Power is a funny feeling for a young person. We don't wield it like grownups do, and we certainly don't automatically possess it, but we can demand better from those who do; and when we stand together, united for a cause, we are downright powerful.
I remember feeling that power at the first strike I went to in Melbourne. Standing among my peers and screaming at the top of my lungs for our government to listen. I wanted more than anything for my voice to be heard, for my footsteps to be felt as I pounded down the street, hoping to pave the path for something incredible; for our power to be heard.
As a young person looking ahead at life, I am frightened. I'd like to hope I have a long life ahead of me filled with a long list of things I want to achieve, dreams I want to pursue and places I want to go. But to see that worsening climate change is standing in the way is simply devastating.
That is why I will once again join my peers across the country to stand up for our future. We will strike from school, both online and in person, to protest the Morrison government's inaction on the climate crisis ahead of COP 26, being held in Glasgow at the end of the month. On October 15, we will gather at MP offices and hold live enrol-to-vote strikes and online enrol-to-vote actions to ensure young people can vote for climate justice. We will again use our united and powerful voice to call on the Morrison government not to allow any new fossil fuels projects and to instead focus on achieving a 100 per cent renewable energy target by 2030, while also creating a just transition for workers in industries, like coal and gas.
For me, climate action is about creating a liveable future and achieving justice for those who are impacted the most by climate change. For my peers who have been impacted by events such as the 2019 bushfires, I want them to feel safe and to grow up with certainty that our country is doing all it can to limit the impacts of climate change, and play its part in urgently cutting emissions.
Personally, I feel embarrassed Australia is lagging behind on taking important climate action. We are often considered one of the best countries in the world to live in, so I find it hard to understand why it falls so far behind on something so important.
As a country we should be doing so much more. I hope the Australian government will finally listen to our voices and feel our power, because we won't stop until they do. I believe that we can all make a difference and that our voices will achieve positive change for everyone around the world.
- Jacinta Carter is a 15-year-old student from the Yarra Valley, Victoria.