Why school pupils are ‘striking’ to protest climate change

Mia Sutherland is a 17-year-old student from Christchurch. She is passionate about the environment, education, and humanitarian issues. She is a member of the Christchurch School Strike 4 Climate team and has had a role in the organisation and preparation of the event.

Stuff – Climate change: Why are we striking?

I am not a business owner, dairy farmer, or professional in any field, so I don’t think I can tell them what to do. However, I am a teenager. This, I would argue, gives me a bit more knowledge of the teenage brain than the average Kiwi adult.

Therefore, I cannot say I was surprised when, as I was informing some fellow youths of the strike, one of my friends said “I just don’t really get why we’re striking”.

Living in New Zealand is, to put it simply, pretty breezy compared to other countries in the world.

Sure, we have our issues and not everyone has it easy, but our quality of life is generally higher than many, or most, other countries. So, it’s really easy for us to say “but why are we doing this again?” because we just don’t see the impacts.

So, to run it down for those of you teens who just don’t get it, here’s why:

She details:

  • Climate refugees and sea levels rising
  • Loss of habitat and polar bears

I could go on about equally catastrophic effects of climate change, but I believe I’ve made my point.

The impacts are not limited to developing countries and polar bears – it has come for all of us. We, as a global community, are fighting this fight together, whether we like it or not.

So, youth: is a world with bleached coral, melted ice, flooded homes, and frequent cyclones one you want to live in? On your deathbed will you be regretting how you skipped school to go to a history-making, change-forcing, international rally, or how you stayed in class because you had your geography internal?

History will be made on March 15th, from 1pm in your city’s chosen location. Check out the School Strike 4 Climate Facebook page for more information. This is our future, and this is how we shape it.

I’m not sure what history will be made. Reversing climate change will take more than some time off school for some protests. But at least it is trying to do something.