This November 30, I, along with hundreds — possibly thousands — of high school students will be participating in a student strike for climate action.
Initiated by the Australian Youth Climate Coalition (AYCC), the School Strike 4 Climate has gained momentum in recent weeks, with nearly thirty events being organised in capital cities and regional areas around Australia.
We are currently facing an unprecedented climate emergency. With 2018 (once again) being the hottest year on record, we face the prospect of an uncertain and dangerous future.
Climate change is “threatening water security”, according to the Climate Council’s latest report, and exacerbating droughts and wildfires across the world. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report makes it clear: revolutionary change is required to deal with the impeding climate crisis.
Yet, the Coalition and Labor’s unashamed love of coal has rendered the major parties’ responses cowardly.
While Prime Minister Scott Morrison waves around a lump of coal in parliament and talks about increasing the role of coal within the energy mix, Victorian Labor planning minister Richard Wynne is fast-tracking approval for new coal-to-hydrogen projects.
One of the reasons we are striking is inaction. Inaction on the part of governments has seen the largest existential threat in the coming decades be ignored.
It has led to a situation where high school students — the ones with the least power in society — are having to hold those with the most power to account.
We may not be particularly powerful, but we do have a voice. Together, when huge numbers of us are marching in collective solidarity, we have the power to inspire a whole new generation of young leaders to take interest in their communities and futures.
We also recognise why climate change has become the crisis that it is.
Under an economic system that prioritises profits above all else, it is no surprise that the interests of the planet and people come second. Under capitalism, the environment is just another commodity for those seeking to further their already-massive wealth.
We know that climate change hurts the poor and working class the most. With more than one-third of the planet no longer fertile enough to grow food, according to Mercy Crops, people in poor countries are increasingly having their livelihoods stripped from them.
We also know that it is the rich and powerful that we are targeting: 70% of global pollution is caused by the world’s 100 largest corporations. We are striking to send them a message.
Since most of us are denied the right to vote for the politicians ruining our futures, we are taking to the streets to march, chant and demand change.
That’s because when planet Earth is under attack, we stand up and fight back.
[Leo Crnogorcevic is a Year 11 student, a member of the Socialist Alliance and Victorian Socialists, and a School Strike for Climate organiser.]