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Kiwi's Intersect for Sustainability
Billy Matheson, 11 Dec 07
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As New Zealand moves further towards its goal of becoming carbon neutral the need to share ideas and information, ideas and inspiration is becoming more widely appreciated, especially for those young professionals at the leading edge of change.

A group of New Zealanders have created a new project to help resource and inspire young professionals who work in the rapidly growing field of sustainability research, policy development and business sectors.

With support from major sponsors Vodafone and URS, the Intersect network held its sell out launch party at the funky Wellington venue Mighty Mighty last month. Guests were treated to sustainable cocktails made with local produce and New Zealand’s own 42 Below, as well as a rousing performance by the Wellington International Ukelele Orchestra. High profile guests included Sigourney Weaver, who is in Wellington for filming, and her husband Jim Simpson who is a keen ukulele aficionado.

Building on popular initiatives like Green Drinks the Intersect group has a program of events, social gatherings, workshops, lectures, and debates planned. Wellington, which is home to New Zealand’s government, some of the leading scientific and policy agencies, as well as many corporate head offices is a natural place for such a project to emerge.

The Intersect network aims to get people from diverse disciplines to engage each other in problem solving. Intersect’s focus is fostering sustainability by developing individuals to practice leadership within their spheres of influence, to grow powerful connections with people and build and leverage off their personal capacity.

As well as the social and educational focus, Intersect also has a series of hands on, practical sustainability related projects in development. Intersect trustee Livia Hollins says "...today more than ever before we are being challenged to come up with new ideas to live more sustainably from the little things to the big things. Intersect is an exciting and fun way to make this happen, through linking fresh enthusiastic thinking with today's movers and shakers to growing young leaders for sustainability".

Intersect came about from five young professionals came together with the same idea - to create an enjoyable way to bring together people from a range of backgrounds and engage them socially on the topic of sustainability. The team wanted to create an environment where powerful ideas could emerge and momentum for social change could grow.

Another important aspect of the Intersect vision is developing creative confident young leaders through a mentoring program with leaders in the sustainable business and environment sectors. "The way we will achieve the necessary culture change to live sustainably is with great leadership," says Megan Hosking, Intersect committee mentor, "we should never underestimate how important young people are in shaping culture”.

The Intersect team also see the project as a way for funding partners who are looking to develop new initiatives to connect with young professionals from a wide variety of sustainability related fields.

Intersect has already received an enthusiastic reception largely thanks to their focus is on engaging individuals to create change in their own lives - especially their professional lives. It may also be because of the outrageously optimistic attitude.

Intersect is currently seeking members, mentors, and sponsors. If you’re interested, check out Intersect’s website at www.intersect.org.nz for upcoming events and opportunities to become part of this inspirational new movement.

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