MILLIONS of students across the world went on strike on September 20, to bring attention to the devastating effects of climate change on our planet, and to pressure governments to take urgent action.
More than 100 students from Denmark’s primary and high schools, Steiner school and Spirit of Play took part in the action, held outside the shire offices.
The first strike 12 months ago was the brainchild of Swedish student activist Greta Thunberg, who skipped school every Friday to pressure politicians to accept the scientist consensus and act as if “our house is on fire”.
Local students have attended both events, and this year’s high turnout, which included a number of adults, was no doubt due to our tight-knit community.
Speakers from the high and primary schools told the crowd that this is “our fight, our planet and our future, and how we all need to take action before it’s too late”.
Emphasis was not only on change and all the small things that we as individuals can do to reduce the negative impact we have on the environment, but also the responsibility of corporations and government to wield their power to make change, instead of slowing it down.
Ben-g Wells, a Year-4 student from Denmark Primary, spoke about how we can use less single-use plastic by steering away from plastic-wrapped muesli bars in our lunchboxes.
While these actions could set a positive example, he said, taking action against big businesses such as McDonalds to reduce plastic packaging was a powerful tool.
Luka Milbourne from Year 9 pointed out the huge subsidies given to the coal and gas industries, and called for pressure to be put on the government to create a just transition to more sustainable jobs.
Rod Mitchell, who recently returned from Canberra as national chair of the Citizen’s Climate Lobby said that we needed to be pressing government to put a price on carbon emissions, to provide an incentive for big business to cut down on carbon.
Referring to Ghandi, Mr Mitchell noted the importance of fighting peacefully, and the power that non-violent direct action, such as school strikes, can have.
Julie Marsh introduced Extinction Rebellion, the international sociopolitical movement that aims to create system change through civil disobedience, such as striking.
Year-11s Torben Ramrath, Chenoa Thrupp Probst and Piper Eastland all took the opportunity to speak about how they want their future to look, and some of the many things that needed to change in order for their goals to be realised.
Despite the reason for the strike being an urgent and frightening one there was a positive atmosphere at the gathering, and a great sense of hope and empowerment about how individuals can take action to ultimately help shape the future. – Maryen Hersi, Hannah Walker and Lotta Ramrath