Youth climate crusade coming to Dunedin

Logan Park High School pupil Zak Rudin is co-ordinating a School Strike 4 Climate event in the...
Logan Park High School pupil Zak Rudin is co-ordinating a School Strike 4 Climate event in the Octagon, where pupils will walk out of classes in a bid to make politicians take climate change more seriously. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
"Keep the Earth clean. This isn't Uranus," he says.

Logan Park High School pupil Zak Rudin's passion for the environment has prompted him to join the worldwide School Strike 4 Climate campaign and help organise an event for Dunedin school pupils in the Octagon on March 15.

He said pollution had left the planet in the thick of a "climate crisis", causing prolonged drought, heatwaves and catastrophic bushfires in Australia, and severe cyclones and rising sea levels that were threatening people's homes and livelihoods in other parts of the Pacific.

Yet politicians were not doing enough to combat the problem.

So the 16-year-old is co-ordinating a School Strike 4 Climate event in Dunedin, where pupils can walk out of classes to tell politicians to take them seriously and start treating climate change for what it is - "a crisis and the biggest threat to our generation and generations to come".

Glasgow school pupils take part in a School Strike 4 Climate march, one of many held across the...
Glasgow school pupils take part in a School Strike 4 Climate march, one of many held across the United Kingdom last Friday. PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES
Zak said the event was being organised by pupils from three Dunedin secondary schools. About 200 pupils had already registered their intention to attend.

"It's constantly evolving and it's still early days. We're still about a month out from the event. So more will join."

The strike action would start at noon and was likely to continue until about 3pm, he said.

"We'll basically be going into the Octagon, where there will be speeches, live music, and we'll be doing chalk drawings on the streets."

The event is one of many to be held by schools around New Zealand on March 15.

The international School Strike 4 Climate movement was inspired by Greta Thunberg, a 15-year-old Swedish climate activist who spoke at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Poland last year.

Since then, school pupils from the United States, Europe, Asia and Australia have walked out of classes to back the cause.

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