Hundreds of people joined climate action groups all across Aotearoa New Zealand today to take action to call for bold and ambitious climate leadership in response to the Global Climate Action Summit hosted in California next week. 350 Aotearoa and 350 Pacific, coordinated the groups to participate in the Rise for Climate mobilisations, in which thousands of people will take action globally. Events were held in Auckland, Whanganui, Wellington, Nelson, Christchurch, Dunedin, and Invercargill, each highlighted different demands for local leaders and institutions to act ambitiously on climate change.
The local events sought to build on the climate success of the last year, and empower everyday people to demand stronger action from our leaders. Local 350 and Fossil Free groups focus on removing the social licence of the oil, gas and coal sectors -the most carbon intensive industries.
Niamh O’Flynn, spokesperson for 350 Aotearoa, said, “We can see the era of the fossil fuel industry is coming to it’s inevitable end. Our groups are demanding a fast and just transition to 100% renewable energy. New Zealand has done this before, and we can do it again. As a communities, cities, and as a nation we banded together to make our country nuclear-free, now we’re doing the same with fossil fuels. It’s time for our local institutions and leaders to cut their ties with fossil fuel industry, and stop granting them to social licence to operate.”
In the past year, the coalition government has made considerable steps towards addressing climate change, including the ban on new offshore oil exploration, and rejecting consents to mine coal on conservation land. “These recent wins are the result of a strong and effective climate movement. Our movement is strong, and growing but there’s no time to lose in the fight for climate justice.”
The Pacific Climate Warriors of 350 Pacific hosted a gathering of passionate young people for a #PacificPawa Jam session in the Park. The day included storytelling, a weaving workshop, sign painting and a march from the park to to meet with 350 Auckland at the Auckland Museum, supporting and showing solidarity with the 350 family and promoting the Pacific Pawa petition.
350 Auckland gathered supporters at the Domain to contribute to a 40m long banner of bunting with messages calling for Auckland Museum to go fossil free. The banner will be gifted as a treasure to the Auckland Museum who currently accept sponsorship from coal industry partners, the Stevenson Foundation.
In Wellington, a team of climate superheros organised by 350 Wellington marched to civic square, calling for the controversial annual Petroleum Conference to be banned from Wellington City Council-owned venues as it conflicts with the values of Wellington Council to combat climate change.
Whanganui hosted a soapbox for community speakers on climate change, and talked about the local solutions.
In Nelson, a new climate group, 350 Nelson, was launched with a banner drop and an opportunity for the public to engage in discussions about future campaigns to build a Fossil Free Nelson.
350 Christchurch hosted a climate discussion with Matthew Hughes (Canterbury University), Piers Locke (Canterbury University), Anzac Gallate (Cashmere High School), Nisha Duncan (Eco Villa), Moniqua Reid (Unite Union), and Meg Christie (Crown Public Health/Zero Heroes). They also held a spring fair, with the opportunity to liaise with local councils about food forests, urban farms, native restorations, plant-based diets, community gardens, land-use change, water protection and more.
The event was co-hosted by Fossil Free Aoraki, the group calling for Fonterra (NZ’s largest coal user), to commit to building no new coal boilers for its milk dehydration plants, and to commit to transitioning existing coal boilers to renewable alternatives.
350 Dunedin celebrated its climate action success with an exhibition in the Octagon and invited to public to come and share what a Fossil Free Dunedin means to them.
350 Invercargill bought Invercargill and Southland communities together to demand true climate action in Aotearoa. People brought symbols of actions they are taking to offset climate change.
350 Pacific will host the final global event on Monday 10th, September at Victoria University of Wellington, led by our Pacific Climate Warriors, Te Namo Tokelauan Students Association and the Wellington Pacific community.