Words by Sarah, 19 VIC
I am one of the students striking from school in order to protest the government inaction on climate change. Our aims are to stop the Adani Carmichael mine, to phase out fossil fuels and to move to 100% renewables by 2030.
We’ve learned about global warming in school and the facts are terrifying. It’s uncertain whether we could ever recover from the devastation. The environment is suffering, and ecosystems will continue to collapse at an increasing rate. And we, the youngest generation – we will have to live with it, and we don’t know how.
This January saw the hottest summer on record in Australia. We’ve had bushfires in Tasmania, devastating floods in Queensland and mass fish kills in NSW. We can’t afford to just shake our heads at the TV whilst sitting in the comfort of our homes anymore. It’s real and it will be irreversible.
And yet, our current government’s proposed “Climate Solutions Fund” will include funding for fossil fuels. No one is speaking out against Adani – to the contrary. The Coalition has just approved the groundwater plan, even as scientists from CSIRO warn against such an action, even as the Wangan and Jagalingou people fight for their native title, even as the conservation of endangered species is under question. Even as the coral reef is dying, Adani shows time and time again how little it cares about the environment, the government throws their lot in with a megamine rather than throwing the Carmichael mine out. And our opposition is no better. They say they will not review this decision, regardless of the implications for our future.
What can you do, when you can’t vote? When you’re in school while decisions surrounding your future are being made without you? Well, Greta Thunberg in Sweden decided to do the only thing she could do: she walked out of school and protested in front of Parliament. And across the world we followed suit. The numbers from the 30th of November climate strike in Australia exceeded 15,000 people in over 30 different locations in Australia. On the 15th March, we had 150,000 people from over 60 regions.
Worldwide, that day we had 1,600,000 people protesting, all in the name of climate change.
This all started with a teenage girl on the other side of the globe. Her voice has been heard in countries all over the world, including right here. Here in Australia, our demands are simple:
1. Stop Adani.
2. No more coal.
3. Move to renewables.
We’ve been sitting outside of Parliament since November. We’ve walked out, marched, spoken up when and where we can. Not all of us can vote, but we have a voice. And we’re not alone. Scientists, teachers, 20 different unions, stand with us. The majority of the Australian people support climate action.
This election, we want the politicians to finally realise the impact of this crisis. When people post their ballot cards, they need to be thinking of the climate.