"Pollution is not the solution. Act now or swim later. There is no 'Planet B'."

Those were just some messages from Rotorua school students who joined others around the country to strike for climate change yesterday.

They gathered in the Rotorua Village Green at 2pm as part of the School Strike 4 Climate global movement.

Rotorua students march for climate action. Photo / Stephen Parker
Rotorua students march for climate action. Photo / Stephen Parker

The movement was sparked by a 15-year-old Swedish schoolgirl Greta Thunberg, who decided last August to stay away from school until the Swedish general election on September 9.

Advertisement

She protested by sitting outside the Riksdag (Parliament) every day during.

Rotorua students climate change rally and march happening now from the Village Green. Full story here: https://www.nzherald.co.nz/rotorua-daily-post/news/article.cfm?c_id=1503438&objectid=12212941

Posted by Rotorua Daily Post on Thursday, 14 March 2019

John Paul College Year 13 Areta Parkinga helped organise the Rotorua event with fellow student Maia Berryman-Kamp.

"We contacted as many people as possible, including councillors, and created a Facebook page. We organised five speakers: students Jess Wharekura and Lukas Scowen, Allan Solomon from the Youth Centre, councillor Tania Tapsell, and climate change action advocate Kaya Sparke.

Western Heights High School student Jimmy Morrison, a Year 13, said he was prompted to go after a friend told him about the march.

"It's important enough to come and support."

Malfroy Primary School Amelia Foote-Webb, 9, at the climate change strike in the Village Green. Photo / Stephen Parker
Malfroy Primary School Amelia Foote-Webb, 9, at the climate change strike in the Village Green. Photo / Stephen Parker

Councillor Tania Tapsell said events like the Ngongotahā floods showed just how real the threat from climate change was.

"I am so proud of these young people standing up for their future."

Councillor Tania Tapsell with students at the Rotorua student march for climate action. Photo / Stephen Parker
Councillor Tania Tapsell with students at the Rotorua student march for climate action. Photo / Stephen Parker

Patrick Walsh said there were about 100 John Paul College students going, mostly seniors.

"We took the view that if parents are prepared to write a note to attend then we were agreeable for that to happen."

He said most seniors were only taking one period off, and he was happy to see them politically aware.

Tian Paretoa, Jess Wharekura and Areta Pakinga are among the students striking today. Photo / Stephen Parker
Tian Paretoa, Jess Wharekura and Areta Pakinga are among the students striking today. Photo / Stephen Parker

"We have some Year 13s who are writing up their experiences for a social studies achievement standard."

Rotorua Girls' High School principal Sarah Davis said the school had a conference day of meetings today, so the march had not affected students' learning.

"I am quite happy with the fact they are there and I am supportive."