Organisers of the School Strike for Climate have begun contacting unions to get their support for a general strike at the end of September.
The strike on 27 September is part of a global week of action coinciding with the United Nations' Emergency Climate Summit in New York.
One of the organisers, Sophie Handford, said they wanted workers to join young people in calling for faster action on global warming.
"We are really wanting students, young people to bring along their parents, grandparents and we're also working on how we can engage with workers through the unions. We're pushing for this to be a general strike so we're encouraging adults to jump on board with us," she said.
Ms Handford said even if adults did not strike she hoped they would use their lunch breaks to protest at rallies and marches held on 27 September.
The secretary of the Council of Trade Unions, Sam Huggard, said striking would be illegal but union members would take some form of action.
"Calling it a strike is difficult for unions in a sense. You're able to strike in New Zealand for pursuit of a collective agreement or for health and safety matters, but certainly we've discussed this in the past couple of weeks across the movement and this will be part of a national week of action that week in September so whether or not it's a strike or it's other actions, workplace meetings, rallies and so on, there's definitely going to be a good union presence," he said.
Secondary school teachers went on strike in June over their pay claim but Post Primary Teachers' Association president Jack Boyle said they could not strike over climate change.
However, he said some schools might decide to send teachers to the September strike with their students.
"It comes down to the discretion of the school and if there is a number of students from a particular school who are attending on that day and the school decides 'you know what, we're going to enable teachers to be there' then that would be for them to decide," he said.
Mr Boyle said there were other ways teachers could help climate-striking teenagers.
"It's the business of educators to try and channel that energy and commitment into really productive ways of achieving what they want. So helping them with how you might get a petition to Parliament or how you might provide additional support at the school level for the sort of campaign that I think they're running, that would definitely be something we're into."
Meanwhile, Sophie Handford said the relatives of school-strikers could expect to come under pressure to join the next protest.
She said adults should be calling for faster action on climate change because the futures of their children and grandchildren were at stake.
Organisers of the youth-driven climate change movement, School Strike for Climate, want adults to down tools and join in. They're approaching unions to get their support for a general strike at the end of September as they call for stronger government action to mitigate global warming. Here's our education correspondent, John Gerritsen.
The Hump Ridge Track in Southland will soon become New Zealand's newest Great Walk, as conservation minister Eugenie Sage announced this morning. Anne McDermott is the president of the Southland Tramping Club and is on the line to tell us about it.
The government has today signed a memorandum of understanding with groups on Rakiura/Stewart Island to come up with a strategy to make it predator free.
The island is home to the Rakiura tokoeka kiwi, the Stewart Island robin, and harlequin gecko - which aren't found anywhere else in the world.
The strategy will aim to remove rats, possums, feral cats and hedgehogs from Rakiura and its surrounding islands.
They are already free of stoats, weasels, ferrets, pigs and goats.
Once the strategy is drawn up, money from the government's recently announced $81 million predator control fund will be made available to get the job done.
The Whangārei District Council is to receive a roughly $1 million funding boost to restore Matapōuri Beach in Northland.
Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis has unveiled the support this morning as part of a $12m in total being distributed from the Tourism Infrastructure Fund.
He said about 1000 people visit Matapōuri Beach every day during summer, but the increasing numbers are taking a toll because of the lack of infrastructure.
Mr Davis said the money will go towards installing necessary facilities to keep the beach one of the best in the world.
Other projects being funded around the country include upgraded camping facilities and wifi-enabled, solar-powered rubbish bins.
One of the most significant Russian space science missions in the post-Soviet era has launched from Baikonur.
The Spektr-RG telescope is a joint venture with Germany that will map X-rays across the entire sky in unprecedented detail. Researchers say this information will help them trace the large-scale structure of the universe.
The hope is Spektr-RG can provide fresh insights on the accelerating behaviour of cosmic expansion.
It should also identify a staggering number of new X-ray sources, such as the colossal black holes that reside at the centre of galaxies.
As gas falls into these monsters, the matter is heated and shredded and "screams" in X-rays. The radiation is essentially a telltale for the universe's most violent phenomena.
Spektr-RG is expecting to detect perhaps three million super-massive black holes during its service life.
The telescope rode to orbit atop a Proton rocket which left the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
Here is what REALLY happened behind the scene, during launch scrubs of the latest #Proton mission. #SpektrRG is really lucky to be where it is. DETAILS: https://t.co/naqJkZvdKo pic.twitter.com/7EI8HytN99— Anatoly Zak (@RussianSpaceWeb) July 13, 2019
It will be many weeks however before the mission's work can begin in earnest.
The spacecraft must first travel to a popular observing position some 1.5 million kilometres from Earth known as Lagrange Point 2.
It's here that Spektr-RG can enjoy a stable environment free from the shadowing and temperature swings it would otherwise experience if operating closer to our home planet.
But once testing is complete, the observatory can get on with the business of scanning the sky.
Spektr-RG is constructed as a two-in-one telescope. Taking up most of the room on the spacecraft bus, or chassis, is the German-developed eRosita system. Nestled next to it is the Russian-built science hardware known as ART-XC.
Both use a cluster of seven tubular mirror modules to corral the X-ray light down on to sensitive camera detectors.
Working in tandem, eRosita and ART-XC will map the radiation as it floods across the cosmos in the energy range of 0.2 to 30 kiloelectron volts (keV).
Over the course of six months, they should complete one full-sky survey, which will then be repeated again and again to improve on the detail.
Scientists expect the data to be a revelation. An all-sky X-ray map has never before been produced at the sought-after energies and at such fine resolution.
A key goal of Spektr-RG will be to investigate the mysterious cosmic components referred to as "dark matter" and "dark energy".
This duo make up 96 percent of the energy density of the universe, but next to nothing is known about them. The former seems to pull on normal, visible matter gravitationally, while the latter appears to be working to drive the cosmos apart at an ever faster rate.
Plan to illuminate clusters of galaxies
Spektr-RG's insights will come from mapping the distribution of hot, X-ray-emitting gas.
This will illuminate the great clusters of galaxies that thread across the Universe. And in doing so, it will identify where the greatest concentrations of dark matter can be found.
"We're aiming to detect about 100,000 clusters, and in fact above a certain mass limit we expect to detect all the clusters in the universe," said Professor Kirpal Nandra from the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics in Garching, Germany.
"We then measure their masses, and see how the number of clusters of a given mass evolves over cosmic time. This gives us a potentially a very accurate measure of the amount of dark matter, and how it clumps together.
"Our sensitivity allows us to map all this out to huge distances, all the way back to more than half the age of the universe. That means we see the large-scale structure not just as it is today, but back then as well. And we also see how it's evolved over time. That's what gives you the ability to test cosmological models and to see perhaps the influence of dark energy and whether this has changed over time."
Spektr-RG has taken decades to develop. Russian scientists have had to cope with inconsistent funding down the years and as a consequence the concept that launched today is quite radically different from what was originally envisaged.
The mission has been described as the most important astrophysics venture in post-Soviet Russia. Prof Nandra said his Russian colleagues certainly saw it that way.
"It puts them right at the forefront of X-ray astronomy; it's a massive opportunity for them," he added.
Is living in big cities making us dumber? Or duller, perhaps, taking the edge off our cognitive abilities? A new report suggests that indoor levels of carbon dioxide could be clouding our thinking and may even pose a wider danger to human health. Professor Michael Hernke and Dr Tyler Jacobsen are with us to discuss.
Indoor carbon dioxide levels could be a health hazard
Only a select few visit the distant Hawaiian island group, Papahanaumokuakea. It's a massive but remote conservation area, covering ten islands and almost one million square kilometres of the Pacific.
Nathan and Alana Eagle recorded their visit there for the podcast 'Offshore'.
And I didn't just enjoy it for the great bird audio, and the interviews with the dedicated conservation workers when they got there. I loved hearing about all the preparations they had to make before their trip (including freezing a complete set of new clothes!) .
We share some of the episode 'Our Journey To The Last Wild Place' from the 'Offshore' podcast produced by Jessica Terrell and April Estrellon with field reporters Nathan and Alana Eagle. And that show's produced by Honolulu Civil Beat, a nonprofit community-supported news organisation.
Visiting a threatened Hawaiian ecosystem: ‘Offshore’
Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage has criticised Westland District Council for not having the to cash clean up Fox River, but the mayor says the region's few ratepayers should not need to pay.
DOC took over the cleanup, dubbed Operation Tidy Fox a few weeks ago, after severe flooding exposed a disused landfill in late March. A team of 70 Defence Force personnel has also been deployed in the past week.
It's a race against the spring rain on the West Coast as up to 90 volunteers a day hurry to pick up the bulk of the spilled rubbish from the 5km of river most badly affected.
It's an area the equivalent of about 500 rugby fields and to date just under 20 percent has been cleared, but once the rain arrives it's likely more rubbish will move and be flushed out to sea.
Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage called in DOC after Westland District Council walked away.
"The Westland District Council said it couldn't cope and it was calling down a short-term loan to pay for some of the costs involved. That shows a degree of problems with financial management I think, with that particular council," she said.
Westland District mayor Bruce Smith said the extent of damage of the flooded landfill was a complete surprise and not something the council was prepared for, and the current generation of 6500 ratepayers should not have to wear the cost of a disused government-owned landfill.
"To suggest it's financial mismanagement to not address a dump that was put there in 1945, that was 65m away from the river, was fully capped - is disingenous," he said.
Mr Smith said every year ratepayers were hit with increases to cover the costs of infrastructure for tourists, and central government did nothing to help, which was "fundamentally unfair".
Mr Smith said ratepayers in the Grey District, further up the coast, had been battling for years for government assistance after the Cobden dump was eroded by the sea.
"The volume that went into the sea was much greater than Fox. The ratepayers of Grey have been attempting to get government assistance of $2 milllion for two-and-a-half years now, to no success. They deserve assistance from central government."
Ms Sage said councils needed to accept responsibility.
"It is not DOC's responsibility to manage landfills or the consequences of their poor management by councils in the past. It's local authorities that have that primary responsibility for landfill management," she said.
DOC incident controller Owen Kilgour did not want the department's input on the West Coast to become the new norm.
"We've been clear from the outset that this is not a precedent we're setting that DOC will come in and clean up at this sort of event," Mr Kilgour said.
"We would certainly be able to contribute knowledge from our response in this case to future events but no, this is certainly not a precedent for what DOC will be doing in the future."
With DOC taking over at Fox River, Ms Sage said the response had improved significantly but the flooded landfill was not a national event on the scale of the Rena oil disaster off the coast of Tauranga in 2011.
"You haven't got oiled wildlife the way you had with the Rena, you haven't got continued leaks occuring," she said.
"With DOC taking over it has been a much more coordinated, orchestrated response."
Ms Sage said further work was being done by the government on the threat to legacy landfills from intense storms and rising sea levels.
An Antarctic glacier the size of Florida may be on the brink of collapse and could cause catastrophic global sea level rises. It's expected that once the melting of Thwaites Glacier passes a tipping point, it will become an unstoppable process which could raise sea levels by half a metre. Corin Dann speaks to Dr Alexander Robel from the Georgia Institute of Technology, who lead the study.
Risk of major sea level rise when Antarctic glacier collapses
About 5,000 tonnes of the mineral bauxite has spilled into a bay in the Solomon Islands where a bulk carrier ran aground earlier this year, spilling thousands of litres of oil. RNZ's Jamie Tahana reports.
A second environmental disaster for Solomon Islands
A climate change advocacy group hosted a party at Wellington Railway Station this morning to remind commuters about the threat of sea level rise.
Generation Zero, a volunteer, youth-led organisation that champions a zero carbon Aotearoa-New Zealand, hosted the party at the capital's main station this morning. It is hosting submission parties around the country.
Member Monique Bartosh said action on climate change was needed or Wellingtonians would "find themselves swimming to work".
"This is the moment for us to make our voices heard on the Zero Carbon Bill and strengthen New Zealand's climate change law for decades to come."
Another member of the group, Elliot Blyth, said coastal cities such as Wellington, the Hutt Valley and Kāpiti were "extremely vulnerable" to sea level rise.
"Yet New Zealand continues to emit enormous amounts of greenhouse gases that contribute to the climate crisis."
Generation Zero spokespeople are urging New Zealanders to make submissions on the Zero Carbon Bill before they close on 16 July.
The bill will require the government to introduce economy-wide emission reduction policies and make plans to protect New Zealanders from the impacts of climate change.
The bill is before the Environment Select Committee and is expected to be enacted before the end of the year if passed into law. Its first reading was upheld in parliament 119 votes to one.
Thirty years ago botanist Dr Hugh Wilson had a novel idea for trying to make hilly farmland on Canterbury's Banks Peninsula and turn it back into native forest. It was 1987, and the suggestion that gorse would be the perfect cover for self-sown native seedlings was met with derision by many.
One farmer even labelled it the work of 'fools and dreamers'. Fast forward today, and Hinewai Nature Reserve is now 1500 hectares of native bush and his story has been told in a new documentary, aptly titled 'Fools and Dreamers', about to screen around the country.
Gorse for the trees: How one man brought back a forest
Fears over the spread of Kauri dieback have prompted the permanent closure of 10 walking tracks in the Bay of Islands. DOC's Bay of Islands Operations Manager Martin Acroyd told our reporter Nita Blake-Persen that the decision to close the tracks wasn't made lightly.
DOC closes 10 walking tracks in BOI due to Kauri dieback fears
The world's top clockmakers are gathering in Queenstown this week, to discuss quantum science.
These scientists are pushing to make the measurement of time more precise. That may sound unnecessary but it's crucial to understanding the quantum world.
Murray Barrett is an ex-Otago student who know works at the Centre of Quantum Technologies in Singapore. He's in the country for the conference hosted by the Dodd-Walls Centre.
Severe weather events and rising sea levels are forcing councils to get serious about the way they manage old rubbish dumps near waterways.
The clean-up is still underway along the Fox River after severe flooding exposed a disused landfill in late March, strewing trash kilometres across West Coast beaches.
Tony Kokshoorn of the West Coast's Grey District knows too well how those at the Fox River are feeling. Almost 18 months ago the remnants of ex-tropical Cyclone Fehi clawed away the beach at Cobden, near Greymouth, and scoured out an old landfill.
An army of contractors and volunteers were mobilised to help clean up the mess, which stretched 20km south along the coast to near the mouth of the Grey River.
"It did a lot of damage and there was a massive amount of plastic that came up on the beach from the dump itself."
Mr Kokshoorn said what happened at Fox River in March was worse. He believed historic dump sites near rivers posed a greater threat than those on the coast.
"Because when you've got a river that inundates a particular refuge pit it is going to carry it all the way down the length of that river.
"Once it gets into the current - if you've got a flooded river and stormy seas - it will disperse it for miles."
Since March last year the Grey District Council has spent $3.2 million to fix the Cobden site, and on building a new barrier to make sure it does not happen again.
In 2011 the Tasman District Council prepared a plan for all its known closed landfills, 17 of which are located near the coast or on river flats. Official reports have found some could be vulnerable to sea level rise of half a metre while others by up to a metre.
The council's waste management team leader, David Stephenson, said there was no room for complacency.
"The events in Fox are a good reminder to everyone to be vigilant and to manage and monitor your sites, and not be complacent about them."
Kevin Hague of Forest & Bird said if he were to list the top 20 risky landfill sites, they were those next to waterways.
Climate change and sustainability consultant to iwi Chris Karamea Insley said it was reasonable to suggest toxic sites near rivers were a big problem.
"The point has to be first that these landfills were located a long time ago - before the climate change issue had become as pronounced as what it is now.
"Now that we've got these incidents of intensive flooding and heavy rain, they're exposing these old practises."
Mr Stephenson said fixing the problem was not as simple as moving old landfills. He said that could create bigger issues than might be solved.
"You can remobilise a lot of the materials that have sat quietly for a while, particularly if in these coastal areas."
The management plan for Tasman is the benchmark for a two-yearly monitoring programme - the fourth of which is underway.
A Wellington man is fed up trying to get Bunnings in Lyall Bay to keep their plastic in check. Steve Cronin says he's repeatedly asked the store to do something about the plastic wrapping that blows over their fence and towards the beach. The hardware store says it's making efforts to stop its waste blowing away and while Mr Cronin says the situation has improved, their efforts still aren't good enough. Meriana Johnsen reports.
The government wants to change the sorts of vehicles people buy - by making gas-guzzling high emitters more expensive and electric cars cheaper. Andrew Hoggard is Federated Farmers' vice president and its climate change spokesperson. He talks to Corin Dann.