Climate strike: global protest kicks off in Australia and Pacific – live updates
(about 3 hours later)
Greta Thunberg, the 16-year old Swedish student who inspired this entire movement, has recorded a new short film for today’s strike.
In it, she and Guardian columnist George Monbiot talk about the importance of natural solutions. These are low-cost, effective initiatives like growing trees.
And, for a bit of a blast from the past, you can read Thunberg’s opinion piece from November 2018 – written specifically for Australia –when we became one of the first countries to hold nationwide student strikes.
I'm striking from school to protest inaction on climate change – you should too | Greta Thunberg
“In the Pacific we don’t go on strike, but we do other things,” says Patricia Mallam, a Fijian climate activist from 350.org. Over the course of the day, children and students from Fiji, Samoa, Vanuatu, Kiribati, Tuvalu, Marshall Islands, Tonga, New Caledonia, the Solomon Islands, and Papua New Guinea will participate in events to mark the global climate strikes, through events like poetry performances, silent protests, sporting events, BBQs and intergenerational discussions about the effects of climate change in the region.
These events, rather than traditional protests and street marches make more sense for the Pacific, says Mallam, because it is such a community-driven region “and we all know that the problem is not within the community.”
#ClimateStrike events will kick off (appropriately) in the Pacific.“It is a day for the polluters, they need to quickly understand what’s going on," says Patricia Mallam from @350Pacific. "But the Pacific is at the frontline of the impacts, it’s important for us to speak up.” pic.twitter.com/wXeYz7mKJk
“For instance, you don’t have any coal mines in the Pacific, so we can’t have people striking outside coal mines; the problems are not being caused here. But in countries where there are coal mines or banks financing the fossil fuel industry, it makes sense for people to go on strike, so they’re voicing their distaste for what’s going on to keep their economies afloat,” she says over the phone from Fiji.“We all know that the problem is not being caused here in the Pacific, but we’re facing the full brunt of the climate crisis,” she says.The Pacific is estimated to contribute just 0.03% of global emissions despite making up 0.12% of the world’s population, but is at the frontline of the climate emergency, with countries facing rising sea levels, coastal erosion, the destruction of crucial reefs, inundations and warming seas that lead to more frequent and more severe cyclones all threaten the region.“It is a day, especially for the polluters, they need to quickly understand what’s going on,” says Mallam of Friday’s strikes. “But at the same time, in the Pacific we feel that because we’re at the frontline of the impacts, it’s important for us to speak up and have other nations hear what’s happening.”
Preparations are underway in the Solomon Islands already
Riding the waves of change, youth are arriving now via boat in Marovo in the Western Province of the Solomon Islands ready for their #climatestrike #MatagiMalohi event today..#pacificpawa pic.twitter.com/ytwnX8k7cg
And Kate Lyons spoke to some of the activists across the Pacific ahead of today’s big day.
Here’s everything you need to know about today’s strikes, as collated by my colleague Lisa Cox.
There are more than 100 locations, and the strikes have support from 30 unions, the Australian Council of Trade Unions, and more than 1,000 businesses including Atlassian, Future Super and KeepCup.
Climate strike in Australia: everything you need to know about Friday's protest
And, in news from this morning – more than 250 academics have also signed on in support.
Hundreds of Australian academics declare support for climate rebellion
Morning everyone. Today, the global climate strikes start in Australia and the Pacific. The Guardian Australia team will be following it all.
We have a huge day of coverage planned. The Australian strikes will be in full swing from 11am or noon (local time) and, before that in New Zealand and the Pacific.
Our correspondents are standing by, and cartoonist First Dog on the Moon is on duty – he’ll be sketching throughout the day.
And because today is really about the students, we’ve organised to receive on-the-ground updates from participants themselves. Here they are in a (non-exhaustive) list:
Narii-Hamill Salmon, 15, Gold Coast QLD
Frewoini Baume, 18, Lismore NSW
Josh O’Callaghan, 15, Adelaide SA
Amelia Neylon, 16, Hobart TAS
Esther Plummer, 13, Byron Bay NSW
Iestyn (13) and Owynn (11) Harries, Brisbane QLD
Dakota Barret-Perry, 15, Melbourne VIC
They have also been given the opportunity to ask a question directly of federal politicians and prominent business leaders – from the energy minister to EnergyAustralia.
We’ll be publishing the questions and their answers throughout the day.
Stay with us.
For the next 24 hours, the Guardian will be reporting in real time on the wave of climate strikes as they ripple around the world, starting in the Asia-Pacific region and continuing through Europe and Africa before culminating in the Americas. Millions of young people are expected to turn out in more than 3,000 events worldwide, in this latest edition of the Fridays For Future strikes. On this occasion, adults have been invited to join in and companies, organisations, trade unions, even churches are expected to join the fray. Our correspondents on the ground will be feeding in with live updates from the world’s major metropolises, and we’ll be pausing for breath every now and then to consider the bigger picture, the state we’re in, the scale of the challenge. The strike kicks off a big week for environmental activism with a major Climate Action Summit at the UN next week and another round of Friday strikes on the 27th. The Guardian will be at these events too.