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School strikers call for climate vigils in solidarity with Australian bushfires

Strikers are calling on people across the globe to join events at embassies, consulates and other locations worldwide on Friday, January 17, 2020 to support those fighting the fires on the frontline and #ListenToThem (those affected). They are also putting pressure on the Australian government to take urgent action to prevent further climate breakdown. 

Australia bushfires
In addition to decimating some of the most iconic species on earth, the fires also devastated a large expanse of forest land

“We are asking people across the globe to stand together and show impacted communities we are in solidarity with them and we will stand with them to create hope to continue the fight for climate justice,” said Toby Thorpe, an Australian climate activist with the School Strike 4 Climate Australia,.

School Strike 4 Climate Australia is part of the global Fridays for Future movement that over the last year have organised 1000’s of strike events worldwide, with over 10 million people taking part in strikes in September 2019.

“We have lost two national parks and now it is spreading onto the one that backs my property. As I drove out onto the road I looked back and saw a wallaby on our front lawn and I couldn’t even stop or go back to help it. There was a 70-foot wall of fire across the road that just decimated bushland. Our place was still green. We had grass and cool-climate gardens that just went up in smoke. I can only imagine what it did to the bushland and rainforests behind and around our place,” submitted Kelsea Thurgood, a resident in Berambing, NSW

“This fire is unprecedented, and we have to acknowledge the role that a changing climate is having here. The forest is drier, days are hotter, fire conditions are increasingly worse, the fire seasons are increasingly long (starting on the first day of spring) and our RFS is not getting the resources it needs to keep up with that. Listen to the experts,” said Thurgood.

In addition to decimating some of the most iconic species on earth including koalas, kangaroos, wallabies, gliders, potoroos, cockatoos and honeyeaters, the fires have also devastated many important cultural and spiritual places that are part of 60,000 years of First Nations heritage.

“It is 2020 and under Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Australia has no national energy or climate change policy that will ensure the safety of mine and all future generations future. This is a catastrophic failure of government to respond to the monumental crisis of climate breakdown.

“2020 needs to be a year of climate action, Australia and the planet can no longer afford this complacency. These fires can never be forgotten. We need to work together as communities to adapt and build resilience and we need to keep building powerful movements that challenge the planet wreckers and stop burning and investing in fossil fuels and extraction,” said Thorpe.

The January 17 strikes will be taking place just before World Economic Forum opens its doors in Davos, Switzerland. Strikers, including Greta Thurnerg are demanding that “At this year’s Forum, participants from all companies, banks, institutions and governments immediately halt all investments in fossil fuel exploration and extraction, immediately end all fossil fuel subsidies and immediately and completely divest from fossil fuels.”

At the solidarity events, images related to the bushfire crisis in Australia, a video by School Strike 4 Climate Australia and/or a voice memo will be played, considering the global call for climate justice and to listen to the demands of those impacted.

“SS4C’s #ListenToThem: Solidarity Vigil for Bushfire Victims is about bringing everyone together, and strengthening communities, no matter where you come from or what you believe in. It’s time to mourn, and a time to inspire hope, through stories, words and songs. We invite everyone to come, regardless of political stance,” said Sam Galvin of the School Strike for Climate Australia.

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