School Strike for Climate roars back this week after shock breakup – here’s why
Sophie Handford is the founder of School Strike 4 Climate in Aotearoa NZ and one of the countrys youngest district councillors. Handford will be speaking at Festival for the Future . OPINION: Parliament is not currently the place to find action with the urgency and scale required. This week the Climate Strikes are back, with rallies planned for multiple events around the country, Sophie Handford explains why. In community gardens, marae, on the streets, in local halls, schools and universities, people are coming together and sharing knowledge to catalyse the shift thats desperately needed. We know there is urgent need for global action on the ever-intensifying climate crisis. It seems clear Parliament is not currently the place to find action with the urgency and scale required. On Friday 26 May, we will return to the streets . In the face of political apathy, people power is intensifying in Aotearoa and across the globe. READ MORE: * Climate change: Young activists in Palmerston North want their voice heard * In pictures: School students protest for more action on climate change * How to talk to kids about climate disasters - according to 10-year-old activist Eva and her psychologist gran * In defence of climate protest We have been here before and, rightly so, we were challenged. We faced internal conflict around our approach, style and leadership. We witnessed the consequences of division within climate activism, which at times clouded the core mission. Understanding this required us to become better informed about the role of colonisation in Aotearoas history, as well as the conscious, and unconscious, bias of privilege. It required us to pause, listen and learn: concepts that are inextricably connected to the climate crisis. In September 2019, 170,000 of us took to the streets to demand urgent action to reduce emissions . We united across different generations, cultures, experiences and perspectives, to represent shared aspirations and demands for the future and we created impact. A Climate Emergency was declared, the Zero Carbon Act was passed into law, and the public and political discourse on climate started to shift. But we are far from done. We at School Strike 4 Climate NZ must continue to learn, challenge ourselves, each other and our leaders, and raise our voices. We must critically examine our own beliefs and world views, in order to better understand our blind spots and rebalance our relationship with the environment. Te Tiriti o Waitangi, re-indigenisation and our obligations to the Pacific need to be foundational to local climate action. It is crucial to recognise the deep-rooted wisdom and knowledge held by Pasifika and Maori communities, and how colonisation has sidelined this for extractive, resource-intensive systems. By elevating this expertise, we can embrace a more holistic approach to environmental protection and activism. We must take our place behind and alongside these communities, supporting and amplifying their voices. It is vital that our activism unites rather than divides us. Acknowledging the mistakes of the past and working to be better, we can overcome divisions that hinder our collective progress. School Strike 4 Climate NZ recognises this and is fully committed to working alongside others to form an Aotearoa Climate Strikes Coalition. We are together, we are aligned, and we are about to strike. Join us as we call on our leaders to step up and take transformational action to reduce emissions. Were demanding that the government reduce emissions now and strive for a real zero emissions Aotearoa by 2030 instead of passing our responsibility overseas through offsets. Well also be calling on our leaders to 100% transition to regenerative agriculture by 2030, prioritise Te Tiriti-centred climate justice and lower the voting age to 16. Lowering the voting age is not just about giving young people the right to vote. It is about recognising their contribution to the fight for climate justice and giving them a say in the decisions that affect their future. See here for more on S chool Strike 4 Climate NZ and here for details about Festival for the Future .