Anjali Sharma was one of eight young people who took the federal Environment Minister (Sussan Ley) to court last year over whether the minister had a duty of care to young people in the decisions she made approving new fossil fuel projects which could exacerbate the effects of climate change in the future. While the court originally found in favour of the young litigants, the decision was overturned on appeal.
Ms Sharma is still campaigning for effective climate action. She recently asked all candidates at a candidates’ debate in the inner Melbourne federal seat of Macnamara if they believed that the federal environment minister owed a duty of care to young people to protect them from climate change.
One of the candidates, instead of simply answering “Yes” or “No”, expanded her response by saying that teaching children there is a climate emergency is almost abuse because it’s stressing them about the environment. This candidate added later that we should be teaching our children hope, not fear. Many of the children she was referring to are adolescents who are interested in understanding the world and its problems and do not want to be kept in ignorance – blissful or otherwise. In other words they are certainly not the “quiet Australians” so beloved of our current Prime Minister.
Ms Sharma stated that she and other young activists are informed people who have read the news and have listened to the climate scientists and know that time is running out for securing a livable future.
She is very concerned about the major parties’ failure to take climate change seriously with their talk of the economic importance of backing fossil fuels and ignoring the humanitarian cost as well as the many well-documented benefits of shifting to a clean economy.
In a recent article in the Guardian Australia she pointed out that currently there are 114 new fossil fuel projects in the pipeline.
As a first time voter, she said that she will be voting for the climate as will be hundreds of thousands of young people like herself.