More than 200 Bathurst students, teachers, workers and community members gathered in the CBD yesterday to campaign for greater action on climate change.
The event, hosted by the Bathurst Community Climate Action Network [BCCAN], served as one of more than 100 separate Global Climate Strike gatherings held simultaneously across Australia.
Despite a mixed response from key educational bodies towards their involvement, a significant portion of Bathurst students attended the event to raise their concerns around the future of Earth's climate.
MacKillop College Year 9 student Sopheak Neaves expressed her concerns towards the Earth's future and called for greater attention to the impact of global warming.
"The ice is melting at the North and South poles, which is causing sea levels and average temperatures to rise," Sopheak said.
South Bathurst Public School Year 5 student Molly Flynn said climate change is an issue that affects everyone, and suggested a series of solutions to collectively reduce the carbon footprint.
"There's a range of simple things we can do to help the climate, such as switching off devices when not in use, run various appliances on low power mode and choose a bicycle instead of a car for short distances," Molly said.
Bathurst councilor John Fry said the turnout provided a fair idea of the community's concern for the divisive issue.
"We have to lead the push for action on climate change so the key decision makers can follow," Cr Fry said.
"We're not talking about natural weather cycles, but rather the last 200 years where land clearing and fossil fuels [oil, coal and gas] have caused rapid changes to the climate."
While acknowledging the role fossil fuels have played to further society, Cr Fry said the commodity no longer has a social license.
"We have a clear choice: draw down the carbon emissions or crash the planet, and we don't have many years left to do it," he said.
The Global Climate Strike movement was started by Swedish teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg, who took three weeks off school last year to stage a solo demonstration outside Sweden's Parliament House in Stockholm.
According to School Strike 4 Climate, more than 300,000 people attended Global Climate Strike events throughout Australia yesterday.