REAL AUSTRALIA

Voice of Real Australia: Time to strike while the climate is hot

Voice of Real Australia is a regular newsletter from Australian Community Media, which has journalists in every state and territory. Sign up here to get it by email, or here to forward it to a friend. Today's newsletter is written by Warrnambool Standard journalist Rachael Houlihan.

Up she goes: Well, so says 97% of scientists, anyway. Photo: Shutterstock

Up she goes: Well, so says 97% of scientists, anyway. Photo: Shutterstock

Will you take an hour off work or school or give up your lunch break on Friday to join the global School Strike 4 Climate protests?

More than 90 regional towns and cities, from Bunbury to Wollongong and Cessnock to Devonport, will host strikes, with people urged to join students worried about the state of the environment they will make their futures in.

Strikes are being held across the country led by youth who are asking their local, state and federal government leaders to take action on climate change.

The School Strike 4 Climate Action movement was inspired by Swedish student Greta Thunberg, who started boycotting classes before parliamentary elections in her country last year.

In the south-west of Victoria a push by pupils and environmentalists to get councils and MPs to declare a climate emergency appears to have fallen on deaf ears, with all refusing to make the formal declaration.

Wannon MP Dan Tehan asked if the students would strike if it wasn't a school day, but pupils say they will stand up and have their voices heard.

Grandmother Claire Drylie will strike as she feels she can't "sit back and do nothing as climate change threatens the future and her family".

"In my generation we stuffed up the world to the point it is almost irreparable," she says.

Daryl Woodward, Marilyn Woodward and Michael Halls have formed Parents and Grandparents Against Climate Change and will take part in the Warrnambool climate strike. Picture: Anthony Brady

Daryl Woodward, Marilyn Woodward and Michael Halls have formed Parents and Grandparents Against Climate Change and will take part in the Warrnambool climate strike. Picture: Anthony Brady

"These kids weren't the ones who caused climate change so we must join the kids now to try and slow it down."

And, even if the naysayers who say climate change and global warming isn't real could, somehow, possibly be right - despite 97 per cent of scientists agreeing it exists - at least awareness of the fragility of the environment has been raised.

Over the past decade we've seen a greater focus on the three Rs - reduce, reuse and recycle, which has led to some pretty special inventions and changing attitudes.

Victoria is in the midst of a recycling crisis, and for a few weeks products were going directly to landfill.

But from crisis comes sparks of inspiration.

We all know about the little changes we can make - taking green bags to the shops, swapping a plastic straw for metal and ditching the take-away cup for a reusable mug - but others are putting their hands up with projects to combat environmental change for the better.

Start-up business ideas such as custom "pop-up" small houses, energy-efficiency tests for homes and a system to recycle clothing are all in the running to claim a $10,000 first prize for new business ideas in Warrnambool.

Young people need to be included in the debate - after all, it is their future. And it's our future too - our children, our grandchildren and our legacy.

Rachael Houlihan

journalist, Warrnambool Standard

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