Media Release: Article Published in the Benalla Ensign, Wednesday 30 September, 2020
Sent: Friday, 25 September 2020 8:53 PM
Subject: School Strike for Climate
Students lead Australian action on climate
On Friday 25th September, over 630 separate actions were organised around Australia in support of Students Strike for climate change. In Benalla, a planned gathering with adherence to strict Covid protocols, was denied permission at the eleventh hour, but small groups of supporters still gathered to take photos of the messages they wanted to send to politicians, displaying their rejection of the so-called gas led economic recovery proposed by the Federal Government.
These plans, which include the development of five large unconventional gas fields (fracking) have been opposed by environmental groups, scientists, and health professionals, as detrimental to the future health and safety of the Earth. It is well documented that fracking destroys the groundwater systems in the country around the gas drilling sites, both through the large volumes of water required to operate the drills, and the pollution of the water from the chemicals used. There is also documented evidence of serious health issues occurring in communities close to the gas fields.
From an economic point of view, claims from the government that gas will keep power prices down, are blatantly untrue. Wind farms and large solar farms are now producing electricity at a wholesale cost of $40 per MWh, compared to base load gas power generation costing $90 per MWh. Even renewables plus storage (large batteries) costs approximately $60 per MWh. These figures were determined by a recent CSIRO study into the electricity generation industry.
The students are also opposing the government’s plans to use public money to fund the gas industry, on the grounds that it is an option which will only exacerbate the climate crisis by contributing even more greenhouse gas emissions (carbon dioxide and methane), and reduce the possibility of preventing global warming from exceeding 2 degrees. This will make the future living conditions they face incredibly difficult, climatically, food production wise, and from a health perspective.
Is this the future we really want for our children and grandchildren?
Peter Holmes, President – Benalla Sustainable Future Group
"On 25th September, small groups of supporters gathered to take photos of the messages they wanted to send to politicians, displaying their rejection of the so-called gas led economic recovery
proposed by the Federal Government"
This coming Friday has been earmarked as a day of Australia-wide protest at the Federal Government's proposals to fund the expansion of the gas industry in Australia, firstly by trying to open up major gas fracking operations in the Beetaloo Basin of the NT and the Pilliga region of central western NSW, and secondly, proposing to build a gas-fired electricity generator in the Hunter Valley of NSW.
Any increase in our use of fossil fuels is counter-productive to the fight against climate change, as it only leads to additional greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide and methane) being released into the atmosphere.
The theme for this week's student action is "Fund our Future - not Gas". There will be a press release in this week's Benalla Ensign about the action.
BSFG is holding a brief event at midday at the Ceramic Mural next to Lake Benalla, to support that theme. We will be adhering to strict Covid protocols - you must wear masks, and be in groups of no more than 10, and socially distance within each group.
Please bring a placard/poster voicing your message to politicians around the above theme. Photos will be taken and published in the Ensign and on the BSFG website, and sent to local politicians to deliver the messages.
If the weather is wet, we will gather under the Benalla Library in the carparking area.
Please email or text Peter Holmes re your intention to attend.
We recently received information from the Australian Conservation Foundation about the online School Strike 4 Climate this Friday 15 May. You may be interested in following this.
"As for many of us, this year has been tough for the young leaders in the Australian School Strike 4 Climate movement.
In March students made the difficult decision to cancel all the in-person strikes they were planning for 15 May, due to COVID-19. Their education was also disrupted as schools closed down. Many of them have spent weeks learning from home, with all the challenges that involves.
But throughout, the students have come together with incredible care and resilience. They have re-grouped, reflected, and collaborated on solid plans to keep their movement strong and thriving.
That’s why on Friday 15 May, School Strike 4 Climate is hosting an online interactive livestream, to envision a better future on the other side of this crisis, and start taking action to make this vision a reality. Will you join them?
During this event you will:
You might notice that this event isn’t called a “strike”. Learning from home hasn’t been easy, and with so many students struggling and schools slowly re-opening, the opportunity to attend class is one that the students don’t want to miss.
So this event will be held outside most school hours, from 4pm to 8pm AEST (that’s starting at 4pm in VIC, NSW, TAS, ACT, QLD; starting 2pm in WA; and starting 3.30pm in NT and SA.)
JOIN THE LIVESTREAM
The students’ demands hold true, now more than ever. As Australia rebuilds from this major disruption, we need our elected representatives to ensure Australia rapidly cuts emissions with: no new coal, oil and gas projects, including the Adani mine; 100% clean energy generation and exports by 2030; and funding a fair transition and job creation for fossil-fuel industry workers and communities.
And in recognition of how interconnected we are with each other, and how our health depends on the health of our communities and our planet, the students’ have set three new objectives: show solidarity with impacted communities; connect with one another; and educate the network.
The students do not take a crisis lying down. So let’s back them in as they call for a better future.
See you online to #BuildaBetterFuture.
P.S. Can’t make it to the whole livestream? That’s okay – you can still RSVP and join for the time that you can. And if you have some spare time this week, the students would really appreciate you helping to get the word out about the event. They’ve created this handy promo guide with images, posters, templates for emails and text messages, and more ideas to help you invite your friends, family and colleagues to join.
P.P.S. Some students are running local online events on or after 15 May. To see if there’s an event run by your local student group, see their list of community events.
There will be a School Strike for Climate event in Wangaratta, at the King George Gardens, at 12 noon on Friday.
The King George Gardens are in the centre of Wangaratta opposite the CoStore and Cinema. .
The Age reports that the state government is allowing public servants to take time out to attend climate rallies and is also supportive of students attending rallies.
Renewable Energy Benalla Action Group Convenor
Regular updates on sustainability issues of concern to BSFG members in Benalla and North East Victoria and on key events in the BSFG calendar.
BSFG on Twitter