The climate change march on Friday attracted large numbers of protestors, but what is its lasting impact? David Murtagh says while well-intentioned, the protests are largely misdirected and it’s an exercise in manipulation. Kirsten Duncan argues that the march will empower a generation at critical risk.
After extraordinary scenes from around the world, even the most doubtful sceptics should concede that the Climate Strike was an overwhelming success. Especially in the ACT.
Although allowing Aussie kids to ditch half a day of school was never going to be a hard sell, it would be churlish to deny its success, no matter its in-built incentives.
In Canberra, the first Climate Strike in March fit comfortably in City Walk, but organisers were wise to shift the protest to the larger Glebe Park venue for its second iteration.
Canberra didn’t disappoint.
Having conceded the strike’s success, can we now concede that it was a masterclass in manipulation?
This column is not debating the science of climate change or its dangers. And it certainly isn’t going to make the mistake of belittling the sincerity of anyone who rocked up to Glebe Park.
Having seen the reaction to Jeremy Hanson’s pre-strike tweet, that mistake won’t be made here.
— Jeremy Hanson (@JeremyHansonMLA) September 17, 2019
The Member for Murrumbidgee was brutally ratioed for this effort. The response from Canberra was near-unanimous. And that’s why children are now front and centre in the latest effort to raise awareness about climate change.
Children are being manipulated to lead the protests and we are being manipulated by the children because – as Hanson found out – children can’t be questioned as you would challenge an adult. If you do, you come across as a bully. Or a big meany. Or both.
So instead, adults become supine and patronising, and nod approvingly as though they haven’t heard the message to “listen to the science” 1000 times before. Which is essentially the only message Swedish activist Greta Thunberg has because she isn’t a scientist or an innovator. She brings nothing new to the debate except a fresh face which will soon be replaced when we reach ‘peak Greta’.
When you hear messages from scared children, it is easy to be swayed. Which is why it isn’t only adults being manipulated. So are the children.
Twin messages from the strike were that Australia needs to go to 100 per cent renewable energy by 2030 and that Australia (and everyone else) was doing nothing to solve the problem.
If Australia is doing nothing, nothing sure costs a fortune.
At least $1.67 billion will be spent this year alone by the Federal Government on climate policies. Then there are non-budget measures the government takes such as renewable energy mandates. Plenty is being done. Especially in Australia.
Maybe it’s time we asked who are feeding our children false information.
But thanks to the strike, we’re now all aware of climate change. For real? Is there anyone over the age of five who hasn’t heard of climate change? Or the proposed remedies?
BTW, sceptics totally agree that the climate is changing. The sceptics’ case relies heavily on the fact that the climate has always been changing. It’s almost impossible to find anyone who doesn’t agree that climate change is real. And if you could find them you could probably fit them all in the boot of a Tesla.
If you squashed them in.
Which you would.
It is great that children feel strongly about such an important issue, but it would be even better if they weren’t being manipulated. That we weren’t being manipulated. And that’s before we even question how much Australians contribute to global emissions.
David Murtagh is a Canberra writer and podcaster.