Tighes Hill Parishioners participate in School Students for Climate - Strike, Rally and March at Newcastle

Rosie and John Hayes, and Lawrie Hallinan – all parishioners at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church at Tighes Hill  were very pleased to join 10,000 school students and adults at the SS4C - School Students for Climate – Strike and Rally in Civic Park, Newcastle 20 September; and then to March - with the full support of the police, leaving the park, and following a route along King, Union, Bull, and Darby Streets, and then back to the park. These streets were lined by many hundreds of people who waved and clapped in support.

Their banner carried the words from Pope Francis’ 2015 Encyclical   Laudato Si’ – on Care for our Common Home:

Fossil fuels, especially coal need to be replaced" 


"Coal communities need a just transition”

Mr Hayes reported that:

“All the Newcastle activities were led by very knowledgeable and sensible school kids. All the speeches were by high school children, who know their science and politics."

There were many references about the need for the government to plan a just transition away from coal and towards renewable energy technologies; and for plans that need to be made now - for affected workers and communities as the world coal market declines.

It was noted that in Germany - some years ago, the Government there implemented an 11-year plan for the transition away from coal in the Ruhr Valley; but that in Australia – The Government had no plans at all for a just transition.  

He said the make up of the crowd in Civic Park was probably over 50% school-aged children; and the balance across all ages: babies and toddlers; young and not-so-young parents; university Students; trade unionists carrying their flags; lots of young adults in their 20's to 50’s; and many grandparents.

There were reports that similar strikes and rallies in Sydney attracted 80,000 people; 100,000 in Melbourne; across more than 100 cities and towns in Australia - a total of more than 300,000; and across the world more than 2,000,000.

Mr Hayes concluded by saying, “ We have much to learn from the young ones”.

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John Hayes Image
John Hayes

John Hayes is a member of the Diocesan Social Justice Council.