“The youth are rising, no more compromising.” Those were the words belted out passionately by thousands of Hobart students marching through Hobarts’s CBD on Friday. The School Strike 4 Climate rally, in which students struck from school to protest climate change, drew together an estimated 150,000 students Australia-wide.
“We could be one of the generations to help with climate change”, says Tallis (14) from Taroona High. “If we have a say now at such a young age, we could help scientists in the future try and figure out how to stop it”.
The student-led movement is demanding change, such as the stopping of the Adani coal mine, to producing no more new coal or gas, and to have 100% renewable energy by 2030.
“I think Australia has huge potential for renewable energy. We have so much sun, and wind, and we’re fairly wealthy. But we’re also rich in coal and fossil fuels, so I think big companies are just greedy”, says 20 year old Cedrick Smith from UTAS.
Students got creative with their signs. “Grandpa, what was snow?” one read. Another, “I want a hot date, not a hot planet”.
But amongst the light-hearted humour and creative costumes, the sentiment remained clear: students are frustrated and fed-up with the way Australia and its politicians deal with climate change. Signs read, “stop denying the world is dying”, “the climate is changing, why can’t we?”, “don’t politicians have kids too?” and “@ScottMorrison you’re 3 times our age and 3 times as NAÏVE”.
“I think it just goes to show that kids do in fact have valid opinions, we have enough guts to stand up for what we believe in, and so help me God we will make sure we are heard!” Rachael (17), from St Mary’s College.
Amongst the thousands of protesters was Melati Wijsen. Unable to protest in her home country due to the current political climate, Melati travelled all the way from Bali to participate in the Hobart School Strike 4 Climate rally. An activist since age 12, she is deeply passionate about climate change and even founded the not-for-profit Bye Bye Plastic Bags along with her sister, which aims to eliminate all plastic bags in Indonesia.
Students of Hobart were just some of the estimated 150,000 students across Australia to participate in the School Strike 4 Climate rallies.