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The kids are alright but Newcastle, you’ve got some growing up to do

Last week, some of Newcastle’s youngest citizens and their supporters (around 10,000, apparently) descended on Civic Park for the student-led Global Strike 4 Climate event.

While I wasn’t there to witness the events unfold on Friday, the pictures and passion that I saw online was undeniably inspiring.

Regardless of your politics on the issue, there is something special about seeing people coming together for a common cause in the hope of effecting change at a government level, not just in Newcastle, but globally (oh, and they also held a similar event in Cessnock)

What wasn’t inspiring, however, was the level of vitriol leveled at these “kids” on social media – both ours and other local outlets.

Epithets like “brainwashed,” “stupid,” “grubs,” and even “wankers” were being hurled directly at what was essentially a group of school-aged kids.

Hurled by fully grown adults.

I’m sure many of those adults would also be the same who write off this generation as one that is lazy, unmotivated and too ensconced in devices and the vacuous world of social media to offer anything of real value to the real world.

Yet the minute these kids actually show that they are motivated, that they can organise around an issue that affects their future and the future of the planet, they are basically told to shut up.

Sure, I get it. You think climate change is a hoax cooked up by scientists and the left-wing media. But that doesn’t mean you should call a teenager a wanker on Facebook because they disagree with you.

Just move on. Don’t comment. Live your life. Be happy.

Sure, I get it. You think climate change is a hoax cooked up by scientists and the left-wing media. But that doesn’t mean you should call a teenager a wanker on Facebook because they disagree with you.

Now, I’m not purporting to have any answers to this climate quandary – I’ve got a Comms degree (from the University of Newcastle, thank you very much) not a PhD in environmental science or whatever.  And indeed this is not the platform to have such a debate.

What I do know is that seeing kids, these people who are one day going to be making the decisions that govern the future of this town, country, and planet, so inspired to action is heartening, to say the least.

Also, unlike many have suggested I reckon that if an event like this was staged on a weekend, while you might not see 10,000 turn up (and it also kinda negates the point of a “strike”) the crowd would still be pretty decent.

I’m also under no apprehension that every single person that attended was 100% committed to the ‘cause,’ and sure, some of those kids probably did use it as an excuse to get out of school as many of the naysayers have suggested.

But think back to your school days. Wouldn’t you?  

Written by Stephen Bisset