Emily Jane believes this week’s Extinction Rebellion protest will be a defining moment in the climate change conversation.
The University of Queensland graduate will be protesting in Brisbane on the 11th and 13th of December to raise awareness about climate change.
It will mark “a generational shift whereby emerging professionals declare they will not sit idle as the climate crisis looms,” said Ms Jane.
“Instead, we will approach our lives with the health of the planet at the forefront of our minds.”
The protest on December 11, will consist of students, academics and graduates dressed in academic gowns and mortarboards marching across Brisbane.
Participants will meet at 5pm next to the Brisbane Wheel.
This is symbolic of the inter-generational divide that climate change seems to cause.
The Australia Institute’s annual Climate of the Nation report showed that only 67% of Australians aged 55 and over responded to being worried about climate change, compared to 81% of those aged between 18 and 34.
Ms Jane graduates this year, and believes that wearing academic gowns enables her and her peers to use this significant moment to take a powerful stand.
“We feel that we are bearing the burden of inaction on this climate crisis,” said Ms Jane.
“We are graduating but we do not feel hopeful.
“This mobilisation of people wearing gowns and academic hats is really a symbol of the learned people and the educated people who stand in solidarity with every climate-concerned citizen to take a stand against government inaction on climate change.”
Professor Kristen Lyons from the University of Queensland said that she stands in solidarity with graduates all over the world who have the right to a safe environment and stable climate.
“At the start of their professional lives, our graduates are being asked to solve some of the hardest challenges,” said Professor Lyons.
There is no doubt that the solution to the impending climate crisis demands cooperation between all sectors of society.
Extinction Rebellion has a group called Grey Power which consists of 100s of senior members who are active in their participation and passion about the cause.
However, Ms Jane affirms that although climate groups try to engage the older generations, statistically it is younger people who are the most engaged because it is they who will have to live with the consequences of climate change.
“It is going to be within our lifetime that we are going to see major ecological destruction and the climate will be collapsing,” she said.
“That is something that us and our children will have to live with.”
As Australia has become victim to devastating fires over the past few weeks, the conversation about our climate has never been more pressing.
Élise Imray Papineau, an Anthropologist researcher, said that politicians and corporations have been ignoring the science of climate change for over 30 years.
“We’re brought up in a system that boasts the integrity of the scientific method – yet find ourselves under siege by politicians who fail to acknowledge the impending crisis threatening our very existence,” said Mr Imray Papineau.
On December 13, Extinction Rebellion plans to shut down the integral Go Between Bridge in Brisbane.
Participants will be dressed in orange and red to symbolise the fires that are burning across the continent, and will meet at 8am on the Go Between Bridge.