Why I carried this sign to protest government inaction on climate change: 14yo Alicia Guiney

Why I carried this sign to protest government inaction on climate change: 14yo Alicia Guiney

Climate protest
Fourteen year old Alicia Guiney is the author (and holder) of the above protest sign, and one of thousands of students who demanded action on climate change during a series of protests last Friday. 

These students ignored the Prime Minster’s demands that they “stay in school”. They shared witty and creative posters, and upset a number of politicians and conservative commentators in the process. 

Alicia Guiney writes why she participated below. 

The original picture was taken by Dr Una McIlvenna and posted on Twitter.

My name is Alicia Guiney, I am 14 years old. Last Friday, I joined thousands of school kids from across Australia to protest government inaction on climate change. I carried a sign that read ‘We’ll be less Activist if you’ll be less Shit’, in response to Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s call for more learning and less activism in schools.

I wrote the slogan as a simple way to remind the PM that we don’t all share his views. And to make the point that we shouldn’t need to do this. I think it’s disappointing that our government, who were elected and trusted to govern properly, cares more about staying in power than listening to the people and doing something about climate change. When school kids rally against you, you’ve really hit rock bottom.

The reaction and coverage my sign received on the news and on social media was overwhelming and I’m hopeful that the more people see it, the more they’ll pay attention and the more likely something is to happen.

I first heard about the rally when my school’s environment group started putting up posters encouraging people to protest. Climate change and the potential risk it poses to all of us is something my friends and I have always been passionate about, so naturally we all wanted to go.

I almost didn’t end up going because I had a geography excursion that day, and it was one we would be tested on. But eventually my desire to have my voice heard won out over my desire to get good grades.

About half the class went to the rally, with the numbers growing after ScoMo’s comment. We arrived at Parliament House half an hour early and the steps were already packed. It was incredibly invigorating to see how many other students shared our views and as we walked up onto the steps and joined the mass, more and more people flooded in.

Scott Morrison’s comment wasn’t the only one that fired us up. To Matt Canavan; I know what I want to do when I’m older and I’m on track to achieve it. However, if you and your colleagues continue to do nothing, we’re all at risk of having no jobs. How can you actively support coal mines like Adani, knowing your children will have to live with the consequences?

I feel kids protesting is important because we have a voice too. We can’t vote yet and won’t be able to for a few more years, so rallying is one of the few things that we can do. And just because we aren’t adults yet, doesn’t mean we can’t form our own opinions or fight for something we believe is important.

The environment and our climate are things we really need to look after because without them, we are in serious trouble. Island nations are already threatened by rising sea levels and humans aren’t doing enough to stop it. The scientists are telling us that we have to act fast and we want to see the government own up to their inaction and take responsibility. All of us at the rally will be able to vote soon and we won’t be voting for anyone who doesn’t look after our environment and our future.

How hard is it for politicians to put their egos aside and just be a bit less shit?

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