Students vow to keep striking for climate action
WITH more than 200 people marching down Prince St, it would be hard to deny something is building.
Supported by a sizeable contingent of adults, students in the School Strike 4 Climate marched through the Grafton CBD and into Market Square to protest inaction on climate change.
In a rousing speech, strike leader Shiann Broderick called out Prime Minister Scott Morrison and said a select few were benefiting from coal projects that were "sacrificing our future".
Ms Broderick sent a clear message students would not be backing down after Mr Morrison and others in the community had earlier criticised the strikes.
"We will not restrict our activism to out-of-school hours because this is the only way to make you listen," she said.
"You are unhappy that we are not at school but I would be at school today if I didn't have to teach you how to do your job.
"You say you don't support schools being turned into parliaments but I think we should turn the parliament into a school since you so obviously need educating."
With the crowd buzzing, Grafton High student Oskar Robertson said he was "sick and tired" of not having a say in decisions affecting his future and was "tired of old men in suits deciding on things that won't even affect them".
He too urged the crowd to keep up the fight against those who continued to "pass up our future for money".
"If they don't heed our demands and pass us off as some dumb kids trying to get off school for the day, we will shout so loud we will rock Parliament House to its foundations," he said.
"We don't want dirty coal and gas, we want clean energy that won't poison our lungs and the lungs of the earth, that won't send us hurtling towards an extinction event."
The mood among bystanders on Prince St was mostly positive as some offered support with the odd cheer or beep of a car horn, though the distinct sound of an old man loudly voicing his displeasure was heard at least once.
Coming down from Maclean to march in support of the students was Pamela Gray, who said denying the climate was changing was like trying to deny the existence of cancer.
"I have not met anyone or heard of anyone who says 'oh cancer, that is pretend, that's controversial'; you can't deny the climate is changing," she said.
"Why are there climate deniers? We need to take some action."