By Harriet O'Shea Albrecht, 14 years old, Castlemaine
I’ve often had people tell me to count my blessings, appreciate what I have, and feel lucky that I’m living in such a beautiful place. They tell me it will make me feel better when I’m having a tough time. But, when I think of all my blessings, it just makes me want to cry. This is because I am a lover of life. And the idea that my children and grandchildren may not get to experience the beautiful world that I live in, is one of the saddest things I can think of.
A couple of days ago, when reading ‘DON’T MENTION THE EMERGENCY’, a climate Science book by Jane Morton, I read something shocking and heartbreaking. I read that, by 2050, if we have nine billion people living on this planet, and we hit 4 degrees, 5 degrees or 6 degrees Celsius, then it is estimated that only half a billion people will survive. The chances of me surviving that are one in eighteen. The chances that everyone I love would survive that are almost impossible. Although I love school and I love to learn, I love my family and friends more. And I will do anything to ensure a sustainable planet, where my friends, my family, everyone else, and I could continue to live in our beautiful world. So, I am striking from school to save my future, and the futures of the people I love.
I smile when the sun comes out from behind a cloud, I smile when the trees around me sway gently back and forth as if they are talking to one another other, I smile when my friends make childish jokes, but soon after, my smiles turn bitter sweet, because I know I may be one of the last children that gets to smile innocently at the world around me.
Miserable. Frustrated. Let down. These are the things I feel when I think about the climate change crisis and my future. Miserable, because the wonderful world I have experienced, may not exist much longer. Frustrated, because there is so much we could be doing about the crisis that we aren’t, and because our politicians are still in denial. Let down, because the government are supposed to protect me, not destroy my chances of a happy future.
Hurt. Angry. Sorrowful. These are the things I feel when I hear people say that because I’m a child, I can’t think for myself. Hurt, because I know this is an excuse not to listen to me. Angry, because being a child may mean I am less mature, educated, and articulate, but in no way, does it mean I can’t think for myself and make my own decisions. Sorrowful, because I want so badly to be heard and understood, but these people can’t see past my age.
So, I have a message for our politicians:
You must listen to us now! You cannot continue pretending we are not here, and that climate change is okay. Because we are here, so is the climate crisis, and it is destroying our planet. These are people’s futures you’re dealing with. These are people’s lives. And we are the people whose lives are in your hands. We are here, trying to be heard, fighting for what is right, and telling you to do the same. We have trusted you to do what is in the best interest of our country, and it is clear to us that you aren’t. It's time to take our futures seriously.