Making News
Students (on)line up for a day of climate protest

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Victorian students will head online this morning to join thousands of their peers and supporters for a virtual School Strike for Climate. According to communications company Medianet, more than 500 events are planned across the country, including 211 in Victoria, under the theme Fund Our Future, Not Gas.

Anjali Sharma, 16, one of the lead organisers of today’s Melbourne Day of Action, said the Federal Government’s lack of action on climate change was forcing young people in Melbourne to continue to protest – albeit online because of the city’s lockdown laws.

“Although the pandemic has brought the world to a halt, it certainly hasn’t brought the climate crisis to a halt, and that is why we cannot stop protesting this and demanding that the Government prioritise our futures over anything else,” Anjali said.

Melbourne’s online protest will take place from 10am-3pm on with live streamed talks on gas and climate, a free live streamed concert with Melbourne band Husky, and demonstrations on how to lobby politicians to demand they fund the future, not gas.

With last year’s school strikes ranking among some of the largest protests in Australia’s history, COVID-19 restrictions mean students have this year had to find new ways to have their voices heard, with powerful socially distanced actions, Instagram live streams, banner drops, ‘climate classrooms’ on the lawns of State Parliament, and art installations.

The school strikers are calling for the Government to spend economic stimulus money on clean energy to create thousands of jobs, rather than propping up the failing gas industry that puts our climate and economy at risk.

New national YouGov polling shows 61 per cent of Australian voters support the students’ demands of no public funding for gas or other fossil fuels, and that public money should instead be used to take urgent action on such issues as guaranteeing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander land rights, creating jobs that focus on tackling climate change, and backing renewable energy projects. Almost two-thirds of those polled believe Australia should rely on renewables, not fossil fuels, to power us in the future, including 92 per cent of Gen Z voters. And while support is lower among older voters, 60 per cent of Baby Boomers and 55 per cent of Gen Xers still support the move to rely on renewables over fossil fuels.

The students’ actions have been endorsed by institutions representing three million Australians, including 25 union bodies and businesses such as Patagonia and Ben & Jerry’s.

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