Some of the Gippsland Climate Strikes

(Tony Peck)

The crowd at the Bairnsdale Strike for Climate rally was estimated to be about 800. Protesters filled the space between the Rotunda and the toilet block on the median strip. A feature of the rally organised by students from Nagle College was the march from the school in West Bairnsdale. More than 100 students started from school before 11am and marched to the Secondary College where they picked up their next contingent and then on to 754 where they picked up some primary students and parents. They then marched along Main Street to the Rotunda chanting and waving their placards where they were received with applause from the waiting crowd. There followed short speeches from the student organisers, music, and the protest was rounded off with some songs from local choir Alley Cats.

At Sale Gippsland 2020 founder Jo McCubbin estimated the crowd at Sale’s Clocktower mall at 700. Reporting on the rally the Gippsland Times noted that the strikers were there “to vent their anger at government inaction on climate change”. Then “wildlife artist and passionate climate change activist Dawn Stubbs* told the crowd climate change and species loss were connected, and protestors needed to continue to pressure government to take action to prevent more environmental “destruction”. Ms Stubbs received resounding applause when she said communities were rising up because they recognised the urgency of the matter, despite the government’s continual denial of the science behind global warming.” The march was televised on Win News.

Bairnsdale Strike organisers (EGN19.9)

At Traralgon the protest was much smaller with an estimated 200 attending. We have no information on the rally in Mallacoota or any of the events in south or west Gippsland. Many of the Bass Coast and west Gippsland students journeyed to Melbourne to join the huge crowd there estimated to be as high as 150,000  – certainly it surpassed the massive Vietnam war moratorium demonstrations of the early 1970s. One of the lessons from all this is to keep the ball rolling. There is a need to keep active. And as Greta says the most important thing you can do is talk to your friends and family about it – preferably every day.

*Dawn is also a regular at EGCAN meetings