Politics

Hundreds Of Young People Are Calling For Action On Climate Change In Melbourne’s CBD

"We know Indigenous people are affected first and worst by this."

Hundreds of young Australians have taken to the streets in Melbourne’s CBD today in a march calling on the government to take serious action on climate change. The protestors are demanding that Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull refuse to grant mining giant Adani a $1 billion loan for its controversial Carmichael coal mine in Queensland.

The protestors are also calling on the government to get serious about renewables, and make firm commitments to put Australia on the path to 100 percent renewable energy.

The 800-strong contingent is being led by young Indigenous people from the SEED Indigenous Youth Climate Network. This protest marks the final day of Power Shift, an annual youth climate summit jointly organised by SEED and the Australian Youth Climate Coalition.

AYCC National Director Gemma Borgo-Caratti told Junkee that “young people are sick of politicians trying to wreck our future. We’ll do whatever we can to oppose that”. She also emphasised the importance of young Indigenous activists leading the charge.

“We know Indigenous people are affected first and worst by this,” she said. “We need to keep them at the forefront of this action.”

“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are on the frontline of climate change, from dangerously high temperatures in the NT, to rising seas in the Torres Strait,” said Larissa Baldwin, a young Bundjalung woman and National Co-Director of SEED. “But they’re also on the frontlines of change — leading the charge on transitioning communities to clean renewable energy”.

While politicians are the main targets of this protest, Gemma says none of the major political parties, including the Greens, responded to invitations to attend.

“We’ll still be talking with people on the streets,” she said. “We’re doing what our generation does best — using social media as our megaphone to get people’s attention.”

Gemma told Junkee that despite the dire threat of climate change, spirits are high amongst protestors following three days of inspiration and community-building at Power Shift.

“We’re really hopeful, we’ve just heard from three First Nations women on how to keep the hopeful spirit alive as we fight for climate justice,” she said.

“We’re working with young people everywhere, in whatever communities they’re a part of. This [Adani] mine needs to stop, and fossil fuels need to stop. We’re going to do whatever we can.”

The Melbourne protest comes as anti-Adani activists in Sydney are occupying a Sydney CBD branch of Commonwealth Bank to protest the bank’s association with Adani. The sit-in action has involved choirs, song and dance in opposition to investment in fossil fuels.

Feature image via AYCC/Twitter