In what is becoming a climate action tradition instigated by Swedish school student and environmental activist Greta Thunberg, Fridays are the day to strike for the climate and next week Byron Shire will be demanding political action on the climate emergency in what students and supporters say is our present, future and reality.
Known as School Strike 4 Climate, the movement, which is completely student-run and does not associate or align with any political party, has organised a series of strikes worldwide events and includes school student’s of all ages, races, genders, backgrounds and sexualities from every part of Australia and the world.
The students say they are united by their concern for the future of the planet that we live in – strikes have bridged the thousands of kilometres that separate students to create one of the biggest movements in Australian history.
Young Citizen of the Year
One of the spokespersons for the Byron event is Byron Shire’s Young Citizen of the Year Mia Thom says the last protest saw the bringing together of over 10,000 diverse peoples, exemplifying the power of the collective. ‘It is easy in these times to feel disillusioned, burnt out, the combined weight of many intersecting issues, but we cannot give in, we must create hope through action.’
Ms Thom says we must believe in the collective power of people and understand that these issues stem from a corrupt system that priorities profit over people. We are at the forefront of this emergency, with catastrophic weather events such as flooding and bushfires. Locally we have witnessed extensive erosion that threatens habitat and livelihoods.’
Starting at the Rec Grounds in Byron
Students are inviting everyone to join them on the march to remind the Morrison government that this emergency is still unfolding before their eyes.
This strike event is COVID-safe and we ask that attendees bring preferably reusable face masks, as well as hand sanitiser, practice physical distancing of 1.5 metres, and stay home if they have cold or flu-like symptoms.
The students say that the momentum for climate action continues to build as Australian politicians fail to invest in a safe future. They say the past year has witnessed the decimating effects of a global pandemic, which has highlighted the need for transformative, systemic change and brave leaders who are willing to challenge and reform.
Utilising all perspectives
The students believe that sustainable climate justice needs an approach that utilises all perspectives, ensuring that no one gets left behind. They say the government’s blatant disrespect and disregard for supporting this is highlighted in the continued funding of fossil and gas industries. Ignoring the long term solutions of renewables and First nations knowledge.
The power of the School Strikes movement has transcended over 350, 000 students and adults, eight states and territories and 600+ locations as the pressure continues to escalate.
This May 21 they are calling on the Morrison Government to stop the funding of gas, and implement long term solutions.
Reapplying pressure on the government
They are also calling on the community to join the movement, to reapply the pressure on the government, and demand action on the existential threat of climate change that has not subsided.
Ms Thom says the most vulnerable demographics are already feeling the impact.’ We do not have the time to wait, we do not have the time to politicise this, we are in a biodiversity crisis, a climate crisis. We require dramatic action. A collective shift and progressive change is occurring globally. Yet our government’s refusal to act reflects a deeper apathy, a sinister corruption. Join us this Friday, May 21 in the struggle to protect our existence.
The students are encouraging the community to spread the word they say that as the next generation of voters, we will continue to exercise their right to a safe future.
The meeting place for the event will be at the Byron Rec Grounds at 10 am, and the march will walk from there to Main Beach where there will be speeches from local students and musical items from young artists.
The students ask that all adults and businesses to stand in solidarity with us and close their shops between strike hours if possible.