#ClimateStrike: “No Action No Future”

Interview with 13-year-old Alex Aidt from Geelong High School who was one of several thousand students who walked out of school and joined the school strike in Melbourne on 30 November 2018.

Alex talks about what he learned from NOT attending school the last two Fridays, and what he thinks will happen next.

On his way to and back from Melbourne with the train, Alex was positively surprised to find himself being approached by numerous adults, even the train conductor, greeting him in response to the sign he was carrying. They wholeheartedly supported him in his call for climate action.

The sign said: ‘The Time Has Come’.

“The time has come for action,” Alex explained. “The time has come to stop pretending climate change is somebody else’s problem.”

At one stage the four words turned into a chant shouted by the hundreds of rallying students at Parliament in Melbourne.

» Share Alex’s interview video on Facebook and Youtube

“This makes our hearts burst with love!! To see kids of this age get on board with the importance of sustainability and the environment is a truly touching sight.”
~ Live Eco, commenting and sharing the above video on Facebook

Click on image to open A4 pdf for print

“From an educational standpoint, you are COMPLETELY JUSTIFIED in striking”

Hi students! I thought this might be of interest :)

As a preservice primary school teacher, I’ve spent the past 2.5 years with my head in the Australian Curriculum. What you see here is ACTUAL language from our curriculum that supports the authentic, real-life learning you will experience tomorrow! These are all available to view online on the ACARA website.

I’ve added a few things, most importantly from the UNITED NATIONS CONVENTION ON THE RIGHTS OF THE CHILD – rights that apply to ALL children. Including the right for your opinions about matters that affect you to be taken seriously, and government responsibility to afford you that right.

It’s a bit busy, but only the large text is intended to be seen from afar. The smaller curriculum links are mainly just to let you students know that, from an educational standpoint, you are COMPLETELY JUSTIFIED in striking tomorrow! If you find you need to justify your actions on Monday, feel free to cite these curriculum areas. So don’t lose heart, stand up and stand true. This is just the beginning.
~ Erica Pitt

Government leaders’ statements “detrimental to students’ education”

Striking from school doesn’t mean you will “end in a ‘dole queue’, as one minister has claimed. To get a job nowadays, students need critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

The politicians in Canberra, who have been claiming this, are stuck in the 1950s and completely out of touch with the educational needs of young people, said Dr Karena Menzie-Ballantyne from Central Queensland University in a media release from the university:

Media release from Central Queensland University on 3 December 2018:
“Through their comments, the Prime Minister and Minister Canavan have not only undermined all the excellent work educators do fostering the necessary knowledge and skills inherent in the Australian Curriculum, they have told young people in no uncertain terms that their voice is not worthy to be heard. Little wonder young people are turning away from mainstream politics and taking matters into their own hands through protests like Strike 4 Climate Change,” Dr Menzie-Ballantyne stated.

Central Queensland University researcher on active and global citizenship Dr Karena Menzie-Ballantyne described the Prime Minister’s and a Minister’s comments on students’ participation in the Strike 4 Climate Change protests as appalling examples of democratic process and detrimental to the students’ education and development.

“These comments by the PM, Minister and other MPs show a Government stuck in the 1950s and completely out of touch with the educational needs of young people in the 21st century global era. I am appalled that the highest elected officials in Australia could be such poor role models for upholding democratic process and the right to free speech that is central to that process,” Dr Menzie-Ballantyne said.

“Prime Minister Morrison’s and Minister Canavan’s comments not only set back Australia’s educational agenda by decades, they undermine article 12 of the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child which upholds children’s right to say what they think should happen when adults are making decisions that affect them and to have their opinions taken into account.

“Far from ending up in the ‘dole queue’ as Minister Canavan suggests, a decade of researching active and global citizenship reveals consensus across the globe that students today need to develop a global mindset. They need to question, develop critical and creative thinking and problem-solving skills to tackle the types of local and global issues highlighted in the Sustainable Development Goals. These are precisely the skills sought by employers,” Dr Menzie-Ballantyne explained.

“The introduction of the OECD’s PISA Global Competence Assessment this year acknowledges the importance of developing global knowledge and understanding, cognitive and socio-emotional skills, such as working together and effective communication, and the values and attitudes needed to identify and address the common good. Despite this, Minister Canavan would have Australian students seen and not heard, stuck in classrooms learning about old technologies and industries such as ‘building mines and drilling for oil’.

“Prime Minister Morrison’s and Minister Canavan’s comments undermine the very core of Australia’s educational goals and the intent of the Australian Curriculum. The Melbourne Declaration of Educational Goals for Young Australians, the document on which our entire Curriculum is based, states upfront the intent to graduate ‘active and informed citizens’. Citizens who ‘work for the common good, in particular sustaining and improving natural and social environments’ and who ‘are responsible global and local citizens’.

“The three-dimensional Curriculum not only supports students through their subjects areas but includes General Capabilities such as Critical and Creative Thinking and Ethical Understanding as well as the Cross Curriculum Priority of Sustainability because it identifies the knowledge, skills, values and attitudes students need now and in the future for employment and to tackle the global issues created by previous generations.


“Our leaders are behaving like children”

“Since our leaders are behaving like children, we will have to take the responsibility they should have taken long ago. We have to understand what the older generation has dealt to us, what mess they have created that we have to clean up and live with. We have to make our voices heard.”
~ Greta Thunberg

Thunberg’s father, Svante, said: “As a parent you cannot support your child striking from school. I said to her you have to go out and do it for yourself.” But he added: “It’s OK in the holidays.”

The Thunbergs are descendants of Svante Arrhenius, the Nobel-prize-winning scientist who in 1896 first calculated the greenhouse effect caused by carbon dioxide emissions. Thunberg’s father was named after him, and said much of Arrhenius’s work has stood the test of time, but not everything. “He thought we’d be [at today’s levels of warming] in 2,000 years’ time,” said Svante Thunberg.

» The Guardian – 4 December 2018:
‘Our leaders are like children,’ school strike founder tells climate summit
“Greta Thunberg, 15, told UN summit that students are acting in absence of global leadership.”

» Watch the full show on www.iview.abc.net.au

“How to make the best of the spectacle of dysfunction known as 2018? Let’s call it The Year Of The Pissed-Off Kids. On Monday night, Q&A reminded us that there has actually been some good to be found in this bastard year of the baffling and bewildering. We met Marco Bellemo, who asked a question about climate change, in the wake of last Friday’s nationwide student strike that clogged Australian cities and towns in a youthful call to arms in defence of their own future.”

» The Sydney Morning Herald – 4 December 2018:
‘I don’t believe that’: how a 17-year-old student stole the show on Q&A

A primary school that found a way to take part

While the prime minister condemned the school strike and most principals and school administrations did their best to ignore the campaign, and made sure to quickly remove the students’ posters about the 30 November walkout, one primary school in Geelong stood out by actually taking an official stand in support of the students. With a positive attitude the school enabled its 350 students in the age between 6 and 12 years to somehow participate in the national school strike, even though they didn’t travel all the way to Melbourne:

This was in the school’s newsletter on 29 November:

Sustainability Awareness in our Community
Tomorrow Friday 30th November one of our students Mayanna Lakerink will be using this day to help launch her passion project focusing on climate change and environmental awareness. For more information please go to www.schoolstrike4climate.com ”

The media and local politicians was invited to attend, and we the mayor and local music stars dropped by to show them support.

Next step: build a student climate uprising

What if there was a ‘Climate Summer’? There could be organising training so you could learn more about how to build powerful school based teams and learn about how to run campaigns.

There could be some sharing of lessons and stories of the past (by the way, if you are keen on this have a listen to ChangeMakers podcast to hear lots of stories about how to change the world – www.changemakerspodcast.org)

There could be plans about how to organise your whole school and buddy up with other schools.

You could make plans about how to coordinate work across all schools!

You could build relationships between student groups and other climate groups – like Stop Adani groups.

You could plan to make your school sustainable.

There is lots to prepare for. There will be a Federal Election in May and climate change needs to be a central issue. As a parent – I can imagine no more powerful voice than being asked by a young person to care about their future. Imagine what it would look like if young people could have conversations like that with voters across the country.
~ Amanda Tattersall

» ChangeMakers – 29 November 2018:
How do you continue a student climate uprising?


Examples of media coverage

Evidence: Greta, school kids, students… these kids have succeeded in finally changing the story in mainstream media. Well done, kids!

Harriet, Milou, Jean and other Australian students were featured on CNN, BBC, ABC, SBS, The Today Show, The Project and over 200 mainstream media articles relating to the climate strike actions on 30 November 2018. A few examples:


» Channel 9 Today:
Students Strike for Climate Change

» 7News Melbourne:
School strike for climate change

» Channel 7 Sunrise Sydney:
Thousands of students to skip school today to rally for action on climate change

» Earth IQ:
School Strike 4 Climate Change

» SBS – 30 November 2018:
‘Thanks for the global warming. NOT’: Students get creative at climate change protests
“Students have downed books to protest climate change inaction.”


» PBS NewsHour [at 6:15–7:00] (USA)


» Ten Daily – 30 November 2018:
I’m Taking Two Hours Off School To Teach Scott Morrison A Climate Lesson