HUNDREDS of central Victorian students will travel to Melbourne on Friday to demand politicians take action against climate change.
About 500 people are expected to congregate at Castlemaine station, to catch the train to Melbourne's School Strike for Climate where they will put their demands to the state's leaders.
Nine Mount Alexander Shire Council Mayors - eight former, one current - will be among them, signalling their support for the young people and their demands.
Marchers will walk around Melbourne, before rallying at Treasury Gardens to call for politicians to commit to three demands:
- No new coal or gas projects, including the Adani mine
- 100 per cent renewable energy generation and exports by 2030
- Fund a just transition, and job creation, for all fossil-fuel workers and communities
The strike is one of scores taking place across the country, including in Bendigo itself.
Year 9 student Milou Albrecht will be among those marching in Melbourne. Milou was one of several Castlemaine students who began the School Strike for Climate movement in Australia, inspired by Swedish teen Greta Thunberg.
Milou said she hoped the government listened to the thousands and thousands of student voices calling out against inaction.
She believed the strike movement had struck a chord with young people because they felt their emotions were being heard.
"As a student and as a child, I should be able to express my feelings in a nonviolent way, and express that I'm feeling scared about my future," Milou said.
"I'm worried about these fires that come in summer, and are terrifying, and I feel like I should be able to express that in a way that is safe and fun and brings everyone together. And the school strike is such an amazing way to do that."
Mount Alexander Shire Council Mayor Bronwyn Machin will be among those travelling to Melbourne, accompanied by eight former mayors.
Councillor Machin said the ex-mayors were supporting Castlemaine schoolchildren, who'd begun the climate strike process in Australia.
Cr Machin said the strikes were the first glimpse of hope she had seen in some time, after 30 years as a climate campaigner.
"What I hope [students] see is former leaders saying 'You're doing the absolutely right thing', and we applaud their courage," Cr Machin said.
"Our leadership, I hope are being nagged like hell by their own children and grandchildren, and I hope that [all parties] stop ... fluffing around.
"I hope they stop trying to pull the wool over our eyes, I hope that they stop going to the Pacific Islanders and saying 'Yeah, well give you money but we'll still drown you'. It's just absolute hypocrisy and it's dangerous."
To everyone who cares about a safe climate future, this is your invitation to join our Global #ClimateStrike on September 20 - people standing up to confront the climate crisis when our politicians won’t. Everyone invited, everyone needed! https://t.co/UJsxkDPwHPpic.twitter.com/xhdBr01kDv— School Strike 4 Climate (@StrikeClimate) June 3, 2019
The Loddon Mallee region has already become warmer and drier than in the past, according to state government reports.
These project region's average temperature will rise by 0.6-1.3 degrees by 2030.
Average temperatures could increase as much as 2.0-3.3 degrees under a high emission scenario.
Reports suggest it will put pressure on vulnerable people, including the elderly, agriculture and economic wellbeing, transport infrastructure, and tourism.
Rainfall is projected to decrease, while fire weather is expected to be harsher.
Bendigo students will also strike, meeting at the Bendigo Library.
Bryley Savage will be among those supporting the movement, with her eight year old daughter Audrey.
Ms Savage said Audrey was passionate about the environment, and in tears recently about why the government was not doing anything about climate change.
She said children were frustrated that adults controlled the world, but were not doing any of the simple things they could to help.
"They can see the data, they can see what's happening, they know, they're more well read than kids have ever been," Ms Savage said.
"They're frustrated and they think, 'Why can't we just do that?', they don't understand there's political reasons why and money and power come into it.
"It's hard for little ones to fathom that that's the way the world is when they see it so differently."
Eight-year-old Eleanor Brownbill also planned to strike.
She said people needed to stand up and protest so the government noticed, because climate change was increasing.
LaTrobe University has signalled its support for the global climate strike.
Vice-Chancellor Professor John Dewar sent out a communication saying students would not be disadvantaged for missing class to strike.
"These arrangements are being put in place because the climate strike is unique in two ways," Mr Dewar said.
"It is generating interest on a scale not commonly seen for this type of public event; and it is responding to an issue, climate change, that is explicitly named in the University's Strategic Plan 2018-2022 as a global problem that La Trobe will help to address."
Bendigo School Strike for Climate, Friday, September 20, 2pm, Bendigo Library.
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