Monday, April 22, 2024
HomeOpinionEditorial'As the temperatures rise, so will we'

‘As the temperatures rise, so will we’

The last four years were the four hottest on record, and winter temperatures in the Arctic have risen by 3 degrees Celsius since 1990. Sea levels are rising, coral reefs are dying, and we are starting to see the life-threatening impact of climate change on health, through air pollution, heatwaves and risks to food security.

Climate change is disrupting national economies, costing us dearly today and even more tomorrow. But there is a growing recognition that affordable, scalable solutions are available now that will enable transition to cleaner, more resilient economies.

About 80,000 Sydney students, parents and grandparents, workers and supporters rallied in The Domain on Friday September 20, despite state and federal government ministers ordering pupils to stay in school.

Kamilaroi girl Marlie Thomas, in year 11 at Gunnedah High School, who travelled to Sydney to speak about how rising temperatures and drought are affecting Indigenous communities and regional NSW, said: “I am here on the authority of my elders, not the department of education. My ancestors have passed down a responsibility to me … the responsibility we have not only to keep ourselves alive and well, but Country alive and well … We want jobs looking after our lands, not destroying them …”

Moemoana, 18, came from Wollongong to the protest. Her homeland is Samoa. “I’ve come to fight for the Pacific,” she said. “Seas are rising and it’s affecting Pacific Islands, especially Tuvalu and Kiribati, it’s a real threat and Australia needs to know that Pasifika are neighbours and Australia really needs to help out. We are going to continue to stand and fight for our island. We are not drowning, we are fighting …”

Strike organiser Daisy Jeffrey, 17, said: “There are a ton of important climate justice campaigns at critical junctions right now: from fracking in the NT to the long-running fight to keep the coal of the Galilee in the ground, to community campaigns to support new projects that generate good, secure jobs … Hope is a process created by action.”

Jean Hinchliffe, 15, said students “will not stand by, we will not let our government stand by, as our future burns. As the temperatures rise, so will we.”

At the UN Climate Summit in New York on September 23, Secretary-General António Guterres called on world leaders to present concrete, realistic plans to enhance their nationally determined contributions by 2020, in line with reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 45 per cent over the next decade, and to net zero emissions by 2050.

An impassioned speech by climate activist Greta Thunberg, 16, sounded a note of urgency: “This is all wrong. I shouldn’t be up here. I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean. Yet you all come to us young people for hope. How dare you!”

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www.schoolstrike4climate.com

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