THE first thing to say about next week's planned Global Climate Strike is that it's not a strike at all.
The power of a strike comes from a worker's removal of their labour from an employer's enterprise, making it more difficult for that employer to run their operation and turn a profit. A student walking out of school causes no such disruption or inconvenience; indeed, most teachers would happily wave them on their way.
But misnomers aside, there is a genuine conversation to be had over the value of the two-hour climate rally planned for Dubbo on Friday, September 20.
It is one of about 100 rallies arranged across the nation by School Strike 4 Climate, a consortium of school students pushing for the three tiers of government to recognise climate change as a global crisis.
And that seems reasonable enough.
The students of today will inherit the world of tomorrow so they have more to lose than the rest of us if we make mistakes with our global response to climate change.
And a time when young people are branded self-centred and insular (maybe that has always been the case) we should think twice about discouraging any political engagement.
But can high school students taking an afternoon away from their classes really hope to influence our political leaders?
Possibly not, but that's not to say the rallies will (necessarily) be a waste of time.
The real test of their success will be in what the students take from the rallies rather than what the politicians do.
The rallies should be an opportunity for climate experts to speak directly to an invested young audience and a chance to speak about the facts, trends and consequences of climate change and global warming - along with both the benefits and costs of taking action.
At their best, the rallies could be a valuable educational experience for the students taking part rather than a politicised propaganda exercise.
While the question of climate change is no longer up for debate, our nation's best response - one that respects both the environment and the national interest - still is.
And the students invited to take part in next week's rallies are the ones who will be left to clean up the mess. They might be out of the classroom for a few hours, but that's no reason for them not to be learning.
But don't bet on it.