As Dubbo grapples first hand with the worst drought on record and severe water shortages, students from Dubbo will take a stand on Friday and demand action on climate change.
When there was no student climate strike in Dubbo back in March I was disappointed. As a community that had been so heavily affected by the more extreme and more frequent droughts brought on by climate change, it felt astonishing that we were not standing up for our environment. I am so pleased we are doing so now.
It is hard to see why I should go to school everyday to prepare for the future when my government won't even act to guarantee there will be a future for me to be prepared for.Harrison Kater.
For young people in rural NSW action on climate change is critically important to keep our town, farms and livelihoods from being destroyed.
Dubbo has just been told that it could run out of water by next year but, rather than increasing water restrictions from level 2 to level 4 like Tamworth or Orange, our mayor said "By the time the (Burrendong Dam, currently at 4.5 per cent capacity) is completely empty, we'll hopefully have new bores up and running".
That's the attitude to all of our environmental problems. No need to worry or try to mitigate the environmental issues we are causing, just dig deeper into our natural reserves.
We cannot keep thinking of climate change as an issue that is only going to affect us in the future.Harrison Kater.
For a country which puts so much emphasis on educating its youth on the impacts of climate change, Australia really doesn't seem to practice what it preaches. Not committing to clean energy, continuing to allow new coal, gas and oil projects and justifying it all with the excuse we only produce two per cent of the world's emissions isn't good enough.
To put this ridiculous excuse into perspective, all a person needs to do is look one number further. Australia produces roughly 2 per cent , or 1/50th of the world's emissions, and yet only contains about 0.33 per cent of the world's population. That means that on average an Australian citizen produces six times the amount of carbon emissions of an average global citizen. That figure seems a little more frightening than the 2 per cent line we are fed to justify our gross misuse of the environment and its resources.
This is the reason I got involved in the student strike. I have seen first hand how climate change can affect rural communities. I have seen farms begin to struggle under the weight of severe and prolonged droughts, communities and towns begin to run out of water to drink and rivers and marshes dry up.
The most disheartening thing in all of this though is the fact that we knew that this would happen one day. For years people campaigned to get the government to commit to solutions to our dirty energy problems. International committees were formed and we were warned about what would happen if we continued like we were. But there is still no proper commitment to change.
I'm involved in the climate strike to hopefully see that change. As someone who is a part of the generation that will be affected most by the environmental decisions of today I want to see our government make a commitment to clean energy, to stop opening new coal, oil and gas plants and to support the transition of the energy industry into renewable sources.
It is hard to see why I should go to school everyday to prepare for the future when my government won't even act to guarantee there will be a future for me to be prepared for.
We cannot keep thinking of climate change as an issue that is only going to affect us in the future. We need to begin thinking of it as an issue that is heavily affecting us now.
- Harrison Kater is a high school student from Dubbo who participate in the School Strike 4 Climate event at Victoria Park on Friday.