Last Friday, thousands of Australian children took part in a climate change strike to protest government inaction. Children from all of Australia’s capital cities and twenty regional centres took part in a “Strike 4 Climate Action,” a protest organised for children, by children, to express their concern over what they feel is the most important issue of our time.
The strike involved the children staying off school for the day and marching to government buildings in order to get their message out. Many held signs calling for the Adani coal mine to be stopped from proceeding, asking for action on climate change or directly calling out government and other adults for failing to act responsibly.
The strike was inspired by Greta Thunberg, a Swedish student who demanded that Sweden meet its obligations under the Paris Agreement, which they had fallen behind on, and committed to protesting until it had done so. Her actions caught the attention of children around the world, including in Australia, where they inspired two students to organise a protest in Bendigo, outside a local senator’s office.
“Why should we go to school if you won’t listen to the educated?” @ScottMorrisonMP, @AngusTaylorMP, @Melissa4Durack, have you read the #IPCC report yet? Or the Gap Emissions Report?
Another #climatestrike banner says “If you were smart we’d be at school”. https://t.co/fAZiN0DNVv
— Christie Kingston (@ChristieKngstn) November 29, 2018
Strike discouraged by government
Prime Minister Scott Morrison discouraged students from missing school, saying that issues which could be dealt with outside of school should be, and schools should have more learning and less activism.
Resources Minister Matt Canavan suggested that children learnt nothing from protesting, apart from how to become dependent on state welfare later in life, and should stay in school and learn about science, geology and how to extract resources.
Students hit back at these comments on the day of the protest, with signs such as “Why should we go to school if you won’t listen to the educated?” and “I’ve seen better cabinets at Ikea.” The students claim they want Government to see how important the issue is for the younger generation, which will be faced with far more of the repercussions than those failing to take action now. They want to be heard and say they will keep protesting until they are.