Eighty turnout for Parkes School Strike 4 Climate

"It's going to be a real team effort" - were the words of an innocent 10-year-old boy who stood before a crowd of about 80 supporters during Friday's School Strike 4 Climate.

Oscar Hendry was one of four speakers that afternoon in Cooke Park, joining fellow student protester Libby Hoyle, Wiradjuri student Iesha Charlton, and councillor and member of Farmers for Climate Action Neil Westcott.

It was the first national school strike since Covid-19, with Oscar and Libby - who led the protest - very pleased with the turnout in Parkes.

Among those in the crowd was Parkes Shire Mayor Ken Keith OAM, Cr Bill Jayet and Central West Lachlan Landcare support officer Marg Applebee.

Invitations had been extended to our State Member Phil Donato and Federal Member Michael McCormack, who sent their apologies.

During his speech, Cr Westcott told the young people gathered in the park they are on the right side of history and encouraged them to continue to speak with passion.

Oscar told the group he had a real interest in science, and with it climate change, adding that the more he learnt the more he worried.

He said climate change action shouldn't go into the "too hard basket".

"This is the greatest challenge for our generation," Oscar said before sharing advice and tips on how to make simple changes at home and school.

Iesha gave the Welcome to Country before sharing a few words.

"No one in this country knows how to look after the land more than the First Nations, they lived off it for over 80,000 years, never taking what they didn't need, never taking but using what was provided," she said.

"If you desecrate the land, how are you going to live?"

Libby said she was born in the Millennium Drought and has grown up with climate anxiety.

"I've watched climate change become a political football as governments form and topple over their inadequate climate policies," she said.

"But when you look at those pictures of the Black Summer (2019-20) and the countless other natural disasters that have been fuelled by climate change, it's abundantly clear that this is a people issue not a political one.

"Bushfires don't care who you vote for - when it comes to climate change I don't either, I care about meaningful action."

Organising Friday's strike, Libby said she has learnt about the actions local people are undertaking and the fight against climate change.

"I've come face-to-face with a false narrative that country people are against climate action," she said, naming a number of green projects and enterprises established or underway in Parkes.

"Over the past few weeks I've gained a pretty good insight into climate change opinions around Parkes, one thing I've noticed is reactions towards the word strike - 'why can't you strike after school? Why don't you care about your education?'

"The truth is I do. I'm doing my HSC this year, of course I care about my education but I'm 17, I can't vote.

"My generation will be the most impacted by climate change and yet we have no say in climate policies.

"What we're doing today is an example of students using their education, speak[ing] up about things that matter and this matters.

"I have to believe that actions like this make a difference."

Boards were made available to those present to write a message to the government, which will all be typed up and sent to Mr McCormack.

What do you think?

Send a letter to the editor by filling out the online form below.