The Guardian • Issue #2044

School strike for action on climate change

Photo: CPA

On 3rd March, about 100 mostly school children rallied in the Supreme Gardens in Perth directly opposite one of the principal corporate emitters of carbon in Western Australia, Chevron. The numbers are down on the more than 10,000 school students and other activists who gathered in September 2019, in Forrest Place to protest inaction on climate change, a result, among other factors, of the disruptive effect of COVID.

The organisers had planned the rally to coincide with other actions across the globe calling for urgent changes on action to climate change. The persistent rain in the eastern states and Northern Territory over 2022 and the beginning of 2023 are the most visible pointers of ongoing extreme climate changes occurring in Australia and around the world.

Other extreme climate events include the worst drought in Europe in 500 years, drought in southern Argentina and an ever-drying south western Australia including in Perth where this climate rally was taking place.

It is well known that if Perth did not have its two desalinisation plants and the third on its way, for its water supply, the city would become the planet’s first ghost metropolis, as pointed out by climate scientist Dr Tim Flannery in May 2004.

It was heartening that new generations of school children continue the tradition of School Strike for climate change started by Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg in 2018, as they would be the ones whose futures will be most directly affected by climate change dithering and inaction.

Though climate change is not being denied by most governments and corporations the systemic changes required are not occurring and there is just tinkering at the edges while the unsustainable capitalist system remains in place.

Following the rally the students marched from the Supreme Court Gardens to their main target of carbon emissions, Woodside Energy, the proponent of one of the biggest offshore gas projects in Australia’s history, the Scarborough gas fields.

The march stopped at the city’s busiest intersection of St Georges Terrace and William Street and sat down briefly to hold up traffic for about 15 minutes to make their point.

The science is clear about what is happening to the climate and what the cost for life on the planet will be. Climate change is an existential threat facing humanity and all life on Earth. What will it take to force the political will to carry out the changes required? ϑ

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