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Local school children speak for the planet

Local school children speak for the planet

In a New Zealand first, school students from across Christchurch are coming together this Friday, June 7th in a Speak 4 The Planet student competition. The top speeches and artists from fourteen schools will come together to vie for the top spots and exciting eco-prizes and public can come and listen too.

Speak 4 The Planet is a year 7 to 13 speech and art competition based on the World Environment Day themes of beating plastic pollution and fighting air pollution. Both are hot topics addressing biodiversity and climate breakdown issues that will impact these children more than most of us.

“We’ve seen the youth step up across the world and here in Christchurch with the school strike for climate.” says Michelle Whitaker, who is project managing the event for Sustainable Ōtautahi Christchurch. “I’m very interested in what our young people are thinking and want to support young people to have their say. In this competition they can do this through various types of speeches and art. It will be both entertaining and informative.”

Jocelyn Paprill from NZAEE says “the schools and teachers have really got behind the students involvement, run mini competitions themselves and bringing the best to the main event. A couple of young girls spoke really well at the School Strike for Climate and we’re really excited that they’re participating in our event too.”

“We have got some amazing people and sponsors on board,” says Ms Whitaker, “our art judges include Henry Sutherland from Ara and Nicola Wallace-Bell representing Christchurch Arts Festival. The judging of the speeches will be done by Sara Templeton, Christchurch City Councillor who is a great environmental advocate; Matt Morris from Sustainability Office, Canterbury University who on the side creates organic fermented goodies under the guise of The Urban Monk; Helen Townsend who set up the wonderful social enterprise The Rubbish Whisperer; and Cody Harrington and Celina Templeton speech gurus from local Toastmasters.”

What Ms Whitaker also is excited about is the two MCs. “Megan and Ollie are from Ara’s Sustainability and Outdoor Education course. They are naturally fun and entertaining, know their stuff and will set the youth vibe well. We really encourage people to pop in, check out the wonderful art and hear some speeches. The students will be doing prepared speeches, impromptu and spoken word.” The event is this Friday, June 7th, 9.30 to 3pm at TSB, Tūranga. Prize giving at 4.30pm.

Organised by a partnership between Sustainable Ōtautahi Christchurch and the local branch of the New Zealand Association for Environmental Education (NZAEE). It is supported by SIFT (Sustainable Initiatives Fund Trust) a charitable trust that funds projects that create or inspire long-term environmental benefits.

More details www.sustainablechristchurch.org.nz and on facebook @sustainablechristchurch.

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