Student Strike 4 Climate leaders’ vision for education

Issue: Volume 99, Number 13

Posted: 14 August 2020
Reference #: 1HA9pz

Eight student leaders from the Auckland School Strike 4 Climate organisation articulated their vision for education about climate change.

Greta Thunberg’s actions have mobilised youth internationally. Aotearoa New Zealand youth are no exception, having organised three strikes to date. The last, held on 27 September 2019, involved 40 different events nationally and attracted approximately 170,000 people. 

With the lockdown now ended, more strikes are planned. Youth want to seize this moment in time to encourage leaders to rethink how they respond to climate change.

While young people’s ideas, such as ensuring that domestic policies align with the Paris Agreement 1.5, were recorded in an open letter to Parliament, less is known about how they think education could support their ideas. 

The Auckland Branch of the New Zealand Association for Environmental Education invited the leaders of the Auckland School Strike 4 Climate organisation to a panel discussion so that they could voice their ideas. 

Youth vision

Eight secondary student leaders attended and about 40 adults, including teachers, were in the audience. These students spoke individually and all agreed on their vision for education about climate change. They identified six specific aspects:

  • Teachers who know how and what to teach about climate change. 
  • Quality resources that are both age and culturally appropriate.
  • Unpacking the IPCC reports that are used to inform and guide policy and people’s actions, so that they are readily understood by teachers and students.
  • A ‘one-stop’ web-based repository for resources and teaching materials that both teachers and students could access.
  • Emphasis on learning individual and collective action-taking skills that will help bring about systemic change.
  • A discussion network or forum where students can talk about climate change with each other and their teachers.


When it comes to realising the students’ vision for climate change education, there are many existing resources which provide a good place to start:

Student wellbeing

The topic of climate change can evoke strong emotions among students, so supporting student wellbeing continues to be a priority. Again, general wellbeing resources  that provide a good place to start are available, including Sparklers(external link) aimed at Year 1-8 students, Te Pakiaka Tangata(external link) for secondary students, and a free number (1737) which anyone can call or text anytime to talk to a trained counsellor.

In addition, the Level 4 climate change education programme Climate Change: Prepare today, live well tomorrow(external link) includes a wellbeing guide.

BY Education Gazette editors
Education Gazette | Tukutuku Kōrero,

Posted: 8:12 am, 14 August 2020

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