Published: 21/10/2019

Everyone is invited. Everyone is needed. 

On September 20th, over 300,000 Australians took to the street to join the young climate strikers to demand an end of fossil fuels. Australia is not alone - organizers estimate that, globally, four million people took part in the 6,000 events held in more than 1,000 cities across 185 countries. The global strike aimed to bring mass awareness to the climate crisis, three days ahead of the UN emergency climate summit to spark immediate action for politicians. 

At the Australian strikes, protesters called for the Federal Government to commit to:

  • No new coal, oil and gas projects, including the Adani Mine;
  • 100 per cent renewable energy generation and exports by 2030; and,
  • Fund a just transition and job creation for all fossil-fuel workers and communities.

The Global Climate Strike was inspired by the young Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg. Greta pioneered Fridays for Future, where she and other young people sat in front of the Swedish parliament every school day, protesting against inaction on climate change. 

Meanwhile, the global movement has caused much debate within the Australian education system, with some teachers being accused of bias and bringing politics into the classroom. A small minority of parents and politicians also believe that attending the strike shouldn’t come at the expense of a child’s education. This behaviour has sparked outrage amongst teachers and academics that took part in the strike, believing there should be a curriculum reform to promote climate justice. 

Along with tens of thousands of school and university students, over 2,500 Australian businesses (including Ethical Investment Services) allowed their workers to attend the strike, with Australian software giants Atlassian being one of them in urging their 3,500 employees to join the young strikers in solidarity. 

Twenty companies, including KeepCup, energy retailers Amber and superannuation fund Future Super have formed the Not Business as Usual coalition. It was created in the effort to involve corporate Australia in the battle against climate change, and to provide a safe space to spark action within the cooperate sector. The companies involved believe this climate crisis demands leadership and effort, as governments alone cannot solve the problem.

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