Upcoming climate strike to focus on Auckland sea level rise

September 3, 2019

Upcoming climate strike to focus on Auckland sea level rise

Strikers hope their third attempt will target local government by showing where sea levels will be if climate action is not taken seriously. Photo: Rachel Sadler

A 2m sea level rise-line will show parts of downtown Auckland underwater when the School Strike for Climate organisers march for the third time.

Starting at Aotea Square, the organisers are hoping the visual impact of strikers holding hands at a line 2m above the current sea level will be enough to convince politicians to move faster with climate action legislation.

“The strike will just be a visual representation of what’s to come, because I think that’s the best way that we can do that at the moment,” said Auckland strike co-organiser Rebecca Kerr.

Miss Kerr said the two previous strikes have shown politicians how many students care about climate change, but it’s time to show them what will actually happen.

“By going to that 2m-level line, we’re going to have the students lining up on that and hopefully that will be enough pressure,” she said.

While the organisers want to show where Auckland’s harbour could potentially rise to in the near future, they also had concern for Pacific Islanders who are currently living with the affects.

“Tuvalu at its peak is about 2m high, and now with the amount of sea level rise we’ve had they cannot grow crops there anymore,” said co-organiser Luke Wijohn.

Mr Wijohn said a result of the last strike was Auckland Council declaring a climate emergency, followed by the beginning of their Climate Action Framework.  But he said this wasn’t enough.

“This strike, we’ve got a few issues with their Climate Action Framework, a few suggestions really. So we’ll be submitting to them soon, and our main demand for this strike for local government is that they take on board the bulk of our suggestions for their Climate Action Framework,” he said.

Chair of the Auckland Council Planning Committee Councillor Chris Darby said sea level rises were taken into account when city planning.

“The declaration of a Climate Emergency is effectively a call to action on all fronts of council’s work.

“With that unanimous declaration in place we have scope to review not just the Auckland Plan 2050 but also the Unitary Plan provisions,” he said.

Cr Darby said the Planning Committee will be looking at a Unitary Plan monitoring report early next year, and he expected it would signal the need to look even more precisely at addressing climate actions.

A focus of the strike next month is that it’s intergenerational, and the organisers are encouraging the school students to bring their parents, grandparents and whanau to join in for the first time.

“We’re branding it as the best inheritance that you could give your child or your grandkid is the right to live in a world that is the same that you grew up in or better,” said co-organiser Sarah Paton-Beverley.

The third School Strike for Climate is expected to take place on Friday, September 27.

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