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Young Climate Change Activists Recognised By Inaugural Jeanette Fitzsimons Award, On The Anniversary Of Her Death

Two youth environmental organisations are the first recipients of the inaugural Jeanette Fitzsimons Climate Action Grants, announced this week to mark the first anniversary of her death on March 5, 2020.

Following the death of the iconic activist, politician and tireless advocate for the environment, Jeanette's friends and colleagues established the grants to honour her memory and her legacy. 

“The awards are intended to commemorate one of the country’s most popular and effective environmentalists, and to support a young person or a youth organisation wanting to implement things that Jeanette stood for, such as leading an innovative community project, mobilising community action to raise awareness and helping communities to become more resilient by promoting an economy of ‘enough’,” said Pat Baskett, of Our Climate Declaration (OCD), an organisation coordinating the awards, and which was co-founded by Jeanette.

The inaugural Jeanette Fitzsimons Climate Change Action Grant award winners are Te Ara Whatu and Generation Zero.

Te Ara Whatu is a group of young Māori and Pasifika who came together as the first indigenous youth delegation from Aotearoa at the 23rd Session of the UN Climate Talks. Together they have formed Te Ara Whatu – The Woven Path. They are committed to raising awareness of the climate crisis amongst Māori and Pasifika communities, who are at the frontlines of climate change, and promoting the engagement of indigenous communities in global solutions to climate change.
The Jeanette Fitzsimons Award will support a series of 3-day wānanga around Aotearoa for rangatahi Māori and Pasifika, which will be held on marae and fully residential, to share knowledge and advice with other young people and to build networks of support that will co-ordinate grassroots and national action. It is intended that these relationships and upskilling will create resilient and ongoing indigenous-led climate action.

Generation Zero is a volunteer-led organisation. They are mainly young people who are deeply concerned about the climate crisis and providing a safe and equitable future for all. The Jeanette Fitzsimons Climate Action Grant will ensure that Gen Zero’s campaign for decarbonising transport in Auckland gathers momentum through 2021, by supporting a number of public events and advertising drives, including an attempt to beat the Guinness World Record for the longest bike chain, which is currently 1,995 riders.

OCD will be offering another round of awards in 2021 so watch the OCD website.

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