Next Friday, school students in Whanganui will go on strike.

What? What the hell have they got to complain about? They've got it easy ... they should see what life is like out in the big world.

Well, that's one reaction.

In fact, they are taking a look at life out in the big world as part of the nationwide School Strike 4 Climate which will have the Virginia Lake punchbowl as one of its rallying points.


Climate change and the future of the planet are the cause, and their message is: "We are calling on our parents, teachers, and business and elected leaders to take action immediately to safeguard our future."

It is a strike which divides opinion. New Zealand law and parental responsibility say these youngsters should be in class furthering their education.

And for every committed climate campaigner, there may be five young tykes wagging off to boost their gaming skills, hang out at Burger King, or kick a football around. For them, climate is that day's weather.

But one thing we know, as parents, is that children do as we do — not as we say.

Teachers, nurses and doctors have walked off the job recently. Back in 2014, four Whanganui district councillors walked out of the council chamber in protest, leaving the meeting without a quorum (the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement was the issue there).

Thousands of British school students outside Parliament in London rallying over climate change last month. Photo Getty Images
Thousands of British school students outside Parliament in London rallying over climate change last month. Photo Getty Images

Only last month, National Party MPs brought the curtain down on a finance and expenditure select committee meeting by walking out (they were unhappy that Labour MPs had not got there in time for the 8am start).

And if adults can act childishly, we are going to see children trying to act as adults.

While I have in the past stopped pocket money for my children missing school ... not this time.


And it won't be because the issue is climate change and increasing awareness of the challenges that phenomenon presents humanity. It will be because at least there is an issue, and they are actually getting off their backsides about something.

Their engagement in political and social issues is to be encouraged.

It is quietly heartening that the "kids" (we call them "kids" but that should really be "young adults") have put down their cellphones and PS4 controls long enough to take note of the real world around them.

How often have we heard the cry that we must do more to engage young people in current affairs; how much anguish have we had about how Generation X, Y or whatever doesn't even bother to vote come election time.

Well, next week the "kids" will vote with their feet ... and good on them.