A Nation Marches for Climate Action: Three Aussie strikers tell their story

Australia’s Tyenna Hogan and Sweden’s Greta Thunberg. Source: Jillian Mundy / Getty Images

Sixteen-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg has been striking with students every Friday since August 2018, and today millions around the world are joining her -- including these young Aussies.

“I think there is an awakening going on,” said student activist Greta Thunberg in a speech on Monday upon receiving Amnesty International’s top human rights award.

“Even though it is slow, the pace is picking up and the debate is shifting. It is a lot because of countless of activists, and especially young activists. Activism works.” 

Rachael Clinch, Adelaide, Climate Strikes
Adelaide mum Rachael Clinch with her kids, who will all be marching in the CBD.
Rachael Clinch

Who: Rachael Clinch, 29, Mother of three

Where: Tarntanyangga/Victoria Square, Adelaide, 11am

Rachael Clinch -- mum to Isla, Eden and Avery -- is marching today because, "it's their future these politicians are denying."

Rachel wants to instill in her kids a sense of civic duty and the spirit of activism.

“They need to know that they can stand up and have their voice heard, no matter the topic," says Rachael.

It's their future these politicians are denying.

“We are big on taking care of the environment, from planting bee-friendly shrubs to picking up litter. And if we don’t do something about global warming these girls are the ones who will suffer for it.

“My girls are nature lovers. The imaginative games my kids play aren’t superheroes or fairies. They play cheetahs and leopards, being big cats running and pouncing on the school oval. They play gibbons and chimps, climbing and howling in trees and on monkey bars. Once these animals are gone due to loss of habitat and hunting, what will be left?”

Tyenna Hogan, Climate Strike, SBS, the Feed
Tyenna Hogan speaking in Hobart.
Jillian Mundy

Who: Tyenna Hogan, 17, Seed Activist

Where: Parliament Lawns, Hobart, 12pm

Tyenna is a Palawa, Bundjalung and Wiradjuri woman and a volunteer with the Seed Indigenous Youth Climate Network, a partner group of the Australian Youth Climate Coalition.

For Tyenna, every conversation about climate action matters -- from conversations with family and friends, to the national conversation that plays out in the media and the halls of Parliament House. 

“Compared to the last strike there's just so much more talk,” says Tyenna. 

“I have tons of teachers encouraging students to go even though they're probably not supposed to. There's lots of talk about it at school.

I think it is so important that any discussion surrounding climate change must involve Indigenous people because we've been here for fifty thousand plus years protecting and nurturing the environment.

“AYCC and Seed do such a good job of [lifting Indigenous voices],” says Tyenna. But the young activist wants to see more Indigenous leaders in decision-making roles when it comes to creating a national climate change policy.”

Maia Sheridan-Hulme, Margaret River, Climate Strikes
Maia Sheridan-Hulme, the key organiser of the Student Strike for Climate in Margaret River.
Maia Sheridan-Hulme

Who: Maia Sheridan-Hulme, 16, 

Where: Reuther Park, Margaret River, WA, 11am

While seas of protesters in Sydney and Melbourne will likely make the TV news, Maia, the key organiser of the Student Strike for Climate in Margaret River, has planned a different way for attendees in the remote WA town to have their voices heard. 

“One of our main features will be to have letter writing and art. We'll be collecting materials that students will be creating and then sending them to local politicians.” 

Maia will also encourage attendees to sign a petition for the Margaret River Council to declare a climate emergency.

“And we're going to have lots of student speeches,” says Maia.

“We've got regional environment centres, Amnesty International, and a bunch of community members talking.

“We’re bringing it back to the basics and saying we need a just and safe transition to renewables.

"There's a lot of misconceptions about climate change for people who are in industries that might be affected by transitioning to renewable energies.

WA has a massive mining industry and a massive agricultural industry and they're all industries which are going to be disproportionately affected by climate change.

“The lack of action that we're seeing from our current state government is disappointing to say the least.”

For the full list of the 100+ registered strikes happening across Australia, head to the School Strike for Climate page.

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