WelCom April 2019:
On Friday 15 March 2019, 1.5 million school students took to the streets in 123 countries in a protest about fear for their future, love for the planet, and anger at leaders’ failure to act on climate change. The school ‘strike’ for climate was launched by 15-year old Swedish student, Greta Thunberg, last August when she camped outside Sweden’s Parliament with a sign, ‘School Strike for Climate’.
Thousands of students in New Zealand joined the protest to demand action on climate change.
In Wellington, about two thousand young people gathered at Te Ngākau Civic Square with placards and banners. They marched on Parliament to send their message to the government for systematic change and action to move the country off fossil fuels and on to renewable energy. They accused the government of not doing enough to stop global warming and took the day off school to demonstrate how worried they are about their future.
‘We need adults to listen to the young people and the facts – this is our future,’ Isla Day, one of the Wellington organisers, told the crowd outside Parliament.
Politicians including Green Party Co-Leader and Climate Change Minister James Shaw and National MP Nicola Willis addressed the students. Minister Shaw said he was delighted to see so many students protesting and that it was the largest crowd he had seen on climate change since before the Paris agreement was signed.
Earlier in the week, Cardinal John Dew wrote in an opinion piece for mainstream media, ‘Young people are protesting on Friday about the slow pace of international action on climate change. We need to listen to them. They will have to live with the consequences if we over consume the world’s resources now, and if we do not find ways to keep temperature increases in check. The world was made by God for all to enjoy, to sustain life. That includes today’s young people and future generations.’