HUNDREDS OF PEOPLE took to the streets of Ballarat to protest inaction in regards to the climate crisis on Friday afternoon.
They joined hundreds of thousands of people around the world who marched in solidarity on a global day of protests to urge governments to take a stronger stance in mitigating the climate crisis.
The crowds of people ranging from small children to the elderly first gathered inside Trades Hall to hear emotional and powerful speeches from some of the student organisers.
The global day of protests is arguably the biggest yet, with organisers estimating more than 1000 people marched through the streets of Ballarat.
The protesters chanted statements such as "no more coal, no more oil, keep your carbon in the soil" as they marched together brandishing homemade signs with various messaging around agriculture, species extinction and fossil fuels.
Watch the speeches here, thanks toRex Hardware and Ballarat Trades Hall:
Year 12 student Anna Burnett, who organised the first two Ballarat climate strikes in the city, cried when she saw how many people had shown up to to the march.
When she organised the first student climate strike late last year she only expected a handful of people to turn up so seeing the crowds continue to grow is emotional.
Watch a time lapse here:
"So much awareness has been cultivated around climate change issues since the first protest last year," she said.
Ms Burnett believes the protests have been a great way to raise awareness of the climate emergency but wants governments to take more decisive action.
"We want the government to recognise that we are in a climate emergency and treat it like one," she said. "So not using climate change as a way to divide people or using it as a political football to further their own agendas."
VIEW THE GALLERY HERE:
Laura Wright, 17, spoke passionately about the need to move away from fossil fuels and towards renewable energy.
Her grandmother is Monica Oliphant AO, a research scientist and advocate for sustainability and renewable energy.
Ms Oliphant first started advocating for a move toward solar energy after hearing Sir Macfarlane Burnet speak in the 1970s and has been involved in the field ever since.
"When she was originally involved in it it was very much only the tree-hugger type people that went into it, the very hippy people who were into it, but it has become more and more mainstream," Ms Wright said.
Working as a female scientist all that time ago was isolating and she did so while raising children, but South Australia now has over 50 per cent of renewables, which Ms Oliphant dedicated a lot of time to achieving.
Ms Wright said her grandmother's passion in the field inspired not only her but other family members to call for change.
"Climate change is something that's been around forever and we've known about it for a long time," she said.
She said the crisis was escalating now and so it was great to see support from so many age groups.
"My grandmother has worked her whole life in raising this awareness and to see older people who may not have had that awareness before not only educate themselves but be willing to fight for the change as well, a change they probably won't see, but want for future generations is amazing," she said.
Mother and grandmother Jan, who did not wish her surname to be used, attended the protest as she worried for future generations.
"I'm not a true greenie but have always loved nature," she said. "I pray people will take notice of these protests and the pollies get their heads out of the sand."
Student Keeley Button said she was motivated to take part in the protest due to the inaction from the government.
"I'm not old enough to vote myself so my inability to elect change is what drives me to make myself and others heard by making some noise and making a statement, to try to get other people to elect change for me until I can take action myself," she said.
She wants to see governments acknowledge the concrete science about the changing climate.
I want governments to acknowledge the concrete scientific evidence we have. We are in a climate crisis and need to act.Keeley Button
She wants coal and oil phased but for people working in those industries to be retrained to work in the renewable energy sector.
"We are a windy, sunny country surrounded by water so we should be able to find a solution and hopefully when I get older I can help to find solutions too by creating jobs in renewable energy."
She said it felt amazing to see so many people from various generations supporting the protest.
The students vowed to continue striking and raising awareness of the climate crisis until changes are made.
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