School students unite over climate inaction

You may have read about 15-year-old Greta Thunberg from Sweden who gained global attention by protesting about climate change inaction. Inspired by her bold stance, Australian students are now planning a nationwide strike at the end of the month to highlight the global climate crisis.

The Australian movement began with three Victorian school students Callum Bridgefoot, Milou Albrecht and Harriet O'Shea Carre, aged between 11 and 14, who skipped school to visit Bendigo MP Lisa Chesters and were joined by around 50 colleagues, aged from 10 to 18.

“We think it’s important because [climate inaction] is a huge problem,” Milou said. “The Earth is already too hot, with droughts in winter in NSW and the coral reef is dying.”

Their concerns are not limited to climate change; they drew attention to deforestation, the Adani coal mine and the use of plastics, and called for more clean energy.

Facebook and other social media channels are helping spread the word that will see hundreds of school kids skip class one day next week and front up to their federal politicians’ offices. Hundreds more will stage protests outside capital city state parliaments during the last three days of November.

A NSW high school student who is organising the Sydney walkout said “I would like our politicians to acknowledge climate change is an emergency and take the necessary steps in order to have a sustainable world.

“We’ve got involved because at this stage we can’t vote, we’re not politicians and we want to make a difference. We can’t stand around waiting.

“I think it’s because climate change is scary seeing that it’s our future. This is a fact and not to be debated.”

The students have been communicating with Greta Thunberg who for two weeks earlier this year sat outside parliament in central Stockholm handing out leaflets.

Here’s what she had to say then:

“I want the politicians to prioritise the climate question, focus on the climate and treat it like a crisis.”

What am I going to learn in school? Facts don’t matter any more, politicians aren’t listening to the scientists, so why should I learn?”

One of her teachers declared “Our inability to stop climate change is like the efforts to stop world war one – we knew for years it was coming, they arranged all sorts of conferences, but still they didn’t prevent it.”

Sweden suffered its hottest summer since records began 262 years ago, with a series of heatwaves and unprecedented wildfires. 

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