Hundreds of Armidale school students will skip classes tomorrow and head to Central Park. They're not skyving, but striking, to protest the lack of climate change action in Australia.
"We aim to have politicians listen to young people, even though we don't get much of a say in politics," organiser Shayla Oates, Year 12 student at The Armidale School, said.
The Armidale strikers will join youngsters in more than 90 countries around the world in the Global #ClimateStrike, which CNN calls one of the largest environmental protests in history. Nearly 60 School Strikes 4 Climate will be held in Australia alone.
Australian students will call on the government to stop the proposed Adani coal mine in Queensland, the largest in Australia; not build any more coal or gas plants; and switch to 100 per cent renewable energy by 2030.
The event starts at 9am, and should finish around noon.
"Climate change will affect us the most," Shayla said. "A lot of people agree it's an issue, but they don't think very far ahead to the real and serious consequences."
With crop failures, floods, droughts, fires, and heatwaves in Australia, ecosystems collapsing, and rising carbon dioxide and methane levels, Shayla's concerned about her generation's future.
"The government has said often that they want to do something about it, then they don't ratify an agreement, or put it off for a long time," she said. "There's never any real action that makes an impact."
Shayla expects about 200 students to show up; more than 400 have expressed interest on Facebook.
They will write letters to New England member Barnaby Joyce and federal parliament, and perform songs and speeches.
The students will also, like the other strikers around the country, call on their local member to host a climate change forum for school students in the electorate before the Federal Election, and to take a photo with students and a Stop Adani sign to demonstrate opposition to the mine and support for young people's future.
While the mine's supporters say that it will create jobs and investment in mine and rail infrastructure, its opponents worry that it will damage the Great Barrier Reef and contribute to carbon emissions.
Shayla would also like to add a goal of no fossil fuel subsidies. "It's becoming cheaper to be renewable, so it's the obvious answer" - especially if the renewables industry gets more subsidies.
All the local schools will be involved, Shayla said, including, she hopes, primaries. She has also invited UNE students.
More than 15,000 students took part in the last school strikes, held in November, inspired by Swedish teen Greta Thunberg.
"There was none in Armidale, and I really wanted to be part of one," Shayla said. "When I saw that there was going to be one in March, I got very excited and decided to organise it with a friend."
The Armidale School had been really supportive, Shayla said. "They're glad students have initiative and drive." TAS students can't go if they have an assessment, however, and boarders aren't allowed to attend because of legal issues.
Public school students, though, risk penalties. Students not in classes will be marked absent, and may be subject to the school's disciplinary code.
While the NSW Department of Education "understands some students are passionate about this topic", a spokesman said, "public schools are neutral places for rational discourse and objective study... All students enrolled at school are expected to attend whenever instruction is provided."
NSW Labor leader Michael Daley supports the school strike. "We need their messages to be heard up the tree, so the grown-ups can listen to their disappointment and their criticism of our lack of leadership," he said.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian said she was "appalled' by his remark. "Children are there to go to school, and I absolutely support their rights to have views about the world, and I absolutely support them expressing themselves - but not during school," she said.
"The best opportunities anyone can have is to be at school and learn, and it really concerns me that the alternate premier to the state would think missing school is acceptable."
The unions have also come out in support of the event, including the National Union of Workers, the National Tertiary Education Union, and the National Union of Students.