Sally
Wilkins

Project: Homegrown

My parents set out from England in the 80s to circumnavigate the world by yacht. They followed the wind to New Zealand and never left. Growing up, most of my childhood was spent on the water and I learned early that we are very small parts in a much larger system.

I studied Law and French at Otago University with a heavy focus on Environmental Law. My last year of study was spent on exchange in Paris and Montreal. While I was there, Paris struggled with record high levels of pollution and eastern Canada burned with wildfires. It was the first time I had experienced climate change beyond the headlines and I understood in a way that the data and graphs could never truly communicate that we are facing an immense and pressing challenge.

I currently work as a sustainability consultant at Proxima. Our work focuses on transitioning New Zealand businesses to a more sustainable future.

PROJECT

Homegrown is a climate change storytelling campaign.

Storytelling has a pivotal role to play in climate action. For decades, scientific consensus has compelled action, yet for the average person, data and predictions hold no memory in the body allowing us to comparmentalise future threats of climate change. Stories connect with us in ways that data can’t; humans are fundamentally creatures of story and climate change is at its heart a human story.  

Homegrown will be run in two phases.

Phase one is a series of interviews with a diverse range of working towards climate solutions; scientists, iwi, health professionals, students, businesspeople and everyday people. It will champion the various urban and locally designed solutions for climate change and hopefully create new partnerships and inspire other Aucklanders to initiate their own change.

Phase two is a socially designed physical exhibition in Auckland’s urban environment, building on the interviews and inviting participation from Aucklanders in an inclusive dialogue to empower the role of the individual in climate change, reconnect Aucklanders with their urban identities and create a physical relationship to translate climate consciousness into climate action.

Homegrown is fed by my own curiosity. It scratches two itches:

  • Climate change is a global issue but locally designed solutions are essential to respond to unique local circumstances. Finding Auckland-based climate solutions currently takes concerted effort as they are scattered across multiple publications. Homegrown will bring it under one roof.
  • We unequivocally need systems change to solve climate change, but this shouldn’t outsource responsibility from individual and community led action. In telling diverse stories, our message is that there is no silver bullet for solving climate change. Everyone plays a part. Homegrown will connect individuals with actions that personally resonate to accelerate change.
     

MOTIVATION FOR AND COMMITMENT TO CREATING A BETTER AND MORE SUSTAINABLE PLANET

I am motivated by the opportunity that climate change presents for systems change. Potential solutions that are socially fair and environmentally regenerative offer a new way of thinking and living.

Admittedly, I’m also motivated in part by fear. To some, fear it paralysing but I think it can be a powerful motivator as long as it is channelled into productive action. I fear for future generations and what life may or may not look like for them. I’m acutely aware that they will inherit whatever planet we to leave them. I’m committed to making it a good one.