‘No more gas, no more oil. Keep our carbon in the soil’ was the call that started the School Strike 4 Climate march of over 1,000 young people through Byron Bay this morning.
The message was clear. They want change, they want action and they are prepared to get out on the streets and hold their governments accountable whether they can vote or not. And they know they are going to get to vote and they are encouraging each other to get registered because they realise that it is only a matter of time before they can.
‘The climate does not discriminate. Our leaders must listen to the scientists,’ said organiser Mia Thom at the start of the rally.
‘We will not stop until emissions are down to zero. Until there is a commitment to 100 per cent renewable by 2030. Not until there is a just transition that is backed that doesn’t leave anyone behind.
‘Today we strike in solidarity with kids nation wide. With other kids in Melbourne, Lismore, Adelaide, Hobart… This is a cry for action that echoes across the world.’
Billie, who was at the march, told The Echo that ‘With so many people are out here it becomes clear that we really need to make a change. This is a good opportunity to come and use our voices.’
Her friend Taya pointed out that the government needs to ‘Put their funding into something that will be sustainable’.
Speaking to the crowd Ms Thom also highlighted the importance of seeking the understanding of Indigenous Australians; how they had lived in this land for over 100,000 years and have solutions to offer in tackling the climate emergency.
‘We stand on un-ceded lands… The fight for climate justice is founded in Indigenous sovereignty.’
Their voices rang loud and strong as they marched down Jonson Street where local Federal member for Richmond Justine Elliot and the shadow minister for regional services, territories and local government and housing and homeless, Jason Clare MP looked on.
Speaking to The Echo and other media MP Clare was not willing to voice a commitment to closing fossil fuel mining even though even the International Energy Agency (IEA) in their report Net Zero by 2050; A Roadmap for the Global Energy Sector ‘is now laying out a pathway to a zero emissions future, without any coal or gas’ as reported by the ABC yesterday.
It appears our children are our future and hopefully we will continue to ‘teach them well and let them lead the way’ even if it does mean they need to take days off school to demonstrate to the politicians, their voting parents and other adults that now is the time to take action on the climate crisis that is destroying their future.
As they kept calling out as they marched ‘Extra, extra, read all about it. Climate change is real, there is no doubt about it’!