In what organisers believe is a New Zealand first, city and regional councillors and Community Board members gathered to hear the younger generation’s vision for a cleaner, safer, more sustainable future.

The vision came in the form of a communique signed by around 4,000 (more than half) Dunedin secondary school students. It was developed as part of the first Dunedin Secondary Students’ Climate Forum (DSSCF 08).

DSSCF 08 was initiated by Sustainable Dunedin City Inc and held as part of World Environment Day celebrations. Two senior students from each of the city’s secondary schools came together over a weekend in June to focus on the challenges that climate change and peak oil will pose for the city.

“The students worked out a very impressive, thought-provoking communique. When they took it back to their schools, it was signed by almost 4,000 of their peers within four weeks” said event organiser Jinty MacTavish. “It’s a remarkable achievement by a remarkable group of young people.”

The DSSCF communique sets out a broad general vision for the city, as well as more in-depth ideas for each of seven focus areas. It concludes that realising the vision is “not only within our power as a city but also our responsibility” and calls on today’s leaders to help them bring it about.

“With the level of understanding, commitment and ability these school students have shown, they could be a formidable partner for sustainable change in our city”, said Miss MacTavish. “We hope that Dunedin’s elected leaders will respond to their appeal so that all generations can work together to create urgent, positive action.”

The Communique is available here (PDF 0.4MB)