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Yesterday about 80 people packed the University of Otago Centre for Sustainability to put their names behind a document that is calling on the Government to phase out the extraction and burning of fossil fuels by 2050 and put the health of the environment before financial gain.
The declaration was simultaneously launched in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.
Dunedin launch co-ordinator and University of Otago accountancy and finance lecturer Dr Ralph Adler said many Dunedin declaration signatories were not the ones who would necessarily reap the benefits of fighting climate change.
''Many of these people are from a group looking unselfishly toward the future and bettering life, both from an environmental perspective but social and economical too, because it is all intertwined.''
The declaration, which would be presented to all political parties before the September election, aimed to restore 1.3 million hectares of marginal land to native forest and establish a climate commission to set a binding carbon budget.
Dr Adler was confident the declaration would bring about change at both governmental and social level.
''People will say, this was a key event and what were you doing when it was signed.''
Generation Zero member Findlay Campbell said the declaration was symbolic of the widespread desire for action on climate change.
The declaration also pledged to provide individuals and groups with practical measures they could take to reduce their impact on the environment.