Sat, Dec 01, 2018 - Page 6 News List

Australian kids skip school for climate protest

NOW AND THEN:While the students focused on their future and how it would be affected by global warming, more than 100 fires raged in several areas of Queensland

AFP, SYDNEY

A girl holds up a placard as thousands of students demand action on climate change at a rally in Sydney yesterday.

Photo: EPA-EFE

Thousands of Australian students yesterday skipped school to join nationwide protests demanding government action on climate change.

The demonstrations were held as more than 100 bushfires blazed in scorching temperatures in the northeast and a day after Indian mining firm Adani vowed to go ahead with a massive and controversial coal mine.

Primary and secondary students rallied in state capitals and rural areas across the country, in defiance of Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who earlier said that the children should stay in classrooms.

“Our prime minister thinks we should be in school right now and maybe you should be,” 13-year-old student Siniva Esera told a crowd of more than 1,000 in Sydney.

“But how can we sit by and not do anything to protect the future of this planet,” she added, to rapturous applause.

Morrison earlier in the week told parliament that the government was committed to tackling climate change, “but I’ll tell you what we are also committed to: kids should go to school.”

Students creatively rebuked the prime minister, who goes by the nickname “ScoMo,” with humorous banners that read: “I hate ScoMo more than I hate school.”

They also carried placards calling for the government to block the Adani mine project, a day after the Indian mining firm had announced it would go ahead with a scaled-back version of the coal mine in northern Queensland.

“If we don’t stop temperatures going over two degrees, we won’t have the Great Barrier Reef, Antarctica will melt and there will be no such thing as polar bears,” 11-year-old Lucie Atkin-Bolton told the crowd. “My life will be so much more complicated than my parents’ life because of one simple thing: climate change.”

The protests capped off a week of brutal weather in Australia.

More than 100 bushfires yesterday continued to blaze across Queensland amid an unprecedented scorching heatwave.

The crisis forced hundreds of people to flee their homes at its peak on Wednesday.

On the same day, in the neighboring state of New South Wales, Sydney was hit by severe thunderstorms and heavy rainfall forcing the cancelation of flights and closure of rail lines, as well as leaving motorists stranded on flooded roads.

Scientists this week also launched the largest-ever attempt to regenerate the endangered Great Barrier Reef, where large swathes of coral on the 2,300km reef have been killed by rising sea temperatures linked to climate change.

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