School Strike 4 Climate (SS4C) is holding a nationwide strike on Friday.
SS4C is a rangatahi-led grassroots organisation, demanding strong, effective, resilient and long-standing climate justice. We represent no political party, but the salient scientific truth that life cannot be supported without a stable climate.
It is an absolute honour to give my time to this kaupapa in my hometown of Palmy. Having just completed a Bachelor of Science in environmental studies, my passion lies in effective, equitable justice. This means preventing the unequal hardship caused by more frequent and severe weather events in Aotearoa and overseas.
We must adapt and mitigate, without relying on carbon offsets. Climate change does not exist in a vacuum and is directly interlinked with many social, economic and environmental matters.
The following demands were made during the strike in March:
- Rebates for e-bikes for low-income households;
- Support for farmers in the transition to regenerative agriculture;
- 30 per cent marine reserve protection by 2025;
- Lower the voting age to 16;
- No new fossil fuel mines.
It is common knowledge that only a small number of people hold a lot of wealth and power, directly contributing to the climate crisis. As a majority, we have been left with no other option but to hold those responsible accountable.
It is vital we stand up to those who are causing climate change and acknowledge that the countries that emit the least are being impacted the most.
Growing populations are not directly causing the climate crisis. Instead, it is the overconsumption of resources. Instead of making judgments towards one another in our efforts to be sustainable within our personal lives, we must face the problem head-on.
As well as reducing emissions, we must make infrastructure decisions based on those who know most about the whenua, specifically iwi, hapū and kaumātua. The whenua has changed drastically since colonisation, and therefore means we must decolonise to decarbonise. Inaction means a significant loss to taonga species.
We simply, desperately, need both adaptation and mitigation. This means electrifying our public transport sector, investing in renewable and reliable energy, prioritising active transport, restoring ngāhere and wetlands, protecting coastal communities, reducing the impact animal agriculture has on the whenua and simply reducing emissions.
It is unfortunate to see climate change not being prioritised, as the cost to decarbonise will be far less than the costs and casualties associated with increasingly extreme weather events. Additionally, we must also acknowledge the record-high profits currently being made by fossil fuel companies, banks and supermarkets as many people struggle to make ends meet during the cost of living crisis.
I urge you to come to the strike on Friday at Te Marae o Hine/The Square, at 1pm. The following demands have been finalised:
- A 50 per cent reduction in emissions by 2030;
- Enable a 100 per cent transition to regenerative agriculture by 2030;
- Prioritise Te Tiriti o Waitangi-centred climate justice;
- Lower the voting age to 16.
These demands have been finalised by rangatahi, some of whom cannot vote this year. If you can vote, consider these demands seriously. Consider the unfortunate negative consequences of inaction that will fall on subsequent generations.
The quicker we move, the more lives we will save.
Autumn Newsome (Ngāti Kahungunu) is a School Strike 4 Climate organiser.