(Devdis Coursa)

Perhaps the only threat that really unnerved the Government in 2018 was the School Children’s ‘Strike for Climate Change’ at the end of November. Thousands of our politicians much-vaunted ‘future generation’ came onto the streets to protest the ineptitude of the Liberal National Coalition. Our Government has no hesitation in standing by the riot police or the dog squad for normal demonstrations but when faced with thousands of children they were powerless.

This flustered Government responded by an inversion of the incorrect statement ascribed to Marie Antoinette “Qu’ils mangent de la  brioche!” Leader of an uncomprehending political hack was the Honourable Craig Kelly MP who informed ‘rioters’ that if they wished to make a difference they should give up hamburgers and ice cream. In terms of carbon footprint, there is an obscene comparison with the Honourable Kelly’s life style and that of the average school child. In recent times the Commissioner for Human Rights queried the ability of some who sit in Parliament.

The Prime Minister appeared unsure of the drivers of the demonstrations; his flaccid response was that children should be less activist and return to class. Mr Morrison did not wish to recognise school children were aware of serious issues.

The Honourable Matt Canavan, Minister for Resources, missed a unique opportunity to hold a meeting or put out an authoritative statement to address pertinent issues; instead he exhorted students to return to school to study science and mining. Somewhere in this mix it was put about that the Three Rs do not include Rioting. In all this there was no leadership and the Government lost a splendid opportunity to provide a meaningful message.

In mid-2018, a fifteen year old Swedish schoolgirl, Greta Thunberg, commenced a movement “Strike for Climate Change’. Her movement now involves thousands of school children in Belgium, Britain, Japan, America and Australia. Thunberg recently addressed the Climate Change conference in Poland. This is a synopsis of her speech, measured and contemptuous: “We are small but we are going to make a difference. You only speak of green eternal economic growth because you are  scared of  being unpopular. You only talk of moving forward with the same bad ideas  that got us into this mess even when the only sensible thing to do is to pull the emergency brake. You are not mature enough to tell us like it is. The Assembly before me speaks of crisis but you do not act as if there is a crisis. Even that burden you leave to us children, but it is our leaders who are like children.
But I do not care about being popular, I care about climate justice.and the living planet. Our civilisation  is being sacrificed for the opportunity of a very small number of people to make enormous amounts of money. Our biosphere is being sacrificed  so that rich people in countries like mine can live in luxury. It is the sufferings of the many who pay for the luxuries of the few. I do not believe those who say they love their children and yet continue to steal their future. How will you respond  when asked by children ‘Why did you not protect our future?’. You will run out of excuses but you will not change”.  (The Guardian,.  4 December 2018)

The objective of the Conference was to agree on a set of rules to ensure the conditions of the 2015 Paris Agreement be carried out from 2020. As Thunberg predicted the USA, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait would not accept the recent IPPC Report on the disaster that would follow a 1.5*C global temperature rise. Major polluters that show little sign of decrease are the construction of Chinese coal fired power stations and the slash and burn agriculture of Brazil and Indonesia.

According to the BBC Sydney, the movement in Australia has been driven by three fourteen year olds from Central Victoria and Sydney.

It has been argued by some that the demonstrations have been organised by Left Wing teachers. However, it is more rational to believe that this is a concern of school children across continents. Children have been bombarded by negative news programs and graphic documentaries – they cannot be unaware of serious climatic events which erupt into their living rooms. At school, environmental studies loom large. Northern Europeans are well aware of what is happening to the Arctic Polar ice and Australian students are aware of bush fire and drought. Australia has many bright students and they clearly see the link between climate change and Government ineptitude. Greta Thunberg’s comments resonate with them.



Politicians, however well-intentioned or incompetent, realise that within twenty years they will be in cosseted dotage by 2040. Todays fifteen year olds now realise that by 2040 they will be in their mid-thirties and will be suffering from the ineptitude and incompetence  of Australian political elite. Placards messaging “Only four years before I vote” have resonance. If ideology rather than science prevails and Government flounders then demonstrations will become more serious. A democratic question: where can serious-minded school children take their concerns? Events in Western Europe that do not bode well are increasing Middle Ground unrest in Britain, France and Germany. Glaciers, rivers and social movements can merge.

Suggested internet viewing – “Marc Brecy History of the world in two minutes’.

                     MERRY CHRISTMAS & A COOLER 2019.

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