Tens of thousands of demonstrators took part in protests across Australia on Friday, demanding Prime Minister Scott Morrison stop funding fossil fuels and start treating the climate crisis as an emergency.
Actions were scheduled to take place at nearly 50 locations including in Perth, Sydney, Adelaide, and Hobart.
School Strike 4 Climate Australia, which heralded the in-person actions as “the biggest climate strike since pre-pandemic,” said that Morrisson “can’t ignore the tens of thousands of students, First Nations people, union workers, and others who were marching through the streets today!”
Among the youth “striking” from school to take part in the Sydney rally was 17-year-old David Soriano.
“We’re scared and concerned,” Soriano told the BBC.
“We’re doubtful that there might not be a future in store for the generations after us, and even our own generation,” he said.
According to organizers’ event description:
The Morrison government could be protecting our climate, land, and water, and creating thousands of new jobs by growing Australia’s renewable energy sector and backing First Nations solutions to protect [our] country.
Instead, they are lining the pockets of multinational gas companies, which are fueling the climate crisis, devastating our land and water, wrecking our health, and creating very few jobs.
On May 21, we’re striking to tell the Morrison government that if they care about our future, they must stop throwing money at gas.
Further catalyzing anger at Morrison’s government was its recent announcement that it’s committing $600 million of public funds to a new gas-fired power plant New South Wales—a plan that makes “zero sense,” according to the Climate Council —and that, while aligning with his government’s push for a “gas-led recovery,” stood in stark contrast to the International Energy Agency’s declaration the same day that there is “no need for investment in new fossil fuel supply in our net-zero pathway.”
Erin Shutter, a high school student in Brisbane, welcomed demonstrators young and not-so-young who came out for the protests on Friday.
“Our future is incredibly important and currently our government isn’t doing enough to protect and fight for it,” she told The Age, “but clearly a lot of people will.”
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