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September 10, 2012 | by  | in Opinion |
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On Campus – The Generation Before One


This week we spoke to Generation Zero delegate; Nina Atkinson. Apparently they let her stay on Pandora, but she came back.

For those who don’t know, what is Generation Zero?

We think of it as an organisation led by young people, pushing for political action on climate change. We are the first generation to inherit a world when it’s not better off – our predecessors screwed up and we have to deal with it.

How long have you been on board?

Since August 2011 – they ran a speaker event starring one of my lecturers; I went along and have been involved ever since.

How do you dominate someone that claims climate change is a total yarn?
There’s a cartoon I really like that lists solutions to climate change (renewable energy, locally based food sources, politicians more responsive to citizens) then asks “what if climate change is a total hoax and we’ve made a better world for nothing?”

How are you slashing your carbon footprint, and how can we follow in yours? 

GenZero doesn’t campaign for personal reduction. Of course we endorse and support it, but GenZero is largely political. I ride my bike but if I have to take the car that’s okay. What matters is that politicians know about us—for them to know that youth are engaged and giving a shit about the issue is an achievement.

Do you think environmental damage is reversible, or is it time to consider establishing a Martian colony?
If you’re driving down a road and miss a turn, do you drive until the end of the road? Of course we’re committed to some degree of climate change/damage, but I don’t agree with ignoring it. It’s about damage control.

How do you see New Zealand’s place in the world in terms of environmental protection? What can little old New Zealand achieve internationally?

The NZ delegation has a massive voice. NZ has a great opportunity to lead in negotiations, but also to make environmental awareness look appealing and to become role models, it would be a huge deal around the world.

Natural resources are a big part of New Zealand’s economy, is it possible to prosper like Sultans yet also give a flying hoot about the planet?
The economy is entirely dependent on the environment, so if you could have an economy that didn’t screw things up, that’d be good, but you have to acknowledge that they rely on each other.

Do you think climate change is considered as a serious issue in parliament?
I get annoyed that climate change is delegated to the Green party when it’s a massive international dilemma. The goal of GenZero is to bring it to the forefront as a political issue. Until people vote on climate change, parties can get away with not doing caring.

What’s the furthest you’d expect a book-laden student to walk to uni?
I hate that having to be eco-friendly is hard. People will do what’s easier, and at the moment those are the damaging options, but the government has the power to change that.

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