Notes from Wonthaggi student Jessie Harrison on the Global Climate Strike

Based on an interview in the Bass Coast Post

I worry quite often [about climate change].  Every day there are more reports on the news: the hottest day on record. The other day I heard a report that we have only 18 months to act to reverse climate change and become carbon neutral or else there’s no return. Our generation will be hit the worst with climate change, with hotter summers… bigger floods and melting ice signifying just the beginning. I want to be able to live to an old age without experiencing the worst impacts of climate change.

[But] it doesn’t depress me. It does scare me, but in a good way. It makes me want to take action about what’s happening. We’re going on strike because we believe our government isn’t doing enough to support our future. By striking from school, onlookers take notice of us. If this was on a weekend or a school holiday our strike could be taken as a fun trip to the city, instead of a march through the streets.

I am angry about the response from our politicians because they’re not going to be as affected as us. I guess hopeless as well. They are the ones who can do something about it. We can’t. Our country is still using outdated forms of energy such as coal and fossil fuels and our leaders are continuously endorsing fossil fuel companies instead of moving towards a greener future. I’m not saying they [politicians] don’t care about their children but I guess the way they’re going about it is to think it won’t affect them either. I am aware of the policies of the different political parties on climate action.

I know my parents aren’t that supportive… There are a few teachers who are supportive but they’re not really making a comment on it. I do agree that school is important but our goal is to make a difference. At our age we can’t vote or make a significant difference to government but we can use our numbers and our voice. The strike is to enable us and the students who come after us to have a future.

*Jessie Harrison, aged 16, a student at Wonthaggi Secondary College, will join fellow students from around Victoria at next Friday’s climate change student strike in Melbourne. There will also be a Wonthaggi Global Climate Strike at the McBride Avenue gardens at 1pm on the same day.