Alison Hassall walking the climate to a better place

Lachlan Roberts 21 September 2019 41
12-year-old Alison

Twelve-year-old Alison Hassall faced her fears to fight climate change. Photos: George Tsotsos.

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.

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.”

Canberrans of all ages gathered at Glebe Park for the Climate Strike.

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.

Canberra’s message to the Federal Government was clear.

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.”

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41 Responses to Alison Hassall walking the climate to a better place
Pathan Nathan Pathan Nathan 11:41 am 23 Sep 19

Alyson everyone is very proud of you

Robert Robert 10:01 pm 22 Sep 19

I went to the Climate Strike in Glebe park and was emboldened to see our future leaders in action as well as the large turnout of concerned citizens at the inaction by the current federal government. I encourage anyone with an interest in the facts to read the Climate Council report

Acton Acton 4:43 pm 21 Sep 19

To all the school kids going on ‘strike’ for Climate Change:
You are the first generation who have required air-conditioning and heating in every classroom.
You want TV in every room and your classes are all computerised.
You spend all day and night on electronic devices.
More than ever, you don’t walk or ride bikes to school but arrive in caravans of private cars that choke local roads and worsen rush hour traffic.
You are the biggest consumers of manufactured goods ever and update perfectly good expensive luxury items to stay trendy,
All of these consumer goods require energy to make.
The adults behind your protests are the same people who are inflating population growth through immigration, which increases the need for energy, manufacturing and transport.
The more people we have, the more forest and bushland we clear and more of the environment is destroyed.
So tell your teachers to switch off the air-con. And the heating.
Walk or ride to school. Switch off your devices and read a book.
Make a sandwich instead of buying fast food.
If this doesn’t happen it is because you are being selfish, gullible and naive.
Learn to research facts and think for yourself. Do not blindly accept the words and thoughts of others. Especially don’t listen to hypocrites who tell you to ‘save the planet’ but then work in big offices, travel overseas to conferences, take taxpayer funded research grants and enjoy lucrative tenured employment They are using you.

Julie McCarron Benson Julie McCarron Benson 10:24 am 21 Sep 19

I went. I am so proud of the kids. It's a sort of jealousy that has these old sourpusses putting the kids down for speaking up and showing energy and commitment. I'll attend the next strike as well, and the one after

Elizabeth Ann Thurbon Elizabeth Ann Thurbon 10:20 am 21 Sep 19

These young people are inspiring- let’s hope they can inspire us right out of coal before it’s too late. Well done young Canberrans.

William William William William 10:11 am 21 Sep 19

But u think any one will take any notice of it ?

Vivienne Beddoe Vivienne Beddoe 7:37 am 21 Sep 19

Well done, Alison

Caroline G-Trant Caroline G-Trant 7:21 am 21 Sep 19

Well done Alison! Whoot whoot!

Emma Cook Emma Cook 10:23 pm 20 Sep 19

She moved people to tears. Such a powerful moment.

Mick Johnson Mick Johnson 10:10 pm 20 Sep 19

so what do you do to help the planet, dont use electricity? don't use the toilet which uses water to flush?dont use your mobile, hand wash your clothes and dishes? dont have a car? walk everywhere and not use public transport? Practice what you preach

    Maatt Brouhaha Maatt Brouhaha 11:42 pm 20 Sep 19

    Mick Johnson token individual actions are not sufficient to address the problem at hand. A coordinated global approach is necessary.

    Joshua F. Johnson Joshua F. Johnson 12:09 am 21 Sep 19

    Matt Brough biological warfare would be best approach.release mass pandemic now

    Peter Mackay Peter Mackay 3:14 am 21 Sep 19

    Matt Brough It’s a global problem, but I’m not seeing Australia as a key player. Nor are the Libs the problem. Labor isn’t about to kick the heavily unionised mining, rail, and power industries in the bum either.

    Self-righteous preaching by the left is what boosted Don Trump, and he *is* a problem, actively directing the world's biggest economy backwards. Every day sees some new environmental atrocity out of DC, and there’s nothing he likes more than to get up the noses of people like you.

Judith White Judith White 9:52 pm 20 Sep 19

Why does this 'strike/demonstration' have to be held on a school day? Why don't they demonstrate on the week-end, and stay in school on school days....?.

Helen Oakey Helen Oakey 8:27 pm 20 Sep 19

Great job Alison! All of the students have shown great courage and leadership in organising and speaking - well done!

Katie Kanowski Katie Kanowski 8:22 pm 20 Sep 19

We are very proud of you Alison!

Marcia Denman Marcia Denman 8:20 pm 20 Sep 19

Well done to Alison and all the young people who organised this amazing day. There were many generations standing with you in admiration at your beliefs- the world will continue to be a better place with this terrific youth

Barbara Belmonte Barbara Belmonte 7:44 pm 20 Sep 19

They think they know the problem - but what is their solution?

    Cathy Beckhouse Cathy Beckhouse 8:07 pm 20 Sep 19

    Barbara Belmonte my point exactly!

    Trevor Watson Trevor Watson 8:25 pm 20 Sep 19

    Ahhhh thats the real issue. They can stop all mining and fossil fuel use in Australia but because we are an insignificant fly speck on the global stage all it will do is totally kill our economy. So my question is how will they back track when their demands cause ecconomic failure and they can't afford an iPhone?

    William Hawkins William Hawkins 8:29 pm 20 Sep 19

    Trevor Watson Look at all those countries overseas building coal fired Power stations so many and we are getting rid of our couple. How idiotic are the sheeple of Australia doing as the UN says?

    Cameron Harris Cameron Harris 8:44 pm 20 Sep 19

    Barbara Belmonte quite a few grubby and unwashed dreadlocks there today. Obviously they're saving water 😅

    Barbara Belmonte Barbara Belmonte 8:53 pm 20 Sep 19

    Cameron Harris - bet they all went home in their cars, to a heated house, turned on the lights and TV, cooked some food in the microwave, checked the internet with their iPhone, sat in their lounge chairs covered with a synthetic fabric (made from petrochemicals) and washed up using detergent or maybe even the luxury of a dishwasher … I rest my case.

    Julie Macklin Julie Macklin 9:47 pm 20 Sep 19

    Cameron Harris Not from my observation. Lots of ordinary families and other everyday people. All ages,from babies in arms to old people and in between; even one elderly person I saw arriving with their walking frame. I did notice a few dreadlocks, but they were a very small percentage of the attendees. I can't believe you were at the same rally as I was at. Were you there, or are you making this up?

    Julie Macklin Julie Macklin 9:51 pm 20 Sep 19

    Barbara Belmonte I can't speak for everyone at the rally, but I did see a large number of bikes there, and the bus I used to get there was so packed with people headed to the rally - standing room only - that five or more bus stops were passed without stopping. At each of these bus stops groups of people, often family groups, were waiting to board to also attend the rally. They had to wait for the next bus. This might have explained why way after the speeches started people were still arriving. There were too many for the buses.

    Julie Macklin Julie Macklin 6:28 pm 21 Sep 19

    Cameron Harris Like all the dread locks in this photograph. Obviously you were no where near the rally.

Brooke Reardon Brooke Reardon 7:24 pm 20 Sep 19

Katie Kanowski, Louise Johnston So proud!

    Katie Kanowski Katie Kanowski 8:18 pm 20 Sep 19

    Brooke Reardon did you see this comment...

    Katie Kanowski Katie Kanowski 8:18 pm 20 Sep 19

    We are far left apparently and pushing a political agenda

    Katie Kanowski Katie Kanowski 10:37 pm 20 Sep 19

    Susie Armistead absolutely!

gooterz gooterz 7:02 pm 20 Sep 19

Fixing climate change would involve a single world government. No country can ruin its economy and not get taken over by a bigger power.

Katy Kitty Katy Kitty 6:43 pm 20 Sep 19

It's like kids want the earth to be healthy and to take care of the thing that gives us life. It's awesome and if only more adults were the same

    Sue Dove Sue Dove 7:51 pm 20 Sep 19

    Kat Jesse agreed but judging by the turn out today the groundswell is growing - there are many adults who care enough to help create change - every step is a positive one.

Capital Retro Capital Retro 6:22 pm 20 Sep 19

Why weren’t they outside the Chinese and Indian Embassies?

    astro2 astro2 11:44 am 21 Sep 19

    For the same reason they weren’t outside the US embassy or British High Commission – because we don’t palm off the problem to somebody else. Besides, the number of people who turned out wouldn’t have fitted outside of any embassy.

    Capital Retro Capital Retro 3:51 pm 21 Sep 19

    But all the people who turned up were virtuous non-carbon emitters with no action plan for a non-problem whereas India and China, who are still building new coal-fired power stations and who also have ridiculous emissions concessions, are creating massive carbon pollution which is what I thought the protest was about (read the slogans).
    They didn’t turn up at those embassies because that wouldn’t fit the narrative.

astro2 astro2 6:19 pm 20 Sep 19

Huge turn-out. Very impressed with the organisation and speeches by young students at the rally. Well done to them.

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