A 10-strong crew is cycling from the deep south to Auckland this week for Power Shift 2012 – New Zealand’s first youth climate change conference.
Among them is 21-year-old Otago University student Lindsey Horne, who returned to New Zealand from her Californian exchange with a growing concern about the future of her country and the planet.
This fear that the world was going to “get sucked dry” was harnessed for action with the help of Generation Zero - a non-partisan group that takes a fresh and considered look at climate solutions.
Just over a year old, Generation Zero has engaged with 2000 youth nationwide, holding stunts, public speaking events, and campaigns through its strong volunteer network.
Power Shift kicks off on December 7and Horne and her team, complete with fluro lycra and orange helmets, are bringing their determination to build a safe climate future to the main highways of the country.
She believes the successful completion of the cycle trip will illustrate that climate change is an issue that needs to be discussed by citizens within their countries, and not solely in the international negotiation rooms.
Perhaps Climate Change Minister, Tim Groser, should have kayaked to Doha for this year’s Conference of the Parties (COP) on climate change to show New Zealand’s commitment to tackling climate change.
Oh that’s right – earlier this month Groser announced that the government would not sign up for the second commitment period of Kyoto, and would instead opt for the UN’s Convention Framework.
As a result New Zealand has received two Fossil of the Day awards – awards given to “nations most actively hampering international progress” by international NGO the Climate Action Network (CAN).
Power Shift, on the other hand, incorporates international and local sources of inspiration and education to try and combat the lack of action by nation states. Bill McKibben, founder of 350, and Naomi Klein, author and social activist, will be Skyping in alongside Kiwis Lucy Lawless and Rod Oram.
For Horne, the cycling feat is a visual way of showing the commitment she and thousands of other young New Zealanders have to a zero carbon future, in spite of the government’s lackadaisical and as some would say, embarrassing approach.