2016 in review: Generation Zero Christchurch

Serious planning sesh photo ft. Rosalee, Fran, Luke, Chris & Pubudu

Last weekend we sat down and had a good ol’ planning sesh for 2017 (including amazing muffins and vegan burgers made by Fran!). As part of this, we made a list of everything we did in 2016 and reflected back on our core goals. In a nutshell:

Climate change is the challenge of our generation, and young people are the inheritors of humanity’s response to climate change.
For that reason — Generation Zero, was founded with the central purpose of providing solutions for New Zealand to cut carbon pollution through smarter transport, liveable cities & independence from fossil fuels.

It‘s great being able to get back into action after seeing all the craziness happening overseas — the Trump administration seems to be doing everything they possibly can to burn down the world….. But that’s a story for another time. Planning sessions are about the positive!

It’s worth quickly noting that the GZ Christchurch team has 8 core members who meet weekly — everyone on the team is a volunteer and most of us work or study full time. Our meetings are open to anyone, so if you’re interested in doing your bit for climate change, and like what you see below, feel free to come along and say hi!

We worked on four major projects in 2016 (all of equal importance!):

1) Local Body Elections

  • It’s always hard to get people engaged in local elections but given that cities contribute a massive 70% of global greenhouse gas emissions, there’s actually a lot that local government can do through urban planning, transport and a range of other areas. We’re a non-partisan group so we’re always looking out for opportunities to nudge politicians from across the spectrum in a climate-smart direction.
  • We created score cards for all CCC and ECan candidates, ranking them on their climate policies. We published the scorecards online which were spread far and wide. In mid-2017 we’ll be following up with all the elected candidates to see how they are going with the climate-related policies they campaigned on.
  • We hosted a climate-focused mayoral debate with the two candidates Lianne Dalziel and John Minto, moderated by Catarina Gutierrez from Ministry of Awesome, Cycle Christchurch and RAD bikes.

2) SHIFT

  • The post-quake Christchurch CBD has really started to get back on it’s feet over the past year with lots of buildings going up and nearly 7000 more employees set to move back into the central city over the next year. This is a huge opportunity for Christchurch to reduce our transport emissions.
  • In a nutshell, SHIFT is a pledge scheme that will promote a culture of sustainable travel among inner city workplaces in Christchurch, by encouraging people to choose bikes, buses and carpooling.
  • We originally proposed SHIFT at CHCH Soup, a pitch for the pot style event where everyone brings a donation, people pitch a cool idea, and the most popular pitch takes all! We walked away with the prize and a bit of seed funding for our project. This funding was tripled by the Leadership in Communities project and a kind donation from a gig at the Darkroom (head there for delicious beer!).
  • We’ve pulled together an amazing think-tank of people from CCC, ECan, RAD bikes, LinC, UDSIC and many more, who are all keen to see this project come to life. We’ve finished developing the content for our SHIFT guidebook, which is now in design along with the website. We’ll be running a pilot with three companies over the next few months. Click here to stay in the loop!

3.) Submissions, submissions and more submissions (+ the odd petition..)!

What we’ve learnt? Good democracy takes time, persistence and passion. Thank you to everyone who has written a submission or signed a petition. We simply couldn’t do it without you!

4.) Zero Carbon Act

  • The Zero Carbon Act is Generation Zero’s big nation-wide campaign. We’re writing a legal framework which will put NZ on track to phase out fossil fuels by 2050.
  • We know this is possible. The UK’s Climate Change Act was passed in 2008 with cross-party support after a huge public groundswell and it has been instrumental in reducing their greenhouse gas emissions.
  • It’s a pretty exciting campaign — do get in touch if you’re keen to support it in some way (big or small!) as it’s about to ramp up in the lead up to the election!

Other bits and bobs:

Since everything enough wasn’t already enough to do (hah…) we also ran a bunch of fun events to get new people involved in what we do. We ran four Beers & Banter events, where we partnered with others or invited a guest speaker along to share their expertise on a topic related to our work. We also ran a casual bike race, Tour de Chch, and a welcome event at UC for all our sign-ups from clubs day. We promote these events through our public Facebook group, Generation Zero Christchurch if you’re keen to come along.

So, yeah, that’s it for now! I’ll leave you with my all-time fav quote: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” — Margaret Mead

Us being VERY excited about winning Pitch for the Pot