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Q+A: Shane Taurima interviews Lucy Lawless

Sunday, 24 June 2012, 1:22 pm
Press Release: TVNZ

Q+A: Shane Taurima interviews Lucy Lawless

Actress-turned-activist Lucy Lawless says the media were "disgusted and a bit depressed" at the lack of action in Rio.
Lawless says, "Governments are kind of in the back pocket of the fossil fuel companies," but is urging them to move away from fossil fuels right now.

She says Pure Advantage has estimated that there's a $6 trillion clean-energy race out there for technology and products, and she's calling on the Government to be part of that.

Says Environment Minister Amy Adams "blew her mind" when she said New Zealand is leading the way.
Lawless says we have a "woeful recent history" and disagrees we're leading the way.

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Q + A

SHANE TAURIMA INTERVIEWS LUCY LAWLESS

GREG Also in Rio de Janeiro at the Earth Summit 2012 was New Zealand actor Lucy Lawless with a group of celebrities calling for the High Arctic to be made a global sanctuary. Shane Taurima spoke to Ms Lawless just before she left Rio and began by asking her what she made of the summit and the Minister's claim it had made good progress.

LUCY LAWLESS - Activist
Well, the consensus-- I tell you what, the media-- there were a lot of long faces the last couple of days. They were disgusted, a bit depressed. They were saying, 'We didn't expect so little so soon.' And, yeah, there's a bit of a feeling of that governments are kind of in the back pocket of the fossil fuel companies.

SHANE
What do you think?

LUCY
I think if in the Rio+20 text there isn't mention of tipping points and the fact that billions of people are going to face calamitous extreme weather events in the next 20 to 40 years and beyond, then it's not dealing with the realities. The data's in - climate change is real, it's dangerous, it's coming, and we have to move - we have to move away from fossil fuels sooner rather than later. We've got enough oil to do it, so let's do it now and leave the Arctic alone.

SHANE
You would have just heard the Minister talking about pushing ahead with fossil fuel drilling and also the Government actively urging other countries to cut subsidies.

LUCY
Yeah, amazing.

SHANE
What do you make of that?

LUCY
You know, I keep going back to this one month, I think it was in the lead-up to us having that 'no drilling, no coal mining in the national parks', that whole protest that we were part of. In practically the same week, they laid off 90 DOC workers and expanded their Crown Petroleum and Minerals Department by 30 people. Up until that time, that department was called the Crown Minerals Department, and they renamed it the Crown Petroleum and Minerals Department and spent I don't know how many tens of millions of dollars wooing overseas oil-drilling companies to come down here where we have no regulation to speak of, come on down and do whatever you do. So I don't understand. That seems like a little bit of a disconnect to me.

SHANE But don't we need jobs? The Minister was at pain to explain that this is all about finding, you know, a good balancing act. We need jobs; we need to grow the economy.

LUCY
Yeah, we do. Yeah, we do. How can a dwindling resource be a growth economy? I mean be a growth industry. The future is all going to be in renewables. I know Pure Advantage estimated that there's a $6 trillion clean-energy race out there for technology and know-- products, so let's be part of that.

SHANE
You're quoted as saying the government needs to recognise that there is a global clean-energy race and a way that could position New Zealand to achieve lasting sustainable prosperity. What do you mean by that?

LUCY
Meaning that's where the future's at. You know, we have amazing intellectual property around geothermal, hydropower. We should be selling that all over the world. There's so much business out there. We should be aggressively targeting that. We should be educating our young engineers and our scientists to be growing that field and sharing that technology. There's just so much to be gained.

SHANE
When we talk about a green economy, do you think that New Zealand as a country that we are committed and we're leading the way? Because the Minister also made reference to that quite a few times, saying that we're leading the way.

LUCY
She blew my mind. She blew my mind when she-- She blew my mind when she said that, you know, because--

SHANE
You don't agree?

LUCY
Well, you'll be reading a lot of stuff in the papers now, in the English papers. There was something in The Dominion Post the other day about how we are falling far short, how our ranking in just about every table is slipping, that we've gone from, I don't know, number four down to number 14 or something in the last 15 years. We have a woeful recent history, and that's at odds with the way we see ourselves.

SHANE
We've actually gone from first in 2006 to 14th in 2012. Do you think the people at home will be surprised to hear about those rankings?

LUCY
They might be, but let's hear all of it. Let's have floodlights on this issue so that we can start to build something really sensible to have a proper view of ourselves and go on with a bit of honesty. How about that?

SHANE
Putting all of this into context, what real difference do you think little old New Zealand can really make?

LUCY
Every single human being on this planet is going to be affected by climate change, in particular, the Arctic, which is one of--which is the world's refrigerator, you know. Every single person on this planet is going to be affected by it, so every single person on this planet has to be part of the solution. And I think we're lucky. I think we're really lucky because there's so much we can do to be part of the solution. You don't wait for somebody else to do the right thing before you do the right thing. If you know it's right, we've got to get on it.

ENDS

 


See more on the AUSXIP Lucy Lawless Rio+20 Event Page for more news, photos, video and other multimedia

See more of Lucy's role as an Eco-Warrior and Greenpeace Ambassador






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