On the 15th of March, I was one of the thousands of students from Australia who participated in school strikes for climate. Students from 105 countries worldwide are striking for climate because climate action is imperative. So many seem to view climate change as something far away that will have little effect on their lives, and for those of you old enough, maybe it is. However, for those of us with our lives still ahead of us, the climate crisis will devastate the world we live in. We have twelve years to stop the climate from worsening, and that requires a drastic change in the way we treat mother earth. Our current policies are killing the earth, and there is no planet B.
In 2015, politicians from all over the world travelled to Paris, pledging that they would put forth an effort to reduce the use of fossil fuels and work to improve our environment. Australia’s parliament has done nothing to suggest that they intend to fulfil this promise.
The last action we saw on climate change was the carbon tax, and while imperfect, it was a start. It had the potential to grow into something greater, but before it could grow to benefit our world, it was stopped. Politicians have done little since then to suggest they have the slightest care about climate change.
But if things do not change soon, the world as we know it will end.
This can be seen in countries such as Kiribati, the I-Kiribati people being the worlds first climate refugees. At the rate climate is currently going, the islands of Kiribati will be entirely submerged by water within the next twenty-five years and already the I-Kiribati people have been forced to make plans to leave their home country. The nation of Kiribati contributes next to nothing to climate change, yet they are the ones to suffer the consequences of our actions. An entire nation, drowned by the selfishness of first world countries such as Australia.
Kiribati will be the first of many nations to sink beneath the seas, and with time, every country on earth will follow.
So why do our politicians not care? Why is there no plan for action against climate change? Why is it that students must fight for the right to a future?
We students may be unable to vote for policies that support climate action, but we do have a voice. And we will use our voice to the best of our ability. Until proper action is taken, there will only be more strikes. None of us wants to miss out on school, but we are given no say in the matter. Some say that the strikes are useless, that we should stay in school, get our degrees in climate science and then work on saving the planet. But by that point, any action against climate change will be too late.
Climate action cannot start in five years time, it must start now. That is why we strike, that is why students have done everything in our power to promote climate action. School strikes may not be perfect, but without a vote, all we can do is make our voices heard. Climate action starts with stopping Adani, it starts with putting renewable energy first, it starts with politicians considering the lives of future generations.
And until climate action starts, we will not be silenced. The climate is rising and so are we.
Louisa Menadue is a High School student who works behind the scenes at P & I.