If you were at The Domain striking, NOW is the time to connect with an organisation in your local area, workplace, or community group.
As the train pulled into Erko station, the mix of families and packs of schoolies with handmade signs crammed their way inside the train. With each stop, the carriage filled with anticipation and a common purpose: to be heard.
The eyes of the world were on Sydney, and we rose to the occasion, offering up a sea of colourful banners and placards, both using humour and demanding change. Demanding action, demanding that the climate emergency be taken seriously and that our elected officials and community and business leaders listen to the science.
To date, I have not heard or read one argument against the strike that makes any sense. As I cast my eye around the 80,000 strong crowd that gathered peacefully in Sydney’s Domain last Friday, it was the intergenerational mix, the coming together of people from outer Sydney suburbs with urbanites – from north, south east and west – aligned. What a cultural fusion! And what a united voice – strong and clear.
We listened as our young leaders rallied the crowds bringing together church groups, unions, lawyers, businesses, teachers, health workers, students of all ages from public, private, primary, secondary and university students – demanding their voice be heard.
From where I stood, with friends and family including our teenagers, the mass of peaceful protesters was inspiring. Each student leader spoke passionately about their fears for the future and anger at the lack of action that has been taken to curb the changing climate.
As the calls to “Stop Adani” and “protect our future” rang out across the Domain the anger levels rose. It was the youngest in the crowd that had the energy to sustain the cries as the rally passed Parliament House.
So, what’s next?
What do those millions across Australia who demonstrated their concern do now to remain positive and use the energy from the rally to stay buoyant in their pursuit of climate justice? It was evident that groups supporting the Students 4 Climate Action have sprung up across the country.
The numbers swelled to 80,000 thanks to local groups working with each other, providing a sense of belonging and encouraging action. From Extinction Rebellion, the Stop Adani local groups, Greenpeace, Australian Conservation Foundation and Australian Youth Climate Coalition to university groups and church groups, these local chapters are imperative to the sharing of information and the optimism required to make a difference.
If you were at The Domain striking, NOW is the time to connect with an organisation in your local area, workplace, or community group. To start the conversation. We can only expect change if we are prepared to change and this will only happen if we connect with others to share our stories and commitment and to offer our skills and time.
This fight is not about singling out anyone for what they are NOT doing – but focusing on the positive actions that are taking place all over the country. There is no time to judge others – but there is time to celebrate anyone who speaks out and has the courage to take action. The strike was successful because millions across the world united.
By now, we have all been introduced to the face of this challenge – the 16-year-old Swedish student, Greta Thunberg. As powerful a role model that she is, and as inspiring as she is, this fight is for all of us and far greater than any one individual.
As I write this piece I am aware that the news cycle moves swiftly and, while we bask in the success of the rallies across the world, the earth and everything connected struggles. Let’s harness that energy. Find your tribe and get active. Together, wherever you are, we can make a difference.