Audio from the School Strike for Climate rally, Parliament Lawns, nipaluna / Hobart, 21 May 2021. Transcript (abridged: functional announcements, microphone wrangling, etc. have been edited out). MCs This strike, we are demanding that the government does not go forward with its gas-led recovery, and instead funds renewable energies. Our three demands for this government […]
Audio from the School Strike for Climate rally, Parliament Lawns, nipaluna / Hobart, 21 May 2021.
Transcript (abridged: functional announcements, microphone wrangling, etc. have been edited out).
This strike, we are demanding that the government does not go forward with its gas-led recovery, and instead funds renewable energies. Our three demands for this government are:
- resourcing Aboriginal- and Torres Strait Islander-led solutions that guarantee land rights and care for country
- funding the creation of secure jobs that fast track solutions to the climate crisis and help communities recover
- funding projects that transition our economy and communities to 100% renewable energy by 2033, the expansion of public ownership.
First up today we have a student environment leader from Clarence High, Owen Fitzgerald, can we please give him a super warm welcome to the stage?
There are so many people here today all have different ages, beliefs, backgrounds and ideals. But we’re gathered today with one common objective. We believe that our government has been inactive on major climate issues for too long. As a result, we have to forego our education to pursue those in power to create our future, we will not stand by and watch. And we certainly will not deny the changes we see, because the earth we know and love has given us too much to simply let it die. Our future starts now, not in 5, 10 or 100 years, but now.
There are a number of issues that I want to bring to light today, which are affecting the planet and our lives. Today I will discuss the logging of native forests in Tasmania, followed by the tourism industry and COVID-19. Obviously, the tourism industry was heavily affected by COVID-19. However, we can also learn a great deal from this experience and use our newfound knowledge to our advantage. I will then give you my concluding thoughts on the important changes we as students demand to see in our schools.
I don’t know about you, but every day I can see how climate change is affecting the world around me. The way the seasons are mixed up. We had a cool summer and are expecting a warm winter. The plants are experiencing change too; they flower at odd times, or sometimes not at all. The earth we know is changing. This is why we are here today. Although some climate change is natural, the rate at which the earth is heating is out of control. From the mid 20th century onward, the average surface temperature of the globe has risen exponentially. It was one degree Celsius in 2016 and 2020 compared to negative 0.4 degrees 100 years ago. All 10 warmest years on record have occurred since 2005. Seven of these were since 2014. That scares me, all of these statistics are skyrocketing, and show no sign of stopping. So why aren’t we doing anything to stop this?
Here in Tasmania, we have a sense of complacency. The state is powered by what we are told is renewable energy. So we think that reducing carbon emissions doesn’t apply to us. Unfortunately, it does, and we must do better. Our cars, trucks and public transport emit huge amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Yet no one does anything about it. Why?
The logging of native forests in Tasmania is a major threat to our iconic wilderness. Almost 29,000 hectares of the Tarkine forests is active logging space. Meaning the government has allowed permission for the forests to be logged, burned and destroyed. This is threatening the lives of native Tasmanian species like the masked owl, Tasmanian devil, giant freshwater crayfish and the swift parrot, which is likely to be extinct in just 10 years. We’ll keep asking ourselves how we let the Tasmanian tiger become extinct, and many more besides, but it is happening again to helpless native species.
Additionally, these trees are essential carbon vaults. They absorb carbon from the atmosphere as part of the process of photosynthesis, maintaining the balance between carbon emissions and the effect those emissions have on the environment. Trees store carbon in their wood, and it is only released after the tree has either been burned, or it’s rotted over time. So by allowing the forest to be logged and burned, we’re killing our best solutions to slow and prevent climate change. Keeping the balance between human impact and the environment is essential to gain a better understanding of how we as a society and our federal and state governments can make changes that help prevent climate change, but don’t that don’t affect industries job employment and life as we know and understand it today.
We can create a more sustainable Tasmania without the loss of jobs. We need our politicians and governments to take us seriously and stop climate action. We need our native forests to be protected. We need this change to happen so that we can secure our future. Our future starts now.
This event demonstrates the power that I want to see being put into action. I want to follow this action as a young leader and see a difference be made in my lifetime, not 100 years from now. We as students want to be recognised as people who have ideas and will be contributing to solutions. The change will not happen unless we implement it ourselves into our daily lives. And this is why we so strongly call for action, we recognise the hardship it may take. We know that the solutions we want will not happen overnight. And we do not want people to stand up for a cause where they see no future.
Today, I not only want to represent a community of concerned young people, but a community of young people who have a voice and have real ideas. And know it’s not all bad.
Earlier I mentioned Tasmania’s unsustainable clearing of native forests. I now ask our government more than ever to remain vigilant and aware of these practices, and what that looks like. We want clear and unbiased media to report on sustainable development and deliver a clear message of the truth. We demand change and the truth, our future starts now.
Due to COVID-19 the Tasmanian environment has had a much needed rest from pollution and damage caused by the huge tourism industry in Tasmania. Across Australia, emissions fell to the lowest they have been for more than a decade. Unfortunately, these short term reductions are due to start rising again, as we rebuild from the pandemic. We understand that huge changes cannot always be implemented straightaway. But for the survival of the planet, we have to start somewhere. Small changes can spark the fire of transformation.
Obviously, the tourism industry in Tasmania cannot be abandoned. And I’m not asking for that. But the environment cannot remain neglected. Tasmania’s tourism industry is heavily dependent on nature, and national parks and spectacular views are one of a kind and primarily considered the main tourist attraction in Tasmania. Without it, we’re just an island of small cities and towns, nothing compared to the towering heights of Sydney or Melbourne. In order to achieve thriving tourism our wilderness must be preserved. I see great opportunity in creating achievable and financially viable steps towards solutions for our governments. If we as students can see the advantages that can be gained from finding sustainable solutions, then why can’t our government see them?
During the pandemic we saw changes in society all around us. We saw more people plant gardens, supplying themselves with their own produce, and buying at local markets and small businesses. We were restricted to our homes because of COVID-19. But the community felt stronger than ever. People stayed home and use their cars less. They made their own clothes or bought online from a local business that did not rely on interstate or overseas tourism. These all happened to be very sustainable practices, but weren’t difficult to implement into our lives. Why can’t this continue? The government could invest in sustainable industries and create more jobs allowing these industries to thrive. This reduce the unemployment rate in Tasmania and keep our money in the state, which is what they want, isn’t it?
I have a question that I want to put forward to the government. Tasmania’s economy relies heavily on tourism. We know that for a fact that how much of the tourism industry itself relies on natural Tasmanian wonders, such as our native forests, beaches and mountain ranges. What are people coming here to see? They are not coming to look at our buildings, are they? They’re coming to see something different, they come to see something real and alive. If we continue logging, burning and mining our land, we will not have a strong tourism industry. If we let our environment die, what percentage of our tourism industry goes with us? If the government created more tourist attractions out of the native environment, while maintaining it in a sustainable manner, then the job employment provides yet again. In this case, it would be a win win. Tasmania gets a booming tourism industry, as well as the termination of unsustainable practices that are destroying biodiversity and the ecosystems. Our future starts now.
I am here today, demanding our government change the current practices that are harming our beautiful Tasmanian environments and destroying our futures. As well as taking immediate action to solve these issues, we as your students want to be taught about the climate crisis within schools. We go to school to learn. We go to school to work for our futures, but our future is the climate crisis. And if it continues, we will have no future. I demand change in the education system; we have a right to know what is happening and what our future looks like.
The media is such a part is such a large part of everyday life now, but it can be biased and confusing to navigate. Lies and manipulation are so intertwined, that we never know what to believe. Yet when it comes to climate change, the only information we as students can get is from the internet. But why is that? Our government must understand that we need to know what our future looks like if the climate crisis continues. We need to be taught in our schools what our future looks like and could look like if the climate crisis continues. The climate crisis is not just something affecting only adults. It’s changing our lives as students and young adults, and we have a right to our future.
How many times have you heard this line? ‘Your generation will be the one to fix this mess’. Because I hear it endlessly. And although I hope it is true, there is a problem. Why is it always adults telling us this? They pretend that the time is not right, or that someone else will solve it for them. That responsibility falls onto us as your children, except when I decide I want to find a solution, you tell me that I’m too young or don’t understand what is going on in the world. Maybe I don’t, but I’m willing to try as hard as I can rather than stand back as you do. Stop dismissing the only people who can save the planet from self-destruction. Listen to us, we have ideas, we have the passion and determination needed in order to make a change.
We have been hidden in the dark for too long. We deserve a right to our lives, and we deserve the right to our future. We refuse to remain quiet as we watch our futures being destroyed. We refuse to see the government funding support causes that are killing our native forest, the environment and the biodiversity that Tasmania holds. If we as students can see what is happening to our lives, to our communities and to the earth itself, why can’t our government see that we are in need of help. We need the government’s help to create change and save our future. I now ask our federal and state governments directly to take a risk to plunge into the deep end. From a young age those around us, those we love and who influence us, make it clear that risk-taking is how we learn, improve and challenge ourselves in everyday life. Risk taking is how we see change. The risk I asked our government today is scientifically proven to benefit our earth. It is a risk I would be willing to take, an opportunity to create the future for those who will follow us. If not now then when?
As the government, you run our land, our country and you represent us. But we also represent ourselves. We are next in line to take positions you hold in Parliament. But if you refuse to act now then it’s too late for us. You will leave us with a ruined planet, a ruined economy and ruin lives. The climate crisis should be your focus, but it’s not. Why? Why do you ignore it? Why do you continue to ignore it? We gathered here today, because we demand change. And we demand it from you. Stop hiding and start acting. Because our future starts now. And we start this change.
Thank you so much Owen for that incredible speech, you really spoke with the voice of all of our students here as well as everyone else. So thank you so much.
Next speaker we have is cartoonist and celebrated children’s author of the book The Carbon Neutral Adventures of the Indefatigable Enviroteens, and general national treasure, First Dog on the Moon. Please give him a warm welcome.
First Dog on the Moon
Hello. It is an honour to be here today. They told me I had to shout so the people down the back could hear. So I will, sorry if that’s loud for the people at the front. I was delighted to be asked here by the fabulous Schools for Climate people to speak to you. I am indeed First Dog on the Moon. I’m a cartoonist. Not entirely sure why I’m here. But I suppose a cartoonists are affected by climate change like everyone else. So that could be it.
It is so wonderful to see you all here. We all seem to be having a nice time. I’m sorry, that that you need to come to this rally. I mean, it’s not so bad. But still, all the rallies you’ll have to come to for the rest of your lives. I’ve been doing it my whole life too. And it hasn’t worked yet entirely. But don’t let that stop you. Because the mass movement I can see that you’re part of here today is in my humble, very humble, opinion, is absolutely critical to climate change, to halting climate change. So this might be the most important thing you ever do. Unless you become a cartoonist. So I just want to say, hooray for all of you. I think it’s fantastic. Yeah, you are, you’re fantastic. As a cartoonist is my job is to mock the cruel and powerful. It’s a pretty good job. I get to draw funny pictures for a living. It’s not a real job at all. I get to make fun of pompousness and hypocrisy also to advocate for the oppressed and the downtrodden. And not just people. But also drivers of loud cars and creatures, the rights of penguins and fish and bees and so on all of them the whole planet, really. My cartoons have not yet saved the world. It took me a while to figure out that it wasn’t going to happen that way. So I’m glad you’re all here to do it. I’m sorry Owen, but this whole ‘your generation are going to fix it’ thing, well, it’s disappointing. That many adults take that approach. I don’t have of course, I’m different. So our problem is not how to fix climate change. We know how to do that. Our problem is the people who won’t do it, the people in power.
And we know who’s responsible for climate change: the fossil fuel CEOs and the executives and the shareholders, the denialists and the delayers and the doomers, the grifters in the media and the people in politics throwing money at fossil fuel businesses and covering for them.
We know who to blame. And I love to blame people for things. I’m not sure it’s helpful, but it’s very satisfying. We know who it is. And we know who it isn’t. And I do ask that later on when you’re holding your international environmental crimes youth tribunals that you remember, I was on your side.
It’s true. You don’t have to laugh at the jokes. But anyway, we can point at Scott Morrison. And I don’t think we should call him Scomo. Because he actually likes it. We can point to Scott Morrison. And we can say: ‘climate change, it’s that guy’s fault!’ And to some extent, it absolutely is. But if the Prime Minister accidentally fell into a vat of jellyfish at the zoo … (kookaburras laughing) … I’ll take that. If the Prime Minister accidentally fell into a vat of jellyfish at the zoo, and was eaten alive by all the angry jellies – and I’m not saying that should happen, this isn’t that sort of rally – but if it did happen, now some people would be sad, other people would not be as sad. But whatever happened, he would be replaced very quickly by someone else who wanted to do the exact same things. Someone who was just as excited as Scott to make climate change worse, someone possibly more dreadful than Scott, is that possible? Could it be? I mean, what I’m saying is, these are the specific people who are responsible for climate change. I think we should all boo Scott Morrison right now. (crowd boos)
Oh, that’s fantastic. We should say ‘hooray’ for all the angry jellyfish that in my mind have eaten him. (crowd hoorays). Hooray for the jellyfish. My point is that Scott can be replaced by another climate villain straight away. Scott, hard to believe, is not the problem. It is the system Scott represents. He’s just a guy. He’s a really weird, annoying guy who maybe should be eaten by jellyfish, but just a guy. In fact, if all of the people on earth, who are responsible for doing climate change right now, were eaten by angry jellyfish, or parrots or big spiders from outer space, if they were all eaten then climate change would just keep going, someone else would step up and take over. Because the system Scott, Scott Morrison, represents is the problem. It doesn’t just let climate change happen. It actually encourages it, it rewards it. As some people call it capitalism, I do.
But it isn’t just responsible for climate change. The system we live under requires that billions of people around the world live in poverty and fear. That wars are fought to keep defence companies making money. That the 20 companies in the world that produce 55% of the plastic in the world’s oceans, only 20 companies, that they are rewarded for producing that plastic, but are not ever expected to clean up. It’s not democracy. This system eats democracy for breakfast, and then poops out climate change.
It just took us 200 years to bring the earth to climate disaster. Only 200 years and they knew about climate change. I know it’s like they read it 50 or 100 years ago, and they kept going anyway, they knew and they lied about it. And here we are. Shame. It makes me very cross. So what is the alternative? Well, that’s a very good question. And you get to work it out, Owen and all your friends. I could tell you what I think but if adults knew we would have done it. Alright. So good luck with that.
Anyway, whatever you come up with, this system that we have will try and stop you. So we have to remember – here I’m telling you what to do and that’s to remember – that climate change isn’t just a bad thing all by itself. It’s not just about climate. That is the biggest part. But why would we save the planet just so all these greedy human doorstops like Scott Morris can keep trashing the place to make more money and to be mean to the penguins? Why would we stop climate change so that injustice and cruelty and greed could continue to grow and get even worse. So it’s bigger than climate.
I mean, look at the salmon farms. We could stop climate change tomorrow, and that’d be great, but they will continue to destroy the coast exactly the way they are today for years. We would have no climate change, but we’d also have no fish.
So there’s some good news. The International Energy Agency, who I had never heard of, until this week, just declared the end of the age of fossil fuels. Over. No more exploration or mining should happen. And apparently, they’re very important, invented by Henry Kissinger, and it is their job to declare that the end of fossil fuels is over. So this is great news. Things are shifting. And it’s literally because of what you are doing standing here today. You have all your comrades around the globe, people turning up and who keep saying it’s not good enough. Meanwhile, Scott Morrison is declaring a $600 million gas power station that nobody wants or needs. It’s a disgrace. I don’t think he’s very good at his job, unless his job is making climate change worse, which it isn’t.
So I’m going to I’m trying to do something I said I wasn’t gonna do which is tell you what I think you should do. You don’t have to do it. I’m not a huge fan of parliamentary democracy. I know there are some representatives of parliamentary democracy here today and bless them. They try their hardest. And it is, it is the best we’ve got. So my suggestion is that on the day you turn 18, you get on the electoral roll, and you vote. Alright, there are a lot of problems. Well, there are a lot of problems with electoral politics, if you want to know what they are, you can read my cartoons. It is only one small part of the solution.
But we also know and this is important that the government don’t want you on the electoral roll. They don’t want you to vote because they don’t like the way they think you’re going to vote. And I suspect they’re probably right. Young people are a menace, frankly, because you tend to vote for what is right, not narrow, destructive, self interest/ Which interestingly, that’s how I vote, too, isn’t that great. So we must absolutely stop digging up and burning fossil fuels. Like I said, even if we stopped climate change today, the world would still be full of injustice, and cruelty and the wrong people being eaten by angry jellyfish.
So the fight to stop climate change is the fight also to stop corruption and intolerance and exploitation, literally the same fight. It is. It is the fight for the rights of the dispossessed, and the disenfranchised, the fight to return the lands of indigenous people all around the world, the righteous and worthy struggle for every person on earth, to have access to clean water and sanitation and food and housing and health care in Australia.
We can literally afford to end poverty tomorrow. You remember JobKeeper from COVID? It could well have been used to end poverty, just bang, like that. And our government simply chooses not to. So what sort of people are we? So this is the fight for the oceans, and the skies, and the lands to be free of poison and coke cans and industrial farming and micro-plastics and the stuff that ends up in the stomachs of seabirds like clothes pegs, and those stupid balloons with the helium in them what is that even about.
As I said, if adults knew what to do, we would have done it already. So I’d like to encourage you not to listen to adults, except me when I just said that then. But other than that, forget it. All right. So we must be gentle and kind with each other. I know the time has passed for being gentle and kind with the greedy people who want to end our civilisation But for the rest of us, you’re absolutely fabulous. Keep doing what you are doing. It is wonderful. Be nice to each other. And let’s save the world. Thank you very much.
Thank you so so much First Dog on the Moon
Next up, we have the amazing student organiser Lucy Woodhouse from Tarremah Steiner school. Please welcome Lucy. And please continue to social distance I know it’s hard. Please move back. Hello everyone.
My name is Lucy, I’m in Year 8. And I’m here today because the world is dying. We see alarming rates of changes in our climate. The politicians and anti-environmental corporations don’t seem to be paying attention. So I’m here like all of you to make them pay attention. The world’s continual need to use single-use materials, ripping coal out of our earth, using more of taxpayers, money to find new gas projects, the cutting down of trees and open source fish farming, is destroying our planet.
People around the world have been rallying for climate action two decades, yet many governments refuse to listen. Our current government still seems to be unable to get that through their entitled heads that change and action is needed, and needed now.
The turning a blind eye to the real effects that climate change is having on our population. For example, the rate at which sea levels are rising will see many low lying islands in Torres Strait disappear. Marine life is disappearing. Their fresh water supplies are ruined. Not only have they dealt with their land taken from them by white settlers, but we have continued to destroy their way of life, their human rights continued to be violated. Disgraceful. The science could not be more clear. Mining and burning of coal, oil and gas increases our climate crisis. We continue we cannot continue to use these resources as a form of energy. Using these are adding to extreme weather events. It adds to long periods between recent decent rainfalls and makes for hotter, drier weather. The bushfire season of 2019 to 2020 saw mega fires its way across our country. People lost their lives, billions of wildlife gone and homes destroyed.
We look to our leaders for answers, but what do they give us? Denial. They deny the science, they continue to listen to big lobby groups who tell them that coal is the future.
They refuse to call a climate emergency, they refuse to move us towards net zero emissions at the rate we should be.
We look with hope that maybe, just maybe, the federal budget would move us towards a greener and renewable future. But they failed. They failed to stop funding gas exploration. They failed to properly invest in renewable energy. They failed to think ahead, of the generations who have to come after them.
So what do we do? We do the opposite of what many of our big politicians and multinational corporations continue to do. We are not pretending that climate change is a myth. And we have shown this today by all of you being here, you’re all legends. When the youth of Australia has to teach those who are supposed to be in power, you know something has gone backwards. I want to say to anyone that is a politician who’s ignoring the science, every single one of us if not already will be a voter one day and you should be scared, because we are angry.
You think we have no power, but you are short sighted. We will be the one’s deciding your political future. We will be the ones who put our hard-earned money into companies that are for the future, not just for profit. So the choice is yours. Take us seriously now, or wait till when we are going to decide your future.
But until then, there are some things we can do right now. Reduce the levels of plastics being used in your homes, no matter how small or big it is. You reduce it by every bit counts. Donate your clothes your local opp-shop to stop them going into landfill. And join your local climate group and start one at your school if it isn’t one already, because everything no matter how small it is counts. Finally, thank you all for being here. You’re showing our leaders that we will no longer let them kill our future and destroy our planet. Thank you.
Thank you so much, Lucy, for that amazing speech.
Next up, we have the amazing Alistair Allen from the Bob Brown Foundation to talk about the impacts of climate change on Antarctica. Please welcome Alistair.
I’m gonna have to crouch a little bit. First off, I’d like to acknowledge the traditional owners of the land that we’re meeting today. And acknowledge its sovereignty was never seen, it always was always will be Aboriginal land.
First off, a couple of things. There’s a video on the Internet of Rage Against The Machine playing to like 10 people in the backyard. And what we just saw today from Unknown, I hope will be that video, those guys, I played guitar for, like 15 years. And if I was as good as them at that age, I know I’d be touring the world. So I know. And that was amazing. Thank you so much for the really, really great. I’m much like First Dog on the Moon, it’s hard to know why I’m here talking to you today. And when I was thinking about what I was going to talk about, I thought I’d talk a little bit about what it would be like to come to something like this when I was in school, which makes me feel old even saying but I graduated high school in in 2008. And if there was a climate strike rally back then, in my little rural town in Hervey Bay in Queensland, I reckon they’d be maybe me, maybe me, and that’s about it would turn out.
So to see so many people here today is just overwhelming. It’s amazing. You guys are incredible. Thank you so much for coming out and for standing up for what you think is right. I think that’s the really important thing here is to acknowledge it, you know, what you think is right, you have a voice, and you have a reason to be here. And really it’s just amazing to see.
So I was going to talk about Antarctica. Antarctica is a place that’s very special to me. For 10 years, I worked for a group called Sea Shepherd. And it’s how I got involved in environmentalism in the first place. And I wanted to talk about that involvement. And what it means to me to see so many people today also standing up and being involved. When I first joined Sea Shepherd, I had very little idea of what I was doing. I was heading to Antarctica, a place of wonder and amazement, I had no idea what it would look like. But what inspired me to go was that much like you, there was something that I’d identified that was going wrong. And that was whaling. I grew up in Hervey Bay, as I said, in the whales used to visit there. Every every year, they come up, and I found out that they were getting killed in a whale sanctuary down south. And when I went down there on the ship, and to confront whaling, the question that ran through my 19 year old mind is, ‘does my individual efforts make a difference here?’. And the power of the individual is something that’s often overlooked, I think. And it’s something that’s really important, and we’re here to get together. I mean, there’s a huge amount of people here, but the power that you have as individuals to stand up and say what’s right is massive. And so I went down to take on whaling, not knowing what that would lead to. And it was a long and hard fight. But now when we look back, whaling does no longer occur in the Southern Ocean. There the whales swim free, which is amazing.
And it was part of a a movement that had been around since the 70s, basically, to stop whaling. And it was a long, hard fight, but it was a fight that was won. And often, I think, when we look at environmentalism, we look you know, right now with climate change and who we have in power, we look at their response to the climate crisis that is barrelling towards us, it’s very easy to think that it’s very hard to have a win. It’s impossible to score points on the board when it comes to to the environment. But I’m here to tell you that that that’s not always the case. And that you can you make a difference as individuals. And it’s really important that you do, it takes courage for you to all be here today. I think it’s magnificent that you leave school, I think what you’re doing here today is far more important than anything you could learn on a Friday in school. Fridays were a joke anyway. So it’s just amazing to know that you guys can carry that, that you can carry this forward and out into the community to the wider community.
And that’s where your true power is, to tell people that ‘look, this is happening, I care about it. Listen to me’. And that’s how you end up with a win.
Antarctica relies on it. Australia relies on it, the globe relies on it. It is a truly monumental case of injustice, as they were talking about. It’s not just about the environment is about injustice and social injustice. I just thank you all so much for being here today. And I know I didn’t talk about Antarctica much, which is, you know, why I was here, but I don’t think Antarctica is the the real issue here. The issue is is that we need people to stand up and take action for climate and you are doing that today. So thank you so much and all the best.
Thank you so much Alistair, for that insight into a couple of issues that I would imagine a lot of us here today probably didn’t know too much about until now. So thank you very much for that. Next up we have a another school activist student. Izzy, who will be performing some of her poetry. Can we please give her a massive welcome?
So this poem is titled ‘Lucky’.
We are so lucky to live in Tasmania. You don’t look have to look hard to find beauty, lush green forests, towering mountains, cascading waterfalls, and the way you can stare at the stars and the night sky and get lost. We are lucky to live in a place where the people celebrate that beauty. A place where we understand and appreciate just how lucky we are a place where almost everyone knows about climate change, and if not, they’re willing to learn. We are lucky to live in a place where the people are ready to fight for climate justice.
Other countries are not so lucky. The forests, wastelands of dead tree stumps, their mountains relentlessly mined into and their waterways choked with pollution. It’s taken us too long to realise there’s a problem. And we are running out of time. We are destroying our planet. We’re destroying our future, we are destroying our children’s future. And we are running out of time.
Our planet is sending us warning signs. Our planet is crying out for help, rising the seas and burning our lands, extreme weather events that will continue to escalate unless we do something. We need the government to make drastic and significant changes now, but they aren’t. For a long time we tried to get them to listen. We showed them concrete evidence of climate decline. And it wasn’t until recently that they started listening. They started making small changes, but they’re still prioritising the wrong things.
So we’ve had to resort to this, to striking, to get the government’s full and complete attention, to get them to listen and to take this threat seriously. But they can’t fix this alone. It can sometimes feel like this fight is a losing battle. But 7 million people doing something small for the environment has a profound impact. That something small could be as simple as picking up a piece of trash or taking time to buy local produce. When we all work together, we can make a difference.
Although Tasmania is lucky, we are not by any means immune. The effects of climate change reach us too. If we stop caring, it can only get worse. We could easily keep taking and taking and taking from our planet until there’s no turning back.
But I still have hope for the future. I still believe we can get through this. We need to work together to fight this injustice. And I know we can, with the government prioritising the right things, and everyone contributing to the well being of the planet, there’s nothing we can do, we can and will make a difference. And although we know what we actually need to do, it’s a matter of actually doing it. We know what, where we want to be and where we need to be. It’s just a matter of getting there. And that’s going to take a lot of hard work. Because I want my children to grow up in a better world than I did. I want them to trust the people in power will do the right thing. And I don’t want them to believe that they have to strive to be heard. I want them to feel happy and safe and secure. I want my children to know what beauty is. And I want them to experience it every day. I want them to be able to look at the stars and get lost. And I want them to feel lucky. Thank you.
Thank you so much easy for that beautiful poem. Our final speaker for today is Sam Eccleston, another amazing student strike organiser from Taroona High School please welcome Sam.
Well, thank you for that kind introduction Helena. And thank you for all the work that you and the rest of the incredible school strike nipaluna Hobart team have done to bring this strike to life, it wouldn’t be possible without you.
My name is Sam Ecclestone, I’m 15 years old and a year 10 student at Taroona High School, that most most picturesque school that sits on the banks of the glorious timtumali minanya the river Derwent, the river that comes flowing down from Tasmania’s rocky plateau through rolling hills past lunawana alonna Bruny Island and out to see a river that sometimes in some time in the next 50 years will break its banks covering OCC Chelsea sorry, covering RCC and water and forever changing the lives that my generation our children and our grandchildren will have to face. To say this is not scare mongering, it is not disinformation, and it is not unrealistic. A 1 to 1.5 meter rise in global sea levels by 2075 is the bare minimum of what experts say we must prepare for if current emissions continue. But it’s not the only thing that we must prepare for. We must also prepare for a longer, more intense bushfire season. So our city may not just be flooded but burnt as well. We must also prepare for longer, more severe droughts so that we must starve in our city of wet ash. We must also prepare for more extreme weather events, even in places that have not experienced them in the past. So maybe our city of damp ash, populated by citizens who do not have a stable food supply, may also be hit by a cyclone every summer.
This barbaric vision for the future of our city is the future the Morison government is not only ignoring but actively encouraging. The Federal Government’s ‘gas-led recovery’ promises ongoing support financial support for gas, a serious emitter in its own right for at least another 30 to 40 years. I say shame. They are trapping us in a cycle of emissions from which we may never be able to escape.
This microphones not treating me particularly nicely today. We’re gonna take a short break, I’m gonna get back to you.
This government is trapping us in a cycle of emissions from which we will never escape. Just three days ago, they announced the construction of a brand new gas fired power station in New South Wales. There is only one thing we can say to this. And that is shame on you, Scott Morrison, shame! It doesn’t have to be this way. Australia will be spending $600 million on this new power station if the government gets their way. So let’s see what we could have gotten for that money instead. Over in the solar corner, we’ve got the proposed Western Downs solar farm in Queensland, which would generate the exact same as as the gas plant or delivering twice the total power output and zero emissions. Zero emissions. If you look at wind, we’ve got the (inaudible) wind farm in South Australia, which generates the same output as the gas facility and it was recently completed for $400 million, a third of what this gas plant would cost. It is shameful that the Scott Morrison government is continuing to push these technologies when they are just not economical, they are nonsensical, and we do not stand for them as the citizens of Australia.
I have been so alarmed by this ever-mounting evidence that I’ve become a climate activist and a school striker. But not because I want to be one. That because our government’s ignorance has given me no other choice.
Since last year, I’ve been as I’ve been an organiser with School Strike for Climate here in the beautiful city of nipaluna / Hobart, organising these events, speaking to politicians in the media, and getting the awareness around these issues that we so desperately need.
My story of climate activism is not the only one. All over the world 1000s of organisers and hundreds of 1000s of strikers have been marching, chanting and working, working in solidarity with each other, including all of you here today. I have been lucky enough to hear some of these stories. And I thought that through hearing the stories of others, those all around the globe, I might bring you might bring you a bit of hope in this sea of despair. Jan Weintraub is an 18 year old from Argentina, and the co founder of Jovenes Por El Clima, Argentina. He was inspired to act where he saw indigenous Argentines having their land rights denied and their sovereignty ignored. The organisation that he and his schoolmates founded, organised in less than two months the largest student protest movement in the history of Argentina.
Johana Haufman is a 24 year old from Hungary, who was inspired to act when she saw Greta Thunberg leading strikes across Sweden. She helped organise the walkout of 7000 Hungarian high school students. Premi Saiga is a 26 year old from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He founded a group in his home country that fights to protect the Congo Basin, and the largest waterways in Africa, and the central part of the food supply of over one and a half billion people. All of us may come from different countries with different backgrounds, races, languages and cultures. But we have one thing in common. We are not climate activists, because we want to be. We are climate activists, because it is what we must do for the good of us all.
I conclude my speech today by first addressing you, you incredible people who have come out today to show solidarity with us and this global movement. A bright future is still within our grasp. Join School Strike if you can. Organise, work, fight with us together, we will win this together. To Prime Minister Scott Morrison I say: as Einstein once said, you cannot solve a problem with the same mindset that created it. Your failure is a failure to think and to imagine. So be brave, be bold, be strong, the young people and the people of Australia demand it. Thank you.
Thank you, Sam, for that incredible speech. And I think we can all say Well done, Sam, for carrying on through those technical difficulties. Very well done.
We would like to thank everyone for coming along today to demand that our government act on our future and stop funding fossil fuels and gas.
We also need to say an incredibly big thank you to the student organisers who have made this event possible and enormous amount of work goes into organising this event. And these student organisers work seven days a week to get this done, and they are absolutely incredible.
Source: Tasmanian Times https://www.tasmaniantimes.com/2021/05/thousands-rally-at-school-strike-for-climate-nipaluna-hobart/#utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=thousands-rally-at-school-strike-for-climate-nipaluna-hobart