A Gunnedah teenager is calling on students, teachers and community to join him in a march to raise awareness of climate change.
Year 10 student Hugh Hunter has joined the School Strike 4 Climate movement, which will see students across Australia strike on Friday. The movement is calling for no more coal or gas, no Adani coal mine, and 100 per cent renewable energy by 2030.
Hugh said climate change was an "important issue" and Gunnedah residents needed to show politicians that "we actually care about this issue".
"I’m hoping to get across that Gunnedah is not just a sleepy regional town," he said.
"There might be a stereotype around regional towns being a bit blasé and I want to let the community know there are people here that care about [climate change] and it’s not a full-on mining community.
"I think it’s an important thing for [students] to be passionate about."
The people who don’t think [climate change] is real, don’t get out of their office enough.Hugh Hunter
Hugh lives on a farm near Baan Baa and said through the drought, climate change was making itself known.
"It’s our future so we’ll be dealing with the impact of this," he said.
"The people who don’t think it’s real, don’t get out of their office enough.
"If there’s no such thing as climate change and it’s made up, what’s so wrong with 100 per cent renewables by 2030?"
Hugh attends St Mary's College and told the school of his plans to strike.
The NVI contacted the Catholic Schools Office in Armidale but it declined to comment.
A Department of Education spokesperson said students who did not attend classes because of the strikes would be marked absent and "may be subject to the school’s disciplinary code."
"While the NSW Department of Education understands some students are passionate about this topic, all students who are enrolled at school are expected to attend that school whenever instruction is provided," the spokesperson said.
"NSW public schools are neutral places for rational discourse and objective study."
The strike will start at the Gunnedah Courthouse at 12pm, with plans to march down Conadilly Street to Wolseley Park. To find out more, visit Gunnedah School Strike 4 Climate on Facebook.