The kids are all right

In the first week of November, Australia’s biggest mining conference, the International Mining and Resources Conference (IMARC), was held in Melbourne. IMARC was a chance for thousands of greedy mining magnates and their accomplices to rub shoulders, schmooze and scheme about the most efficient and technologically advanced ways to continue the exploitation of our planet’s natural resources.

Unsurprisingly, Jeyakumar Janakaraj, CEO of Adani Australia, was given a platform to promote his destructive and unpopular Carmichael coal mine. While Janakaraj was met with applause and arse kissing inside the conference, there was an angry protest of a few hundred outside.

The protest was organised and led by experienced environmental activists. But the real stars of the show were a group of angry and organised high school students who came to show their opposition to Adani. The students were involved in an environmental collective, one of many activist collectives that have popped up recently at their school.

Some students made fake passes and got themselves into the conference, where they harassed, questioned and taunted stuffy mining enthusiasts. Those on the outside cheered them on and wrote messages on the glass with lipstick, textas and whatever they found in their school bags (ingeniously writing the messages backwards so that “Fuck Adani” was legible for the chumps inside). Among all of this, they even dropped an enormous banner reading “Stop Adani” from a nearby apartment building.

To these students, it was a no-brainer that this craven mining boss needed to be confronted. Most were more articulate than many politicians and journalists. They understood that the planet is being destroyed for profit, that ordinary people’s interests do not line up with those of the Rineharts and Janakarajs of the world and that to fight against them you have to be willing to make some noise and get organised.

Over the next few months, activists from across Australia will blockade the mine. We also need loud and lively protests in the cities to add to the pressure.