The kids are alright.
Legions of children turned up to the strike, calling for drastic changes to Australia’s climate policy. Kids decked out in their school uniforms joined the crowds marching down Collins Street, honouring the climate strike’s young originator Greta Thunberg. That’s not to say young folks didn’t turn up in casual gear, either.
What we’re saying here is the protest lived up to the billing of a ‘school strike’, even if the majority of attendees were adults. Everywhere you turned, there would be a child urging Prime Minister Scott Morrison to institute more ambitious emission reduction targets – often with signs saying the planet is currently hotter than Shawn Mendes.
Our young guns also funny as fuck, even in the face of crisis.
The rest of you folks turned up.
While entirely accurate crowd estimates are yet to materialise, aerial footage of the Melbourne strike suggests 100,000 people took to the street. That number would place today’s climate strike as the city’s largest civilian demonstration since 2003, when an estimated 150,000 people took to the street to oppose Australia’s involvement in the Iraq war.
Tim Flannery, 2007 Australian of the Year, is absolutely chuffed.
I literally bumped into Professor Tim Flannery, noted conservationist, chief of the Climate Council, and 2007 Australian of the Year, on the steps of the Old Treasury Building. Surrounded by colleagues and their energetic children, Flannery told PEDESTRIAN.TV he’d describe the protests with one word: “relief.”
“It’s a huge sense of relief that we’re finally gaining the critical mass where government can’t ignore this message any longer,” Flannery said.
“I don’t know how many people are here today, but I’d be guessing kind of, 100,000 in Melbourne.”
Flannery, whose criticised complacency on climate change with his 2005 book The Weather Makers, said “It’s the minute before midnight.
“We need to make serious decisions about how we reduce emissions, otherwise we will forfeit our future, so this is not a moment too soon.”
The man given Australia’s highest civilian honour turned his ire towards policymakers and their supporters in the media, saying “They’re not climate deniers, I call them climate predators, because they are praying on our children’s future.
“Nothing will convince them. They’re earning money doing what they do, or else they’re idiots in the Greek sense of the word – people interested only in their own business, and no interest in the wider society. If we can’t change them, we’ve just got to move on past them.”
You were well behaved, given the circumstances.
Despite a considerable police presence, a Victoria Police spokesperson told PEDESTRIAN.TV no arrests have been made in relation to the demonstration.
If this kind of pressure keeps up, it might just convince the powers that be to make meaningful change.Image: Asanka Ratnayake