Leading the (Power) Shift Forward?
And so the Power-Shift Youth Summit that was held in Auckland this weekend has been. The Power Shift forum was to bring together youth from NZ, Australia and the Pacific Islands to discuss all things climate change and looking at ways forward. TV-3 News ran an article on the youth summit which can be seen HERE. In the same regard I also kept an eye on the summit via the Facebook and Twitter exchanges that had occurred. As I said in Twitter: I applaud
@GenerationZer0 & #powershift for their efforts this weekend. Now then the real challenge begins, starting at home. #leadbyexample
And that is true; for all their seminars, planning, discussion, talks by others and even a flash mob dance caught by Main Stream Media – that folks is the easy stuff. The real challenge as I said in my Twitter message starts at home. And so you ask what do you mean by home? Well one thing I heard of while studying Geography and Political Studies at the University of Auckland was the term “Think Global, Act Local.” Now that saying is the actual challenge now set to the Power Shift attendees – “Think Global, Act Local” – for not following that rather strictly is going to confine you to the equivalent realm as those USA-Mega Church Fundamentalist Evangelical Bible-Bashing nut-cases (and they are). How you ask?
Let’s take a look what you are up against on a New Zealand (so local in the global scheme of things – although where he was quoting from was global); this from Whale Oil – the number one blog in the country and can wield some significant sway in opinion making:
by Whaleoil on December 9, 2012
It used to be that we complained about evangelists and called then god botherers…they seem innocuous in comparison to the army of green evangelists, whom I call the Green Taliban, who are proselytising their message.
People are waking up to the Green Taliban though:
Charles Dickens must be turning in his grave. We have a government that tells struggling families here at home to buck up and shell out to build wind farms in the developing world. Here, there are mothers worrying about stretching a very limited budget to cover Christmas lunch, with turkey and trimmings, and presents that don’t all come from PoundLand; but the Coalition doesn’t worry about the hardships under its nose, concentrating instead on those who suffer in distant lands. Dickens would have recognised this instantly as Mrs Jellaby charity – the mother in Bleak House who is obsessed with charitable work for the missions, while her own brood is starving in her kitchen.
How did this tragicomic state of affairs come to pass? The Tories (some of them at least) got not God but Green.
Fanatical, self-righteous, and bent on evangelisation, the green religion stalks the land. Its priests preach apocalyptic visions of a future so bleak that ordinary mortals fear for our lives – even in the face of evidence to the contrary. Now, the green lobby want to spread the word to the Third World. Yes, let there be wind turbines across Africa, and low carbon farming across Colombia! And let it all happen with the British taxpayer footing the bill – to the tune of £2 billion!
And another one from him as well:
by Whaleoil on December 8, 2012
The Green taliban are the most sanctimonious of all politicians.
Given they have an MP (Kennedy Graham) being paid by NZ taxpayers to be in Doha and had their friends create a Hobbit based skit video, Federated Farmers quite reasonably pointed out that climate change conferences would be climate friendly if done by video conferences instead of being held in resorts (Kyoto, Durban, Cancum, Rio and now Doha).
That seems to have touched a raw nerve with Gareth who has forgotten the principle of photosynthesis since farm forestry, riparian plantings and pasture do suck up CO2 (they don’t count under Kyoto’s right definition of a forest). He also seems to forget where the money comes from.
Strange that we are wrong to be in the same camp as President Obama with the UN accord.
Check out this Twitter exchange between Federated Farmers and the boy MP and penguin botherer Gareth Hughes:
Read the comments and track the opinions else where and the good folk at Powershift and Generation Zero are up against a tough nut here. This would be owing that New Zealand is conservative by nature and not very respondent to change – especially large-scale change moving at speed. Trust me I know with the Auckland City Rail Link Debate going on currently and the conservative side of Auckland “we” are trying to get onside.
So banging from the Pulpit about Climate Change and how we need to do this that and the other is not simply going to work. The younglings are of Power Shift and Generation Zero are simply going to be told where to go and stick it at the same time.
Does that mean we (the youth – and by the way I am 27 so I still consider myself youth – okay? 😉 ) we shut-up, put our heads down and go with the mill/flow. HELL NO and I am not suggesting those at Power-Shift do that at all – in fact I suggest the dead opposite for which is a reason why I am applauding you for your weekend’s efforts – I truly am 😀
However remember I said “Think Global – Act Local.” So how do you do this? Well this is my suggestion to which you can take it on board or not – your choice, but as a fighter and leader (in other areas) I feel compelled to pass on some of my own experience, wisdom and knowledge.
Your Global Situation: Climate Change. It is happening one way or the other and it can not be stopped – okay? However as I was taught at university we can mitigate our actions to minimise the impacts we humans have and in the same regard suffer from when nature decides to show who is boss.
Your Local Solution: Start at home. Running straight to the pulpit and banging on like some evangelical nut job (and yes I am a practising Christian to boot) is the fastest way to go put people off the cause. You want to start doing your part for Climatic Change, then start at home first. Clean up your own act and get your own house in order first before even thinking of banging on like an evangelical nut – otherwise people like Whale Oil are going to call BULLSHIT and mate once he has done that and it is actually true his call – sorry but you are stuffed, game over!
So once you have got your house in order then the terminology of lead by example applies. When one leads by example, others actually do follow you and will be loyal to you and your cause. But for heaven’s sake do not fall into the trap of “Do as I say, not as I do” mentality for that will promote disloyalty.
You will find after a leading by example for a while, you start networking with like-minded individuals with groups and networks forming. As this happens natural leaders, managers, workers and followers will fall into place. The network grows and the level of influence and persuasion increases – however remember to still lead by example and not fall into THAT TRAP as I mentioned earlier. And so as time continues to press on, you or the network will be at a stage where you begin influencing the true levers of power and whole scale change begins – all because an individual lead by example, practised what they preached, and thus people will follow.
So if any Power-Shifters are reading this, your question is how then do I lead by example seeming I have just “banged” on about here in this post. Well I started at home in my measures for Climate Change mitigation:
- Grow my own vegetables, some berries and citrus. I have phased out synthetic fertilisers and use organic fertilisers such as Blood and Bone, Horse and Chicken Crap and other organic fertilisers (note: Lime is used periodically)
- I now keep barn chickens for “organic” eggs
- I upgraded my old bomb to a newer car with emission standards and better fuel economy
- I don’t drive like a spastic bat when driving that would cause high emissions and bad fuel economy
- We compost at home – and recycle as well
- All our detergents are biodegradable and have no phosphate in them
- Oxygen rather than Chlorine Bleach is preferably used
- I use organic shampoo and conditioner that is stored in bottles made from corn
- I use public transport where possible (however beware that can not always happen)
- The house in retrofitted with insulation, a HRV system and all internal light bulbs are Energy Saver bulbs
- All curtains are thermal lined
- Showers are kept short, and laundry is done when the machine is full
- Rain and Grey Water Tanks will be installed (as money allows) for garden irrigation
- Native flora and bee friendly plants have been planted into the garden to nurture the bees and promote wildlife including native birds (although I do have one ginger cat who likes hunting rats and mice)
- All synthetic pesticides are being phased out and replaced with organic or bee-friendly pesticides
- Plastic Bags are avoided and boxes used to take the shopping home (thank you Pak n Save)
As for the advocacy front I have been busy lobbying to Auckland Council and Auckland Transport on all things; Auckland Plan, Long Term Plan, Regional Public Transport Plan, Unitary Plan and the City Rail Link to “assist” in mitigation on climatic change as well (but that is another post)
You can see I am aware of the global issue that is Climatic Change, and I am doing my part by starting local through my activities at home (which still have a long way to go in the improvement front) and now spanning out through advocacy to Auckland Council and Transport. So at first I started at home bringing that in order first before spanning out and building networks and influence on the advocacy to Council activities. Possibily I could go one step further and “slip” in a (civic) leadership role and lead people forward – however that part of my journey has not been written yet ;). But I still remember what I said in “leading by example” while avoiding the “Do as I say, not as I do” trap so many fall into.
And that is my pearls of wisdom to our Power-Shifters out there. I thought I would offer it as I do applaud you and I do wish you to succeed in your endeavours. However remember what I said and remember what you are up against. The road is long and tough – believe me I know, but patience, perseverance and again leading by example will get you there.
Will see you on the other side 😀