Students at the Whitsunday School Strikes.
Students at the Whitsunday School Strikes. Georgia Simpson

Why these students will be walking out of school next week

MILLIONS of children across the globe walked out of their classrooms earlier in the year, as part of global school strikes to highlight the climate crisis.

More than 150,000 Australians skipped school in March, and Whitsunday students were the first in the country to strike.

School Strike for Climate has announced students across the country will be ramping up their efforts to have their voices heard, demanding "urgent action on the climate crisis” on September 20.

Inspired by Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg, teenagers in regional Victoria launched the school strike movement in Australia last October which led to 20,000 students across the country striking in November and 150,000 in March.

An even bigger attendance is expected on September 20 as concern about climate crisis grows.

Whitsunday School Strikes.
Whitsunday School Strikes. Georgia Simpson

Whitsunday students will once again be leading the charge and will meet at the lagoon at 9am on September 20.

Strikers will be calling for governments to commit to no new coal, oil and gas projects - including the Adani mine.

They will also be calling for 100 per cent renewable energy generation and exports by 2030, and the funding of a just transition to renewable energy, and and job creation for all fossil-fuel industry workers and communities.

The announcement of the September strikes coincided with the Australia Institute's most recent climate report, that states eight in 10 (81 per cent) Australians are now concerned about climate change.

Almost two thirds of Australians think the country should have a national target for net-zero electricity emissions by 2050, in line with the United Kingdom.

Whitsunday Conservation Council representative Jessa Lloyd said students were calling for an "all in” from the community, to stand with them in what will be a historic day of global action.

School Strikes, Whitsundays
Whitsunday School Strikes. Georgia Simpson

"They will strike in solidarity for everyone who's already being hurt by the climate crisis and everyone who will be impacted if we don't act now: first nations people, workers, young people, and more,” she said.

Miss Lloyd said in Queensland, 70,000 jobs were reliant on the Great Barrier Reef, parts of which had been devastated by climate change.

"Locally, one in three businesses are reliant on this reef-based tourism economy to sustain their income, and there is no doubt that the Great Barrier Reef has already been greatly compromised due to recent climate bleaching events and cyclones,” she said.

More than 800 academics around the world have signed an open letter online, supporting the student action, many from Australian universities.

At the time of the March strikes, the Australian Education Union released a statement 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.

Proserpine High School principal Don McDermid agreed with Ms Grace's stance on the issue.


WHAT: Whitsunday School Strikes for Climate

WHEN: Friday, September 20, 9am

WHERE: Large shelter on the ocean side of the Airlie Beach Lagoon