"The only people we can trust with our future is ourselves."
Addressing hundreds of people at the student climate strike in Ballarat, organiser Ellie Fenton was calm but furious in her denunciation of climate change inaction.
"(Politicians) are failing to remember that it's us, the ones they call lazy and unaware, that will be determining their career and their future," she told the rally.
"They're filling their pockets with the bones of our future, and we have had enough."
The second rally in Ballarat was one of more than 3000 held around the world on Friday, with students going on strike to draw attention to pressing concerns about climate change.
In Ballarat, there were more people than the previous rally, in November last year, and a broader range of ages.
Led by high school students, there were seven-year-olds holding signs they'd made with their parents, and more adults out to show their support.
One organiser, Rosa Varga-Miller, defended the students leaving school to protest.
"We learn better as a community talking about it outside of school," she said.
"What's the point of going to school if the planet's going to die in a couple of years?"
Mount Blowhard Primary School had an enthusiastic contingent at the rally.
"We're protesting to stop using coal power and save the world," said 10-year-old William Bray.
"Some of the animals, the polar bears, are dying because the sea levels are rising and the ice is melting," 10-year-old Liana Raufer added.
While there had been rumours that schools would take action if students walked out for the rally, representatives from most Ballarat high schools were spotted.
Some students noted they had peers attending the massive Melbourne rally.
"We wanted to be more local, and support the locals," Daylesford Secondary College's Neve Robinson said.
READ MORE: Ballarat students prepare to walkout of school for climate action
This is echoed by another organiser, Alex Drew.
"Rural people are highly affected by this, and I think rural politics is something that should be acknowledged in this debate," he said.
"With rising temperatures for farmers, and droughts, it affects people around Ballarat and in rural areas extensively."
Speakers at the rally emphasised it was non-partisan - "no matter your gender, race, age, political opinion, this issue matters to you," Mr Drew said.
The rally had the added bonus of uniting Ballarat's many schools, according to Loreto College year 12 student Bella Walsh.
"It brings us together as a community because we're so divided by our schools - from locations to different uniforms," she said.
"You make lifelong connections that way."
Ballarat High School's Alexander Williams said his parents initially told him not to go, but he's glad he did.
"At the end of the day it's an issue that affects all of us, so why shouldn't we all come together, protest together, chant together?" he said.
"Our education's going to mean precious little in the future if we do nothing about the threat posed by global warming."
Joining the students were parents and grandparents.
Gail Weston said she was acting now to protect her grandchildren.
"I think we have a responsibility, being one of the generations that have contributed so immensely to the problem," she said.
"It's nice to see this emerging generation with so much passion and commitment to a cause."
A mother who attended, Lindy Churches, said she was impressed at the turn-out.
"It's very necessary, it's great to see them caring about it and leading the charge," she said.
"If they can skip school to go to a sports day or any other excursion, I don't see why this is any different."
Matt Morgan, attending with his young son Harry, was blunt.
"Don't put your faith in adults, my generation has failed," he said.
"I'm only 41 but we haven't managed to get power, we failed and the laws need to be changed, immediately, or we won't be able to survive on planet Earth, they are the facts."
The students are keen to keep the conversation going - as well as promoting environmentally-conscious actions anyone could take, to build incremental behavioural change, there's more rallies to come.
The Walk Against Warming around Lake Wendouree on Sunday, April 14 is one example, with the young activists keen to support the Ballarat Climate Action Network's push to change government policy at all levels.
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