On Friday, 15 September, students from across Brisbane will leave their classrooms and join School Strikers to take their climate message to the streets.

Layla Farquharson from School Strike for Climate Meanjin has been participating in school climate strikes since she was 12; now she is one of the organisers.

“I’ve been attending for a few years now since I was in about grade seven. But this is my first time actually organising a big strike like this.”

“It’s an incredibly powerful experience to be surrounded by hundreds or thousands of like-minded young people, all coming together in solidarity to fight for the same issue and to be organising with a lot of really amazing, powerful, young people who are incredibly passionate and good at organising. It’s a really incredible thing to experience.”

Layla said she joins the strikes because the world is in crisis.

“I was in a place of feeling a lot of climate grief, climate anxiety and also feeling incredibly powerless and hopeless as a young person. I really felt like I wasn’t being listened to at all by anyone in power. It was incredibly frustrating to deal with. So, I joined the school strike for climate as a way to channel that into real world community organising; organising strikes and climate protests, to try to make an impact and make sure our voices are heard.”

The students say extreme weather caused by the climate emergency is wreaking havoc in our communities and ecosystems across the globe, causing social insecurity and harm to people.

“The biggest cause of this crisis is fossil fuels – coal, oil and gas,’ the students say.

Climate Strike 2019, image by Jan Bowman

“And while the Queensland Government’s plan for net zero emissions by 2050 looks good on paper, they continue to approve new coal and gas mines that will turbocharge the climate crisis and threaten all of our futures.” 

The Brisbane strike is part of a globally coordinated mobilisation for climate justice.

“As world leaders discuss climate action at the United Nations in New York, people on every continent will be taking to the streets to demand an end to fossil fuels”.

The students have three demands for our governments:

  • No new coal and gas
  • 100% renewable energy and exports by 2030
  • Fund a just transition and job creation for fossil-fuel industry workers and communities!

“I think we are making a difference”, Layla said.

“We are kind of dismissed – no one cares if you’re not at school. But the way that this functions is that it’s a symbolic act of thousands of students coming together in solidarity to say that we do care, we are angry.”

“We’re going to be loud; we’re going to be disruptive. We are the future workers, the future voters, and leaders, and in a few years, when the most of us are going to be voting, we’re going to be voting in favour of climate action. So, if you don’t act right now on the climate, if you don’t stop funding fossil fuels, coal, oil and gas, then you’re going to be gone,” Layla said.

Layal said older community members are welcome to join the students, and Laya’s parents will be joining her, as they have done for previous School Strikes.

While the strikers lost some momentum during Covid, Layla hopes students will come out in numbers, some joining from as far as Toowoomba and Ipswich.

“We’re inviting people of all ages to come in solidarity to support us. Parents are coming with their young children, teachers, workers, and scientists.

“Everyone is encouraged to come in solidarity with the school students because it is our future; we need help to make sure that we have safe futures.

 Students will gather at Queens Garden in the city from 1.00 pm on 15 September. Details HERE

Cover image, Layla holding the megaphone with other strikers marching alongside Move Beyond Coal in 2022.