The world around us is changing dramatically
We have entered a new era in which resource constraints and environmental limits will truly bite. Climate change is more than just a reality; the more we learn through science, the more we discover how serious the problem is and how little time we have to act. The consequences will define our lives and span centuries.
“The decisions we make between now and 2020 will really determine what our kids and grandkids are going to see in the way of a climate. Whether they are really going to struggle with a climate out of control or whether they can have a climate they can live in.” – Professor Will Steffen, Executive Director of the Climate Change Institute at the Australian National University
Here in New Zealand, we currently have no credible plan to kick the fossil fuel habit and cut our greenhouse gas emissions. As young people, we are set to pick up the tab for this stunning lack of action.
We must not tolerate this any longer. Now is the time for us to ignite change.
Our country at a crossroads
Business as usual is no longer an option, yet that remains where we’re headed. We need a new direction that gives us hope for a positive future. Hope for us means immediate action to kick the fossil fuel habit and put us on the path to a thriving zero carbon New Zealand by 2050.
Despite a well-oiled global effort to convince people otherwise, climate change (or global warming) is a reality, and possibly the gravest threat to our future well-being. Human activities have already caused greenhouse gases to reach unsafe levels in the atmosphere, and we are now seeing the predicted effects including more extreme weather events. But we ain’t seen nothing yet. The full impact is still to come because of lags in the Earth’s response and the “masking” caused by other types of air pollution, which won’t stick around for long. Despite all global efforts to date, carbon dioxide levels continue to rise faster and faster.
Meanwhile oil prices are at historically high levels, and we continue to suffer the economic effects of being hooked on the black gold. With cheap, easy-to-get oil running down, change is being forced upon us in any case. Rather than investing in old solutions that will lock us further into fossil dependence, it is vital that new funds go to building a zero carbon future.
As young people, we have the most at stake because we will live further into the consequences of today’s choices. Right now our future is under threat because of short-sighted decision making. How?
Did you know:
- New Zealand has no credible plan to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases that are warming our planet – our total emissions are actually forecast to keep growing. (Learn more)
- Government policy is actively encouraging new fossil fuel developments that will feed the global addiction and see national emissions boom. (Learn more)
- Investment continues to pour into the status quo at the expense of low carbon options. For example, for every dollar being spent on buses, trains, cycling, and walking, over $5 is being spent on highways and roads. (Learn more and join our 50/50 campaign for a smart transport future)
The current generation in charge is passing the buck to the future.
If we allow this to continue, young New Zealanders will not only inherit massive ecological debt and a country further reliant on fossil fuels, we will also be lumbered with a hidden financial debt because of our country’s failure to meet its international commitments. The Government’s main response to addressing climate change – the Emissions Trading Scheme – is actually a mechanism to shift most of the costs to a future generation (Learn more). Yep, that’s us.
As Generation Zero, not only do we have the most to lose from bad decisions today, we have the most to gain from taking action to protect our future.