Five years back at a climate protest in Coffs Harbour, there were a few young people about, but I was one of the younger protesters. For a guy that had just turned 50, I thought that was really significant. My kids came along and there was a sprinkling of younger people, teens, and toddlers in the 300-strong crowd, but most were older than me.
Where were the young people? Were they too busy with social media and gaming to show concern for the environment? Was protesting with a bunch of oldies un-cool? Maybe young people were voicing their opinions online. I searched for an answer. Now it’s a stupid question. I’m so grateful to the student activists leading for leading the battle to limit climate change.
The world’s leading climate scientists have warned that humanity has less than 15 years to avert or lessen a climate emergency which will significantly worsen the risks of droughts, floods, extreme heat, and poverty for hundreds of millions of people.
We need our leaders to unite us and take immediate action. But who has the determination and the strength to do this: ScoMo, Trump, Xi Jinping, Macron, Boris Johnson, or maybe Jacinda Ardern?
In August 2018, at 15 years of age, Greta Thunberg took time off school to call for stronger climate action outside the Swedish parliament. Just over a year later, Greta’s Friday strikes have grown to unite students, teens, and young adults all around the globe: 4 million people turned out for the September 2019 climate strikes.
Our children have taken matters in their own hands. I thank them for taking action. I apologise for failing to protect them and making it their problem. I’ll support them all the way. And I don’t think we can save Earth’s climate without them.
Check out the video below to see what the students had to say at Coffs Harbour’s climate strike.