‘LISTEN AND ACT’: Activist calls on PM to visit Nymboida
SHIANN Broderick is filled with dread when she returns to the now scorched earth that was once her lush and welcoming Nymboida home, and she wants Prime Minister Scott Morrison to understand exactly what her family and community are dealing with.
On Friday, the 18-year-old travelled to Sydney to speak at the Solidarity Sit-down where she was met with a passionate crowd erupting as she called for Mr Morrison to listen and act now on the climate emergency.
"When I walk around Nymboida where I used to live, I just feel dread. It's emotionally draining being out there and I feel physically sick," Shiann said.
"You don't get that from just seeing pictures, the emotional affect these fires have had. You can't explain what it looks like through words. You have to see it with your own eyes, feel the devastation in the landscape and country to know the impact."
In a powerful speech, Shiann told the crowd of hundreds of the unstoppable firestorm that ripped through her hometown last month and destroyed her house and community.
She pleaded for Australia's leader to heed advice from specialists on the climate catastrophe.
"Listen to the indigenous leaders, listen to the former fire commissioners, listen to the scientists," she said. "Listen and act."
"Australia is burning, you failed, you failed to act, you failed to address the climate catastrophe."
She called on Mr Morrison to visit her ravaged village, to understand first hand what had been left behind.
"I worry you have the misconception that this is normal. I implore you to speak with the firefighters who did everything they could, listen to the stories of the people who stayed behind," She said to the crowd.
"I want you to take it all in. When you're there, there is no ignoring it."
"Then I want you to look me directly in the eyes and tell me this is not unprecedented, bushfires are part of a normal cycle."
"Then I want you to tell me this is not the time to be talking about climate change."
Shiann and her family have begun to move forward from the bushfire tragedy alongside the help of the community, and she is hopeful continued activism will see the government answer the desperate cries so many are making.
Activists have called for an end to new coal and gas projects and the burning of fossil fuels and for increases in renewable energy.
Shiann is working on creating a youth-led climate action group in the Clarence Valley to engage in activities such as tree-planting as well as protests and rallies.