Growing up in Newcastle helped to fortify Kate Easlea's views on coal and climate change.
"I saw a lot of negative impacts from coal mining like the layers of soot over everything," the Trinity Catholic student told The Post.
"There were a lot of young deaths of people who grew up in the area and people became terminally ill because of the chemicals used. That was alarming to us."
Miss Easlea was among some 70 people, including about 15 students, who rallied in support of an international student strike for climate action on Friday. People, including parents, stood outside Hume MP Angus Taylor's office bearing placards stating 'coal is dead,' 'start making things right' and 'climate change is killing agriculture.' The gathering happened at 8am before school. However at lunchtime, some Goulburn students walked out of their classrooms for 30 minutes as part of the worldwide 'strike.'
Miss Easlea was among them but acknowledged not all of her classmates wanted to "bring politics into the classroom."
She lives on a small property outside Goulburn and says she sees the "real effects" of climate change.
"You are aware of how much farmers are struggling and the mental and physical toll it takes on them," she said.
In a joint statement with co-organiser of the Trinity 'strike,' Chloe Chatto, she called on Mr Taylor to help implement more renewable energy.
"(By) 2050, as proven by a new climate tool at the ANU, Canberra specifically will face an average maximum of almost four degrees hotter temperatures than the years 1960 and 1990 and more than 101 days a year with a temperature of above 30 degrees, which is 72 more than average, and 19pc less rain.
"It is our future, we are the future generations and we want the government to act."
Mr Taylor was in Camden on Friday but said in a statement:
"It's a precious thing to live in a democracy where you can say what you think, whether it's in the main street of Goulburn or elsewhere. But I think most Australians would agree that our kids should be in school during school hours.
"Australia will meet the Paris climate commitments and the Prime Minister has laid out the Government's plan to do this.
"The choice is clear. We do this in a sensible, balanced way with minimal impact on our industries, jobs and wages - or we set reckless economy wrecking targets like Bill Shorten.
"The hard working people of Goulburn will lose an average $9,000 a year off their wage to pay for Labor's 45 per cent target. Labor needs to come clean with the tradies and farmers and truckies right across this district about the massive hit on fuel and wages."
The Goulburn Group organised the early morning rally in support of students, president Mhairi Fraser said.
Mrs Fraser said 15-year-old Swedish climate change activist Greta Thunberg had set off a worldwide student strike when she walked out of her classroom in protest over "inaction" on climate change.
"We wanted to show the students here and across Australia that we have their back," she said.
"The time for talk and platitudes is over and the students know that unless drastic action to reduce emissions is taken, it will be their lives on the line as the world heats up."
Mrs Fraser said the rally wasn't publicised but through word of mouth, parents and individuals turned up in support. Some later went on to Canberra to the climate change rally there.
She described the government's response to climate change as "a fiasco" and urged Mr Taylor to help make this region the renewable energy capital of Australia, rather than being prepared to "underwrite coal projects."
Mrs Fraser believed there was a growing mood for change but could not say whether Mr Taylor was vulnerable in the seat as a result.
"He needs to know there are people out there prepared to take action. We want him to know that he's here to represent all of us," she said.
Crookwell man Malcolm Green was also among the crowd and said addressing climate change was "no longer a "greenies' issue"
"Droughts, floods and heatwaves are affecting all Australians, so it's everyone's problem," he said.
"Nothing will change until we change the government."
Goulburn woman Pamela Shaw was attending one the few rallies in her lifetime.
"I think coal has to go and renewables are the only way to survive," she said.
"...Unless the Liberals wake up, they'll be gone. They don't seem to realise this is what people feel."
Independent candidate for Hume Huw Kingston also attended Friday's Canberra rally. He said the National Party's "internal ructions highlighted the impossibility of the government ever delivering on effective climate change action."
"Hume is on the list of 20 electorates most vulnerable to climate change, as found by the Australian National University in a recent study that examined the effects of climate change on 4,000 locations around the country, including all Federal electorates," he said.
"The study found that in Hume we are looking at an increase in average maximum temperatures of more than 3.8 degrees by 2030. It is time the government, and in particular the Energy Minister, Angus Taylor, got their heads out of the sand."
But not everyone agrees.
In a yet to be published letter to the editor, Goulburn district man Tony Morrison said there had been many changes in temperature and Co2 levels over millions of years.
"Those delusional green washed kids should be in school learning the facts about the planet’s climate history before letting themselves being used as political climate change pawns," Mr Morrison wrote.
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