When Miami High School student Narii Hamill Salmon was told he couldn’t leave the school grounds to protest against inaction on climate change, he found another way to make his voice heard.
Narii, who is 15 years old was hoping to grab the attention of both the school community as well as members of the public by protesting outside the school grounds as part of the Schools Strike 4 Climate Change last week.
“The night before the intended strike from school I had sent an email to my principal and deputy principal, the email was basically asking for permission to leave the school grounds between 10:00 and 10:35, in order to conduct our protest,” he said.
“The next day I arrived at school and was brought to the deputy principal’s office. Surprisingly, the school supported our cause and actually told me that if they knew earlier they would have organised a segment on our school assembly and could have possibly allowed us to conduct our protest at the front of the school.”
Narii was told they couldn’t allow the strike to occur due to school guidelines focussed on making experiences safe and positive for students, but the school did say they could hang posters throughout the school and inform students about their fight for climate action and hopes to stop Adani.
“Although it would have been much better to have been able to do our strike, it was a great feeling to know we had support from the school,” he said.
Eleven students participated in the protect: Tadhg Hamill Salmon, Lachlan Bond, Lani Gibson, Kirsten Meyers, Shanay Mckinnon, Hana Gomibuchi, Sakhi Tidyman, Ayden Senol Xavier White, Natalya Delandre and Narii.
“As soon as posters were up, we took to social media in the hope of showing everyone what we were doing,” Narii said.
“I am passionate about the issue of climate change as it can make or break the future of our planet. If we choose to act like the politicians who choose to sweep the issue of climate change under the rug and allow the construction of huge mines, we will destroy the planet in no time and destroy the futures of many young Australians including me.”
Narii said he was inspired by images from other cities where young people took to the streets to make their voices heard.
“I was inspired and empowered,” he said. “Even my favourite musician Montaingne was at a strike. It made me truly realise that I was now apart of something big and just because I couldn’t do the strike, it was not over, we still have time.”
“With so many young voices choosing to speak on the issue, it is about time that the government listens to us and takes action, instead of telling us to advocate less and go to school.”
“I believe that the Australian Government needs to do their part in preventing the construction of Adani’s Carmichael mine in central Queensland.”
“In the next few years It would be fantastic if Australia was to convert to only renewable energy. As Adani has gained the funding to go ahead with the construction of this planet destroying mine, students and I will be campaigning as much as possible in the next few weeks at school assemblies,outside of school and on social media,” Narii said.
“We hope to attract the attention of our local MP Karen Andrews, with the high hopes of getting the chance to talk to her in person.”
“We also hope to attend the Brisbane March For Our Future at Adani HQ on the 8th of December in school uniform.”
“It is still not too late to do your part for Climate Action. Make posters, call your local MP and attend local rallies, protests and events,” Narii said.