Parents, don’t be surprised if your child has missed classes today—it’s probably for good reason. In fact, it has been estimated that there will be thousands of kids from across Aotearoa New Zealand skipping school today in support of #FridaysForFuture, a growing global movement otherwise known as the ‘school strike for climate.’
And, they’re not alone.
The movement—inspired by Greta Thurnberg (a 16-year-old Swedish student and political activist, nominated for the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize)—has been bringing students together to inspire global action. Since August 2018, children from more than 270 cities around the world have taken part.
Today’s strike is an opportunity for children to raise their voices against the global climate crisis, which they feel has gone unnoticed for far too long.
In an open letter to The Guardian on 1 March, 2018, the group of students who coordinated today’s strike shared their reasons for the demonstration:
“We, the young, are deeply concerned about our future. […] We are the voiceless future of humanity. We will no longer accept this injustice. […] We finally need to treat the climate crisis as a crisis. It is the biggest threat in human history and we will not accept the world's decision-makers' inaction that threatens our entire civilisation. […] Climate change is already happening. People did die, are dying and will die because of it, but we can and will stop this madness. […] United we will rise until we see climate justice. We demand the world's decision-makers take responsibility and solve this crisis. You have failed us in the past. If you continue failing us in the future, we, the young people, will make change happen by ourselves. The youth of this world has started to move and we will not rest again.”
At ChildFund New Zealand we have seen, first hand, the impact of climate change on children and families in Africa, Asia and the Pacific. We’ve responded to floods, droughts and the impacts of rising sea levels, and have continued to work with vulnerable communities to improve resilience and prepare for any future shocks as a result of climate change.
We also know that when children join together and use their voices for change, great things are possible.