COMMENT: I know exactly how the Thames-Coromandel District Council feels.
I too am surrounded by virtuous young people with a strong will and a desire to change the world.
In Thames they voted against the Local Government NZ declaration on climate change, it was the third time they'd done it and turned it down. I am sure Theresa May can sympathise as well.
The town is split. It is, of course, largely frequented by the older crowd who are pulled like a magnet to its majestic outlooks, views and seaside splendour. The council would seem to be representing that view, as opposed to the view of the young campaigners, one of whom is 14 and called Helena, and the other who is 15 and called Lillian.
Those campaigners are aghast. They want not only something done, but something fairly radical done right now. And in that view is the brilliance of youth: all gung-ho, gusto and alarmist.
I have children of a similar ilk. I love them to death, and I admire that they are interested, care, and worry about our planet's future. But what I try and help them with is the line between passion, action, change - and reality. The line between looking like you're doing something versus just saying you're doing something.
The world is full of people who are happy to lay down extraordinary carbon footprints to far-flung places, sit in meetings, ring their hands, make bold statements, and sign big promises. None of which actually do anything. Kyoto is one, Paris is another, and the council declaration is a third.
I, more fool me, looked up the document yesterday and read it. It's waffle, it's high and mighty, noise making grandiose crap. It says everything, does nothing.
It talks about being enthusiastic and supportive, it talks of promoting public transport, which I wouldn't have thought was something that affects a lot of the Thames community.
The great fear in this debate is it's been hijacked by the zealots. And that's the other thing I try and help my kids with, change the world all you want, I say. But in looking to change it, it needs to be a message people can grasp, and get on board with.
And I cite American politician Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and her new green way, the green way with no cars, no buildings, no planes, no cows - and a $93 trillion bill.
Changing the world can never happen when it's frequented by the rabid, because no one believes it. Splinter groups that support that kind of thinking argue we should stop having kids so as not to bring them into this dark and ugly world. People in Ocasio-Cortez's own party are running for the hills, such is the madness.
She is what you don't want to become if you're 14 or 15, and want your council to take your claim seriously.
If the councils that haven't signed the declaration have done so because they're anti-climate change that's one thing. But if they haven't signed like Thames, because they don't want to be legally shackled to anything run mad by Wellington-based zealots.
They need to be congratulated for not getting sucked into a lot of virtual signalling, white board, hocus pocus.
And hopefully Helena and Lillian will one day be able to see the difference.