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Hundreds of thousands of Australian students skipped school today to attend climate strikes and put pressure on politicians to take action.
The event, part of the global School Strike 4 Climate organization, was attended by advocates from the Million Dollar Vegan campaign – which wants to fight environmental collapse through dietary change.
“Animal ag is often ignored in climate change discussions and protests,” said Million Dollar Vegan’s Katrina Fox, who spoke to vegan children at the event about why they were there. “Let’s get the message out there.”
What motivated you to get involved in this movement?
I became involved with veganism and animal activism and learned about the link between climate change and animal agriculture. I decided that the knowledge I have learned should be shared with the world and we should make the change to a more sustainable lifestyle to decrease our negative impact on the earth. Charlotte Currie, age 17, Melbourne
I went vegan after realising what happened in the animal farming industry and began protesting under the animal rights movement. I soon learned that most of the world’s carbon dioxide/monoxide emissions came from farmed animals and so I joined the climate save movement. William Currie, 13, Melbourne (Charlotte Currie’s sister – their whole family is vegan)
I got motivated to be vocal about saving the planet and animals after learning about the environmental devastation of animal agriculture. Bailey Mason, 17, Sydney
I feel motivated to be involved with climate change because if everybody just sits back and watches it happen the world could become uninhabitable. There is not another place to go so I’m not going to give up. Freya Brown, 12, Melbourne.
Because if we don’t get involved and fight climate change, our generation will have no world to live in and no future. India Brewer, 11, Sydney (their whole family is vegan too).
Why is it important for young people to be helping lead discussions on climate change?
It’s so imperative for young people to get behind the discussion on climate change because we are the future generation that will have to live with the consequences of the actions we take now. If we don’t change to a more sustainable way of life the impact on the earth will become irreversible. Young people are now living in a world where knowledge and wisdom is at our fingertips with technology that is continuously advancing and our passion and determination to prevent and stop changes to climate is outstanding. Charlotte Currie, age 17, Melbourne
I feel that young people need to get more involved in the climate save movement because it’s our future that we’re fighting for and people won’t listen to small groups but they will listen if it’s a massive group which is why we need to urge young people to get active. William Currie, 13, Melbourne
We are young and we will have to deal with the devastating effects of climate change because of the lack of climate action from politicians. Bailey Mason, 17, Sydney
It’s so important for young people to be involved with climate change because many older people are not aware, ignore it because it’s scary or just do not seem to care. Young people need to keep trying because we have a future on earth if it can survive what humans are doing to it. Freya Brown, 12, Melbourne
Discussions on climate change affect our generation, so it’s really important that we lead the discussions about what world we are going to inherit and pass on to future generations. India Brewer, 11, Sydney
What message do you want people to take away from your protest?
I wish for people to not only engage in the conversation of climate change but to take action and actively try to prevent changes to our planet. Many people are not aware that the greatest and most effective way to combat climate change it to switch to a plant-based diet, as the animal agriculture industry is responsible for 90% of current deforestation and contributes more Co2 emissions to our atmosphere than all transportation resources combined. Charlotte Currie, age 17, Melbourne
The message that we’re trying to spread is that the future of our planet is in our hands and if we don’t act soon, it’ll be too late to turn back the effects humans have had on this planet. It’s our future and if we don’t change our ways we won’t have a future. William Currie, 13, Melbourne
I know that people will see how passionate we all are and hopefully this will force politicians to finally listen before it’s too late. Bailey Mason, 17, Sydney
The message I want people to take away from our protest is that so many people care that something in the world is going terribly wrong, so they need to change what they’re doing. Change what everyone is doing! Freya Brown, 12, Melbourne
We can act now or we can act never, because climate change is here and we can’t deny it. India Brewer, 11, Sydney
Last year Prime Minister Scott Morrison told students protesting climate change to ‘be less activist’ and stay in school. What would you want to say to the prime minister and other leaders who share similar views regarding why you’ve chosen to protest against climate change in this way?
It deeply frustrates me that the leaders of our country with the largest amount of political influence is trying to silence the truth and passionate people trying to make a difference. Nothing has ever been achieved by sitting in submission and activism is the answer. The more people who band together for a common goal the louder our voices will be. Charlotte Currie, age 17, Melbourne
We will fight until we get what we want, no matter what the national leaders decide. All rights came to be from people rebelling and striking for what they believe is right and just. William Currie, 13, Melbourne
I would like to tell Scott Morrison and other politicians that we have a powerful voice and we will never be silenced. Bailey Mason, 17, Sydney
To anyone who shares views with Scott Morrison I will say, we need to stop just talking about saving the world and persuade politicians to act now before it is too late to save the world for our future. We care about the future of this planet! Freya Brown, 12, Melbourne
If the leaders were doing their jobs correctly and hadn’t let the world get into this state, we’d be able to just focus on school. But since this is not happening, we need to fight for our future. School is important but all the skills learnt at school are useless if we don’t have a world to use them in. India Brewer, 11, Sydney
Why is veganism an important part of the fight against climate change?
The word ‘veganism’ is surrounded by stigma and associated with an aggressive force of influence when really it’s the solution to an endless list of problems today’s society is facing. Veganism is the simplest way to decrease a person’s impact on the earth and can also prevent and reverse the effects of many medical conditions. The benefits of a plant-based diet significantly outweigh those of an animal-based diet. The animal agriculture industry is one of the leading causes of climate change, contributing to 90 percent of current deforestation to create grazing land and also contributes more fuel emissions than all transportation resources combined. Charlotte Currie, age 17, Melbourne
Veganism is a large part of the fight against climate change because the greenhouse gas emissions caused by animal agriculture and the animal exploitation industry are bigger than the fuel emissions from all transportation technology combined. Going vegan is the only way to stop or at least slow down the process of climate change. William Currie, 13, Melbourne
We can fight climate change with a vegan diet as animal agriculture is one of the leading causes of climate change, especially the beef industry as cows produce a lot of methane. Bailey Mason, 17, Sydney
Veganism is a REALLY important part to fighting against climate change because the amount of water that is needed to make one pound of beef is 1,799 gallons of water; one pound of pork is 576 gallons of water. And in comparison, the water use of soybeans is 216 gallons; corn is 108 gallons. Furthermore, the amount of the soybeans in the world that are human food is only six percent whereas the amount fed to animals is around 70 percent and the rest is turned into soy oil. 36 percent of our corn, barley, oats and sorghum is being fed to livestock as well. Agriculture and livestock, particularly cows, contributes to global warming through emissions of methane and nitrous oxide. Freya Brown, 12, Melbourne
Animal agriculture is a major cause of climate change. If we change our eating habits to be more sustainable, we can feed the world and combat climate change. It’s the easiest strategy for everyday people to use in order to take personal control and positive action. India Brewer, 11, Sydney
What would you say to those who are sceptical about veganism? We have grown up being told that we need meat and dairy to survive and without it we won’t get the nutrients we need to live a healthy life. But it’s entirely possible to get enough nutrients and more from plant-based sources than we can from animal-based sources. Switching to a plant-based diet provides you with all the nutrients you need to have a perfectly balanced diet and also eliminates the cruelty to animals in the industry. Charlotte Currie, age 17, Melbourne
There’s nothing to be sceptical about when it comes to a vegan diet. It’s not only beneficial for our planet but also promotes kindness to animals and keeps us healthy. Bailey Mason, 17, Sydney
To anybody sceptical about veganism I’d tell them not only does animal farming increase the damage to the environment and harms animals, it also increases your chances of getting heart disease, cancer, strokes and diabetes. You can become vegan for the animals, for your health and perhaps the biggest motivation is to have a safe planet to live on. There’s so much help out there and it’s so easy to just give it a try. Freya Brown, 12, Melbourne
Do the research, it really is easy once you try it. India Brewer, 11, Sydney
What advice/encouragement do you have for others considering going vegan?
It’s never been easier to switch to a vegan lifestyle. There are so many vegan alternatives to all your favourite foods and so many ways to substitute ingredients in cooking with vegan ones. Vegan meals can now be found at most eateries or can at least be adapted to be vegan. It not only stops animal cruelty but prevents climate change and promotes health and reverses the effects of some illnesses caused by animal-based meals. Charlotte Currie, age 17, Melbourne
Going vegan is a simple and easy decision to make and it affects your body, immune system and health in amazing ways. Because more people want to eat plant-based, the amount of vegan substitutes and organic food in local stores and shopping centres is quickly growing. William Currie, 13, Melbourne
There are plenty of vegan alternatives to your favourite foods and by eating vegan you will feel so great knowing you’re making an enormous positive impact to save our planet. Bailey Mason, 17, Sydney
The advice I have for anyone considering going vegan is that if you’re craving meat or dairy, it’s so easy to make or find a vegan version of it. After a month of being vegan you’ll already have spared 30 animal lives, and that means fewer greenhouse gas emissions which means slowing of climate change. Freya Brown, 12, Melbourne
Gradually replace animal products. My family started with meat and then we moved on to milk. We tried lots of different plant-based milks until we found one we all loved. We then moved on to replacing cheese and other products. Educate yourself on why veganism is good as it’s a great motivator. India Brewer, 11, Sydney