Youth call on council to declare a ‘climate emergency’
AS Greta Thunberg's impassioned speech at the UN Climate Summit continues to make headlines, Coffs Harbour's own youth are pushing for action on a local level.
Toormina High School student Ellena Cheers-Flavell has started a petition calling on Coffs Harbour City Council to join the growing list of councils around Australia who have declared a 'climate emergency'.
A total of 54 councils, including neighbouring Clarence Valley and Bellingen councils, have passed a motion pledging to lobby State and Federal Governments on climate action.
Speaking at the School Climate Strike at Rotary Park last week, Ms Cheers-Flavell encouraged the crowd of more than 1,400 locals to sign the petition.
"Climate change is not about politics, it's about us, future generations and their quality of life," she said.
At the time of publishing almost 1,000 people had signed.
Spokesperson for the Coffs Coast Climate Action Group, Liisa Rusanen, said it was 'shameful' that it was left to children to call on world leaders to take action and condemned the response from Prime Minister Scott Morrison who today told reporters the climate debate was causing children needless anxiety.
"Greta Thunberg's UN speech was powerful, moving and everything she said was backed by science," Ms Rusanen said.
"As a parent, I don't want my children to have anxiety about their future either - but they have a right to be heard and they understand the context better than Morrison.
"If his Government was providing leadership on the climate crisis, then children would not need to be so concerned. But he's not. He's still backing dirty coal mines like Adani."
While there are no school strikes planned locally in the near future, Ms Rusanen said Friday's strike has seen new alliances formed between local businesses.
The Coffs Coast Climate Action Group will be staging a protest targeting Adani contractor GHD on October 23.