Students of varying ages certainly add to Ritter's suggestions, with thousands of Australian school children taking to the streets in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Perth, Coffs Harbour and Bendigo, to name but a spread of Australian cities, insisting that Prime Minister Scott Morrison heed their calls. "The politicians aren't listening to us when we try to ask nicely for what we want and for what we need," suggested an irate Castlemaine student Harriet O'Shea Carre. "So now we have to go to extreme lengths and miss out on school."
It was, however, a 15-year-old Swede by the name of Greta Thunberg, whose single person vigil outside Sweden's parliament building featured the sign "school strike for climate change". Three weeks were spent sitting in front of the Parliament during school hours, though she did return to classes for four days, using Friday as her weekly day of protest.
At Katowice, she made her own mark, a scolding aunt in the body of a disturbed teenager. "You are not mature enough to tell it like is," she told delegates in her capacity as a representative of Climate Justice Now. "Even that burden you leave us children."
Thunberg is right about one fundamental point. "You have ignored us in the past, and you will ignore us again." But to ignore the future in favour of the present, to cobble together an ineffectual regime that privileges current living standards in the hope that devastation can be postponed, is an inherent condition of the species. Fiddling as the planet burns will continue.
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