Students call for climate action restart after Covid-19

New Zealand’s success eliminating Covid-19 should be a springboard to reboot climate action, a group of Christchurch teens say – and they’ve already started the dirty work – with tree planting.

The Christchurch School Strike 4 Climate group is replanting an area in north Christchurch’s Styx Mill conservation reserve this morning, to help restore native wetland.

A school strike and events the group had planned earlier this year had to be scrapped because of the pandemic, so it’s their event of the year.

Member Silas Zhang says future school strikes are now being planned, and the restart period after lockdown is the ideal time to rethink the tangible actions that can be made to start healing the environment.

“I think New Zealand has a real opportunity here to be the leader in this situation, it’s just the way things have turned out.”

He says it wouldn’t be the first time the country has led the way with environmental campaigning, New Zealand’s history as a global leader in passing nuclear-free legislation showed it was important to make a stand.

“Definitely all over the country different [student groups] are taking their own actions to promote climate action and to contribute to their community.

“At a national level there is definitely something in the works.”

School Strike 4 Climate wants the government to declare a climate emergency and build a renewable economy with a shift to 100 per cent renewable energy. And to help Pacific Island nations facing problems from sea level rise.

“We have an unprecedented opportunity and responsibility to create a new normal – one which creates a planet we would all feel proud to pass on to future generations, by holding people and the planet at its center, the group says on their website.

“We must show our leaders that there is still momentum.”