Saturday, April 13, 2024

Morrocan hope amidst climate chaos

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Emily Rushton, who grew up in Beachlands and went to Howick College, was part of the Aotearoa Youth Leadership Institute’s team for the recent climate conference in Marrakesh, Morocco. She is pushing hard to raise awareness of Generation Zero’s ‘Zero Carbon Act’ which is being adapted currently from the successful UK Climate Change Act (2008) that has seen great change within industries and the dropping of emissions. Here’s her wrap.

Young local environmentalist Emily Rushton has recently returned from a climate conference in Morocco. Photos supplied

Youth representing 40 countries converged in Marrakesh, Morocco, to push world leaders and negotiators to make firm decisions and accelerate emissions reductions to slow climate change.

I was literally half a world away from East Auckland. Felicitously, there was unseasonal downpours, then a heat wave followed by a rapid drop in temperatures, 32 degrees when I arrived, to a 15 average. The intense changes mimicking climate change around the globe currently.

At 1 degree of warming, the world is already experiencing unliveable conditions in some areas, causing conflict and migration.

Currently, our leaders have policies in place to reach 3.6 degrees and pledges of action to get us to 2.8 degrees, neither being compatible with life in many areas.

Youth are being burdened from generations before us that used an industrialised, economics-based approach to society.

We now know that this growth can’t be continual; that we are rapidly approaching the downward slide of the population bell curve every species has. To survive we need to adapt.

The Marrakesh Climate Talks 2016 (COP22) were meant to be the COP of action. This has not happened. Mainly there has been bickering over who will finance everything. Ironically the bill gets larger every second we are not acting.

Trump seems to be backing down on many election promises; perhaps the reality of implementation isn’t easy. Also, signs of a groundswell are everywhere; people creating change without governments, deciding to create a future themselves while the leaders are still arguing.The United States election result seemed to depress mood and outcomes. But there is hope. Countries rallied, saying they’d act against the United States if they pulled out of global climate action.

Initiatives include RE100%, where some 48 countries, more than 1000 businesses and 83 mega-businesses, including IKEA, BMW and Google, pledged to go 100 per cent renewable.

This is also driving a boom in green jobs globally. More renewable energy projects started last year than fossil fuel ones, for the first time ever.

Hospitals are lobbying industries to create more ecological products. And Leonardo Decaprio’s ‘Before the flood’, had many youth contacting us about what to do and how to eat less meat, reflecting research showing youth being more engaged in environmental solutions than other age groups.

New Zealand needs is to make sure this action spreads amongst us, that we support environmental policies politically and push each other to make the right choices – for you, your children and your grandchildren.

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