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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


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  1. Stephen you will have to join us at the next event. I think if you are at one of these events you will be surprised at how well educated and action orientated these kids are about what is happening in the environment and how they can make change in there own life..As a parent I am blown away and so proud of this generation… Agreed, there is absolutely no place for the bullying and trolls that have attacked these kids… What we need to remember is to be thankful of anyone taking steps towards a better future…It is about transition…Next rally I am personally inviting the nay-sayers to join me and observe the day, you may learn something from these kids and open your minds to some changes in your own life.. We should be working together not polarising..
    Peace ..Tracey

  2. This is a great piece, bar the heading. I always bur up at Newcastle put-downs. There is no excuse for the collective blame mentality that suggests we all us Newie adults have to grow up because of a few online emotive responses to our kids rallying on-mass over climate change. We’ve had a sandstone monument of blackened coal top of town for so many decades. Our Town’s history starts with coal through to this day. I am struck by how grown up our kids really are. Those adults & families who rely on the coal industry, as well as all the nay-saying pundits on climate change who have had a go at our kids, I say this: keep it rolling in, as it will only serve to bring forward our debate, our passions & that which makes us Novacastrian. The right to be forthright without fear or favour. Toughen up, cause there’s a storm coming. You’re all bloody idiots btw! 😉

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