#ClimateStrikeAustralia: Students walk out of school

1 November 2018 in Bendigo, Victoria

“If you want to join us in striking, you could walk out of school, like us, in November and go and sit outside a politician’s office with your own climate strike sign,” writes Harriet and Milou, who – inspired by the 15-year-old Swedish student Greta Thunberg and her #ClimateStrike which has spread in numerous European countries – now hope to see a similar youth movement rise on Australian grounds.

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Milou and Harriet

“Hi everyone,

Our names are Milou and Harriet, and we are fourteen. We live in Castlemaine and are in Year 8 at school. And we care about our futures.

We have decided to go on strike from school to make our politicians do something about the climate emergency. We’ve been inspired by Greta, a fifteen year old girl in Sweden, who has been striking from school in front of the Swedish parliament.

Climate change is one of the biggest problems facing the world and it isn’t being addressed quickly enough. We are striking because in Australia, education is viewed as extremely important and a key way to make a difference in the world. But just going to school isn’t doing anything about climate change. And it doesn’t seem that the politicians are doing anything, or at least not enough, about climate change either.

As people, we have a tendency to think only of the present impacts of our actions, and not the ones that follow after. We, the children and teenagers, are going to be living in this ‘after’, and we don’t like to look of the way this climate is heading. This has to change!

So, as our contribution to the changes we would like to see, we are organising a strike from school. We are temporarily sacrificing our education in order to save our futures. And the futures of those that follow after us.

If you feel the same way, find a way to join us. If you don’t feel confident enough to come on strike, but still care, there are numerous other ways to help, like telling others about the climate emergency.

So, if you want to join us in striking, you could walk out of school, like us, in November and go and sit outside a politician’s office with your own climate strike sign.

The biggest day for walking out of school will be Friday the 30th of November, where we hope lots of kids all around Australia will join us.

Yours truly,

Harriet and Milou”

#ClimateStrike#ClimateStrikeAustralia |#FridaysForFuture

Petition: Support

“Will you sign the petition so kids across Australia know you have their back for the school strike?

We want our politicians to show us they care about our futures by stopping Adani’s coal mine as the first step towards moving Australia beyond coal and gas to 100% renewable energy for everyone.”

» Sign the petition

Media coverage


First Dog on the Moon

» First Dog on the Moon – 15 November 2018:
The children are rioting on the streets. They are deadly serious and perhaps our last hope

» ABC The World Today – 20 November 2018:
Australian students to strike against climate change inaction
“School children around Australia are planning a nationwide strike at the end of the month, to protest against climate change inaction. It started off with an idea by just three school kids in regional Victoria, but there are now hundreds of kids around the country signing up.”

» Student Edge – 12 November 2018:
“We Can’t Sit Around”: Aussie Students Are Skipping School to Combat Climate Change
“Kids around Australia are taking climate change into their own hands.”

» News.com.au | Australian Associated Press – 10 November 2018:
Aussie youth strike for climate action
“Children across Australia are walking out of school to speak with their local federal politicians as they’re fed up with inaction on environmental issues.”

» Deutsche Welle – 16 November 2018:
#ClimateStrike: Australian students protest climate change (FB video)

» Bendigo Advertiser – 2 November 2018:
‘I don’t think children get to have a say at all’: School students march in Bendigo on second day of climate strike
“High school students marched through Bendigo for the second day in a row as part of a climate strike, demanding action from the federal government to improve climate change policies. And this time the students – predominantly from Castlemaine Secondary College and the Steiner School – recruited some Bendigo teenagers when they arrived at the railway station.”

“We want them to not fund any new coal mines, and close down all the old ones.  We want them to invest in renewable energy. We want them to deal with climate change as an emergency. We want them to listen to the climate scientists and to the public and to the kids, because we are going to be living in this hot world for way longer than them.”
~ Harriet and Milou


» Bendigo Advertiser – 1 November 2018:
Central Victorian students strike from school, gather outside federal politicians’ offices to call for action on climate change

» Australian Geographic – 2 November 2018:
Australian school children are striking for climate: here’s why
“A group of teenagers from country Victoria are hoping to inspire climate-change action across the country.”

» The Age – 31 October 2018:
Why we’re striking from school over climate change inaction

“A global climate strike is a next step in the international uprising that insists that another world is possible. It is time to shock the system with a global climate strike. What makes a strike different from mere protest? A strike is an economic stoppage. A strike does not plead. It does not demand. It simply does. A global climate strike stops the economic and political systems responsible for the climate crisis. Workers and students stop their usual work. Machines and money stop moving. And communities step forward into the breach to build the new economy that puts people and planet over profit.”
~ Ben Manski and Jill Stein

» Popular Resistance – 24 September 2018:
The global climate strike: We can’t wait

“Parliamentarians, show us that you care”

“We are striking from school to tell our politicians to take our futures seriously and treat climate change for what it is – a crisis. They can show us that they care by taking urgent action to move Australia beyond fossil fuel projects (e.g. #StopAdani’s mega coal mine) and get the job done of moving us to 100% renewable energy for all.”

» Read more and link up with Harriet and Milou on the website www.schoolstrike4climate.com

» SchoolStrike4Climate – 10 October 2018:
Castlemaine Students Kick Off School Strike for Climate Action
“A group of year eight students in Central Victoria have kicked off the School Strike for Climate Action this week.”

» You can connect with the School Strike for Climate Action in the public group on Facebook

» Twitter account:

School students aged 5-18 have organised big ‘school walk out’ events on Friday 30 November. Other kids are choosing a day to strike whenever suits them best during November.

Big Walk Out events on 30 November


» Kids or parents who have questions or need a hand can write to: schoolstrike4climate@gmail.com

Greta Thunberg from Sweden

A two-minute video recording of a speech held by 15-year-old Greta at a climate action rally in Finland.

» Danish version of this video

Swedish Radio P4 Gotland reports from Visborg City Hall where ‘the lone protestant’ Alfred Westh sits every Friday with his signs saying “Climate strike – Every Friday until Sweden is in alignment with the Paris Agreement”, “The Climate Won’t Wait – Politicians must stop talking and start acting!”, and “Fossil Free Gotland – Gotland should be a sustainable exemplar to other municipalities. Sweden should be the same to the world.”

Yet another #ClimateChampion on the growing list of global champions who are supporting Greta Thunberg’s #FridaysForFuture campaign.

Children’s petition to stop climate change

Click to sign petition

Ella-Mei is 11 years old. She has started a petition from the kids of Australia to the federal government, to voice their concerns about climate change targets in policy making. Ella-Mei is professor Peter Graham’s daughter.

» Sign Ella-Mei’s petition on www.change.org

» ClimateKISS – 20 August 2018:
Dear kids, I am an adult working to protect your safe, liveable planet. And I just want to say… hello…
“If you are 12+ this letter about protecting your future is for you.”

News streams on social media

See the latest posts on Facebook:
#FridaysForFuture   #ClimateStrikeAustralia   #ClimateStrike   #SchoolStrike   #InAction2018   #TheTimeHasCome

See latest posts on Twitter:
#FridaysForFuture   #ClimateStrikeAustralia   #ClimateStrike  #SchoolStrike  #InAction2018   #TheTimeHasCome

. . .


Comments and reactions on Facebook

On 17 November 2018, 1,043 people had joined the Facebook group School Strike for Climate Action – a discussion group created by the Australian Youth Climate Coalition for students aged 5-18 who want strike for climate action.

Below are some of the comments and reactions that have been posted in this group:

“Enmass #schoolstrike is great but if you can’t get there a peaceful protest outside a gasstation, energy company is also good. How amazing that on the 30 Nov all areas even remote ones feel they have contributed. You could even #schoolstrike with a sign outside your own from door. Take a picture send it in and document it. When we were with Greta in Brussels that was one of the pieces of advice she gave the rally. Help your children have a voice even if it’s close to home and everyone make a sign!!”
~ Eleanor Platt


“So I just spoke to the Vice Principal of Grovedale College who has said that the school received a letter from the department of education informing them that under this ‘care taker period’ before the election they are forbidden from engaging in any political activity including promoting or discussing anything political. Lame! I explained to him that he has a duty of care to role model social responsibility to the children and he said that he could lose his job and that he would not do anything. Very, very disappointed in this response. Particularly because my understanding (and please correct me if I’m wrong…) is that they are legally allowed to walk out of school and support this action. 
I do understand fear of losing his job, but what message is he sending? That jobs are more important than lives?! 
I feel so disappointed that people of influence (yes, teachers have a huge influence on how their students view the world around them simply by role modelling attitudes and actions – or non-action in this case) are too scared to stand up and speak out against policies that are damaging in every way to humanity. Sad, sad times :( 
I will be taking my children out of school and joining those who are privileged to have the ability to stand up against this and courageous enough to support others who are the victims of these laws and those who are victims of their fears and inaction.”
~ Kylie Cools, 16 November 2018

…. to which Jacqui Fenwick replied:

“Hi Kylie Cools – my understanding is, the union supports the action, but doesn’t fall under the legal cover off industrial action. Principals can approve leave, at principals discretion – just like any other leave. However the Department of education and minister Merlino have instructed principals not to grant leave. Obviously this puts principals in a difficult situation, however their actions may be influenced by the number of teachers and also what they are hearing from parents. I am saddened that Principals have been put in this position, especially as the rally organisers have done everything possible not to disrupt the schools for children and parents – in good faith.”
~ Jacqui Fenwick

“You could spend your energy lobbying for the department of education to improve the curriculum instead of encouraging children to wag school for the day. Just sayin’ this is ridiculous and looks really bad for the environmental movement. Most parents will not take to the idea of an adult organisation promoting that their children leave school to become environmental activists. It certainly does not seem like a very constructive action and to be honest there would be much better ways to give children a voice on this issue.”
~ Tommy Kat

What you resist persists

“I love the positive energy that you school students are bringing to this. It’s so good! You can change the world! And I can see there is much support behind you. I have a suggestion; Have you heard of the saying that what you resist persists? My suggestion is to keep going with the positives! Rather than saying “stop adani” saying; “we want renewable energy, clean water for all, healthy reefs and rivers, etc” It even feels much better saying it. Say what you are wanting rather than emphasising what you don’t want.”
~ Nicola Procter‎, 19 November 2018