On Friday September 20th in different cities throughout the world, there were gatherings of concerned citizens. Each of these groups had one common purpose: to help protect the environment by limiting the effects of climate change.
Promoted as the Global Climate Strike, it was predominately organised and led by students. I was fortunate enough to participate in the Shepparton event. There was an encouraging turnout of locals of all ages in the Maude Street Mall who came to support the students.
The event began with the recognition and appreciation for the traditional owners of the land. Then it was time for the students to express their views. They spoke passionately about their aspirations for the future, as well as their frustrations at the lack of action currently being taken by our political leaders.
They voiced their concerns relating to current natural disasters facing our planet. Among them the raging fires in the Amazon, the melting glaciers in the Arctic and the sinking Pacific Islands caused by rising water levels. It was a sombre note, but there was a message of hope behind it. It's not too late to make a difference. Less is more. Less coal, less plastic, less emissions. By recognising the issues and changing our behaviours, we can be part of the solution.
The activists then took to the streets, marching as one with signs and chants. The atmosphere was passionate but peaceful. I found it liberating to march alongside these people. Their enthusiasm was contagious and I felt like I was a part of something really meaningful. Interested onlookers came out of nearby shops to see what was happening. Television crews filmed, cameras flashed and organisers were interviewed. Our message was being heard.
Meanwhile, in towns and cities across Australia, the same message was being echoed. Everyday people have shown that they are concerned about climate change and the impact it will have on our future and those of generations to come. The time to act is now.