Our youth and their children will bear the brunt of climate change.
What is being done now, will directly affect their quality of life, and while the world continues to feed its consumerism with fossil fuels, the young generation is becoming increasingly frustrated and anxious.
Twelve-year-old Noah Hewlett-Coffey, of Whangārei, speaks up and demands more action from his leaders, peers and community.
He recently gave two speeches in front of Megan Woods, Minister of Energy and Resources, and Research, Science and Innovation, Niwa (National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research) and a local climate seminar, and is asking for more unity in the fight against climate change.
"There are many people who claim to care about the planet. But how many people actually do anything to contribute? Talk is cheap, we need to act."
Noah said if we assume that everybody bought a plastic bottle every day producing more than seven billion bottles daily, it would make a difference to the environment if some of us decided to leave that plastic bottle standing on the shelf.
"People have power. But if we don't live next to a landfill or recycling plant, we often don't care as long as it's not in our backyard.
"We need to be thinking more like our indigenous people, for example, chief Seattle, a native American leader. He said; 'We did not weave the web of life, we are merely a strand in it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves.'
"I think we've become too disconnected from nature."
Noah is being homeschooled because he didn't feel challenged enough at school. He lives rurally and his parents run a regenerative farm.
The family, together with Noah's younger brother, are making an effort to reduce waste and plant native trees.
He says we should learn how to co-exist with nature and not see it as something to wreck in the process of making money.
Planting trees, biking to work or not hopping on a plane are some of many examples for what people can do to protect the environment
We "need to get our hands dirty" and go out of our ways to change our habits.
"Giving an environmental activist a like on Instagram isn't going to save the planet."
For Noah, social media is a platform that can spread awareness for climate change but people need to take action instead of scrolling down their screen.
While he is homeschooled, Noah pays mainstream schools regular visits – most recently at the start of this year – and according to his observation, the curriculum doesn't focus enough on climate change.
"We wore polyester shirts, we wasted water and we were more connected to Chrome Books and phones than we were to nature."
He said kids needed to learn the value of nature early:
"We need to see the life in the soil. We need to see the albatross chick die from the plastic its mum fed it. Schools should be confronting the climate crisis, teaching children to live and work with nature."
The Government made changes to the school curriculum in 2020 launching a climate change education scheme for 11 to 15-year olds. The lessons are not compulsory.
Noah says it was easy to think in the now and disregard the consequences of our actions, but it's the young generation who has the ability to look further afield, because it's about their future and their lives.
"I always try to be hopeful because the opposite of that is despair and nothing good can come from that."
But it was hard to remain positive because so many people didn't care.
"We all need to start working as one people to start repairing the web of life."
This mix of opposed feelings among youth – hope and despair, motivation and frustration – is familiar to Krystle Harborne.
Originally from Kaitaia, Harborne works at 350 Aotearoa, the New Zealand branch of a worldwide organisation that aims to unite the world on climate solutions.
"A big part of what we do is fighting for climate justice which means, unfortunately, those who contribute the least to climate change such as our youth, indigenous cultures and low social-economic communities end up being the people who are affected the most.
"We want to make sure that those voices are heard, accountability is held against those responsible and that there is a fast transition to a fossil fuel-free future resulting in a safe climate."
350 Aotearoa enables grass-root climate action on the ground and as part of their programme, Harborne is working closely with youth.
Youth are one of the "victim demographics" of climate change and climate injustice, Harborne said.
She says while there is a sense of hopelessness among youth, it's not enough to stop them from fighting the good fight.
"There is hope that the future is a sustainable place with just leadership and a future that everybody can live in without the risks of climate change and all the injustice that comes with it."
Harborne believes youth are taking on responsibility in the fight against climate change and are on board with shifting habits around consumerism and environmental protection.
A Whangārei teen is taking this responsibility to heart after a life-changing experience three years ago.
Abigail Armstrong-Green is in year 12 at Whangārei Girls' High School and recently became a Christian which is now a "fundamental part" of her life and source of her compassion for the environment.
"The fact that I care so much about the creation – the environment, it comes from my love for the creator."
Abby was always curious about the purpose of life.
"If evolution is the start of everything, why do we have a conscience and why do we love, have passions and are creative?
"I attempted suicide because I had been suffering for so long from depression, anxiety and previous to that anorexia. We have a history of family issues.
"As I was attempting suicide, something prevented me from doing it – from ending my life – which I now attest to be God.
"It gave me this passion for the environment. I do need to still be here, I do have a role in this world, and that is to care for the environment and to advocate for environmental justice."
Abby was 14 when this happened.
She now sees her own role as an environmental advocate who encourages others to find their own agency.
"The world is created by individuals and as Kate Sheppard said, rain is formed by raindrops – it all makes a difference."
Our whole attitude needs to change: replace negativity and cynicism with love and compassion.
"Pause and reflect on your own opinions," she said. "A positive society starts with one's own attitude."
She believes if the public eye focused more on the positive change that is happening around us, it could encourage more people to make the shift.
"The media influences people to carry on how they are. It doesn't help when they are told there is no hope."
Abby is not scared of the future because she has hope for the good. That doesn't mean, however, she rejects her own obligation to do her bit.
In her free time, Abby volunteers at He Kakano, a community native plant nursery and educational resource for riparian restoration in Whangārei.
He Kakano is managed by Whitebait Connection, a freshwater community conservation education programme, which for Abby represent one of many pathways for communities to help look after the environment.
Abby is also looking after a permaculture garden at home, eats vegetarian food and soon wants to install a compost toilet.
In the future, Abby would either love to live in a self-contained tiny house or an eco-village surrounded by people who equally care for the environment.
Gracefully weaving their fluttery wings with the wings of their friend
In spontaneous elevated dance.
They are jubilant
Their hearts soar for each individual
People...people of diversity
Unique like the artistically crafted,
delicate wings of the birds - the messengers of stories
Once perceived to have been forgotten
Yet it is people who
Mourn what is lost
And so they absentmindedly stumble through life
Miserably; refusing to bolden
For they clutch onto fear, their floundering
They are enslaved, guided astray, by cynicism
Waiting, counting, measuring
What is already restored, counted, measured
People, the Messiah,
Suffered beyond comprehension
Fear not, but remember and live
In the presence
Of His promise
We are here, now, on this beautiful Earth
Gifted to us
To preserve and cherish
A world delicate like the wings of the birds.
We are the beating, breathing, suffering
Body of the bird
Hope is our wings - The Holy Spirit: our navigator -
So delicate, so strong
The Father is the narrator
And Christ, the risen Lord
Poem by Abigail Armstrong-Green
Friday: How to encourage climate action
Monday: Niwa scientists predict Northland's climate
Tuesday: How can we help?
Wednesday: What are our councils doing?
Thursday: How we can fight for climate justice
Friday: How to take industry into a sustainable future
Saturday: Regenerative farming and growing techniques
Today: The future generation
Where to get help:
• Lifeline: 0800 543 354 (available 24/7)
• Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) (available 24/7)
• Youth services: (06) 3555 906
• Youthline: 0800 376 633
• Kidsline: 0800 543 754 (available 24/7)
• Whatsup: 0800 942 8787 (1pm to 11pm)
• Depression helpline: 0800 111 757 (available 24/7)
• Rainbow Youth: (09) 376 4155
• Helpline: 1737
If it is an emergency and you feel like you or someone else is at risk, call 111.