News National Not just students: Australia’s young and old push for action at the #ClimateStrike

Not just students: Australia’s young and old push for action at the #ClimateStrike

climate strike
More than 50,000 people attended the #ClimateStrike in Sydney. Photo: Twitter/Kym Chapple
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Unlike previous climate strikes attended mostly by students and teachers, Friday’s nationwide rally hauled in hundreds of thousands of protestors from all walks of life.

This time, office workers, tradies, artists, grandparents, doctors and baby boomers joined in the mass demonstrations calling for urgent action on global warming.

Hundreds of photos and videos of strikers chanting and waving signs flooded social media as more than 70 of Australia’s capital, regional and rural cities held #ClimateStrike marches at different points of the day.

Melbourne drew the nation’s biggest crowd.

Organisers say about 150,000 people attended the rally in the Melbourne CBD alone.

Among the diverse Australians who rallied together was Koo Wee Rup Secondary College student Ethan Lewis, 14, who travelled more than 70km from Tooradin to Melbourne with his family to attend the climate rally.

“I want to see animals thrive and I want to be able to go to the Great Barrier Reef without it being bleached,” Ethan, a member of his school’s environment club, told The New Daily in Melbourne.

“I want to be able to have those experiences for future generations and to preserve our Earth.”

His brother Hunter, 12, said he was at the rally because he wanted to “have a better future” and to ensure we have a “bigger range of species”.

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The Lewis family travelled to Melbourne for the #ClimateStrike protests. Photo: The New Daily

Matthew Flinders Girls Secondary College student Annie Stephens, 17, travelled from Geelong to Melbourne to rally with her friends.

“I’m here because the government is doing nothing about climate change and I just feel like it’s time that we step in and actually do something,” Annie told The New Daily. 

“I made this sign this morning on my bedroom floor.”

Thousands of people aged 50 years and older turned up en masse to show their support.

Janice Miller, 57, a support worker at sustainable food centre Cultivating Community, said she was at the rally to support Australia’s youth.

“I want to get more action on climate change from leaders and I want to support the young people who started this,” Ms Miller said at the rally in Melbourne.

“It’s their future, even if I might not be around for it.”

Longtime climate activist Carol Henderson, 53, said she was inspired by the large number of student activists pushing for change.

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Cultivating Community members attended the rally in a bid to protect food security. Photo: The New Daily

Turtles Against Climate Change member John McDonald, 64, said he was particularly concerned about the effect of global warming on our turtle population.

“Turtles are already threatened by climate change,” Mr McDonald told The New Daily. 

“The sand is getting so hot where they’re hatching that some of them are dying just as they’re getting out of their nests.

“The beaches are being washed away and the Reef is being destroyed too.”

The global climate strikes have been inspired by teenage Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, whose climate protests outside the Swedish parliament sparked a global movement.

In November last year, thousands of Australian school students went on strike, which was followed by a mass global day of action in March.

Greta is in New York for the UN climate summit after making a transatlantic trip on a zero emissions sailboat.

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