Students rise up for climate

YOUNG ACTIVISTS: School students from across the region gathered in Newcastle on March 15 to send a message about climate change policy.
YOUNG ACTIVISTS: School students from across the region gathered in Newcastle on March 15 to send a message about climate change policy.

HUNTER students have vowed to keep striking from school until the government takes action on climate change, after hundreds attended a midday rally and march in Civic Park on Friday.

Students of all ages from state, Catholic and independent schools - many of them carrying signs - as well as some of their family members attended Newcastle's School Strike 4 Climate Action on Friday, one of 56 events across the country expected to attract more than 40,000 people.

Students in more than 80 countries were expected to participate in the event, which follows a protest in November.

Event co-organiser Jacinta Lee, 15, said she felt empowered seeing the number of like-minded students.

"I fight and will continue to fight for climate justice because I care about our planet and every single living thing on it," said Jacinta, who attends West Wallsend High.

"I strike today because the government is not meeting our demands and I will keep striking until they meet them.

"We are sick of our government neglecting to act on climate change and we are sick of our voices not being heard.

"We have less than 11 years to fix this crisis before the damage we have done is irreversible.

"The children of this world can't vote and yet we are the generations that will have to deal with the main effects of climate change. How is that fair?

"Climate change is the largest threat to all forms of life and it is not being taken seriously enough.

"The youth of this world have started to move and we will not rest again."

The campaign calls for the government to stop Adani's Carmichael coal mine, plus any other new gas or coal project, and facilitate the transition to 100 per cent renewable energy by 2030.

The crowd heard from speakers including NSW Teachers Federation Hunter representative Jack Galvin Waight and Ballyn Teagle, 17, who left Cooks Hill Campus last year to "pursue climate activism full time" and now lives near the Adani mine to participate in "non-violent direct action".

Students chanted as they marched along Laman, Auckland and Hunter streets and back to Civic Park.

Lambton High student Abby Manning, 16, said the planet "can no longer afford for profit to be placed over people".

"It's time our government does more than dismiss, degrade and whine about politically engaged young people," she said.

"If the leaders of the government and opposition cannot understand the magnitude of the threats that climate change pose to humanity maybe they should be the ones going back to school."