Management and staff of RenewEconomy and EV Media, publisher of our sister site The Driven, will be taking a long lunch this coming Friday – not in some weird throw-back to the 80s, but to lend our support to the global student-led fight against political inaction on change.
We’ll be doing this as part of Not Business As Usual, an alliance of more than 2,100 Australian businesses lending their support and encouraging and allowing their staff to support and participate in a series of Global Climate Strikes between September 20 and 27.
The idea is to support the growing number of students around the world choosing to miss a day of school to fight for stronger action by politicians to prevent dangerous global warming. It occurs in the lead-up to crucial UN talks on climate change, where Australia will again disgrace itself by refusing to lift its weak emissions targets.
The protests follow the lead of Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, who in August 2018 staged a school strike for the climate outside the Swedish Parliament. She has been doing the same every Friday since (if she’s not speaking at the UN, or busy schooling the US Congress).
As Thunberg has pointed out many times, the younger generations “are the ones who are going to be affected” by a rapidly changing climate, “and therefore, we demand justice.”
“There are no grey areas when it comes to survival,” the 13-year-old told the Guardian last November. “Either we continue as a civilisation or we don’t. One way or another, we have to change.”
Of course, Australia’s Coalition government has a vastly different view of the situation to this, and most recently has shown strong signs of returning to its climate denial roots.
And it has certainly not been supportive of the student strikes, falling firmly into the category of “kids should be in school” and not fighting passionately for the future of the planet.
“What we want is more learning in schools and less activism in schools,” the Prime Minister Scott Morrison told Parliament after the first Australian protest late last year.
Astoundingly, his words had little effect, except – as one Melbourne student pointed out – to make them “want to go on strike even more.”
And so the strikes continue. In Australia, the School Strike for Climate will be hosting rallies in all capital and regional cities around the nation on Friday September 20, and businesses – particularly in the renewable energy industry – are being called on to show their support.
This can be done by signing up with Not Business As Usual and choosing to either:
(a) Shut down for the day to allow employees to attend the rallies;
(b) Offer a long lunch break for employees to attend rallies;
(c) Have a meeting-free day to show their solidarity over the lack of climate action.
“Climate inaction and the lack of policy leadership in Australia’s clean energy industry is severely impacting businesses and households who are looking to make a transition towards a clean energy future,” said Olivia Smith and Gabriel Wong, co-founders of renewable energy focused marketing group, Positive Good, which has committed to rally support for the cause.
“It has not been business as usual for the clean energy industry and we need to put policy makers on notice by supporting the School Strike for Climate and Not Business As Usual.”
At RenewEconomy, One Step Off The Grid and The Driven, a lot of what we do – and why we do it – is because we, too, are firmly committed to driving action of climate change.
This may mean that our small work-force will – instead of actually taking a long lunch to join our local protests – will instead support the action by continuing to do what we do. But we will also be back from lunch to report on what happened.