Hey Zoe! So cool you can chat. Give us a bit of background into yourself.
I come from a family with three sisters, all half, and a dog named Bruce. My Mum and Step-Dad are a pair of committed greenies and we try to actively reduce our carbon footprint as much as possible whether this is through composting, Mum's newfound love of Permaculture or purchasing of local foods with the smallest amount of single-use plastic possible. For myself, I'm a Year 13 student at Mount Maunganui College who bikes to school most days. I've always been someone who has been involved in the so-called cult of "social justice", before getting involved with School Strike 4 Climate I have dedicated myself to Surf Life Saving and Rainbow Youth as well as the local Trade Aid store. Generally, I am simply unable to sit on my hands and watch the world go by without putting my two cents in to shake things up. It's only natural, generally expected and considered as typical by those who know me that I plan on studying a double degree in Law and Political Science at Victoria University next year, a perfect plan of study for a "crazy greenie feminist social justice warrior". While I am slowly finding myself more and more nervous to leave the confines of crazy, climate change denying, conservative Tauranga, I am super excited to see what the future brings and to learn more about what I love most.
We know everyone has a reason to care about climate justice, what's yours?
Right now, we are seeing the harsh realities of the impacts of Climate Change whether this is the melting of a glacier in Iceland, the drowning of islands in the Pacific or the increase and longevity of extreme weather events. All of which examples will have the most impact on the people or animals who have contributed the least to climate change. And we know, that if we continue as we are conditions will only become more severe and my generation and my kid's generation will have to be the ones to deal with that, and maybe that's selfish that we're unwilling to? But less selfishly, there are people and animals losing their homes, the IPCC has accepted the prediction that there will be 200 million climate change migrants by 2050. That's 40 times the current population of New Zealand. For myself, the reason to care about climate justice is extensive but it is unquestionable, climate change is a violation of human and environmental rights and the science is clear, we need to do something about it now.
The turn out for the climate strike was amazing! For the students and workers of Tauranga, what message was everyone striking under?
I know! I am still in absolute awe. Leading up to the strike I kept being told not to be too upset if there is only a small turnout and the night before I told the council that we were expecting an absolute maximum of 1000 people in the best-case scenario, so I was speechless, to say the least. But the message of School Strike 4 Climate NZ remains as follows, we demand that our Government and Governments around the world do everything in their power to limit warming to 1.5 degrees to safeguard our right to a future on Earth.
We know the fashion industry is the second highest cause of the world's pollution, do you think it's easy here in NZ to buy "slow fashion"? If not, how can that be changed?
I think that's a really interesting question because I suppose there are two types of outlets or manufacturers for slow fashion, one of them being second-hand stores and the other being clothing brands with high sustainability-conscious. In second-hand stores, there is a stigma that comes with them being that you're seen as cheaper or that maybe it is not so admirable to buy preowned clothes. In my generation, I would definitely agree that that stigma is decreasing with the trend of vintage clothing from the 80s and 90s becoming more popular. So with that demand being there, I have absolutely noticed an increase in second-hand clothing stores in New Zealand. On the other hand, you have the sustainably conscious fashion brands such as Patagonia, however, the issue there is that sustainable and quality fashion comes with a price and while this may end up paying itself off in the future as the clothing is designed to last longer over brands like Glassons and H&M who create their clothes to purposely last a shorter amount of time. It's the initial investment that turns people away and inevitably ends up putting their funds into cheaper clothing. Which would make it easier for people to buy into fast fashion over "slow". I think to really drive a transition into an increase in slow fashion investment has to start with a mindset shift with a quality over quantity consideration, in the end, we're all victims of fast fashion despite how sustainable we consider ourselves. Fast Fashion producers need to pay for the consequence of their environmental impact and should be considered as much climate criminals as oil and gas producers are.
What practical, sustainable initiatives would you like to see the Tauranga region introduce?
A lot! But in a short answer, I would like to see our local councils take more responsibility for their impact and abilities within climate change mitigation and reduction rather than shifting the blame and acting as if it is a problem out their concern or control. I think that climate change should be at the forefront of our decision making despite whatever the issue may be. When we are investing in transport, housing and infrastructure, business and so forth, we need to be asking ourselves the question of its environmental impact. Though, I think Tauranga should invest seriously in trains as a public transport option in the future. I think Tauranga has the ability to be a flourishing, sustainable environmentally conscious city if we really put our minds to it and not let our current state get us down.
If you could speak at the UN, what sucker-punch line would you say to the world's leaders?
Climate Change is not a debate, it's a fact, so what are you going to do about it?
Nights - Frank Ocean. A little bit basic but Frank Ocean is next level.
Best meal to cook?
Devilled Sausages (it has to have cut up apple) with mashed potatoes. YUM.
Mie Goreng chicken noodles... I'm sorry about the single-use plastic.
Best piece of advice you've received?
If not me, then who?
Again, very basic, but very very true.