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Our climate our health: Students rally as Climate Strike movement builds momentum

The speakout precedes the USyd SRC's endorsement of the climate strike

Activists pose at the Stop Adani speakout on Tuesday: Photography by Vinil Kumar Activists pose at the Stop Adani speakout on Tuesday: Photography by Vinil Kumar

On Tuesday 5th March at 12pm, University of Sydney (USyd) students and contingents from Stop Adani USyd and the SRC Enviro Collective rallied behind a speak-out against the Adani coal mine.

Dozens of students braved the heat to hear speakers weave together common threads on the impacts of anthropogenic climate change on jobs and material standards of living, as well as the importance of student action against Adani.

Protest organisers Lily Campbell (SAlt) and Prudence Wilkins-Wheat (Switchroots) began by emphasising the sovereignty of Gadigal land  over USyd and its surround, as well as emphasising solidarity with the Wangan and Jagalingou people currently resisting the Adani coalmine on their own land in Northern Queensland.

Between speakers, Campbell led chants of  “Our climate our health / More precious than their wealth” and “Hey hey, ho ho / Adani’s mine has got to go.”

USyd Branch President of the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) Kurt Iveson spoke to the need for green jobs and forces for change in the labour movement, calling out the Queensland Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union’s (CFMMEU) support for the Adani coal mine.

Preselected Environment Officers Alev Saracoglu and Alex Vaughan emphasised the need for climate justice against a backdrop of 12 years to limit irreversible climate change. They reiterated the 3 demands of striking school students: to stop the Adani coalmine, to use 100% renewables and cease use of fossil fuels.

This protest comes as remote Indigenous communities such as Walgett face a water crisis as their water supply has been cut off and essential rivers running for millenia such as the Murray-Darling have dried up, which is becoming an important issue for the upcoming NSW state election on March 23rd.

Saracoglu and Vaughan highlighted this crisis as well as the battles of small communities against mining companies in NSW, who cumulatively will pollute more than Adani if they go ahead.

Protest onlookers and activists joined in signing a large Stop Adani banner petition, before taking a solidarity photo to finish the speak-out.

The speak-out follows a successful protest against the Sydney Mining Club in early February where the CEO of Adani Australia was speaking.

Following similar motions at SRCs at UNSW and the University of Queensland (UQ), The USyd SRC, aided by a broad left coalition alongside Dane Luo and Gabi Stricker-Phelps (Shake Up) passed a motion last night to endorse the Climate Strike. The National Union of Students (NUS) is widely expected to lead a university student contingent in joining school kids walking off class on 15 March.