It’s a big ask for someone in Year 12 to take time out from study during the most important year of their school lives, but Scots School Albury student Luca Lamond is doing just that because he believes there is much more than his personal future at stake.
The 18-year-old is an organiser of the School Strike 4 Climate in Albury on 20 September, where students will march through the centre of Albury during the middle of the school day as part of the international protest movement of young people demanding greater action to stop climate change.
Luca has been involved with planning and promoting the event since May and is the sole Scots’ representative on the organising committee of 10 students, who come from a cross-section of secondary schools around the district.
“It is no small commitment, especially during Year 12, but I still consider it to be 100 per cent worthy of my time,” Luca says.
“Our money-centric political environment is slowly but surely destroying our planet and this needs to change.”
The urgency of the problem has been brought home to Luca in a very personal fashion.
“I live on a 185 acre property 15km north of Albury and over this past seven years the changes (in climate) are shocking,” he says.
“Last year, we ran out of rainwater twice and were forced to get tankers in to fill them up. Never before had we ever been close to such a situation. Even at the moment we’re low on rainwater and our dams are at the lowest levels they’ve been in years.
“Last year, we had the hottest January on record, with an average day time temperatures 5.1C higher than the long-term average, according to Bureau of Meteorology data.”
Luca has the UCA-associated independent school’s permission to run the protest as an excursion with parents having to give their consent for students to attend and marchers required to wear the Scots’ uniform.
“So far, we have over 67 students signed up to take part,” Luca says.
“I’m proud of how supportive the school is. The principal and deputy-principal agreed immediately to support me in the organisation of the strike and have continued supporting me.
“It’s important to remember that this isn’t a strike against a school, but actually the government who are not doing enough to secure the future of our environment.”
Scots School Albury Principal Peggy Mahy said teachers would escort students to and from the event.
“The school is committed to a sustainable future and supports all students who choose to be advocates for positive change in this space,” she said.
The march will begin at QEII Square at 11am, 20 September.