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Activists Appear Naked At Court

Thu, 17 Feb 2005

Climate Change And Transport Activists Appear Naked At Court

Climate justice campaigner Simon Oosterman today pleaded not guilty to a charge of ‘indecent exposure’ for failing to cover-up at the Auckland World Naked Bike Ride last Sunday.

Simon Oosterman and three other climate and transport activists appeared in front of the central district court naked and wrapped in a banner that read “STOP indecent exposure to vehicle emissions”. Simon then entered the courthouse naked, but wore clothes to the plea hearing.

“What is completely inappropriate is that as the Kyoto protocol comes into effect, a public body is charging an individual for creatively highlighting the very issues the protocol seeks to change” said Simon.

“The Auckland World Naked Bike Ride’s purpose was to draw attention to oil dependency and the negative social and environmental impacts of a car dominated culture. Last year 250 Aucklanders were killed by vehicle emissions, and 94 people died in car accidents on the roads of Auckland alone” he said.

“Transport is a major contributor to our national increase in greenhouse emissions. 40% of New Zealand’s CO2 emissions are transport related, with private car use being the main cause. The number of cars registered each year has tripled since 1960” said Mr Oosterman. (1)

“For 20 years we have been waiting for international agreements on greenhouse emission reductions. The Kyoto protocol only requires a 5.5% reduction of emissions below 1990 levels. However, the scientific community has called for global reductions of over 60% below 1990 levels just to stabilise the climate system. An international group of scientists recently warned that we have only ten years to make rapid changes and avert accelerated weather chaos” he said. (2)

“The failure of government and businesses to adequately respond to reduce emissions highlights that the responsibility and initiative lies with the public. We should be encouraging, not penalising, individuals who choose to highlight the available solutions to climate change especially in a fun and creative manner” he said.

Other supporters at the protest today remained fully clothed. The reaction from passers by was positive and encouraging, and no complaints or further charges were forthcoming.

The next court date has been set for Monday, March 21 at the Central District Court, Auckland

ENDS

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