Friday 27 September 2019

Saving the world. Hopefully.

"Why are there so many kids on the ferry? Is it a school trip? Oh! It's the holidays, isn't it?"

No, dumbo, it's the Climate Strike march today, heard of that? Sigh. It's probably too much to expect that she watched the news tonight and saw the reports from all around the country of kids - and adults - marching today, 170,000 of them. That's 3.5% of our entire population, Greta Thunberg noted with delight. We were only beaten, world-wide, by Vanuatu, where 20% of the people turned out - for obvious reasons, being such a vulnerably low-lying Pacific nation.

Yes, I marched too, along with lots of other adults including Lolita from the Philippines, who was quite emotional, and Maori Esther who was much more steely-eyed, being a veteran of protest marches from way back. But the majority were school kids, many of them with cardboard signs and banners, all of them cheerful but determined, and very loud about it. Quite a few were in school uniform, having checked in for registration first before setting off, with official sanction, to Aotea Square in Auckland central.
There was live music, then speeches, both complaining and encouraging, and chanting and shouting, and periodic general budging up to allow more people to squeeze in off the street. It rained briefly, and umbrellas sprang up, and then the sun came out again and we set off down Queen Street, filling it from side to side and end to end, watched by office workers from windows and the pavement, and the odd slightly bemused policeman.

It was a polite and good-natured gathering, people were friendly and happy to pose for photos, and we made our collective way to the bottom of the street and along Quay Street, where people linked arms along the kerbs. We eventually fetched up near Spark Arena, for some more hoarse-voiced rarking up, some singing (including the national anthem) and then thank you and goodbye. All very orderly and well-organised, two hours exactly, and we dispersed cheerfully, hopeful that we had made an impression and, perhaps, one day soon, please, a difference.

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