EDITORIAL:Students speak their mind? How dare they

Heaven forbid our children be allowed to think for themselves!

That dangerous notion could see them speak out on issues that actually matter.

The outcry over Friday’s student strike against the federal government’s inaction on climate change was swift and heated – much of it directed at the students and the “leftist agenda” of their teachers, who are clearly brainwashing them…

Okay, so not everyone believes in climate change and the reams of science over decades that prove it. Or perhaps you do believe the climate is changing, but that it’s not due to the influence of humans.

So why should we change our habits and reliance on non-renewable fossil fuels? Why can’t we see the increasing prevalence of weather extremes as just normal cycles over which we can’t have any influence?

Why on earth should students take an hour or two away from their classroom to speak their mind over ideas so clearly deluded? They should be leaving it to the grown-ups in parliament.

Never mind the fact our parliament behaves more like a school playground than any of local students we’ve seen.

The condescension from our political leaders, and some in the local community, directed towards our students is deplorable.

Perhaps wagging school and “striking" isn’t an ideal way to make a point – but what it does do, and rather effectively, is get a nation talking about the topic. Not everyone is going to agree, but that’s true of all things.

And to be fair, if you’re a student, too young to vote and with a bunch of adults telling you you can’t think for yourselves, how do you make a point?

It’s laughable to think all teachers at schools and universities across Australia are pushing an agenda, and using their students to protest the points. As several students at a Far South Coast rally said, climate change isn’t taught at high school and they have sought out verified information elsewhere to make up their own minds.

Even if you don’t agree with the overwhelming majority of scientific and public consensus that climate change is real and needs to be addressed, surely cleaning up our act, reducing emissions, repurposing waste, and incorporating renewable energy into the overall mix of power generation is a positive step anyway given the financial, employment and health benefits.

Or at least allow others to speak their mind should they choose to. ​Ben Smyth