Young people call on the Australian government to support the creation of jobs that fast track solutions to the climate crisis and help communities recover

Young people call on the Australian government to support the creation of jobs that fast track solutions to the climate crisis and help communities recover

On Friday 21 May, as part of School Strike 4 Climate events, school students from every part of Australia, will publicly strike and call on the Australian government to “Fund Our Future Not Gas”. These students are striking from school to demand that our politicians take their future seriously and treat climate change as what it is: a crisis.

The students call for: 

1) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-led solutions that guarantee land rights and care for country, 

2) The creation of jobs that fast-track solutions to the climate crisis and help communities recover, and 

3) Projects that transition our economy and communities to 100 percent renewable energy by 2030, through expanded public ownership.

The creation of jobs that fast-track solutions to the climate crisis and help communities recover

The economic recovery from COVID-19 is the perfect time to support people as we shift our economy from one that is based on fossil fuels, to one based on renewable energy.

Instead of investing in new polluting gas projects like the Australian government is doing – which accelerate climate change and deliver very few jobs per dollar invested – as a nation we can focus on creating jobs that fast-track solutions to the climate crisis.

For example, the Climate Council highlighted 12 “shovel-ready” policy opportunities where governments can stimulate the economy now and build a more sustainable future at the same time, putting 76,000 Australians back to work. These opportunities include:

  • 15,000 jobs installing utility-scale renewable energy, including solar and wind farms, transmission infrastructure and adding utility-scale batteries.
  • 12,000 jobs in targeted ecosystem restoration, including more than 5,000 in Queensland.
  • 12,000 jobs in public and active transport construction, including 7,000-8,000 jobs for New South Wales workers.
  • 37,000 jobs in other projects across Australia including in organic waste, energy efficiency in buildings, urban green spaces, community-scale storage, adult education and training to help workers to transition, and more.
  • 40% of the jobs are in regional areas.

On a larger scale, Beyond Zero Emissions’ “Million Jobs Plan” shows how renewables and low emissions projects can deliver 1.8 million new jobs in five years in the regions and communities where these are needed most – including where traditional heavy industry has gone, droughts and fires have ravaged the agricultural sector, unemployment is high and long-term employment opportunities have been limited.

The world is shifting from economies based on fossil fuels, to economies based on renewables. It is the responsibility of our nation to support individuals and communities by being at the leading edge of this change.

With proper investment in the creation of jobs that fast-track climate solutions is a win-win. It leads to a better future. A better future for our economy, a better future for our communities, a better future for our world. It helps bring us towards what the Uniting Church Assembly called an “economy of life” – “a vision of flourishing, abundant life, of peace and reconciliation, justice and trans-formation, love and inclusion for all creation”.

The striking students are asking for your support in creating this future. You can do this by:

  • Joining a 21 May event in person if there is one near you and invite others to do so. So far there are rallies planned in 15 cities and towns across the Synod. For those in Sydney, there will be a pre-rally youth-led worship service at Pitt Street Uniting Church (arrive by 10am).
  • The event organisers have made a special appeal for adult marshals, particularly for capital city events. You can help by going to YES, I’LL JOIN THE MARSHAL TEAM
  • Signing the SS4C pledge – as an individual, congregation or community group.
  • Putting a message of support on your church noticeboard or make/display a supportive banner.
  • Amplifying your action by spreading the word through social media. 
  • Letting your local member of parliament know that you are taking action and why you are concerned.

For more information see the Uniting Earth website or contact Jon O’Brien on 9407 3225 or joobrien@uniting.org 

David Hay

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