Australian students are collectively skipping classes to participate in the School Strike 4 Climate, demanding action on climate change.
On Friday, Nirvana Talukder did not attend school, but she claims she was contemplating her future.
A group of high school students, including a 16-year-old, gathered in Surry Hills, Sydney to rally at the office of federal environment minister Tanya Plibersek. They were part of the School Strike 4 Climate movement and were joined by thousands of other students across Australia who skipped school on Friday to demand action on climate change.
Many leaders express concern over missing a day of school and potentially risking our education,” stated Talukder, one of the organizers and main speakers at the Sydney strike. “However, our true goal is to advocate for the education of others.”
She desired an end to the development of new coal, oil, and gas ventures.
“We hope that individuals in positions of power, such as environment minister Tanya Plibersek, will begin to truly hear our voices and acknowledge that although we may not have the ability to vote now, we will in the near future. In the meantime, we are still paying attention to their words and actions.”
She stated that her relatives in Bangladesh are constantly faced with the task of reconstructing housing, hygiene, and educational resources due to the deteriorating climate. The thought of what lies ahead also brings her distress.
She expressed how frightening the climate crisis is, citing examples of the recent bushfires, flooding, and its widespread effects on not only Australians but also those in the global south.
Researchers issued a “climate physician’s statement” referencing heightened tension and hopelessness regarding the climate emergency in support of students who skipped school to protest.
Thousands of individuals gathered at Flagstaff Gardens in Melbourne before proceeding to march through the city. The demonstrators obstructed traffic by sitting in at various major intersections, causing delays for trams and other vehicles.
Anjali Beames, a 17-year-old from Adelaide, chose to boycott school for the entire week and instead studied with other students from the South Australian Youth Climate Alliance on the steps of Parliament House.
She expressed concern that her future may be grim if real steps are not taken to address climate change. She is currently focused on studying for her future.
As the summer season in Australia approaches, with its anticipated extreme heat and potential for bushfires, students have expressed immense disappointment in the lack of action taken by the Albanese government.
“I had hoped for, at the very least, a commitment to not using any more coal or gas – that’s a very basic request, that we should not worsen the situation,” stated 16-year-old Alexander Duggan. “I cannot think of anyone in my age group who believes the climate is not in a dire state.”
A 16-year-old protester, who journeyed from Newcastle to the Sydney rally without parental support, expressed the significance of striking due to the state of the world.
“They conveyed that animals and humans are perishing, accompanied by immense natural calamities globally, yet many people remain complacent. They emphasized that our efforts are insufficient and not swift enough.”
Harriet Stark, a young protester, attended the event without the consent of her school, but accompanied by her mother.
She stated the significance of understanding how climate change impacts our daily lives. She believes many individuals choose to ignore this issue and refuse to educate themselves about it, leading to a lack of attention.
Seven-year-old Sol accompanied his mother to the rally and held a homemade sign that read “protect the Earth”.
Sol stated that he was demonstrating to halt the use of coal in Australia. However, when questioned about whether he believes the protest will have an impact, he shook his head.
His mother stressed the importance of showing up for future generations.
“My generation and the generations before benefited from all the resources the planet gave us,” she said. “Our children and grandchildren are paying the price for us.”