They are too young to vote, but they are sending a strong message to the Government – “this is our future”.
Pupils from Oamaru secondary schools will gather at Waitaki Girls’ High School on May 24 to join the global “School Strike 4 Climate” action strike.
Tens of thousands of young people around the world are expected to walk out of class on the same day to call politicians to action in tackling what they see as the greatest threat to their future.
Oamaru’s rally was initiated by senior Waitaki Girls’ High School pupils, who have invited St Kevin’s College and Waitaki Boys’ High School pupils to join them.
They will gather on the Waitaki Girls’ High School lawn at 2.20pm next Friday for the rally, which will include a question and answer session with Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean and Waitaki district deputy mayor Melanie Tavendale.
Waitaki Girls’ High School Enviro Club co-captain Breanna Greaney (17) said strike action gave Oamaru secondary school pupils the opportunity to play a key role in democracy.
“This is our vote,” Breanna said.
The rally, which was supported by Waitaki Girls’ High School senior management, would be a way to urge politicians to act against climate change, while also highlighting local environmental problems and practical solutions, she said.
Those gathered would be invited to write notes of ways they could contribute to a more sustainable future. It could be pledging something small – for example, using beeswax wraps instead of cling wrap or making efforts to buy more pre-loved clothing.
“The smallest of steps lead to big changes, and that change needs to begin now,” she said.
The notes would be gathered and made into some form of mural.
“We just really wanted to get involved in a more practical way – we want to put our voice out there and make a difference,” she said.
“It’s our future and it’s important that we put our voice to it.
“We think it’s an issue all generations should be concerned about.”
Fellow Enviro Club member Simran Sadler (17) said young people sometimes got a bad reputation for being apathetic, but that was not their experience.
They were passionate about issues that impacted their future – and tired of waiting for leaders to make the changes necessary to tackle climate change.