Climate Talk


Climate Talk

Nā Alex Johnston, Oxfam New Zealand campaigns coordinator and PSA EcoNetwork member

Tried talking to your Dad about the bushfires in Australia only to discover he’s a climate change denier?

Or does your friend or workmate despair that rising sea levels in the Pacific and drought in the North are signs of an apocalyptic future?

How do we talk to people about climate change when it can provoke such extreme reactions?

That is the question that Oxfam New Zealand commissioned the think-tank, The Workshop to find out.

They’ve put together a great resource kit on talking about climate change and encouraging collective action.

Collective is an important word here, because while shifting our own behaviours – such as driving less or eating less meat - are important steps, we need to inspire large-scale systemic action to make everyone’s good intentions really count.

The toolkit suggests the way we typically talk about climate breakdown is not working:

“Mainstream climate communication has…, focussed heavily on fear, economic impacts, and facts. And while climate change is alarming,…inspiring action at the right level requires more than communicating the facts and the dangers.”

What the research suggests will motivate the widest audience (though it may not change those who still deny there is a problem) is to lead with a vision of the type of world that we want to see.

Instead of saying “the world is burning, this is such a catastrophe!” we can try something like “everyone deserves clean air, secure homes, and a stable environment to build their lives in.”

Then identify the human impacts of climate change on that vision at a local level. For example, “right now, climate breakdown is disrupting the ability of people to grow food in Northland, fuelling bushfires that have destroyed livelihoods in Australia, and is forcing coastal communities in Fiji to relocate to higher land.”

Next name the agents that cause the problem: “people in government are holding back the changes we need to cut our pollution and play our part in building a secure future for everyone.”

Finally focus on the ability of people to solve this crisis and the need to accelerate action: “If we use our voices in this election, we can make sure we elect people who are committed to cutting our pollution faster and will support communities to make the changes we need.”

Words matter. They shape how we think and feel, which in turn guide our actions.

Talking about climate breakdown in ways that inspire us to act collectively is crucial.

Our overheating planet is under threat but we have the tools to act.

Also in this issue:


‘We thank you for your brave stand’

As forty or so people gathered in the blazing Wairarapa sun, only two had ever joined a protest before in their lives. Within twenty minutes, they were leading their own chants and you could hear them for miles.

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“Remember the loss but also remember the hope”

PSA delegate Benjamin Gresham says the Christchurch Invitation is a call to spread peace, reconnect, and feed the hungry - which draws on the teachings of the Muslim tradition.

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Leading the charge on contractor rights

The PSA made a change to its rules in 2018 by enabling contractors and labour hire workers to become members.

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Make it Real

Their work often goes unnoticed - but they’re the ones that keep organisations running smoothly, the ones you turn to when things go wrong, the ones that are first to greet the public.

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Mana Wahine Claim goes to Waitangi

The stall gave us an opportunity to kōrero kanohi ki te kanohi with the wider community about the kaupapa of Te Rūnanga o Ngā Toa Āwhina’s Waitangi Tribunal claim.

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Opportunities and issues with new bill

The PSA welcomes most aspects of the bill - but there are issues it does not address and we drew these to the attention of the select committee.

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"We have come too far to not go further"

The Public Service in its current form is failing Māori. This is abundantly clear as Māori are over-represented in all negative social statistics. We need a public service that delivers for Māori.

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We Count

More than 30% of lesbian, gay and bisexual public service workers who responded to the State Service Commission’s We Count Survey last year reported being uncomfortable being open or out at work.

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The PSA’s greatest victory?

On 29 March 1974 more than 600 uniformed school dental nurses proceeded silently down Wellington’s Lambton Quay. It was, as one observer noted, “almost certainly the largest demonstration of women since the days of the suffragettes”.

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Maranga Mai

The guiding purpose of Maranga mai o ngā whakangungu ā rohe is to enable Māori delegates to use their perspective and experience to advocate for Te Tiriti o Waitangi in their workplaces.

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Pacific organisers speak of challenges and triumphs

The organisers from Fiji, Kiribati, Samoa, Australia, Vanuatu and Solomon Islands were attending the International Trade Union Confederation-Asia Pacific workshop in Nadi in November.

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Holiday Home Snaps

The snaps from holiday home stays around the country show just how much fun and relaxation our PSA accommodation has to offer .

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The Marlene Pitman Award

This award was originally created in honour of Marlene Pitman, who passed away on 16th January 2010, to recognise her membership and service of 25 years. As an activist at Child Youth and Family, she was convenor of the Social Services sector committee and an executive board member for 2 years, a delegate for 23 years and a hardworking member of Te Komiti o Te Rūnanga o Ngā Toa Āwhina.

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Radio NZ

A groundswell of public and political opposition to that plan soon led to a backdown from the RNZ Board and management.

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Book Review: Pay Packets and Stone Walls

At the beginning of her memoir Elizabeth Orr pledges to tell the truth about the fight for pay equity for women, her reasoning being that it has lessons for the future.

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New CTU Secretary Looks to the Future

“I had completed a conjoint arts and law degree so the position tapped into my passion for drama and the arts as well as my knowledge of employment law and policy,” the 31 year-old recalls.

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Leading the Way

“As a child I thought everyone had a Mum and Dad who cared about them,” says the Ngāti Kahungunu wahine who grew up in a loving whānau environment.

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On the Job

“I can help with mental and physical health problems. I want to provide a service where they don’t need to see lots of people.

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Te Reo o te Tari

*Good morning.* Mōrena/Ata mārie. *Welcome to (workplace).* Nau mai ki . *Are you busy?* He nui ō mahi? *I am very busy!* He tino nui aku mahi! *No. I am not very busy. Kāo.* Kāore i nui aku mahi. Kei te aha koe? *What are you doing? *Kei te tuhituhi au. *I am writing. *Kei te mahi au.* I am working.*

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