In the final episode of the Good Ancestors podcast, Noelle McCarthy spoke to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern about the role of young people and the role of politics in responding to climate change.
Young people are ready to confront the reality of a future with climate change. But they are increasingly frustrated by institutions that appear unable or unwilling to make the necessary changes. Last month tens of thousands of high school students demonstrated across the country, taking a day off school to demand more action from the government to prevent global warming.
On that day Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern spoke to a crowd of protesting students in New Plymouth. She believes politics does offer the solution. She says there’s a dynamic between the school strikes and the underpinning obligations that any democracy has to its citizens.
“My response to them, when I saw them in Taranaki, was “keep marching”. I still stand by that statement – this is the next generation’s nuclear-free moment – but there are some distinct differences. There was a real sense of consensus, certainly within New Zealand, around nuclear-free, whereas climate change, we still have to make sure that we are bringing people with us. There is that sense of urgency – and yes, it’s incumbent on us as a government to act,” she says on this episode of Good Ancestors.