David Elliott —
National Union of Students University of Adelaide Delegate
Australia’s right-leaning mainstream media loves a scapegoat, and none are presented more readily than millennials. Typified as lazy, disengaged, entitled and self-absorbed, millennials are reportedly the major cause for the decline of: fast-food chains, napkins, beer, mayonnaise, department stores, razors, and golf, among countless other trivial issues with their ‘environmentalism’ and ‘social consciousness’.
However, wage and welfare rates have stagnated for decades. Today’s youth are proportionally more financially constrained than many previous youth cohorts, all whilst being more highly educated and lower paid. Youth electoral enrolment also continues to break national records, with 88.6% of people aged 18–24 % enrolled for the 2017 marriage equality plebiscite, and 88.8% for the 2019 Federal election. If anything, this indicates that millennials are among the hardest working, most ambitious and most engaged generation in decades. Yet they bare the blame issues in which the media and government use to distract us from addressing the impending climate crises and the political cronyism of the major parties pandering to Adani.
In a political system which favours billion-dollar interest free loans, free infrastructure and resources to the rich, we must question who it is that’s really lazy, disengaged, entitled and selfish.
It has become painfully clear that Australian youth voices are being sidelined, with genuine concerns over our future ignored. Climate change was the single most important election issue for youth, and the marriage equality result proved that youth voices make a different when we band together. The global school strike movement is a glaring indication that youth voices on climate change are frustrating governments and making a difference.
Already at this university we have seen how working together, making our demands publicly and loudly, we can change the course of decision-making.
Students standing together on August 9 in Adelaide and concurrently across Australia can send a clear message that we want real action on climate change. We don’t want Adani or corporate handouts. No new coal, investment into renewable energies and a fair transition for industry and workers to a sustainable future.
Sage Jupe —
National Union of Students University of South Australia Campus Representative
This planet is facing a climate emergency; even the most modest estimations predict the world has 11 years left before the we face irreversible climate disruption. This would mean extreme temperatures becoming the norm, rising sea levels, mass extinction of plant and animal life, depleting agriculture and a rise in climate refugees.
There’s no time to lose. Australia is by far the world’s largest exporter of coal and it’s only going to get worse with the Adani coal mine. The Adani coal mine means digging up and destroying Indigenous land. Burning the coal from this mine would add 4.6 billion tonnes of carbon pollution to our atmosphere. If anyone wanted to get a step closer to climate destruction, this is the way to do it. ‘Stop Adani’ is one of the central demands of our movement for good reason.
To fight Adani and the coal industry we need a grassroots movement. We can’t rely on the politicians; that’s a dead-end strategy. The Liberal Prime Minister is a coal-loving maniac and the Labor Party is responsible for fast tracking Adani in Queensland. Both these parties have shown what side they’re on, and it’s not ours.
Instead to fight for the planet: we need to look to ourselves. Look to people like Greta Thunburg, the teenage activist that started the School Strike for Climate movement, who inspired millions to take a fighting stand. We need to look to things like the growing Extinction Rebellion Movement.
Let’s make it an absolute nightmare for the fossil fuel industry and for any politician that supports them. To do this we need the numbers. We need a spirit of protest and disruption. So it matters that we get as many students out as possible on August 9. Even if you have class: skip it! The more students there are out there and fighting, the more confidently we can say to these climate criminals that they’ve got a battle on their hands.
The National Union of Students is the national student union advocating for student welfare and issues students care about. The national climate walk out will occur across Australia in all capital cities and many regional cities on August 9. You can find the Adelaide event here: https://www.facebook.com/events/628617210968637/