Am­bi­tious goal of Gen­er­a­tion Zero

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By KRIS DANDO

Nina Atkin­son has got cli­mate change on the brain.

The for­mer Mana res­i­dent and Tawa Col­lege stu­dent is a mem­ber of a youth lobby group, Gen­er­a­tion Zero, who want cli­mate change so­lu­tions to be part of lo­cal and national govern­ment think­ing.

She and a group of other young peo­ple are shar­ing their vi­sion – on mov­ing be­yond fos­sil fu­els – as part of a coun­try­wide speak­ing tour.

The talk in Welling­ton, at the town tall, was post­poned last week be­cause of the earth­quake, but dates from Palmer­ston North to North­land in Au­gust will go ahead.

Ms Atkin­son, 21, has com­pleted a pol­i­tics de­gree at Vic­to­ria Univer­sity, and is a full- time vol­un­teer for Gen­er­a­tion Zero.

The group made head­lines in De­cem­ber with the Power Shift con­fer­ence, a se­ries of work­shops and speeches about cli­mate change that re­ceived plenty of me­dia cov­er­age.

Ms Atkin­son said her thoughts about how New Zealand could be a world leader on the non-re­liance on fos­sil fu­els firmed at univer­sity. How­ever, it was not new ground for her.

‘‘It is some­thing I’ve thought about since my school days and now cli­mate change is a huge part of who I am,’’ she said.

‘‘At the mo­ment I’m putting my life into this is­sue and I find it ex­cit­ing. ‘‘ Power Shift was amaz­ing. It def­i­nitely showed there are a lot of young peo­ple out there who are putting their en­ergy into this and we’re try­ing to keep the en­gage­ment go­ing.’’

The over­ar­ch­ing goal of Gen­er­a­tion Zero is to have a ze­ro­car­bon New Zealand by 2050.

Though that goal could be seen as reach­ing for the stars, Ms Atkin­son said lo­cal and cen­tral gov­ern­ments could do more to cut down on their use of fos­sil fu­els and make smarter de­ci­sions over pub­lic trans­port.

‘‘We think the money be­ing put into the national roads of sig­nif­i­cance should be al­lo­cated more to­wards low-car­bon trans­port op­tions.’’

Ms Atkin­son’s area of ex­per­tise is in set­ting strat­egy for Gen­er­a­tion Zero. She said that so far the re­cep­tion on the tour had been very pos­i­tive.

The post­poned Welling­ton talk will take place on Au­gust 12. Go to gen­er­a­tion.org.nz for in­for­ma­tion.

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