Solomon, Matilda And Rose Don't Want A 'Destroyed Future'
It's a Wednesday, just before lunchtime, and Solomon, Rose and Matilda would normally be in the classroom right now.
"Climate change is a big issue and we want to get our message over to the politicians, that it will have a really negative impact," he told 10 daily.
"It’s being caused by people and coal mines, it’s destroying the environment."
It's not everyday you hear from a 12-year-old, and his nine-year-old friends, about politics; even rarer that topics like renewable energy, coal mines and climate change are on the agenda.
But they aren't in school today.
They're on strike.
The group are just three of an estimated 200 who descended on federal Parliament House in Canberra, ahead of thousands of school kids around the country participating in the nationwide School Strike for Climate Change on Friday.
Masses of students have decided not to go to school, instead participating in an unprecedented show of unity from Australia's youth, calling for politicians to take swift action on climate change.
"We are school kids temporarily sacrificing our education in order to save our futures from dangerous climate change," the group said of its mission.
"We are children aged 5-18 from cities and towns across Australia. Most of us have never met before but are united by our concern about our planet. We are striking from school to tell our politicians to take our futures seriously and treat climate change for what it is - a crisis.
Children like Matilda, aged nine.
"We have a voice in this and we can do stuff," she told 10 daily.
"It’s our future they're damaging. We want a nice future, we don't want a destroyed future."
Solomon, Matilda and Rose are all students from local schools. Earlier in the day, they addressed a crowd of hundreds at a rally, asking for climate change action as well as blocking the construction of new coal mines and pushing for more renewable energy.
Later, more than 200 attempted to make it into Parliament House to meet politicians. Only around 100 were let in, according to organisers, with the rest left outside. The lucky few set up camp in a cafe, and were quickly met by federal MPs including Labor's Julie Owens, Greens senator Jordon Steeke-John and the Centre Alliance's Rebekha Sharkie, who spoke to an enraptured gaggle of primary and high school students.
Owens, the Member for Parramatta, called them "inspiring".
The group hoped to meet with Prime Minister Scott Morrison, treasurer Josh Frydenberg and Labor leader Bill Shorten throughout the day.
"We have been striking for climate change. We want politicians, and especially Scott Morrison, to listen to us. It's real, and threatening our lives, and we want to stop it," said 17-year-old Clara McArthur.
Outside, a heavy Canberra downpour hammered the cafe windows. A few hours north, in Sydney, record-breaking rain and floods have thrown the city into chaos -- a few hours further north, fires have ravaged Queensland, with parts of the state recording their hottest ever days.
This bizarre meteorological contrast, the striking students told 10 daily, was a clear example of the climate change they're worried about.
"There are bush fires, it's snowing in NSW in summer, floods, droughts," Clara said.
"Why is it too hot in winter and too cold in summer?" Ruby asked.
While their hopes for a meeting with parliament's biggest names may be in vain, parliament has been talking about them all week. On Monday, Morrison criticised the national school walkout, saying he wanted to see kids in classrooms instead of protesting -- "what we want is more learning in schools and less activism in schools.”
However, on Tuesday, the Senate passed a motion saying the chamber supported the climate protest.
Matilda, Ruby and Solomon are in environment clubs at their schools, and regularly talk to their friends about the Adani coal mine, renewable energy and climate change. They want action, and they're hoping the likes of Morrison and Shorten will get behind their cause -- or, at least, come down to the Parliament House cafe for a chat.
"They have all the power, they need to use it properly," Matilda said.