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Why these Australian students will strike for climate change action

Published by the ABC the day before the March 15 strikes:

"Politicians that have been in power for so long have let us down," says Aisheeya Huq, 16, from western Sydney.

"They need to show us that they are willing to make changes for us and our futures."

Aisheeya's activism is partly inspired by the low-lying home country of her parents.

"My parents came from Bangladesh which is a country severely affected by climate change," she says.

"Many people are losing their homes and livelihoods."

She's also watched her home city swelter under heatwaves in recent years.

"I live in western Sydney where the effects of climate change are also felt to quite an alarming degree," she says.

She says the science on climate change is clear, and the time for action is now.

"If you don't expose yourself to the science that's very clearly presented, then you're not going to try to understand what we are standing for," she says.

"There's so much research going on showing what the world will look like, so many cities and countries will go underwater.

"We can't afford not to take action."


Doha Khan, a student from Adelaide, says she's "very lucky" to have the support of both her parents and her school to go on strike.

"I think a big reason why my mum and my dad are so supportive is that they've always pressed that as people who have privilege it is our job to speak out for people who do not," she says.

"Climate change affects the people that contribute the least to it.

"When you have privilege it's important to speak up."

Doha has specific demands for the changes she wants to see from government.

"We want the Labor Party and the Liberal Party to stop Adani, not allow any new fossil projects to be set up, and commit to 100 per cent renewables by 2030," she says.

"If action isn't taken then this movement is only going to grow and continue as more people get frustrated by the inaction."


Tully Bowtell-Young, from Townsville, says the extreme weather that has lashed the city recently is a stark example of the effects of climate change.

"The flood we just had wasn't just a normal flood, it was a one-in-100-year event. It was a horrendous flood," she says.

The flood hit after an extended period of drought, and Tully says it's helped to shape conversation in city that is "quite divided on the issue of climate change".

"Both the flooding rains and the droughts have gotten worse through the effects of climate change, and it's easier to talk to people about climate change when they have experienced it," she says.

Published in Chain Reaction #135, April 2019. National magazine of Friends of the Earth Australia.

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