During the massive global climate strike in September where about four million people took part worldwide, an estimated 300,000 protesters took part in Australia, with Byron Bay, (8,000 protestors) probably the largest event per capita on the planet.
Another global school strike is taking place tomorrow, November 29, directly before the UN climate talks starting next Monday in Madrid.
School Strike 4 Climate Australia is coordinating dozens of events around the country, many of the students are taking time out of schoolies to add their voices to the hundreds of thousands of students and supporters.
Government inaction fuelling fires
School Strike 4 Climate say that the government’s inaction on the climate crisis is contributing to catastrophic fire conditions. ‘People are hurting. Communities are being devastated. And summer hasn’t even begun. But rather than take real action on the climate crisis, all our government offers is their thoughts, prayers and more support for coal, oil and gas projects.’
The groups says the government has repeatedly ignored Indigenous leaders and firefighters’ warnings of a spiralling bushfire crisis. And they have failed to provide the support needed to manage country and bushfires in a time of climate crisis. They need to be held to account.
Fighting for survival
At 18 years of age Grace Oshannessy just graduated from Alstonville High School and during what should be a time of celebration, she is instead fighting for her survival.
Ms Oshannessy is one of the organisers and the police liaison of an event in Lismore tomorrow. She feels it’s important for youth to be continuing these actions, first of all to increase their involvement in politics and secondly to hold politicians accountable for the climate emergency that they have failed to protect further generations from.
‘We as the school strike for climate group have three demands,’ she said. ‘No new coal, oil and gas projects including the Adani Carmichael mine; we want to see 100 per cent renewable energy and exports by 2030; and funding for a just transition and job creation for fossil fuel workers and communities.’
Ms Oshannessy said she hopes that through striking and continued non-violent actions we will achieve these objectives.
‘These school strikes are making social change across Australia and the world,’ she said. ‘The general public of Australia are changing their minds about climate change and realising the seriousness of our situation, so yes, I think that our strikes have definitely been taking an affect socially.
‘The media has been giving a great amount of attention to these strikes. They make us feel heard and give our voices validity.’
Join Friday sit-in
Grace says the local School Strike 4 Climate group chose to do a sit-in on Friday to show solidarity with the firefighters who have been putting themselves on the line for everyday Australians and the survivors of these fires.
‘We thought a more sombre occasion would be appropriate in response to this national disaster.’
The main action for this School Strike 4 Climate event will be sitting shoulder to shoulder outside the offices of local MPs and fossil fuel companies across Australia and hearing from those on the frontline of the climate crisis. They will also be collecting donations to support those impacted by and fighting the fires.
The Lismore event will start at 11am with letter writing to Kevin Hogan and placard making. ‘The day will be about holding our politicians, including Kevin Hogan, accountable for their failure to respond to the climate crisis.’
At 12pm, people affected by the fires, firefighters and students will speak about their experience in the fires.