The young folk of Whanganui have a message for the rest of us - wake up, climate change is real and we need to do more than we are.

Fynn Rees, 16, is planning to take part in a global student strike next week.

Rees was a young girl when she learned about climate change and her introduction to the hot topic was quite unorthodox.

She is from a younger generation who have been able to educate themselves using various resources online.

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One such resource was the annual letter from Microsoft billionaires Bill and Melinda Gates.

If cattle were a country, it would rank third in greenhouse emissions at 5.0 behind China at 10.2 and USA at 5.3.

Rees was particularly interested in a letter containing statistics on causes of climate change which noted that agriculture produces 24 per cent of greenhouse gasses.

A note added to the letter said that if cattle were a country, it would rank third in greenhouse emissions at 5.0 behind China at 10.2 and USA at 5.3.

Fynn Rees learned about climate change through watching Youtube and reading Bill and Melinda Gates' annual letters. Photo / Stuart Munro
Fynn Rees learned about climate change through watching Youtube and reading Bill and Melinda Gates' annual letters. Photo / Stuart Munro

Rees will be attending the Whanganui School Strike 4 Climate, which is scheduled to take place at the punch bowl at Virginia Lake on March 15 starting at 10am.

That's a Friday, meaning students wanting to strike will have to skip some classes at school or miss a day altogether to support the cause.

Rees said it is a worthy one and people who deny climate changes and things like global warming need a wake-up call.

"This is hard for me because my grandma doesn't really care about it, but I think they're a little bit living in denial and a little bit living in the present," she said.

"It doesn't matter to them now and they don't think they're going to be around when it really matters. To them it's like 'it's not my problem, I don't need to worry about it'".

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School Strike 4 Climate is a global event known by different names around the world that started due to the actions of a Swedish girl named Greta Thunberg.

On August 20 2018, Thunberg decided not to attend school until the Swedish general election on September 9 following heat waves and wildfires in Sweden.

Thunberg was 15 at the time and demanded that the Swedish government reduces carbon emissions, protesting by sitting outside the Riksdag with a sign every day.

Youth MP for Whanganui Ali Gammeter organised the strike and said students not turning up to school would send a strong message. Photo / Bevan Conley
Youth MP for Whanganui Ali Gammeter organised the strike and said students not turning up to school would send a strong message. Photo / Bevan Conley

Her actions inspired many, including Youth MP for Whanganui Ali Gammeter who got involved when asked by national co-ordinator Sophie Handford.

Gammeter said there was strong support for the strike on the Whanganui - School Strike 4 Climate Facebook page and is expecting the event to pack a punch.

"If students aren't turning up to school, that sends a pretty strong message, especially if we get support from politicians as well," Gammeter said.

"It doesn't matter what your political affiliations are, this is an issue that is going to have really bad consequences for my generation."

"It doesn't matter what your political affiliations are, this is an issue that is going to have really bad consequences for my generation."

Gammeter was working on arranging live music for the strike, as well as approaching some confident students to stand up and speak to their peers.

All secondary school students are invited to participate in the strike, but the event has certainly received mixed reactions from politicians and principals.

Principals are still deciding how to manage student involvement in the strike.

Cullinane College principal Justin Harper said classes will run as usual on the day of the event.

"If we cancel those classes then we effectively undermine the notion of a strike," Harper said.

"If the students want to protest and strike, they'll need to choose that option against attending the classes they will have scheduled."

Cullinane College has a regular system of checking attendance and students not in class would be processed through that system as usual.

Harper said it was clear to him that a significant number of students are passionate about the cause and that the notion of a strike was important.

"This means that the students are exercising their right to protest for a cause that they feel passionately about," he said.

"I respect the notions of peaceful protest and for young adults to learn that their voice is valuable."