Ex-Green Teen helps lead climate summit

Former Nelson student Brittany Packer is helping organise a national event for 1000 young people to take a lead in climate change.

Power Shift NZ-Pacific 2012, to be held at Auckland University in December, will involve a conference, festival, workshop and a celebration of the power of young people taking their future into their own hands.

Miss Packer was a member of the Green Teen group in Nelson, which campaigned on reducing the use of plastic bags and received an award for raising the profile of environmental issues and leadership of young people.

She was selected as part of the New Zealand Youth Delegation to COP15, the United Nations' 15th Climate Change Conference, in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 2009, and then to the COP16 climate negotiations in Cancun, Mexico.

She is now 20 and at Victoria University studying international relations and media.

She said Power Shift was being driven by a grassroots network of youth organisers who had built a climate movement across New Zealand and the Pacific Islands.

It was a collaboration between 350.org, a global movement for action on climate change, Generation Zero, an organisation of young New Zealanders calling for better climate policies, and other individuals. This week they launched the project with a website, powershift.org.nz, and are now inviting up to 1000 young people from throughout New Zealand and the Pacific Islands to register online to attend.

“Climate change is the defining issue of our generation, and there is a growing youth movement in New Zealand that will come to Power Shift to learn new leadership skills, be inspired by amazing leaders and role-models, get planning for local actions, and launch a nationwide campaign to push for climate solutions,” she said.

Power Shift NZ-Pacific 2012 was not a flash in the pan, she said. It would build on the experience of Power Shift events during the past five years in India, Australia, the United States, Canada and Britain, mobilising more than 25,000 young people.

“This event will be a focal point for rapidly growing this network of young people, as well as providing training in specific skills and links to concrete actions toward a safe climate future,” Ms Packer said.