Half a million school children and workers turn out in mass calls for climate action

Oceania/ Autralia/ 24.09.2019/ Source: www.9news.com.au.


Australians workers downed tools to join students who left school to attend climate change rallies. The protest drew around 500,000 people and shut down city centres across the country.
Lawyers, academics, tech company workers, members of unions and community groups, university students and retirees all joined the rallies in what was a huge expansion of a movement that started as a school strike against global warming.
The demonstrations in Australia were the first of similar rallies planned to roll around the world on Friday, as officials gathered at the United Nations in New York for the world bodies Emergency Climate Summit.
«We’re here for one reason: we want climate action,» said Carmel Allen, 63, who travelled with friend Margaret Armstrong, 76, from the Illawara region south of Sydney to join the march in the city. «We’re worried for our children and for future generations.
«We’re so happy with the turn out – we’ve seen guys in suits, young mums, unionists. It looks like everyone is here,» Armstrong added. «The climate affects everyone.»
Allen and Armstrong were among a crowd estimated to be 80,000 in Sydney. 100,000 people rallied in Melbourne, and with protests in more than 100 locations around Australia, the total involvement was double that of the climate rallies held in March.
Gabriel Anderson, a Year 4 student from a school in Sydney’s inner west, attended the rally with his mother and a group of other children.
«I’m here because the environment isn’t being looked after,» the 10-year-old said. «I hope now politicians will listen.»
Gabriel’s mother, Tamsin, said she felt comfortable giving her son the afternoon off school. «I feel like these kids are learning something crucial here – they are learning how to make change, how to be hopeful,» she said.
Gabriel Anderson, a Year 4 student from a school in the Sydney’s inner west, attended the rally with his mother and a group of other children from his school. (Nine)
Earlier, federal Education Minister Dan Tehan called on students to stay in school, and questioned whether so many young people would care so much if they were not missing some class time.
«The true test of the protesters’ commitment would be how many turned up for a protest held on a Saturday afternoon,» he said in a statement.
100,000 people were estimated to have attended the Melbourne rally. (Supplied)
Year 9 student Kyla said her Wenona School in North Sydney wanted students who attended the rally to have to make up lost class time later.
«It’s basically like detention,» she said. While she was disappointed at her school’s lack of support, she said she felt inspired by the rally. «It gives me hope,» the 14-year-old said. «We all need to stand together because we all have one problem.»
Katie, Scarlett and Kyla, 14, said they were inspired by the huge group who turned out for today’s rally. (Nine)
Rick Cavicchioli, a microbiology professor at the University of New South Wales, cancelled his classes for the day to attend the rally. «This gives the opportunity for my students to come down here as well,» he said. His demand was simple: «Change, now.»
Organisers are calling for no new coal, oil and gas projects in Australia, 100 percent renewable energy generation and exports by 2030, and a just transition for workers in fossil fuel-dominated industries and communities.
Tech worker Luke Foxton attended the rally after being encouraged by his software company, Atlassian. He said all employees were given the afternoon off, as well as paid time to prepare banners.
The Sydney rally in the Domain saw lawyers, academics, tech companies, community groups, university students and retirees among the atendees. (Nine)
Students, workers, and unionists spoke on stage at the Sydney event from 12pm to 1.30pm, and guided the crowd in chanting: «One struggle, one fight: climate action, worker’s rights!»
Addressing the crowd, Tommy-John Herbert, a wharfie from Port Botany, said he was at the rally because of the work of the Maritime Union of Australia.
«As I speak, not one of our cranes are running,» he said.
Port Botany wharfies attended the rally using protections for industrial action designed for enterprise bargaining. It is the first known instance of the protections being used for such an action, the Australian Financial Review yesterday reported.
Herbert said his employer sent out an email to all workers saying attending the rally is illegal. Many of the port workers came anyway.
Sylvie, 11, and Mae, 9, also attended the rally accompanied by their mum, travelling from the Northern Beaches. «It’s important the government sees that kids care, they are coming out of school,» Sylvie said. (Nine)
Other unions such as the Teachers Federations as well as charity organisations like Ozharvest and community groups like the Rozelle Climate Action group all urged their members to attend.
Community action group organizer Angela Michaelis, 64, said her group of mostly retirees who were turning out because «we owe to young people and we can support them».
National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) student Angela Doherty, 23, estimated 50 students from her university joined the rally.
Angela Doherty (left), 23, said 50 students from NIDA joined the action. (Nine)
«We’re here because we care about the climate,» she said. «There’s no point studying for a future we might not have.»
Source of the notice: https://www.9news.com.au/national/global-climate-strikes-attract-500000-students-and-workers-across-australia-national-news/d0aa9aeb-c9c4-4788-a7a5-f5b05411b04e
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