All their lives these children have been fed a diet of terrifying climate propaganda.
Fourteen year old Estella Brasier is so terrified about climate change that she can’t even speak to a journalist about her fears without breaking down in tears.
“We need to find new politics,” is all she can manage before dissolving into sobs and burying her head in her friend’s shoulder.
Estella and her friends Keisha Davis, 15, and Coco Norrie, 13, skipped school to protest about the climate outside prime minister Scott Morrison’s office in Cronulla.
It was another Friday “school strike” inspired by 16-year-old Swedish eco-evangelist Greta Thunberg.
Keisha says she is so frightened about climate change that she has reconsidered her dream to have children because she doesn’t want to burden them with a burning planet.
“We need climate action. We need to be 100 percent renewable. We need to make sure we have futures and our kids have futures, because it has always been my dream to start a family and now I feel like I would be burdening them because they have to live in a society where they might just walk outside in winter and get sunburnt because of how bad climate change is.
“We want climate action and we’re not going to wait 12 years until we can’t do anything. We need it now.”
These are good kids. They are idealistic and altruistic. Their passion is admirable. But their youthful idealism has been exploited by adults who have frightened them needlessly with exaggerated predictions about the climate.
All their lives these children have been fed a diet of terrifying climate propaganda. And six months ago, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) – a political body posing as a scientific repository – upped the ante. It claimed there are only 12 years left to avert climate catastrophe unless there are “rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society”.
What is a 14-year-old supposed to think? For children who will be in their mid-20s when this supposed Armageddon strikes, the only logical, moral course of action is to try to wake up the selfish grownups who don’t take the fearmongering seriously.
“I just don’t understand why no one talks about it,” says Estella, when she recovers her composure. “Obviously now we’re having a change. But people are actually voting for people like Scott Morrison and it’s ridiculous because he’s a monster.”.
Keisha nods her head in vigorous agreement.
“He’s a monster to Australia,” continues Estella. “And I want Australia to live in a country where we are free from all things that are climate change. It’s just so stupid and I just wish that he could just change his mind and that why we’re here today because we want to change his mind”.
Whether it’s the parents or the teachers of these girls who have inspired their fear, they should take responsibility for the unnecessary trauma they have inflicted on them.
They should reassure their children that the world is not going to end in 12 years, and, in any case, Australia could turn off all its lights tomorrow and it would make no difference to the temperature of the planet.