I spotted an interesting 'the way we were' piece of historical trivia in the paper here in Lyttelton this morning.
In 1982 the Lyttelton Borough Council was second only to Christchurch in what would be a series of NZ towns, cities and boroughs that would declare themselves nuclear free. This caused quite a stir at the time and because Lyttelton is a major port the move had special significance in the eventual ban on nuclear ships entering NZ ports that remains in place to this day.
Of course not everyone supported the action at the time - one councillor is reported to have said :
"Let's not make a laughing stock of ourselves; after all there was great resistance to electricity when it was introduced".
It seems silly now when most kiwis take quite some considerable pride in our stand against nuclear power and nuclear weapons but it struck me that there is a parallel here with climate change.
Perhaps we should look at coal in the same we do nuclear power and make NZ a fossil fuel free zone.
The nuclear issue potentially threatened and still threatens whole nations, continents and even the entire world with destruction. It is often said that climate change is the single biggest threat civilization has ever faced. An issue like no other in the way that it spans people, species, countries and continents. No other that is except perhaps nuclear war.
The difference is that with climate change virtually everyone has played a part in the problem and likewise must play a part in the solution. We do need strong targeted action from Government but also no single treaty or piece of legislation will be enough. We all need to change the way we use energy, our consumption patterns - all the things that contribute in some way to greenhouse gas emissions. That can be both daunting and empowering - it is possible for us all to make a difference.
This is the message we carry aboard the Rainbow Warrior as it tours NZ and it is the message behind much of the work Greenpeace has done in NZ and around the world in the past decade.