HEAR THEM: Whitsunday students join nationwide strikes
THE Whitsundays played an important role in creating history today, as schools students from the region kicked off the first of the global school strikes.
Thousands of students from across Australia have joined the global strikes, led by student run School Strike 4 Climate and students today demanded urgent political action on climate change.
About 60 people converged at the Airlie Beach Lagoon, and students chanted, "The youth are rising no more compromising" as they marched from the lagoon up to the main street.
Police were present at the strike and Whitsunday Police Station officer in charge Senior Sergeant Nathan Blain addressed the group, to let them know the presence was for traffic control and the safety of the strikers.
Year 12 student Alazay Lane said she was striking today, because if no one did anything, "it's just going to get worse."
"We went out to the reef last year with our school, and even looking at the reef then compared to a few years ago, it was really damaged."
Lani Murphy, a student from Proserpine State High School, said a lot of her peers weren't aware of the full impact climate change would have on the environment.
Miss Lane said a teacher had told her that doing something you're passionate about was a good lesson.
More than 800 academics around the world have signed an open letter online, supporting the student action, with many being from Australian universities.
The Australian Education Union released a statement last week, detailing its support for students who were striking, however Education Minister Grace Grace said while she had sympathy for the cause, she would prefer if students took action in their own time.
"I believe action like this should be taken in students own time, and should not impact on their school learning," she said.
Proserpine High School principal Don McDermid said he agreed with Ms Grace's stance on the issue.
"We advocate for students to be at school every day, we know that every day counts," he said.
Miss Lane and Miss Murphy said they had attended a few protests in the past.
"It's something that we are passionate about, so we're just going to do what we think," Miss Lane said.