Greta Thunberg reminds us, “Hope is all around us”. Now the question is, what gives us hope? What makes each of us feel hopeful that in spite of the world today, we can turn to a brighter, greener, more sustainable future? What are we as a whole doing to maintain this sliver of hope, to make steps towards a more sustainable tomorrow?
This is the same question we’re all trying to answer, and in all honesty a question most of us find pretty hard to answer. As young voices of tomorrow we have the tough role of answering this question. With help from the Fossil Free Schools Campaign, and many more organizations we are giving ourselves a fighting chance.
We are choosing to listen to the voices of our rangatahi because the ones who have the power to make political change are refusing to hear us. We need to cooperate to implement immediate and meaningful solutions to rising CO2 emissions, such as decarbonising our schools.
Since 2021, Kāpiti College Eco Action Group members have taken the first step towards creating what could be a school-wide initiative, by investigating how to convert to a more renewable way of heating our school. However, after having chats with our school principal, we noticed there were numerous barriers in place.
Some problems we could see occurring were things such as lack of funding, maintenance, monitoring issues and knowledge of more sustainable alternatives that would fit all of our schools’ requirements. Because of the lack of government information and support, we found our school to be more reluctant to change anything without this support.
The funding that we require in our school and most schools around the country can only be accessed via the 5-year agreement funding from the Ministry of Education, but it is highly unlikely funding will be granted unless there is an obvious need, for example, when coal- or gas-fired boilers come to the end of their life.
So schools basically do not get a choice about whether their heating is based on renewable energy unless they somehow privately fund a transition. This is inequitable and should not be the school’s responsibility.
We believe that adequate funding and support should be more easily accessible for all schools. The government must increase the 2022 budget so that all schools and other institutions in the state sector can transition to cleaner, greener energy sources.
In the words of Greta Thunberg,”When we start to act, hope is everywhere” It is up to us to be the hope that we wish to see in the future. As a young person I believe that it is our responsibility to begin to take action against this worsening climate change. To me it is scary to think that if action is not taken my generation and future generations will be the ones that suffer from this wornsening issue. Therefore on Earth Day, we’re asking for the government to inspire our hope.
“In the words of Greta Thunberg, ‘When we start to act, hope is everywhere’ It is up to us to be the hope that we wish to see in the future.”