Hero photograph
Climate Prefects
Photo by Otago Daily Times

Climate Strike

John Lewis (Otago Daily Times) and Jono Edwards —

Our Climate Strike leaders organised another big city-wide strike at the end of September.

See the Otago Daily Times articles below:

Decades from now, images of today's school pupils marching down busy urban streets to encourage the Government to address climate change, could well be seen as a defining moment in world history.

And given that Logan Park High School pupils Zak Rudin, Linea Simons, Abe Baillie and Finn McKinlay are passionate and organised in their co-ordination of Strike 4 Climate marches in Dunedin, they are highly likely to succeed.

They are among thousands across New Zealand organising similar events, and Abe said the single thing that brought them all together was "the ever-growing concern about the climate and ecological crisis, and the Government's consistent inaction".

Zak said it was a "massive holistic issue" that could not be ignored.

"It affects all of us, no matter what walks of life we are from."

Finn said although they all had a common interest in climate issues, they also had diverse backgrounds and skills which added to their ability to organise the Strike 4 Climate marches.

He and Abe are members of a rock band and have experience at organising large-scale public events.

Sound systems, crowd control, security and safety were some of the skills they had learnt in recent years from organising concerts, Abe said.

Zak's skill set was around politics.

He is an Amnesty International youth advocate, he has worked with politicians and MPs, and he has attended many political conferences.

Linea's skills lie in communication and networking.

She has done a lot of work, spreading the word to school pupils, community organisations and businesses, and making the event as accessible to as many people as possible.

She said there was also a large support network of pupils across the city who provided the "man power" needed to organise the marches.

People continued to email, offering a hand for jobs ranging from printing and putting up posters, to providing spaces to hold event meetings.

As a result of their combined work, the Dunedin network continues to grow and the number attending the rallies also continues to grow.

One day, the world may look back on today and see Strike 4 Climate marches in the same light as the protests for civil rights, women's suffrage, and anti-discrimination based on sexual identity.

Thousands join in protest marches to highlight concerns over climate (28 Sept)

Thousands of southern pupils dropped pencils and raised placards to demand environmental justice as part of the School Strike 4 Climate yesterday.

They were joined by people of all ages as the global movement expanded beyond just schools.

While counts varied wildly, Dunedin organisers estimated about 9000 protesters marched down George St into the Octagon yesterday.

This was nearly double the size of previous events.

The strikes were part of a global movement started by Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg (16).

She shared pictures and videos of Dunedin's march with her 2.5million Twitter followers.

As crowds gathered in the Octagon, event co-organiser Zak Rudin (17), of Logan Park High School, greeted them with a battle cry.

"Welcome back to the revolution."

The climate crisis was a "massive holistic issue" which affected everyone, he said.

"We, therefore, stand for indigenous rights, environmental rights and human rights."

He demanded an immediate end to fossil fuel exploration and extraction.

Teacher aide and community worker Poutama Crossman-Nixon told the crowd manaakitanga, or support and hospitality, was the way forward.

About 500 people marched from Queenstown Gardens down to Earnslaw Park yesterday afternoon, in what is thought to be the largest peaceful protest in the town's history.

Wakatipu High School head boy Archie Ritchie (18) led the chants of "What do we want, climate justice, when do we want it, now," and "No more coal, no more oil, keep carbon in the soil".

In Wanaka, hundreds set off from Lismore Park to the Dinosaur Park on the waterfront where the numbers swelled to an estimated 600.

The crowd marched and chanted along Ardmore St to the Wanaka office of the Queenstown Lakes District Council where it halted and blocked traffic in both directions for some time.

In Invercargill, about 100 people from across Southland gathered at the Queens Park Feldwick Memorial Gates.

Co-ordinator Ashleigh Putt-Fallows said the existence of climate change had to be accepted.

In Oamaru, about 35 people planted 200 native plants at Cape Wanbrow.

Waitaki Forest & Bird chairwoman Chloe Searle said it was "really cool" to see the climate movement gain momentum.

In Alexandra, dozens of residents and school pupils chanted and marched down Dunorling St sporting banners.

Central Otago Mayor Tim Cadogan and council infrastructure services executive manager Julie Muir met residents outside and invited demonstrators into the council chambers for talks.