Tuesday, 10 September 2019
Matters of Urgency
On Friday 20 September, millions of people right across the world will be striking together in solidarity to demand a safe and stable climate. Many of them will be school students and their brothers, their sisters, their mums, their dads and their grandparents; there will be tradies and CEOs; there will be young people and old people, and all shades in between—all demanding an end to fossil fuels, and climate justice. I hope my two kids are with me when I march, because, when I took on this job, in my first speech I made it clear to them that I was doing it for their generation so that their generation could enjoy all of the wonderful, precious biodiversity that we coexist with on this fragile little blue planet of ours: the temperate rainforests, the wild rivers and forests and the precious biodiversity that they support. So in every major city right across the world people will be gathering to demand a secure future for themselves. It is going to be the biggest get-together on any single issue that the world has seen. And it has got to be, because we are in the biggest single crisis that humanity has ever confronted.
At a time of great despair comes great hope. Watching the next generation mobilise and become active gives me hope. What an inspiration to see their passion and their activism to build a better world—a passion that is not clouded by cynicism or compromise; a passion that is dedicated to the pursuit of truth. We are in a parliament where so many people are doing things for themselves, for their political donors or for political expediency. And it is young people today who are showing us what it means to act in pursuit of something that makes the world a better and fairer place.
We are on track for our generation to be the first in human history to hand on worse living conditions—a planet in great disrepair. That is what we are on track for: worse living conditions than we enjoyed. And that's why we'll be standing with the climate strikers in their demands: for no new coal, oil or gas projects, because we don't have a moment to lose; for 100 per cent renewable energy generation and exports by 2030; and for funding for a just transition and job creation for all fossil fuel workers, because action on climate change is justice. We'll be campaigning for the hundreds of thousands of new jobs, long-term jobs, for communities, to build a sustainable future for everyone. We'll be standing with those brave people who understand, right now, that we do not have a moment to lose.