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Gisborne students joining worldwide strike

Gisborne students are gearing up to join the School Strike for Climate on Friday, March 15 — a worldwide day of action over global warming.

Strike organiser Maia Ingoe, of Gisborne Girls’ High School, says they want to send the message to local council and government that they are passionate about change.

“It’s our future. The science is there and it’s time for drastic action to be taken,” she said.

Maia discussed the strike with principal Jan Kumar.

The students protesters will meet at Heipipi Endeavour Park in the city centre at 12pm on Friday.

“We have one hour to make our presence felt and the strike action count,” said Maia.

“There will be student speakers and some other surprises we are still working on.”

Co-organiser Lucy Coulston, also from Girls’ High, said only students who are active advocates for the environment will be attending.

“We don’t have a number so far as we are still in the process of contacting schools, but we have confirmed there will be numerous Year 7 and 8 students from Campion College, as well as many other students from primary schools around the district.”

A banner-making workshop will take place at the Tairawhiti Environment Centre on Monday at 3.30pm.

This is for anyone who wants to help make the protest signs and take part in the strike.

National co-ordinator Sophie Handford said protests were being organised in more than 20 towns from Russell in the Bay of Islands to Invercargill. Participant numbers are expected to be in the thousands.

“If we hit 5000, that will be awesome. If we hit more than that, that will be even better.”

Striking students from around the world are demanding action on climate change and have issued an uncompromising open letter stating: “We are going to change the fate of humanity whether you like it or not.”

The Youth Strikes for Climate movement is not centrally organised, so keeping track of the fast-growing number of strikes is difficult.

Many, however, are registering on FridaysForFuture.org

So far, there are almost 500 events listed for March 15 across 51 countries, making it the biggest strike day so far.

Students plan to skip school across Western Europe, the United States, Brazil and Chile, Australia and New Zealand, Iran, India and Japan.

The global movement was sparked by 15-year-old Swedish schoolgirl Greta Thunberg, who decided last August to stay away from school until the Swedish general election on September 9.

She protested by sitting outside the Riksdag (parliament) every day during school hours with a sign, “Skolstrejk för klimatet (School strike for climate)”.

To find out more go to: schoolstrike4climatenz.com

SCHOOL STRIKE FOR CLIMATE: Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg holds a protest poster at a rally in Hamburg. Her slogan School Strike For The Climate and protest outside Sweden’s parliament building has inspired a global movement that includes New Zealand. AP picture