A teenage girl leading the school strike in Australia wishes she was learning in the classroom, but says the lives at stake are more important.
Harriet O & Shea-Carre is the face of School Strike for Climate, which organized protests in which 300,000 people rallied across the country on Friday.
The Victorian schoolgirl has been compared to fellow teen campaigner Greta Thunberg, 16, who expressed her concerns against Donald Trump on Monday.
& # 39; We will sacrifice everything we need, even our future, until the government takes real action on climate change, & # 39; Harriet told Daily Mail Australia.
Harriet O & Shea-Carre is the face of School Strike for Climate, which organized protests in which 300,000 people rally through the country on Friday
Millions of people from all over the world no longer have a job or school as part of & # 39; Strike 4 Climate Action & # 39; held on Friday
& # 39; The younger you are, the more you will be affected, so we must be part of the decisions with politicians who will not see the worst.
& # 39; I should be in school and I wish I were, but people's lives are more important. When politicians stand up, we go back to class. & # 39;
Harriet, an annual student in Castlemaine, about 120 km northwest of Melbourne, said her drastic action was the only way to get the government to listen.
Kinderen Children cannot vote, so this is the only way to change something. It will be too late and people are literally dying, & she said.
Harriet & # 39; s protest started almost a year ago when she and classmates Milou Albrecht and Callum Neilson-Bridgefoot sat on the bus to school.
Milou showed them an article about Greta who did a solo climate strike in her native Sweden, before anyone knew who she was.
& # 39; She was really excited about it and after reading we were inspired to do the same, & # 39; she remembered.
Harriet, an annual student in Castlemaine, about 120 km northwest of Melbourne, said her drastic action, along with that of her friend and co-organizer Milou Albrecht (left), was the only way to get the government to listen
Harriet & # 39; s protest started almost a year ago when she and classmates were on the bus to school and Milou (left) showed an article that she read about Greta performing a solo climate strike in her native Sweden
Harriet said her parents were surprised and confused at first, but fully supported her efforts – even at the potential cost of her education
The trio organized a strike among their classmates last October and wrote a letter to The Age explaining why.
& # 39; Please do not say that, because we are children, we cannot think for ourselves and that we are brainwashed. This is an excuse that adults use to ignore children, "they wrote.
Within a month, protests of 10,000 people led by children who walked out of school across the country arose, but were slammed by Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
& # 39; We do not support the idea that children do not go to school to participate in things that can be addressed outside of school, & # 39; he said last December.
& # 39; We do not support our schools being turned into parliaments. What we want is to learn more in schools and less activism in schools. & # 39;
Instead of discouraging the students, Mr. Morrison's remarks attracted more the cause of the strike, which was upset because their concerns were rejected.
& # 39; I never thought it would be this fast, & # 39; Harriet admitted.
& # 39; We grew up thinking that no one else cared for us and heard politicians least affected by climate change say they won't do anything.
& # 39; The strike made me realize that people care and this movement brings them together. & # 39;
Harriet and her classmates organized a strike among their classmates last October to get the movement going
Harriet participates in one of her energetic hobbies in a local gym in her hometown
Harriet said she spent a lot of time on her climate efforts and skipped class every Friday in the run-up to the elections.
Only in year 9 was her school work not hit hard, but she knows that as she gets older, her grades will suffer at the business end of high school.
& # 39; It's hard because I have high educational goals and I'm sorry to let them go & # 39 ;, she said.
& # 39; I shouldn't have to choose between them, it's not fair, but that's the way it is and people don't understand. & # 39;
Harriet said her parents were surprised and confused in the beginning, but fully supported her efforts – even at the potential cost of her education.
& # 39; They prefer me to be uneducated and alive than dead (if climate change gets very bad) & # 39 ;, she said.
& # 39; We need to use education to make the world a better place, and I am trying to do that now. & # 39;
Harriet said she spent a lot of time on her climate efforts and skipped class every Friday in the run-up to the elections
Harriet explained the loss of Labor because it was difficult to show clear links between global warming and the effects she said were already starting, but she hoped that opinions would change within three years
The demonstration is the largest climate mobilization in the country's history, with no fewer than 100,000 demonstrators taking to the streets in Melbourne to demand change
Harriet said she was disappointed with the election result on May 18, in which Labor was staggeringly partially defeated because of fears that climate policy would harm jobs.
She said it was difficult to show clear connections between global warming and the effects she said had already begun, but she hoped that opinions would change within three years.
& # 39; We are already seeing serious consequences such as the drought and more forest fires, and it will get worse and people's minds will change, & # 39; she said.
However, School Strike for Climate is not blind to the consequences that its demands to scrap the coal and other fossil fuel industries will have by 2030 for those who work there.
To address this, the group wants the government to finance a fair transition and job creation for all workers and communities on fossil fuels.
& # 39; Many of us live in coal communities. Many of our families and friends work in the industry & # 39 ;, it said in a statement this weekend.
While the mass protests took place around Australia on Friday, Harriet was present in New York at the United Nations Youth Climate Summit alongside Greta Thunberg
& # 39; It was an incredible opportunity and I have gained valuable experience and ideas that I will take to Australia tomorrow & # 39 ;, she said
& # 39; We understand the role coal has played in putting food on the table for our families and providing employment in regional areas.
& # 39; Climate justice is not about putting people opposite each other and pointing the finger at them. It is not about jobs versus the environment. Just as climate change hurts people, unemployment also hurts people. & # 39;
While the massive protests took place around Australia on Friday, Harriet was present in New York at the United Nations Youth Climate Summit alongside Greta.
& # 39; It was an incredible opportunity and I have gained valuable experience and ideas that I will take to Australia tomorrow & she said.
& # 39; Our movement is all about collaboration, our voice is so strong together and we have to share ideas. & # 39;
Harriet and some supporters visited the AIG headquarters in Manhattan to encourage the company not to insure the Adani mine, but were surrounded by security and thrown away
In New York, she also asked to speak with AIG, the company that insured the Adani mine, with a passionate plea for cancellation of coverage.
"As children, we are going to live in this hot world for much longer than the adults who make these decisions for us, and our future cannot be one driven by coal and other fossil fuels," she wrote.
& # 39; I understand that as a child my opinion may not be very important to you, so I want you to know that although I am a little girl, I represent thousands of other people, and I hope you can think of my, and all other young people, the future before insuring the mine. & # 39;
When her request was denied, Harriet and a few supporters visited the AIG headquarters in Manhattan, but were surrounded by security and thrown away in the lobby.
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