City News

Student climate protesters take the fight online, some return to the streets

The PM has announced he will be attending upcoming climate summit COP26 but is yet to commit to a net-zero emissions target. Photo: Facebook.

By ASTON BROWN

School students and supporters took to zoom to demand the government take greater action on climate change.

The event was held online due to COVID restrictions and was part of larger protest actions that took place across the country yesterday.

It comes as the Prime Minister announced he will be attending upcoming climate summit COP26 but is yet to commit to a net-zero emissions target.

The event, which had nearly 900 attendees, heard from climate activists who shared their stories and offered solutions to the climate crisis. 17-year-old student activist Ella Lee opened the online event.

“We are all here today because our government has continued to prioritise the fossil fuel industry over our futures, workers, communities, Indigenous peoples and young people,” Lee said.

“We are continuing to demand no new coal or gas or oil projects, including the Adani mine, 100% renewable generation and exports by 2030, the funding of a just transition and job creation for all fossil fuel workers and their communities.”

There was allocated time for participants to contact the Prime Minister, opposition leader and Environment Minister to demand greater climate action.

The event also aimed to create a ‘Social media storm’ by posting their message across social media, with #ClimateStrike and #TheYouthAreRising trending online.

An organiser of the online rally and year 12 student Natasha Abhayawickrama is determined to see the government adopt ambitious climate policy.

“Australia is just avoiding its obligation and responsibility to tackle the climate crisis and it’s really disappointing to see as a young person,” Abhayawickrama told City Hub.

“At the moment the government has no climate policy, they have no net zero targets, they don’t have any plan to tackle the climate crisis at all, they are an embarrassment on the world stage.”

The Australian Workers’ Union protested in Sydney yesterday. Photo: Facebook.

Abhayawickrama also attended a small protest yesterday organised by the Workers’ Union in Sydney, one of many in-person protests across Australia restrictions permitted.

WAITING OUT A PANDEMIC

Student environment officer of the University of NSW Environmental Collective Anna Ho was excited to finally be back out on the streets protesting after months in lockdown.

“During the week when restrictions have loosened, it’s important to get back protesting in person in a COVID safe way,” Ho told City Hub.

“Fund renewables, not gas.” Photo: Supplied.

Ho organised a small car and bike convoy that rode through the city yesterday.

“It’s the first time that the climate movement is taking back to the streets after a really long period of inactivity.”

As Abhayawickrama begins her final year of school she looks forward to continuing her work as an activist as Australia emerges from the pandemic.

“COVID has been one of the biggest barriers for the climate movement, especially School Strike, we thrive off mobilising people and that’s how we build momentum,” she said.

“During COVID we have been able to take more time to train up and educate our own base, strengthening and growing our grassroots.

“I’m looking forward to the federal election, there’s going to be a lot going on with the movement, it’s going to be huge.”

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