Thu, Apr 11, 2024 9:00 AM

Student strikers push for positive change


William Woodworth

School Strike for Climate campaigners hope to work with council to push for positive change regionally.

More than 100 students and supporters gathered for the School Strike for Climate in Blenheim’s Seymour Square on Friday.

And after being invited to chat with Marlborough Mayor Nadine Taylor, who was also at the event, strike organisers are hoping to find some common ground.

Marlborough event organiser Alex Phelps says she was thrilled with the community’s support of the student-led climate protest, which was one of many being held across the country.

“We’re really happy with how the day has gone, and it’s been especially positive that it was not only students, but concerned Marlburians of all ages joining us,” Alex says.

“The strike couldn’t have gone ahead without everyone there to support it, so I’m really grateful for the way members of our community, and students at MGC, stepped up.

“There is great support for the causes represented from across the community but plans and promises don’t mean anything if they’re not followed or enforced”.

The strike in action at Seymour Square. Photo: Anthony Phelps.

Alex, alongside students Ava Petersen and Silvie Crowe, were invited by the Mayor to speak about the student-led movement’s goals.

Meeting in the Mayor’s office, the trio spent about half an hour discussing areas of concern.

They would like to see council help with putting more coastline protections in place, planning for regional sea level rises, indigenous rights and tackling emissions caused by council owned operations.

“I’m hopeful that the work that both of us at Council and our student activists do can combine and continue to work together towards shared goals”, says Mayor Taylor.

“For us, a huge role for us is with the education side of our shared goals, such as soft plastic recycling schemes with FuturePost and decreasing the emissions that come from our landfill.”

Mayor Taylor says while change would be gradual, council were positive about searching for improvement.

“It’s hard to make giant steps, but where we can we want to make little ones and search for continuous improvement.

“Having young people speaking up and being active is great as Marlborough is your province too - Council are just the managers of it for now.”

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