Outlet Podcast: Green Party co-leader James Shaw

2 minutes read
Posted 11 March, 2024
James Shaw

James Shaw, the outgoing Green Party co-leader and former Climate Change Minister, is on The Outlet Queenstown Podcast this week.

Ahead of his appearance at Aspiring Conversations in Wānaka Shaw talks to pod host Brent Harbour about the complexities of global climate solutions and individual responsibilities. 


Shaw talks about environmental tipping points, reflects on global initiatives such as the Paris Agreement, and the efforts to communicate the threat of climate change.

"We haven't done a great job so far, because we've been at it for 40 years," he says.

"And, look, to tell you the truth, I think humans, in an evolutionary sense, are quite well designed to deal with clear and present danger . . . but really kind of slow moving, distributed, invisible threats like climate change, our brains don't deal very well with that, until it becomes clear and present and you're bailing water out of the ground floor of your house, or whatever.

"If you look around the world, it's generally in places where those effects have started to occur that consciousness is at its greatest."

The Aspiring Conversations panel will include students from Mt Aspiring College, but Shaw says it's actually the older generations that need to be more engaged.

"In my experience the younger generation are far more engaged in this topic than people of my age, and that's because I think that there is an awareness that they are going to have to deal with the consequences, not just for longer, but with much more severe consequences than you or I have faced with in our lifetime.

"So, you know, I think there is a level of concern bordering on anxiety there amongst younger people."

He says the younger generation is already having an impact on policy change, with one example being the Zero Carbon Act, which was a construct of youth climate organisation Generation Zero.

Shaw also highlights the School Strike for Climate protests of September 2019, which saw 175,000 people marching throughout the country, the largest set of protests for 30 years.

The time for talking is over now, with collective action needed at every level of society to make a material difference, he says.

Shaw also discusses the work done by Queenstown Lakes and Central Otago organisations and talks about ways in which everyone can make a difference.



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