Students ‘strike’ for climate change

A group of young Castlemaine students say federal government inaction on climate change is threatening their future and have staged a strike calling for climate action.
About 30 Castlemaine students – aged around 14 years old – travelled by train to Bendigo on Friday and held a peaceful demonstration at the office of Nationals’ Senator Bridget McKenzie, calling to meet with the MP to convey their concerns.
Displaying placards and banners with slogans including ‘School Strike for Climate Action’ and ‘Make Coal History’, they also attended the office of the Labor federal member for Bendigo, Lisa Chesters, who met and spoke with the students.
“We want our politicians to acknowledge climate change for what it is – a crisis and take the necessary action in order to have a sustainable world,” Milou Albrecht said.
“The sorts of actions we want to see them take are shutting down coal mining and not giving money to new mines, and investing in renewable energy.”
Students participating in Friday’s action included some from Castlemaine Steiner School, Castlemaine Secondary College, Castlemaine North Primary and also some home-schooled students.
The students characterised their action as a strike from school stating that their future was at stake if politicians didn’t act to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees.
“We are sacrificing our education for the sake of our futures,” Harriet O’Shea Carre said.
Despite their efforts, they were unable to meet with Senator McKenzie who was not present at her office in Bendigo’s Hargreaves Mall when they attended.
However the young participants said they had been able to hand deliver a letter expressing their concerns to staff at Senator McKenzie’s office on Thursday – and they still held hope of meeting with Senator McKenzie in person as well.
“We would like to talk to her and we’d like to be able to convey our concerns to her,” Milou said.
“Lisa Chesters offered to talk to us so we went in and she had a chat to us and said she would relay our concerns on to the Labor party.”
Ms Chesters later told the Midland Express that the students were “incredibly impresive young people”.
“It’s a big deal to strike whether you are a student or a worker and when people do we should listen,” Ms Chesters said.
“We had a discussion and they said they wanted the politicians in Canberra to take real action on climate.
“They do reflect a significant proportion of Central Victorians and Australians more broadly.
“There is a growing voice of concern about climate inaction by our politicians.”
Last Friday the Express contacted Senator McKenzie’s Canberra and Bendigo offices and spoke to staff at each, requesting comment and response from Senator McKenzie but no response was forthcoming at the time of going to print this week.

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