Why stay in school if our planet will die?

Picture: Janie Barret
Picture: Janie Barret

I am a year 12 student currently in the middle of my HSC trials. One of my subjects is geography, so I was interested to read that in 2022 the syllabus will change to include study on the impacts of climate change on people and the environment.

The syllabus will include impacts of climate change on people and the environment and students will be asked to form their own opinion about what is causing climate change given the scientific evidence.

I think the reason why it's finally being included on the syllabus is due to the fact that climate change impacts are almost a daily news item somewhere in Australia and across the world. Droughts, floods, heatwaves, air pollution - the evidence of climate change is all around us and the urgency of action grows obvious to more and more people.

In our classes, we looked at biophysical interactions and discussed human impacts on the environment. Although climate change wasn't included in this module, it was so painfully clear that fossil fuels are incredibly detrimental, and are exacerbating climate change. I didn't need to come to this conclusion from books. I'm half Filipino, and I hear year after year about how the area where my family comes from has been devastated by frequent typhoons and similar extreme weather events. Climate change is here. Climate change is now.

It's essential that we have the opportunity to learn about the environment to fuel our passion to save the planet. Numerous schools don't even offer HSC geography. My previous school didn't offer geography, leading me to transfer.

Why are we encouraged to stay in school if our planet will die?

I assisted in planning the Sydney strikes and will continue to strike until government action is taken.

The reactions towards striking students has been divisive. People want us to be educated, but we face condescension for having an opinion, even though it is based on science.

We also know that while taking individual action is important, there has to be action by companies. Only 100 giant corporations are responsible for 70 per cent of all carbon emissions globally. They have a moral obligation to transition to clean energy, so we won't have a future ravaged by natural disasters and hazards far worse than the ones we are experiencing now.

It's time for all of us, young and old, individuals and corporations to recognise that we are all in this together.

Adrian Wildhaber is a year 12 geography student at St Mary's