Last Friday, students across the globe walked out of school to protest the little action being done by high ranking world leaders to combat global warming. About 200 Mount Aspiring College students flooded the Wanaka lakefront on Friday afternoon to participate in the international strike. This was part of the School Strike 4 Climate movement, inspired by 16-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg who has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for sparking the international movement. It has been estimated that at least 1.5 million students participated in over 110 countries.
Ben Pell, a year seven student at the school, is part of MAC’s Team Green group who helped to organise the protest.
“We protested because climate change is a big problem and politicians aren’t doing anything about it,” he said. “I think it was really good and there were so many people.”
Some schools around the country marked students as truant for striking, but MAC staff supported the move and permission forms were sent home to parents to get as many students marching as possible.
Since the late 19th century, average global temperatures have risen by around 0.9 degrees Celsius and oceans have shown warming of over 0.4 degrees Celsius. These changes will have a serious impact on the Wanaka community, negatively affecting the glaciers and snow activity that is characteristic of the region. Locals are encouraged to slow their use of fossil fuel driven cars and revert to walking or cycling where possible, as well as cutting their use of single use plastics.
Thunberg stated in a TED talk in 2018, “Some people say that I should study to become a climate scientist so that I can solve the climate crisis. But the climate crisis has already been solved. We already have all the facts and solutions. All we have to do is to wake up and change… we can't save the world by playing by the rules, because the rules have to be changed.”