Allow St Mary's students to take part in the School Strike for Climate, March 15

Allow St Mary's students to take part in the School Strike for Climate, March 15

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Students of St Mary's started this petition to Principal of St Mary's

For students of St Mary's, the school strike for climate preaches the importance of mercy in action: taking responsibility for the environment and all who inhabit it. It also directly relates to Pope Francis' second encyclical, Laudato Si, like the quote: "We are faced not with two separate crises, one environmental and the other social, but rather with one complex crisis which is both social and environmental. Strategies for a solution demand an integrated approach to combating poverty, restoring dignity to the excluded, and at the same time protecting nature."

The core message of the strike is one of empowerment; with it being non-violent, student-led, and spreading the demand that the New Zealand Government ought to do more to ensure that our global temperature does not rise more than 1.5 degrees Celsius. The idea is that we strike from school for one day with the intention to show the youth’s support to a future that is one of environmental stability.

Many St Mary's girls feel very strongly about this issue. We wanted to make a difference, so applied to the senior leadership of the school to see how we could be involved. On the 21st of February, Mrs Stockman wrote a letter clearly condoning the event stating, “Students have asked to be involved [in the strike] and we will be supporting a number of students to represent St Mary’s at this positive occasion”. After a few positive emails that supported our contribution to the movement, on the 7th of March we received an email from Mrs Stockman with a conflicting message.

Students now aren’t permitted to strike or attend the march. In its place, St Mary’s is intending to raise awareness in-school (such as with a Greenpeace speaker, a lunchtime video on climate change). 

In the most recent email from Mrs Stockman, she states, “Our position is aligned with mercy, that climate change is of serious concern as it hurts the neediest people on earth, the poor and the vulnerable.” This simply isn’t the case. By replacing it with school-centred alternatives, they are completely missing the point that we must take political action and strike if we want to see change. The messages of saving the environment will not be spread outside of the school, we will not be supporting the strike already organised, and we won’t be making any lasting political impact.

We expect better. We need to fight for change.

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