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April 23, 2016

Prince cremated in private ceremony

Lucire staff/18.45


Above: The artwork for Prince’s 1987 album, Sign ‘O’ the Times.

The late music idol Prince has been cremated in accordance with his Jehovah’s Witness faith. The private ceremony took place on Friday afternoon, said his publicist, Anna Meacham.
   She said, ‘A few hours ago, Prince was celebrated by a small group of his most beloved: family, friends and his musicians, in a private, beautiful ceremony to say a loving goodbye.’ Sheila E and Larry Graham were among those attending the service.
   Tributes continue coming in the wake of the death of Prince, who was found dead in a lift at his Paisley Park estate near Minneapolis on Thursday, aged 57.
   Filmmaker Spike Lee hosted a block party in Prince’s honour.
   Police say they have no reason to suspect foul play in Prince’s death. No cause of death has been released, though he had been suffering from ’flu in recent weeks.
   Born Prince Rogers Nelson, he was particularly talented, playing nearly all the instruments on his first five albums, and produced since he first signed with Warner Bros. Born into a musical family in Mineapolis, he started playing the piano at age seven. His very prolific professional output began in 1978, with his first album, For You. Upping the eroticism in his work, Prince’s work became more widely known in the 1980s, with more hits from each of his albums, and his 1999 (1982) went platinum, featuring the song ‘Little Red Corvette’ and ‘Delirious’, as well as the title track.
   His 1984 film, Purple Rain, was a hit, spawning a very successful soundtrack album, on which further hits came: ‘When Doves Cry’, ‘Let’s Go Crazy’, ‘I Would Die 4 U’, ‘Take Me with U’, and the title track.
   Further hits included ‘Sign “O” the Times’ in 1987, and ‘U Got the Look’ with Sheena Easton the same year. His soundtrack album for the 1989 film Batman was another high-profile success.
   In the 1990s, Prince changed his name to an unpronounceable symbol, and on radio was usually announced as ‘The Artist formerly known as Prince’, or even ‘The Artist’. He eventually returned to using the name Prince in 2000, and converted to the Jehovah’s Witness faith in 2001.
   In all, Prince sold 100 million albums, won seven Grammy Awards, a Golden Globe, and an Oscar, and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004.


Euronews


Celebritywire

April 20, 2016

Get in NOW for Footnote: four entertaining dances, representing our times

Jack Yan/14.06


Courtesy Footnote

Footnote New Zealand Dance’s NOW 2016 (New Original Work) programme, which hit Wellington tonight after performances in Auckland, presents four original works by New Zealand choreographers Julia Harvie, Sarah Knox, Lucy Marinkovich and Jessie McCall. It’s a particularly enjoyable programme, mixing meanings, humour and, in the case of Elephant Skin, a lot of balloons.
   Each performance begins with a voice recording that sets the stage for the dance that follows, although viewers are still invited to make their own interpretations.
   Centerfolds (sic) begins with a humorous look at gender stereotyping, with the company’s male and female dancers wearing masks with a bun and dresses, signalling that we often take these cues and make automatic assumptions about a strict male–female duality. Marinkovich looks at roles such as waitress, housewife, heroine, songstress, supermodel, and others, questioning our conditioning; and while not every role appears as costumed characters, they are represented through the varied music choices. Masks play a part throughout, along with multiple costume changes, ensuring that Centerfolds never drags for a moment.
   Your Own Personal Exister is one of our favourites, as it examines not only existentialism but its opposite, inauthenticity. McCall does this with the notion of how, at a children’s birthday party, we feel the centre of attention when we wear our paper “crown”, but what if that crown was never removed? It’s an allegory of the selfie era, the “look at me” validation some seek. Three of McCall’s dancers don crowns, but one doesn’t, although he is unaware of this till some way into the performance. Yet this need consumes him eventually, and he joins the inauthenticity of the others.
   One of the regular techniques here had dancers opening their mouths facing upwards while recorded voices played, which worked particularly well, and the voiceover was poignant at the conclusion of the performance (which we won’t spoil here). And what happens when that crown is removed, where does that leave us? Despite the smaller number of Footnote dancers involved, this was a particularly powerful work that was danced beautifully.
   Elephant Skin takes a humorous look with balloons landing on stage at random points, sound effects creating more laughs, and a particularly brave dancer blowing up a balloon till it popped. Harvie explained in a post-show forum that she wanted freshness and tension in the performance, because as humans, we are problem-solvers, and the dance, too, should solve the problem of the randomly placed balloons. There was, of course, an overall structure which the dancers worked around, and one scene where white balloons stood in for clouds as one performer floated across the stage, before the others began popping the cloud around her.
   Harvie also noted that she has a fascination with balloons and that they have a human element to them.
   Disarming Dissent is the most energetic of the four in terms of getting the dancers to generate forceful movements, and by this time one is marvelling at their stamina. Rowan Pearce’s music reached crescendos twice as the energy built up. Dance, exercise and martial arts combine here as Knox talks about the fight we have against the system, but then how we pacify ourselves, drawn back by either that very system or our own impulses.
   The Wellington première at Te Whaea had a unique forum at the end which featured the dancers, Harvie, general manager Richard Aindow as host, and artistic liaison Anita Hunziker.
   The Auckland performances have been (April 15–16), Wellington has one more night (21st, at Te Whaea), Dunedin is on April 28 at Mayfair Theatre, and those in Invercargill will see NOW 2016 on May 1 at Centrestage during the Southland Festival. For tickets and information, head to footnote.org.nz.—Jack Yan, Publisher

April 18, 2016

Fashion Cities Africa gives a snapshot of four cities on a varied, rich continent

Jack Yan/3.51

The second largest continent on the planet is, logically, home to a massive number of fashion designers and movements, although out of Africa, there hasn’t been as much recognition of them till recently. Fashion Cities Africa, the book, inspired by the exhibition of the same name at the Brighton Museum & Art Gallery that opens at the end of April, is one high-profile development which seeks to shine a light on the variety present on the continent, while on a similar note, next month’s Africa Fashion Festival in Wellington will do the same for its designers.
   Hannah Azieb Pool, who edits the new book, is a Eritrean-born, London-based journalist, who, along with Helen Jennings, has co-writing duties, resulting in a cohesive, beautifully presented book that examines contemporary fashion in Nairobi, Casablanca, Lagos and Johannesburg. It doesn’t pretend to be a fully comprehensive guide, stating from the outset it is meant to provide mere glimpses on a continent that is incredibly diverse. The foreword by Binyavanga Wainaina, a flâneur, reminds us that there are clusters scattered throughout the land that have their own tendencies, and that her favourite designer is Nigerian, Chioma Chukwulozie.
   The reader is thrown in to the colour of Nairobi, where sibling bloggers Velma Rossa and Papa Petit (a.k.a. Oliver) take one half of the first spread with their über-stylish and proudly urban Kenyan clothes, and stylists, musicians, designers, bloggers and artists profiled on following pages give slices of their lives that shake occidental sensibilities with their own palettes and ensembles. Nairobi, for the most part, emphasizes comfort, and the clothing shot on these pages by Sarah Marie Waiswa demonstrate that the city’s fashion could easily translate to other places, spanning everything from casual to luxury. Adèle Dejak has shown in Milano, for instance, and appeared in Vogue Italia with her collaboration with Salvatore Ferragamo, while John Kaveke and Nick Ondu show the sort of sartorial elegance that could easily influence menswear in other fashion capitals.
   Profiles of some of the personalities from the city follow, reminding us that Nairobi is a crossroads: Ami Doshi Shah is of Indian descent, her family brought there by the British when both countries were under Crown rule, while Ann McCreath is a Scots émigrée who fell in love with the fashion there. There’s a dose of youthful energy, too, with Anthony Mulli, a jewellery designer who started when he was 16, pointing the way forward.
   The book follows a similar structure for subsequent cities, moving on to Casablanca next.
   Lucire readers will be familiar with Morocco thanks to travel editor Stanley Moss’s writings, and Jennings’ chapter, with photographs by Deborah Benzaquen, takes us on a similar journey through the country’s largest city. It was, of course, a home for Yves Saint Laurent at one point, as well as a drawcard for many western celebrities, when a first wave of Moroccan designers became known outside of the region. A second wave, Jennings explains, emerged in the 1980s and 1990s, with Zineb Joundy a graduate of the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture. A greater sense of artistic freedom and Casablanca’s position that blends Arabic, European and indigenous cultures has resulted in some looks that may seem familiar—perhaps thanks to the likes of Saint Laurent and his influence. Again the profiles are well selected, a cross-section of the highly varied cultures in the city: Amine Bendriouich, Amina Agueznay, Yassine Morabite, Saïd Mahrouf, and Zhor, Chadia and Aida Raïs each cover a very different parts of the fashion spectrum, from T-shirts to traditional caftans.
   Once the book gets to Lagos, it’s apparent that there’s a sense of “bubbling under”, with Lakin Ogunbanwo’s photographs, paired with Jennings’ words again, showing slightly more subdued looks for men, but prouder, more flamboyant looks for women. Jennings notes that civil war and Nigeria’s military juntas stalled its fashion scene for some years, before a revival when democracy returned in 1999. Foreign labels were seen as cool till recently, with the country discovering its confidence in its own æsthetic, to the point where one of her interviewees, stylist Bolaji Anumashaun, says that fashion can be one of Nigeria’s ‘greatest exports’. Anumashaun founded thestylehq.com with a pan-African fashion focus, and Arise magazine, founded in 2008, also stepped up the promotion for Nigerian designers. With Nigeria’s GDP now greater than South Africa’s, that confidence is bound to increase, and Jennings looks at Nike Davis Okundaye, who owns the biggest gallery in West Africa in Lagos, and happy to promote young talent. Others, such as Yegwa Ukpo and Amaka Osakwe, both were schooled in the UK before returning to Lagos to found their brands, while PR consultant Zara Okpara and luxury concept store owner Reni Folawiyo complete their city’s picture.
   Johannesburg completes Fashion Cities Africa, and it’s perhaps fair that Pool chose to put it last. Many mistakenly think of South African fashion when they refer to ‘African fashion’, spurred in part by the Republic’s sporting ties to many other countries in the Commonwealth. Victor Dlamini has the photographic duties here, and Pool pens the words, and she goes through the various Jo’burg neighbourhoods, noting that its fashion is more established than Nairobi’s but less self-conscious than Lagos’s. There is a western infusion here in some parts, she notes, but on closer examination there are accessories that reference Soweto streets or Zulu culture. The city even has two fashion weeks: South Africa Fashion Week and Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Joburg, making the city spoiled for choice when it comes to giving its designers a platform. David Tlale, whom Lucire readers will have heard of, and who has shown at New York Fashion Week, hails from here, and Jo’burg designs have a greater sense of familiarity thanks to western media exposure. It oozes colour and vibrancy, much like the photos chosen for Pool’s first chapter on Nairobi, and in similar fashion (pun unintended) there are profiles from across the spectrum: designer Thula Sindi, creative collective, the Sartists, accessories’ and shoe designer Maria McCloy, and womenswear designers Marianne Fassler and Anisa Mpungwe.
   It’s our hope that we can cease talking about ‘African’ fashion and instead replace the dialogue with specific cities or countries, just as we do for smaller continents such as Europe. Just as there is no such thing to fashion observers as ‘European’ fashion, there is equally no such thing as ‘African’ fashion: it is impossible to generalize at a continental level. Both as an informative volume and a coffee-table flick-through (as it is softcover), Fashion Cities Africa succeeds, and it’s exceptionally good value with full-colour photographs (needed for its story, over 196 pp.) at £20 (available via Amazon UK here, or Book Depository here) or US$28·50, (Amazon link here). It is published this month by Intellect Books, as part of its Street Styles series.—Jack Yan, Publisher

March 17, 2016

Lily Cole shines a light on social enterprise at Chivas Regal’s the Venture panel discussion

Lucire staff/22.46



John Phillips

In line with the movement that began in the early 2000s for more responsible brands—something this title, along with organizations such as Medinge Group in Sweden, have promoted—Chivas Regal’s the Venture search seeks to find and support the most promising social entrepreneurs creating profitable businesses that also makes a positive impact on people. Lily Cole added credibility as well as celebrity power to the panel discussion in London’s Natural History Museum on Thursday, and debated whether social enterprise would ever grow to a point to solve some of the world’s biggest problems, and whether big business, government and investors should do more.
   Cole herself is a social entrepreneur, having founded Impossible, a social giving network that enables people to share their time, skills and objects. She was joined by Sonal Shah of the Beeck Center for Social Impact and Innovation at Georgetown University, Rajeeb Day, CEO of Enternships, and Thomas Davies, CIO of investment platform Seedrs.
   Alexandre Ricard, chairman and CEO of Pernod Ricard‏, hosted the event.
   Also in attendance were 27 start-ups who had been chosen to compete for a share of the Venture’s $1 million fund. The finalists were taking part in a programme created by the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship at the Saïd Business School at Oxford University. The public can vote for their favourite finalist between May 9 and June 13, and determine how the first $250,000 in funding is split among the finalists. They already feature at the Venture’s website at www.theventure.com.
   The remaining $750,000 will be awarded at the Venture’s final in July.







John Phillips

January 20, 2016

Bang on trend, Karen Walker’s summer ’16 eyewear blasts off into space

Lucire staff/23.55




Above Karen Walker Eyewear’s Cosmonaut, One Orbit and Star Sailor—which we’re choosing as the picks of the season in the wake of David Bowie’s passing.

Karen Walker Eyewear’s Arrowed by Karen summer 2016 collection hits stores today (January 20), with new shapes dubbed Moon Disco, Moonwalk, Star City, and Lunar Flowerpatch, joining Harvest, Super Duper Strength, and Number One. Super Spaceship, One Orbit, One Astronaut and Cosmonaut are the futuristic entries, with super-flat lenses. There are new finishes in rose pink and soft grey, plus a finish called Crazy Tort (with brown and gold shades). Her acetate frames have gold, silver and rose gold metal detail, and champagne and silver mirror lenses.
   Our pick of the bunch: the thin-framed look of Cosmonaut, which leaves others in no doubt that you’re ahead of the style game, and that you’re wearing Karen Walker. Star Sailor and One Orbit are the next on our list. These space-themed ones seem right on the Zeitgeist in the wake of icon David Bowie’s passing: there’s that sense of other-worldliness and futurism to them, and we’re picking that as a style this season.







January 11, 2016

Derek Zoolander promotes Fiat 500X in advance of Zoolander 2

Lucire staff/3.46



Ben Stiller’s Derek Zoolander alter ego, returning to cinemas on February 12 in Zoolander 2, 15 years after the original, advertises the Fiat 500X crossover in a TV campaign that broke during the Golden Globes’ telecast yesterday.
   While the first spots were 60 seconds, 30-second spots break today on US television. The campaign will also reach digital and social media.
   The campaign has been directed by Jeff Mann, who executive-produces Zoolander 2. Background music is Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s ‘Relax (Don’t Do It)’, and Zoolander adopts his ‘Blue Steel’ pose when he sets off a traffic camera. The campaign was created in partnership with Trailer Park.
   The Fiat 500X is Fiat Chrysler’s latest entry in the 500 family, which was revived in 2007. Built on the larger Fiat Punto platform, the 500X is, for the North American market, an all-wheel-drive crossover that adopts the retromodern looks of the 500 supermini, which in turn paid tribute to the 1957, rear-engined nuova 500. Other markets receive a front-wheel-drive 500X model.
   ‘Joining forces with Paramount Pictures and Zoolander No. 2 allows us to align the Fiat 500X with a pop culture moment through one of this year’s most anticipated films,’ said Olivier François, chief marketing officer and Fiat’s global brand head.
   ‘We are thrilled for Derek Zoolander fans around the world to finally see the result of our year-long collaboration with the Fiat team on a campaign so perfectly in sync with his character,’ commented LeeAnne Stables, president of Worldwide Marketing Partnerships at Paramount Pictures. ‘These Fiat spots are a hilarious reminder of the fun that audiences will have when the movie releases next month.’
   Last March, Stiller as Zoolander and Owen Wilson, in his Zoolander role as Hansel, walked the Valentino runway during the autumn–winter 2015–16 collections in Paris.
   Zoolander 2 is directed by Stiller, and sees the return of Wilson. Will Ferrell, Penélope Cruz, Kristen Wiig, Fred Armisen, Milla Jovovich, Christine Taylor, Justin Theroux and Kyle Mooney also star. The film is written by Theroux, Stiller, Nick Stoller and John Hamburg. Stiller, Stuart Cornfeld, Scott Rudin and Clayton Townsend produce.

December 21, 2015

In photos: what happened when Miss Universe 2015 host Steve Harvey read the wrong winner’s name

Lucire staff/7.47

Miss Universe 2015, broadcast from Las Vegas, Nevada on Sunday night, will be remembered for years for the crowning of Miss Universe Colombia, Ariadna María Gutiérrez, after host Steve Harvey read her name wrongly as the winner, and the removal of her crown less than five minutes later in favour of the correct winner, Miss Universe Philippines, Pia Wurtzbach.
   Gutiérrez wore the crown, placed on her by Miss Universe 2014 Paulina Vega, for two minutes before Harvey returned to stage to apologize for his error, for which he took full responsibility.
   It was only then that Wurtzbach was announced as the correct winner. Wurtzbach, who had already returned to join her fellow competitors at the back of the stage, was told by her fellow competitor, second-runner up Miss USA, Olivia Jordan. Wurtzbach returned out front, and Vega then came out later to move the crown on to the correct winner.
   Miss Universe New Zealand executive director and CEO Nigel Godfrey, who was present in the audience to support Miss Universe New Zealand Samantha McClung, said, ‘The scenes here are extraordinary.’ His counterpart from Binibining Pilipinas, Stella Márquez-Araneta, sat in front of him.
   Las Vegas, sadly, also saw a major car accident on the strip where one person was killed and 37 were injured after a car went up on the pavement, right after the telecast.
   Harvey apologized to Wurtzbach backstage, while Gutiérrez still had the composure to thank her supporters.


A sigh of relief from Miss Colombia, Ariadna María Gutiérrez, as her country’s name is read out by host Steve Harvey.


A clearly joyful Miss Colombia, with the Miss Universe crown and sash.


Steve Harvey has the difficult task of returning to the stage and owning up to his mistake.


Embarrassed host Steve Harvey explains that he read out the wrong name.


Miss USA Olivia Jordan informs Miss Universe Philippines Pia Wurtzbach that she is the correct winner of Miss Universe.


Former Miss Universe Paulina Vega removes the crown from Miss Universe Colombia, Ariadna Marïa Gutiérrez.

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.

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