A virtual protest against funding fossil fuels

October 21, 2020 by  
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Students from Sydney’s Emanuel School participated in a virtual protest against the funding of fossil fuels to stimulate the Australian economy in COVID recovery efforts.

The Year 12 Sustainability Committee with their posters supporting SchoolStrike4Climate

The protest, organised by SchoolStrike4Climate (SS4C), the co-ordinators of the widespread strikes calling for climate action last year, occurred in response to the leaked draft report for the National COVID-19 Co-ordination Commission. The report details a planned taxpayer-supported $6 billion pipeline connecting the eastern states to the Western Australian gas markets, along with the subsidisation of gas-fired power plants and makes no reference to the environmental impact of the investments.

The demands of the protest were; no public funding for gas or fossil fuel projects, with recovery funds to be spent on:

  1. Resourcing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-led solutions that guarantee land rights and care for country
  2. The creation of jobs that fast-track solutions to the climate crisis and help communities recover
  3. Projects that transition our economy and communities to 100% renewable energy by 2030, through expanded public ownership

The protest involved students, workers and First Nations communities across Australia gathering in small groups to demonstrate their opposition to this plan and to fossil fuels. The SS4C hopes to hold Australian leaders accountable, bring awareness to the impact of insufficient climate action and push for the creation of jobs in sustainable industries.

Climate change is an increasingly imminent threat to our planet and our future. As the next generation, we are inheriting a planet in which species are becoming extinct at an increasing rate, sea levels are rapidly rising and the five warmest temperatures of the planet ever recorded have been between 2015-2019.

Emanuel School has been supportive of student participation in the climate strikes, understanding the importance of the need for climate action. The involvement in the movement provides an opportunity to present a united front, embodying one of the school’s core values – Tikkun Olam (repairing the world). Last year, SchoolStrike4Climate organised two climate strikes, but in accordance with COVID-19 regulations, a new approach was implemented. Instead of one large rally, communities around Australia gathered in small groups, dressed in yellow (to unify the photos) and posted photos to social media.

To display our support for the SS4C movement and opposition to the funding of fossil fuels, the Emanuel School Sustainability Committee organised a yellow-themed plain clothes day and an education program for High School students. Students were assigned small groups in which they were provided time to design and decorate posters, being encouraged to feature the slogan ‘Fund Our Future Not Gas!’, among other phrases, to demonstrate their support for climate action and environmentally friendly COVID recovery.

The Sustainability Committee, consisting of eight Year 12 students, has been working this term to encourage school engagement in environmental issues.

Year 12 student, Lara Fosbery, who co-authored this article said: “I joined the Sustainability Committee because I believe that all great movements start small and we can make a significant difference by focusing on Emanuel’s individual impact, through which we’ll set an example for the Jewish and Australian communities.”

Jacob Rose, co-author and a member of the Sustainability Committee said: “I think it’s crucial that the next generation inherits a healthy planet. We are under an immediate threat, yet there is still very little action. The SchoolStrike4Climateprovided an opportunity to express our opinion and hopefully create change.”

Principal Andrew Watt was impressed by the students’ enthusiasm, energy and commitment to the project and encouraged them to continue to stand up for those issues that resonate with them and support their core values. “Our wish for Emanuel students is that they graduate to be responsible citizens who are informed and empowered to act upon local and global issues that affect or inspire them. I commend the Sustainability Committee for their proactivity and passionate support of the event.”

Report from: Year 12 students, Lara Fosbery and Jacob Rose

Comments

2 Responses to “A virtual protest against funding fossil fuels”
  1. Robert Weil says:

    Why are Jewish schools manipulating and.brainwashing our children with this climate change idiocy?

  2. michael Burd says:

    I’m glad they are not my Kids !! !

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