“The privilege to protest” has been on show across Southern New South Wales, with hundreds gathering for the Global Climate Strike today.
“When you live in a place this spectacular, a lot of people understand why it is so important to stop the climate crisis,” Hannah Doole said.
Hannah has been on the front line of climate action in Queensland since leaving school in Bega just a couple of years ago. She spoke at Saturday’s Festival of Open Minds and was a special guest at today’s strike in Eden and Bega.
Hannah acknowledged the work of the past in raising the issue but called on her audience to do more – “radical action to cause change.”
“What further action can you take to try and create a future for everybody?” Hannah asked the 500 people gathered in Littleton Gardens and the 200 people in Eden.
“Not just for people here but for people who do not have the privilege to protest as freely as we are.
“We refuse to take part in our own destruction. The elites and the corporations that control this world have led us to this point, there is no incentive for them to change things when they are the privileged minority.”
The freedom to protest that Hannah speaks of is a given for the young people who led today’s action in Bega, Eden, Moruya, and elsewhere – thankfully so. But they understand and appreciate the need for, symbolism, and combined power of such action.
In Bega, Amalia-Grace Thompson spoke, “worldwide strikes are happening on seven continents and 120 counties – 3,500 strikes,” she said.
13-year-old Harry Haggar was next to speak, “people say we should be in school learning but why would we study for a future that might not exist if we don’t do something now.”
Jada Koeck, 12 years old, said, “Imagine you walk into the bathroom and the bath is overflowing – you panic. First, you need to turn the tap off, then you clean it up – we have a lot of taps to turn off.”
Member for Eden Monaro, Dr Mike Kelly addressed the crowd in Bega, “I am humbled to see this turnout today, I apologie to you on behalf of my generation, I apologise to you on behalf of the political leadership that has failed you.”
“We live in a democracy and you are the people who will make this democracy work by making your voice heard loudly and clearly.”
Heckled from the crowd about Labor’s position on Adani, Dr Kelly responded.
“Yes – Adani should be stopped and I’ve been clear about that. It’s the responsibility of governments to go to regional Queensland and say – here is a just transition package, here are the jobs of the future.”
As part of the day’s action in Bega, the 500 people gathered were asked to call the Prime Minister’s office with a message – “climate action now”. Many tried by failed to get through but committed to calling again on another day.
At Moruya, around 600 people gathered in front of Eurobodalla Shire Council, Sarah Leaver was one of them, “My son and all his friends have walked out on their HSC studies because they felt this was more important.”
“A couple of weeks ago we were talking about him going to ANU and he said what is the point of studying for my HSC then going to university for four years if when I come out the planet is dead,” she said.
Local singer-songwriter Sam Fletcher added his voice, “I am worried about the future for not only myself but for everyone and everything on earth, it’s now or never, have your say,” he said.
Dr Michelle Hamrosi – “People are starting to understand the emergency we face. I was disappointed to hear that students weren’t being let out of the local schools.”
Kathryn McCarthy – “We have a government who refuses to tell the truth and won’t harness the solutions we already have available. It’s inspiring to see so many people here today, we need to just get out and do this.”
Nine-year-old Monte Lloyd-Jones said, “When I imagine the future I thought the world would be good, except now that climate change is happening it’s turning into a bad future. If we can keep striking than we can have a better future.”