The third nationwide school Strike for Climate was held on Friday the 27th of September and has been praised as the biggest so far with an estimated 170,000 people striking around the country.
Hundreds of Nelson students were joined by adults striking for climate action in the first intergenerational protest of the Strike for Climate movement.
Strikers met at the Church Steps at 1pm for an opening waiata and haka from Nelson Central School, followed by a karakia led by students from Te Hurihanga – the student-led committee who organised the Nelson strike. This group included Nayland College students Leila Mahuika, Ruby Vidgen and Emma Barnes-Wetere.
Josephine Ripley, one of the organisers from Nelson College for Girls, said the turnout “felt equal or even more than the first strike” which had an estimated 2000 people.
Crowds were directed to 1903 square where speakers such as Mayor Rachel Reese and Nayland College student Tiaki Sharp spoke about the urgency of immediate action against climate change. Strikers marched down Trafalgar Street chanting slogans “climate change is not a lie, do not let our planet die.”
Protesters waved home-made placards with messages such as: “There is no Planet B,” “I’ll take my exams when you take action” and “If you breathe air, you should care.”
The march ended at the Nelson City Council where strikers were met by Mayor Rachel Reese who accepted a letter written on behalf of Nelson youth urging more climate action at local governance level.
Nayland College Student Hannah Young is one of many students who has attended all three climate strikes held in Nelson this year. She is clear on her reasons for her participation in the protests. “We need urgent climate action and climate justice.”
Hannah also went on to explain the importance of the presence of fellow students and the community at the protests. “Climate change is a worldwide issue and attending the strikes is a step towards making a difference.”
Performances were held following the event by the Nelson Intermediate band ‘Plan B’ and Nayland College students Ruby Burr and Toby Sussex.
The Nelson climate strike proved to be more than a protest, uniting all ages in a communtiy event.
By student reporter Emma Barnes-Wetere