Scott Morrison, let courage be your legacy: an open letter from school strikers
Dear Prime Minister Scott Morrison,
On the 20th of September 2019, 350,000 Australians struck from school and work to demand government action on the climate crisis. Because, while you were hoping for a win at this past election, the Australian people were hoping for more. We were hoping for the decisive action that we need now, for an Australia that is safer and better for all.
An Australia which truly reconciles with First Nations People, welcoming and learning from their age-old wisdom of the land.
An Australia which leads the way in sustainable development and innovation, transforming how our country is powered; from energy to transport to food, all while creating new and dignified jobs.
An Australia which acknowledges the injustice of the climate crisis. Supporting a safe transition for workers to more sustainable industries, providing a welcoming home, not a prison, for climate refugees, and lending a helping hand to our neighbours as they too adjust to a warmer world.
An Australia whose natural ecosystems flourish, whose rural communities are no longer broken by drought and whose cities turn green; the sound of cars replaced by birds and people riding their electric bikes.
An Australia with an updated economic and government system that functions for, and within the realms of the people and the planet, not the few.
An Australia which celebrates, cares for and is shaped by the diversity of all its people and all its nature, the culmination of a truly egalitarian society.
Scott Morrison, as we can all see, the climate crisis is more than just the increasing severity and frequency of extreme weather events. It is more than sea level rise and melting polar ice caps. The climate crisis is inextricably linked to every aspect of human life and the challenges we face as a society - from gender inequality, to war, to disease - and thus, it presents us with the rare opportunity to not just reimagine the world that we want to live in, but to actually implement that vision together with the help of modern means.
So, for all your talk of keeping politics out of school, climate change is not and should not be a political issue. And yet, it has become one. For those of us who just missed out on the opportunity to vote this year, we have witnessed five Prime Ministers crumble on the climate crisis during our schooling. For those of us who have just entered our first years of school, we will never experience a world with a “normal” climate. We cannot leave politics out of school because politics is affecting our very livelihoods. We cannot trust the Australian Parliament to deal with the climate crisis because you have failed to do so for the past 30 years. Your inaction leaves us with no other choice but to act ourselves.
In writing to you today, we want to remind you that yes, we care about “building our economy and securing our futures”. However, regardless of the fact that the climate crisis endangers both, we realise that there is more to life than pursuing perpetual economic growth. There is the wonders of nature, the ability to lead a healthy life, the time to spend with friends and family, and so, we also care about protecting our planet and preventing climate breakdown.
We, the Australian youth, call on you, Scott Morrison, to join us in rethinking the Australia that we call home. To seize the opportunity that the climate crisis presents us and transform every aspect of our lives, for the better. For a start: no new coal, oil and gas projects, including the Adani mine. Implement 100% renewable energy generation and exports by 2030. And fund a just transition and job creation for all fossil-fuel industry workers and communities. These are our demands and this is our vision.
Scott Morrison, let the courage to act be your legacy. Be the Prime Minister future generations can acknowledge for succeeding where so many others had failed. Be the Prime Minister who had the last chance to avert the climate crisis, and did.
Australian School Strikers for Climate.
Aoibhinn Crimmins Canberra, ACT
Sarah Winkler Melbourne, VIC
Narii Salmon Gold Coast, QLD
Danielle Pore Villafana Sydney, NSW
Jarrah Carlile Nowra, South Coast, NSW
Toby Thorpe Hobart, TAS
Niamh O’Connor Castlemaine, Goldfields, VIC
Sara Mckoy Brisbane, QLD
Pixie Bray Echuca, Murray Darling, VIC Matilda Lane-Rose Perth, WA
Miranda Gillam Grant Adelaide, SA
Arete Lorian Bairnsdale, Gippsland, VIC
Echo Demecs Sunshine Coast, QLD
Angelina Devorsine Newcastle, NSW
Lucy Lyden Tamworth, New England, NSW
Lachlan Kelly Bunbury, WA
Aeolani Stevens Burnie, TAS
Tamika Borkland Townsville, QLD
Patrick Rudd Port Macquarie, NSW
Gabrielle Drewsbury Launceston, TAS
Maya McGrath Orange, Central West, NSW
Ruby Walker Inverell, Northern Tablelands, NSW
Angelina Burke Kemspey, Mid North Coast, NSW
Maia Sheridan-Hulme Margeret River, WA
Natalie Reeves Broome, WA
Ryan Runge Traralgon, Gippsland, VIC
Claire Galvin Cairns, QLD
Finley Japp Ballarat, VIC
Hillary Cao Geelong, VIC
Emily Minotti-Watson Shepparton, Goulburn River, VIC
Hurley Gatley Bundaberg, QLD
Stephanie Phillis Mudgee, Cudgegong River Valley, NSW