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Gippsland Teens at 'School Strike 4 Climate Action' in Melbourne

Teenagers across Gippsland rub their eyes early on a Friday morning, eager to travel up to 3 hours to join 20,000 other young people striking from school to demand a clean energy future.

Small groups join us on the train at every station, a slow and steady build from the North, South, and East reaches of Gippsland. Word spreads that there would be a journalist waiting for us at Warragul Station so about 30 of us squish into one end of the middle carriage, laughing and cheering as we lean across other travellers to get our faces and signs in the photo through the window. Fingers crossed it’s a good one as the train doesn’t stop for very long!

The bubbling excitement drifts into conversations, connections, and friendships between climate activists from many towns and across all generations. We are very excited to arrive to Finders St Station and take what we soon find out will be our last photo all together for the day. Our crew of about 40 get dispersed among a 20,000 strong crowd of students striking school for a better future.

As Gippslanders, we’ve been the heart of Victoria’s electricity generation for decades. In 2013/14 The Latrobe Valley produced 98.5% of Australia’s total brown coal production. We know the home truths of fossil fuel mining, and we’ve felt the impacts of privatisation of our industries. ‘School Strike 4 Climate’, the worldwide network of young people and their allies, are campaigning for a safe and clean future for all of us. School Strike 4 Climate Australia demands 3 things of our politicians;

1. Stop the Adani coal mine

2. No new coal or gas

3. 100% renewable energy by 2030

In a world so full of options, these teenagers and children chose to be here in Melbourne, raising their voices to create a better world. Their chants are passionate, their energy is raw, their signs are scathing. Their eyes are open and this is only the beginning. 2019 is our best chance ever to #StopAdani and ensure our next Federal Government takes climate change seriously - but it’s going to take everyone, everywhere taking action.

The next step is to join with hundreds at St Kilda Town Hall on Monday 1st April for the Melbourne #ClimateElection Kickstart - as we kickstart our most ambitious plans ever for community led climate action. Meet the incredible student strikers, learn the plan to transform the politics of climate change, and find out the ways you will be a part of making history.

For something closer to home, you can hear about the psychology of climate change denial at Jane Morton’s talk, “Don’t Mention the Emergency”, At Baw Baw Sustainability Network on Monday 18th March at 7:30pm.

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