Green vision wins spot
Sarah Hall is just 19 years old but has some bright ideas about how to take our country into a greener future.
The Auckland University engineering student is a member of the International Antarctic Expedition 2012 team organised by campaigners 2041.
The carefully selected group will explore the Antarctic Peninsula and gain first-hand knowledge of its fragile ecosystem, experience its unique wildlife and observe the landscape while learning about climate change.
Miss Hall will be taking her vision for "green growth" to the southern-most tip of the world after winning the Pure Advantage Expedition to Antarctica video competition last month.
Entrants were asked to make a two-minute video telling of their green growth vision for New Zealand and how they would inspire Kiwis into a greener future.
Miss Hall says the government needs to step up and take leadership when it comes to sustainability.
"Your average person may have passionate ideas about the environment but may not be able to afford to do anything about it.
"This is where the government needs to lead by example," Miss Hall says.
Looking after the future of our environment has long been a part of the Pt Chevalier student's life – her parents have always insisted on composting and took Miss Hall on tree planting missions as a child.
"The fact that my parents value being sustainable a lot has rubbed off on me," she says.
But it wasn't until the competition that she really saw how her mathematically minded brain could translate ideas into actionable solutions for our country.
"I thought, well I can model the New Zealand economy and show our country's stakeholders that the only feasible way forward is green growth," she says.
"Basically if you kill the environment then your country will never make money."
Miss Hall's green vision was seen as both creative and actionable by the competition judges including the expedition's leader, Robert Swan.
The once in a lifetime trip will see her fly to Argentina in February for a team bonding session before the group of 60 sets off for a 38-hour boat trip on the Sea Spirit bound for three weeks in Antarctica.
Miss Hall will bring back to New Zealand new knowledge and inspirations for spreading the message of green growth to her peers as a Pure Advantage Youth Ambassador.
The experience will give her the chance to be part of a change in New Zealand's future sustainability and is a chance to rethink her own future.
"Winning this competition has been quite a nice wake-up call for me," Miss Hall says.
"I always said that I didn't want a cubicle job but it looked like I was heading that way and now this has inspired me to change my thoughts about my future goals."
Pure Advantage is a national organisation of business leaders working to deliver world-leading improvements to the economy, environmental performance and the living standards of all New Zealanders.
– Marnie Hallahan is a Wintec journalism student
Auckland City Harbour News