Voice of Real Australia: Somebody think of the children

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Climate activist Bella Burgemeister, 15, doesn't want another open cut coal mine. Picture: Supplied

Climate activist Bella Burgemeister, 15, doesn't want another open cut coal mine. Picture: Supplied

I'm at that stage in life where the idea of starting a family is no longer abstract. I need to figure out soon whether or not I want kids.

I have many friends who have chosen not to breed. But I have many more flooding my Instagram with their chubby cheeked newborns (so many lockdown babies).

For those sticking to fur babies, one of the common reasons is climate change.

They're unsure what kind of future their hypothetical child would have, if any.

This anxiety was a key theme during a recent federal court case.

The teens, and an 86-year-old nun acting as their guardian, argued the minister has a duty of care to ensure any projects approved don't kill or cause harm to children, arising from carbon dioxide emissions.

In a world first the judge agreed, ruling this duty of care does exist. The government needs to consider how climate change impacts children's futures when making a call on a new project.

For the latest episode of the Voice of Real Australia podcast I spoke to one of these underage litigants - Bella Burgemiester a 15-year-old from Bunbury, Western Australia.

"I think [the case] shows that young people are stepping up in this way. Because you know, we can't vote yet. So we have to try to use as many systems as we can to have our voices heard," Bella said.

Bella and the other litigants were from all across the country, representing children all across the world to try to improve their own future.

But this ruling might have a more immediate impact on the farmers and miners on the ground.

The case revolved around a specific mine proposal in Boggabri in NSW's north west. Some farmers I spoke to for the podcast were happy to see doubt cast on the project. But other locals feel the coal mine would be an asset, bringing jobs and economic confidence to the region.

So how can we secure a bright future for our children, while ensuring rural communities aren't left behind?

All I know is, if I do have kids I hope they're as overachieving as these adorable climate nerds. Hey, maybe my spawn will save the world?

Listen to the full story on our award-winning podcast. Search Voice of Real Australia on Apple Podcasts, or wherever you listen.

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