Thousands of school students demand climate action at protests across Australia

They said taking into account smaller regional events, about 10,000 were involved across the country.

The NSW and Melbourne rallies were held online due to COVID-19 concerns.

Organiser of the Melbourne rally Shuzhong Wu said she became passionate about taking action on climate change when she learned how it was affecting people’s lives. 

“When I heard about School Strike, I thought to myself – hey this is a really cool movement, and from then, I became an organiser.”

Shuzhong attending a school strike in Melbourne prior to lockdown.

Source: Supplied/Shuzhong Wu

“In Melbourne we did a ‘Strike School’,” Ms Wu said. 

“We taught information about the climate movement and about voting power, and in NSW they, did a statewide rally online where they called and emailed MPs.

“I want politicians to know if they don’t take real climate action now, that the youth will be using our power to vote them out, because we won’t take a stand for the current action they are doing to worsen the climate crisis.”

Sam Eccleston is the organiser for the Hobart Strike 4 Climate rally

Source: SBS News/Sarah Maunder

Attendees of the Hobart strike were required to register, check in, wear masks and use hand sanitiser. 

“I think the turnout today despite the abysmal weather conditions is absolutely amazing,” organiser Sam Eccleston, 15, said.

“We’re here to protest the Morrison government’s lack of action on climate change. Last week, we saw the Liberal Tasmanian Premier Peter Gutwein announce a net zero by 2030 target, which is a step in the right direction, we were really encouraged to see that.

“But on the federal level, we still see Scott Morrison’s government bickering about whether to implement a 2050 target, let alone a 2030 target, so we’re here to push the Morrison government to be more progressive, and to stand more like their Liberal counterparts in Tasmania.”

Owen Fitzgeral at the Hobart protest.

Source: SBS News/Sarah Maunder

Sixteen-year-old Owen Fitzgerald attended the Hobart protest as well. 

“It’s so important that we secure our futures,” he said. “If we have to stand in the rain, we’re going to stand in the rain. We want our futures to be secure, and we need the federal government to change its policies.”

With two weeks to go before the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Scotland, countries across the world are being asked to come forward with ambitious 2030 emissions reduction targets that align with reaching net zero by 2050.

They are being urged to accelerate the phase-out of coal, curtail deforestation, speed up the switch to electric vehicles and encourage investment in renewable energy.

The Morrison government has so far committed to reducing emissions by between 26 and 28 per cent by 2030.

It is also working on a plan on how to reach net zero by 2050. 

With AAP.

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