In September 2019, wide-spread protests swept across Australia, and the world, as students used their collective voice to demand action on climate change and make steps toward a more hopeful future of our planet. Through these demonstrations, protestors sought to combat inaction and highlight just how important it is that we make a difference now.
Teen activist, Greta Thunberg, is widely celebrated as the student that spearheaded this global movement. In early 2018, Greta sat outside Parliament House in Sweden, with her now famous sign that read “Skolstrejk för Klimatet” (translated to, school strike for climate).
The impact of her singular protest shows that the actions of one person should never be underestimated. When speaking at COP24 in 2018, Greta said she has learnt that no individual was ever “too small to make a difference”.
Having stirred this global movement, Greta Thunberg is now a household name. In Australia alone, 300,000 students followed her example and marched against climate change in the 2019 School Strike 4 Climate.
They joined students from more than 100 other countries with signs that ranged from “there is no planet B” to “don’t be a fossil fool” and demonstrated the passion from all ages in the need to protect our planet. While these protests were not without controversy, there is no doubt that they generated hope and that the incredible voices of the next generation of climate activists were heard loud and clear.
So, how have things changed a year on from these protests?
People the world over are showing innovation in their continued demands for action. An example is the multiple cases of climate litigation that have been brought forward in Australia this year alone. These have created awareness around issues such as unsustainable super fund investments and the unrelenting investment in the fossil fuel industry.
News like this reveals that the younger people in our communities certainly mean business. Even in a time of great uncertainty, where we cannot come together, people all over the world are finding other ways to have their voices heard.
While it appears that the world is more alert to the dangers of climate change, it is also clear that Australia has a way to go in taking necessary action.
Earlier this year, we looked at the impact that Australia’s emissions have on a global scale and the need for urgent action. From our fossil fuel industry to our high rates of deforestation, it is no surprise that students want to see more being done to protect our climate.
While we keep these issues in mind, there is still room to act and make a difference as individuals. Documentaries such as Damien Gameau’s 2040: The Regeneration and ABC’s Fight for Planet A show us what we can achieve at an individual level while highlighting the importance of systematic change. The fact is both are important in the battle against global warming.
As individuals, some of the most important ways we can all make a difference is by advocating and voting for climate action at every opportunity, reducing our carbon footprints wherever possible and finding practical ways to act for the climate.
Since 1997, thousands of people have supported Greenfleet in our mission to protect our climate by restoring our forests, and many more have joined us since the school strikes in September 2019. Through donating to our work or offsetting their emissions, this support allows us to remain focussed on tangible climate action.
The 500 forests we have planted so far will sequester more than 3.4 million tonnes of carbon (CO2-e) over their lifetime and we have projects planned to continue this work for many years to come. You can join us by offsetting your emissions today.
We must maintain hope for our climate. And with the next generation as motivated to take action as they are, it is clear that there is hope for the future of our planet.
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