In her piece "Time to take a step back on climate change?" (NZ Herald, September 30) Eve McCallum decries the young people taking part in the climate protests as "jumping on the bandwagon", or "brainwashed".
I'm a fellow University of Otago student, I have been at both the recent protests, and what I have seen is educated, passionate young people (indeed, people of all ages) who want the Government to step up and take charge, for all of our futures.
The use of the phrase "jumping on the bandwagon" implies people aren't allowed to learn about issues from others. But that's not how social change happens. It happens by educating people, and by encouraging them to make change and spread it throughout communities.
If you continue stepping back from climate change, you won't have a job to go to. None of us will.
Wanting a future is not the same as wanting a new pair of Nike slides. People are jumping on the bandwagon because, with every year that goes by, we are realising how the climate crisis is going to affect the world. The implication that young people are somehow just following a trend by fighting to have a safe, liveable planet does a disservice to the real time and effort that people put into understanding the climate crisis, and the real fear and insecurity felt by young people when we look forward.
There isn't any shame in joining a movement that is rising in popularity when that movement is dedicated to preserving the earth we live on.
It may be that it's seen as a bandwagon because not everyone protesting knows exactly how to solve the oncoming crisis. It's true, it's a difficult problem and I certainly don't have all the answers. Normally I'd agree that we shouldn't rush into change without understanding all the ramifications. Unfortunately, we no longer have time. We need change now, before it's too late.
Sure, we should assess arguments and consider both sides, and we have. For decades people, including many who went to law school, have been assessing the arguments for and against acting to prevent climate change, and the answer is overwhelmingly consistent. We need to act, and soon.
We can't keep relitigating the same arguments while the climate crisis happens before our eyes. In 2009, it was estimated that 150,000 people die each year due to the effects of climate change. Many more are affected negatively, and more will continue to be affected if nothing changes.
Eve argues that attempts to slow climate change are harming farmers in New Zealand. Using farmers as victims to argue against climate justice ignores that they are on the front lines and likely to be affected by the climate crisis. Climate change is likely to lead to decreases in crop production for food-insecure populations.
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The IPCC's reports suggest that, while warming temperatures may increase food production in some areas, desertification and extreme weather events will lead to decreases in many agricultural communities. Within New Zealand, studies predict some increased productivity, but outweighed by drought and heat stress in many places.
Just because New Zealand may not be affected as heavily by the coming climate crisis, that doesn't mean we shouldn't care for those affected globally. We are already seeing the effects of climate change on agriculture - the heat waves of 2018 led to low crop yields in many places around the world.
Climate change, and its associated food insecurity, is a global driver of migration from rural areas. If you truly care about farmers, you should be out there protesting, asking the Government to put measures in place now that will protect agriculture later.
I agree that it is important that, in the shift to a green society, no one is left behind. Systematic and societal change is required to solve the climate crisis, and it isn't necessarily going to be easy. It's going to take time and a lot of discussion to figure out the best way forward.
If Eve believes in climate change like she says, she should be on the streets with the rest of us. Maybe if she and others like her jumped on the bandwagon, we could get past arguing about whether change needs to happen, and instead start discussing what that change is going to look like.
I am sorry that the climate protests almost made you late to work. However, if you continue stepping back from climate change, you won't have a job to go to. None of us will. The waters are rising, people are starving, forests are burning. We need emotion, because we need to step up and save our planet. If not now, when?
• Daisy Abraham is a 19-year-old University of Otago zoology student who has attended both school strikes, as well as other climate activism events