Over 100 activists came together today in central Christchurch to show support and love for Australia as catastrophic bushfires are still raging across their country.
“The people of Christchurch know what it is like to live through disasters, and to respond with care and generosity. Today we expressed our solidarity with the people of Australia, and discussed our individual and collective power and responsibility to respond to these fires that are worsened by climate change” says event organiser Michael Apáthy from Extinction Rebellion Ōtautahi.
People gathered to express their responses to the fires: To express love to Australia, grief over the deaths with at least 26 human lives and a billion wildlife lost, and to commemorate the sheer amount of forests burnt in the blaze. Extinction Rebellion activists want the people of Aotearoa New Zealand to wake up to the horrific realities of climate change.
“Our species, and countless others, are threatened with extinction. But we are not powerless. People can join the movement, make friends, and make a difference together by demanding climate action from Government and businesses.” Says Apáthy.
Christchurch resident Erik Kennedy said, “Think of all the incredible forests we’re so lucky to have in Aotearoa. Now imagine losing those forests, and all the animals that live in them, in a matter of weeks. I can only imagine how truly devastating this must be for Australian communities.”
Meanwhile we have an OMV oil rig off the coast of Dunedin, one of the worlds largest coal mines in Queensland, and Australia and New Zealand mining companies are opening new coal mines. It’s criminal that these companies are continuing to profit from fossil fuels.
“We can no longer pretend that climate change is happening in the future to someone else, somewhere else. Its’ devastating effects are happening to our neighbours in Australia and we’re feeling the pain of that here too.” says Extinction Rebellion Ōtautahi spokesperson Selina Clare.
The purpose of today’s action was to express love and solidarity with Australia, to make the link between the catastrophic bushfires and climate change, and empower people to demand climate action.