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Climate Change Freezes In New Zealand

Media Release from Intersect

Embargoed until Friday 5 June, 1:05pm

Climate Change Freezes In New Zealand

Across New Zealand hundreds of people “froze” today They came together at 1pm in public places and became human statues - stopping and standing for united action on climate change. Some politicians even froze with them.
Today is World Environment Day, and this year’s theme is ‘uniting to combat climate change’. A nation-wide Freeze was organised by a team of volunteers to spread that message. The Freeze was led by a mysterious character called “Mr Freeze”, who is only known to the public through his page on Facebook. Mr Freeze expressed his enthusiasm for the day by stating “I’m melting with joy.” He added that “It takes courage to freeze in a public place. Freezing on your own is freaky. Freezing with five people is sneaky. Freezing with lots of people is easy. It’s the same with action on climate change. It’s much easier for us to play our part, and it’s a lot more effective, when we come together.”

Nick Potter, Chair of Intersect (a network for young professionals committed to sustainability), was lead co-ordinator for the volunteers. He too noticed a theme of courage running through this event: “New Zealand has been a courageous country in the past. Now’s the time for us to show our true colours on climate change. We each have a part to play, and we need to make sure that our political representatives have the courage to show real leadership on climate change too.”

The Freeze showed how people can unite and take action. Volunteers in Auckland, Wellington, Nelson, Christchurch and Dunedin collaborated together, even though most of them had never met, to make a national event possible Details of the event were spread by word of mouth via the internet. It was also supported by a diverse group of community organisations and businesses. The supporters are listed on the Freeze website: http://freezenz.wordpress.com.

People across the world are coming together in 2009 to take action on climate change because a new global treaty is being negotiated in Copenhagen in December. Groups in New Zealand are becoming particularly active. This is clear in today’s launch of the New Zealand Climate Action Partnership (NZCAP). The partnership calls for a greenhouse gas reductions target for New Zealand of at least 40% below 1990 levels by 2020. A new website was also launched this afternoon to encourage greater collaboration: www.oneclimate.org.nz.

Although this event was held on World Environment Day, Mr Potter emphasised that "Climate change is far from just an environmental issue. It is an economic issue, as our livelihoods will be dramatically affected if we don't take strong action now. It is also a moral issue, as climate change hits the world's poorest people the hardest. Global warming is totally within our grasp to freeze and reverse - we simply need to show our courage to act.”


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