|Lucy Lawless's Keynote Speech to Powershift -
Transcript by: Barbara Davies
(Barbara's Note: I couldn't make out some parts of the audio track - for
a variety of reasons - so I've denoted those missing bits with [ ].)
Lucy: Hi, guys, [Maori greeting?]
You know I found those speeches really moving and yet I sat on my arse
and didn't say anything. So I reckon we should just agree not to do that
anymore. Somebody says something that really you think is important,
speak up, testify.
So, the youth of today. Who's got a greater investment in the future
than you, except maybe the kid that was just born in National Woman's
hospital, or Invercargill, or wherever? And who am I to stand in front
of you? Just an actress - I'm constantly reminded of that. But I'm also
a global citizen, and to me it's so important to make sure that you kids
get a fair shake. And I am slightly ashamed that it's been left to you,
to be honest.
So, in February as you were told, I and some Greenpeace activists went
and occupied a Shell oilrig that was heading up to the Arctic, which as
you know is very fragile because of Climate Change. And Shell and other
countries' profiteers were going up to dig up more of the stuff that
caused the problem in the first place. And after that I was invited to
go along with Kumi Naidoo and Richard Branson at the UN Conference on
sustainable development where I learned that despite incontrovertible
scientific evidence about the dangers of burning more fossil fuels,
continuing to burn fossil fuels, and the need to tackle it now rather
than later, there was a world of discord about the rate of change
required or even the need for change, as improbable as that sounds. [...
proportion ... failure?].
So no wealth was created. It was a zero sum game. And then we learned
how to do things better. So given the selection of, you know, choosing
to look after your own offspring, we joined together with others and we
learned how to share resources and divide up the land so that we would
create more wealth for our offspring, collectively we'd have a better
chance of survival, so we provided a safe environment in which to raise
our offspring. And eventually complex societies formed requiring govt.,
economy, infrastructure, and taxes, all of which, of course, is to
provide a safer environment in a more complex world to raise our
People that are gifted in numeracy we might become bean counters. And
some of the most important decision makers in the world are bean
counters, but some things are not counted on their ledgers. So
orang-utans, narwhals, coral atolls, rain forests - these things do not
get a vote. So we are finding that we have to do it for them. And
despite repeated warnings, clean water is only just now making it onto
the endangered list.
To be ignorant means that you have knowledge but are choosing to ignore
it. Now my generation was in their twenties when the internet came into
being. So we are fully young enough to be fully conversant with
information technology. You have no excuse to remain ignorant.
So now my generation is coming to power and you must hold our feet to
the fire to do what we know is right. Because fossil fuels, they were
the answer to a 19th century problem, but now in the 21st century not
only are they not the answer, they are the problem.
So this is a little story from only about a year ago. My brother tried
to warn me off my liking for Greenpeace, and he [ ] that the green
movement was really just a hippy conspiracy to sell more green product.
What do hippies buy? Joss sticks? Do you know hippies? They're as poor
as church mice! But in fact there isn't a single registered climate
agency in the World who denies the anthropogenic nature of Climate
Change and the need to tackle it now not later. As I said to my taxi
driver: Who are you going to believe: Leighton Smith or NASA?
This is a famous Confucian, Sun Tzu. [1800 ... ] before Machiavelli, Sun
Tzu wrote the Art of War. And I don't think I really would have liked
Sun Tzu and his philosophies very much, but in this case he's absolutely
right, 'cause the enemy is Climate Change and we have to adapt - if we
do not turn to face this, it will slug us from behind.
It's in our best interests that we adapt our energy sources, our homes,
and our businesses. For example, if our farmers move towards carbon
neutrality, as I am assured by experts is possible, it will result in
cleaner waterways, healthier soils, and a premium product that the world
craves. It's really important that we support our farmers as they
evolve, hopefully, evolve to healthier practices, because everything
else, as you'll see [ ] is piggybacked upon our clean, green land, which
incidentally taxpayers pay for. I don't know how many tens of millions
of dollars that cost to develop that land, it's a great deal more than [
] Taxpayers own that ground so it's really appalling that any govt.
would want to erode [ ] That's not fair. We're all participating as kids
today we do not hold our [ ] accountable therefore we are accountable.
Now, I've always been somebody who feels a great deal, and it really
motivates me, but I find it extremely important to get educated. And I
commend you guys for being here today, who are far ahead of me on this.
It enables me to listen better. It's all good criticism about not
getting off track when people tell me try to.... first thing they'll say
is, they'll try to point out what a hypocrite you are, especially about
me. I travel - a great deal less than I used to, but I do travel. I tank
up my Prius. Embarrassingly. I do. Not very often, but I do. Gotta
absorb the criticism and say: even it it's true what you say about me,
it doesn't make Climate Change less real. My hypocrisy doesn't make your
children more safe.
And so you mustn't think that our economy is our enemy, because it is
how we sustain a safe environment for our offspring. And as New
Zealanders we need to remind our govt. that we need to be responsible
global citizens, because what happens in the Arctic doesn't stay in the
Arctic. We're all connected. We need those people in Tokelau, in Kiribas,
and Tonga, whose islands are shrinking year by year. We need them to
know that we are on their side. So thank you so much for coming.
Oh. The 'strange bedfellows'. The minute you start to think of yourself
as a National person, or a Labour person, or a Green person, you cease
to be a fully human thinking person. So we're all in this together and
you never know where your next great collaborators will come from. It
might be somebody from a completely different [ ] from you, but we have
to be ready to listen, that's all, and give them room to change their
Thank you so much for having me.