'It’s important that the kids take charge because politicians on both sides aren’t doing anything.'
There were millions of school students, some in as young as kindergarten, out in the streets on March 15 with their parents and grandparents, calling on the world’s leaders to do something about climate change.
In Australia 150,000 young activists marched through 60 towns and cities with loud cries for the country’s politicians to make the climate and the environment – and their future – the top priority.
Among the crowd was ETU NSW member Peter Kramel who, on an RDO, was marching with his young son, Yoon.
Yoon was too shy to talk on the day, but he was brave enough to walk off from school despite education department bureaucrats saying he and other strikers would be marked absent.
“The teacher told the class he was going,” said Peter, who works at Ausgrid. “And while she could not endorse it, she did all she could to support it.”
Knowing there would be no action from Scott Morrison, the several thousand children filling the square beside Sydney’s Town Hall rang Bill Shorten’s office to demand he be their climate champion. They left a loud and clear message.
Peter said he was there “supporting my son’s future” because there hasn’t been enough done to address human-induced climate change.
“We need to take action,” he said.
Thankfully the kids, like his boy Yoon in year-3, were showing the way.
“It’s important that the kids take charge because politicians on both sides aren’t doing anything and the Nationals don’t even believe in it,” Peter said.
Following the event Nosrat Fareha, a 16-year-old from Western Sydney, said the “turn out across Australia was nothing short of amazing”.
“Politicians have responded with indifference to our crippling summer of record heat, bushfires and floods. It’s no wonder so many came out in support today.
“There’s no time to stand by and wait for the bold action we need. We will keep organising, building our movement and riding the wave of community frustration until Scott Morrison and Bill Shorten step up to the job,” Fareha concluded.
The Australian school strike movement began last year when school students in Central Victoria were inspired by 15-year-old Swedish student Greta Thunberg who began striking outside Swedish Parliament last August and has turned up there to protest every Friday since.
A recent Reachtel poll found almost two thirds (63.1%) of Australians think it’s “important” or “very important” that political leaders commit to taking serious and immediate action on climate change.
It was a sentiment Peter echoed.
“Use your vote to take action on climate change,” he urged.
Another student climate strike is planned for Friday May 3.