Thursday, March 08, 2007

New Zealand

ou might have heard that New Zealand’s Prime Minister, Helen Clark, this week announced she aspired for her country “to be carbon neutral in our economy and way of life." And if that wasn’t enough she set the bar even higher with this proclamation: "I believe New Zealand can aim to be the first nation to be truly sustainable across the four pillars of the economy, society, the environment, and nationhood." These are not new notions for Helen. At the New Zealand Labour Party Annual Conference held late in October 2006 she used her keynote address to raise the same points, “We could aim to be carbon neutral. I believe that sustainability will be a core value in 21st century social democracy. I want New Zealand to be in the vanguard of making it happen – for our own sakes, and for the sake of our planet. I want sustainability to be central to New Zealand’s unique national identity.” And NZ has other related defining moments which have helped shaped it’s national identity, including declaring the country a Nuclear Free Zone, which caused the US to downgrade their status from ally to ‘friend’. The French bombing Greenpeace’s Rainbow Warrior ship in a New Zealand harbour also strengthen their resolve with Kiwi's relishing their underdog status. Indeed regarding the N-word, Helen Clark reckons global warming is akin to the threat of nuclear holocaust that hung over the world during the Cold War.

But it isn’t going be an easy road for NZ to travel. Apparently they aren’t finding it easy to meet their existing Kyoto commitments. However some of the measures mentioned in the speech this week include 3.4% biofuel as a portion of fuel sales by 2012 (which will be music to the ears of the Diversa project Tim reported on), plus all government agencies are to use energy efficient transport and buildings, reduce fuel bills and buy only recycled paper. How much affect this will have remains to be seen, but it is pleasing to see a little country thinking big. If only its big, lumbering neighbour across the Tasman Sea had the same balls. Via ::International Herald Tribune.

Wondering what goes on in NZ to lead to such ambitious endeavours, (such as incubating the first co-summiter on Everest, or stealing the gooseberry from under the nose of the Chinese and having the audacity to rebrand it a Kiwi fruit?) Then have a peek at some our other green posts from New Zealand.

For instance, the world’s first carbon neutral wine, (looks like they are off to good start!), organic, vegan beer, banning bottom trawling, organic wool (and possum down) apparel, and vegetable-based cleaning agents just to point you to but a few.

One of our roving correspondents, Leonora, wandered down there to check out the scene first hand and penned these missives:
on a slow food cafe, a green architect, permaculture farming, earth conscious fashion, and an eco-wedding.


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