Strike 4 Climate NZ
It was a pleasure to be part of the Climate Strike in Wellington last month, which was so well attended the VUW contingent didn’t even make it into Civic Square! In this month’s Spotlight, Strike 4 Climate NZ Organiser Abi O’Regan told us why it’s so important for students to get involved in the movement.
Curled on the couch in my freezing flat in February (cold despite the season), I read in The Guardian that Greta Thunberg had called for a global strike on March 15th. Inspired, I instantly knew I wanted to get involved, and have since helped organized on a national and regional scale.
Everyone who cares about this fight cares for different reasons. For me, these are countless. One, though, is that I simply love the natural wonder of the world. Throughout my childhood, my parents prioritized the outdoors. They took every possible chance to take my siblings and I into nature. Skiing at the Canterbury club fields, tramping on the West Coast, running in the Port Hills, and swimming in the harbor and the braided rivers of the Canterbury plains. I’m more at home on the beaches of Golden Bay, the southern Alps, and in Aotearoa’s native forests than I am anywhere else in the world. Thinking about these places suffering in climate breakdown, and being lost from the world, breaks my heart.
The thing, of course, is that so many precious places are being lost already. Places precious for however many reasons: whole communities, entire islands, people’s homes, the homes of countless plants and animals, and unique ecosystems. The emergency is here. The climate crisis is not some far-off apocalypse that we can avert through hopes and wishes. For many of the world’s population, it is on their front doorstep.
Now, nearing the end of my last undergraduate year, I’m planning to do honours. It seems to me that postgraduate students, who are committed to furthering their understanding of the world, should take the time to strike this Friday. We should take time out of our normal days to ensure that people can continue to study and learn and grow their knowledge for centuries. So that the children striking from school on Friday can some day follow their own passions and grow their minds.