It was after about 11 hours of running between bunk and toilet late yesterday that I began to ask myself: "what the $%#@ am I doing? Is this really worth it? WHY IS THIS HAPPENING TO ME????!?!".
Which brings me to what I am doing. In fact, what we're all doing. The main purpose of this ship tour is to talk climate change - to anyone who'll listen really. Because there's a sense in New Zealand that the climate problem is solved; that the government is doing all it can, and that on a global scale, we're totally doing our bit. But a) this actually isn't true and b) the risk with this attitude is that it leads to complacency, and people forget that we're up against the biggest threat that civilisation as a whole has ever faced.
So we're going out there to remind people that there is lots more to be done and that the time to do it is now.
Greenpeace reckons there are two main things that must happen in New Zealand if we're truly going to nail climate change. One is for a domestic reduction target to be set, and the other is for us to meet it. And to meet it, we need agriculture to start taking responsibility for its pollution. First things first though - the target.
Targets in themselves don't stop climate change. But they do set the scene for what needs to be achieved, and give a clear signal to policy makers that they should formulate policies capable of achieving the target set. Countries taking a leadership position on climate change have set national targets, for example: the UK has a target above and beyond its Kyoto commitment - 20 per cent by 2010. It is expected to achieve a reduction of almost of 17 per cent by 2010 as a result. Germany has a domestic target of 40 per cent overall reductions from 1990 levels by 2020, which it's on track to meet. Even Australia, which has been a little slow on the uptake with climate solutions, has a long term overall emission reduction target. In Sweden, the Swedish Parliamentary Council on Climate Change recently agreed on an emission reduction range of 75-90 per cent by 2050.
Experts agree that developed countries like New Zealand should have an emission reduction target of between 25-40 per cent by 2020, and should be aiming to cut emissions by 80 per cent by 2050 (this certainly puts the National's Party's target of only 50 per cent by 2050 into perspective!) So Greenpeace is calling on the government, and in fact, all political parties, to set a target of 30 per cent by 2020.
And we're asking for agriculture to be brought into New Zealand's emissions trading scheme within the next two years (rather than in 2013, as the legislation currently provides).
Despite the fact it makes up almost half of all New Zealand's greenhouse gas emissions, agriculture is exempt from the scheme for another five years. This is, in a word, madness. It's going to set us back hugely in the fight against climate change, make a mockery of our climate policies and mean we don't meet the target.
We're also asking New Zealanders to do their bit- either as individuals, groups or communities - by adopting emission reduction targets in their own lives, and cutting their emission by a third. And during our open days we'll be offering hints and advice about how to do this. Because if the public can show our leaders in parliament what's possible, then the politicians are more likely to do what's needed.
So that's what we're doing here. And despite the rolling sea, and my body's unfortunate response to it, I'm glad and proud to be part of it.