Thousands of kids walk out of class and tell the government ‘we’ll be less activist if you’ll be less s**t’

Schoolchildren strike for climate in Hobart, Australia
Support us and go ad-free

Thousands of Australian school children walked out of their lessons on 30 November to protest at their government’s lack of action on climate chaos. An estimated 15,000 children took part in the “Strike 4 Climate Action”, walking out of class in thirty towns and cities across the country.

Latest figures show that Australian greenhouse gas emissions grew 1.3% in the year to March 2018. But the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate requires Australia to reduce emissions to 26-28% on 2005 levels by 2030.

“Global climate conferences and all that nonsense”

Asked if Australia would be held to those targets, prime minister Scott Morrison said:

No, we won’t … we’re not held to any of them at all. Nor are we bound to go and tip money into that big climate fund. We’re not going to do that either. I’m not going to spend money on global climate conferences and all that nonsense.

Swedish striker

The Australian strikers were inspired by fifteen-year-old Swedish student Greta Thunberg, who takes every Friday off school to sit on the steps of the Swedish parliament building in Stockholm, demanding more action from the government on climate chaos. The two Australian students, both 14, who asked others to join them in the strike, said:

Just going to school isn’t doing anything about climate change. And it doesn’t seem that our politicians are doing anything, or at least not enough, about climate change either.

“More learning and less activism”

A 2015 study showed that climate chaos will impact particularly severely on Australia, with more heatwaves, extreme droughts and fires. It is already having a huge impact on ecosystems, with mass coral mortality on the Great Barrier Reef, as well as huge impacts on other ecosystems across the country.

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free

But despite clear evidence of the desperate situation, prime minister Morrison was dismissive of the children’s strike. He said in Parliament that

what we want [in schools] is more learning and less activism.

Some of the children on the march had a response to that:

Children 1, minister 0

Meanwhile, resources minister Matt Canavan told a radio programme:

The best thing you’ll learn about going to a protest is how to join the dole queue.

But his words didn’t stop children all over the country from walking out of school, many of them with creative signs:

Not just Australia

And it’s not just in Australia. There have been school strikes in Sweden:

And Finland:

And Denmark:


And students around the world are being encouraged to join #FridaysForFuture and walk out of school on 7 December during the COP 24 climate change conference in Poland:

At the rally in Sydney, 14-year old student Jean Hinchliffe had a clear message for the government:

This is our first strike. Our first action. And it is just the beginning. And we’ll keep doing it until something is done.

We are facing catastrophic climate change, which will affect today’s children long after those who caused it have died. Children around the world are showing the moral leadership that most governments utterly lack. It’s time we listened to them, and take urgent action for their future.

Featured image via Laura Campbell/Flickr

Support us and go ad-free

Get involved

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us