As the fight for climate justice continues, university students flooded the CBD with feisty signs and catchy chants protesting the government’s climate inaction.
How many more protests will it take before the Federal Government commits to a better future?
According to the 2019 National Union of Student’s Student Values Survey, climate change is the number one political issue on students’ minds.
Hundreds of university students gathered to make a statement of not backing down against this fight.
“It’s absolutely critical that we take action right now, we don’t have any time to lose… climate inaction can be overwhelming but taking action is immensely relieving if you’re feeling anxious,” one student said.
“Of course we don’t think this one rally is going to end climate change, but the only thing that is going to end climate change is a mass action and civil disobedience that is going to put pressure on the government and these companies and say we’re not going to let you get away with this,” said another student.
Inaction and complacency from the Government is no longer an option; students and young people are demanding urgent climate action for their futures.
Chris Hall, secretary of Curtin University’s Student Guild said it’s incredibly important for everyone in the Western Austalian community to come together and fight for something they know hasn’t been action on.
Mr Hall explained the hope for not only Federal Government acknowledgment, but also a State response from Premier, Mark McGowan.
“We want them to know we’re here and that they’re willing to speak to us… come into my office and let’s start talking about the future,”
“State government have so much power over what goes on,” he stated.
The push for climate action will see no new coal mines, stopping the Adani Carmichael mine, implementing 100% renewable energy by 2030, the creation of sustainable jobs for a green economy, no new gas, no nuclear energy, and no fracking in WA whereby Indigenous Australians are losing their land rights and being exploited by big fracking companies.
“We want to see renewable energy run this country… Perth is one of the sunniest and windiest cities on the planet, and we are not seeing renewables come up here so it’s something we’re demanding and want to see soon,”
When asked if climate change can be overwhelming, Mr Hall said to the individual it can feel like a lot, with climate change being a heavy topic.
He continued to say it’s something that impacts us all, but at the end of the day seeing people stand together, calling upon people who are frankly not doing enough, gives great support and enthusiasm to more people to be empowered to join in.
“I would have been happy with ten people, I would have been happy with 10,000 people,”
“We feel we can get our voices heard and our message across, still get a response and do that peacefully… working hard to demand change and continue to protest,” he said.
Labor MP, Josh Wilson acknowledged university students and communities across Australia wanting action on climate change, but said the Federal Government has been an abject failure in terms of settling on a 21st century energy policy.
He said under the current government we’ve seen rising emissions and power prices.
“We need to have a policy that does two things, it needs to modernise our power generation, our grid and our storage opportunities, and that in turn will deliver both lower emissions, higher investment renewable energy and cheaper prices for households,” he commented.
Mr Wilson said the departmental projections show Australia’s emissions will continue to rise all the way to 2030, meaning we don’t meet our Paris Climate commitment.
“Which was a pretty low commitment to start with…”
When it comes to emerging renewable technologies, Mr Wilson believes we have missed the boat as a country.
“We are blessed that in addition to having all these sun, wind, and tidal resources, we also have a large number of energy metals that should be the basis of new technology when it comes to storage and energy efficiency,”
He said we are not making the most of that at the moment, as our government is internally paralysed with people that don’t accept climate change exists.
“They have some weird obsession with maintaing a 19th century hydro-carbon economy when the rest of the world is rapidly moving ahead in another direction,” Mr Wilson stated.
“We can take action out on the streets like we are now and we’re also taking action in our offices, in our homes, changing policy, changing the way things work, making sure that if the politicians aren’t going to listen to us we’re going to kick up a stink and they’d better watch out because there’s people in this crowd that could be the next leaders of our country,” said Mr Hall.