“Entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are at the beginning of a mass extinction and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth. How dare you…? The eyes of all future generations are upon you. And if you choose to fail us, I say we will never forgive you.”
These are the passionate words of 16 year old climate activist from Sweden, Greta Thunberg, to the United Nations on Monday September 23, 2019. These words reflect the very clear message that was sent to Victorian, Australian, and world leaders at the School Strike for Climate March in Melbourne, Australia, on Friday September 20, 2019.
My name is Tahlia Walsh, and I am a passionate 12 year old environmentalist/activist in Year 7 at Virtual School Victoria. I am an active member of Dr Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots, and have had the privilege of meeting and talking to Dr Jane in person on three occasions. She is my greatest inspiration and personal mentor. I am also honoured to be the Youth Ambassador for Palm Oil Investigations.
I simply had to participate with over one hundred thousand people in the historic protest on climate change in Melbourne, to protect my future from being destroyed. Until the world leaders and politicians start to seriously act on the climate emergency, I will keep marching to protest, along with millions of people around the world. Internationally, there are growing concerns that Australia is not doing enough to cut carbon emissions. It is appalling that our own Prime Minister, Scott Morrison chose not to attend the United Nations Climate Action Summit in New York recently, despite being in America to visit Donald Trump.
On Friday 20th September 2019, around 4 million people from over 150 countries across every continent participated in the climate strike. Even scientists in Antarctica joined in on the strike! Greta Thunberg started the movement on her own as a 15 year old schoolgirl, sitting in front of the Swedish Parliament on a Friday in August 2018. She held a simple sign with a powerful message: “School Strike 4 Climate.” Fast forward to just over one year later, and she has now completed her 57th climate strike. Given the time differences across the globe, Australia got the ball rolling and the sheer volume of people seen participating, through social media, would have fed the movement. Marches were held everywhere from Kabul in Afghanistan lead by a military officer, to New York City led by Greta herself. There were school kids, business people, grandparents, adults and babies! This was the march that united the world.
The mass of people and their powerful placards said it all. Dogs with their owners wearing signs saying ‘Hot Dog’. Pregnant women with signs on their bellies stating ‘We want a future for our babies’. There were toddlers in prams bearing banners reading ‘Nap Strike 4 Climate’. People from all walks of life came together as one, as we all share this precious but fragile earth. The atmosphere was like nothing I have ever experienced in such a large crowd – it was peaceful but powerful. It was the perfect example of what humanity can achieve if we work together. As a young person, I strongly believe we can unite and preserve the earth for future generations.
“I like to envision the world as a jigsaw puzzle … If you look at the whole picture, it is overwhelming and terrifying. But if you work on your little part of the jigsaw, and know that people all over the world are working on their little bits, that’s what will give you hope.” -Dr Jane Goodall
Written by Tahlia Walsh, Virtual School Victoria