Student climate activists continue to lead from the front

The national network of school student climate activists, School Strike 4 Climate Australia, has begun planning their next mass action, the Build our Future: Climate Justice & JobsNational Day of Action on Friday 25 September.

SS4C website: “Australian communities have been hit hard by both the Summer bushfires and the coronavirus. As Australia reboots its economy in response to COVID-19 our Government has the opportunity to decide what our future will look like. We must use this opportunity to build a future we can all thrive in by creating clean jobs that care for country, climate and our communities.

Instead, the Federal Government and Scott Morrison’s COVID-19 Commission are secretly making plans to give billions of dollars in handouts to their mates in the gas industry that will turbocharge the climate crisis and destroy First Nations lands. That’s why on September 25 First Nations communities, School Strikers, young people, workers and everyday Australians are taking action in their communities to demand the Federal Government rule out spending public money on gas and other damaging fossil fuel projects.

Recovery funds should be spent on:

  1. Resourcing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-led solutions that guarantee land rights and care for country
  2. The creation of jobs that fast-track solutions to the climate crisis and help communities recover
  3. Projects that transition our economy and communities to 100% renewable energy by 2030, through expanded public ownership.

The students are determined to make their voice heard but respect the community’s right to feel safe as the pandemic continues. They have outlined a number of COVID-safe ways to participate in the action.

The day of action is not being called a “strike”, as many students will be on school holidays and those that are not, such as NSW, are restricted by physical distancing requirements.

The actions that people can take will be dictated by the circumstances of the particular area where the school or workplace is located.

It is highly unlikely that any students or their supporters located in NSW will be able to participate in mass gatherings on 25 September so creative solutions are being developed, including a call for people to wear yellow on the day, and to participate in selfies or human signs as appropriate with the hashtags #buildourfuture and #fundourfuturenotgas.

Federation support

Federation endorses the 25 September action and the demands of the student climate strikers. Federation has previously condemned the Morrison government’s push for a so-called “gas-fired” recovery and its dodgy National COVID-19 Coordination Commission.

Coronavirus has already killed off the Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg’s dreams of a “back in black” surplus, so why not spend government money on projects that will have long term economic, social and environmental benefits?

What a golden opportunity to invest in publicly-owned renewable energy infrastructure, creating thousands of new well-paid unionised jobs and slashing carbon emissions. A vibrant, fully-funded TAFE system would be at the centre of the recovery, skilling new workers and retraining those working in the dying fossil-fuel industry.

Federation congratulates student activists for their ongoing courage and determination to force the Morrison government to take immediate steps to address the climate emergency.

Federation acknowledges that the global student climate protest is a movement generated from the determined activism of students but welcomes the call for adult action, for union participation and for solidarity and support from their teachers and principals.

In the coming weeks, Federation will provide further advice on how members, their families and their communities can participate in solidarity actions on that day that are COVID-safe and in line with public health orders.