On Friday, September 27th Sust joined more than 80,000 Aucklanders - and more than 170,000 people around the country - in the School Strike for Climate. Marchers of all ages, led by school students aged 13-18, were calling for government, businesses and individuals to take action to stop climate change. Sust was one of more than 250 Kiwi businesses that signed the Not Business As Usual alliance, pledging to support workers who wanted to participate in the strike.
I joined Matt at Aotea Square, where he had biked with a group of children aged 5-7 from the suburb of Pt. Chevalier. For most of these kids, the 10km round-trip was the longest bike ride of their lives. Seeing their enthusiasm and commitment was extremely exciting and humbling, and it was an honour to march down Queen Street with them holding the ‘Bike 4 Climate’ banner they had painted for the event.
The strike was an amazing display of energy and determination, uniting people of all ages and backgrounds who want to find solutions to one of the most pressing issues of our time. It is refreshing to see the younger generations challenging the status quo and demanding, in the most peaceful way possible, that we all start doing things differently before it is too late. Ours is the last generation that can stop climate change, but their generation will be the one that will have to live with its impacts if nothing changes.
Now that the strike is over, we need to think about ways to keep the momentum going. We need to reevaluate the way we go about our everyday lives and come up with actions, large and small, that will help us reduce our carbon emissions. Some changes can be implemented straight away. Others, such as changes in policy and government, might take longer and will need our ongoing support.
At Sust, one of the ways we’re continuing to support climate action is by being actively involved in the consultation processes that shape our city. Most recently we’ve submitted feedback on the Auckland Climate Action Framework (ACAF), and are now reaching out to the Council teams behind it to share what we’ve learned from a decade advocating for sustainable buildings. We believe collaboration between Council and businesses already active in sustainability is essential if the hard targets of ACAF are to be realised through action.
Sustainability is at the core of what we do here at Sust. Our mission is to accelerate the adoption of sustainable buildings, and ultimately of sustainable principles in society as a whole. At present, buildings are a major source of carbon emissions, but we have the tools to change that narrative. The projects featured in Sust show it is possible to do things differently. By sharing their lessons, we hope to inspire the next generation of better buildings and to create a ripple effect that transforms of the construction industry into a sustainable one.
The Strike for Climate was a great reminder of why we do what we do, as well as a great source of inspiration to keep us going forward.