Why we're striking from school
By Harriet O’Shea Carre and Milou Albrecht, year 8 students, Castlemaine VIC
It seems ridiculous that children have got to the point where they realise that the adults who are supposed to be in charge aren’t doing enough to protect our futures from dangerous climate change. So, together with kids from kindergarten to year 12, across Australia, we have decided to strike from school to show them that this simply isn’t good enough!
There are already so many solutions to climate change but our politicians aren’t doing enough to put them in place. Instead, they are approving massive new coal mines, like Adani’s, that will wreck our future. Us kids are going to be living in this hot world far longer than the adults. This is just not fair.
We want a world that’s safe to live in, and futures we can look forward to. We’re scared about ferocious bushfires in the community where we live here in Central Victoria. We feel awful for the farmers who are suffering through drought year after year. We feel sorry for the future generations who don’t even get a say in the world that we’re creating, who will have to deal with even more extreme weather, who will never get to see the Great Barrier Reef and other threatened icons and species. We want them to be able to experience the beauty of our natural world too.
Why are our politicians allowed to take this away from any child? By making bad choices about climate change, we feel that the leaders of our country are destroying the chance for us to have a safe and good future. We believe we have a right to flourish.
We kids didn’t create this problem, but we are going to do all we can to help fix it. And our politicians should too. We want them to treat the climate crisis for the emergency that it is. Climate scientists keep telling us that if we don’t act now it will be disastrous. We need our Government to listen to the wisdom of these experts and then act on their advice.
We have decided to go on strike from school to show our leaders that, right now, tackling climate change feels more important than our education. What’s the point of learning facts at school if the people in power ignore the facts? We have to know that we will have a liveable planet before we can get excited about our future careers. We are temporarily sacrificing our education in order to save our futures. Actually, going on a strike seems educational in itself. We are learning how to use our voices and stand up for what we believe is right. That’s the point of school anyway.
We can’t vote yet which means we aren’t getting a say in the decisions that our politicians make. So we must do what we can to be be heard. Striking is one way.
We feel that our lives have been really lucky so far. We have grown up surrounded by incredible people who aren’t afraid to speak their minds and stand up for what is right. They have taught us not to be followers but to be leaders and to go in whatever direction we want. Now we are putting their teachings to use and passing their wisdom on.
Please don’t say that because we are children we can’t think for ourselves and that we’ve been brainwashed. This is an excuse adults use to ignore kids. Being children may mean that we are less mature, less educated and less articulate, but it doesn’t mean that we can’t think for ourselves and make our own decisions. Please see past our age, and hear what we have to say about the climate crisis.
We know that what is happening to the climate is wrong, and if our politicians won’t recognise that on their own, then kids across this country are here to make them.
Throughout November, students aged 5-18 across Australia will join Big School Walk Out events in capital cities across Australia. To learn more about what we are doing: www.schoolstrike4climate.com
Read this piece online in The Melbourne Age