A VIEW FROM THE STREET
Mass political activism came of age today. Thousands of school students and supporters of all ages and backgrounds took to the streets of Adelaide bringing the city centre to a standstill. On a day of global strikes for climate action inspired by Swedish schoolgirl Greta Thunberg, young Australians were in the vanguard of a protest like no other.
What do we want? Climate action!
When do we want it? Now!
Protesters, many in their school uniform, mustered at Victoria Square, overlooked by the high rise offices of banks, energy and mining companies as well as the Environment Protection Authority and onlookers at the Hilton Hotel. The sound system was as underpowered as the organisers’ expectations were exceeded; speeches and musical performances were hard to hear, but that did not deter the crowd. Socialists and greens milled together with scientists, architects, students, trade unionists, parents, children, grandparents of all origins coming together with surprising order to march up King William Street for a rally outside the State Parliament Building on North Terrace. Placards declared ‘there is no planet B’, ‘don’t be a fossil fool’, ‘denial is not a policy’. Many placards pilloried the Australian Prime Minister, a firm supporter of coal. Other makeshift ones, some carried by very young children, plaintively just pleaded for a future.
One purpose united the good-natured but determined and diverse crowd- to give voice to the one constituency that corporations and politicians ignore at their own (and the planet’s) peril- young people, the electorate of the future, now suitably politicised and engaged. Let’s hope the world takes note, and acts.