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Byron Shire
May 22, 2024

Thousands Strike 4 Climate on the Far North Coast

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Thousands of students from across the Byron Shires are currently staging a School Strike 4 Climate in Byron Bay. Photo Ruby Jeffery.

Eve Jeffery

Estimates of close to 6,000 students and supporters have been reported from the Student Strike 4 Climate currently being held in Byron Bay. Other centres around the Far North Coast and the rest of the state are also reporting massive turn outs.

Students gathered at the Byron Rec Grounds in Marvel Street from 8am this morning and the planned 10am start was delayed by traffic getting into town.

Many students arrived in Byron Bay by bus for the march and rally. Photo Ruby Jeffery.

Though the march did not have a permit to use the road in Byron, protesters spilled over from the footpath halting traffic in all directions. One young woman said there was nowhere else to walk but on the road. ‘There is no way that many people could have been contained on the footpath,’ she said. ‘The cops were blocking the traffic for students so they obviously realised it was futile to try, so better to be on the side of safety.’

She said that everyone was chilled and that the people who were stopped in their cars in traffic took it really well. ‘There was also lots of support from those watching from the footpaths.’

A car accident between the highway and the Cavvanbah Centre on Ewingsdale Road heading into Byron Bay before 9.30am saw hundreds of vehicles backed up along the highway to Tyagarah, including buses that had been hired to transport students to town.

Echonetdaily received a number of calls from people stuck in traffic on Ewingsdale Road who were unable to get to the march.

Organisers delayed the start of the march by approximately half an hour as they waited for arrivals that were coming in from surrounding areas.

Magellan Street in Lismore is blocked by student strikers. Photo David Lowe.

Striking in Lismore and Pottsville

Students have been gathering in Magellan Street in Lismore from 10am. The street has been blocked off between Keen Street and Molesworth Street as numbers continue to build for a rally early this afternoon. The offical count for the event was 3,400 students and supporters.

On the Tweed, students gathered at Ambrose Brown Park in Pottsville.

The Pottsville Global Strike for Climate rally was attended by 1580 people, who marched along the main Street to make their point.

The rally was addressed by five individual students ranging from Primary School to Year 12. Saige Hill from Kingscliff High School acted as MC.

Mayor Katie Milne. Photo Dave Norris.

Tweed Mayor Katie Milne addressed the crowd with the welcome news that that Council voted last night to declare a Climate Emergency. She thanked Council’s Youth Advisory Council which had recommended that motion and provided an excellent speaker at the Public Forum session.

Not Business As Usual

It was not business as usual in Byron with nearly thirty shops, cafes, services and galleries closing their doors from 10am until midday as part of the strike.

Prior to the event dozens of businesses agreed to support the youth in their fight for serious action on climate change by shutting up shop, as part of a joint initiative by Stop Adani Byron Shire and Extinction Rebellion Byron Bay.

James Perrin from Stone & Wood encouraged staff to take time off to join the rally. ‘We’ve got most of our team here today,’ he said. ‘This was really driven by a groundswell of people in the business that are passionate about it; it didn’t come from the top down, it came from team members saying we should be standing up for something like this.’

Strike 4 Climate Tweed Shire. Photo Dave Norris.

Business around the shire who either closed or allowed staff to attend the strike included Bella Rosa, Endless Summer, Baskin Robbins, Tasa Jara, Retrospect Gallery, Etnix, Beyond Oil electric transport, Sustainable Futures Australia, Byron Beach Realty, Liberty Trading Co, The Rainbow Shop, Tree of Life, Ixtlan Jewellery, Miss Brown’s Vintage, In The Pink, Sparrow Coffee, Attik, Espressohead, Zanzi Hairdressing, Patagonia, Green Pack, Muscle Balance Therapies, Arnhem Warehouse, Hemp Culture, The Source Bulk Foods, Black Dog Surfing and Echo Publications.

Thirty additional establishments have supported the strike by displaying advertising posters in their windows.

Before the march organiser Emma Briggs said the response from business owners and managers was generally very encouraging. ‘The momentum has picked up during the past week as retailers have come around to the idea,’ she said. ‘This has also been implemented on an international level with the “Not business as usual” campaign. ‘The students understand this is a significant sacrifice for business owners in a busy period, but the sacrifices we’ll all have to make if we fail to turn around the climate crisis will be far greater,’ she said.

’It is the young people who will have the most to lose if we continue with business as usual.

‘We would like to thank all our supporters very much, and hope that consumers will consider patronising the participating businesses who have shown they care about more than just short-term profit.’

Pottsville climate strike

 


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19 COMMENTS

  1. Well done young people of the Shire !

    It gives one hope that all is not lost … that we are not reliant on our myopic so-called leaders – otherwise known as politicians – to show some passion for our home – Planet Earth.

    • My tears are for the planet and for those who really want to care for it and for the dismay I feel about the greed and politics that is stopping what we need to do!
      I am in the dark swarm between hopelessness and hopefulness. Humanity has the potential for true compassion but usually only when its absolutely necessary and in the most Di of situations. Hopefully in this hopelessness; the feet of the people will be heard and we will make the changes to ensure survival of this planet for all living creatures, our children and their children.

  2. A great blend of climate activists, parents, grand parents and school kids in Lismore.
    Looked for Kevin Hogan but he was not to be seen.

  3. We are all in this together, so if the planet could speak
    it would applaud all the students who called on
    common sense & the right to be seen & heard. Also
    let it be realised that this coming together as a world
    family was a signal saying ‘humanity reigns’ above &
    beyond race, country & opposing belief systems
    regardless of power structures & differences. We are
    one! It’s rightly so.

  4. The students are being exploited.
    Their task ought to be to weigh the evidence on both sides of the debate.
    Teachers do you job ~ direct them to do some thinking not to chant slogans and wave banners.

    • Denis, I have studied climate at university degree level. The older students demonstrating understand the overwhelming scientific evidence of anthropogenic climate change and the potential consequences for our planet and their generation. It is because they are intelligent and well educated. Even many of the younger ones are aware of radical weather events. We are at many tipping points for runaway climate change.
      Australia could be leading the world in renewable energy development and use with far greater and longer term employment than the fossil fools industry. Renewables are now the cheapest option for new power.
      One student’s placard said “If yous had any sense I’d be at school.” If our government pulled its head out of the sand she would not feel the need to demonstrate for her’s and our planet’s well-being.
      Our economy is in the doldrums. Government encouragement and investment in renewable energy and resource efficiency measures could generate many new jobs and industries. A win for economy, people and our environment. Please wake up and see the possibility.

  5. The school strikes for climate are fantastic for re-igniting the conversation (it has in our family). There are some big goals (stopping Adani, seeking large scale alternative energy, etc) which will need Government (and Capital Market) action, but what are students and parents doing in our own lives to address this. For example:
    1) overseas holidays – are you consciously reducing these (airline travel a huge carbon emitter). Holiday closer to home.
    2) car use – are you consciously looking for alternatives (carpooling, bike riding, scooters, at least no cars over four cylinders)
    3) Simple daily cup of coffee – does everyone use a keep cup
    4) Air conditioning – are we dressing appropriately and increasing the temperature range on thermostats before engaging air-conditioning. Or building smarter to be more passive with temperature control (I note that Byron Bay High School is forging ahead with multiple air-conditioning purchases for class rooms)
    I think we need to be conscious of our “own backyard” and I’m sure there are plenty of people thinking and doing things in this area – but I didn’t see any protest placards on these matters and guess there is plenty for us to all fix at home.

  6. Nice one Rossco !! What have you done for planet earth to minimize your carbon footprint?? Its everyone’s obligation right ??? How many of these
    Protesters?? eliminated anything connected to coal from there lives ?? Happy to enjoy all the benefits, lifestyles, prosperity that comes with coal .. so brainwashed by the propaganda to hold governments accountable…so all you kids, until you all take responsibility as well, as individuals ..may i suggest you Google all that is connected to coal you enjoy, educate yourselves and start the Elimination process..not until i see this process happening will i take the protesters seriously.. never forget kids !!! Not one Scientist WORLDWIDE have ever had a global warming prediction come true …
    NOT ONE !! IN 50 YEARS…fact !! global warming since records began has risen and fallen 1degree
    That is not Catastrophic!! Also 2000 years ago in Europe it was 1.5 degrees warmer than the present day Temperatures..no fossil fuels ..you wont get taught that at school .. assk your teachers for a explanation ..ask what were the contributing factors for such Global Warming 2000 years ago ???

    • Wow! You say “Not one scientist worldwide has had a climate change prediction come true”
      Well only 17 years ago I studied climatology as a degree unit. Predictions then that have unfortunately become true:-
      Polar ice caps melting at an exponentially increasing rate,
      Increased intensity of all weather events, storms, droughts, floods.
      Accelerating thaw of the Northern Tundras, releasing Carbon dioxide and Methane that has been locked it these frozen swamps for thousands of years. this results in more greenhouse gasses and warming, a probable runaway feedback.
      Higher average temperatures worldwide. Even one degree can make big changes to the planets’ major air currents and thus the weather.
      North Atlantic “Gulf Stream” current moving South, pushed by cold Arctic water from melting ice.
      Is that enough??
      Yes its all happened before but never so fast except due to a very large meteor strike.
      Graphs of fossil fuel use since the industrial revolution and average global temperature are both exponential and run virtually parallel overwhelmingly indicating a strong relationship.
      Please wake up to reality.

  7. Fantastic rally today….. but where was our mayor, where were our councillors?
    Thought someone might have been there to speak to the crowd and support the
    students…. this is surely the most important issue of our time…. one would
    have thought at least one councillor might have showed up?? Maybe they were
    around but didn’t get up to speak? But no-one I knew spotted anyone.

    • Two Tweed Shire Councillors attended the Pottsville rally – our amazing Greens Mayor Katie Milne and re-elected Deputy Mayor Chris Cherry. However, our Labor, Liberal and National Party Councillors and MPs were nowhere to be seen. Is it because they were afraid of the flack they may have received as a result of their pro-fossil fuel policies?

      The Greens have a 100% renewable energy target by 2030 and zero emissions target by 2040. Not only has the Labor Party come out after the last federal election with support for Adani and new coal mines, but is now reviewing their target of 45% emissions reduction by 2030. It is being suggested that they will align themselves with the LNP’s policy of 26-28%, which experts are saying is far short of what is needed to contain our global temperatures at 1.5 degrees C.

      Many of the students who are currently protesting against climate inaction will be of voting age at the next federal election. Unless their climate demands are met, I expect there will be a big shift away from profit-driven politicians as our youth vote for progressive parties such as the Greens who have a vision and the policies for a safe and prosperous future for all of us.

  8. A very good turn out for this most important cause.
    Well done everyone (students and all supporters), and keep up the pressure!
    Interestingly, some media (TV news channels) are seeming to downplay the numbers of people attending, stating “More that a million people globally”.
    I’d think, judging by the 1580 counted in Pottsville (of which I was proud to be one) and reported numbers in the local region plus the huge numbers in our capital cities, there was probably around a million people in Australia alone… and added to the far greater numbers across Europe and rest of the world… more likely closer to a BILLION globally!!
    Re comments by some people with their heads still stuck in the sand;
    Metaphorically speaking… I guess as the sand continues to get eroded away from our beaches, they’ll be left unable to remain in denial.
    In the meantime, they should educate themselves and attend factual talks on the issue/s… rather than blab off with opinionated rants. Maybe watch some documentaries such as: ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ (2006).
    There have been warnings about global warming for decades, most scientists shunning these warnings until gradually realising this is the truth, and action MUST be taken and not procrastinate further.
    Re Barrow’s comments;
    We, like many others that ‘live what they preach’ do just that!
    We have 6KW of solar, all lights in our house are LED, we never leave TVs etc on standby, are self-sufficient on tank water, use water sparingly, don’t buy bottled water, don’t use straws, pick up and bin rubbish, recycle religiously separating materials, repair rather than replace when possible, drive fuel efficient vehicles (within means), etc. … and encourage others to do similarly. And have practised this way of life for decades! (except for my last car)
    This issue is not a joke, and needs urgent action. Like it or not. It might be inconvenient and it takes a bit more effort… mais, c’est la vie!
    Incidentally, the students that spoke at Pottsville were well informed, articulate, clear, concise and passionate. I was very impressed!
    For those that say ‘they should be in school’;
    As many of the students said, if politicians and big businesses did their jobs more ethically and responsibly, then there would be no need for them to demand we pay attention, and allow them a future!!
    I hope (as asked at the rally) that ALL of the speeches in their entirety are made available on the internet… as I and others would like to hear them again…

    • Once again respect all opinions and views! Lets start with the inconvenient truth !! The one and only Al Gore!! ..the same man who preaches absolutely GLOBAL Warming rubbish!! Yes brad the same person who has a “pool Olympic” in his back yard .. its a heated POOL brad ..fact , this pool heater uses more power than the whole street !! Not to mention his GLOBAL traveling first class on
      Planes …he is a prime example” DO AS I SAY” NOT AS I DO ” hypocrisy in the first order …by the way he is mates with Tim Flannery!! What a combination
      But the world has to minimize our carbon footprint on earth..but not this hypocrite!! Now regarding the
      Protesters!! One of the demands is 100% commitment…so one would assume that individuals will achieve this as well brad !! 100 %
      Commitment to eliminate coal from their lives right ? These protesters are oblivious to reality of what this means !! ” Practice what you preach right ”
      This will never Happen ..rest my case …but its the
      Governments inaction RIGHT brad ..

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