SchoolStrike4ClimateNZ: a monumental act of kindness to honour our common humanity
SchoolStrike4Climate is a worldwide movement of young people striking from school to demand urgent political action on climate change. Raven Maeder was one of the key organisers for the SchoolStrike4Climate demonstrations in New Zealand in 2019 and along with Sophie Hanford and over 30 community youth leaders from across the country, their protests have gone down in New Zealand's history as the highest protest numbers to be recorded mobilising a startling 3.5% of the total population to stand up for change.
"Climate change is an issue that will affect all of us in our lifetimes, but it will disproportionately hurt the most marginalised people in our society and across the world, who have also contributed the least to causing the issue. The willingness of youth to not do it for personal gain but for the greater collective good is inspiring. Standing up for climate action is about standing up for justice and kindness is recognising the common humanity in everyone."
Photo credit: Elliot Blythe
Raven's #KindnessMattersfortheSDGs story:
“My greatest passion is people and the planet and those two are deeply connected. To further one of those is to further both. When I became involved with New Zealand Commission for UNESCO, their mandate, “peace through dialogue”, began to reflect in my work as well.
When following the international School Strike movement, Greta’s message resonated with me because there aren’t many ways to be heard and actively participate in politics meaningfully. as a young person. While I can vote now, many younger students do not have this power and therefore their concerns are not heard or listened to by our leaders and our generations interests often are not protected, but rather fall victim to short term profit for a few. These strikes are organised by young people for young people, to uplift youth who have been left out of the conversation about their futures for too long.
As the work for organising the protests began, many youth from communities all over the country rose up and helped in the decentralized process. Previously when we would have marches in Wellington, a good turn out was about 500, but the climate strikes drew a crowd of around 80,000 people. This goes to show the power of youth and it shows that we can achieve a lot. The strikes showed the world that we must be given a seat at the table. In order to make the most impact we must seek out spaces that are going to create the most change. The international Climate strikes is only one example of this kind of space.
The climate strikes had been conducted in numerous countries before making it to New Zealand shores. So many people made personal sacrifices in order to protest against the lack of governmental concern for the climate crisis. I believe this to be an act of kindness. Millions of people were willing to sacrifice their time and energy in order to claim their right in their democracy and stand up for what is right. The willingness of youth to not do it for personal gain but for the greater collective good is inspiring. This is an issue that will affect all of us in our lifetimes, but it will disproportionately hurt the most marginalised people in our society and across the world, who have also contributed the least to causing the issue. Standing up for climate action is about standing up for justice and kindness is recognising the common humanity in everyone.
As an older student, School Strike is not ‘my’ project, it is ‘our’ project because this movement belongs to all those who do not have any other way to engage in their democracy – especially those younger students.”
Read more about School Strike 4 Climate NZ by visiting the official website - https://www.schoolstrike4climate.nz/