Around 200 people turned out in Whanganui today for the region's Schools Climate Strike.

Whanganui College student Amelia Jury organised the strike in response to Whanganui District Council's reluctance to declare a climate emergency.

"Even if people think that New Zealand makes up a tiny bit of pollution in the world, we can still lead the way," Amelia said.

Strikes were held around the world as part of a movement started by Greta Thunburg, the young activist whose recent speech to world leaders at the UN sparked more social commentary than climate science discussions.


"I'm kind of upset because people are completely dismissing her," Whanganui High School student Imogen Maguire said.

"She's making some really good points but people are just hearing about her age and the fact that she's only 16, and thinking 'oh she must know nothing'. It's as if a 16-year-old can't do their research and look into all the information and form an opinion.

"We are legally allowed to get married if we have permission, we can have kids if we want to but no, we're not mature enough to have an opinion on climate change."

High school student Harriet Yortson reflected the feeling of the students.

"I just think she's really inspiring and she's empowered me and a lot of other young people to actually have the courage to speak up and talk about what we are fighting for and what we believe," she said.

"I think it's really cool that she is a young person. Because she's not a whole lot older than us it gives us courage to speak out, and makes us believe that we can do it, make a big change in our own communities and globally as well."

The group marched to the council chambers, before taking part in a rubbish clean-up along the banks of the river.

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