ON STRIKE: Grafton students want to see climate action from their local politicians.
ON STRIKE: Grafton students want to see climate action from their local politicians. Kathryn Lewis

Students say lack of climate action pressure behind strike

REBELLION is coming to Grafton streets today, with hundreds of school students predicted to leave their classrooms to join the worldwide School Strike for Climate Action.

Organisers have planned to bus in students from around the Clarence Valley for a march down Prince St at 1pm.

Marchers will bring their banners to Market Square for speeches calling on governments to do more to respond to the global climate emergency.

Student organiser Amoretta Hartley said a similar protest in March brought out about 240 students to protest against climate inaction and she hoped for a similar number today.

"From the feeling we're getting it should be at least as big as last time, but you can never tell until the day," she said.

Ms Hartley said the students were motivated to protest because they felt decision makers ignored their voices, even though their generation would be most affected by what governments decided in the next decade.

"By 2030 we would be hoping there would be an end to use of fossil fuels," she said.

"We want to stop the Adani coal mine, which will affect the Barrier Reef and we should be moving into more renewable energy production.

"We're a First World country, which has the ability to make these decisions, but instead we're still arguing if it's necessary."

She said students were not happy to be sacrificing their schooling, but could see no other option.

"I would rather be at school, as would everyone else who will be at tomorrow's protest," she said.

"We have people doing their HSC, who have given up study time to organise tomorrow's events.

"That shouldn't need to happen, but we feel so strongly about this."

She said students dismissed criticism they were tools under the control of climate activists.

"Those people underestimate how much research and work we do ourselves into effects of climate change and what needs to be done about it," she said.

"It's not a matter of pumping us full of ideas. We can see what's happening and what's going on."

Other climate action groups, such as Extinction Rebellion were planning to support it.

Local member Lindsay Davis said he was no longer a student, but recognised the importance of what the students were doing.

"It's their day and we will be leaving it up to them to do the speaking, but we will be there to support them," he said.

Ms Hartley said Strike for Climate was not just for students, "Anyone who wants to come along is welcome, adults, students or workers. This protest is for the whole world."