Stu­dents walk out to have a say

Whitsunday Times - - NEWS - Ge­or­gia Simp­son ge­or­gia.simp­[email protected] whit­sun­day­times.com.au

THEY’RE not old enough to vote, but that won’t stop them from hav­ing their voices heard.

Thou­sands of stu­dents across Aus­tralia took part in a na­tional strike last Fri­day, walk­ing out of school in protest against Cli­mate Change in­ac­tion.

The global cam­paign was in­spired by 15-year-old Greta Thun­berg, a Swedish school­girl who sits on the steps of her coun­try’s Par­lia­ment every Fri­day in an ef­fort to force politi­cians to act on cli­mate change.

The strikes have reached the Whit­sun­days and about 20 stu­dents gath­ered at the Cannnon­vale Fore­shore on Fri­day, where 13-year-old stu­dent Tayla Zi­viani had a sim­ple mes­sage for ev­ery­one.

“Open your eyes,” she said.

Tayla, who lives on a boat, said dur­ing the years she had ob­served more and more plas­tic in the ocean.

“You used to spot a plas­tic bot­tle once every cou­ple of months; now you could eas­ily fill a plas­tic bag, with rub­bish” she said.

Among the strik­ing stu­dents were sup­port­ive par­ents. Kerry Dib­bin said she was more than happy to sup­port the kids.

“If they want to be in­volved in cre­at­ing aware­ness around cli­mate is­sues and our en­vi­ron­ment, then I think that’s a pos­i­tive,” she said. Ms Dib­bin said she had in no way pushed her son into protest­ing on Fri­day.

“I have two kids; my daugh­ter didn’t want to protest so she’s at school but my son did so he’s here.”

Ms Dib­bin said real-life ex­pe­ri­ences could be just as valu­able as a day in the class­room and, at home, her chil­dren had been nat­u­rally en­gaged and cu­ri­ous dur­ing open dis­cus­sions about the en­vi­ron­ment.

School Strike 4 Cli­mate Ac­tion Whit­sun­day co­or­di­na­tor Jessa Lloyd said lo­cal schools had been sup­port­ive of the stu­dents.

“The schools have been fan­tas­tic and sup­port­ive of the chil­dren who are par­tic­i­pat­ing in the strike, and it’s won­der­ful to see sup­port from lo­cal com­mu­nity groups.”

I have two kids; my daugh­ter didn’t want to protest so she’s at school but my son did so he’s here. — Kerry Dib­bin

PHOTO: GE­OR­GIA SIMP­SON

STRIK­ERS: About 20 stu­dents gath­ered at the Can­non­vale Fore­shore last Fri­day in protest against cli­mate change in­ac­tion.

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