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Earth Day Media Release - Winds of Change

*Earth Day Media Release - Winds of Change *

The Green Party had some fun with a beach camp at Wellington's Cuba Mall fountain on Earth Day this last Saturday to illustrate the impact of global climate disruption for International Earth Day. Kids played in the sand, and others in wet suits and flippers made contact with on-lookers with information on the threat of climate change on the earth's systems including sea levels. Greens' spokesperson Paul Bruce said that it was time for immediate action.

"There was little time to waste. However, if we live lightly on the Earth - and save money at the same time, we can make a difference. Our children and our Mokupuna will thank us for living more sustainably, starting now, " he says.

Shoppers were encouraged to join the "low cost living" autumn and winter workshop series of the Sustainability Trust. These workshops focus on ways to make your home more energy efficient, give your garden a boost, and ideas for community/shared living.

Mr Bruce said that Earth is bathed in free solar energy, and now was the time to capture some of that in benign ways and avoid further use of fossil fuels. "Turn down the heat", a Green prescription indicated the way forward. "Best of all, our solutions to climate change reinvigorate local economies, support local industry and communities, ensure fast and comfortable public transport between urban centres, and that schools and workplaces are close to our homes," Mr Bruce says.

On the positive side, many countries around the world were now committing to reductions in greenhouse emissions greater than that sought by the Kyoto Climate Change Protocol, with a few already aiming for zero net human induced emissions. New Zealand signed the Kyoto Protocol, yet saw a 43% increase in carbon dioxide emissions since 1990, much of that from the use of private vehicles. Mr Bruce concluded that money set aside for the construction of Transmission Gully motorway should instead be diverted to rail, public transport and better cycle paths.

Mr Bruce, a Meteorologist, said that human induced greenhouse gases were already resulting in climate change that was causing increased coastal erosion, torrential downpours, floods and worse wind storms. Future sea level rises will impact on many of our coastal towns. In addition, we are seeing rising PH (acidity) levels from sea absorption of carbon dioxide resulting in destruction of coral reefs and fisheries. Changing climatic conditions were also affecting crop production, and scientists were now struggling to find new flood and drought resistant varieties. The World's Glaciers, Greenland and Antarctica peninsular icecaps are all melting at a phenomenal rate. Even more serious is the general conclusion by top climate scientists, that we have less than a decade to implement deep cuts in human induced emissions if we are to avoid collapse of the eco-systems on which we depend and the end of civilisation as we know it.

ENDS

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