Today: Australian School Strikers call for climate vigils in solidarity with Australian bushfires

Katie Hill - Editor-in-Chief, My Green Pod

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Published: 17 January 2020

This Article was Written by: Katie Hill - My Green Pod

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Strikers are calling on people across the globe to join events at embassies, consulates and other locations worldwide today (17 January) to support those fighting the fires on the frontline and #ListenToThem (those affected).

They are also putting pressure on the Australian government to take urgent action to prevent further climate breakdown.

Fires could burn for months

The latest estimates are that 27 people and 1.25 billion animals may have been killed directly or indirectly from fires that have burnt 8.4 million hectares across Australia.

With Australia currently experiencing the worst drought on record, many bushfires are set to burn for months. This is despite some relief from lower temperatures this week.

‘We are asking people across the globe to stand together and show impacted communities we are in solidarity with them and we will stand with them to create hope to continue the fight for climate justice.’

TOBY THORPE
Australian climate activist, School Strike 4 Climate Australia

‘This fire is unprecedented’

School Strike 4 Climate Australia is part of the global Fridays for Future movement; over the last year it has organised 1,000s of strike events worldwide. Over 10 million people took part in strikes in September 2019.

‘We have lost two national parks and now it is spreading onto the one that backs my property. As I drove out onto the road I looked back and saw a wallaby on our front lawn and I couldn’t even stop or go back to help it. There was a 70-foot wall of fire across the road that just decimated bushland. Our place was still green. We had grass and cool-climate gardens that just went up in smoke. I can only imagine what it did to the bushland and rainforests behind and around our place.

‘This fire is unprecedented, and we have to acknowledge the role that a changing climate is having here. The forest is drier, days are hotte, fire conditions are increasingly worse, the fire seasons are increasingly long (starting on the first day of spring) and our RFS is not getting the resources it needs to keep up with that. Listen to the experts.’

KELSEA THURGOOD
Resident in Berambing, NSW

A ‘failure of government’

The fires have decimated populations of some of the most iconic species on Earth, including koalas, kangaroos, wallabies, gliders, potoroos, cockatoos and honeyeaters. They have also devastated many important cultural and spiritual places that are part of 60,000 years of First Nations heritage.

Outrage continues over politicians’ failure to address the root causes of this climate disaster as they cling to coal. Reports show the Australian government buried response plans and even under-resourced firefighters in the months running up to the fires. This is on top of years of climate inaction and ongoing commitments to expand the fossil fuel industry.

‘It is 2020 and under Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Australia has no national energy or climate change policy that will ensure the safety of mine and all future generations future. This is a catastrophic failure of government to respond to the monumental crisis of climate breakdown.

‘2020 needs to be a year of climate action, Australia and the planet can no longer afford this complacency. These fires can never be forgotten. We need to work together as communities to adapt and build resilience and we need to keep building powerful movements that challenge the planet wreckers and stop burning and investing in fossil fuels and extraction.’

TOBY THORPE
Australian climate activist, School Strike 4 Climate Australia

Listen to them

Today’s strikes will be taking place just before World Economic Forum opens its doors in Davos, Switzerland.

Strikers, including Greta Thurnerg are demanding that ‘At this year’s Forum, participants from all companies, banks, institutions and governments immediately halt all investments in fossil fuel exploration and extraction, immediately end all fossil fuel subsidies and immediately and completely divest from fossil fuels.’

At the solidarity events, images related to the bushfire crisis in Australia, a video by School Strike 4 Climate Australia and/or a voice memo will be played, in light of a global call for climate justice and to listen to the demands of those impacted.

Click here to view the 1,600 Fridays for Future events, taking place in 159 countries.

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