Save the Children is supporting young people demanding urgent climate action to raise their voices and participate in this Federal Election, despite not being old enough to vote.
Fed up with being ignored by political parties who are failing to address the climate emergency, a group of children and young people will today launch their own political party* and platform to shake up this election campaign.
The Save the Planet Party* and the ARISE platform have been co-designed by eight outstanding young climate activists, with support from Save the Children, to mobilise those still too young to vote and draw attention to the pressing concerns of the youth climate movement.
“After witnessing the Government’s failure to secure us a safe climate future, us high school students are gatecrashing the election campaign,” 18-year-old Eva said.
“Despite scientific evidence and repeated cries for climate justice, the Government continually fails us young people, proving they are not the effective and responsible leaders we need them to be.
“Without climate justice at the forefront of decision-making, Australia will be responsible for the catastrophic destruction of land, nature and communities.
“As a high school student, I feel so helpless. It is soul-crushing to see the Government recklessly making decisions about our future.
“Politicians are leading with promises to promote a strong economy through the continuation of unsustainable fossil fuel production. We are standing up to remind them that there is no economy on a dead planet.
“We will not stop until Australia’s leaders step up and prove they are capable of fulfilling their job.”
The Save the Planet Party* will be a vehicle for children and young people to speak out.
ARISE and Act: Our Future is on Fire urges political parties and candidates to commit to Accountability, Representation, Inclusion, Standards and Empowerment on climate.
This child-led roadmap calls for increased participation of children and young people in climate decisions and provides practical options for leaders to hear the voices of youth-led groups which have been speaking out on climate for years.
Save the Planet Party has written to each major political party and to a number of independent candidates calling on them to commit to these accountability measures.
Save the Children Australia acting CEO Mat Tinkler said:
“Since the last election, children in Australia have suffered through unprecedented bushfires and flooding made more intense and terrifying by climate change.
“The climate crisis is proving highly destructive, dangerous and disruptive for children and young people, who know that it is only expected to worsen without urgent action.
“Children are our future. Every day that we fail to act, we are failing them and risking their futures.
“Young Australians may not be able to vote yet but they have a right to be heard, and it is the responsibility of all political candidates to listen to and heed their calls.
“Save the Children is proud to be supporting young people and their participation in our political process. Our democracy is stronger for it.”
Under the pledges made in the Paris Agreement in 2015 , a child born in Australia today can expect to experience four times as many heatwaves, 3.4 times as many droughts, 1.4 times as many river floods and 1.3 times as many bushfires as their grandparents.
Save the Children Australia has urged governments at all levels to ensure the needs of children are systematically met in the immediate response to disasters, as well as addressing their long-term recovery through Child Friendly Spaces and resilience-building programs like Journey of Hope.
The leading child rights agency is calling for world leaders, including Australia, to act now to limit warming temperatures to 1.5 degrees, which would have a life-changing impact for children and future generations all over the world.
*Save the Planet Party is not a real political party. But the views of the young people involved are real and must be taken seriously this election. For more details, visit savetheplanetaus.org.au.
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Notes to editors:
The ARISE and Act: Our Future is on Fire platform co-designed by young people calls for:
- ACCOUNTABILITY – governments must acknowledge they have a duty of care to young people on climate change, and take all necessary steps to protect us.
- REPRESENTATION – the Federal Government must create a Youth Ambassador for the Environment who represents and promotes young people’s interests in international discussions.
- INCLUSION – the Federal Government must ratify the Third Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, so that young people’s rights are included and we have direct access to the United Nations to uphold those rights.
- STANDARDS – governments, leaders and communities must implement minimum standards for consulting with young people about climate change policy and legislation, to ensure we are always consulted and provide clear guidance about when and how this happens.
- EMPOWERMENT – governments must invest in programs for young people’s participation in disaster preparedness, response, recovery and resilience-building activities in our communities, so that we are involved and our voices heard and taken seriously by local decision-makers.