Fri, Apr 5, 2024 9:33 AM

Aspiring biologist goes national for climate strike


William Woodworth

This year’s School Strike for Climate (SS4C) is taking place on April 5 across New Zealand. Reporter William Woodworth speaks with national media spokesperson and Marlborough Girls’ College Environmental Prefect Alex Phelps about the student-led movement.

Alex Phelps can normally be found in the field planting native trees, studying Long-Tailed Bats or surveying and banding birds.

The Year 13 Marlborough Girls’ College student and aspiring wildlife biologist has moved from her love of field work to be the spokesperson for the upcoming student strike.

Alex says the open and supportive network around her as School Strike 4 Climate National Media Spokesperson has allowed for a positive transition into the role.

“The value of every person and their thoughts, and the significance of inclusivity and intersectionality, is a key part of the SS4C Kaupapa.

“This year, we have a focus on building relationships across different Kaupapa and beginning to demonstrate the intersectionality of our causes.”


Alex’s national work, combined with her role on the local front as the Marlborough organiser, means she’s brought new outlooks to the national campaign through her local perspective.

“I’ve been tasked with getting the message out to as many people as possible - but I’m never alone in anything and if I’m unsure I can approach the other organisers and bounce ideas,” she says.

“We have such a great team at SS4C, and everyone is really supportive of each other with lots of opportunities for everyone to get involved and contribute to the best of their ability.

“I’d say my perspective differs when it comes to interaction with schools. Our main colleges are so interlinked, and my activism is supported by my school (not the striking part though!), whereas other organisers don’t have that on offer for them.”

Through her environmental advocacy work, Alex has found not only common passions with fellow organisers, but the significance of including input from everyone.

“SS4C have got all our national demands and we’re all really driven about improving Aotearoa and that means different things for different regions – so there are some key issues relating to certain areas that teams may want to hone in on.

“In Te Tauihu-o-te-Waka Marlborough we’re particularly concerned about the wellbeing of our coast and the Sounds, and I know the Ōtautahi Christchurch team are aiming to reduce cruise ship visits”.

“We’re all invested in the environment and Aotearoa, and we all care about honouring Te Tiriti o Waitangi and indigenous knowledge.”

The School Strike 4 Climate is on today (5 April) at Seymour Square, Blenheim from 12.45pm.

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