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March 24, 2019 | by  | in News |
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School Climate Strike Draws Thousands

They say that there’s strength in numbers. In that case, there was no shortage of strength at Wellington’s School Climate Strike on March 15.

While the government has put initiatives in place such as banning plastic bags and straws, Friday’s strike suggests that there’s far more to be done.

 

The strike is part of a worldwide movement in which students walked out from school, willing to temporarily sacrifice their education in order to highlight issues on climate change and make a stand.

Strike organiser Raven Maeder said, “The number of strikers, and their passion and energy, far exceeded our expectations.”

“We had strikes in over 30 communities across Aotearoa”, Maeder said.

“In Wellington, we had somewhere between 4000 and 6000 people take part in the march down Lambton Quay and rally at Parliament.”

The significance of the strike was also emphasised by several protesters.

“We’re out here because we want to do something so that the future generations aren’t in danger”, one student said.

VUW’s own Caitlin Goodier told Salient “climate change is a life-or-death situation”.

“There are so many things I want to do with my life, I want to go to Spain, get married, have kids, and everyone around us right now has dreams like that.”

“We’re never going to get to achieve them if the world is destroyed by climate change.”

The protest featured many speakers, most still in high school. One student addressed the crowd, exclaiming that New Zealand should “keep fossil fuels underground, where they belong”.

Green Party Co-leader James Shaw addressed the crowd: “It is time for the talking to stop, and it is time for the action to start”.

Shaw continued by promising that the Zero Carbon Act would go into effect this year, reaffirming his belief that New Zealand can be the first country in the world to be carbon emission free.

VUWSA also had a presence. Interim Wellbeing and Sustainability Officer Kimberly McIntyre* told Salient that “the atmosphere was one of solidarity, it was well organised, and was a safe and positive experience for all involved.”


McIntyre also acknowledged Meader, calling her an “absolute inspiration”.

Maeder told Salient that there would be more protests. For anyone wishing to be involved, a meeting will be taking place at the Aro Community Centre from 5–7 p.m. on April 10 to plan next steps.

McIntyre told Salient, “We are not done yet. We have the Governments (sic) attention, time to push for action.”

 

*Nominations are open for the Wellbeing and Sustainability Officer position, to be elected at the VUWSA IGM.

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He Tāonga

:   I wanted to write this piece, in order to connect to all tauira within the University, with the hope that we can all remind ourselves that we are a part of an environment which is valuable, no matter our culture, our beliefs or our skin colour. The ultimate purpose of this