‘I go to bed anxious about dying’: Thousands of students protest climate inaction in Perth CBD – Sydney Morning Herald

“[I’m here] because I don’t want my kids to have to worry about it like I have. I’ve gone to bed for months being anxious about dying and we shouldn’t have to feel that way,” she said.

“Mr Morrison said he wants less politics in school, well then, if he wants less politics in school then he shouldn’t be doing this to kids – making us feel this way. The adults haven’t done anything so now it’s up to the kids to make a change.

“School matters, but living matters more than that. I feel like I’ll learn more here than I’ll learn about it in school today. This is a great opportunity for kids.”

Mr Ballaidin agreed with his friend, and said he too had copped the unapproved absence from their school

“I’m here for the same thing as really everyone else. I don’t want to die young and I care about the environment … it’s very scary,” he said.

“I’m the same as Jana pretty much, I’ve gone to bed wondering about death and when I’m going to die because I’ve been scared of climate change.”

Kate Thompson and Lily Rice.

Kate Thompson and Lily Rice.Credit:Cameron Myles

Perth university students Kate Thompson and Lily Rice, both 19, said they were inspired by the children who had turned out to the march.

“This is a ridiculous issue that nothing is being done about,” Ms Thompson said.

“It just makes me so, so angry. We’re both from Margaret River, so we’re both from the country down south and we see the effects pretty much instantly.”

Ms Rice said she was proud of the turn-out to the event.

“Because we’re from Margaret River, there’s not many opportunities to be heard and make a difference. Whereas here, rocking up, it feels so good to be able to show a tiny change and just so you support it,” she said.

Eight-year-old Mieke and her seven-year-old brother Nate came along to the march with their father, and Mieke said she had spent a lot of time working on her signs and colouring them in.

Meike and her brother Nate.

Meike and her brother Nate.Credit:Cameron Myles

“[My sign] took maybe a day to make, and this one took just one day or something,” she said, pointing to her brother’s sign.

“I thought of it myself, but dad helped me. I wanted to come today because I wanted to save the planet.”

Ursula, 10, also attended the march with her father Tim.

“Dad’s found a message about it and he asked me if I wanted to come and I said yes,” she said.

She said her father had also helped her with her sign.

One of the event organisers, Year 11 student Daniele Parker, said that her interest had been piqued after she saw a poster about climate change.

But she had never been taught anything about the issue in high school, so she started to do her own research, reading news articles online.

“Climate change is a dire issue that needs to be acted on now,” she said.

Ursula, 10, and her dad Tim.

Ursula, 10, and her dad Tim.Credit:Cameron Myles

“It will decide the course of the future.

“It’s very crazy to organise [events like this] but there is strength in numbers.

“My parents have their concerns and I understand that, but they are proud that I am taking matters into my own hands and making my own decisions.”

She said what worried her most about climate change was the injustice of it.

“People live on islands that won’t exist by 2030,” she said.

“And who is to blame for that?

“Australia already has concerns about taking refugees. Where will these people live?

“Most adults in our schools are under strict restrictions not to even speak to us about this stuff.

“We have to make these decisions and research on our own … the adults we know can’t even give us advice.

“I’ll be marked truant and I will no longer have a good standing at school. I’ll have to catch up on ATAR assessments. But it’s 100 per cent worth it.”

Later in the day, students staged a sit-in on the corner of the Esplanade and Williams Street, close by to the Australasian Oil & Gas Exhibition & Conference that is currently under way at the Perth Convention Centre.

It is the final day of the conference, and WA Greens senator Jordan Steel-John said it was important the industry took notice of the massive turn-out.

“It sends a message that enough is enough,” he said.

“Young people have had it with politicians who are willing to send our future to the highest fossil fuel bidder. They demand courage and conviction from their political leaders and that’s why they’re here today.

“The fundamental spineless of the McGowan government in relation to the EPA decision was shocking, and I have low expectations for the McGowan government in that regard.

“They can’t even bring themselves to recognise the reality that if you’re going to dig this stuff up then you should at least have a plan to offset it, let alone the actual fact that you can’t dig it up in the first place.

“They’ve got to get their act together and if they don’t these young people will not give them any peace until they do.

“I would have liked to see the Education Minister [Sue Ellery] come along and apologise for suggesting people should stay in school.

“ The reality of a lot of these young folks who have come here today have had to push through a lot of fear that they were going to face consequences and that’s been ramped up because the minister endorsed it.

“I think as a Labor member that’s really quite a shameful thing to do. There wouldn’t be a Labor movement if people didn’t strike.”

St Georges Terrace has been closed between Barrack and Pier Streets while students continue their protests.

Hannah Barry covers breaking news with a focus on social justice and animal welfare for WAtoday.

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Source: https://www.smh.com.au/national/western-australia/i-go-to-bed-anxious-about-dying-thousands-of-students-protest-climate-inaction-in-perth-cbd-20190315-p514m2.html


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