An infusion of youthful energy is transforming debate on issues like climate change and Auckland’s transport future.
Generation Zero, a national youth-led organisation campaigning for action on climate change, is proving particularly effective in building grass roots coalitions and getting action.
An example that caught the attention of SBN Award judges was the Congestion Free Network Campaign, a collaboration between Generation Zero, TransportBlog and The Campaign for Better Transport. The campaign caught the eye of the Green Party, which incorporated it into policy.
As New Zealand’s transport network makes up over 20% of our total greenhouse gas emissions and almost 50% of our total carbon emissions, creating a transport system that is more efficient, cost-effective and sustainable has huge implications in creating a more sustainable nation.
Generation Zero’s role in the campaign was to communicate to the general public in a way that was engaging, informative and built public support for the vision.
The strategy included mass volunteer mobilisation, network-based campaigning, media engagement and public advertising. The campaign reached more than 150,000 people directly through conversations, flyers, posters, the website, advertising and media engagement, and generated more than 100 articles across mainstream print and broadcast media.
Voters responded by electing to the Auckland Council and local boards several candidates who campaigned for the Congestion Free Network.
Solutions and strategy researcher Alec Dawson says Generation Zero formed after several in the group including himself went to an international young nation climate change summit in 2011 and recognised the importance of having a strong youth voice on climate change matters in New Zealand.
“In any area like this where you are pushing for social change or trying to affect the political process you need to be in for the long term. Building communities at the local level working on these issues is important for longevity.
“Also, people – and especially young people – are a bit over talking about the problems, they want to focus on solutions. So many people get it and want to know what they can do to help.”
This award was sponsored by Convergence.