This time we talk to Rosalee Jenkin fron Gen Zero, which is both a UC Club as well as a national organisation.
Who are you?
Rosalee Jenkin, I am the volunteer co-ordinator at Gen Zero. I studied fine arts and psychology at UC from 2008-2012. I am now working for UC CEISMIC as a digital content analyst.
Some quick facts about your club: When was Gen Zero founded and how many members do you have?
Generation Zero was formed in 2011 by a small group of young New Zealanders who attended the Copenhagen Climate Negotiations. The Christchurch group didn’t get off the ground until mid-last year however, just before the local body elections. We formed a UC club as well, as most of us were studying here and it seemed like a good way to get things happening on campus! Nationwide we have over 10,000 members and 500 active volunteers.
In a few words, what is the focus of your club?
Education and advocacy on solutions to free New Zealand from fossil fuel dependence, in order to mitigate the effects of climate change.
Can you give an example of the projects Gen Zero has been involved in?
We ran a local body elections campaign last year, interviewing all council and mayoral candidates on their attitudes and policies relating to climate change, and provided this information online to help the public make informed decisions about who vote for.
In June of this year we ran a ClimateVote summit, which saw around 70 attendees come together for a weekend of speakers, workshops, learning and planning about how to get climate change on the agenda for the national election. We then played a large part in the collaborative Climate Voter initiative, which had 62,000 New Zealanders pledge to vote with climate change in mind.
Locally, we’ve contributed in a large way to the District Plan Review, writing a comprehensive submission and gathering a large amount of public support for this.
How do students have an opportunity to participate in sustainability issues through Gen Zero?
There are loads of opportunities to get involved at a local level given we are in the process of rebuilding our city! We will be campaigning for better public and active transport facilities, increased urban density, and energy-efficient buildings. All of these things are important for reducing our carbon footprint.
Anyone who wants to see New Zealand make smart decisions in the face of climate change, and is excited about the opportunities we have in Christchurch to re-build a low-carbon, liveable city!
Famous last words?
Climate change is the biggest challenge of our time, and as young people we are the inheritors of humanity’s response. We believe that moving beyond fossil fuels and creating a safer and healthier New Zealand is 100% possible. Join the movement!
Also, if you are interested in learning more about Climate Change, check out this upcoming Abrupt Climate Change NZ Speaking Tour by internationally renowned climate scientist Dr. Guy McPherson (Wednesday 29 October, C3 Lecture Theatre, University of Canterbury @ 7.30 pm). Dr. McPherson peaks out about the latest findings of the scientific community on climate change.