Climate crisis at Kia Kaha Primary School

Thursday School Journal

It is the olden days at Kia Kaha Primary School.

The prime minister is a man. His name is Mr Kirk.

A lot of the teachers are men too. They wear shorts and proper shoes and socks that go up to their knees. 

Nobody points at them and goes haha, because it is the olden days and this is what people wear.

Also, in the olden days if you point at a teacher and go haha at him he will say go outside and wait for me David.

And after you have waited ten minutes he will come outside with a strap in his hand, and the class will have gone very quiet so they can hear, and he will say not so funny now is it.



It is science time in Room 13.

Miss Nash asks the class if anyone knows how oil gets made.

David thinks he knows.

David does not put up his hand.

David’s hand still hurts.


Miss Nash says, 

Oil gets made when plankton sinks to the bottom of the ocean and gets mixed up with mud and as long as oxygen doesn't get in, the next thing you know it turns into oil.

Miss Nash says, 

But ‘the next thing you know’ doesn't mean like when you order fish and ships and next thing you know you’ve got six fish three chips and two pineapple rings. It means like millions and millions of years.

Miss Nash says,

Thanks to all this oil that’s collected over millions and millions of years, we can put petrol in our cars and trucks and go wherever we want whenever we want. Aren't we lucky to live in the future, Room 13?

It is 1973 so Miss Nash and Room 13 do not know about OPEC or carless days or Think Big or the war that never happens with Saudi Arabia or the climate crisis or Donald Trump or Keeping Up With the Kardashians.

Lucky Miss Nash and Room 13.



The last bell has gone.

It is time to go home.

Look at all the children on their bikes!

Everyone rides a bike to school because it is the olden days and you are safe when you ride your bike.

The car drivers go slowly behind the children in their Hillman Avengers and Valiant Regals. They are careful not to get too close.

Sandra has a Raleigh 20. When she is older she will take her grandchildren on the Otago Rail Trail and say this is a nice bike but you should have seen my Raleigh 20.

Chris has a bike with a banana seat with ape hangers. When he is older he will be an accountant. He will drive to his accountant office in his Ford Ranger. It will have bull bars and a towbar for his jetski.



No one has a double cab ute or an SUV because it is the olden days.

If you do not have a double cab ute or an SUV you are nearer to the ground where the children are with their bikes.

This makes it easier for you to think about how it would feel to have a bull bar push you over.

Most families have only one car because cars cost so much.

It is not the olden days at Kia Kaha Primary School any more.

Families have lots and lots of cars now.

They have lots of cars because the government changed the rules about where you can buy them.

Now when people in Japan are tired of their dumb old dunger of a car they say to New Zealand here’s a dumb old dunger of a car you can have for almost nothing. It is wired for Tokyo frequencies so the only thing you will be able to listen to is that guy Hoskings LOL, many sorry for this.

The road is not full of children on bikes, now that families have lots and lots of cars.

It is scary to ride a bike to school. 

The cars go very fast.

The drivers do not like it when you hold them up for three or seven seconds.

When you ride your bike it feels like a bull bar might push you over.



It is science time in Room 13.

Miss Barry asks the class if anyone knows how the climate crisis has happened.


Marama says,

Miss, the atmosphere got warmed up. 


Miss Barry says, 

Yes, Marama, it did. And who can tell me what happened then?


James says, 

Miss, sea levels have gone up and the ice is melting, and coral reefs are dying, and forests are burning and it’s all going, like, I don’t know, really bad?


Miss Barry says, 

That’s right James. And why is that bad?


Chlöe says, 

Miss, because it will cause natural disasters, weather extremes and food and water shortages and conflict, and by the time we grow up it could be just really horrible.


Miss Barry says, 

Thank you Chlöe. Now, who can tell me how the atmosphere got warmed up?


Stuart says,

Miss, my Dad says he did his own research and all you leftist marxist dyke teachers are way off, it's just natural variation.

Miss Barry says,

Thank you Stuart, I was wondering where all those emails in capital letters were coming from. Anyone else?


Julie Anne says,

We burned incredible amounts of oil, Miss, and it filled the atmosphere up with the wrong stuff.


Ms Barry says, 

Very good Julie Anne, that’s right.


Ms Barry says, 

You know, it’s amazing to think how it took hundreds and hundreds of millions of years to make all that oil and we managed to use up almost all of it in about three times as many years as Coronation St has been on TV.

Coronation St is a programme old people like.

It comes from the olden days when there was no Netflix and you had to watch whatever came on. 

It is fun when Ms Barry talks about the olden days.

Ms Barry says,

Who can tell me one helpful thing that everyone could do to stop burning oil?

Michael says,

We could use bikes instead of cars, Miss. 

Ms Barry says.

Yes! That is a very good idea Michael. Hands up everyone who thinks that is a good idea.

Everyone in Room 13 puts up their hand.


Ms Barry says,

Now, hands up who feels like riding their bike to school from now on?


No one has their hand up now.

It is as if everyone has got the strap.

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