More than 400 students participated in a school strike for action towards climate change on Friday on the Cathedral steps in Nelson, including a group of Waimea and Garin college students. The strike happened during school hours, from 12.30 to 2pm, with students from high schools and primary schools across the region participating.
It was part of a series of events held across the world, under the banner School Strike 4 Climate Action. Students in more than 40 countries around the world took part, including thousands around New Zealand. Several Waimea College students attended the event, including Waimea College environment captains Zia Black and Phoebe Connor. The two captains organised meetings for students interested, in the weeks leading up to the strike.
Zia says climate change is the biggest threat to all life on the planet. “This is our only future, and so it is imperitive for the young generation of the future to speak aloud to the government to change the current way we are approaching environmental protection.”
Zia says there was a large feeling of support for the strike from teachers and staff at the school, and although the event was not made an official school activity, students were able to leave through their own means and to stand for action they believe is necessary from the government.
Unlike some schools throughout the county who threatened to mark students truant if they attended the event, Garin College showed their support for the event by electing a group of students to attend as representation. The school wanted to demonstrate its support for youth voice on what was a significant global matter and that the trip was used as a valuable opportunity for students to learn about environmental protection, solidarity and action for change.
While some throughout the nation believe that school strikes will have no impact on climate change, Waimea College students disagree, saying that it is important for young people to stand up for their own rights, including the rights to inherit a clean, healthy planet.
“We are the future generations, we are the ones who will inherit the consequences of inaction taken to protect our climate. We want a clear vision for our future, and we want our future generations to experience the beauty and sustainability that we have. We will continue to stand up for our own rights.”