Leading thousands of protest marchers through central Sydney and joining a landmark class action lawsuit aren’t the usual activities for most 14-year-olds.
But Australian student Izzy Raj-Seppings has abandoned more frivolous extracurricular activities in favour of stepping up pressure on the country’s leadership to battle climate change.
Raj-Seppings has become one of the country’s most prominent environmental activists since her tear-stained face made global headlines in late 2019 when she stared down riot police threatening to arrest her outside the prime minister’s home.
“I think a lot of people look at us and just say, ‘oh, they’re kids, they don’t know what they’re talking about,” she told Reuters in an interview on April 6.
“But I think they are underestimating us and they don’t realise how powerful we are and how much work we’re putting in. We’re listening to scientists who have been trying to get people’s attentions for generations and people haven’t been listening to them about climate change.”
Australia is the highest per capita carbon emitter among the world’s richest nations and, according to Raj-Seppings, Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s inaction on climate change shows the need for a change.