9 September 2019

The next global climate strike is happening – and this time, we need everyone's support

| Rebecca Vassarotti MLA
Join the conversation
The May Student Climate Strike attracted thousands of people to Garema Place. Photo: supplied by School Strike 4 Climate.

The May Student Climate Strike attracted thousands of people to Garema Place. Photos: Supplied by School Strike 4 Climate.

The global student climate strike movement is a phenomenon that keeps growing. The next action is planned on 20 September at Glebe Park from 12 pm, and this time everyone is encouraged to attend.

It was less than a year ago that we saw students here in Canberra and across the world walking out of school and demanding more action on climate change.

Despite inclement weather, the first student strike at Parliament House in November attracted hundreds of people.

Despite inclement weather, the first student strike at Parliament House in November attracted hundreds of people.

There have been multiple actions of this nature since then. The largest was in March when more than 5000 students and their supporters turned up in Garema Place to call for greater action on climate change. This was part of a global strike involving more than one and a half million people worldwide.

Despite being chastised by the Prime Minister and other senior politicians, the students are not going to go quietly and have continued their activism with events at politicians’ offices, meetings with community leaders and public presentations at events all over Canberra. Another major action was in May, when the students once again braved the rain to gather at the offices of federal politicians demanding they do more to prioritise the climate in the lead up to the election.

It is pretty clear that these students are not going to stop, and will continue to strike and call for more action.

In May, students gathered at the offices of Parliamentarians to demand more action on climate change.

In May, students gathered at the offices of parliamentarians to demand more action on climate change.

Friday 20 September is set to be the biggest event yet. A global climate strike is planned that is garnering support across the community. This action is student-led, but these young people are calling on everyone to get involved. Here in Canberra, they are hoping to have 10,000 people come and join the calls for greater action on climate change.

In Canberra, unlike its federal counterparts, the ACT Government has issued a statement of support for the students and the action planned for 20 September. With the government having declared a climate emergency, our local government understands that there is a role for governments to play.

This action is also seeing business get behind it, with Australian tech company Atlassian encouraging its workforce to get involved in the strike. A host of unions have also thrown their support behind the strike, as has the Uniting Church.

Some people have questioned what the point of these actions is. Since the last major action, we have seen Government continue to back coal projects such as the Adani Carmichael coal mine. We have seen Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions rise. If we want to ensure our future generation has a hospitable place to call home, the time to act is now.

Climate change actions like the ones we are discussing now were never designed as a short-term fix. This is about building a movement that is led by the people who will be the generation that have to live with the consequences of inaction on climate change. This phenomenon has not just inspired, activated and mobilised a generation of young people, it has also demonstrated to the generations ahead of them that action is urgent, that everyone’s voice is important and there are things that must be done.

As the ACT Government has shown, moving to emission-free activity is not only possible (as shown by the way we will meet our 100 per cent renewable electricity target by 2020), it is inevitable. Even in the face of government inaction, business is moving to innovate and introduce new ways for us to reduce emissions and transition to a carbon-free economy.

The question now is how just this transition will be, who will bear the costs, and what environmental damage will be done while we dither.

I will proudly stand beside my children as they participate in the next global climate strike on 20 September at Glebe Park. Will you?

Join the conversation

All Comments
  • All Comments
  • Website Comments

Psychologists are now treating mental health issues reported by the little eco-worriers, traumatised by climate change fear-pedalling. Catastrophising kiddies are suffering anxiety disorders as they fret about mythical global warming, ice caps melting, ocean levels rising, mass extinctions, the re-election of Donald Trump and the end of the world. Meanwhile those of us who survived Vietnam, the Cold War threats of nuclear armageddon, oil shocks, 17% interest mortgages, terrorism etc will try our best to comfort the little snowflakes.

They should learn to research and think by themselves, instead of being used to support a lie created for political reasons

Capital Retro10:04 pm 14 Sep 19

I wonder if these children will forego their jet aircraft travel in their gap year. After all, given that jet aircraft now contribute about 5% of all greenhouse gasses, wouldn’t that be real action against “climate change”?

I love all the actions and comments about climate emergency. For a long term research project I think it provides incredible empirical evidence to either prove or disprove the reverse Flynn effect on intelligence of different generations. This website and the region it covers would generally be regarded as appealing to people of above average intelligence. In the long-term we may be able to see that the reverse Flynn effect is having a greater impact on those currently ranked more intelligent than the average. Emotions, feelgood-ism and simple slogans will overwhelm thinking and empirical research.

Ken Williams9:08 am 14 Sep 19

The climate will always change, ice ages will come and go, sea levels will go up and down, deserts will become jungles, jungles will become deserts, the continents move around the face of the planet, life will evolve and adapt. Do humans affect climate change? Too right they do, just like everything else affects climate change. But the real issue is not climate change (a long term issue) but environment change, which is a much shorter term issue, which we CAN DEFINITELY influence. I’ve been waiting for people to put two and two together but as usual, cause and effect is muddled. The root cause of environment degradation and consequently a more pronounced effect on climate change is there are TOO MANY PEOPLE on the planet. As the population grows, more resources are consumed and the stress on the environment gets more and more pronounced. Forests are cut down, lakes and oceans are polluted, land is polluted, air is polluted, water is polluted, prices for housing increase, traffic clogs our roads, beaches are crowded, the rich get richer and the poor get it in the neck.

How many people does the world need? You want to freedom to have as many children as you want, then feed them, house them, make their lives enjoyable, but don’t expect others to fund your poor decisions.

Everyone should be entitled to a fair go, not just the lucky, not just the rich, manage population levels so they are sustainable and reject they current mindset of unending growth because that is what is driving human induced climate change.

OK kiddies. Pay attention.
Lesson 1. Climate change does happen and it caused ice ages. Climate change is global cooling causing ice to form and ocean levels to fall. Climate change is also global warming causing ice to melt and ocean levels to rise. Climate change is a natural cycle.
Observation: Ice ages have been happening before humans even evolved.
Conclusion: Therefore humans cannot and do not cause the climate to change.
Do not allow yourself to be deceived by climatologists, the new high priests of a lucrative religion, where ‘climate deniers’ are the new heretics.

HiddenDragon6:27 pm 13 Sep 19

Rather than wasting time on collective outrage in Glebe Park, strikers and other protestors should make their views known outside the embasssies of China, the USA and India, with a swing-by the Russian embassy for good measure –


The argument that we must set an example for the big countries ignores the reality that they do exactly what suits them – always have, always will. We could shut down the entire Australian economy (except perhaps for some of the more useful mines) and they couldn’t care less.

Yes, wouldn’t it be nice if we could just blame someone else (and they too, can blame Australia, the largest per capita emitter of greenhouse gases and largest coal exporter). Unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that. If you don’t think global efforts to reduce carbon emissions could be successful trying doing a little reading about reducing the hole in the ozone by using different technology. This campaign worked and so have others. It is quite remarkable what humans can do as a combined effort when necessary. (It’s actually how we evolved as species). So you are half right (i.e. self interest is a big motivator) but there are gaps and flaws in your logic.

More power to the dissenting classes! Actually getting out from behind their keyboards. I hope they get a nice day; a strike can be quite a jolly event.

Ahh, that’s so cute. Let’s change the climate, hey kiddies. And everything will be better. Then the oceans won’t rise and the ice won’t melt and the dolphins will sing with the whales. Well at least you will give your teachers some time off. Maybe next week you can solve some real problems like plastic contamination, energy policies and the Marry-Darling water crisis.

Very well said, a bunch of kids being manipulated by teachers, luckily my grand-kids listen to me and think by themselves like the old days. This whole climate change is a hoax, a scam

rationalobserver8:56 pm 12 Sep 19

So sad that these kids are being manipulated and used I the name of leftie social engineering.
I suppose it will be off to Maccas afterwards for a McCorporate burger and to gloat on social media about how they personally changed the direction of the world today.

funny you talk about “kids being manipulated” and “leftie social engineering”, chanting the Murdoch playbook for numpties like a good little ‘socially engineered’ RWNJ. So sad indeed.

rationalobserver9:43 am 14 Sep 19

No. It was an independent thought arrived at after considering the arguments from both sides, and without much in the way of political bias either way.

Yep, the political bias has been successfully internalised so you believe it’s original thought. It’s why the Murdoch press has been so successful in so many places so often in swaying election results. They’re good at that.

Capital Retro2:24 pm 12 Sep 19

“Good on them. Love seeing all the boomers in here who grew up protesting ‘Nam, but now seem to be completely oblivious to something like this.”

The Vietnam conflict actually happened – man-made climate change is just a fantasy.

“Man-made climate change is just a fantasy” You’re kidding right?

Climate change caused ice ages. Global cooling and subsequent warming happened before humans. Therefore humans do not cause climate change. What a pity that logic, common sense and intelligence is so deficient in climatologists, now acting like high priests of a new religion.

Because the climate has changed without human intervention therefore it cannot change with human intervention. Is that what you are trying to say? Are you serious or just practising comedy or struggling for satire? It’s hard to tell by your post.

Capital Retro8:46 am 14 Sep 19

The climate will change regardless of human intervention. The human race is just here for the ride. Read some books on physical geography.

You’re half right. The climate will change over a long period of time without human intervention. But you’re half wrong: the climate is changing over a very short period of time with human intervention. This isn’t in doubt. The complex issue is how we address this. Perhaps turn your mind to do a little reading and thinking about that.

Capital Retro12:40 pm 12 Sep 19

“It’s called political activism by the way”

I am glad someone clarified what it is really about. And about “the science”, has so called man-made climate change been demonstrated in the school science labs just like the floating candle under the inverted beaker CO2 test they used to show us in the 1950s?

No, I didn’t think so.

Belief in human caused climate change is more and more like a faith based religion than a science. We even see the high priests of this new religion attacking the heretics who dare question their interpretation of heavenly signs.

Daily Digest

Want the best Canberra news delivered daily? Every day we package the most popular Riotact stories and send them straight to your inbox. Sign-up now for trusted local news that will never be behind a paywall.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.