Jeanette Fitzsimons at MAC

Ex-Green party co-leader, Mrs Fitzsimons came to Wanaka to talk about phasing out coal and oil during Aspiring Conversations. To make her travel worthwhile, she offered to meet students to take her important message further.

Organised by the college Academic committee, Year 9 students met 4 experts on Energy, Transport, Food and Waste, the four key contributors to climate change.

We are already in climate change, Jeanette says. Since 1992, conferences have happened to try and fix the climate, but regularly fail to set timeframes, targets and finances to make a difference. People wait for governments to acts but governments need people’s mandate to act! People can do small changes at their levels, but for a significant shift, middle level action is best. That is community groups, schools, businesses…

Working together is most effective. Our school can create a climate action plan, starting where emissions come from, mostly:

Energy – Transport- Food – Waste

Energy problems: coal burner -BIG contributor, electricity in NZ 20% is not renewable. Can do better with solar and wood.

Transport: Coming to school and school trips are to be treated separately.

Food: Where it comes from, how it is packaged. Where it is disposed? If we have much food waste in our lunchbox, maybe we need less food. Ask yourself Do I need it?

Waste: Jo from Wastebusters has noticed there is a LOT of paper in our recycling. Is it because we work really hard?! Or because we print before we thinK?

Year 9 students then spread in 4 groups to deepen their issue of interest and bounce ideas. Approx 40 students were interested in energy issues, 30 in food, 12 in waste and 8 in transport. 

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