Whangārei students make their call for Climate Action in Whangārei on Friday. Photo / Michael Cunningham
Northlanders joined thousands of New Zealanders across the country on Frday in the School Strike 4 Climate NZ march and rallies to demand action on climate change.
Hundreds started gathering at Putahi Park, at Whangārei Town Basin, at 2pm, with students leaving the classrooms and marching to meet the rally at 1.30pm from Whangārei Girls’ High School. At the same time dozens of people are expected to take part in a similar rally and march at Te Ahu, in Kaitāia.
The students made their feelings known, with signs aimed at adults and political leaders including: “there is no planet B”, ”‘if the climate is changing why aren’t we?” and “why should we go to school when you are not listening to the educated?”
One of the people behind the event, Catherine Murupaenga Ikenn, said the aim was not getting students involved in the campaign to halt climate change – after all, they were already well on board. It was more about getting adults to get up to date with the issue and supporting the youth in their calls.
‘’I’m so disappointed to see so many adults bag and criticise the students who are taking part. They are saying ‘they should be in school’ or ‘they don’t know enough and should be learning’. That’s just a cop-out,’’ she said.
The students are the ones who will be living with the full consequences of climate change and many adults had to ‘’get mature and have mature conversations about climate change and its effects on our youth and their future, not sit back and bag them for trying to make a difference.’’
She said young people understood the issue as they were the ones who would be most affected by it, and adults and political leaders needed to have the same level of commitment to make changes that the students had.
Tens of thousands of New Zealanders are standing united across the country today for climate justice. Students will be striking from school, parents will be joining their kids and university students rallying in the thousands.
More than 15 events have been organised so far nationwide by the School Strike 4 Climate NZ and Fridays for Future groups.
The organisers are calling on people across generations to join the thousands who will be striking for the climate, in support of clear demands of the New Zealand Government.
The demands include:
- Reduce emissions now – 50 per cent reduction in emissions by 2030, without relying on offsets.
- A 100 per cent transition to regenerative agriculture by 2030.
- Te Tiriti-centred climate justice.
- Lowering the voting age to 16 so today’s young people get the opportunity to vote to help put climate breakdown at the top of the political agenda.