News from Generation Zero
The last stop for Generation Zero’s nationwide speaking tour on smart responses to climate change became a venue, in Wellington last night, for an attack on the Transport Agency’s plans for flyovers at the Basin Reserve.
Architect Richard Reid put it to a packed Ilott Theatre that the impact of having two, not just one, flyovers as currently allowed for would irrevocably damage the “grain of the city”, seriously compromise public transport options and diminish the pedestrian and cycling environment.
His proposition included prioritising a second Mt Vic tunnel, keeping Tory Street above ground and micro-planning a better useage of the Basin reserve roundabout. An allied part of the urban design vision he presented featured a transformation of Kent/ Cambridge Terraces into a walking promenade rather than a huge media strip with meaningless plantings.
Much of the event, billed under the banner title of What’s The Hold Up, was a platform for impassioned arguments against the government’s expenditure on the Roads of National Significance programme – or as energy expert Ralph Sims prefers to call it the Roads of Significance to National.
The essence of Generation Zero is that it consists of younger voices mounted in unison as a counter to the powers-that-be who remain locked into a dinosaur-like fossil-fuel dependent past based on stale assumptions, rather than moving towards a planet-saving low carbon future.
At the core of the messages behind What’s The Hold Up has been a call for all levels of government in New Zealand to demonstrate real leadership on climate change, at least equal to policies and green spending levels seen in progressive countries around the world that New Zealand should be keeping pace with, for example Denmark, and to return to honouring commitments rather than hollowing them out.
Generation Zero voices in Wellington featured Maddy Foreman, Carlos Chambers, Paul Young, Jimmy Green and Nina Atkinson, who together offered a positive and pragmatic set of views and information about smart energy solutions and potential areas of exciting innovation, assisted at the opening by Z Energy’s sustainability manager Danusia Wypych.
The conclusion to last night’s meeting was a challenge to the audience to make their vote at this year’s local body elections count for climate change by backing candidates for whom creating world class low-carbon towns and cities is a committed priority.
In terms of the overall Generation Zero speaking tour, this was the final of 14 events that have increased attention on climate change issues to levels not seen in New Zealand before, and that have given impetus to such initiatives as the Congestion Free Network alternative in association with Auckland Transport Blog (see http://generationzero.org.nz/congestion-free )
Looking ahead to the general election in 2014, organisers said that any government that is stuck in the past needs to know it will become unelectable. “They need to know that if they don’t change people will vote them out”.