Never Too Young: Australian Students Fight for Climate Action


Mary Pavlakos

Thousands of students converged on Sydney’s Town Hall on March 15 calling for climate action.

Students in Australia and around the world came together on 15 March to join the School Strike 4 Climate movement.

This campaign, started by 16-year-old Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg, is students’ way of showing politicians that they take their future seriously and will not sit idly by to watch their environment crumble.

By skipping school to protest, students sacrifice parts of their education to show what they are truly passionate about and force the people in power to listen to their demands.

Over 40,000 students across Australia alone missed school to join in on the protests.

Australia’s Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, has not been supportive of students’ decision to skip school.

“We do not support our schools being turned into parliaments… what we want is more learning in schools and less activism in schools,” he told Parliament in November 2018, following a previous climate march by school students in Sydney and Melbourne.

The lack of support from their Prime Minister has not stopped Australian students, with thousands marching to Sydney’s Town Hall on 15 March with protest signs in hand.

Carolina Warrell was one student of dozens from St. Catherine’s School in Sydney’s Waverley, who came to Town Hall still in their uniform.

“Adults, politicians, teachers- none of them take us seriously since we are young, they don’t think we know what we’re doing. We know a lot more than they assume and we know what we are protesting,” she said.

While across the world students protest for worldwide action and problems relating to their area, Australian students are primarily focused on the #StopAdani movement.

The Adani Group, a multinational conglomerate, is proposing to build the largest coal mine in the country in a location that threatens the Great Barrier Reef and Australia’s scarce inland waterways.

The Adani coal mine would pump an estimated seven billion tonnes of carbon pollution over its duration, and students have made it one of their priorities to oppose this plan.

Critics cite previous Adani Group scandals as exposed in a 2017 Four Corners documentary, including its registration in the Cayman Islands tax haven, money laundering, corruption, and fraud.

David Clayton from North Sydney Boys High School carried a sign during the march that read ‘What’s the point of school if you won’t listen to the educated.’

“This protest is important because we can fight for the world and for us in Australia. #StopAdani is gaining a lot of attention and I really think that us students are going to help stop them,” he said.