Dunedin pupils out in force for climate change strike

Photo: Peter McIntosh
Photo: Peter McIntosh
Photo: Peter McIntosh
Photo: Peter McIntosh
Photo: Peter McIntosh
Photo: Peter McIntosh
Photo: Peter McIntosh
Photo: Peter McIntosh
Attending today's protest action at Waitaki Girls' High School, in Oamaru, Sai Sukumar (17), left...
Attending today's protest action at Waitaki Girls' High School, in Oamaru, Sai Sukumar (17), left, and Bianca Roger (17) make their views known. Photo: Hamish MacLean

Dunedin school pupils and students marched along George St during school hours today, as part of strike action aimed at sending a message to New Zealand politicians about the urgency of climate action.

About 1000 people crowded into the Octagon about 1pm, joining thousands across the country staging protests as part of the global Schools 4 Climate Action movement, sparked by Swedish teen activist Greta Thunberg.

Pupils set off at 12.30pm from Logan Park High School and march through Otago Polytechnic and the University of Otago, picking up tertiary students as they went.

They continued to the Dental School where they would meet pupils from other Dunedin Schools, before being escorted by police down George St.

Students marching along George St towards the Octagon this afternoon. Photo: Stephen Jaquiery
Students marching along George St towards the Octagon this afternoon. Photo: Stephen Jaquiery
In the Octagon there were speeches, chanting, music and letter-writing to Parliament until 3pm.

Dunedin School Strike 4 Change co-organiser Zak Rudin said: "We've got two major demands for the day. We are calling on the Government to declare a climate emergency, and we're demanding that the Zero Carbon Bill be revised to be more ambitious than it already is.

"We want New Zealand to reach carbon-neutrality by 2040 at the latest - not 2050 as is the aim in the Bill.

"The Interim Climate Change Committee says we only have 11 years from now, until the effects of climate change become irreversible. So that means we need major government action now."

Photo: Peter McIntosh
Photo: Peter McIntosh

Zak said he and fellow organisers were receiving a lot of support from their respective schools, New Zealand Police and the Dunedin City Council.

However, some were not so supportive.

"Some people have been saying, `This disrupts your school work. Why can't you do it on the weekend'?

"If it didn't create disruption, the message wouldn't be as strong," he said.

"Climate change is a huge issue that affects us all. Just because we've had one strike, it doesn't mean it will all go away."

Today's event in Dunedin follows similar strike action on March 15, when an estimated 1500 pupils from schools around the city also gathered in the Octagon to send the same message.

In Oamaru, about 100 pupils -- from St Kevin's College, Waitaki Boys' High School, and Waitaki Girls' High School -- gathered this afternoon to ask questions of Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean and Waitaki deputy mayor Melanie Tavendale before making their own pledges to combat rising emissions and climate change.

Comments

brainwashed / tormented children / because of so called adults.

These kids have been brain washed by left liberal school teachers and media. We're building a billion dollar hospital at sea level...trust me, there's no climate crisis.

@Mark,
We are certainly seeing more serious weather related events, affecting not only the Dunedin low lying coastal areas including Oamaru, West Coast etc. In regards to the hospital being built on reclaimed land, I'm sure there will be steps put in place to control the risks

Like building it on stilts perhaps?.