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Australia Global school strike for climate change movement resumes, with protests taking place across Australia

16:45  25 september  2020
16:45  25 september  2020 Source:   abc.net.au

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a person holding a sign: At the Sydney strike, placards were strung across washing lines to represent the students who could not attend due to COVID-19 restrictions. (ABC News: James Carmody) © Provided by ABC News At the Sydney strike, placards were strung across washing lines to represent the students who could not attend due to COVID-19 restrictions. (ABC News: James Carmody)

School students in cities around the world are back at parliament buildings, striking for climate change action.

After the momentum of the strikes was derailed by COVID-19 in April, the resumption of global protests look to be planned around local restrictions. Protests in Canada, for example, are all online.

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The Fridays for Future movement, made famous by Greta Thunberg, reports more than 3,000 strikes planned around the world today, with most concentrated in the US, Europe and India.

Ms Thunberg is expected to join the strike at Swedish parliament later today.

In a tweet this morning, the 17-year-old environmental activist said protesters would be back "next week, next month and next year. For as long as it takes".

An estimated 300,000 people in Australia attended last year's global climate strike.

Australian protest organisers said more than 500 events were expected to take place across the nation today.

They called for "no public funds for gas and other damaging fossil fuel projects", and for funds to instead be spent on:

  • "Resourcing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-led solutions.
  • "The creation of jobs that fast-track solutions to the climate crisis and help communities recover.
  • "Projects that transition our economy and communities to 100 per cent renewable energy by 2030, through expanded public ownership."

Sydney strikers call for meaningful climate action

In Sydney, COVID-19 restrictions limited the rally in Martin Place to just 20 school students and a handful of speakers.

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The group brought along 100 placards strung across washing lines to represent the students who could not attend.

The Sydney rally had a focus on calling for the Government to not go ahead with plans to build new gas power stations.

Year 10 student, Natasha, said as a young person living in Western Sydney she was already being impacted by climate change.

"We need to acknowledge that the climate crisis is going to affect some more than others, particularly less privileged areas and groups of marginalised people," she said.

"The temperatures here in summer approach almost unliveable levels, with Penrith having days nearing 50 degrees."

"There's a huge bush right behind my house, during the bushfire season I didn't know what would happen, I didn't know if I was safe and I was scared.

"The anxiety this crisis caused is irreversible and it's only going to get worse if we don't take meaningful climate action now."

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Further north in Newcastle, about 20 people gathered to protest in gusty conditions at Nobbys Beach this afternoon.

Newcastle-based university student Amy O'Brien addressed the group through a megaphone to be heard over the wind.

The 19-year-old said young people are leading the change and have voices that need to be heard.

"A gas-led recovery that promises jobs and which promises economic prosperity for our country, a recovery from this pandemic, is false … it's not going to give us the jobs we need," she said.

"It's also more expensive to be producing gas and exporting more gas than it is to be investing in renewables — change won't happen until we invest in the resources needed to build our country up into a renewable powerhouse.

"We have the means to do it. Look at us, we are under the sun, this wind is howling, we have all of the resources right around us right now that can be harnessed to create energy for our country."

Sea of placards in the ACT

There appeared to be even fewer protesters at the scene for the strike for climate change action outside Parliament House in Canberra.

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Placards stood in their place.

Behind them, a banner spanning about half the building's width urged: "Fund our future — not gas."

Hobart students hold 'climate classroom'

Students in Hobart have set up a "climate classroom" outside Parliament, "structured like a school day", with a series of lessons for today's strike.

They aimed to teach attendees how climate change is affecting Tasmania, how to take action and why the State Government should take action.

Local year 12 student Imogen Viner said: "In the past, we've been criticised for taking students out of the classroom to protest climate change, so this week we're bringing the classroom with us."

"Climate change is hitting Tasmania hard.

"We've lost most of our precious kelp forests to climate change, and the devastating recent bushfires had a huge impact on people's lives — including mine.

"We don't have time to waste to take action on climate change, and we need the Tasmanian Government to stand up and for our state to do its bit. Our future is at stake."

Protesters brave wet weather in Adelaide

Wet weather has not deterred around a hundred school students and supporters from gathering at Hindmarsh Square in Adelaide today.

Those in attendance were being encouraged by organisers to make sure they followed coronavirus measures, with plenty of hand sanitiser on offer.

The demonstrators marched towards Origin Energy's headquarters to protest plans to frack in the Northern Territory.

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