EECA and Clemenger BBDO release new ‘Gen Less’ campaign, pledges Kiwi businesses to unite in the fight against climate change

EECA and Clemenger BBDO release new ‘Gen Less’ campaign, pledges Kiwi businesses to unite in the fight against climate change

Over the past week, climate activists and organisations have taken to social media to fight for our environment. Greta Thunberg presented a freighted speech to world leaders at the 2019 UN climate action summit in New York, declaring: “We are in the beginning of a mass extinction and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth - how dare you!”. While other global campaigns, such as Global Climate Strike, has spanned 150 countries to lobby for an end to the age of fossil fuels. Now, EECA (New Zealand’s Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority), agency Clemenger BBDO and animation house Assembly have bridged generations in its new campaign, Gen Less, to energise climate change action. 

‘He karanga ki nga iwi puta noa i te ao ki nga
nekehanga ahuarangi o te ao.’

‘To the people of the world, regarding climate change. Be awake; be vigilant; be cautious!’

These are the words canvassed on the Gen Less website, a campaign that aims to unite individuals, organisations, businesses and the government across Aotearoa to take meaningful action to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions from energy use.

Gen Less hopes to shift public mindset, to reimagine how we can live, work and thrive, without burning the planet with our exorbitant energy consumption.

EECA communications and engagement manager, Jane O’Loughlin explains: “We set out to make action on climate change something people will want to do, not just be obliged to do. Gen Less is a challenge to New Zealanders to scrutinise our decisions as individuals, and as a society, to rethink our collective approach to energy – from the smaller steps in our daily lives, to the larger systemic shifts we need to make together.”

Empowered by the simple symbol: < (the less-than sign), New Zealand businesses have joined allegiance including, NZ Post, Ethique, Ecostore, Countdown, Wishbone and Auckland Council to show the '<' symbol on its pages. 

To propel the campaign, it has released a video in collaboration with EECA, Clemenger BBDO, and animation house Assembly. The video, a speech on climate action, montages 23 global leaders across various generations, from Albert Einstein to Mother Teresa, to stand up against climate change. 

The individuals were chosen, as they too rallied, united and inspired humanity through adversity, world wars, racial injustice, social inequity and feats of the human spirit. The video hopes to send a message across all businesses in Aotearoa to unite and ‘join Gen Less’.

The film also features Māori rights activist Dame Whina Cooper, who led New Zealand’s Māori Land March in 1975. Her son, Joseph Cooper, wrote the unique karanga (ceremonial call) featured at the end of the film, their generations united as one under Gen Less. Spoken in Māori, the karanga echoes his mother’s words and rallies all people to unite behind our common goal:

He karanga ki nga iwi puta noa i te ao ki nga nekehanga āhuarangi o te ao.
"Kia mataara" Kaua e tukua
"Kia orata" ngia te ao

Kia tupato! Kia tupato!
Kia tupato! I nga korohu kino.

To the people of the world, regarding climate change. Be awake; Be vigilant; Be cautious.
Do not allow the destruction of the world through harmful carbon emissions in our atmosphere.

Brigid Alkema, executive creative director at creative agency Clemenger BBDO, says Gen Less (short for Generation Less) is united around a central thought: “It takes all of us, a generation, to ignite real change. Those in Gen Less are united not by their age, but by their collective decision to embrace a life with fewer emissions from energy. An entire generation choosing to embrace a better, fuller, more sustainable life, through less.”

The Gen Less launch is in timing with Climate Week NYC, which is running throughout the week.

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