Pupils get heated over climate change

Protest chants rang through central Dunedin yesterday as pupils marched en masse for more action on climate change for the first time since Covid-19 hit.

School Strike 4 Climate Otepoti spokeswoman Hailey Xavier (17) said it was a raw protest that showed how young people in the city were feeling.

The year 13 Kavanagh College pupil shouted slogans through a megaphone at the head of a march of about 500 pupils and climate activists.

Hundreds of protesters young and old took to Dunedin’s central city streets yesterday afternoon ...
Hundreds of protesters young and old took to Dunedin’s central city streets yesterday afternoon in an intergenerational School Strike 4 Climate Otepoti march to the Octagon. PHOTO: PETER MCINTOSH
Protesters paraded with a police escort from the University of Otago Dental School to the Octagon from about 12.30pm.

When the marchers reached the Octagon, the pupils called for an end to coal boiler use in schools by 2025, a cut to agricultural emissions and for the Dunedin City Council’s 10-year plan to do more to deal with climate change.

When introducing the King's and Queen's High Schools' kapa haka group, Tumai Cassidy called for the replacement of destructive land-use practices with ones that aligned with indigenous knowledge.

In an emotional speech, first-year University of Otago bachelor of arts and law student Fagasele Kiatua Ulika, of Tuvalu, said fewer than 12,000 people lived in Tuvalu, but among them were members of her immediate family.

They were experiencing some of the first effects of climate change.

"If we save Tuvalu, we save the world," she said.

Dunedin Mayor Aaron Hawkins, who attended yesterday’s march and rally, said climate change had to be at the forefront of the council’s upcoming 2021-31 plan, now out for consultation.

This was the last 10-year cycle before the council had to meet its 2030 net zero carbon goal and the plan would be voted on within earshot of yesterday’s protest.

While many in the crowd were too young to vote, the march showed there was no age limit to being an engaged citizen, he said.



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Can we verify this was not simply an experiment in mass hysteria? Whoever encourages our young people into these clumsy emotive demonstrations, knows exactly what they are doing. Using every avenue of communication available, especially the minefields of social media, never have a more easily influenced community of willing adherents been so ruthlessly roused into action. Offering a list of demands to civic leaders or local MPs, such arrogance. Corralled by petulant chants, urged on by pair pressure and social justice conformity. A day off school is a great motivator. I pity those who had the common sense to stay at home.

This is not an experiment in mass hysteria. Their concerns are based on solid scientific evidence. The planet is warming and the climate is changing. We should not dismiss the concerns of individuals on the basis of their age.

The Climate, makes for a relatively benign and inoffensive school project. Why are NZ school children not marching for the homeless or calling for an end to child abuse, hospital waiting lists or requesting more affordable housing? Issues that they will inherit. Its often the case that the most pressing and dire issues affecting our communities today, seldom see such displays of passion united in protest originating from the schools. Humanity has a long history of responding to global concerns, while in our very own backyards our neighbors or friends suffer poverty, abuse or neglect.

The oceans are to all intents and purposes not rising, and these woefully brainwashed kids should attend to their studies and not scream and yell over things they can do nothing about.

The oceans are rising, in some places a lot more than others. Brainwashed or not their concerns are real but you are right in writing that they can not do anything about it, which is exactly the reason why they are asking the grown ups and people in power to do more about it!

You seem to be saying the ocean can rise in Dunedin, but more in Auckland? No doubt you'll tell me the ocean has risen 2 metres in the Maldives, right?

The sea level will not rise uniformly everywhere on Earth, and it will even drop slightly in some locations, such as the Arctic.[12] Local factors include tectonic effects and subsidence of the land, tides, currents and storms. Sea level rises can affect human populations considerably in coastal and island regions.[13]
Tide gauge measurements show that global sea level rise began around the start of the 20th century. Between 1900 and 2016, the globally averaged sea level rose by 16–21 cm (6.3–8.3 in).[3] More precise data gathered from satellite radar measurements reveal an accelerating rise of 7.5 cm (3.0 in) from 1993 to 2017,[4]:1554 which is a trend of roughly 30 cm (12 in) per century. This acceleration is due mostly to human-caused global warming, which is driving thermal expansion of seawater and the melting of land-based ice sheets and glaciers.[5] Between 1993 and 2018, thermal expansion of the oceans contributed 42% to sea level rise; the melting of temperate glaciers, 21%; Greenland, 15%; and Antarctica, 8%.[4]:1576 Climate scientists expect the rate to further accelerate during the 21st century.[6]:62

Children are not eco friendly.
One thing and one thing only.....stop unabated population growth.
It's that simple, there are too many people creating to many children. Even today, three and four child families are common. Don't worry about sea level rise, the biggest concern is the rapid rise in human population. We're up to our necks in human growth and waste. You can come up with all sorts of solutions to minimise waste, destruction pollution, climate change etc, but as long as the population continues to grow at such a rapid rate, the solutuions will became far more difficult.

I agree that the world is over populated. However it is over consumption not over population that is to blame. The richest countries of the world are home to half of the world population, and emit 86 percent of CO2 emissions. Or put it another way, even if we halved the world's population by culling the world's poorest and most venerable we might still only cut emissions by 14 percent! Panicking about population growth should not excuse the people most responsible for the impacts of rising consumption (the affluent) from doing nothing by blaming those who are least responsible (the poor).
To be clear my comments are not aimed at you personally Buzz, I fully respect your opinion and only offer mine to add to the debate.

Humans, like other animals, possess a set of defensive systems for combating ecological threats. Negative emotions resulting from threat can be contagious, and fear can make threats appear more imminent.

The threat of climate change is real and while it maybe easy to dismiss the cries and chants of school children with patronising and bulling remarks, we all need to accept that the fear is real.

Everybody regardless of age will react to stress and fear differently which is why it is important to keep an open mind and to base the desions we make collectively and individually on the best scientific evidence available.

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