The news that school students from across New Zealand are organising the School Strike for Climate on March 15 has been all over the media lately. See this story, for example, which includes the comment that
Globally, their message is clear. They are sick of waiting for adults to save their world so they are going to do it themselves.
This is part of a global movement, given impetus by a moving speech by Swedish student Greta Thunberg at the UN Climate Change COP24 conference.
Predictably – & sadly – the response from adults to this action has been somewhat mixed. There are lots of messages of support in the social media, but there’s also a fair measure of condemnation. People saying things like “this is disgusting they’re using children as pawns in something that should be an adults matter“, and “It is disgusting that children are being burdened with the apocalyptic future of climate change. This is pseudo science anyway.” (Both comments on the SS4C Facebook page.)
In fact, it’s eye-opening (& not in a good way) to see how any form of support for the students’ actions in the comments was down-voted on that Stuff story. This one, for example, had a ‘score’ of -24 when I saw it:
If you followed the news you would have read today that the EU has pledged to spend 25% of it’s future budget on climate change mitigation. A decision they say they reached due to the inspiring arguments put forward by 16yr old Greta Thunberg. I’d call that an achievement. (and a hell of an inspiration for all the Kiwi kids marching for our future on March 15).
So, OK: yes, of course there’ll be students who will treat SS4C as an excuse to wag school. But many are genuinely worried about their future in a warming world & want politicians & others to take notice. They can’t vote; how else are they to draw attention to their concerns and opinions on a matter of such import for their own future?
They are not ‘brainwashed’ by parents & teachers – this generation is probably the most internet-connected of the lot, & they have access to information well beyond the doors of school and home. Give them credit for thinking about this & deciding to take some action.
And – if they do happen to share the same views as their parents, & think we should be doing more to mitigate the impacts of climate change – why is that a problem? I’m totally with them on this; tautoko mo ngā ākonga o te kura.