National | Climate Change

Māori activists back Greta Thunberg condemnation

In an attempt to rubbish the Cop26 conference in Glasgow, climate activist Greta Thunberg took to the streets there yesterday and was joined by other activists singing "You can shove your climate crisis up your arse".

The intent of the group was to highlight the inaction from world leaders and big business.

Rallies across Aotearoa including at Parliament Buildings kick off this Friday at 10am.

Meanwhile, Climate Justice Taranaki advocate Emily Bailey is pointing the finger at giant dairy co-operative, which she says is the country's biggest environmental polluter.

“We're trying to target companies who are massive polluters in Aotearoa,” Bailey says.

“We can't fix the world problems but we can fix our own problems.”

Fonterra protest

The multinational dairy company sells over 30% of the world's dairy exports.

Activists will converge on the Fonterra Whareroa Factory in Hawera to protest over Fonterra’s heavy reliance on fossil fuels for fertiliser, production, processing, packaging and transport on top of the huge emissions from cattle belching and waste, urea application, and deforestation.

What Bailey wants is an urgent end to fossil fuel extraction, industrial fertiliser, palm kernel extract (PKE), dairy exports, and no "false solutions" like hydrogen, carbon trading and biofuels.

But Fonterra, which contributed $12 billion to the New Zealand economy this year, has plans in the pipeline to lower emissions.

Fonterra corporate and sustainability Lee Stewart says the cooperative is investing $1 billion to help decarbonise and upgrade wastewater treatment as one of the manufacturing sites.

“We also know that the biggest environmental gains actually comes from finding ways to reduce methane from cows. We don't believe there's one silver bullet,” he says.

Apology to next generation

The government aims to reduce greenhouse gases by50 percent by 2030.

“We acknowledge that commitment from the government and we also recognise that a large number of emission abatements will come from overseas offsets,” he says.

Meanwhile, at  Ihumātao, a cow shed has been repurposed by land activists into a greenhouse. leader Pania Newton says she wants to live in a more sustainable future.

Referring to the next generation, she said, "I feel so sorry for them all. I would like to say 'we apologise because we didn't fight hard enough' to protect our climate and environment.”