Some who arrive at the steps of Parliament to deliver petitions receive a warmer welcome than others, but Green MP Chloe Swarbrick was delighted to welcome 13 'seniors' from the Bay of Islands and Waiheke Island recently.
They took 25 days to complete their 1200km e-bike hīkoi/eke, in support of the government's Zero Carbon Bill.
"Some people have been fighting for climate action for decades, but we don't have any more decades left on the clock," Ms Swarbrick said. "Today I received members of the Carbon Neutral Trust, who've ridden over 1200km in 25 days from Waiheke to Wellington to build awareness and consensus for the strongest possible Zero Carbon Bill, to be presented to New Zealand Parliament imminently by James Shaw. Many of them have been campaigning for this since the 1970s.
"Coincidentally, this morning I'd (temporarily) nicked some of James' old Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand, Alliance and Values Party propaganda, which contained policies about the climate, biodiversity and equality. It's mind-blowing to think statements written 20-30 years ago are now all the more urgently relevant.
"We simply won't survive another generation of politicians sitting on their hands. Climate action is survival, and it's our only future."
Carbon Neutral Trust spokesman Rolf Mueller-Glodde, one of the 13 riders, said the hīkoi was the latest step in an ongoing campaign to raise awareness and reduce emissions. For more than a year the trust had been working on a carbon calculator that enabled anyone to determine their nett carbon footprint.
"Please give it a try for your household to get a good understanding of it," he said. "The purpose is to raise awareness of personal behaviour and possibilities for improvement. Unlike other available calculators [such asFuture Fit], no personal data other than an email address and postal code are required." The trust intended to approach households and school science teachers, in the hope that they would explain climate change, emission effects and the carbon calculator to students, who would take that home to parents. Presentations were already planned for Springbank School, Riverview School, Kerikeri High and Primary schools, as well as for the Kaikohe Rotary Club.
"Once we get 20 per cent participation of households in a specific town or island (like Kerikeri and Waiheke) we'll have a baseline to work on their carbon neutral status. We hope to entice participants to engage in a reduction of their nett carbon footprint by 10 per cent annually over 10 years," Mr Mueller-Glodde said.
Carbon Neutral NZ Trust was established last year to raise awareness and provide a tool to mitigate the effects of CO2 emissions.
"We are very concerned seniors — Baby Boomers — who want to do everything we can to conserve a healthy environment for our grandchildren, grand nieces and nephews and future generations," he said.
The hikoi's reception on Seven Sharp, can be seen at www.tvnz.co.nz/shows/seven-sharp/clips/guilty-grandparents-turn-eco-warriors-pedal-across-north-island-for-their-grandkids.