By Alison Campbell 28/02/2019 6


The news that school students from across New Zealand are organising the School Strike for Climate on March 15 has been all over the media lately.

See this story, for example, which includes the comment that:

Globally, their message is clear. They are sick of waiting for adults to save their world so they are going to do it themselves.

This is part of a global movement, given impetus by a moving speech by Swedish student Greta Thunberg at the UN Climate Change COP24 conference.

Predictably – & sadly – the response from adults to this action has been somewhat mixed. There are lots of messages of support in the social media, but there’s also a fair measure of condemnation.  People saying things like “this is disgusting they’re using children as pawns in something that should be an adults matter“, and “It is disgusting that children are being burdened with the apocalyptic future of climate change. This is pseudo science anyway.” (Both comments on the SS4C Facebook page.)

In fact, it’s eye-opening (& not in a good way) to see how any form of support for the students’ actions in the comments was down-voted on that Stuff story. This one, for example, had a ‘score’ of -24 when I saw it:

If you followed the news you would have read today that the EU has pledged to spend 25% of it’s future budget on climate change mitigation. A decision they say they reached due to the inspiring arguments put forward by 16yr old Greta Thunberg. I’d call that an achievement. (and a hell of an inspiration for all the Kiwi kids marching for our future on March 15).

So, OK: yes, of course there’ll be students who will treat SS4C as an excuse to wag school. But many are genuinely worried about their future in a warming world & want politicians & others to take notice. They can’t vote; how else are they to draw attention to their concerns and opinions on a matter of such import for their own future?

They are not ‘brainwashed’ by parents & teachers – this generation is probably the most internet-connected of the lot, & they have access to information well beyond the doors of school and home. Give them credit for thinking about this & deciding to take some action.

And – if they do happen to share the same views as their parents, & think we should be doing more to mitigate the impacts of climate change – why is that a problem? I’m totally with them on this; tautoko mo ngā ākonga o te kura.

The post SS4C – school strike 4 climate appeared first on BioBlog.


6 Responses to “SS4C – school strike 4 climate”

  • You read the comments… LOL (I do, too!)

    It’s good that kids be vested in their futures, and there can’t be a bigger aspect of the present-day future than climate change. I’m not surprised that kids aren’t impressed that their elders and supposed betters aren’t doing much about it.

  • Hi Dennis – I’m not approving your comment as I think it’s poorly-timed and flippant. The march got plenty of attention in mainstream & social media, and it’s hardly surprising that headlines since have been dominated by the terrible events in Christchurch.

  • If New Zealand were to become Carbon Neutral tomorrow the world would not notice any difference as we in NZ are way down in the pollution statistics our little bit contributes very little. However, all the various costs and efforts etc to go Carbon Neutral will also be a waste of time and money for little global gain,

    • And if every country took that approach, nothing at all would change and the world would be worse off. I’m firmly in the SS4C camp.

  • Hi Graeme. Its true that NZ contributes a very small percentage of global emissions. However, per capita, we are a very high level polluter.

    To get to carbon neutral will presumably mean a mix of personal changes, cost reallocation and technology. Its the technology bit we can lead on, if we choose. This would give us an economic advantage as well – the ability to sell relevant new technologies would be a significant earner, potentially outweighing the costs in lost productivity elsewhere.

    Additionally, a move toward a carbon-neutral position would likely improve overall environmental outcomes eg, water, land use, and biodiversity. It would certainly increase awareness of these issues.

    By and large poor (sub-optimal) environmental outcomes result in poor long-run economic outcomes, so its to our benefit to address these things as quickly and as comprehensively as possible regardless of what other countries do.