Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Friday November 30 – Australian students Strike For Climate Action

Why aren’t they doing anything?: Students strike to give climate lesson, https://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/environment/climate-change/why-aren-t-they-doing-anything-students-strike-to-give-climate-lesson-20181123-p50hvu.htmlBy Peter Hannam,  24 November 2018 This Friday, November 30, thousands of Australian students will go on strike, demanding their politicians start taking serious action on climate change.The movement, School Strike 4 Climate Action, has been inspired by a 15-year-old Swedish student, Greta Thunberg, who started boycotting classes before parliamentary elections in her nation on September 9, and continues to skip school every Friday. She also has a particular message for Australia.

Students in each state capital and across 20 regional Australian centres will walk out of their classrooms this week to tell politicians that more of the same climate inaction is not good enough.

Here are some of the lessons they hope to teach.

‘If we really want a better planet Earth’

Lucie Atkin-Bolton, 11, who will soon graduate as school captain at Sydney’s Forest Lodge Public School, says Australia should be sourcing 100 per cent of its electricity from solar power: “I can’t understand why it hasn’t been done yet.”

“Right now the political leaders aren’t doing very much at all,” Lucie says. “They’re more promoting coal-sourced energy when, if we really want to have a better planet Earth, we need renewable energy.”

Climate change “is a crisis”, she says. “It’s not going to happen in two or three decades – it’s happening now.”

Lucie says “whole islands will disappear” as warming lifts sea levels, and the time for thinking is running out.

“We can’t just talk about it, we have to act,” she says. “We have to make a change.”

While Lucie hopes to attend the main strike event at NSW Parliament, school principal Stephen Reed has been supportive, she says. Students remaining behind are expected to be involved in school-wide activities.

Fear’ is a motivator

Vivienne Paduch isn’t waiting for Friday’s gathering – where the Manly Selective school student will also be a speaker  – to get active. This Sunday, she’ll be busy at a “Crafternoon”, creating banners and honing her speech.

The 14-year-old says Australia needs to cut its carbon footprint “dramatically” and soon. The run of “crazy, extreme weather events” – from the NSW drought to destruction of the Great Barrier Reef and recent unusual fires within the Arctic Circle – are part of her motivation.

“Firstly it’s fear,” Vivienne says. “I’m really scared for me and for my generation and the generations that are going to come after me from the implications of what climate change will mean.

“It’s only going to get worse if we don’t take action now.

“Striking for climate action is more important [to me] than missing a day of school.

“With all the support we’ve got this year, I can see it happening again next year,” Vivienne says. “It’s very important to keep pressure on the politicians.”

‘Young people have to step up’

For Aisheeya Huq, a year 10 student at Auburn Girls High School, the School Strike is a natural extension of her volunteer work for the Australian Youth Climate Coalition.

The 16-year-old says her generation can’t ignore climate change and environmental destruction and the justice issues that flow from them.

“We’re going to have to face the consequences [from the work of] a lot of the policymakers and politicians … due to their lack of understanding and perhaps care for the future,” Aisheeya says.

“Young people have realised that because we are going to be affected, we have to step up, and we have to do something about it.”

Politicians talk about the importance of education and shouldn’t be surprised when students join the climate dots. “If you care so much about our education and what you’re teaching us, why aren’t you doing anything about it?” she says.

‘Massive emergency’

Students from Castlemaine, a town in the Victorian goldfields north-west of Melbourne, were the originators of the School Strike movement in Australia after reading about Greta Thunberg and also the special Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s 1.5 degree report.

Tully Boyle, a 15-year-old at Castlemaine Secondary College, has already taken part in several school boycotts, and this week took a train into Melbourne with other students to deliver demands to politicians.

“It’s a massive emergency,” Tully says. “We want all governments to take it seriously.”

She says heatwaves, flooding and worsening bushfires are a portent of much worse to come if temperature rises reach 4-5 degrees – the course they are now on.

Tully would like to see support for renewable energy and greater promotion of electric vehicles given priority.

“Climate change matters more for us,” she says. “We need to fight for our future.”

Callum Neilson-Bridgefoot, an 11-year-old student at Castlemaine Primary School, has also taken part in four strike activities already.

“Sacrificing a little bit of my education will help in the long term,” Callum said. “I work really hard when I’m at school.

“Any political leader can really make a difference – they have much more power than we do,” he says. “Right now what they are doing is not enough.”

Greta’s actions were a key inspiration. “I was really moved,” Callum says. “It was really brave and very powerful.”

It was so easy’

Greta Thunberg has seen her Friday vigils for action on climate change copied in many parts of the world, including Finland, Germany, Belgium, The Netherlands, Norway, Italy, Canada and Britain. “And Australia of course!” she says.

“The thing I think surprised me the most was that it was so easy,” she tells Fairfax Media, via email.

“I remember thinking before I started ‘why has no one ever done this before?'”

The solution, she says, is to keep climate change in front of the public’s attention.

“All we need to do is treat it like a crisis with headlines and news reporting all the time. And I mean A L L the time,” she writes. “As if there was a war going on.”

Greta wants her Australian acolytes to know she is aware of their actions: “I would tell them that they are making a huge difference. I read about them in newspapers up here in Europe and it’s hopeful beyond my imagination.

“And Australia is a huge climate villain, I am sorry to say. Your carbon footprint is way bigger than Sweden and we are among the worst in the world.”

Greta says leading by example is important, as is “saying the things that are too uncomfortable to say”.

“We may not like that we have to change some of our habits, like flying or eating meat and dairy. But we do have to. Because our carbon budget has been spent and there is nothing left for future generations or the ecosystems we rely on,” she says.

 

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November 25, 2018 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, personal stories

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