The world in which I want to grow old is within reach: Grace Fitzgerald at the Melbourne Peoples Climate March

Tuesday 01 December 2015


Grace Fitzgerald gave this incredible speech at the Melbourne People's Climate March: "Two weeks ago, meteorologists announced that in 2015, global warming would for the first time pass one degree above pre-industrial levels.

For a young person who has grown up in the knowledge that my future is inextricable from the climate around me, that landmark is terrifying.

From a young age, I have ben told that two degrees of global warming presents a boundary beyond which the safety and security of my friends, family and community cannot be guaranteed.

I hardly remember a summer without the devastation of fires, drought, floods and vicious storms that bit-by-bit chip away at my sense of security.

Climate chaos is a reality in which none of my generation wants to live.

As young people, we are lauded for our capacity to be idealistic and to envisage better things.

For my friends and I, imagination is driven by a necessity to create a fairer, healthier and happier future than the outlook from 2015.

We know we have the tools to create this future.

We know that the solutions to the climate crisis are available to us, and that in achieving those solutions there are unprecedented opportunities to improve quality of life for all people, everywhere.

I am inspired every day by the creativity and commitment of young people who are busily laying the foundations of climate justice.

School students around the country are working with their teachers and parents to ensure their schools and communities are powered with renewable energy and producing minimal waste.

On university campuses, students are demanding that the fees for our education are not used to fund the fossil fuel industries that are undermining our future.

Young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are inspiring us all with their devotion to custodianship of our natural home.

Young innovators are leading the way in the renewable transition, development of fairer economic systems, and the redesign of our cities and food systems to create healthier lives for us all.

We are challenging institutions, vested interests, political inertia and the behavioural status quo.

We are doing this work so that we too can enjoy all the beauty of life on planet Earth.

We are doing this work because to continue along the trajectory of business as usual would be to inflict suffering on those most vulnerable to the effects of climate change.

We are doing this to protect and preserve the futures of our children and grandchildren to come.

We do this out of love for one another.

Margaret Mead told us to "never doubt that a small group of committed citizens can change the world".

I don't doubt it “ because I am seeing the world change as I speak.

My peers talk of "when we solve the climate crisis", not "if we solve it".

But we need help in ensuring a safe climate future.

The sooner we slam down the brakes on climate change, the faster we will be able to tackle deeply rooted, systematic causes of inequality and inequity.

The longer we leave it, the more precarious our capacity to survive and thrive will become.

As we race towards two degrees I implore you “ please work with us.

We can't wait for more negotiations, for another federal election, for the call to action of another angry summer.

The world in which I want to grow old is well within our reach; we just need all hands on deck to make climate justice a reality." - Grace Fitzgerald is a medical student at Monash University, and in 2015 co-project managed the Australian Medical Students' Association Code Green project.

A "climate octopus", Grace has worked in a volunteer capacity with the Australian Youth Climate Coalition, Doctors for the Environment Australia, the Climate and Health Alliance, Healthy Futures and

Grace has been on the Victorian Organising Committee engaging the health sector in the People's Climate Marches.