It has issued an invited to youth throughout the Pacific to join the biggest youth climate summit New Zealand has ever seen.
"Power Shift" will be part conference, part festival, part workshop and part celebration of the power of 1,000 young people to change the world.
Presenter: Geraldine Coutts
Speaker: Koreti Tiumalu, Pacific outreach co-ordinator, Power Shift, 350.org
TIUMALU: Well that, from what I understand the websites been taking registrations for the last couple of weeks and I'm not managing that at the moment, so I'm not exactly sure, but I think we've got at least a couple of hundred that already registered to join us and we're still driving a big campaign at the moment to get more on board, so it's still early days.
COUTTS: Alright, well just tell us about Power Shift?
TIUMALU: OK, so like said, it is part conference, part festival, part workshop, and hopefully a lot of celebration just of young people coming together and wanting to be able to work together to help shape our climate future, particularly for our Pacific regions who are very hard hit by the impacts and affects of climate change. It's going to be a great time for us to be able to work with them in building that awareness, leaving those of us in the Western world be able to amplify the message of how they are impacted by climate change in terms of rising sea levels, extreme weather, poor soil quality due to salination, and lack of fresh water and the reduced availability of fresh water in many of the Pacific Islands. That often gets forgotten, especially places like Tokelau, Tuvalu, those that are a lot more remote.
COUTTS: Alright, well the conference, will it have other items on the agenda or will it basically be all subjects and issues relating to climate change?
TIUMALU: Yeah, they'll be workshops on I think most of the workshops will be on day two, but we're going to have lots of amazing guest speakers. Bill McGivern, who started 350 will be coming to us via satellite, but we'll also have a lot of guest speakers and some music workshops that we hope will give tools on how young people can get in behind climate change and what practical solutions that everyone can do to help reduce the impacts of climate change and do things in their communities that are practical.
COUTTS: Well, it's for the youth, targeting a thousand youth. Have you got an age regulation or stipulation?
TIUMALU: Yeah, most of the content is aimed between 16 and 30, but if you're younger than that or older than that and keen to be involved and wanting to know more, that's not a hard and fast rule. We want as many people who want to be involved in this and want to learn more to come along. So yeah, it's definitely generally focused at 16 plus age range, but none of it's going to be material that won't be useful, for anybody that wants to come along.
COUTTS: Now what's the expectations, are you targeting future leaders, are you wanting the delegates that the Power Shift to go home and rattle the cages and do their bit for climate change at home when they get there after the conference?
TIUMALU: Yeah, that's exactly what we're hoping to do. We're hoping that young people that come along will be inspired and energised to want to make a difference and however it works for them to be able to work that back into their communities or back into their home, into their home countries, that's what we're hoping that it'll just inspire them to make a change of some kind in whatever form that may be. May be it's having a day of action, may be it's writing a letter to their leaders and saying hey, this is what we want for our future. It's all up to using the strength of young people and how they want to get involved with climate change, but giving climate change a voice, a youth voice to help us.
COUTTS: I guess for people who don't understand, also may be you could tell us a little bit about 350.org?
TIUMALU: Sure, well 350.org is a global organisation that was started in the United States and we have arms all over the world and they just basically work on climate change solutions at a local level and support each other in just building a voice and putting the focus on climate change and the affects of climate change and why it's important that we take action now, and the number 350 comes from what is the safe level that scientists have said is the safe level of carbon emissions in the atmosphere, 350 parts per million. At the moment, we are 392 and that number is rising, but we want to try and bring that number back down to 350 in order for it to be a safe level for the environment.
COUTTS: Now you're the Pacific Outreach coordinator for Power Shift. Are you getting any kind of feedback at this point from the youth at this stage? Have you been working with you prior to this or just since you got this agenda up and running for Power Shift?
TIUMALU: Sure, look, the response has been amazing. The thing is that in the Pacific, climate change is a very real issue, because they're living the affects of climate change. But for many Pacific people who live in the West, who live in New Zealand, Australia, America. It's not something that we know too much about. It's not that we don't care, it's that we just don't know. So one of the main things, one of the big drives for me has been in building that awareness for Pacific people not living in the Pacific.