Here is the powerful speech given by 15 year-old Alexa Stuart (yes I’m her proud father) at the Newcastle Global Climate Strike attended by around 10,000 people.
Dear Mr Prime Minister,
396 days ago, Greta Thunberg was a lone voice sitting out the front of the Swedish Parliament refusing to go to school, striking for climate action. In 396 days that single voice has turned into millions united with one simple plea: a right to a safe earth and a safe future.
Just 396 days later halfway across the globe, thousands here in Newcastle and over a million around the world have come to tell you, Mr Prime Minister, that no longer will we stand for your denial, no longer will we stand for your empty words, and no longer will we stand for your total inaction on the biggest threat humanity has ever faced. The youth have risen, and we will not rest until you have listened!
In March, 150 thousand of us took to the streets around Australia yet you did not listen to our fears and you told us “we need more learning in schools and less activism”. But we will not take that for an answer! So we have gathered all our parents, our grandparents, friends and neighbours, peers and colleagues to join us in solidarity. And we ask you Mr Prime Minister, NOW are you listening!?
If you really believe in a “fair go for all Australians,” including the younger generations, then you would listen to our 3 demands:
One, will you say no to any new coal, oil and gas projects? Because experts have told us the mining of coal, oil and gas are the primary cause of the climate crisis. Will you hear us when we plead with you to say no to the 14 new mines and mine expansions planned in NSW, that will only increase our emissions when they so desperately need to go down?
Two, Mr Prime Minister, will you support policies to get us to 100% renewables by 2030? We know that it is technologically possible to get Australia to 100% renewable. We know that it won’t be easy, but we must listen to what the science is telling us.
And three, Mr Prime Minister will you fund a just transition and job creation for fossil workers and their communities? We are here in the biggest coal port in the world to tell you that we DO stand with those who work in the mining industry and that this is not about us vs them. This is not about the environment vs jobs. Our movement have been described as the biggest threat to the mining industry but our frustration and anger about climate inaction is NEVER directed at coal workers, but at the people in power like you, Mr Prime Minister, who are failing to bring us together to create climate solutions that don’t leave any of us behind.
You may say these demands are ambitious and that they are not “economically feasible”, but they are necessary and they are achievable!
We should not have to be here, we should be at school and work, doing our jobs. But because you are failing to do yours, we are not doing ours today. When we see you taking real action in safeguarding our planet and our future we will happily go back to school and work. Surely that is not too much to ask?
I am sorry I am so angry and I wish I didn’t have this much anger at my young age, I wish I was filled with hope. But the truth is I am terrified.
And I am angry not just because my future is at risk, but because my future is being STOLEN right in front of my eyes. And the way to deal with this fear and helplessness is action, is doing everything in our power to fix this mess. Which is why I am so proud to be part of the school strike for climate movement. Because the real power belongs to the people!
So we ask you again Mr Prime Minister, ARE YOU LISTENING?
If you liked this post please follow my blog, and you might like to look at:
- 10 ways to reduce your consumption
- Global Climate Strike (Friday 20 September): Everyone is invited, everyone is needed
- Climate change: we need to clean up after ourselves
- Dear Future Generations: Sorry
- Climate change, health and children
- Give Frank a Break! (A humorous video about the serious issue of plastic pollution)
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