Climate change: Striking for a better future in Northland
Northland's youth is set to join the global strike to battle climate change tomorrow with several events happening around the region. Young activists in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas took their outrage over lacking action to combat emissions to the streets last week in the lead-up to the United Nations Climate Summit in New York. Greta Thunberg , who has long become the face of youth climate activism, spoke before the UN on Monday saying leaders would no longer get away with this. "This is all wrong. I shouldn't be up here," Thunberg said. "I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean. "How dare you. You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words." In support of Thunberg and the worldwide demonstrations New Zealand movement School Strike 4 Climate mobilises students across the nation to join protests for a third time. Two events are planned for Whangarei a student-led march going from the Kensington sports field to the Town Basin, and a gathering at the Bank St/Cameron St intersection. Climate activist Catherine Murupaenga-Ikenn organises the Cameron St gathering from 8am-1pm and says she would like to see as many protesters join as possible. "We're hoping for young people to come along as they are the generation who will inherit this world," Murupaenga-Ikenn said. "We want them to come and take the lead." Murupaenga-Ikenn believes the urgency of the situation hasn't settled in people's hearts yet because they are disconnected from society and nature. "We see in young leaders around the world, that this generation is starting to appreciate what's happening more and more," Murupaenga-Ikenn said. However, the message had to reach everyone so that people stop looking at the problem and start acting. Murupaenga-Ikenn says the Friday's event was standing for something affirmative; a public dialogue and a push for a plan to tackle climate change. "Friday will likely cause inconveniences for people in the city, but that will be nothing in comparison to disruptions caused by changing climate," she said. Another Whangarei activist, senior student at Whangarei Girls' High School Rosie Warner, is organising a march starting 8.30am at the Kensington sports fields. The march will go past Whangarei Boys' High School, down the cycle path towards Banks St, passing Forum North and ending at the Town Basin for speeches and music. Warner's event is expected to merge with the Cameron St gathering. Warner is inviting everyone with a positive mind-set to join the march on Friday: "We have the means to repair what we have done," she said. "We need support from the Government and every individual. It starts on a small scale. If each community did their bit, we could show governments that change is possible." Warner wants to bring ideas forward that are attainable for small New Zealand communities and more sustainable in terms of carbon emission. She says a positive approach was necessary to get people into action. The previous student strikes in March and May this year, most of which were scheduled during school hours, haven't been perceived overall positively by educators. Pat Newman, President of the Tai Tokerau Principals' Association, says while he was supporting climate events in Northland, he was aware that not everyone was sharing the same opinion. "It's important for students to show that they are concerned and care about theirs and other people's future. I would hope that teachers applaud those students." Newman says having young people consciously involved in strikes might be considered more important than missing a day at school. Alongside Whangarei, climate protesters in Kerikeri will march the streets on Friday starting at noon outside Northland MP Matt King's office on Kerikeri Rd. Previous climate protests in the Bay of Islands town drew more than 100 students, mostly from nearby Kerikeri High School but also as far away as Russell, Kaeo and Kawakawa. The first school in Northland to get on board the global School Strike 4 Climate movement was Russell Primary, led by students Lia and Kira Kammerer, 12, and Evie Trotter, 9. This time the Russell school is not holding its own event because some of its key student organisers are overseas. Kaitaia College student Ethan Nemeroff is organising an all-ages climate march in Kaitaia, starting at noon at Jaycee Park. The procession will go up and down Commerce St and gather in front of the Northern Regional Council building to hear local candidates speaking. Participants will then return to Jaycee Park for live music and workshops around sustainability. A strike is also planned for Opononi, starting at 3pm outside the Opononi Four Square. The activities do not deliver any tangible benefits to Kaipara ratepayers.