Hundreds of school students left their classrooms and marched to environment minister Tanya Plibersek’s office in Gadi/Sydney to oppose Labor’s continued support for coal and gas projects, as part of the November 17 School Strike for Climate (SS4C).
Once at Plibersek’s office, students occupied the street chanting: “The oceans are rising! No more compromising!” and “No more coal, no more oil, keep your carbon in the soil”.
SS4C organiser Nirvana told Green Left that students want the government to “actually listen to us and hear our voices”. She said Labor must stop approving new coal, oil and gas projects to achieve net zero by 2030. “We want to shift the power away from fossil fuels,” Nirvana said.
“We have been striking since 2019 and governments have consistently failed to take action. When Labor was elected in 2022 they promised they would take action, but they haven’t.
“We are showing Tanya that we won’t settle for lies and empty promises.”
Speakers highlighted the disproportionate impact of climate disasters on First Nations communities and condemned gas companies Santos and Whitehaven Coal for their continued exploitation of First Nations land.
SS4C organiser Deen said students wanted 100% renewable energy generation and exports by 2030 and a just transition for fossil fuel workers and their communities.
One student, Finley, told GL they want “immediate change”. “We want the government to realise it’s not about slow progress, it’s about immediate impact.”
Another student told GL “the youth are angry, we are furious and we are sick and tired of your complacency. We are rising, nothing is going to stop us and you can’t put us down. We are going to do what it takes even if you continue to ignore and belittle our demands."
“You are leading this country and the youth are part of this country,” another said. “If you don’t listen to us you are not listening to the people. The climate matters, we matter, please listen.”
School strikes also took place that same day in Boorloo/Perth, Byron Bay, Naarm/Melbourne, Ngunnawal/Canberra, Noosa and Taree.
[Join the People's Blockade of the World's Largest Coal Port in Muloobinba/Newcastle from November 24–27.]