Saturday 8 September was a wonderful, inspiring moment to be a part of the climate justice movement.
An international day “Rise for Climate,” organized by 350.org, resulted in over 250 000 people, 900+ events, in 95+ countries, organizing local days of action. The events purposely coincided with the Global Climate Action Summit a couple of days later, to display to politicians the strength of the ever-growing public demand for strong climate policy.
Here in New Zealand, events were held in Auckland, Whanganui, Wellington, Nelson, Christchurch, Dunedin and Invercargill; with several of them involving Coal Action Network Aotearoa (CANA) members in organisational / speaking roles.
More summaries are available from 350 Aotearoa (and extensive video footage!), but below are our accounts of the ones we were involved in!
In Wellington, around two hundred people took part in a colourful, noisy superhero themed march from Te Papa to Civic Square. There were speakers from an impressive variety of local climate groups as well as an unexpected cameo from James Shaw, who encouraged further public engagement to push politicians further.
From CANA, Mel spoke about the importance of activism in any societal progress, and Tim read a climate-themed poem and spoke about coal. The afternoon also included a beautiful song from local singer Jess Adams, the wonderfully energetic Pacific Climate Warriors, and even an amazing speech from Urs Signer, all the way from Taranaki.
Sign 350 Wellington’s petition to ban the petroleum conference from Wellington council venues here: https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/oil-and-wellington-dont-mix?source=direct_link
In Dunedin, around 100 people showed up in force to hear speakers (including CANA’s Rosemary), and a petition was kicked off to demand Cosy Homes Trust Otago to remove NZ Oil & Gas as a funder. The event was a celebration of past achievements (Dunedin City Council was the first in the country to divest from fossil fuels) and a great platform to get a new generation of Uni activists involved.
Sign their petition here: https://www.toko.org.nz/petitions/fossil-free-cosy-homes
CANA’s Jenny down in Invercargill hosted the southern-most Rise event in the world (except for the one in Antarctica!). People brought symbols of what they are doing in their own lives to combat climate change – a wonderful opportunity to share ideas and inspiration.
In Christchurch, CANA’s Tor was one of the organisers, putting huge amounts of effort into creating not one but two events- People gathered in the Transitional Cathedral to hear speeches from locals working in the climate movement, and the next day was a celebration of Christchurch’s amazing food forest movement, with an opportunity to swap seedlings and learn about food forests.
Here’s Fossil Free Aoraki’s petition (and dear to our own hearts) demanding Fonterra to stop using coal boilers: https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/fonterra-no-new-coal-boilers.
And here’s a short video of the global event. Quite ridiculously, watching it brought tears to my eyes. This is what it’s all about, this is why we’re here. When it sometimes feels like a David and Goliath-esque battle to be heard, this event showed the strength and breadth of the climate movement. 95 countries. 900+ events. 250 000 + people. And so much further we can grow… What a great day- let’s do it again!!
-Mel and the CANA team.