Thursday, August 20, 2009

350 Aotearoa Tour Hits Wanaka

Hopefully by now most of you reading this will have heard of the 350 campaign. Just in case.....350 is a global grass roots movement, started by Bill McKibben, to not only raise awareness about climate change and global warming but to also inspire real action, by us, the residents of planet Earth to do something about the causes of the problems we have to deal with now and the future.

So why 350? Some of the worlds top scientists, including James Hansen of America's National Aeronautics and Space Administration (as in NASA), agree that if we wish to continue to live on planet Earth with no rise in temperature we need to keep the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to 350 parts per million or less. As the world leaders prepare to congregate in Copenhagen in December of this year to decide what emissions rates we need to set globally it is increasingly important for us, community, to show our support for big emissions reductions.

Bill McKibben talks about us needing to do 3 things to tackle climate change, he also tells us that we need to do all three.
  1. Make as many personal changes you can to reduce your emissions; drive less, reduce power use, consume less etc.
  2. Work actively within your community for change at a local level.
  3. Join a grass roots global movement that holds our leaders accountable to the latest climate science.
To help demonstrate to the world how serious we all are there is a global day of action being planned for Saturday 24th October.

To keep it local, a group of very concerned, yet very positively motivated people from around the country have started 350 Aotearoa. Working with the same kaupapa of we are aiming to show New Zealand, and the world that we care and are prepared to do something about the problem.

We've just been visited by four members of the 350 Aotearoa team who are doing a national tour to help raise awareness about the campaign and inspire some actions on the 24th October. You can follow their tour here. Aaron, Rebeka, Fiona and Bart are awesome, they have so much drive and energy. You fellas rock! Make sure you check out where they are going next and ensure that you can jam with them when they are passing through your town.

We visited three schools in Wanaka, Wanaka Primary, Hawea Flat and Mount Aspiring College and Sophie from Sustainable Wanaka organised an evening meeting so the Wanaka community could decide upon what action they would like to take on the 24th.

Since nobody goes to school on a Saturday, 350 Aotearoa are planning a school day of action on the 23rd of October. One of the purposes of their tour is to go along to schools to inspire our students into taking action with tales of all the fantastic actions that are already happening around the country and the world.

Looking through the web sites you will see lots of pictures of people coming together and forming the shape of 350 and having that image captured. I really like this idea of showing that we care. By being part of these pictures we are showing support for taking real action against climate change.
At each of the schools the team did a fantastic presentation of what was going on and then we moved onto some action. Inspired by a video made at the Pacific Island Youth Forum, we all stood in front of the 350 banner and chanted "If not NOW then WHEN? If not US then WHO? If not EARTH then WHERE? Wanaka Primary support the movement!" Obviously we changed the school name for different schools.

After this super cool action we moved outside to form the giant 350! Again, this was videoed would have been rather sedate without some kind of noise and ruckus. Every one who is part of the 3 shouted three, the 5's shouted five, and you guessed it, the 0's shouted zero, followed by everyone shouting 350 for life!

It was incredible to see. Keep an eye peeled on the website for these videos when they are uploaded. Now we are all inspired we have to keep this momentum going. We've had some great ideas from the schools. Make a soup from 350 locally grown vegetables, have a 350 song competition.....the list goes on. I know I'm going to be rather busy working with everyone to bring these ideas together and do what I can to ensure we show the world that we here in our community and schools are ready and willing to embrace the changes we need to make to allow our planet to remain habitable for many generations to come! Let's have some fun, I did mention that didn't I? This is about having lots and lots of fun, all of us coming together and rejoicing! We can do it, especially if we all support each other across our community, country and planet.

Nga mihi nui o 350 Aoteroa!

1 comment:

Lucy said...

LOVE the 350 vegie soup idea, that's awesome!