Australian Kids Just Staged a Climate Change Protest – Check Out Their Epic Signs

Classrooms around Australia were unusually quiet this week as thousands of young students skipped class to make their voices heard on a pressing issue.

On Friday 30 November, young Australians from more than 200 schools around the nation put down their books and picked up their placards to demand better climate policies from their government.

The idea for ‘Strike 4 Climate Action’ was initially started by two 14-year-olds in Melbourne, but in the end, the march took place in every major city in Australia, bringing together children of all ages, from kindergarteners to seniors in high school.

While bushfires rage and coral reefs shrink, as extreme storms and flash floods spread their destruction and drought grips the land, young Australians are doing everything they can to get the government’s attention.

And that includes defying the Prime Minister himself. On Monday, after hearing about plans for the strike, PM Scott Morrison told Parliament that he wants “more learning in schools” and “less activism.”

“… we do not support our schools being turned into parliaments,” he said.

Echoing these remarks, Resources Minister Matt Canavan said that students would not learn anything by “taking off school and protesting.”

“The best thing you learn about going to a protest is how to join the dole [welfare] queue. Because that’s what your future life will look like,” he said on Sydney’s radio station 2GB.

It was like striking a match to put out a fire. Many students said that these remarks only bolstered their resolve to protest.

“We’ll be less activist if you’ll be less shit,” read one student’s sign.

“We wrote letters and did different things but they never seemed to make a difference,” Harriet O’Shea Carre, one of the founders of the protest, told the BBC.

“Really, education, is our only power. By sacrificing that [on Friday], it’s making a big point.”

While Morrison has promised that his party is committed to acting on climate change, many young Australian, like Harriet, think the government’s climate policies are inadequate.

And the data appears to be on their side. The government’s own figures, released this week, show that Australia’s carbon emissions are once again on the up and up – the highest rate of growth since 2004.

The trend does not bode well. According to a new UN report, Australia is not on track to meet its 2030 emission reduction targets. Besides, even if the country can pull a rabbit out of the hat, in the end, the report found that these targets are not nearly ambitious enough to keep warming at ‘safe’ levels.

But even though the protests were based on serious and legitimate concerns, participants brought a sense of levity and humour to the situation, in a way that only young people can.

Many of the signs were obvious jabs at the older generation, the folks who got our planet into this mess in the first place.

“I’ve seen smarter cabinets at Ikea,” one sign read. Others were more direct: “Stop killing us you dicks.”

One kid even whipped out his clarinet and embarked on a musical solo like an absolute legend.

Ladies, gentleman and all those who lie outside the binary, for your pleasure, meet the next generation of climate activists:

Truly, the next generation is alright. We just need to do better by the planet they’re inheriting – as they are so evidently telling us.

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