The School Strike 4 Climate on 30 November was a resounding success, mobilising 13,000 students on streets across the country. The second act, on 15 March, is shaping up to be even bigger.
Not only are more schools getting involved, but the peak body representing Australia’s university students – the National Union of Students – voted at its annual conference to get behind the national walkout.
Here are four reasons you and your friends should not just get along to the next one, but help get the word out to make it big.
1. Scientists say that time is running out
The United Nations’ latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report estimates, on current emissions reductions commitments, that we are on track for a 3 degree average increase in global temperatures by 2100. This would create tens of millions of climate refugees due to sea level rises and food shortages as agricultural land is subsumed by growing deserts. In other words, we need radical action yesterday!
2. Australia is not doing enough
Australia is the 14th biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, but ranks 11th for emissions per capita. Because of Australian politicians’ and capitalists’ love for coal, the country is responsible for 38 percent of world coal exports, a figure that could increase if new mine proposals are approved.
3. Politicians can’t be relied on
The climate change denialist cranks in the Liberal and National parties have shown that they are part of the problem, not the solution. But the Labor Party too is tied up in the fossil fuel madness. The Queensland ALP in 2010 set the Adani mega-coalmine in train, and it still refuses to scrap the project despite widespread opposition. Federal Labor under Bill Shorten has not opposed the mine.
4. Indigenous people need our solidarity
Australian capitalism’s insatiable thirst for minerals and agricultural land means it has a fundamental interest in attacking Indigenous people’s land rights. Look no further than the treatment of the Wangan and Jagalingou people, who are being sued for $600,000 by Adani for taking legal action against the company, which is intent on destroying their traditional land with one of the world’s biggest coal mines.