As a student, I am participating in a movement for climate action. If you feel concerned or frustrated about the current state of the environment, please join us. – Jeremy Phu Howard
I am 16 years old and I am participating in a school strike today due to the government’s failure to address a serious and dangerous threat to my future. I have lived in western Sydney my entire life and I am dedicated to my education, taking pride in my academic success. However, I am choosing to walk out of school in order to fight for my future.
During my time in elementary school, my instructor educated us on the concept of climate change and its causes. He would elaborate on the potential consequences such as higher sea levels, more intense temperatures, and increased occurrences of floods and fires. Although I comprehended his teachings, it was difficult to fully grasp the magnitude of these effects at the time.
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In the year 2019, I was in the sixth grade. I would regularly watch the news and witness the worsening of the bushfires. The coverage showed intense flames, destroyed houses, and brave firefighters fighting the fires. One day, while going to school, I encountered thick smoke that made it hard to see the school’s other end. Our teachers took precautionary measures by closing all windows to keep the smoke out, which left me feeling frightened.
As I have matured, I have witnessed the deterioration of climate change and the lack of action from our government. I have observed heatwaves causing the deaths of thousands in Europe, winter storms leaving millions without basic necessities in the US, and our Pacific neighbors facing more intense cyclones and sea level rise. Recently, I viewed footage captured by survivors of the Hawaii fires, driving through burning structures and injured individuals on the roads. This is truly frightening. What is even more alarming is our government’s complete incapability to address this crisis.
After Labor won the election, I believed there would be a shift in policies and that Tanya Plibersek, as environment minister, would take charge of addressing the climate crisis. However, I have been proven wrong as the government has recently given the green light for four new coalmines.
Each passing day that our government fails to address the climate crisis, it further endangers our future. Why does the Australian government persist in putting our future in jeopardy by relying on fossil fuels?
It’s frustrating. I used to feel helpless and believed that as a student, I had no power to influence our government’s actions. However, I later learned that this was not the case.
I became a member of School Strike 4 Climate. If those in authority are allowed to jeopardize our future through their incompetence, greed, or both, I will take action to prevent it.
That’s why I’ll be participating in a strike today with thousands of other students who share my beliefs. We are protesting the government’s failure to address a pressing issue that affects us all, not just in Australia but globally. We demand that all Labor politicians take action and follow the lead of our Pacific neighbors who are advocating for an end to new coal and gas projects. It’s time to shift the balance of power away from the fossil fuel industry.
To those who criticize our protest actions and ignore our worries and opinions because we are young, and to those who advise us to remain silent and stay in school – I want you to understand that I will only stop protesting when the Australian government stops destroying my future.
If you are concerned, afraid, or upset about the climate crisis, you are welcome to join us. Take action, speak out, and make it known to the Australian government that we refuse to sit back and watch our future, our planet, and our home be ruined.