OPINION: Geraldton students strike the right note for change

Derek GoforthMidwest Times
Signage at the school climate strike organised by the Geraldton Youth Regeneration Organisation.
Camera IconSignage at the school climate strike organised by the Geraldton Youth Regeneration Organisation. Credit: Lisa Favazzo/The Geraldton Guardian

September 25 was the last day of term for many WA students.

Most marked it in the usual way, going to school, participated in a few lessons and I imagine played a few games in the afternoon and maybe even watched a movie with their classmates.

But for a few the last day was spent very differently, in attendance of a “school strike” for climate change.

You may have seen the group of kids, (plus a handful of adults) marching up and down the foreshore, holding placards announcing their intention to “fight back” against the destruction of our planet.

The protest was well received by onlookers who had a lot of praise for the youngsters who were, (mostly) opting to miss a day of school to attend a cause they feel passionately about.

However, the strike was reported on various social media pages and some, (certainly not all) of the feedback directed at the protesters was not so positive.

I won’t dignify some of the responses by repeating them directly, but most social media responses impolitely suggested the protesters were wasting their time and should focus on getting “a job” and getting off their iPads and computers.

Now, this isn’t an opinion piece about the nature of keyboard warriors, and I am not going to talk at length about the cowardly nature of people throwing insults at people from the safety of their laptops or phones.

Mindless to the fact that Geraldton is a small place and anonymity is hardly a guarantee on a public forum.

Perhaps I can focus on that in another article.

I honestly don’t believe the people who comment are actually articulating anything whatsoever about their attitude on climate change.

More perhaps frustration at their own inability to effect change themselves.

I do however take issue with their accusation that the protesters were, “wasting their time”. Far from it I think.

Regardless of any immediate outcome that resulted from this march, the mere fact that these young men and women are getting out there and showing our community that something is wrong with the way we are going about things — that’s a start.

Yes, the protesters skipped a day of school, but it was a school strike after all.

Yes they are young and have a lot to learn, but at least they are learning as they go.

Yes, they are inexperienced in the way of the world, but at least they are not stuck in their ways, they are not stubbornly thinking they are right and the rest of the world is wrong.

Hats off to you. Keep thinking, keep asking and keep marching!

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