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"Walk the Walk" on Climate Change in Hutt Valley

Media Release 12/3/08

"Walk the Walk" walk the talk on Climate Change in the Hutt Valley.

Keep your eyes peeled for a group of well-weathered walkers as they complete the North Island leg of their epic journey next week. "This group of activists decided to literally walk the talk," says VAN member Michelle Ducat. "They want to raise awareness about climate change and be as carbon neutral as possible. They have a support vehicle – but it runs on recycled chip oil rather than fossil fuels."

VAN campaigned for action on climate change in the recent local body elections.

The "Walk the Walk" group have been talking to locals as they travel, raising awareness about sustainability and specifically the threat to the West Coast's Happy Valley. State-owned enterprise Solid Energy intend to start coal mining there. As Heather Simpson says "I want every New Zealander to see what a special place Happy Valley is and to learn more about sustainability."

All going well, they plan to arrive in Upper Hutt on Tuesday 25th March. On Wednesday, they will gather signatures for a letter at the Petone electorate office of Trevor Mallard, Minister of the Environment and State Owned Enterprises.

Walk the Walk is a journey which began on the 28th January at the base of Auckland's Sky Tower and is going all the way to Happy Valley on the West Coast.

This date coincided with the two year anniversary of an occupation of the proposed "Cypress Mine" site by Save Happy Valley Coalition members, the longest standing environmental occupation in New Zealand's history. You can find out more about the campaign at www.savehappyvalley.org.nz

Happy Valley is a unique and untouched sub alpine wetland, a haven to some of our rarest and most treasured wildlife, including the Great Spotted Kiwi, or Roa and the Powelliphanta Patrickensis giant carnivorous land snail as well as 11 other endangered species. State owned enterprise, Solid Energy, have been given final permission to turn Happy Valley into an open cast coal mine. The mine will destroy pristine native habitat, something we don't have much left of.

As well, the burning of coal emits more climate changing gasses and other pollutants than any other fossil fuel. If New Zealand is serious about becoming carbon neutral, starting a new coal mine is not the way to do it. Read and/or print this important information about coal.

The walkers encourage locals to get involved:

Join the walk.

Join them at the rally outside Minister for the Environment Trevor Mallard's Petone Electorate Office to raise awareness about Climate Change and the threat to Happy Valley, 12pm Wednesday 26th March.

Sign the letter they will present to the Minister at the rally.

Donate food.


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