Australian students will be participating in a strike for climate action on Friday, supported by a note from a “climate doctor”.
Countless students throughout Australia will participate in a strike for climate change this Friday, supported by “climate doctors” who have written a unique excuse note for the event.
Two climate scientists from Australia have created a “Climate Doctor’s Certificate” that students can use when they finish their work and walk out of class in large numbers later this week.
The interactive letter, signed by Professor David Karoly of the University of Melbourne and Dr. Nick Abel of ANU, mentions a student who is deemed “unfit” for school due to a significant climate-related health issue. The letter highlights the student’s heightened stress and feelings of despair upon witnessing the effects of climate change.
The letter concludes by suggesting that they use a sick day to protest for the well-being of our planet.
A 16-year-old student named Min Park is utilizing the letter to her advantage. In 2019, she became aware of the effects of climate change when she saw the initial School Strike 4 Climate demonstrations on the news.
After four years, she is now a student in year 10 and is taking a leading role in organizing the Friday strike.
Park expressed frustration with the lack of action from the government in addressing the Earth’s decline, stating that we are approaching a critical point. She believes that young people are not taken seriously and the government is not being held responsible for their lack of action.
“I desired to express my thoughts and opinions.”
During his time in high school in the 1970s, Karoly participated in protests against the Vietnam war. He now views the climate strikes as a comparable fight.
The fight is against those who support the continuous burning of fossil fuels and the release of greenhouse gases, which is backed by the Australian government. It is crucial for students to recognize that limiting climate change is a crucial battle in order to provide them with a healthier environment and climate in the years to come.
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Abel explained that signing the climate doctor’s certificate was a symbolic gesture. He participated in the 2019 school climate strike and expressed his disappointment that children still have to protest and advocate for more effective climate measures.
“They shouldn’t have to do it. It’s shameful that our government is still making promises to open new gas fields and expand existing coal mines. Australia is already the third biggest exporter of fossil fuels, making us the third biggest contributor to this issue,” he stated.
The government must be mindful that these school students will be future voters. Any government that continues to open new gas fields and permit additional extraction of coal should be voted out of office by these students when they are old enough to vote.
According to a representative from the NSW Department of Education, the medical note is not a valid form of medical certification and would not be recognized by schools.
The representative stated that students are expected to attend classes on a typical school day.
A representative from the department of education in Victoria stated that regular school standards will be enforced on Friday.
The initial student-led climate strikes took place in Australia in 2018, as a group of Castlemaine students staged a protest outside their local MP’s office. These strikes were influenced by the actions of climate activist Greta Thunberg, who had been striking for the environment outside the Swedish parliament during the same year.
Thunberg’s demonstrations quickly ignited a global movement. In 2018, numerous students in Australia staged a strike, leading to the official launch of the “School Strike 4 Climate” in the subsequent year.
Around 300,000 individuals from over 100 cities and towns in Australia took part in the climate strikes of 2019.
The upcoming strike on Friday will mark the 11th nationwide strike, as School Strike 4 Climate approaches its fifth year.
The Minister of Education, Jason Clare, stated that students should attend school during designated school hours. This statement was made in response to the recent climate strike and an upcoming student-led strike in support of Palestine.
He informed Guardian Australia that although it is admirable to witness students showing enthusiasm and involvement regarding this matter, they should be attending school during regular school hours.
In 2018, former prime minister Scott Morrison stated that there should be a focus on education rather than activism within schools. This sentiment has been echoed by others.
Park described this sentiment as “disrespectful”.
She stated that taking action is extremely crucial because it concerns our planet. If the government fails to take action, we must educate ourselves and take action on our own.
“If a climate disaster occurs and temperatures rise significantly, school will not be in session. This can be extremely anxiety-provoking for students and can negatively affect their mental well-being.”
Senator Penny Allman-Payne, the education spokesperson for the Greens, stated that she had sent a letter to Clare, asking him to withdraw his statement advocating for children to remain in school.
The senator criticized Clare’s comments as condescending and stated that she was disconnected from the intelligence, awareness, and influence of student movements.
She encouraged students and families to overlook the minister’s patronizing attitude and exercise their democratic privilege to demonstrate for a secure environmental future and for harmony.
On Friday, students from Sydney will gather at Belmore Park, located near Central Station, at noon and proceed to the office of Minister of the Environment Tanya Plibersek. This decision was made in response to students’ frustration regarding the government’s approval of recent fossil fuel initiatives since taking office 18 months ago.
“She is expected to advocate for climate action, but instead, we are the ones taking action,” Park stated.
According to research by the Australia Institute, the expansion and approval of coal mines this year will result in approximately 150 million tonnes of carbon dioxide being emitted into the atmosphere throughout their lifetimes. This is equivalent to about one-third of the total annual climate pollution in the country.
Protests are also scheduled to take place in Melbourne, Canberra, Perth, Adelaide, and Brisbane, as well as Taree, Byron Bay, and Noosa.