The Spielwelt committee recently supported some of our children and young people to have their voices heard in Parliament.
Children as young as four and up to 19 years old from GAP and Pfadfinder contributed to a submission to the Senate Standing Committee on Environment and Communications.
The senate committee is considering the Climate Change Bill 2022, and we wanted the children’s voices to be heard.
Here’s the text of Spielwelt’s submission:
Spielwelt welcomes the opportunity to contribute the voices of our children to the Senate Environment and Committee’s inquiry into the Climate Change Bill 2022. We are heartened by the new government’s willingness to look properly at addressing climate change.
As parents, teachers and leaders, we are deeply troubled by the latest IPCC report and news reports about the devastating global climate crisis. In particular, we hold grave concerns for our children’s future.
The children are also rightfully anxious. Some are frustrated, desperate, depressed or angry. Some want to help but feel helpless. Here follows some comments made by children aged between 4 and 19 years enrolled in our programs, for your kind consideration.
“We are too young to vote so we are relying on you with our lives to do the right thing. We urge you to please take the boldest possible action on climate change that you can. Our very lives depend on your decision. Literally.“
“I want to grow up in a nice world. I don’t want to fight for water or food, fight fires or droughts, lose my friends in heat waves, eat poisoned fish or be choked in smoke. Please aim for the absolute best possible standards that you can and make laws and get an environment police to enforce them.”
“Please listen hard to the scientists and do your best to just do what they say. Please don’t let climate action be confused for a political issue or a money issue.“
“I want my Australia to be a leader, not bludging off other countries’ efforts. Please take responsibility and do the right thing.”
“I think people should stop being allowed to mine and use fossil fuels. Australia should behave properly and not pollute by mining and using fossil fuels.”
“I would like to see more renewable energy everywhere with solar on every rooftop and solar farms.”
“Please move Australia from the bottom to the top in research for renewable energy. I would like to work in a world leading industry (renewable energy) in Australia when I grow up.”
“I would like to get a great ATAR and study at university. My mind churns on whether it is worthwhile studying if my home is going to burn down and my water supply will dry up. My school time is sometimes taken up attending school strike climate rallies. Please help us by being strong. Set strong bold targets and police them so we have a chance to survive.”
“Remember that with every passing minute, natural environments like the Great Barrier Reef and bushland are deteriorating, causing endangerment to our beautiful Australian wildlife. Please protect our unique ecosystems by ensuring net ZERO carbon emissions as soon as possible.”
“Please don’t forget that there can not be climate justice without justice for the First Nations people of Australia. Please ask them to help us make decisions that are right for their land and our people.”
“Invest in more sustainability research. Invest in making and doing green and clever science and technology that will help slow and stop climate change.”
“Everyone is being impacted by climate change and you are the only people with enough power to actually do anything serious about it, so what are you waiting for?”
Finally, our youngest contributor is four years old. He asks, “Are you going to save the environment for us?” After a pause, he adds thoughtfully, “Can I help you?”
We support the Schools Strike 4 Climate’s priorities, wanting:
- Net zero by 2030 which means no new coal, oil or gas projects including the Adani mine
- 100% renewable energy generations and exports by 2030
- Fund a just transition and job creation for all fossil-fuel workers and their communities
We urge the government to stick closely to the IPCC recommendations, remembering this is far more than economic or political: this is existential. Nothing is more important. Nothing.
Thank you for your time and thoughtful consideration.
Two later contributions from Venturer scouts missed our cut-off time but are worth transcribing here:
“I feel the government [policymakers] would care more if they would actually be alive when heat waves, bush fires, storms, floods, droughts and food shortages make living the Australian dream impossible. They worry if things like the economy, their power and personal gain are actually under threat, while we [young people] worry whether we should have our own children knowing what the future will be like.”
“While passing this environmental bill is a guarantee of some action on climate change, the focus should be on actual investments in sustainable infrastructure and a reduction in consumption and production of unsustainable products.”
We are proud of our young people for standing up and contributing to this democratic process on such an important issue. You can see all the other submissions to the senate committee here (Spielwelt’s is #164).