Jamie Durie takes to the streets of Sydney with 80,000 climate activists calling for action on climate change. On Friday, three days out from another crucial UN summit in New York, an estimated 300,000 Australians, and millions of people around the world, took part in protests against inaction on the climate emergency.
Sparked by the first climate striking student, Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg, the protest is building power and has grown into a global movement – the largest global climate protest in history. The UN secretary general says he’s counting on them to compel governments to act in line with the science of global warming as the window for action to combat climate change is closing fast. In Australia, they have garnered support from the wider environmental movement, but also from other non-profits and charities, unions and many private sector businesses.
Friday’s crowds doubled the size of the student strikes in March, organisers said. Protesters ranging in age from toddlers to the elderly chanted slogans such as “we are not drowning, we are fighting,” and held up signs and placards.
In Sydney and Melbourne, there were long lines to enter the rallies, which brought parts of both cities to a halt. Throngs of students, families, mums with strollers, officer workers and unionists filled Sydney’s Domain to hear from protest organisers, Indigenous students, Pasifika activists, and union leaders.
A Groundswell of Business Support
In the days leading up to the protest a group of more than 2800 Australian and global businesses pledged to support worker participation in the September 20th march launching the Not Business As Usual campaign.
The Not Business as Usual campaign was created by ethical and sustainability-focused retail superannuation fund Future Super to offer support for workers to take part in the strike. While aproximately 20 businesses, including ground-breaking tech company Atlassian were initially approached and offered their support that figure quickly grew to include major banks, small businesses, breweries and leading tech startups.
Even Aussie Hollywood hero Chris Hemsworth has made a stand on climate change, marching with his family in Byron Bay with a heartfelt instagram post.
Hemsworth’s post reads – “The kids have spoken!”
“Well done to all the young climate strikers for taking part in #climatestrikedrawing immediate attention to the climate change emergency!!”
“Taking to the streets and demanding an end to the age of fossil fuels!! Coming out in droves like Children Of The Corn with far better intentions. Telling our political leaders that if they’re gonna speak for them they need to listen to them! “
“The climate crisis is upon us. Children understand the basic science that if we continue to pollute the planet climate change will worsen and they won’t have a future. None of us will. “
“The planet will die and if you do the math pretty sure that means ….um yep we’ll also be disposed of unceremoniously too.”
“So yeah definitely immediate, urgent and necessary wouldn’t you say ..? Get moving ‘leaders’.”
The post goes on to list three key steps towards addressing the climate emergency. And the star isn’t shy of naming names.
“Step 1 – move away from the burning of fossil fuels, no more new oil, gas, coal projects (that’s you Adani Mine),” the post reads.
“Step 2 – move toward 100% renewable energy generation and exports by 2030.
“Step 3- fund a just transition and job creation for all fossil fuel workers and communities as this transition occurs.”