Local students joined thousands of young Australians on Friday for the nationwide School Strike 4 Climate.
Politicians should take action because they are destroying our world.Eleven-year-old Amalia-Grace Thompson
Students walked out of their classrooms to urge the government to set carbon emission reduction targets and stop the use of coal and end planned coal mining operations.
Seventeen-year-old Bega High School student Matthew Gibbs said while the school told students they would require a pass to leave school grounds for the protest, as an elected representative council member he had to show leadership and share his voice.
“There’s no point having a strike unless we do it properly. I thought we needed as many students as possible here, and I wanted to show leadership to others,” the Year 12 student said.
“We’re not taught about climate change at school, so we have to learn how to teach ourselves.”
The Candelo resident said the curriculum should include more climate science, and better prepare young people for the future.
“The internet has allowed me to learn so much more than school has taught me [on the topic],” he said.
He said Prime Minister Scott Morrison offended many young people with his comments last week calling for “less activism” from students.
“It is offensive because we need to get the awareness out about all the problems in society, instead of it being hush-hush dinner talk,” he said.
“It is up to us to make our lives how we want them to be and politicians are making it hard.”
The event was organised by 11-year-old Amalia-Grace Thompson, who was inspired by the two recent bushfire tragedies to take action into her own hands.
The Mumbulla School for Rudolf Steiner Education pupil helped organise Friday’s School Strike 4 Climate in Bega’s Littleton Gardens.
“My class had to write a speech and I wrote mine of the two recent bushfires at Yankees Gap and at Tathra,” the Tanja resident said.
“I found out about the strike and I liked the sound of it, so I started organising it with my friends and family.”
She said the purpose of the Bega event was to push politicians at all levels of government to work towards universal use of renewable energy and put an end to coal mining operations.
“Politicians should take action because they are destroying our world,” she said.
Fourteen-year-old Jarrah Cattlin said young people’s voices on the issue are often drowned out by the opinions of older Australians.
“Climate change is not a big thing that’s spoken about at school. They think other things are more important,” the Bega resident said.
“So I’m always looking out for the latest things happening and how I can help. I want to do anything I can to help.”
The Year 8 student said it is important for Australians to do what they can to help reduce the human impact on the environment.
“It’s important for everyone to be involved. Anyone can take action and this is a great opportunity,” she said.
“Not only are we destroying the planet, we are bringing on our own doom. We are capable of saving our own planet, but sometimes it feels like we can’t be bothered.”