Estimated 150,000 Australian school students from hundreds of schools and adults in almost 60 cities and towns across Australia went on a strike demanding climate action.
The strike adds to the international movement where 1.5 million strikers across 125 countries protested for governments to take urgent action on climate change.
In Australia the strikes took place in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, Hobart, Canberra and 50 other locations. Australian school students called on all politicians to stop Adani’s coal mine, say no to all new fossil fuels and power Australia with 100% renewable energy by 2030.
“Climate change remains the single greatest threat to our livelihoods, security and well being. We are coming together to bring about awareness and to express our deepest concerns for the future and our planet. The time is now. As the sea levels rise, so will we!”, said 15 year-old Brisbane student, Moni Siaosi.
The Australian school strike movement began in November 2018 inspired by 16-year-old Swedish student Greta Thunberg who has been striking outside the Swedish Parliament every Friday since August 2018.
Last November, over 15,000 Australian school students went on strike, defying Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s orders not to. A similar number hit the streets a week later, in response to Adani’s announcement it would self-fund its Carmichael mine.
Milou Albrecht and Harriet O’Shea Carre, two 14 year old students who kicked off the school strike movement in Australia with fellow students in Central Victoria, said: “A Federal Election is around the corner, but our politicians are not listening to the Australian people. Extreme weather is all around us and we need our politicians to be climate leaders.
“We may still be in school but we know the mining and burning of coal, oil and gas is driving dangerous climate impacts, including droughts, bushfires, and heatwaves. We only have a decade to act in order to prevent the worst impacts of climate change yet our politicians are wasting time and putting our future in danger,” said Albrecht.
The growing demand for climate action will inevitably lead to improved lifestyle practices, consumer choices and investment decisions by individuals, organisations and governments. Significant investment and changes are required to achieve global commitments of the Paris Agreement to minimise temperatures rises to no more than 1.5 degrees, as well as achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
International Womens Day, which was celebrated worldwide last week, highlighted the importance of gender equality and diversity in the work place.
In a similar fashion it is important for inter-generational diversity and representation to be incorporated into government institutions and corporations. We need to ensure that everyone’s interests are accounted for when undertaking long term decisions that will impact younger and future generations.
Climate change is a reality with global implications that can severely impact the future livelihood of future generations. For this reason it should be the centre piece focus across policy reforms and long term infrastructure and energy projects.
During the protest kids were chanting for the government to stop the Adani coal mines proposal in Queensland.
Queensland Greens senator Larissa Waters describes the project as madness. “We’ve just had unprecedented weather events in NSW and Queensland” , she said.
The federal government has supported the project, with Resources and Northern Australia Matthew Canavan welcoming the imminent construction of the Carmichael mine.
The Queensland Labor government has opposed the project, vetoing Adani’s plan to seek $1 billion of taxpayer funds via a loan through the Northern Australia Infrastructure Fund.
The backing of this initiative comes as a surprise as countries across the world are setting targets to close down coal mines and move towards renewable energy sources due to global warming threats. Germany recently announced its intention to close all coal fired power plants and transition to renewables.
By Elizabeta Trajkovska and Carlos Mauleon Insight Contributors – Responsible-Investors