In a bizarre incident, a New Zealand chapter of a climate change movement linked with child activist Greta Thunberg has disbanded itself on Saturday claiming that the group was a “racist and white-dominated space”.
According to the reports, a group of child-climate protestors – “School Strike 4 Climate”, who got inspired by fellow child-activist Greta Thunberg and often protested against global warming has dissolved itself after realising that they have turned racists.
The group that began with Thunberg’s activism and later ballooned into widespread student strikes in 2019, had organised marches demanding action on the climate crisis. The Auckland chapter was one of the groups that helped mobilise a protest with more than 80,000 people through the country’s largest city in September 2019.
However, in a major surprise, in a lengthy Facebook post on Saturday, School Strike 4 Climate Auckland said that it will disband over concerns it has become a ‘white-dominated space”.
The statement said, “School Strike 4 Climate Auckland is disbanding as an organisation. This is under the suggestion and guidance of the BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Colour) members of our group, as well as individual BIPOC activists and organisations. We are not holding any more climate strikes in the Auckland region. Our members have also separated from the national SS4C team. Going forward, we will only be using our social media to uplift BIPOC-led climate justice spaces in Auckland.”
We have become racist, tokenised marginal voices: School Strike 4 Climate Auckland
In the post, the group further added that SS4C AKL “has been a racist, white-dominated space” and “tokenised” BIPOC voices such as “those of Pasifika and Māori individuals in the climate activism space”. They said that the group “has avoided, ignored, and tokenised BIPOC voices and demands, especially those of Pasifika and Māori individuals in the climate activism space.”
The statement also apologised for the hurt, burnout, and trauma caused to many BIPOC individuals and it was well overdue said the disbanding of the chapter was well overdue.
Meanwhile, the decision of the child-activist group to disband itself has met with a mixed reception, with some supporting the decision and others thinking it could divide the movement.
Anevili, a spokesperson for indigenous youth climate advocacy group Te Ara Whatu said, “Decolonisation is a big task, and it’s a brave call for them to say they have problems with racism… and then step back and say that disbanding is the right thing to do.”
However Mary Moeono-Kolio, another activist and the Wellington coordinator of 350 Pacific Climate Warriors, said the announcement was sad, disappointing, and most especially divisive. Mary Moeono-Kolio added that the climate movement needs everyone’s involvement and commitment.
The global movement was sparked after Greta Thunberg decided to skip her schooling in order to protest politicians at the Swedish parliament in 2018. Since then millions of young people worldwide had joined movement to protest against their respective governments.