School strike for Climate - Australia
On Friday 15 March, hundreds of schools across Australia came to a halt as more than 130,000 school students and many family supporters and teachers turned out at lively rallies, demanding decisive action to protect the environment from the ravages of climate change. More than 50 rallies took place in different cities, regional centres and towns as part of the world-wide day of action School Strike 4 Climate.
Compilation of state reports from School strike for Climate
On Friday 15 March, hundreds of schools across Australia came to a halt as more than 60,000 school students and many family supporters and teachers turned out at lively rallies, demanding decisive action to protect the environment from the ravages of climate change. More than 50 rallies took place in different cities, regional centres and towns as part of the world-wide day of action School Strike 4 Climate.
Their enthusiasm and determination were complemented by their obvious knowledge and respect for the scientific facts and the undeniable evidence that climate change is caused by greenhouse gas emissions. Their creative hand written and designed cardboard placards and banners ( as shown opposite in the Adelaide rally) pointed the finger at the greedy fossil fuel monopolies, the destroyers of native forests and rainforests and the subservient parliamentary politicians who have failed to do anything about this threat to humanity other than issue timid statements.
While Prime Minister Morrison copped most of this, the school students didn’t let Labor Party leader Bill Shorten completely off the hook, sending a strong message to show some guts and stop the Adani coal mine venture, end coal-mining, and convert to renewables by 2030. In the lead-up to the federal election the illusion that Labor will challenge the domination of the corporate monopolies is still strong.
The overwhelming positive aspect is the growing mass movement of young people keenly aware of the environmental crisis, seeing it as a broad political issue, and not simply as an individual and personal issue. They showed their preparedness for defiant struggle against the corporations and politicians who continue to roll out policies to protect the multinational fossil fuel corporations.
Across the country, tens of thousands of school students laughed off the politicians and Education Departments’ threats of disciplinary action. They ignored lectures and demands that they should protest outside school hours. Their courage and defiance won wide support from parents, families and communities.
Packed trains, trams and buses delivered waves of excited school students to their rallies in cities and regions. The sheer joy and amazement at the huge numbers and discovering their new collective power rippled through the rallies. Private or state school, it didn’t matter. They were united in their excitement and determination to send their angry message for the whole world to hear.
They danced, hugged each other, chanted, roared and waved thousands and thousands of homemade placards above their heads. There was a sea of cardboard placards and hand-drawn caricatures of politicians. Rebellious, “The seas are rising and so are we!” or witty, “Fires in Qld, Floods in NSW, Idiots in ACT” or quietly telling deep truths, “I stand for what I stand on”, “Trickle down didn’t work for the Murray”, “Sorry for the inconvenience we’re trying to change the world”, “100 companies cause 71% of emissions…WTF!”, “You didn’t complain when we had Monday off for a Horse Race.” The atmosphere was electric. Parents and grandparents listened to school students they didn’t know, their eyes shining with pride and hope for the future.
Tens of thousands of students marched through their cities, blocking and disrupting traffic. The First Nations’ school students and staff travelled long distances to join rallies. In Sydney the young Gamilaraay mob from Walgett, 10 hours’ drive north west of Sydney, spoke first-hand of the water crisis. MUA, United Voice, NTEU, Retail and Fast Food Workers Union and other unions were there.
Five thousand rallied in Adelaide and marched from Parliament House to Tarndanyangga (Victoria Square). The Australian Education Union was prominent amongst the unions there in support.
In Melbourne a 10 years old school student delivered a powerful speech with evidence and facts on climate change, passionately demanding that all politicians and corporations take immediate action.
It was a tremendous show of solidarity with other students across the entire world who were taking part in the international ‘School Strike 4 Climate’.
After speeches and music, the rallies marched through the city streets, led by the school students with supporters following, to many cheers and waves from onlookers.
The magnitude of the event affirmed to all the importance of mass movements and direct action in the ongoing struggle against the vested interests intent on maintaining their financial and social hegemony.
Only a revolutionary socialist movement for national independence can win the fundamental change that Australia needs to prevent permanent damage to our precious environment.
Nationalise mining, power and water!