Forget the WA EPA, Australia’s fossil fuel industry and its supporting politicians have a much bigger problem on their hands: striking school kids.
Tens of thousands of kids downed tools in cities and towns throughout Australia on Friday to protest the lack of action in this country on climate change, which – as they have been taught in science class – threatens the very future of their existence.
— Climate Council (@climatecouncil) March 15, 2019
And they did this despite the threats, lies, insults, casual condescension and lukewarm denouncements tossed at them from all angles by grown-ups, apparently terrified (and most definitely unsettled) by this show of unadulterated activism.
Of course it’s not just Australia: the movement, initiated by Nobel Peace Prize nominee Greta Thunberg in Norway, are being held in 1,659 towns and cities in 105 countries around the world.
But in Australia, the incumbent fossil fuel industry and conservative media and political force that has been mobilised against these kids is something to be believed – and that’s a turn of phrase, of course, because the weapon of choice is mostly a bunch of great big lies.
Dear kids walking out for #ClimateStrike, you’ve got hard right-wing politicians and pundits beside themselves with rage.
— Seano (@SeanBradbery) March 14, 2019
Take Adani Australia, which is the subject of one of three demands the student strikers were making on Friday – to block development of the Indian giant’s massive carbon bomb of a coal mine in Queensland’s Galilee Basin.
“If you’re thinking about picking up a placard and heading to a school strike protest,” the energy giant warned on Twitter, “make sure you know the facts on Adani’s Carmichael Project first.”
Adani Australia then helpfully provides those “facts,” which as you can see below amount to some sloppy sleight of hand using fractions and graphics.
Firstly, the Carmichael mine has approval to produce up to *60 million* tonnes of coal per annum.
Secondly, fuck off. https://t.co/NIC7lPcWcS
— Michael Mazengarb (@MichaelM_ACT) March 14, 2019
Safe to say, no placards were cast aside in the name of that Tweet.
In political circles, it has been all but impossible – with the exception of NSW Labor leader Michael Daley – to find any politicians from the major parties that will openly endorse students taking the action, with lots of avuncular suggestions that “wouldn’t the weekend be better.” Duh, then it’s not a strike!
Conservative media is just plain outraged that kids are wagging school. They’re just doing it to get a day off, says News.com.au’s opinion pages: “A bunch of stroppy kids wagging class to wave placards isn’t going to solve anything – and most of them probably couldn’t care less.”
And The Australian, like clockwork, wheeled out Maurice Newman, a black-belt in climate denial who is here to tell us all that these striking kids are just pawns in a broad communist plot to destroy capitalism.
“Thanks to their left-wing education, they and the majority of their millennial brothers and sisters have unshakeable faith that socialist leaders will undertake the required action on climate change while simultaneously managing the transition away from capitalism.”
Meanwhile, the ever reliable fossil fuel defender 2GB staged an on-air debate between shock jock Steve Price and 14 year-old student striker, Ambrose Hayes.
While Hayes explained his reasons for taking action for the climate, Price trotted out a whole bunch of tired Coalition slogans, told outright lies, and even tried a bit of gas-lighting, for good measure.
“As far as having no (new) coal fired power and 100 per cent renewables by 2030 (the other two demands of the strikers), that would wreck the economy, Ambrose.”
(Renewables will create just as many jobs as coal, maybe more.)
“Well it won’t, it won’t, because you don’t need anybody to make the sun shine or the wind blow. I mean you have to employ people to dig up coal because that’s how you get it out of the ground.”
(Coal is causing warming, which is threatening the health of the Great Barrier Reef.)
“The Great Barrier Reef’s actually in really good condition and it’s regenerated itself over the last few years,” said Price.
“There’s nothing wrong with the Great Barrier Reef. Nothing at all.”
(Carbon pollution… atmosphere warming…)
“Carbon is not a pollutant.”
And finally: “You sound like a really intelligent young man, and I’m not blaming you for having views that are a little confused, have you ever thought to yourself that you’re actually being conned by teachers and people that are feeding you misinformation?”
— The Bunyip (@WrittenOnWater) March 15, 2019
As many in the Twitterverse commented on Friday, if anyone was in any doubt why children are missing school to demand action on climate change, that interview pretty much sums it up. Play on, kids.
— Kelly O’Shanassy (@kellyoshanassy) March 15, 2019