Inter-generational solidarity crucial to halting climate change
March 21, 2019
Activists from Wellington’s School Strike for Climate who today marched to parliament believe inter-generational solidarity is the key to affecting change.
Organiser and protester Raven Maeder, 21, believed young people’s voices had been silenced due to a lack of support from adults. “We are too caught up in benefiting those presently in power,” she said.
“It’s never a pressing issue because politicians are encouraged to think about what will get them votes now, rather than their responsibility to hold the planet in safe hands for future generations.”
Maeder believed it was “condescending” to label children as political pawns or as only seeking an excuse for a day off school.
She said it was “disappointing” that elected leaders and adult figures thought young people were not capable of forming these opinions themselves.
“This is a pivotal moment in history. We are seeing a new wave of activism from people with limited political power saying we will be heard on this, we want change, and we are willing to put things at risk.”
This is why she believed it was important young people’s voices were at the front and centre of the movement.
Kapiti College student and protester Samantha Flaws, 14, said she had always been passionate about environmental issues.
“We don’t have a lot of time and it’s scary. I ask myself if it is even worth having children,” she said. “If we don’t do something about it, who will?”
Fellow student Tessa Mackay agreed: “If we don’t do it, it will be too late,” she said.
At a working bee organised by Maeder earlier in the week Climate Change Minister James Shaw said he hoped the event would change people’s minds.
“The kids feel adults are being a bit defensive. They want to know that we are listening,” he said.
He noted that when the 2050 Zero Carbon Act date is reached most of these children would be in the middle of their careers and might be raising families of their own.
“There are tremendous consequences for their lives.”
The School Strike for Climate protests demands were to pass a zero-carbon act in line with Te Tiriti o Waitangi, an immediate end to fossil fuel exploration and extraction in New Zealand, and the regulation of agricultural emissions.