Emanuel School students take a s­tand

March 14, 2019 by Michelle Favero
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Over 150 Emanuel Primary and High School students rallied to voice their concerns about the global climate crisis.

Emanuel students

The student-led event held at Emanuel School was an outstanding success with Primary and High School students passionately sharing their feelings and research about the crisis. Local MP Dr Kerryn Phelps joined the rally and congratulated the students on their insights, passion and courage to stand up and make a difference.

The Primary School’s Green Team, a group of Primary students who are passionate about addressing climate change and other environmental concerns, worked hard to develop the event concept, create posters for the rally and spread the word to their peers.

Lia McLellan, Year 5, eloquently shared her feelings with the gathering: “We are experiencing extremely hot summers, excruciatingly cold winters, rising water levels like never before, and it’s all thanks to us. Our actions are costing the world.

Emanuel students with local Federal MP Dr Kerryn Phelps

“As kids, we don’t have a huge say in what happens. We look to our parents and leaders to make the important decisions in our world. Right now it seems that they’re doing a really bad job. In fact, they’ve completely failed us when it comes to ensuring that we have a bright future ahead. Some grown-ups don’t think climate change is real. Some grown-ups just ignore it because it’s not their future or their problem. So, we need to take action because they aren’t.  I want to act now. But I can’t act alone. We all need to work together to change the future. So, let’s act now Emanuel!”

Dr Phelps was impressed by the students’ deep concern for the planet: “What stood out to me is that our kids want to be heard. They understand that the future of our planet is on the line and they are worried that nobody is listening. Young people are now way ahead of the current Government – they don’t think it’s funny when the Prime Minister brings a lump of coal into the Parliament to taunt those who want to see a focus on renewable energy.

“In addition to policy settings that lower our carbon emissions and encourage a path towards a clean energy future, collective ambitions such as minimizing waste and ensuring we have clean air and water should not be too much to ask. We owe it to our children and grandchildren.

“As a doctor, I have been scientifically trained to look at the evidence and make a diagnosis. The science tells us that climate change is real. I want science to be taken seriously again.”

Andrew Watt, Emanuel School Principal, is a staunch supporter of the students’ actions. He spoke to the students at assembly this week: “New terms, such as ‘climate justice’ have emerged recently, as many of our young people cry out for genuine and swift action. This rally is our way of supporting the global climate strikes happening this week. I believe in the power of student agency – the power of your voice – in changing the way the world responds to the climate change crisis.

“With both the NSW election and a Federal election coming up in the next few months, this is a good time to let the leaders of our state and our country know that we understand climate change and want them to take appropriate action. I am proud of you all for taking this stand and of your support of a movement that can only prosper with a youth-led voice.”

After the rally, Dr Phelps was interviewed by two Primary students for Emanuel School News Network. They asked Dr Phelps the important questions of: “Why do you think climate action is important?” and “Do you think it is important for students to be involved in events like this?”. Dr Phelps responded: “I think it is essential for young people to be switched on to what is happening in their world. For students at Emanuel School and around the world this week, to be engaged in an issue that is this important is vital to our future because a lot of the politicians aren’t listening. Now I can take your message from Emanuel, back to Canberra. I can tell them about what you have done here today and that will help politicians to understand how strongly young people feel about what needs to be done.”

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