Young people should have a central place in the climate debate. It is their future after all.
Imagine you are 15 and you learn in science about carbon emissions, the green house effect and the interdependence of living systems. Facts like the Amazon rainforest being the lungs of the world not just a big stand of trees.
Imagine you see government ministers drooling over a lump of coal, demonising renewable energy and minimising Australia’s responsibility for climate change.
Imagine you are told you will have to be flexible throughout your life, changing careers at least four times to keep pace. You wonder why politicians think that coal miners have the right to a job for life when you have to adapt to uncertainty. Add hypocrisy to intergenerational inequity!
Young people are growing up fast. No guarantee of clean air and water in their future, oceans full of plastic, forests, birds and animals disappearing, summer temperatures above 40 degrees.
On March 15 kids too young to vote will leave school to participate in a global student climate strike. Germany’s Angela Merkel applauded their spirit. Meanwhile in Australia, politicians disparage and threaten. The Friday strike started in Sweden with Greta Thunberg willing to stand alone in all weathers. She has inspired a global movement.
It’s time for older folk across our region to let the kids know “we have your back” and join them in Canberra on March 15. At the very least end the political inertia and vote for action on climate change.