On Friday I will be skipping school and joining thousands of other Australian students to send a message to the federal government: don’t put profit before the planet.
School Strike 4 Climate Australia will see students from more than 50 cities and towns across Australia join forces to send a powerful message to politicians. In Newcastle, we will stand outside the office of Federal MP Sharon Claydon to demand urgent action on climate change.
I know my education is important, but so is the future of the environment. I’m 13 and too young to vote. This is the only way to get my voice heard.
This will be the second time I have missed school to protest against the government’s lack of action on climate change.
Politicians are not doing enough to address climate change because the impacts are getting worse. There are bushfires in winter, two states are in the grips of drought, and the Great Barrier Reef is dying. My generation will inherit the poor decisions made by this generation. The average age of Australian parliamentarians is 49. It is clear they will not live long enough to see the worst impacts of climate change, but my generation will.
The Australian government is going out of its way to help the billionaire Mr Adani build a massive new coal mine that will only make climate change worse. It is time the government listened to climate scientists rather than businessmen. It is time the government listened to the people who elected them. An Australia Institute poll, held in September 2018, showed that almost eight in 10 Australians believe that climate change is occurring. An overwhelming majority of scientists agree climate change is being driven by human activity. The scientists tell us we have about 10 years to act in order to avoid the most dangerous impacts of global warming.
The students of Australia who join in the protest have three demands. One: Stop the Adani Carmichael coal mine in Queensland. Two: Commit to no new coal or gas exploration or mining. Three: To achieve 100 per cent renewable energy by 2030. Don't be fooled into believing 100 per cent renewable energy is not possible. In Australia we have all the sun and wind we need to power the whole country. Clean energy is abundant, affordable and never runs out. We have the technology to achieve it now.
The only thing stopping us is our politicians.
If you are reading this and you are old enough to vote, make your vote count at the May federal election: vote one for our planet.