By Michaela Cullen, Rodger Liang, James Fitzgerald Sice, Jasmin Williams and Lauren Ivory
Hundreds of high-school and university students have taken to the streets of Sydney today for the School Strike 4 Climate, demanding a complete transition to renewable energy by 2030.
With the upcoming election in May, Sydney’s youth have used the protest to demand more efficient climate justice policy, marching along the front of Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s official residence in Kirribilli.
“I’m here today to offer my support to this really important action,” Greens MP Jamie Parker told Central News.
“The amount of people here today, and the passion, demonstrates just how important this is to the generation that really will have to live with the consequences of the climate crisis if we don’t take action.”
— Lauren Ivory (@laurenjaneivory) March 25, 2022
Signs displaying ‘System Change, not Climate Change’ and ‘There is no planet B’ were raised high, as large crowds gathered in response to the flooding in Northern NSW, with year 12 student and school strike Warrang team member Kyla Hill stating, “The climate crisis is at our doorstep, so now, we are at your doorstep.”
“What I do wish for is a government that is not in denial and one that listens to the science and the people”
Ella O’Dwyer-Oshlack, 13, a student from Lismore spoke to the protesting crowds about her experiences during the floods and the lack of government support.
“You [Scott Morrison] didn’t even have the guts to come and talk to us when you visited Lismore. You went and mopped a basketball court that already looked clean. You should have come to my house to mop the floors, as they really needed it and extra help would have been nice,” said Ella.
— James Fitzgerald Sice (@FitzgeraldSice) March 25, 2022
She expressed her fear of the future’s climate, saying “we have leaders who don’t even lead us in the right direction.”
“What I do wish for is a government that is not in denial and one that listens to the science and the people,” said Ella.
“We’ve already seen communities completely inundated by flooding and bushfires… to just imagine that being multiplied…is a very terrifying prospect”
What was described as ‘once in a thousand-year flooding’ played a key part in today’s protest, with demands that the federal government take responsibility for the people whose homes and lives have been devastated.
“We’ve seen countless IPCC reports and scientists say that we are bound to see disaster… We’ve already seen communities completely inundated by flooding and bushfires… to just imagine that being multiplied…is a very terrifying prospect,” Kyla told Central News.
The release of the IPCC working group II report by the UN in late February makes further predictions about the future of catastrophic weather events, meaning these damaging floods could occur annually.
The report predicts that if the planet exceeds 2°C warming, extreme flooding is to become much more “frequent”, particularly in Australasian regions, with half a million more people to be at risk.
Prior to the Kirribilli student strike for climate, students from UTS, USYD, and UNSW took to the streets to disrupt Sydney morning traffic in a call for climate action.
“We are growing up, we are going to be voters soon… most of us already are, and we need to change, we’re demanding change,” UNSW student and Councillor Georgia Lamb of North Sydney said.