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Maori Climate Commissioner: Ditch school, protest climate change

Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Sunday, 24 February 2019, 4:17p.m.
Protests have taken place around the world in solidarity against climate change. (Photo / AP)

The Maori Climate Commissioner wants school students to protest for action on climate change.

On March 15th, some New Zealand students will 'bunk' school to strike in a bid to push politicians to act aggressively on climate change.

It follows a string of similar protests around the world, where school students have been staging regular strikes in order to fight back against climate change. 

Maori Climate Commissioner, Donna Awatere Huata told the Weekend Collective the impact of a few hours off school doesn't compare to the impact of climate change.

"They sent a strong message to their elders, to their parents and grandparents, that they must take climate change more."

Awatere Huata says that teenagers have been leading the way on this movement, especially young girls who have been at the forefront of European and American protests.

She traces the movement back to Greta Thunberg, a Swedish teenager who protested on her own for months outside the Swedish parliament. Her actions have been linked as the spark that caused these recent protests. 

"They are saying to their old people 'you need to take this seriously and get on with it'." 

She says that small scale protests are welcome, but that big lobbyists have louder voices and are the ones that have the biggest influence over politicians.

Awatere Huata says that she has been shocked by how much of an impact climate change will have, and that New Zealand will still struggle to meet our Paris Agreement obligations.

"What the kids are working out is they are the ones who are going to clean this up, who are going to deal with rising tides."


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