Armidale students again showed their displeasure with the government by leaving school for the day to protest perceived inaction on climate change.
They want to send a message before the election on Saturday, May 18: stop the Adani coal mine; build no more coal or gas plants; and switch to 100 per cent renewable energy by 2030.
"We're striking today because we need climate action now," Arwyn Todd (Armidale Secondary College, Year 8) said. "The planet's heating up because of global warming, and no-one's doing much. We're here to get people to actually help us."
This was a nation-wide school strike, with hundreds of young Australians striking across the country.
This morning, however, only about 60 people - striking students and their adult supporters - gathered in Central Park to listen to speeches and protest music.
Organiser Shayla Oates said that she considered the event successful, despite the smaller turn-out. Today's climate strike was advertised less, she said; the date of the March rally was known three months beforehand, while today's event was only planned a month ago.
"The action of striking is getting the attention of media and politicians to show that we're really serious about it," Shayla said yesterday. "This isn't just going to drop off."
Penny Rummery, Lucy Nearly, and Kaytie Cooper (all Uralla Central School, Year 12) came up from Uralla for the day.
"We're really dissatisfied with the current government's inaction on climate issues," Penny said. "We feel as if our issues aren't being heard, and that the serious problems facing our climate aren't being taken seriously. We need change now."
While the government funds mental health assistance for farmers, and takes action to "defeat the drought", the girls thought the government should address the bigger issues: climate change and global warming.
"We need to stop putting a bandaid on a broken leg, because it's not going to work," Lucy said.
Students aren't going to cool off on climate change; the national organisers plan to hold another strike soon.
Arwyn would definitely attend further events. "I have a feeling that not much will happen today, but eventually there will be change if we go to all the ones. The first one was bigger - but by being here, we're still telling people this is happening, and we need help."
Penny, Lucy, and Kaytie hope to organise climate protests in Uralla with the Armidale group's help. They want to invite politicians - and let the public know where they stand.
Lucy particularly wants to invite member for New England Barnaby Joyce, a coal advocate and climate change sceptic.
"I want to have him know he's not a good representation of rural communities at all; I don't want him in Canberra representing the New England at all, if that's his take on climate change."
Climate activist Vee Ness (Vanessa Petersen) took her hat off to the students involved.
"Most of the kids organising this are in Year 11 or 12, so they've got exams and are under pressure," she said. "They want good scores to go to university, but in actual fact it won't make any difference if there's no planet to exist on."
She would like to have seen more adult involvement and support in today's event. "I believe this was really about encouraging those who can vote to vote for the voiceless, as these kids are too young to vote yet."