Thousands of adults and students gathered in Glebe Park on Friday afternoon to protest against the Federal Government’s lack of climate action.
With signs such as “I’ve seen smarter cabinets in IKEA”, “Make Earth great again”, “Why should I study for a future that won’t exist?”, “Scomo skipped school the day they taught science”, “There are no jobs on a dead planet”, A fatal climate error has occurred. Please restart your government” and “Have some respect for your mother”, Canberrans of all ages sent a loud and clear message to the government.
The ACT Opposition thinks school students protesting for climate change action are just pawns in a political game. But what do some of Canberra's smallest protestors really think about how critical the issue is for their future?
Posted by The RiotACT on Friday, September 20, 2019
But maybe one of the quietest and smallest people at the strike had the loudest message of all.
Getting up to speak in front of around 10,000 people, 12-year-old Alison Hassall said she felt a little sick in the stomach but facing her fear was the least she could do for her planet.
“I normally freak out when I have to do public speaking,” Alison said. “But I am passionate about this and it’s important for me so I’m happy to do it.”
Alison’s short speech was a reminder to students about what actions they can take to fight climate change and a reminder that even the smallest of the choices they make can make a difference.
But the Majura Primary School student isn’t just letting her voice do the talking.
“Really, it is just little things you can do. It all impacts the big picture,” Alison said. “You can ride to school, reuse, recycle and try to do everything you can to make the world better.
“I walk or ride to school every day. It only takes 25 minutes to walk to school from my house.”
Canberrans weren’t the only ones crying out for action on climate change. Over 300,000 people went on strike in over 100 cities and towns across the nation.
The protests across Australia called for the Federal Government to commit to ending all new coal, oil and gas projects (including the Adani mine development), to move to 100 per cent renewable energy generation by 2030, and funding for a fair transition into new jobs for fossil fuel workers and communities.
Fellow protester and Dickson College student Dhani Gilbert, aged 17, said the current bushfires burning across Australia were a clear indicator the climate crisis is real.
“Climate change matters because it is threatening our future,” Dhani said. “Climate change is killing people and livelihoods and you can see it in Australia. We have massive droughts, we have massive bushfires.
“They are threatening not only our environment but people’s lives. While some people might not want to acknowledge it, it is happening and we can’t stop it unless we do something about it.”
17-year-old Aoibhinn Crimmins agreed.
“We know what we have to do to avert the climate crisis and we have the means to do it, all we are missing is the political will,” Aoibhinn said.
“People are demanding climate justice: a safe and healthy world for all, regardless of age, nationality or socioeconomic standing.”