Culture Wars/Current Controversies

A N.Z. chapter of Greta Thunberg’s climate movement cancels itself for being white, racist

By Michael E. Miller, Washington Post

School Strike 4 Climate’s Auckland chapter is disbanding after criticism it was ‘just an extracurricular activity for upper-class (white) kids’

In September 2019, the streets of Auckland, New Zealand, were a sea of protesters. Across the globe, several million people were marching as part of the “School Strike 4 Climate” youth movement sparked by Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg. But few demonstrations were more sweeping than the one in New Zealand’s largest city, where up to 80,000 marchers filled the streets.

Less than two years later, however, one of the groups that organized the Auckland event is disbanding because of what it says is its own racism.

In a Facebook post, School Strike 4 Climate’s Auckland chapter said it was shutting down because it “has been a racist, white-dominated space.” It directed people concerned about climate change to Indigenous-led groups and said it would not be organizing any more climate strikes.

“SS4C AKL has avoided, ignored, and tokenised BIPOC voices and demands, especially those of Pasifika and Māori individuals in the climate activism space,” it wrote. BIPOC is the acronym for Black, Indigenous and people of color, while Pasifika refers to people who identify with the Pacific islands.

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