Milou Albrecht doesn't want action far in the future. She knows we need it now.
The year 9 student was one of maybe 500 children, teenagers and adults who travelled from central Victoria to join an estimated 100,000 people at the Melbourne School Strike for Climate.
About 300,000 people declared strike across Australia, in more than 100 protests.
The strikers had three demands. No new fossil fuel, including Adani, 100 per cent renewable energy and exports by 2030, and a divestment from fossil fuel that is fair for those working in the industry.
It was incredible to see the thousands of people who packed into Treasury Gardens and the surrounding streets, Milou said.
To join the march Castlemaine students walked across Melbourne's CBD shouting, "What do we want? Climate action. When do we want it? Now."
A police escort led the group up a Collins Street, completely cleared of traffic.
The Castlemaine convoy met the crowds at Treasury gardens, where they rallied before marching round the city. It took more than half an hour for the entire march to pass through Collins Street.
The thousand-strong crowd was a long way from the Australian movement's beginning, in Castlemaine, with a few friends.
It was "incredible" to see so many young people, making their voices heard, Milou said.
"It's really empowering and optimistic for me, I feel very optimistic after a day out striking," Milou said.
"The idea that children can have a say is really great, and really inspiring for other children to be able to realise that their voices aren't not heard.
"It's really great for children and kids to act on [climate change], because we are going to be living in this world for longer. And it is going to be our future, where we will possibly bring children into the world, and we don't want to do that if it's not safe."
The strikes began after Milou read an article about Swedish teen Greta Thunberg, who began demonstrating outside of the Swedish parliament in 2018. Milou was blown away, and talked to friends Harriet, Callum and Asher. This small group then got in touch with more people in Castlemaine.
The Castlemaine students began to strike weekly in November 2018.
After they got in touch with a Melbourne woman the movement made it from central Victoria to the state's capital, and on to the nation.
Milou said she hoped to see a credible climate policy arise from the strikes, on all level of government.
"I'm really hoping that we see ... actions right now, that we see the government taking actions right now," she said.
"We dont want something in the far future, we need it now."
ACF Bendigo co-facilitator Mel Abel said the day was already a win with so many people turning out in Bendigo.
"Knowing you're not alone here (is a win)," she said. "There are so many people here who care. It is easy to lose hope (but) this is an event that gives you hope back.
"We knew it was going to be big from the fact that 2000 business around Australia are supporting their employees (in taking action), the unions are endorsing it, so we new Trades Hall (Bendigo) would be here.
"We knew it would be much bigger than the previous event."
Mrs Abel said the event showed there were some amazing youth leaders coming through the ranks.
"It has to be led by the kids because it is their future we're talking about," she said. "But it has to have all of us on board as well.
"It's important that as many people are supporting (climate action) as possible. We have to find that common ground that we all have."
Bendigo streets were taken over this afternoon by hundreds of people calling for climate action.
After assembling in the Bendigo's Library Gardens, the crowd marched down Hargreaves Mall and up Mitchell Street to Member for Bendigo East Jacinta Allan's office.
The student-led action had a wide range of people attending with the common cause of climate action on their mind.
City of Greater Bendigo deputy youth mayor Annika Ritchie helped organise the event.
She said the crowd was bigger than expected.
"Going to the school strike day a few months ago we didn't have this much of a turn out," she said. "It's amazing to see this many people as it shows a large amount of the community is united on such an important topic.
Ms Ritchie said collaboration between many groups had been key to the success of the Bendigo event.
"Our small group, the Youth Environmental Sustainability Group has teamed up with the Australian Conservation Foundation, which has been led by more mature adults," she said.
"It's been a large collaboration between youth and older citizens to make sure that everyone's voices are heard at today's events."
It's about their future for teens and children. Thousands have declared a strike on Friday, taking to the streets, bearing signs, calling for action.
Hundreds travelled from Castlemaine, Elphinstone and Taradale to present their demands to politicians at Spring Street. A coal free future, a renewable energy and a just transition for fossil-fuel workers were among these.
Placards bore calls for action, to save the planet, to save the future: "I'd be in school if u had kept our planet cool", "Kids are growing, so is climate change: act now" and, "Plant more trees, save more me's" were among the slogans
Behind the children were parents. Many spoke of the responsibility they felt. Having brought a child into the world, they wanted to leave a world for their child.
At Castlemaine Station hundreds of teenagers piled onto buses after a gas leak delayed trains.
Mount Alexander Shire Council Mayor Bronwyn Machin in mayoral regalia joined the throng at the station, flanked by past shire leaders. The Mayor and ex-Mayors were there to show their support for children and teens.
Year 7 students Scout and Minka were among those who had downed pens for the day.
Scout said children and teenagers were taking the lead, striking for action on climate change, because they were the ones growing up into a world that might not be as healthy as it was.
"It's important that we at least do it," Scout said.
"I don't think we really want to be striking, but it's come time to strike, to skip school to take action on this thing, that really should be acted on anyway because it's so important."
Enough was enough for Minka's Mum Emma Christie, striking with the two girls. She said there had not been enough action from politicians, and now children were taking the lead, adults needed to support them.
"We need to show the politicians that they need to do something about climate change," she said
"I brought these kids into the world, and I feel responsible to leave a world for them to be a part of. It is a huge responsibility.
"And teaching them to care for the environment, and these things matter and that striking actually does matter, it counts, because the more people show we care, hopefully that'll get through."
Milou Albrecht finds the fires that come each summer terrifying. The year 9 Castlemaine student is scared for her future.
She's one of thousands of young people across the country who will march today, to call on politicians to take action on climate change.
The Bendigo Advertiser will travel with students to Spring Street, where they will rally.
Students in Bendigo will do the same, outside the city's library.
The young people are calling for no new coal or gas projects, including the Adani mine.
Their other demands are 100 per cent renewable energy generation and experts by 2030, and funding a just transition with job creation, for all fossil-fuel workers and communities.
The Australian school climate strike movement began with Castlemaine teens, after they learnt of Swedish teen Greta Thunberg's protests.
More to come.
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