NORTHCOTE: What would you say to our young people if you had to talk about the environment and climate change?

Damian Light, United Future

We’ve all heard the saying that our young people are our future, but I firmly believe that our young people are also the leaders of today. Don’t wait until tomorrow!

It’s the same with climate change – so much of the talk is about what will happen in the future, but the reality is its happening now. So we need to act now. It cannot wait!

This doesn’t mean taking us back to the dark ages, it means making sensible decisions about our consumption. We’ve become a hugely wasteful and consumer driven society. But we don’t have to be and its so easy to start the shift back to a more balanced world. Simple things like walking instead of driving, buying products that use less packaging and not wasting food or energy. Also challenge others – it’s our world to care for, don’t leave it to others to do.

Anne-Elise Smithson, Greens

This is a difficult question to answer. What to say to young people when they have inherited a planet that, because of the human activities of preceding generations, will be more unstable, less alive, and more prone to frequent and intense weather events? The science is very clear on this.

A climate crisis is hitting us in the face, and right now our response is to double down on the stuff that is causing the crisis in the first place.

On a personal level, one thing I could say is that I tried. I joined the Green Party – the only political party offering real action on climate change – and in doing so I joined others trying to save the planet. We tried.

But to be honest, this isn’t really enough. For me, this isn’t about relieving myself of guilt. I only care about results. We need to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, and we need to start making moves towards this urgently.

Richard Hills, Kaipatiki Local Board Member

The environment and climate change are massive massive subjects. But largely what I would say to youth about it is, speak up and yell about protecting our environment and preventing climate change. It’s their future and the generations after them that is at stake.
How do we move to a place we we’re no longer reliant on fossil fuels, we need to invest in more public transport and renewable energy. People will look after the environment more if our government takes the lead as well.
There’s a lot I could say, but young people make a difference when they stand up. Groups like Generation Zero have shown how to make a difference with their voice!

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