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November 27, 2015

Op–ed: Kiribati’s waking nightmare

Lucire staff/11.22

November 27, 2015

Rt Hon John Key, MP, Prime Minister
Hon Bill English, MP, Deputy Prime Minister
Parliament Buildings
Wellington
New Zealand

Dear John and Bill,

I’m having a nightmare. I want to tell you guys about it—to tell you to wake me up; shake me if you have to. Scream me awake, and when I am, I want you to tell me it’s not as bad as it seems.
   I’ve landed in Tarawa, Kiribati, where news from New Zealand awaited me that John has declared his faith that climate change can be addressed with technology—scientists have told him the technology isn’t far off.
   At an official dinner, people look at me as though I have some glorious technology news to pass on. I don’t. I went to bed that evening feeling hollow; figures screaming through my head, the voice of that pesky Jim Salinger uttering the most terrifying words I’ve heard in many years: ‘The world has now entered abrupt climate change.’ You know Jim right, the guy with the Nobel Peace Prize? Gosh, I wish he would shut up with all that sense he talks.
   In the same nightmare I wake the next day to be told that 90 per cent of drinking water wells have been contaminated with E. coli, that the crops at vital plantations are no longer growing due to saltwater poisoning the ground. That lagoons which once fed villages have become infested with E. coli, killing a large bounty of marine life. That the ocean-warming and acidification has killed a majority of the coral atoll that forms the very ground I’m stood on. It’s like a really bad apocalypse video game—I’m anxious that zombies are going to duck out from behind the door. I look around at homes whose front doors the ocean now laps, at dead fruit trees once laden with produce killed by the salt seeping into the soil. I’m failing to see what Tony Abbott found so comical about this situation.
   In this nightmare I wonder what kind of technology could possibly solve this. I then remind myself of John’s track record of absolute reliability, and I feel comforted. The law can’t solve this. I mean, even if it could and there were laws to protect these people, there are no lawyers, and they’d be unaffordable for these people if there were. So, technology must be the saving grace.
   I visited the hospital to witness first-hand what an infant mortality rate 10 times that of New Zealand’s looks like. Have you ever seen such a thing? It’s completely shocking; it hit me with a force a hundred times that of any image of a child lying washed up on a shore a world away. I tried to fight back the tears, and the numbing coldness that consumed my body. I tried not to vomit—but later in the privacy of my room I did find solace in a Fiji Airways sick bag. I sat there and waited for the moment I’d be shaken awake. I desperately wanted John to ride in and tell me that the threat of climate migration is many years off and not something to be worried about. I wanted Bill to sit down and tell me that none of it was real, and the sea levels were not rising.
   John, could you go tell that mate of yours Obama to stop being a bloody alarmist; that according to Bill, there’s no proof Alaskan villages are vanishing into the ocean. That entire nations are not facing forced-extinction from the ocean swallowing them alive. You go tell that puffed-up American know-it-all that he’s alarming the masses, causing me nightmares and unwanted anxiety.
   Bill, could you go tell all those apparently credible scientists who’ve won those fancy awards, that 2015 is not the hottest year in history and they’re just plain wrong. Round them up with Malcolm across the ditch (because they give him a hard time as well) and be done with them. Bully them into submission a bit harder. Just shut them up.

Thanks in advance,

Pearl

§

I imagined the response coming back something a little like this.

Dear Pearl,

You are far too much of a pretty wee thing to be travelling to such far-flung and irrelevant places like Kiribati in your nightmares; to spend time worrying about such things. Why don’t you pay heed to the advice I gave Keisha Castle-Hughes: try visiting the salon for a bad blow-dry instead?
   Don’t worry about other people. By the time New Zealand starts feeling the full effect of climate change we’ll have the technology available to deal with it.
   I’ve also got Malcolm under control—he’s going to share Nauru so we’ve got somewhere to put all those helpless fellow human beings in the Pacific fleeing the rising sea-levels and food shortages. The ones who think they’re right to turn to us for help. I’m going to stop the boats.
   Meanwhile, the Kardashians have a new season, vote for the fern, and use our new buzz word: technology.
   In the meantime, here’s a Live Lokai bracelet. Hold on to it, because before long the Dead Sea and Everest will be things for the history books.

Merry Christmas,

John

§

That’s kind of how this piece came about. I thought I’d write a wee letter. The problem is, the more I wrote and decried the blind buying-in of the latest spin to come out of the ninth floor, the more ridiculous it felt, and the more scared I became in turn. If I’m completely honest, the realization that many—possibly even some reading this piece—didn’t know how absurd the spin had become, worried me to the point of physical sickness. Thanks again Fiji Airways, your sick bags are truly first-class.
   I’m writing this from Kiribati. I’m fully awake. I’m awake in a nightmare. I went to the hospital. I waded through water at high-tide to cross the road infested with human fæces to get there before what they call the ‘morgue’ closed. In a bag at the other end of the room was a pile of clothes and a pair of trainers I never want to see again. I was going to turf them out, but a young woman tasked with showing me around asked if she could have them, since for her wading through the stench of death and fæces was an everyday reality.
   Don’t get me wrong, Kiribati is absolutely beautiful and if it weren’t for the damage wreaked by rising sea levels and climate change, I would focus only on its beauty, but the reality is these threats make the situation people face here far from idyllic. It’s a dire situation, it’s a nightmare.
   A real-life nightmare, there is no amount of shaking that can wake me; though shaking I am, believe me. Shaking from incredulity at the sheer scale of the situation. The problem is I’m not the who needs to be screamed awake. That’s right: if you have ever for one moment entertained the illusion that sea-levels are not rising; that climate change is not the single biggest threat facing humanity; that you can carry on shirking the responsibility to aid in the fight for human survival and dignity, you need to be screamed awake. Will the humanity in you please wake up?
   I’m not saying this with any political leaning. I believe that most of our politicians are drastically failing us all. Who knows what will happen if we leave this to them. I mean, half of those reading this may freak out at the thought of the Green Party controlling the economy, but don’t blink an eyelid at them leading on the issue defined as ‘the single greatest threat to mankind’ by every serious world leader. Why is that? How will the economy exist without our planet?
   Climate change is no longer some far-off theory or problem. It is happening right here and widely through our Pacific backyard. Right now. As you read this climate change is already disrupting our agriculture and ecosystems, our food and water security, our energy, our infrastructure, our health, our safety. Today. Tomorrow. Some more than others but make no mistake it is happening to all of us. It is the issue. An issue that affects all issues, economic included. Everything is and will be impacted. And it becomes more damning with each passing year.
   This matter is far too important to be surrendered to the political domain. This is about humanity. If you think the devastation wreaked by ISIS is as bad as it gets, then please contemplate Mother Nature.
   If the images of parents putting their children into boats because the water was safer than the land left you reeling, then please consider that in the not-too-distant future this will become a reality for many small island states; that many nations in the Pacific will not survive the two-degree cap that Paris is gearing up to gain commitment for in the coming week. They will have to put their children into boats because the water is safer than the land. We have already signed them up for that, and every moment that each of us stands by maintaining the status quo we sign them up for worse—exponentially.
   They will have to flee their homes, forced to migrate due to the lack of food security. Rising sea-levels, along with drastic weather disturbances will make a boat safer than their homes, and these boats will head for our shores.
   Despite this cold hard reality our leaders head into Paris in support of watering a climate agreement down. There’s talk of steps to make the agreement not legally binding. Not many would agree to a marriage or business deal on such terms, I wonder why we are willing to let them negotiate humankind’s survival on such flippant terms.
   During the explosion of the refugee crisis into mainstream media we witnessed both the most hopeful and depraved responses to others’ suffering. I couldn’t help but wonder about the rationale for stopping the boats, for refusing the asylum and migration of those most in need—those least at fault in the destruction of our ecologies, but who will continue to pay the highest price. What possible excuse will we give to keep them out? Do we convince ourselves they’re all terrorists, rapists and murderers to render them exempt from the right to our sympathies, to human dignity? It’s a sad state of affairs that anyone would have to wonder such a thing.
   Leading into the sustainable development goals, New Zealand took a step towards supporting the Pacific, coming out strong and vocal on Sustainable Development Goal 14 (SDG14), which focuses on the conservation and sustainable use of ocean, sea and marine resources. This focus was well warranted, and an open acknowledgement of our responsibility within the region, and our understanding of how many lives depend on the ocean ecologies. I was proud to stand in the General Assembly and hear John Key announce the Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary. It was an important step, but we must be clear that it was but one step in the marathon of steps we need to build a better world.
   In the words of Jim Salinger and virtually every other expert of climate science in the world, the world has entered abrupt climate change. We have already reached tipping-points we cannot mitigate. We are already signed up for things that are going to drastically change life as we know it, this is a cold hard fact. The question that remains now is whether we can summon the courage to turn around and fight for survival. Life is already going to change; but whether we tumble over yet more tipping-points points and the scale of the consequences we face from them is up to us. Sometimes we have little option but to wake ourselves up.
   We have a choice. We can surrender that choice to those who hold offices of power, or we can take that choice into our own consideration. Some say the whole endeavour to pull back from this is hopeless. I’m not willing to accept that. I simply refuse to stand by and let life go without a fight.
   John Key used very interesting rhetoric this week. He used the word ‘faith’. He is placing his faith in technology. Instead I am going to place my faith in humankind—the creators of technology. I am going to place my faith in our ability to comprehend the magnitude of what we face, and choose survival. I ask you to join not just myself, but others around the world in doing so. We still have a fighting chance to make things better. They won’t get better unless we take action and inspire others to do the same. No one is without power: everybody has the capacity to take a few steps.
   I’ve written this for those who know how to challenge the status quo intelligently. The doers, the thinkers, the problem-solvers. I’m not asking anyone to climb something or break laws, just that each person reading this ponders for a minute about how they can contribute, what steps they can take.
   So as we lead into the COP21 talks, billed as a defining moment in human history, at a time when recent events have given us ample reason to desert our faith in our own kind, I encourage every single person reading this to ask themselves what they can do to take action. This weekend millions of citizens around the world are exercising their rights, their freedoms, using their voices and taking to the streets to send world leaders an imperative to act and take meaningful action.
   Mark my words: a decade or possibly two from now it won’t be the Rugby World Cup final you remember with pride. What will be etched in your memory is whether you answered humanity’s call for survival, whether you were one of those who actually did something. Sometimes that something is simply the act of showing up to show solidarity with humankind. In Paris where world leaders have gathered there can be no march, because the worst of humanity put on a display that has left millions of innocent people terrorized. So in the coming week I will be keeping my eyes firmly on Paris, I am marching, I am lending my effort to reinforce the very best in humanity, because if there’s one thing the world needs right now, it’s more of the good.
   It’s only so big, it goes around and we are all on it—Earth. I believe it’s worth saving, do you?—Pearl Going


Disruption, excerpt: ‘Tipping Points’ from Disruption on Vimeo


Above Kiribati President Anote Tong with his TED discussion, ‘My country will be underwater soon—unless we work together’. Click above to watch.

Guest contributor Pearl Going is a global communications’ strategist who has worked broadly across entertainment, human rights and environmental issues. Her most recent work includes the Mercy Campaign, Rohingya Slavery and SIDS. She is an avid climber and has climbed five of the seven summits.

June 19, 2015

Phoenix Organics’ Love Project helps clean up New Zealand’s polluted rivers

Fenella Clarke/22.55



Top Phoenix Organics’ promotional image for its latest venture to tackle river pollution. Above The sites for the Love Project’s tree-planting between June and September. Below left A #loveyourwater promotional card, with wildflower seeds embedded within.

On June 5, Phoenix Organics started planting native plants along polluted rivers for the Love Project, a venture which started last year with the company helping to remove 5,000 ℓ of rubbish from New Zealand beaches.
   When figures were released by regional councils last month revealing that more than half of New Zealand rivers were unsafe to swim in and that Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Wellington, Canterbury and Northland were the worst, Phoenix knew it had to help.
   Co-founder of Sustainable Coastlines, Sam Judd, said, ‘Working with Phoenix Organics, we’re helping communities to stop pollution at its source by setting up riparian planting events—these help reduce pollutants entering rivers by reestablishing native vegetation.’
   Phoenix is hoping that through the Love Project, its customers will feel inspired to make a real difference in New Zealand’s coastal areas.
   ‘We’ve been committed to sustainability since day one and believe New Zealand should continue to build on its clean, green image through involving communities in projects like this,’ said Steve Cook, marketing manager for Phoenix Organics.
   The Love Project is also partnering with environmental artist Martin Hill, based in Wanaka, to create a sculpture during the project, with more information about being released late July.
   Auckland saw the first planting day on June 5 at Wakaaranga Creek; Wellington follows on June 26 at Owhiro Stream. Christchurch’s day is on July 31 at Travis Wetland, while Nelson’s is on August 21 at Corder Park. Northland and Waikato are in September.
   To find out more, you can look at Phoenix Organics’ Facebook and Instagram as well as the hashtag #loveyourwater.—Fenella Clarke


Above Phoenix Organics has planted one tree on behalf of Lucire publisher Jack Yan.

May 11, 2015

News in brief: Karma Feeling bracelets; Rose & Willard’s eco-friendly fish-skin fashion; Black Robin gin scoops top award

Lucire staff/23.01

There’s always been an interest in the energy of crystals, and Karma Feeling’s bracelets use natural crystals, each embodying what the company believes to be healing energies. At the very least, you can choose something to fit your own emotions—Karma Feeling’s website guides you through it. Its owner, Gaynor Osborne-Lawn, explains: ‘The gemstones are used to create a unique look and to create energies that benefit the wearer. The healing properties of our crystals have been tried and tested and we encourage our customers to give themselves and others the powerful gift of Karma Feeling. It’s not only about how stylish our bracelets look but how incredible they make you feel.’ They are available at karmafeeling.co.uk with prices beginning at £35; the Dreaming of Ibiza bracelet, available at this price, is pictured.
Lucire is the United Nations Environment Programme's first fashion industry partner   Rose & Willard has shown a new collection using fish skin from a sustainable producer in Iceland. The designs are machine-washable and environmentally friendly, and has anti-tear and anti-scratch properties, according to the company. Rose & Willard has attacted the likes of Michelle Dockery and Charlotte Riley, as well as two Bond girls, Naomie Harris and Gemma Arterton.
   Finally, online guide The Fifty Best has awarded New Zealand’s Black Robin Rare Gin (left) a Double Gold medal in its Best Gin Awards for 2015. After blind-tasting 57 gins from around the world, Black Robin gained a Double Gold, which meant it received top points across the board. Black Robin notes that it was inspired by the endangered black robin, and a percentage of profits goes to the Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society of New Zealand. It is described as a spicy, citrus gin, with a soft floral note and a dry finish.




Above, from top From Rose & Willard, the Qasida panel leather dress. The Niella salmon leather skirt. The Zitella fish leather top.

December 18, 2014

Brancott Estate Falcon Encounter opens in Marlborough

Lucire staff/10.37


The Marlborough Falcon Trust Falcon Valley has opened at the Brancott Estate Heritage Centre this week, a memorable destination for travellers in New Zealand this summer. The result of a partnership between the Trust and Brancott Estate, visitors can check get up close with a kārearea (New Zealand falcon) for a donation. The donations will go toward falcon awareness and rehabilitation at the Trust’s aviary in Marlborough.
   The Trust has two advocacy birds in flight that visitors can see as part of the Brancott Estate Falcon Encounter. The birds help keep grape-eating birds away from the vineyard, and can reach 200 km/h when hunting.
   There are fewer than 3,000 pairs if kārearea in the wild, and they face a number of threats, including loss of habitat, electrocution on power poles, collisions with turbines on wind farms, predation by cats and hedgehogs, and stoats and rats preying on eggs and nestlings. They are listed as a threatened species by the Department of Conservation.
   The Falcon Encounter also includes a tasting of wines from the Brancott Estate Living Land range of organic wines. The range has raised a good deal of the NZ$500,000 that the winery has given to the Trust, where NZ$1 from each bottle is donated to the Living Land Fund. The funds have helped finance a 16-pen rehabilitation and breeding aviary, and the ongoing care of falcons.

December 14, 2014

Global beauty news: Alive Skin & Hair launches, Living Nature opens Tokyo store, Spiezia Organics rebrands

Lucire staff/11.46



Above Alive Skin & Hair offers Australian and New Zealand customers a range of 3,000 beauty products.

Alive Skin & Hair has launched, stocking over 3,000 hair care, make-up, beauty and skin care products, targeting Australian and New Zealand customers. The website stocks brands including Alpha H, ASAP Skincare, Dermalogica, Elemis, Jane Iredale, Joico, Matrix, Moroccanoil, Skinceuticals, St Tropez, Thalgo, and Youngblood, supplied straight from the manufacturer, and sold ay 15 to 35 per cent off the recommended retail price. Alive Skin & Hair can ship the same day for orders placed before 12 p.m. AEST, and shoppers earn points with each purchase. There are experts to help with online and telephone enquiries. Alive Skin & Hair also gives shoppers the chance to choose two new samples to try, for free, with each order.
   New Zealand natural skin care brand Living Nature has gained a bigger footprint in the Japanese market with a concept store on the second floor of the Grand Tree Musashikosugi Shopping Centre near Shibuya, Tokyo. Operated by @Star Japan, the Living Nature distributor there, the new store reaches thousands of Japanese shoppers, located a few minutes from the busy Musashi–Kosugi train station, which sees 390,000 commuters per day. @Star Japan, meanwhile, has operated since 2000, and has had a long-standing relationship with Living Nature.
   In a release, @Star sales and promotion manager Ai Takahara said, ‘This development of the concept store provides a way to engage with consumers and enable our highly trained staff to share their experience of the Living Nature range, which offers truly natural products for face and body.’
   In Cornwall, England, Spiezia Organics has rebranded, and is about to launch three new hair and body products, containing 95–8 per cent certified organic ingredients and botanicals. Its Organic Gloss shampoo features ingredients including lemon peel extract, zizyphus joazerio bark extract and dandrilys; its Organic Shine conditioner helps stimulate hair growth with ginger oil and lemon peel extract, and contains royal jelly to strengthen the follicles and prevent hair loss; and its organic hand and body cleanser has aloe vera gel, radish oil and lemongrass oil. Spiezia Organics’ commitment to the environment extends to its 100 per cent sustainable packaging, while it is the first UK company to have Soil Association accreditation across its whole skin care range.

November 5, 2014

Heading eastward: glamorous events from Los Angeles to Paris

Lola Cristall/21.27




Top Poolside at the Peninsula Beverly Hills. Centre Inside the Eileen Fischer cabana at the Organic Spa Magazine event. Above TV host Nancy O’Dell.

The Peninsula Beverly Hills is known for its sophistication, adding a European flair in a Californian setting. It was a perfect location for Organic Spa Magazine to host the launch of their 2014 Los Angeles Experience Wellness Media and Eco-Celebrity Event. Celebrities included John Salley, Katie Chonacas, Jennifer Taylor and their stunning October cover girl Nancy O’Dell. With natural holistic services offered in cabanas by the poolside on the rooftop, overlooking marvellous views, the event was based around the beauty and delicacy of naturally infused products.
   Eileen Fischer’s stylish, restrained fashion appeared alongside Nubian Heritage, founded by Richelieu Dennis and Nyema Tubman, who presented a slew of high-end natural skin care products. Others tapping in to their organic creativity included Ikove, Ayushi, Jurlique, the Organic Face, Susie Frazer, Two Bunch Palms, Organics Brasil, Plantlife, Shankara, Aura Cacia, Tsuiya, Gaëlle Organic, Malebranche, Nordic Naturals, Green Spa Network, Vana Retreats, Immunocologie, Ojai Valley Inn and Spa, Natracare, Kari Gran, Riviera Maya, Dahliana Skincare, Fifth Dimension Clothing, Golden Door and Shea Moisture. The brands had one special factor in common: they brought the mind, body and soul together in the midst of natural products.




Top John Salley. Centre Nancy O’Dell and her Organic Spa Magazine cover. Above Organic Spa Magazine publishers Rona Berg and Bev Maloney Fischback with Nancy O’Dell.

   Travelling cross-country, we arrive in New York where Alyson Dutch hosted her Valentine’s Day Gift Guide Event. The Artisan Group was in attendance to present everything from jewellery pieces to skin care products. Brainy Pac presented their conveniently designed hats, where separate compartments permit the wearer to store away important items, including their gadgets, while staying chic. Signature Soul Socks introduced their comfortable socks, with solid soles that can easily slide into a boot. Lulu DK’s jewellery-like metallic temporary tattoos, in gold or silver, illuminate. Grande Lash-MD is perfect for the woman interested in elongating her eyelashes, with a product made out of exclusively natural ingredients. Dollipop Cosmetics featured their radiant eye shadows consisting of a range of various shades from lusterless matte to shimmering gloss.
   In Paris, Deux A’s head designer and founder, Anna-Liza, presented her spring 2015 collection during an intimate gathering in Paris. The collection entitled Naga Botanicus added her personal take on floral creativity, with vibrant, vivid shades and slightly psychedelic features. Casual, basic knee-high skirts to hip-hugging dresses are accompanied by large floral headdresses.—Lola Cristall, Paris Editor







September 13, 2014

Living Nature’s Skin Steps: all you need in a natural, single package to look after your skin

Lucire staff/2.18

We have to take our hats off to Living Nature for constantly innovating—and staying true to what it stands for, as the world’s purest and most natural skin care brand. (Remember, it’s not what they put in, it’s what they leave out, that makes Living Nature the brand that’s certified natural by BDIH and the safest skin care range by the Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database.)
   We’ve had a chance over the last few weeks to try out its newest release, the Skin Steps pack featuring five Living Nature products: the nourishing day cream, vitalizing cleaner (both with active manuka honey) and extra-hydrating toning gel (with harakeke), each in 50 ml bottles, plus a sampling of the nourishing night cream (again with manuka honey) and firming flax serum (with harakeke). It’s one of three packs that Living Nature offers depending on your skin condition—we had the normal skin one, but the company also offers one for oily skin and another for dry and mature skin.
   The pack is a particularly handy size, and each of the 50 ml bottles makes the beauty régime all the simpler. There’s no colouring, no artificial fragrances—if there’s a scent associated with natural goodness, you’ll find it here. The cleanser actually leaves your skin feeling softer and smoother thanks to a moisturizing effect and its mild kumerahou, while the nourishing cream has a pleasant, gentle scent that we noticed had a positive effect on the skin throughout the day. The toning gel, with harakeke flax gel and Totarol feels lighter than the creams, and helps restore your skin’s natural pH balance while repairing dehydration, ideal for the warmer months ahead, and very gentle on the face.
   Living Nature has made looking after your skin such a simple process, and it’s well worth the NZ$69 retail price. For more information, head to www.livingnature.com or freephone, in New Zealand, 0508 548-464. It’s available at selected salons, pharmacies and health stores nationally.

May 24, 2014

The 2014 Prix Pictet awarded in London

Lucire staff/5.17



Paula Sweet

Top Michael Schmidt’s winning installation. Above Stephen Barber and Kofi Annan during the award announcement.

A gala presentation ceremony at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London on the night of May 21 named Berlin-based photographer Michael Schmidt as the winner of the eighth annual Prix Pictet. The award endeavours to promote the message of sustainability to a global audience via the medium of photography. This year’s theme, Consumption, had a record number of applicants and was decided from a shortlist of eleven finalists. Schmidt’s assemblage of 60 photographs arrayed in a huge grid (finalists are given 21 m² of exhibition space), entitled Lebensmittel, engaged the tensions of food production and transport with a range of provocative images.
   The SFr100,000 award (US$112,000) was presented by Kofi Annan, former Secretary-General of the UN, and Honorary President of the Prix Pictet. Pictet Group, founded in 1805, is based in Genève. The award for Mr Schmidt, unable to attend due to illness, was accepted by Tate Modern director Chris Dercon.
   The finalists remain on exhibit at the V&A through June 14.—Stanley Moss, Travel Editor



Paula Sweet

Top The reception before the award announcement. Above Chris Dercon, Kofi Annan, Jacques de Saussure, Stephen Barber.

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