 hundreds of millions of people around the world showed their support by turning off their lights for one hour.

Earth Hour 2010 will continue to be a global call to action to every individual, every business and every community. A call to stand up, to show leadership and be responsible for our future.

Pledge your support turn off your lights for one hour, Earth Hour at 8.30pm, Saturday 27th March 2010.

Find Earth Hour events in your area.

Cap & Trade

Wednesday, December 9th, 2009

If you’ve heard about Cap & Trade, but aren’t sure how it works (or who benefits), this is the film is for you.

The Story of Cap & Trade is a fast-paced, fact-filled look at the leading climate solution being discussed at Copenhagen and on Capitol Hill.

Host Annie Leonard introduces the energy traders and Wall Street financiers at the heart of this scheme and reveals the “devils in the details” in current cap and trade proposals: free permits to big polluters, fake offsets and distraction from what’s really required to tackle the climate crisis.

Sustainablity is more than just recycling and planting trees

Friday, November 13th, 2009

Just Focus

What is sustainable development?ourworld
Well let’s take a step back and first ask - what is development? It is a pretty difficult term to define because no one really agrees exactly what it is. For many people development simply refers to reducing poverty and improving living condition in poor countries. Others believe that poor countries should pursue the development path that richer countries have followed. For the purposes of this article, lets think about it is as “growth and change that creates a world where more and more people can enjoy a good quality of life and reach their potential”. Sounds pretty good right?!

So then sustainable development would be growth and change that helps us all enjoy a good quality of life, without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Even better! I think almost all of us can agree that sustainable development is a good thing. But how do we achieve it? For many of us when we hear the word ‘sustainability’ we think immediately of the natural environment, but sustainability is not just about protecting Mother Earth. A truly sustainable world requires us to look after the people too!  The Just Focus crew like to use the Four Pillars of Sustainability, which are; Environmental responsibility, Economic health, Social equity and Cultural vitality.

Four Pillars of Sustainability

4pillars2This helps us to look at sustainability a bit differently and make connections between happy healthy people and a happy healthy planet.

Over the next few months Just Focus is going to look at each pillar and explore ways each of us can help contribute to creating a sustainable world. In this article we look at a HEALTHY ECONOMY.

To create an economy that is both sustainable and healthy, we need to do things a little differently than we are now. Looking after the environment and our workers has to be held in balance with business development and making a profit. Sounds hard, but we don’t have to choose one over the other. Here are some of the things we could work on…

Energy is a necessity. We use it for heating, cooking, manufacturing, construction and transportation. It’s hard to imagine life without it. But the way we use it needs to change. And fast! We are currently consuming non-renewable resources, such as oil and gas, faster than they can be produced, creating harmful environment effects and creating a global dependency on a resource that will one day run out. We must preserve some non-renewable resources for use in the future and focus on developing renewable energy sources such as solar, wind and hydro power.

Personal Action: We are pretty lucky in New Zealand because 70 % of our power is from renewable sources, but it is still good to try and conserve power. Check out www.climatechange.govt.nz for some games and activities.

bike-and-busOur transport system help us to move people, food and other goods around cities, countries and the world. But the recent growth in the transport sector is damaging the environment, and many believe it is contributing to climate change The volume of traffic and increased congestion in the big cities also has an economic cost, with loss of work hours and slower delivery services. Transport is an essential part of life, but it is also harmful to the economy and the planet. What do we do!? A good place to start is reducing our dependency on cars. We also need new technology to improve vehicle efficiency and more investment in public transport systems.

Personal Action: Petition your local council to provide incentives for car pooling and using public transport, so more people will be encouraged to do it. You can save money and the planet!

Education and Employment
Without adequate investment in education and training our economy couldn’t grow. Economic prosperity relies on on-to-it people and businesses who provide high quality products and services that others want and are prepared to pay for. Education and training creates skilled workers who are able to meet this need. Helping people improve their skill level and find jobs is also the best way to reduce poverty. To be truly sustainable, work needs to be valued and workers treated fairly and we need regular opportunities to update our skills and knowledge, so that we can adapt to our rapidly changing world.

Personal Action: Make the most of your education and training and never stop learning! Be aware of your rights as a worker www.youthlaw.org.nz

skyscrapers_of_shinjukuBusiness and industry
The business and industry sector has a HUGE role to play in achieving sustainable development around the world. Although many big corporations are accused of causing environmental damage and undermining workers human rights they also have the potential to make a huge contribution, by creating jobs and business opportunities, and using resources more efficiently. Also, by improving their environmental practices, producing less waste, and raising labour standards and valuing their workers, they can set an example to other businesses (try googling ‘Interface Inc’ for an example of a company doing exactly that!).

Personal Action: Check out www.stopcorporateabuse.org and join campaigns that challenge irresponsible and dangerous corporate actions around the world


International trade isn’t new, people began trading silk and spices thousands of years ago, but the volume of world trade today and the rules that control it have increased the impact it has our everyday lives. Trade has lots of positives but it also contributes to rising pollution levels and has reduced biodiversity (that is the number of living species on the planet). On top of this, the gap between the world’s richest and poorest people has widened, partly due to unfair trade rules created by the World Trade Organisation. How we trade and invest around the world is going to have significant impact on the planet’s future. We need trade rules that benefit people AND the planet.


Personal Action: Purchase products that are Fair Trade and/or Organic certified, which means that the environment and the workers who made these products are getting a better deal. Go one step further and get involved with an NGO like Oxfam and work towards reforming the World Trade Organisation

Good time for change
We need to make quite a lot of changes if we want to create a healthy sustainable economy.  You may be thinking that this is not really the best time, what with most of the world in an economic recession. But rather than let all the statistics and media hype get us down this could be the perfect time to take stock. Why did this happen? What are we doing wrong? What would be the impact if we continue to do things like this? This is a great time to think about how we could do better! How could we organise the global economy so that as many people as possible benefit and so that we use the world’s resources sustainability? For our sake, and the sake of those to come, this is a question we cannot ignore any longer.

WORLDCHANGING - A user’s guide for the 21’st century

Friday, September 25th, 2009

Edited by Alex Steffen; Forward by Al Gore.

This book is a ground breaking compendium of the most innovative solutions, ideas and inventions emerging today for building a sustainable, livable, prosperous future.

ecohouse_photoSections on Power, Shelter, Business, Community and just Stuff are divided into short, easy to read explanations of a few hundred of the best solutions out there. The guide is put together by a team of people who invite us to join their conversation on the best tools we can use to improve our lives.

You can join our library and get books and DVDs out for Free!

The people problem

Thursday, September 24th, 2009

By Josh Wrightpeople-prob-population-growth

Something’s missing amidst all the discussion of the most pressing environmental problems of the times: climate change the degradation of land due to agriculture, and water shortages. To date, almost all the comment in the media has been about the need for new technology to solve these problems and continue to accommodate the growing world population - and almost nothing has been said about the impact of human population growth. Yet stabilising the population at present levels might be an easier and more durable solution than developing and applying more technology, at increasing costs.

We tend to think this way because historically, population growth has been an easy path to economic growth. Many of us, particularly the younger generation, believe (or have been led to believe) that our technology has allowed us to break free from the resource constraints that limit the populations of every other species. Indeed, it’s almost as if we believe that in limiting our population we would be showing a loss of nerve as a species. But while a steadily growing population may have once contributed to improving quality of life for all of humanity, it is now leading to a high quality of life for a few and a low quality of life for many. While once population growth drove technology development, that rate of growth the resulting consumption may now be driving the need for new technology at a faster pace than it can be reliably developed and applied.

Climate Change people-prob-earth
Consider climate change. Ever since humans mastered fire over 400,000 years ago (our first big technological breakthrough), we have relied primarily on burning carbon-containing materials for our energy, a process that releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Before the Industrial Revolution 250 years ago, the natural ‘respiratory’ cycles (photosynthesis by most flora) could deal with the carbon emissions. But now our sheer numbers and per-capita consumption have overwhelmed the capacity of these cycles and started to destroy the natural environments in which they are based. This is a serious problem, with emissions accumulating rapidly and actually changing the climate.

Technological Advancements
One of the most favoured technological solutions to the problem of carbon emissions is clean coal (find out more here: people-prob-nuclear_powerhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clean_coal.) But clean coal, which involves the development of not one, but several new technologies, is at this stage a hope, not a reality. What if it doesn’t work, or works only one-third as well as we hoped? Nuclear energy is another technology paraded as a solution to the problem of accumulating carbon emissions. But again, there is a significant problem with the technology, which has remained unsolved for more than 50 years: what to do with the enormous amounts of waste that no natural nor man-made cycle can currently deal with in a meaningful time frame? In lieu of all this uncertainty, it could only be wise to at least simultaneously start stabilising human population, which we know we can do.

A key problem with using technology to overcome limited natural resources is that even when it works, it is never a permanent fix. The unforgiving increase in human numbers ultimately creates new problems, leading to yet another scramble to find a technological solution as quickly as possible. Take the solution to the problem of hunger for example: no sooner had the enhanced harvests achieved in the green revolution been made available to the hungry millions than we were told that we now urgently needed more advanced genetic engineering to help feed a new generation of hungry millions.

Another obvious problem is that technology alters the condition of the things to which it is applied, particularly processes in nature. Technology can turn something naturally occurring into something effectively human-made. For example, what begins as a free-flowing river ends up as a dammed, power-producing, flood-mitigating, controlled water channel. The loss of natural states and processes may not concern some. But to others, what remains of the natural world is now more valuable than the expanding number of humans for which these remnants may have be sacrificed if unlimited population growth (and as such, consumption of energy and food) continues.

What Lies Ahead?
people-prob-favelaIt is true that per capita consumption is an important contributor to the problem of limited resources. However, population growth is the primary contributor, because each birth sets into motion a lifetime of consumption at some level. In contrast, a birth foregone means a lifetime of consumption foregone, even at its most subsistent level.

There will never be a better time to think about the benefits of stabilising the human population than now! Society has dedicated its thoughts mostly to dealing with the nearly irreversible problems of climate change, peak oil and lack of clean water. A more stable population would make a lasting contribution to solving these, as well as similar environmental problems that are likely to arise. It seems irresponsible not to discuss the idea along with all the technological solutions being considered. As an economist might say, it’s time to look at the problems arising from limited natural resources from the demand side as well as the supply side.

Human Rights people-prob-one-child-policy
Of course, the stabilisation of human population is a contentious issue. The most obvious case study of population control is in China, and the one-child policy implemented there. The policy has attracted controversy and has garnered a negative reputation because of its perceived harmful side effects; that it serves to widen the gap between the rich and the poor, and rural and urban areas; that it can contribute to infanticide – particularly female, and that it is a fundamental breach of human rights But this policy, which was implemented in 1979, seems to have been effective. The Chinese government estimates that it has three to four hundred million fewer people in 2008, than it would have had otherwise. As a result of this huge number of reduced births, supporters of the policy argue that China’s health care service is of a higher quality, especially for women, and financial savings per-person have increased. Perhaps more importantly the slowing of population growth has eased the demand on the tight supply of resources, and lowered China’s ecological footprint – allowing for a better quality of life for the Chinese people.

There are now more than six billion of us. Is another billion of us going to make life better overall or worse? Isn’t it time to divert the resources that will go into managing the increasing quantity of human beings, into stabilising numbers and increasing our quality of life? Is there any problem that wouldn’t be easier to solve with fewer of us?


Population Connection www.populationconnection.org
The Voluntary Human Extinction Movement www.vhemt.org
What Stops Population Growth, Hans Rosling www.gapminder.org/videos/what-stops-population-growth