Update 3.45pm: STUDENTS returning from the climate strike in Melbourne are confident their voices have been heard.
Thousands of young people walked out of school today to call on their political leaders to take action on climate change.
Seventeen-year-old Piper Albrecht, from Castlemaine, said be believed the School Strike 4 Climate Change movement had made a positive impression.
He and his sister Milou Albrecht – one of the campaign’s instigators – were part of the Melbourne rally.
“It went really well,” Piper said.
He said he was proud of his sister and her friends, who created the movement after learning of 15-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg’s protests in Sweden.
On the same day the students were protesting, Fairfax Media reported Resources Minister Matt Canavan as having said: "The best thing you'll learn about going to a protest is how to join the dole queue. Because that's what your future life will look like, up in a line asking for a handout, not actually taking charge for your life and getting a real job."
It comes after Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s outburst in Question Time, in which he said: “What we want is more learning in schools and less activism in schools.”
Piper said the students protesting today all realised the importance of their education, and were happy to sacrifice a few days to call out climate inaction.
A protest against the Adani coal mine is planned for several cities, including Melbourne, on December 8.
Update 1.11pm: THE students calling for climate action in Melbourne are on the move.
More than 3000 people are making their way from Parliament House through the city’s streets.
Chants of, ‘Coal, don’t dig it. Leave it in the ground, it’s time to get with it’ can be heard in video footage shared by the School Strike 4 Climate Action campaign.
Update 12.42pm: MORE than 3000 students are estimated to have turned out for the climate strike in Melbourne.
Several students from Castlemaine have taken the stage to call on those in power to take action on climate change.
Harriet O’Shea Carre – one of the campaign’s champions –referenced the words of Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling in her speech.
"Like the serene and genius wizard he is, Professor Dumbledore reminds us even more pertinently that dark and difficult times lie ahead,” she said.
“Soon, we must all face a choice between what is right, and what is easy. We are facing that choice now.
“If we continue to live the way we do, then by 2050 climate scientists predict that half a billion out of the nine billion people who will be living on this planet will survive.”
School Strike 4 Climate Action says more than 5000 students have gone on strike in Melbourne and Sydney, supported by and thousands more students across the country.
The campaign has reached out to the office of opposition leader Bill Shorten to stop the Adani coal mine, which the company yesterday announced it would self-finance and start constructing imminently.
‘He still hasn’t committed to stopping Adani,’ the young people said in a social media post.
It said every one of the more than 3000 students at the Melbourne rally was calling Mr Shorten’s office, and invited others to do the same.
Update 11.10am: And they’ve arrived in Melbourne, to join students from across the state on the steps of Parliament House for the climate strike.
Here’s an excerpt of a letter to the editor written by students Harriet O'Shea Carre and Milou Albrecht earlier this month, about why today matters for them:
“It seems ridiculous that children have got to the point where they realise that the adults who are supposed to be in charge aren’t doing enough to protect our futures from dangerous climate change. So, together with kids from kindergarten to year 12, across Australia, we have decided to strike from school to show them that this simply isn’t good enough!
There are already so many solutions to climate change but our politicians aren’t doing enough to put them in place. Instead, they are approving massive new coal mines, like Adani’s, that will wreck our future. Us kids are going to be living in this hot world far longer than the adults. This is just not fair.
We want a world that’s safe to live in, and futures we can look forward to. We’re scared about ferocious bushfires in the community where we live here in Central Victoria. We feel awful for the farmers who are suffering through drought year after year. We feel sorry for the future generations who don’t even get a say in the world that we’re creating, who will have to deal with even more extreme weather, who will never get to see the Great Barrier Reef and other threatened icons and species. We want them to be able to experience the beauty of our natural world too.”
Earlier: THERE’S standing room only on 9.08 train from Castlemaine to Melbourne this morning, as central Victorian students make their way to protest climate change inaction.
Eleven-year-old Callum Neilson Bridgfoot said there were ‘hundreds’ of students waiting to board the train at the Castlemaine railway station.
“There’s a lot more people than I thought there would be,” he said.
His father, Dean, said there were more than 200 students on the train when it departed Castlemaine, and more were boarding at every stop.
Callum was excited to see the turnout at the rally, which takes place from 12pm – 2pm at Parliament House in Melbourne.
The 11-year-old will be speaking and dancing at the rally. He said the students were also planning a ‘freeze’ at Southern Cross Station.
The Melbourne rally is part of the School Strike 4 Climate Action movement, and is one of about 30 strikes arranged throughout the country.
Students in Adelaide, Brisbane, Darwin, Perth and Sydney will also be walking out of school today.
More to come
- YESTERDAY: Adani fronts up full financing for coal mine as students prepare to protest
- TUESDAY: School strike for climate action prompts ‘outrage’ from Prime Minister Scott Morrison
- NOVEMBER 2: ‘I don’t think children get to have a say at all’
- NOVEMBER 1: ‘Start treating climate change like the crisis it is’ – students strike
- STUDENTS SPEAK: We are striking for urgent action on climate change | Your Say
- EDITORIAL: Students, keep on protesting about climate change. Scott Morrison is wrong | Our Say
- EDITORIAL: When the voice of the future speaks on climate change, listen | Our Say
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